On a recent roadtrip through Nevada, on our way to a Geobloggers-in-the-Pub meeting, MOH and I stopped at the West Gate windmill. Lo and behold, after squeezing through the closed gate and walking around to the windmill side of the rock-and-concrete water tank, we saw a couple blue-belly lizards scurrying around on the shady north wall of the approximately six-foot-high water tank.
In fact, we saw two pairs of lizards, possibly mating pairs judging by how closely they stuck to each other. The first pair is in the first photo, the second pair in the second photo.
The first pair had a larger, darker-looking lizard and a slightly smaller, browner-looking lizard; similar coloring and sizing in the second pair was not quite as obvious. This is the larger, darker lizard of the first pair.
In this close up, we can vaguely see the bluish patch under the lizard's chin, and we can see a bit of the blue belly, along the side of the lizard between it's foreleg and hind leg.
This is the slightly smaller, browner lizard of the first pair, hiding between a water pipe and the north wall. Some of its spots are turquoise in color.
And here, he/she has run to the top of the rock wall, and we can see the under-chin and belly patches quite clearly. The blue to bluish turquoise patches on the bellies of these lizards consist of two side patches.
This is one of the lizards of the second pair. The fairly common or typical yellow coloring behind or under both sets of legs can be seen, especially the yellow behind the forelegs.
These lizards, commonly known as blue bellies, blue-bellied lizards, swifts, or Western Fence Lizards, are formally known as Sceloporus occidentalis. The subspecies seen here is called the Great Basin Fence Lizard, or Sceloporus occidentalis longipes. All S. occidentalis lizards are good to have around, as they may help keep ticks free of Lyme disease.
The location of West Gate on this MSRMaps map is marked by the windmill symbol. For more about West Gate read Friday from the Road: West Gate. This post is being submitted to Carnival of the Arid #6, hosted by Chris Clarke at Coyote Crossing.