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Scelophorus belly and back scales        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Male spiny lizards (genus Scelophorus) typically develop intense blue and turquoise colors on the throat and belly, which are used in courtship and territorial displays.   These photos show the ventral and dorsal scale patterns on two species of Scelophorus found in southern California: western fence lizards and granite spiny lizards. The two images above are from granite spinys (the belly colors are not as intense as on some adult males).   In contrast to the smooth and glossy belly scales (left), the animal's side and back scales are equipped with elaborate backwards-pointing spines (right).   The photos below show the color patterns of western fence lizards -- often called 'bluebellies'.   All the pictures were taken in Riverside, California.

  • Canon 1D Mk. II, 100 mm macro lens plus 1.4X converter, ringflash (2004)