Tag Archives: Animals

Common basilisk

Macy, an REU student this summer (not pictured), discovered a large male Common Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus – aka Jesus Christ Lizard) under a rock while surveying for spiders. They get their name from “running” on water to escape, but this individual seemed to be too cold and wedged in hiding. I pulled it from the rock and we took some photos—only Juliet, my student, and another research mentor, Patricia, braved holding it.

 

Short horned lizard

We discovered a few Short Horned Lizards, Phrynosoma douglassi, on Mormon Mountian south of Flagstaff, Arizona (my best guess at the identification) while hiking around.

Many Phrynosoma are capable of squirting blood from their eyes—a defensive mechanism that deters predators, such as small dogs and cats, from killing the lizards in a substantial percentage of encounters, according to a discussion with George Middendorf I had after meeting him in a diversity workshop at Las Cruces Biological Station. George has quantitatively characterized and reviewed the gruesome squirting!

While I didn’t get a chance to observe the squirting, and I didn’t provoke the animals with that purpose, they also flatten out quite a bit when handled!

Sheepshead or Convict Fish

Some sheepshead (Sparidae, Archosargus probatocephalus) at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.  Their common name comes from the set of incisor-like teeth visible from the front,  and molar-like teeth visible in the open mouth.

Diving cormorant

A Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocoracidae: Phalacrocorax auritus) quickly swam by a few times while we were snorkeling at Three Sisters Springs.

While in a different family (Anhingidae), Anhinga appear similar and are behaviorally similar to cormorants, and the easiest means to telling the two apart, in my experience, is to look for the more robust, curved bill in the cormorant.