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Common Name: Banded Rock Lizard

Scientific Name: Petrosaurus mearnsi

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Family: Phrynosomatidae

Genus: Petrosaurus

Species: P. mearnsi



The normal size of a banded rock lizard is 2.5-3.5 inches (6.2 – 5.7cm). The lizard’s coloring is olive, brown, or grayish with many small white or bluish spots. Banded rock lizards' faded colors offer great camouflage against the boulders and rock walls they occupy. They are exceptional rock climbers. These lizards can be identified by their single black collar, banded tail and granular scales on its body.    Males have more pronounced throat patterns and brighter blue coloring than the females.  


The banded rock lizard is restricted to the eastern slopes in the rocks hard for most predators to reach. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals the dessert is the perfect place for them to dwell. They love to lie in the sun and they hide in the rocks at night and when there is a danger. Their little claws help them climb the rocks and their rough scales protect them from the rough hot surface.  The range of these flat lizards is mostly in Baja California but extends northward into certain areas of Anza-Borrego and a little bit north.


The banded rock lizards are restricted to certain areas but are by no means in short supply there are plenty of them among the rocks, washes and desert oasis. Their flat bodies help them fit tight between the rocks.   Due to the fact that a lot of animals cannot maneuver under and around the rocks, it limits the predators that can get them.  Banded lizards eat a variety of small invertebrates, ants, beetles flies, caterpillars, spiders, flower buds and blossoms. They are also known to eat the occasional smaller lizards. 


Because of their wide range of what they will eat there is limited competition for their food source. Other lizards and snakes would be the main competition.  Few animals pose a threat to these lizards because they can’t catch them. It’s too difficult to pursue this lizard over the surfaces it normally goes.  The main predator is birds that have been known to grab the lizards when they are younger.   The Male lizard defends territories but tolerate younger males whereas the females are very territorial against other females.  Breeding takes place in the spring 2-6 eggs are laid June – August, and hatch in two months. 


Author: Haven H
Published: 02/2013




Special thanks to Mr. John Sullivan and his beautiful pictures of the Banded Rock Lizard.

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