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Granite spiny lizard        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Granite spiny lizards (Sceloporus orcutii) are large, beautiful lizards native to a small piece of southern California and adjacent Mexico.   As their name implies, they are frequently found basking on large granite boulders on rocky hillsides in arid scrubland.   The species is strongly sexually dimorphic, and males are larger and much more colorful than females (the males' purple backs, greenish sides, and brilliant blue undersides are striking in good light).   I took these pictures in the Box Springs Mountains near Riverside, CA.

Close-up photos of belly and back scales appear on another page.

  • Canon EOS1v, 500 mm f4 IS lens + 1.4X converter, Elite Chrome Extra Color (2003)
  • Canon 10D, 1D Mk. II, 1D4, or 7D2; 500 mm f4 IS lens + 2X converter and extension tube or 800 mm IS lens plus extension tube, fill-in flash (2004, 2006, 2013, 2014, 2015)