Lizard Identification Keys

This identification key uses questions and answers to help identify the actual species of lizard encountered. The questions are simplistic, you should follow the result link to the description page for the lizard species and see if it fits. Also check the species description page for similar species, as there may be additional keys useful in distinguishing a particular species from similar species.

At this time, there either are no or few images. Photographs for this identification guide will largely come in 2010.

1. Gular Fold - The Starting Point

The gular fold is a fold of skin that goes around the underside of the neck of some lizards, sort of like a collar.

Is it lacking, have an incomplete, or a complete gular fold?

Lacking
Goto 2
Incomplete
Goto 4
Complete
Goto 5
[Partial Gular Fold]
 

2. Striping

Does it have distinct lengthwise striping?

Yes
Goto Western Skink
No
Goto 3
 

3. Alligator Lizards

You probably have an Alligator Lizard. There are two species in Shasta County. Are the eyes yellow or are they dark (red or black)?

Yellow Eyes
Goto Southern Alligator Lizard
Dark Eyes
Goto Northern Alligator Lizard
[Yellow Eyes]
 

4. Spiny Lizards

You probably have a Spiny Lizard. There are two species in Shasta County. Is there distinct yellowing on the hind limbs?

Yes
Goto Western Fence Lizard
No
Goto Common Sagebrush Lizard
[Fence Lizard Legs] [Sagebrush Lizard Legs]
 

5. Head Spines

Does the lizard have dagger like head spines?

Yes
Goto Blainville’s Horned Lizard
No
Goto Western Whiptail
 

Western Skink

You possibly have a Western Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus).
For more information on this species: Western Skink.

[Western Skink]
 

Southern Alligator Lizard

You possibly have a Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata).
For more information on this species: Southern Alligator Lizard.

[Southern Alligator Lizard]
 

Northern Alligator Lizard

You possibly have a Northern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea).
For more information on this species: Northern Alligator Lizard.

[Northern Alligator Lizard]
 

Western Fence Lizard

You possibly have a Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis).
For more information on this species: Western Fence Lizard.

[Western Fence Lizard]
 

Common Sagebrush Lizard

You possibly have a Common Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus).
For more information on this species: Common Sagebrush Lizard.

[Common Sagebrush Lizard]
 

Blainville’s Horned Lizard

You possibly have a Blainville’s Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii).
For more information on this species: Blainville’s Horned Lizard.

 

Western Whiptail

You possibly have a Western Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris).
For more information on this species: Western Whiptail.

[Western Whiptail]

End Of Identification Key