Scientific name: Trimorphodon biscutatus vandenburghi
Common name: California Lyre Snake
Size: 17.7-35.4 in (45-90 cm)
Distinguishing characters: A slender species with a laterally flattened body; broad head, slender neck; V-shaped marking on top of head resembling lyre; light brown or grey on dorsal side with brown blotches; blotches roughly hexagonal and bisected with a pale crossbar; cream or white venter with pale brown spots; smooth scales; large, protruding eyes with vertical pupils.
Juveniles: Similar to adults in pattern, but highly contrasting in dorsal color; hatchlings can appear nearly black and white.
Dimorphism: Female is larger than male with extremely constricted tail; male's tail thickened midway between anal scale and tip, and is longer than that of a female's.
Similar species: Hypsiglena torquata: Has dark blotches on neck; dark bar across head; head less distinct from neck; lacks V-shaped markings on top of head.
Additional notes: A nervous species that hisses and vibrates rattleless tail when annoyed. Nocturnal and secretive, in our area it is usually associated with rocky hillsides and outcrops.
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Last update: 05 March 2003