Open main menu

The Baja California leopard lizard (Gambelia copeii ) is a species of lizard in the family Crotaphytidae. The species is endemic to Baja California and adjacent southern California.

Baja California leopard lizard
Gambelia copei.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Crotaphytidae
Genus: Gambelia
G. copeii
Binomial name
Gambelia copeii
(Yarrow, 1882)
  • Crotaphytus copeii
    Yarrow, 1882
  • Gambelia wislizeni copei
    Banta & W. Tanner, 1968
  • Gambelia copeii
    McGuire, 1996




Gambelia copeii is between 8 and 14 cm (3.1 and 5.5 in) in snout-to-vent length (SVL), and has a smoky gray color and darker gray or black dorsal spots, edged in a lighter shade. The dorsal pattern appears mottled or occelated. There are light crossbars on the dorsum, and light gray or white on the venter. It has small granular scales. The large head is distinct from the neck, and the lining of mouth and throat is purplish-black. Juvenile lizards are similar to adults, but have more distinct banding across the dorsum. Females develop red-orange blotches on the ventral side during breeding season. Males have femoral pores.


The Baja California leopard lizard is an uncommon species. It is a powerful bipedal runner. An adult can inflict a painful bite. It prefers chaparral habitats with an open understory.


  • This article is based on a description from the website of Robert N. Fisher and Ted J. Case, "A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Coastal Southern California", US Geological Survey.


  1. ^ Hollingsworth B, Hammerson GA (2007). "Gambelia copeii ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Gambelia copeii ". The Reptile Database.
  3. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Gambelia copeii, p. 59).

Further readingEdit

  • McGuire, Jimmy A. (1996). "Phylogenetic Systematics of Crotaphytid Lizards (Reptilia: Iguania: Crotaphytidae)". Bull. Carnegie Mus. Nat. Hist. (32): 1-142. (Gambelia copeii, pp. 98–102).
  • Stebbins RC (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series ®. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. xiii + 533 pp., 56 plates, 204 maps. ISBN 978-0-395-98272-3. (Gambelia copeii, pp. 276–277 + Plate 26 + Map 84).
  • Yarrow HC (1882). "Descriptions of New Species of Reptiles and Amphibians in the United States National Museum". Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 5: 438-443). (Crotaphytus copeii, new species, p. 441).