A ground-dwelling lizard found in a variety of habitats, including desert scrub, chaparral, semi-desert grassland, and oak or pine woodland. It prefers canyons, slopes, and foothills, rather than valley floors. Often found in dense thickets lining arroyos.
The largest species of whiptail in Arizona, this lizard can reach 51 cm in total length. Its tail is often twice as long as its body, and has keeled scales. The body scales are granular. Like all whiptails, it has a pointed face with plate-like scales on the head. Juveniles start out with 6 (sometimes 7) light longitudinal lines from the neck to the base of the tail on a dark background. With age, spots form between the light lines and the lines eventually break up into more spots. Spots also develop on the legs of adults. Juveniles start out with an orange tail that fades to tan with age.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians