Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Greater earless lizard

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Greater Earless Lizard 3561

On August 31st out by Lake Travis I photographed my first Cophosaurus texanus, known as the greater earless lizard. Whether earless is also hearless I don’t know, but I do know that this pale lizard blended in well with the rocks in its environment.

If you’d like to know more about this guy, you’re welcome to read an informative article (which is what leads me to believe this is indeed a guy).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2015 at 4:51 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

23 Responses

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  1. The new ad man for Verizon Wireless? It would be pretty easy to walk right by this guy and not see him at all.

    Steve Gingold

    September 15, 2015 at 5:34 AM

    • Now that’s a connection I wouldn’t have made; in fact I had to go online to be reminded of what you were getting at, so much more in tune am I as a photographer with the horizon than with Verizon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2015 at 7:13 AM

  2. Maybe they should call it the Van Gogh lizard! Cool camouflage–love the shot.

    Mike Powell

    September 15, 2015 at 6:30 AM

    • Make that two commenters’ votes in favor of camouflage, Mike. The picture struck me as washed out, and I usually isolate my subjects more to make them stand out against their background, but oh well, what’s good for portraiture and what’s good for camouflage are two different things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2015 at 7:19 AM

  3. The linked article was really interesting. Apparently both the guys and the girls are more colorful in spring and summer, so perhaps we could take this one’s color as a subtle sign of approaching autumn. And yes — he’s clearly a he.

    Another quality he’s exhibiting here is the willingness to hold his ground in the presence of humans. The article mentions hikers, but it clearly was helpful for photographer-you, too.


    September 15, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    • Glad you enjoyed the article; now we both know plenty more about the greater earless lizard than before, including for me that it exists.

      I’ve generally found that lizards hold their ground if I move slowly. I even raise my camera slowly to avoid any rapid movement that might trigger their flight reflex. This one eventually scuttled off, something I might have been able to delay if I’d switched to a long lens, but I didn’t want to risk losing the opportunity I had. I managed to get five rather similar picture over 14 seconds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2015 at 8:02 AM

  4. I read the article you referenced, I found your post and photo really interesting.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 15, 2015 at 11:55 AM

  5. Full agreement about the cool camouflage. This would make a terrific jigsaw puzzle!


    September 20, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    • Ah, I never would’ve thought of that. I guess the camouflage would make for a relatively hard jigsaw puzzle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2015 at 4:54 PM

  6. Great catch despite the camo!


    September 21, 2015 at 4:55 PM

  7. Neat! One of the things I miss, since my family moved to Illinois in 1975, is lizards. As near as I can figure out, they haven’t had time yet to recolonize after the last glacier. I think this is pretty thin, as it has been quite awhile and we do have snakes.
    My eyes lit up when I saw this one. What a wonderful photo, highlighting how well camouflaged he is.


    October 30, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    • If it’s lizards you’re missing, Texas is a good place to visit. I’ll have not a lizard but a snake coming up in my post tomorrow. This lizard was indeed well camouflaged, but the whole scene was so bright that the photograph seemed visually washed out to me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2015 at 10:46 AM

      • Oh, good, more reptiles. I used to be good at spotting them but now my kids see them before I do.


        October 31, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        • Couldn’t be a symptom of age, could it? I guess that’s one benefit of having kids around.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 31, 2015 at 3:29 PM

          • I imagine so although when I was a kid I wasn’t looking at plants and for a long time I had eyes only for butterflies 🙂


            November 1, 2015 at 8:39 AM

            • Yeah, I wasn’t looking much at plants when I was a kid, either. I remember some, though, like the maple trees that I used to climb in the front of our house, and the dandelions and clover that grew in the lawn. None of those were native, but I knew nothing about that distinction back then.

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 1, 2015 at 9:44 AM

              • It is striking, isn’t it? We love things equally until someone tells us we mustn’t.
                You brought back a fun memory…we had a big old maple in the back yard with a big limb sticking out at good climbing height. It was also the limb my dad would hang the fish he’d caught to clean them. He caught some serious fish! 🙂 Sorry for all the dad references…


                November 2, 2015 at 9:47 AM

                • Three of my four grandparents weren’t native to the U.S., but they moved here for a better life.

                  I understand the dad references. It hasn’t been that long, so you’re still keenly feeling his absence.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  November 2, 2015 at 11:27 AM

  8. […] As we began leaving the sandy area by the river in Pedernales Falls State Park on March 4th for the climb back uphill to the parking lot, Eve called my attention to a lizard alongside the path. I stopped, swapped out the 24–105mm lens that was on the camera for my 100–400mm telephoto, and used it at its maximum zoom to begin photographing the lizard (see above). In my experience most lizards quickly scamper away from people who move; this one, however, showed no inclination to budge as I gradually worked my way forward, taking pictures as I did so. Soon I reached the lens’s close-focusing limit, so I slowly backed up to my camera bag, put on a 100mm macro lens, worked my way back to the complacent lizard, and eventually got so close that the far end of the lens was within inches of it (see below). Only then did it finally move away. My herpetologically inclined friend Ed Acuña tells me it’s a greater earless lizard, Cophosaurus texanus. He says it’s more common in west Texas than in our area, which explains why I don’t remember seeing one before. Oops: memory is fallible, and I see now that I did show one of these lizards in 2015. […]

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