What better way to kick off a new year on the blog than photos of baby reptiles?
We're grateful again for the wonderful photography by Zachary Cava
, who has been working for lead scientist Ken Nussear
of the WERC Las Vegas Field Station
this past year, studying desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii
) in the Mojave Desert.
WERC researchers partner with many federal and state offices to conduct surveys of desert tortoises and other species, as well as of desert habitat.
Here are Cava's latest photos of the desert denizens that have come across his path:
A baby yellow-backed spiny lizard (Sceloporus uniformis
A hatchling desert banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus
). Cava writes: "Females lay 1-3 two-egg clutches between May and September. If you look back at the adult pictured in Part 3 you’ll see that the banding is much more defined when they’re young. This kind of change in pattern/coloration that occurs over an organism’s lifetime is referred to as an ontogenetic shift, and is common among reptiles and amphibians."
A western side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans
). "The blue speckling indicates this one is a male," says Cava.
The skin of a Great Basin whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris tigris
). "Notice the smooth, granular scales," says Cava. "Much different than the pointed, keeled scales of other local reptiles (i.e. spiny lizards, rattlesnakes), and similar to those of the western banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus
And this is why this lizard is called a "whiptail".
A hatching desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii
) back at the lab.
Number 51, good luck with life!
All photos courtesy of Zachary Cava.
-- Ben Young Landis