This species of lizard is endemic to North America; the USA and Mexico. In the USA they can be found in New Mexico and the southeastern regions of Arizona. In Mexico, their range includes Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Sonora, Nuevo León, and Coahuila.
They thrive in semi-desert grasslands, evergreen woodlands, desert scrubs, and conifer forests. The lizards can be found in low valleys, grassy plains, and foothills. They forage on the ground and bask on fence posts, rocks, trees, and woodpiles. Breeding starts in spring through to the beginning of summer. The lizards feed on insects including termites, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, flies, larvae, and wasps and other invertebrates.
Sceloporus cowlesi is a small lizard (3 inches in snout-to-vent length) with a brown-gray or golden-brown color and ridged overlapping scales. The back of the lizard has two light-colored stripes and the mid-dorsum has a wide gray stripe. Some individuals display dark-colored blotches between the stripes. The males have a pair of large blue patches on the belly and the throat has blue blotches on the underside. The belly patches are indistinct or nonexistent in females. Gravid females can be often spotted to have a tint of yellow or orange on the back.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians