A few New Mexico reptiles and amphibians


This page was started in June 2020 and will grow as I acquire additional images. Photos are organized by broad category (such as "lizards"), genus, and species.

Reptiles: Lizards


Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis exsanguis)


New Mexico Whiptail (Aspidoscelis neomexicana)

My ID is based on the seven light yellow stripes (including a central one the full length of the body), the subtle spots between some of the stripes, and the blue end of the tail (bright blue in juveniles, faded in adults).


Desert Grassland Whiptail (Aspidoscelis uniparens)

My ID is based on the six light yellow stripes, the partial seventh (central) stripe on the neck, the lack of spots, and the dull-colored tail (which, however, can be blue on juveniles).


Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)


Hernandez's Short-Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi hernandesi)

I believe that all of my photos are of Hernandez's Short-Horned Lizards. They lack the obvious white central back stripe of the Texas Horned Lizard (P. cornutum), and Roundtail Horned Lizards (P. modestum) don't have bodies with toothy edges. The color variations are due to each lizard's need to blend in with its local setting. For a YouTube video of one of these "horny toads," please click here.


Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi)

In my August 2020 photo, the broad light gray stripe down the lizard's back is obvious. In one of the April 2021 photos (both of the same individual), the male's turquoise belly patch and one of his two throat patches is obvious. My thanks to Joshua Emms of the New Mexico Herpetological Society for making the initial ID.

Reptiles: Snakes


Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

Don't expect any close-ups of rattlesnakes, unless they're telephoto shots! But notice how this snake's color matches so well with its surroundings.

Reptiles: Turtles


Emydidae: Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli)

Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta belli, New Mexico
Rio Grande Bosque, Albuquerque, April 2021

To me, this turtle looks a lot like a Red-Eared Slider but without the prominent red "ear" mark. Instead, look for red at the edges of the carapace.


Emydidae: Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)

In the Pecos River drainage these turtles are native, but along the Rio Grande in New Mexico they're invasive. The source of the invasion was people discarding unwanted pet turtles. The turtle on the log is stretching out its hind legs to maximize solar gain.


The markings on Red-Eared Sliders are distinctive, but older individuals lose those markings and become mostly dark. One of those older individuals is shown here.


Trionychidae: Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera emoryi)

Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera emoryi, New Mexico
Rio Grande, Albuquerque, May 2021

Amphibians: Frogs


Red-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus)

Red-Spotted Toad, Anaxyrus punctatus, New Mexico
Albuquerque, July 2020

According to the New Mexico Herpetological Society, "This is a toad of arroyos, desert streams, springs, tinajas, and cattle tanks, often in rocky areas, but can also be found on rivers and on the edges of agriculture. Occurs at or near permanent or temporary waters. Even in the driest desert mountain ranges, this toad can be found breeding in rain-filled tinajas." My own find fits that habitat description; I found this toad at the edge of a channelized, sometimes wet-bottomed arroyo in what is otherwise dryland.


American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

Along the Rio Grande in New Mexico, American Bullfrogs are an intrusive species. They were introduced so people could eat them.