Naturalist Newsletter of November 12, 2007
issued from Yerba Buena Clinic just outside
Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan, Chiapas, MÉXICO
about 1740 meters in elevation, ± LAT. 17° 11' 27"N, LONG. -92° 53' 35"W
Last Thursday was the first really sunny day we've had since the flooding and it sure was wonderful. At these elevations and at this season sunny days are cool and crisp, and the sky couldn't be bluer. By "cool" I mean it was 48° at dawn and in the mid sixties during the afternoon.
Wandering the grounds looking for butterflies to photograph I turned the corner of an abandoned building ornamented with invader slogans and surprised a 10-inch long lizard enjoying the sun as much as I. He scrambled up the wall and I was sure he'd get away before I could get my camera set, but he made the mistake of trying to get through a window's pane of glass. As he spun his wheels I managed to snap the picture at the right.
With that blue collar around his neck he reminded me of the Mountain Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus jarrovi, we saw back in the Querétaro highlands, whose picture remains at http://www.backyardnature.net/n/07/070428ly.jpg.
That seems a smaller, less robust species than my window sitter. Window Sitter clearly belongs to the genus Sceloporus, however, and in English we'd call him a spiny lizard. The only Sceloporus listed for the Reserve is Sceloporus taeniocnemis, and I suspect that the list maker had in mind this species, especially because he remarks that the species is common around dwellings.
However, Sceloporus classification is in a mess. Window-sitter looks very much like the common, widely distributed Blue-spotted Spiny Lizards that basked on stone walls back in the Yucatan and I read that in the highlands of Guatemala that species occurs to 2,300 meters in elevation. Therefore, until I learn better, I'll be thinking of Window Sitter as belonging to one of several local subspecies of the Blue-spotted Spiny Lizard, SCELOPORUS SERRIFER