Northern Side-blotched Lizard

Order:  Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder:  Lacertilia (=Sauria) (lizards)
Family:  Iguanidae (iguanid lizards)
Subfamily:  Phrynosomatinae (spiny and horned lizards)
Genus:  Uta (side-blotched lizards)
Also Known As  Uta (pronounced "oota")

Scientific Name:  Uta stansburiana stansburiana Baird & Girard, 1852

Habitat:  Deserts and scrubland.

Uta=state of Utah, stansburiana in honor of expeditionary surveyor Howard S. Stansbury who collected the first specimen.

Length: 6+ inches total
Food:  Insects. Side-blotched Lizard Range

These small lizards are very common, seen scampering around hunting for prey and trying not to get eaten--they're a food source for many animals in the desert including Roadrunners and other lizards. When frightened, they retreat into rocky crevices or into bushes. I found one at night sleeping in a sagebrush. I assume they sleep up off the ground to avoid being eaten by the many lizard-eating snakes that prowl the desert night. These lizards also readily autotomize (drop) their tails. This is a last resort to avoid being eaten. The dropped tail wiggles for a few minutes after separating, to distract the predator while the lizard makes its getaway. I saw several of these lizards running around with only stumps of their tails left. The tails will regenerate, but will not look as nice or be as long as the original.

Side-blotched Lizard
This specimen was observed at Calico I, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada, on 05 April 2000 between 10 and 11 o'clock a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. He is shedding a little bit of skin around his back legs.  I saw many more specimens, both male and female, at elevations up to 4300 feet.
Compare this specimen to the one I found in New Mexico and the ones I found in California.