Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The desert spiny lizard, Sceloporus magister, is native to southern and eastern (but not northeastern) Utah, where it is fairly common. The overall range of the species includes much of the western (especially southwestern) United States and portions of Mexico. Desert spiny lizards prefer arid habitats, where they are often found on rocks or in trees. They become inactive during cold weather, taking shelter in crevices and burrows.

In Utah, females of this species typically lay two clutches of six eggs per year. The diet of the desert spiny lizard is composed of a variety of insects, lizards, and plant material. Two subspecies of the desert spiny lizard, the yellow-backed spiny lizard and the orange-headed spiny lizard, occur in Utah.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.