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Common Name: Regal horned lizard

Scientific Name: Phrynosoma solare


Kingdom: Anamalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptillia

Order: Sauria

Family: Phrynosomatidae

Genius: Phrynosoma

Species: P. Solare


Regal Horned Lizard Location: They are restricted to the Sonora desert in south-central Arizona, east to extreme southwestern New Mexico, south through most of Sonora (including Isla Tiburon) and into northern Sinaloa, Mexico. The Regal Horned lizard prefers hot, dry, sandy environments.


Food source: feeds mainly (up to 90%) on harvester ants, which they pick up with their tongue while standing next to the ant nest or trail. They eat like a frog or toad using the flick of their, long, sticky, tongue. Defense: Horned lizards are relatively slow-moving and rely on their cryptic coloration and horns for defense. But when threatened, regal horned lizard ruptures small capillaries around their eyes and squirts a bloody fluid that has been found to especially irritate canines such as coyote.


Predators: Usually a wild animal such as a coyote or wolf will eat them. Length: Fully grown they are about 4” (10cm) long, including their tail. They do not grow very long. Description: Four large occipital horns at the base of the head continuous with six temporal horns. Their colors vary from red, black, and grey.


Name History: The squat form, head armor, and dragon-like appearance have given them the names of “horny toad”, “horned lizard”, “horned toad”, “Regal Horned Lizard”.


Reproduction: Mating for the Regal Horned Lizard begins in late April, peaks in June. Egg lying starts a few weeks later, usually in late July and early August. The eggs are laid in the sand. They require several weeks for development before the eggs hatch. The egg shells are white and flexible and average about a one-half inch in diameter. The number off eggs laid is anywhere from 10-30 eggs, with the average of about 15. The young are called hatchlings. They are about 7/8 to 1-1/8 inches long, snout to tip of tail. The hatchlings receive no parental guidance, once hatched they immediately bury themselves in the sand. They are now responsible for finding and hunting their own food. There is no evidence that the young reproduce within their first year, but they are classified as young adults by the end of the second summer and probably reach full growth in three years.


Hibernation: In the fall, they hibernate by burying themselves in the sand and come out in the spring when the sun’s rays have reached a certain temperature. The first few hours of the day are spent laying in the sun so their back is exposed to it. As soon as their body temperature rises to a specific degree, they start foraging for food. As the heat of the day increases, they become more active. When it cools they are less active.


Author: Davin W.

Published: April 2006


Sources: images: 

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