Sceloporus undulatus - (Bosc and Daudin, in Sonnini and Latreille, 1801)
Eastern Fence Lizard
Other English Common Names: eastern fence lizard
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sceloporus undulatus (Bosc and Daudin in Sonnini and Latreille, 1801) (TSN 173865)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.893135
Element Code: ARACF14130
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Lizards
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Phrynosomatidae Sceloporus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: 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
Concept Reference Code: B08CRO01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sceloporus undulatus
Taxonomic Comments: The traditionally recognized Sceloporus undulatus is morphologically highly variable (e.g., see Stebbins 1985, Conant and Collins 1991, Hammerson 1999). Recent genetic studies indicate that the species comprises multiple species that do not conform with traditionally recognized subspecies.

Leaché and Reeder (2002) examined range-wide mtDNA variation and identified at least four apparently monophyletic (but morphologically highly variable) groups, which they proposed as species under the evolutionary species concept (Eastern group: east of Mobile Bay; Central group: east of the Rockies and west of Mobile Bay; Western group: southern Wyoming to central Arizona and northern New Mexico; Southwestern group: eastern Arizona and central New Mexico to northern Mexico and western Texas). All of the groups are discordant with recognized subspecies circumscriptions. For example, the Central group encompasses six nominal subspecies ranging from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the Gulf Coast of southern Mississippi. Populations of the morphologically distinctive subspecies erythrocheilus in central Colorado grouped with subspecies garmani (Central group) rather than with populations of erythrocheilus in south-central Colorado (Western group). Leaché and Reeder (2002) tentatively proposed the following names: eastern group, S. undulatus; central group, S. consobrinus; western group, S. tristichus; southwestern group, S. cowlesi. However, Leaché and Reeder identified no diagnostic characters for any of the proposed species, and the distributions of proposed species were only coarsely mapped and do not correspond closely with the distributions of previously recognized subspecies, leaving in doubt the specific identities of many Sceloporus populations.

Miles et al. (2002) examined allozyme variation (24 loci from 12 populations, 6 of the 11 recognized subspecies, plus 3 additional species and an outgroup species). Phylogenetic trees were inconsistent with current subspecific designations. Additionally, S. occidentalis, S. virgatus, and S. woodi arose within S. undulatus. The subspecies S. u. hyacithinus and S. u. undulatus are polyphyletic, and S. u. garmani and S. u. tristichus are paraphyletic. Two major lineages were identified: (1) a midwestern grasslands group (includes a population from St. Louis County, Missouri) and (2) various populations from eastern woodlands and western canyonlands.

Further integrated study of genetic variation, using mitochindrial and nuclear DNA, and more detailed genetic examination of various geographic areas (Niewiarowski et al. 2004; Leaché and Cole 2007; Leaché 2009) has helped clarify relationships among "S. undulatus" populations. Recognition of the four species proposed by Leaché and Reeder (2002) seems to be a justifiable change in the treatment of this complex, but the precise distributions of the taxa near some clade boundaries remain problematic. Leaché and Cole (2007) acknowledged the challenges imposed by apparent decoupling of morphological, karyotypic, and mtDNA divergence that may occur among populations in this complex and noted that conclusions about the number of species in the S. undulatus complex are directly linked to the particular "threshold' one imposes to define species status.

Specific distinctness of S. occidentalis and S. undulatus is confirmed by their sympatric reproductive isolation in southwestern Utah (Cole 1984, Smith and Chiszar 1989).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Aug2005
Global Status Last Changed: 28Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in much of the eastern United States; many occurrences; large population size; extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance appear to be relatively stable.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Colorado (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (SH), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (S5), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (SNR), Navajo Nation (S5), Nebraska (S5), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (S5), New York (S1), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S5), Pennsylvania (S3S4), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S2), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Utah (S4S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: According to Leaché and Reeder (2002), the range includes much of the eastern United States (New York to Ohio, and southward to southern Alabama and central Florida). The western limit of the range approaches Mobile Bay, but further sampling is required in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee (Leaché and Reeder 2002). Leaché and Reeder (2002) provided only coarse-scale range maps and did not include distributional details for areas where the range of this species adjoins or approaches the range of S. consobrinus. Powell et al. (2016) mapped the range as extending east to the east coast of the United States in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; north to the southern halves of Illinois and Indiana, central Ohio, and central Pennsylvania; west to southwestern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, northeastern Mississippi, and western Alabama; and south to the Gulf Coast from southern Alabama to central Florida.

Occurrence of this species on Long Island, New York, likely is the result of an introduction (Feinberg, 2004, Herpetol. Rev. 35:188).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations) and locations.

