Texas Earless Lizard

Order:  Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder:  Lacertilia (=Sauria) (lizards)
Family:  Iguanidae (iguanid lizards)
Genus:  Cophosaurus (Texas earless lizards)

Scientific Name:  Cophosaurus texanus Troschel, 1850

Habitat:  Dry washes, gravelly and rocky areas.

kophos=deaf and mute," saurus="lizard," texanus="of Texas"

Length: To over 7 inches total.
Food:  Insects. Texas Earless Lizard Range

In the fall of 1996 I visited Big Bend National Park in western Texas. There I saw many Texas Earless Lizards. 

Texas Earless Lizard
As you can see in this picture, the tail is being held curled over the back, and waved back and forth (this image is a still from video I took). These lizards remain motionless sunning themselves on the rocky desert floor. When approached by a potential predator, they lift their tails, revealing the black-and-white striped underside, and wave them from side to side. This action draws the predators' eyes to the back of the animal, and this distraction allows the lizard to run away quickly and freeze a short distance from the original spot, vanishing against the gravelly background. Since most lizards' tails are able to regenerate after being broken off, the brightly-colored tail of the earless lizard is a sacrifice to spare the animal's life. Waving the Tail
The picture at right is a recent addition to this page; it is a male I observed in March 2004, again at Big Bend National Park.  Note the beautiful turquoise markings on the sides!  This picture, when viewed at full size, also shows an intricate pattern of pale pink spots all over the lizard's back. Male, March 2004
The next two pictures are of an earless lizard found at Guadalupe Mountains National Park (near the New Mexico border) in October 2005.

This individual is most likely a female, judging from the more muted coloration when compared to the male above.