Elgaria multicarinata - (Blainville, 1835)
Southern Alligator Lizard
Other English Common Names: southern alligator lizard
Synonym(s): Gerrhonotus multicarinatus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Elgaria multicarinata (Blainville, 1835) (TSN 209020)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102703
Element Code: ARACB01040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Lizards
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Anguidae Elgaria
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Elgaria multicarinata
Taxonomic Comments: Elgaria multicarinata formerly was included in the genus Gerrhonotus (see Good 1988).

A molecular phylogeographic study of Feldman and Spicer (2006) failed to support currently recognized subspecies boundaries within E. multicarinata.

Populations along the central Baja California coast, formerly included in this species, were reassigned to E. paucicarinata (Grismer 1988). Some authors have suggested that E. multicarinata and E. paucicarinata should be considered conspecific; however, Good (1988) concluded that paucicarinata is more closely allied with E. kingii.

Five intergrading subspecies have been recently recognized: ingava, multicarinata, nana, scincicauda, and webbii).

Molecular data support recognition of the family Anniellidae and anguid subfamilies Gerrhonotinae and Anguinae as monophyletic groups (Macey et al. 1999).

See Good (1988) for taxonomic treatments of gerrhonotine lizards.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13May2005
Global Status Last Changed: 23Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNR), Oregon (S5), Washington (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range is primarily west of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada crest from south-central Washington and north-central Oregon (mainly west of Cascade crest) south through western Oregon and California to northern Baja California, including islands off southern California and northern Baja California (Stebbins 2003). Isolated populations exist east of the Sierra Nevada at Grant Lake, Mono County, California; Alabama Hills and Walker Pass, Kern County, California; Walker Creek near Olancha, Inyo County, California, and along the Mojave River, California; there is also an isolated occurrence at Sierra La Asamblea, Baja California Sur (Stebbins 2003). The species was introduced at Las Vegas, Nevada (Stebbins 2003). Unconfirmed sight record at Boulder Beach Campground, Clark County, Nevada (Stebbins 2003). DNA data suggest that the population on San Nicolas Island, California, may have been recently transported there (Mahoney et al. 2003). Elevational range is from sea level to around 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) (Stebbins 2003).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from hundreds of locations. Nussbaum et al. (1983) mapped about 90 localities in Washington and Oregon, and Lais (1976) mapped hundreds of collection sites throughout much of California.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Commercial and residential development have caused localized declines, but many populations exist in remote areas, and the species is tolerant of a modest amount of habitat alteration.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: The trend in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance is likely relatively stable, with localized declines not posing a threat to the species.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range is primarily west of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada crest from south-central Washington and north-central Oregon (mainly west of Cascade crest) south through western Oregon and California to northern Baja California, including islands off southern California and northern Baja California (Stebbins 2003). Isolated populations exist east of the Sierra Nevada at Grant Lake, Mono County, California; Alabama Hills and Walker Pass, Kern County, California; Walker Creek near Olancha, Inyo County, California, and along the Mojave River, California; there is also an isolated occurrence at Sierra La Asamblea, Baja California Sur (Stebbins 2003). The species was introduced at Las Vegas, Nevada (Stebbins 2003). Unconfirmed sight record at Boulder Beach Campground, Clark County, Nevada (Stebbins 2003). DNA data suggest that the population on San Nicolas Island, California, may have been recently transported there (Mahoney et al. 2003). Elevational range is from sea level to around 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) (Stebbins 2003).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, OR, WA

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County (based on available natural heritage records unless otherwise indicated) Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
WA Clark (53011)+, Kittitas (53037)+, Klickitat (53039)+, Skamania (53059)+, Yakima (53077)+
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Upper Yakima (17030001), Naches (17030002), Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula (17070101), Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105), Klickitat (17070106), Lewis (17080002)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Lays 1-3 clutches May-July (Stebbins 1985). Clutch size varies with the size of the female but usually is 5-20. Hatchlings emerge around September or October (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Ecology Comments: Sometimes enters water to escape predators. Eurythermic during activity (J. Herpetol. 27:241-247).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Habitats are diverse and include grassland, chaparral, oak woodland, and open pine forest; in drier regions, the species most often occurs along streams or in other moist, vegetated areas (Stebbins 2003). Microhabitats include logs, thickets, rocks, and old woodpiles and trash heaps around houses (Stebbins 2003). This is a basically terrestrial lizard that sometimes climbs bushes and trees. Egg-laying sites include burrows or stable talus (Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats a wide variety of invertebrates including: slugs, insects, centipedes, scorpions, and spiders. Also eats small vertebrates: lizards, small mammals, and occasionally eggs and young of birds (Stebbins 1985).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Inactive during the coldest weather, but active over a wide range of temperatures (body temperatures of about 9-34 C) (Kingsbury, 1994, Herpetologica 50:266-273). Primarily diurnal, except during warmer parts of the year when it may be partly nocturnal (Stebbins 1985).
Length: 43 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Anguid Lizards

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that lizards rarely if ever cross successfully; major river, lake, pond, or deep marsh; urbanized area dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Information on movements of anguid lizards is scarce. In Kansas, Fitch (1989) found that Ophisaurus attenuatus tends to stay in its familiar area, but home range is not well defined. Adult males range more widely than do females and immatures; average home range is about 0.44 ha in adult males, 0.14 ha in juveniles (Fitch 1989). An elongate home range of 0.44 ha would be about 200 m long. Likely other anguids have similarly restricted movements. However, dispersal characteristics are unknown, and these lizards appear to be capable of making extensive movements. Also, secretive habits of anguid lizards may result in a lack of observations in areas where the lizards do in fact occur. The separation distance for suitable habitat is a compromise between the documented sedentary habits and the likely low probability that two locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent different populations.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .2 km
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10May2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 10May2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84. Online with updates at: http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Index.php

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2012. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 7th edition. SSAR Herpetological Circular 39:1-92.

  • Feldman, C. R., and G. S. Spicer. 2006. Comparative phylogeography of woodland reptiles in California: repeated patterns of cladogenesis and population expansion. Molecular Ecology 15:2201-2222.

  • Good, D. A. 1988a. Allozyme variation and phylogenetic relationships among the species of ELGARIA (Squamata: Anguidae). Herpetologica 44:154-62.

  • Good, D. A. 1988b. Phylogenetic relationships among gerrhonotine lizards: an analysis of external morphology. University of California Publication Zoology 121.

  • Grismer, L. L. 1988. Geographic variation, taxonomy, and biogeography of the anguid genus ELGARIA (Reptilia: Squamata) in Baja California, Mexico. Herpetologica 44:431-439.

  • Macey, J. R., J. A. Schulte, II, A. Larson, B. S. Tuniyev, N. Orlov, and T. J. Papenfuss. 1999. Molecular phylogenetics, tRNA evolution, and historical biogeography in anguid lizards and related taxonomic families. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 12:250-272.

  • Mahoney, M. J., D.S.M. Parks, and G. M. Fellers. 2003. Uta stansburiana and Elgaria multicarinata on the California Channel Islands: natural dispersal or artificial introduction? Journal of Herpetology 37:586-591.

  • Nussbaum, R.A., E.D. Brodie, Jr., and R.M. Storm. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. 332 pp.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985a. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. xiv + 336 pp.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

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