FWS Focus

Overview

Characteristics
Overview

The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard inhabits sand dune ecosystems of the Coachella Valley in Riverside County, California. It was listed as threatened in 1980, and ongoing threats to the species include habitat loss and alteration from urbanization, agricultural growth, non-native invasive plants and off-highway vehicle activity. 

Scientific Name

Uma inornata
Common Name
Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard
FWS Category
Reptiles
Kingdom

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Genus
Species

Identification Numbers

TSN:

Characteristics

Characteristic category

Physical Characteristics

Characteristics
Size & Shape

The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard is 6-9 inches long. It has elongated scales on its hind feet ("fringes") for added traction in loose sand and a shovel-shaped head and lower jaw to aid diving into and moving short distances beneath the sand. It also has elongated scales covering its ears to keep sand out, and specialized nostrils that allows it to breathe below the sand without inhaling sand particles.

Color & Pattern

It has a white or sandy-colored belly and back, and light eye-like patterns that form shoulder stripes.

Characteristic category

Food

Characteristics
Food

Its diet consists of plants and arthropods. 

Characteristic category

Behavior

Characteristics
Behavior

Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizards are mostly inactive during the winter and are most active during warmer months when body temperatures reach near 35 degrees Celsius. They escape the heat by swimming, or burrowing beneath the sand, and they restrict their activities during summer months to the early morning and late afternoon hours. 

Geography

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