Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What is it?

with 37 comments

Texas Spiny Lizard on Pecan Tree 1281

On April 15th I walked past a pecan tree at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin and noticed a broken branch. Then I saw more.

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Guess; then click to make your visit.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2016 at 5:03 AM

37 Responses

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  1. A critter with a penchant for pecans.


    May 6, 2016 at 5:09 AM

    • Described by a blogger with a penchant for alliteration.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2016 at 6:34 AM

      • A blogger who has a penchant for pecans herself but who hopefully doesn’t look like this creature, which, although beautiful in its own way, is not quite the way she wants to be.


        May 6, 2016 at 6:58 AM

        • Unless there’s been an extraordinary change over the past year, I can attest to the non-lizardy appearance of the penchant possessor.

          Too bad visitors to New Zealand can’t bring in pecans.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 6, 2016 at 7:07 AM

  2. It’s a Texas alligator lizard

    Michelle offield

    May 6, 2016 at 6:04 AM

  3. Given that it was April 15, it could have been a shape-shifted IRS agent: taking on a reptilian form that mimicked the agency’s reputation for lurking about, waiting to nab an easy target. Or, it might have been the very rare Lizardus prufrockus. But, this is a blog about natives, so how about the spiny lizard? They’re the only Texas species I know that climbs trees.


    May 6, 2016 at 6:28 AM

    • While you were writing your comment I was answering the previous one. There I said that pictures of the Texas spiny lizard seemed to me a better match than those of the alligator lizard.

      I hadn’t made the connection to the IRS, which moved the due date this year to the 18th of April—surely not because of a famous ride.

      I’m glad to see you caught the allusion to T.S. Eliot. The similarity was no illusion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2016 at 6:44 AM

  4. It looks like a horned lizard. What a great image of camouflage in action.

  5. A well-camouflaged lizard! I wish we got the spiny lizard here. You might like my post today…has another scaly critter in it. Enjoy this weather, Steve!


    May 6, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    • Yes, it’s atypically cool here this morning, still only 62° now.

      Happy scaly-critter coincidence.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2016 at 7:54 AM

  6. Such good camouflage. Gotta be Lizard Man. http://bit.ly/21E7OWD

    Jim Ruebush

    May 6, 2016 at 9:27 AM

  7. Absolutely, great photo! Thanks!

    Judy T

    May 6, 2016 at 9:59 AM

  8. We used to call them horny toads when I was a kid. We saw them often back then (60’s and 70’s), but I haven’t seen one in years. I read somewhere they have become scarce due to pesticides and fertilizers.

    Mind Margins

    May 6, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    • I’ve see the “horny toad” only in captivity, never in the wild. As you say, they’ve become much rarer now due to pesticides, fertilizer, loss of habitat. What I think was on the tree at McKinney Falls, however, seems to be a Texas spiny lizard. Compare these pictures and see what you think.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2016 at 4:45 PM

  9. Great spot!! I see similar looking rock agamas (stellagama) in Greece but we just call them Dragons 😀

    • Somehow I don’t think anyone will call this little fellow a dragon, even if a close-up makes him look a bit fierce.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2016 at 4:47 PM

      • I would!!!! Look, dragon!!! I shout that in the car at Simon when he’s driving along dirt tracks in Greece 😀 I also have all my family calling them dragons too now after they were out there with us for our wedding last year. We know some of their favourite haunts so we arranged several dragon hunts 😀 The kids loved it but they’re often so loud that the dragons run for the closest crevice!

  10. I couldn’t tell from the smaller version at all. Probably because of my display resolution (2560×1440) that makes everything smaller on the web. It is some great camouflage for sure. After clicking I recognized it as a lizard, but had no idea the species. It must be a blast having these around. Nothing like it around here.

    Steve Gingold

    May 6, 2016 at 4:06 PM

    • We have various kinds of lizards around here, and it’s not unusual for me to see one or several when I’m out in an open, rocky area. That was the case this afternoon when I noticed an interesting lizard with green on the front part of its body; unfortunately it took shelter before I could try for a picture. The lizard in this post seems to me to be a Texas spiny lizard, Sceloporus olivaceus.

      I checked my Apple Cinema Display and found it has the same 2560 x 1440 resolution you mentioned.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2016 at 4:54 PM

  11. And here you are with my favorite Prufrock quote. I guessed wrong before making my visit. Quite the camouflage!

    Susan Scheid

    July 2, 2016 at 4:15 PM

    • Ah, I didn’t know that’s your favorite Prufrock quote. Glad I used it (even if in modified form).

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2016 at 5:22 PM

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