Spiny lizards is a common name for the genus Sceloporus in the family Phrynosomatidae. The genus is endemic to North America and Central America. This genus includes some of the most commonly seen lizards in the United States.

Spiny lizard
Western fence lizard,
Sceloporus occidentalis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Phrynosomatidae
Genus: Sceloporus
Wiegmann, 1828
A spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.) at the Houston Zoo.
A yellow-backed spiny lizard,
Sceloporus uniformis
A sagebrush lizard,
Sceloporus graciosus

Common namesEdit

Other common names for lizards in the genus Sceloporus include fence lizards, scaly lizards, and swifts.[1]


The 108 species in the genus Sceloporus are organized into 21 species groups. However, their relationships to each other are currently under review.[clarification needed] Listed below are species of Sceloporus:[2][3]


Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Sceloporus.

See alsoEdit

  • Moloch horridus, an unrelated Australian lizard that is sometimes also referred to as "spiny lizard"


  1. ^ Zim HS, Smith HM (1956). Reptiles and Amphibians: A Guide to Familiar American Species: A Golden Nature Guide. Revised Edition. New York: Simon & Schuster. 160 pp. (Genus Sceloporus, pp. 56-57, 155).
  2. ^ Genus Sceloporus at The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ "Sceloporus ". ITIS. www.itis.gov.
  4. ^ Grummer, Jared A.; Bryson, Robert W. Jr (2014). "A new species of bunchgrass lizard (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae) from the southern sky islands of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3790 (3): 439–450. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3790.3.3.
  5. ^ a b c d Wiens, John J.; Penkrot, Tonya A. (2002). "Delimiting Species Using DNA and Morphological Variation and Discordant Species Limits in Spiny Lizards (Sceloporus)". Systematic Biology. 51 (1): 69–91. doi:10.1080/106351502753475880. PMID 11943093.
  6. ^ a b c 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. (Sceloporus jarrovii, p. 292; S. slevin, p. 245; S. tanneri, p. 260).

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Boulenger GA (1885). Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume II. Iguanidæ ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 497 pp. + Plates I-XXIV. (Genus Sceloporus, p. 216).
  • Goin, Coleman J.; Goin, Olive B.; Zug, George R. (1978). Introduction to Herpetology, Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. xi + 378 pp. ISBN 0-7167-0020-4. (Genus Sceloporus, pp. 130, 291).
  • Powell R, Conant R, Collins JT (2016). Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. xiv + 494 pp., 47 Plates, 207 Figures. ISBN 978-0-544-12997-9. (Genus Sceloporus, p. 292).
  • Smith, Hobart M.; Brodie, Edmund D. Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback), ISBN 0-307-47009-1 (hardcover). (Genus Sceloporus, p. 114-115).
  • Stebbins RC (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. The Peterson Field Guide Series ®. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. xi + 533 pp. 56 plates, 39 figures. ISBN 978-0-395-98272-3. (Genus Sceloporus, p. 283; Sceloporus species accounts, pp. 283-294).
  • Wiegmann AF Jr (1828). "Beyträge zur Amphibienkunde ". Isis von Oken 21 (4): 364-383. (Sceloporus, new genus, p. 369). (in German and Latin).