Phrynosoma orbiculare: characteristics and photos

Phrynosoma orbiculare: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Phrynosoma orbiculare is a type of lizard endemic to...

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" Phrynosoma orbiculare is a type of lizard endemic to Mexico. Despite its Spanish name Mountain Chameleon, this species is not really a chameleon, as these belong to the family Chamaeleonidae and the species in question here is part of the family Phrynosomatidae, in which there are lizards exhibiting other characteristics. This species therefore belongs to a genus known as horned lizards, which have rather round and flat bodies."

Want to know all the characteristics of Phrynosoma orbiculare? Well that's good because you just have to continue reading this article from PlanèteAnimal!

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  • America
  • Mexico

Characteristics of Phrynosoma orbiculare

" His name Phrynosoma means toad body, indeed, phrynos means toad and soma means body. The species name orbiculare translates to small round, as orbis means round and culare means small. We can therefore define the Phrynosoma orbiculare, taking into account the literal translation of its scientific name, as a small round body of a toad. There is no doubt that by looking at the photos, one can understand why."

If we examine its characteristics, this lizard has a robust body, with characteristic horns in the occipital region, that is, towards the back of the head. Its mouth is rounded, its tail is short and its body is covered with a kind of spines. It is not as large as other horned lizards, being 12 cm long.Its appearance is often compared to that of certain dinosaurs, and it is also a very old species. If you are fascinated by these animals, do not miss this other article on the largest lizards in the world.

This lizard is brown in color with fairly dark spots along the dorsal region, some reddish or coppery tones and a grayish tone around the spines on either side that run along the body.

There are generally five subspecies:

  • Phrynosoma orbiculare bradti
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare cortezii
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare dugesii
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare orbiculare orbiculare
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare oriental orbiculare

However, some studies refer to the fact that some of these subspecies should be treated as separate species due to their isolation, as in the case of P.y. eastern and P. o. durangoensis. Therefore, further taxonomic studies on the species are needed.

Phrynosoma orbiculare habitat

Phrynosoma orbiculare has a wide distribution in Mexico, where it is endemic. The regions where it is usually found are, among others, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Queretero, Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico DF, Veracruz and Puebla.

The habitat of this lizard consists of different types of ecosystems, which is related to its large distribution. It can inhabit primary and secondary forests. It is also present in dry scrubland, pine and oak forests, only oak forests, juniper forests, agricultural land, agave plantations and others.

Habits of Phrynosoma orbiculare

Phrynosoma orbiculare is mainly diurnal, as it needs the sun to warm up and stay active.He always remains on the ground and is solitary. When it feels threatened, it comes to a h alt to see if, by camouflage with the ground, it will go unnoticed, as the thorns help reduce the shadow it casts, allowing it to look more like the bottom of the ground. substrate. If that doesn't work and he's spotted by a predator, he'll inflate his body to look bigger.

But this lizard uses yet another defense: if its predator is much larger and the above tactics don't work, it shoots a stream of (seemingly foul-smelling) blood from the glands located inside his eye to scare the attacker.

Is Phrynosoma orbiculare poisonous?

Despite this defensive strategy, the horned lizard on the Mexican plateau is not poisonous. Its bite isn't excessively strong either, so it's not really a dangerous animal.

In this other article you will find the most poisonous lizards in the world.

Food of Phrynosoma orbiculare

What does this horned lizard eat? It feeds about 70% on ants, which allows it to draw most of its energy from these insects. For this, it must consume a large number of these insects that it captures using its sticky tongue. However, it also eats other animals, such as:

  • Termites.
  • Crickets.
  • Beetles.
  • Spiders.

Reproduction of Phrynosoma orbiculare

Reproduction details of the Horned Lizard remain to be studied. However, it is known to reproduce sexually and to be ovoviviparous, that is, the young develop in the mother's eggs until they are ready to hatch. This is when they are expelled.

Males are apparently sexually active towards the end of the first half of the year, so the young are thought to hatch around August.However, there are reports to the contrary about this, so we have to wait for these data to be clarified by scientific studies.

State of conservation of Phrynosoma orbiculare

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the species as Least Concern. In this regard, there are no significant threats to the species, except for some populations that are affected by habitat fragmentation, mainly caused by deforestation and fires aimed at using the land for agricultural purposes. In addition, Phrynosoma orbiculare is traded in the pet market where it suffers some predation from domestic animals.

For its part, the species is classified as threatened by Mexican legislation and is protected. In addition, several of its habitats correspond to protected areas. For all these reasons, this lizard should not be a pet and should enjoy its freedom in its natural habitat.

Photos of Phrynosoma orbiculare

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