Friday, September 09, 2005

ENV: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Getting ready to do a couple of days in the mountains with a host of my top biodude friends -- Greg Lasley, John Abbott, Kelly Bryan, David Poteet, and Mark Lockwood. We'll be surveying the Chinati Mountains (one of the least known ranges in Texas, and where i did part of my Master's some 30 years ago or so). Anyway, i'll be on the road Friday and unable to post my usual critter for The Friday Ark at The Modulator, so i'm going to get a jump on it. I'm going to feature a rather rare and little known critter, one that i photographed a year ago on another expedition to the Davis Mountains, just NE of the Chinatis. This is the Rocky Mountain Short-horned Lizard, Phrynosoma hernandesi hernandesi, long considered a race of Phrynosoma douglassi, the Sierra Short-horned Lizard, but recently split from it.

This is a youngster that we found on trail to a part of a canyon where i'd discovered a couple of pair of Buff-breasted Flycatchers. That's a species that nests only in this canyon in the Davis' in all of Texas that we know of. It was first found several years ago, but hadn't been located in 2004 until i found them. Anyway on that trail we scared this little guy up and i took these pictures. The light is funky because we were at elevation (for Texas anyway -- about 6500'). Note how well it blends with the lava rock in the primarily igneous Davis'. In the one pic it would be hard to pick out at all except for its shadow.

Rocky Mountain Short-horned Lizard, Phrynosoma hernandesi hernandesi

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