Texas Horned Lizard

Order:  Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder:  Lacertilia (=Sauria) (lizards)
Family:  Iguanidae (iguanid lizards)
Subfamily:  Phrynosomatinae (spiny and horned lizards)
Genus:  Phrynosoma (horned lizards)
Also known as:  "horny toad"

Scientific Name:  Phrynosoma cornutum (Harlan, 1825)

Habitat:  Dry open areas with loose soil.

Phrynos="toad," soma="body," cornutum="horned"

Length: To over 7 inches.
Food:  Almost exclusively ants. Texas Horned Lizard Range

I found this male in June of 1996 near Cotulla, Texas. Horned lizards are becoming uncommon in the wild, partly because of collection and partly because of fire ants.  It used to be common for people to take home a "horny toad" as a souvenir of their visit to Texas, but the lizards do not do well in captivity due to their diet of almost exclusively ants. While ants comprise most of their diet, only certain species of ants are consumed, and preferences vary among the different horned lizard species.  

Texas Horned Lizard
The following two pics are of a young lizard I found in June of 2003 east of Bracketville, Texas.

The introduced fire ant Solenopsis invicta has spread throughout much of the southern United States, and is not eaten by horned lizards.  In addition to displacing the lizards' preferred ants, the fire ants have also been known to eat the eggs of many types of lizard, which contributes to the decline of many native species.

Juvenile TX Horned Lizard
An interesting characteristic of horned lizards is their ability to squirt blood from the corners of their eyes when threatened. I've only had that happen once! Juvenile TX Horned Lizard