Biology ETDs

Publication Date



The problem presented is the ecological distribution of seven species of lizards in the Blue River Valley of Greenlee County, Arizona. Field work was done May to July, 1967 and 1968 in the mountains, and July to September 1968 in the valley. Lizards were collected with a hand-gun and are preserved in the Museum of Southwestern Biology, Division of Eerpetology, University of New Mexico. A plant collection was made and seven plant communities are described. Seven species of lizards are compared by plant-community affiliation and habitat.

Urosaurus ornatus was the most euryecious species found. It inhabited every plant community where lizards were found. This species occupied a variety of habitats from arboreal to terrestrial depending on what other species of lizard were pre­sent. Sceloporus undulatus occupied forest and upper woodland formations. Phrynosoma douglassi was found in the mountains, but was restricted to forest formations above 6,500 feet. At lower elevations Scelonorus clarki is principally a riparian form where it was found arboreally. Holbrookia texana was com­monly found in the more open􀂔 sandy areas. Cnemidophorus exanguis occupied the more protected underbrush situations.

In addition to the above, one specimen of another species, Cnemidophorus velox, was collected. This was considered to de­note a small population.

The following generalizations are made on the basis of the study:

1.) Lizard species were found to be limited in general distribution by plant associations and probably by inter­specific competition.

2.) Within plant communities, lizard species were found to be restricted to certain habitats or substrates.

3.) Climate seemed to be a limiting factor preventing the presence of all species above 9,000 feet.

4.) Lizards varied their period of activity diurnally in relation to temperature and seasonally in relation to moisture.



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Degree Name


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Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

William George Degenhardt

Second Committee Member

William Jacob Koster

Third Committee Member

William Clarence Martin

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Biology Commons