FWS Focus


The dunes sagebrush sagebrush
The western United States’ sagebrush country encompasses over 175 million acres of public and private lands. The sagebrush landscape provides many benefits to our rural economies and communities, and it serves as crucial habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including the iconic greater sage-grouse and over 350 other species.

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lizard is a small, light brown phrynosomatid lizard (family Phrynosomatidae, genus Sceloporus) with a maximum snout-to-vent length of 70 millimeters (mm) (2.8 inches (in)) for females and 65 mm (2.6 in) for males (Degenhardt et al. 1996, p. 160). Sabath (1960, p. 22) first described the occurrence of light-colored sagebrush lizards in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas. Kirkland L. Jones collected the type specimen for Sceloporus arenicolus on April 27, 1968, in eastern Chaves County, New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996, p. 159). Degenhardt and Jones (1972, p. 213) described the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus arenicolus) as a subspecies of the sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus). The dunes sagebrush lizard was elevated to a species in 1992 and this elevation was validated with molecular and morphological evidence in 1997 (Painter et al. 1999, p. 3). Much of the previous literature concerning Sceloporus arenicolus refers to it by the common name of sand dune lizard (e.g., Degenhardt et al. 1996, p. 159); however, the currently accepted common name is dunes sagebrush lizard (Crother et al. 2008, p. 39).

Scientific Name

Sceloporus arenicolus
Common Name
Dunes Sagebrush Lizard
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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