• Lower Cliff Dwelling


    National Monument Arizona

Desert Spiny Lizard

desert spiny lizard

Desert Spiny Lizard

NPS Photo

Desert Spiny Lizard
Sceloporus magister

Body length: 3 1/4 - 5 1/2"
Diet: Insects, lizards, and sometimes plant parts

The desert spiny lizard is found primarily on rocks and in sandy desert on the lower bajada slopes, whereas Clark's spiny lizards are found in trees at higher elevations. Both species occur in the area of the Visitor Center.

These two species share a distinct appearance: a dark, large head, a black shoulder wedge, heavy limbs, a spiny appearance, and a short tail. The "spines" are actually rough scales that no doubt make them a hard swallow for many predators.

Did You Know?

hillside with wildflowers

Spring can be a very colorful season at Tonto National Monument, but when will the wildflowers bloom? Rain is needed throughout the winter, and warm days are a good indicator of a full bloom ahead. If you miss the peak flowering season, remember that you’ve also missed the peak crowds. More...