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

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Many occurrences exhibit good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats have been identified. Local declines have occurred as a result of conversion of habitat to human uses.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain, but distribution and abundance likely have been relatively stable.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: According to Leaché and Reeder (2002), the range includes much of the eastern United States (New York to Ohio, and southward to southern Alabama and central Florida). The western limit of the range approaches Mobile Bay, but further sampling is required in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee (Leaché and Reeder 2002). Leaché and Reeder (2002) provided only coarse-scale range maps and did not include distributional details for areas where the range of this species adjoins or approaches the range of S. consobrinus. Powell et al. (2016) mapped the range as extending east to the east coast of the United States in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; north to the southern halves of Illinois and Indiana, central Ohio, and central Pennsylvania; west to southwestern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, northeastern Mississippi, and western Alabama; and south to the Gulf Coast from southern Alabama to central Florida.

Occurrence of this species on Long Island, New York, likely is the result of an introduction (Feinberg, 2004, Herpetol. Rev. 35:188).

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 AL, AR, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NN, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NY Orange (36071)*, Putnam (36079), Richmond (36085), Rockland (36087)*, Westchester (36119)
PA Franklin (42055), Fulton (42057)
SD Bennett (46007), Pennington (46103), Shannon (46113), Todd (46121), Tripp (46123)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Hudson-Wappinger (02020008)+, Lower Hudson (02030101)+, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Lower Juniata (02050304)+
10 Upper White (10140201)+, Little White (10140203)+, Upper Niobrara (10150003)+*, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Keya Paha (10150006)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Old field, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: In most areas these lizards are arboreal in wooded landscapes. They usually occur in open/sunny situations.

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet is dominated by insects, spiders, and other arthropods.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: These lizards are inactive during cold periods and during the hottest part of day in summer.
Length: 19 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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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: 10Jul2013
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 10Jul2013
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
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  • Ashton, R. E., Jr., and P. S. Ashton. 1985. Handbook of reptiles and amphibians of Florida. Part two. Lizards, turtles & crocodilians. Windward Pub., Inc., Miami. 191 pp.

  • 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.

  • Cole, C. J. 1983. Specific status of the North American fence lizards, SCELOPORUS UNDULATUS and SCELOPORUS OCCIDENTALIS, with comments on chromosome variation. Am. Mus. Novitates (2768):1-13.

  • 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.

  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 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.

  • 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.

  • Fitch, H. S. 1970. Reproductive cycles of lizards and snakes. Univ. Kansas Museum Natural History Miscellaneous Publication 52:1-247.

  • Gillis, R., and R. E. Ballinger. 1992. Reproductive ecology of red-chinned lizards (SCELOPORUS UNDULATUS ERYTHROCHEILUS) in southcentral Colorado: comparisons with other populations of a wide-ranging species. Oecologia 89:236-243.

  • Hammerson, G. A. 1982b. Amphibians and reptiles in Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver. vii + 131 pp.

  • Leaché, A. D. 2009. Species tree discordance traces to phylogeographic clade boundaries in North American fence lizards (Sceloporus). Systematic Biology 58:547-559.

  • Leaché, A. D., and C. J. Cole. 2007. Hybridization between multiple fence lizard lineages in an ecotone: locally discordant variation in mitochondrial DNA, shromosomes, and morphology. Molecular Ecology 16:1035-1054.

  • Leaché, A. D., and T. W. Reeder. 2002. Molecular systematics of the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus): a comparison of parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian approaches. Systematic Biology 51:44-68.

  • Miles, D. B., R. Noecker, W. M. Roosenburg, and M. M. White. 2002. Genetic relationships among populations of Sceloporus undulatus fail to support present subspecific designations. Herpetologica 58:277-292.

  • Minton, S. A., Jr. 1972. Amphibians and reptiles of Indiana. Indiana Academy Science Monographs 3. v + 346 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pages.

  • Niewiarowski, P. H., M. J. Angelletta, and A. D. Leaché. 2004. Phylogenetic comparative analysis of life-history variation among populations of the lizard Sceloporus undulatus: an example and prognosis. Evolution 58:619-633.

  • Parker, W. S. 1994. Demography of the fence lizard, SCELOPORUS UNDULATUS, in northern Mississippi. Copeia 1994:136-152.

  • Powell, R., R. Conant, and J. T. Collins. 2016. Peterson field guide to reptiles and amphibians of eastern and central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston and New York.

  • Sites, J. W., Jr., J.W. Archie, C.J. Cole and O. Flores-Villela. 1992. A review of phylogenetic hypotheses for lizards of the genus Sceleporus (Phrynosomatidae): implications for ecological and evolutionary studies. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. (213):1-110.

  • Smith, H. M., D. Chiszar, and W. Marmie. 1991. Peripheral variation in the lizard SCELOPORUS OLIVACEUS, and its hybridization with S. UNDULATUS. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 27(3):128-145.

  • Smith, H. M., and D. Chiszar. 1989. The subspecific identity of the population of SCELOPORUS UNDULATUS sympatric with S. OCCIDENTALIS. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 25(4):143-150.

  • 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.

  • Tinkle, D. W., and A. E. Dunham. 1986. Comparative life histories of two syntopic sceloporine lizards. Copeia 1986:1-18.

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