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Sauromalus ater

Scientific Name:Sauromalus ater
Common name:common chuckwalla
Rank and Status   
Global Rank:G5 Native Status:Native
Subnational (State) Rank:S3 Endemic:No
US ESA Status:None Sand Dunes:No
NNHP Tracking Status:Watch List Wetland:No
Other Agency Status Status Last Updated Status Comments
Bureau of Land Management - Nevada Sensitive BLM Nevada Sensitive Species List dated 2017-10-01
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2012 Species of Conservation Priority
Nevada Wildlife Action Plan - 2005 Species of Conservation Priority
CCVI Score Moderately Vulnerable Conf. VH; Factors increasing vulnerability are natural and anthropogenic barriers, climate change mitigation, historical hydrological niche, and disturbance.
Distribution (NV Counties)

Status: Predicted or probable

Clark Esmeralda Lincoln
Summary Occurrence Data
Occurrence Count:7
Total Observed Area (hectares):Not Available
Maximum Known Elevation (m):1344
Minimum Known Elevation (m):1005
Sauromalus ater data at NatureServe
Sauromalus ater photos and data at Encyclopedia of Life
Character Abstract
Identification Comments:
Subspecies Comments:
Food Habits:Chuckwallas are strict herbivores, but may unintentionally ingest insects that are on their food plants. They appear to prefer flower heads or moist leaves; annuals are preferred over perennials (Brodie et al 2003) but they will consume both (Kwiatkowski et al 2009).
Phenology Comments:
Reproduction Comments:Females mature apparently in 5 years (Abts 1987). Mating apparently occurs May to June. Lays clutch of 5-16 eggs (clutch size increases with female body size), June perhaps to August. Eggs are laid underground.
Migration Mobility:
Habitat Comments:Found in large boulder piles, lava flows and outcrops in the Mojave Desert.
Ecology comments:Active March through August, emerging from brumation in spring. Brodie et al (2003) found chuckwallas basking most often in positions that faced south within the greater southeastern hillside. To avoid predation, chuckwallas seek shelter in a rock crevice and inflate their lungs to wedge themselves tightly within the crevice. Genetic analyses determined the presence of two genetically distinct clades 1) Newberry Mountains and Goodsprings and 2) all other populations north of the Newberry Mountains. Chuckwalla populations are currently experiencing very little or no gene flow. They may be adapted to conditions particular to the mountain range they occupy and there is little evidence of migration among populations (Brodie et al 2003). Chuckwallas are long-lived lizards and take relatively longer to reach sexual maturity.
Version Date:11/02/1999 - 12:00am
individual on rock
Photographer: Glenn Clemmer, Nevada Natural Heritage Program
Photo Date:
individual on rock
Photographer: Glenn Clemmer, Nevada Natural Heritage Program
Photo Date: