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Common collared lizard

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Title: Common collared lizard  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Crotaphytidae, Great Basin collared lizard, Hercules Glades Wilderness, List of Oklahoma state symbols, List of reptiles of Texas
Collection: Animals Described in 1823, Crotaphytidae, Reptiles of the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Common collared lizard

Eastern collared lizard
Crotaphytus collaris
A common collared lizard in Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Missouri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Crotaphytidae
Genus: Crotaphytus
Species: C. collaris
Binomial name
Crotaphytus collaris
(Say, 1823)
  • Agama collaris Say, 1823
  • Crotaphytus collaris
    Holbrook, 1842
  • Leiosaurus collaris
    A.H.A. Duméril, 1856
  • Crotaphytus collaris
    — Boulenger, 1885[2]

The eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris), also called common collared lizard,[3] Oklahoma collared lizard or collared lizard, is a North American lizard that can reach 8–14 inches (20–36 cm) in length (including the tail), with a large head and powerful jaws. They are well known for the ability to run on their hind legs, looking like small theropod dinosaurs. Chiefly found in dry, open regions of Mexico and the south-central United States including Missouri, Texas, Arizona, and Kansas, the full extent of its habitat in the United States ranges from the Ozark Mountains to southern California. The collared lizard is the state reptile of Oklahoma, where it is known as the mountain boomer.

The name "collared lizard" comes from the lizard's distinct coloration, which includes bands of black around the neck and shoulders that look like a collar. It is a member of the collared lizard family.

Male collared lizard, with blue-green body and yellow-brown head, at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma

The origin of the name "mountain boomer" is not clear, but it may be traceable to settlers traveling west during the Gold Rush. One theory is that settlers mistook the sound of wind in canyons for the call of an animal in an area where the collared lizard was abundant. In reality, collared lizards are silent.

These reptiles are often tamed and kept as pets. When born in captivity, they are quite docile and tolerant of interaction with humans. They are very active and predatory lizards, requiring a large amount of space to run. They prefer high temperatures, up to 105–110 °F (41–43 °C) at their basking spot and 80 °F (27 °C) elsewhere in their habitat during the day. Some collared lizards eat small amounts of fruits or vegetables, but most are entirely insectivorous. They will also consume vertebrate prey, including small mammals and other lizards. Like many reptiles, in captivity they must be provided a diet supplemented with extra calcium and a light source with a UVB radiation to reduce the risk of bone disorders.

Like many other lizards, including the frilled lizard and basilisk, collared lizards can run on their hind legs, and are relatively fast sprinters. Record speeds have been around 16 miles per hour (26 km/h), much slower than the world record for lizards (21.5 mph or 34.6 km/h) attained by the larger-bodied Costa Rican spiny-tailed iguana, Ctenosaura similis.

Collared lizards in the wild have been the subject of a number of studies of sexual selection. In captivity if two males are placed in the same cage they will fight to the death. Males have a blue-green body with a light brown head. Females have a light brown head and body.


  1. ^ Hammerson, G. A., Lavin, P., Vazquez Díaz, J., Quintero Díaz, G. & Gadsden, H. (2007). "Crotaphytus collaris".  
  2. ^ (Say, 1823)"Crotaphytus collaris". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  3. ^ Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin. Boston and New York. xiii + 533 pp. ISBN 0-395-98272-3. (Crotaphytus collaris, pp. 271-272 + Plate 27 + Map 85.)


  • Bonine, K. E.; Garland, Jr., T. (1999). "Sprint performance of phrynosomatid lizards, measured on a high-speed treadmill, correlates with hindlimb length" (PDF). Journal of Zoology (London) 248: 255–265.  
  • Garland, Jr., T. (1984). "Physiological correlates of locomotory performance in a lizard: an allometric approach" (PDF). Am. J. Physiol. 247 (Regulatory Integrative Comp. Physiol. 16): R806–R815. 
  • Husak, J. F.; Fox, S. F. (2006). "Field use of maximal sprint speed by collared lizards (Crotaphytus collaris): compensation and sexual selection".  
  • Husak, J. F.; Fox, S. F.; Lovern, M. B.; Van Den Bussche, R. A. (2006). "Faster lizards sire more offspring: sexual selection on whole-animal performance". Evolution 60: 2122–2130.  
  • Lappin, A. K.; Brandt, Y.; Husak, J. F.; Macedonia, J. M.; Kemp, D. J. (2005). "Gaping displays reveal and amplify a mechanically based index of weapon performance". American Naturalist 168 (1): 100–113.  
  • Snyder, R. C. (1962). "Adaptations for bipedal locomotion of lizards". Am. Zool. 2 (2): 191–203.  
  • Drake, E. C. (1999). Information on the Collared Lizard. 

Two black stripes around the neck give these lizards their name.

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