• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

Greater Earless Lizard

greater earless lizard

Greater Earless Lizard

NPS Photo

Greater Earless Lizard
Cophosaurus texanus

Body length: 1 7/8 - 3"
Diet: Insects

Many of the small, agile lizards seen along the Lower Cliff Dwelling trail are greater earless lizards. In springtime, males become very colorful and prominent, sitting on rock perches with their heads held high. Earless lizards are very energetic - when alarmed, they run in short bursts, pausing (like zebratail lizards) to wave their black-and-white striped tails. The two species are difficult to distinguish, but in zebratails the belly-marks are located at mid-body, and in greater earless lizards they are located just in front of the hind legs.

How do earless lizards manage without ears? They don't. Earless lizards in fact do have ears, but no external ear openings. It is believed that the lack of these openings may allow easier burrowing in sandy habitat.

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...