The Mexican Collared Lizard. One of the most intriguing adaptations of Mexican Lizards is their ability to run incredibly fast on their back legs.
The Mexican Collared Lizard, also known as Crotaphytus dickersonae, is a colorful species of lizard that is closely related to iguana lizards and is native to northern Mexico.
While many characteristics of the Mexican Collared Lizard are similar to that of iguanas, they stand out due to their bright, multicolored markings and black collar around the neck. Mexican Collared Lizards have vibrant turquoise colored bodies and tails covered with small white spots and slightly darker colored heads. In terms of size, Collard Lizards grow to approximately 28 cm (11 inches) and are slim with long tails.
The habitat of Mexican Collared Lizards is primarily in dry, desert-like conditions. The vast majority of the Mexican Collared Lizards population resides in the rugged mountains along the coast of Sonora, although some are also found on Isla Tiburon in the Gulf of California.
One of the most marked habits of Mexican Collared Lizards is their fiercely protective nature. Often, one male will inhabit a territory with several females, carefully guarding his territory. Mexican Collared Lizards usually spend the months of August and September hibernating and hatching new lizards.
One of the most intriguing adaptations of Mexican Collared Lizards is their ability to run incredibly fast on their back legs, using their tails for balance. Their speed is an extremely useful adaptation, especially for capturing prey. Although not a lot is known about the feeding habits of Mexican Collared Lizards, it is likely that they normally eat worms, crickets and mice, as well as some green plants. Additionally, their heads and strong jaws enable them capture and hold large prey.
Another fascinating adaptation of the female Mexican Collared Lizard is its ability to change colors during mating season, from spring through June. When females Collared Lizards are in season, six vivid orange stripes appear on each side of their bodies. Once mating has occurred, 4 to 6 eggs are laid and the stripes begin to fade. The females will then begin to defend their nests, often using rocks as aids. The eggs normally take about 50 days to hatch.
Young lizards also often display orange markings, enabling the aggressive and territorial males to easily distinguish between young lizards and potential competitors. This is another curious Mexican Collared Lizard adaptation which allows the young to find their own territories.
Mexican Collared Lizards are protected by Mexican law but have recently been under threat. Due to their attractive appearance, they are often captured and sold as pets. As such there have been recent efforts to reintroduce Mexican Collared Lizards into the wild. The reintroduction of Mexican Collared Lizards aims to stabilize their population.