Mexican Plateau horned lizard

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Mexican Plateau horned lizard
Phrynosoma orbiculare 1.jpg
P. orbiculare in Veracruz, Mexico, showing blood squirted from eye as defensive behavior.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Phrynosomatidae
Genus: Phrynosoma
P. orbiculare
Binomial name
Phrynosoma orbiculare
  • Lacerta orbicularis
    Linnaeus, 1758
  • Agama orbicularis
    Daudin, 1805
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare
    Wiegmann, 1828
  • Tapaya orbicularis longicaudatus
    Dugès, 1888
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare
    H.M. Smith & Taylor, 1950

The Mexican Plateau horned lizard[4] (Phrynosoma orbiculare) is a species of horned lizard.[2] It is also known as the Chihuahua Desert horned lizard.[5] The specific epithet, orbiculare, comes from the Latin adjective orbis, meaning "circular".[4]


Phrynosoma orbiculare has a characteristic single row of lateral abdominal fringe scales; this "horned toad" also has two short occipital horns.[5]

Geographic range[edit]

P. orbiculare is found only in the high plateau country of central Mexico. Specifically, it is found in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Nuevo León, its range continues southeast through Morelos, Puebla and Veracruz.[5]


P. orbiculare occurs in a wide range of primary (dry scrubland, pine-oak forest, oak forest, juniper forest) and secondary habitats (agricultural land, and agave and Opuntia fields).[1]


Five subspecies of P. orbiculare are recognized as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies.[2]

  • Phrynosoma orbiculare bradti Horowitz, 1955
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare cortezii (A.H.A. Duméril & Bocourt, 1870)
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare dugesii (A.H.A. Duméril & Bocourt, 1870)
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare orbiculare (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Phrynosoma orbiculare orientale Horowitz, 1955

Nota bene: A trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Phrynosoma.


The subspecific name, cortezii, is in honor of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.[6]

The subspecific name, dugesii, is in honor of French-born Mexican naturalist Alfredo Dugès, who is considered the "father" of Mexican herpetology.[6]


  1. ^ a b Mendoza-Quijano F, Vázquez Díaz J, Quintero Díaz GE (2007). "Phrynosoma orbiculare". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2007: e.T64079A12734405. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T64079A12734405.en.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Phrynosoma orbiculare at the Reptile Database. Accessed 30 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Phrynosoma orbiculare (Linnaeus, 1758)". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Sherbrooke, Wade C. (2003). Introduction to Horned Lizards of North America. University of California Press. p. 61.
  5. ^ a b c Hodges, Wendy (2003). "Phrynosoma orbiculare, Chihuahua Desert Horned Lizard". Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Phrynosoma orbiculare cortezii, p. 60; P. o. dugesii, p. 76).

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA (1885). Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume II. Iguanidæ ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 497 pp. + Plates I-XXIV. (Phrynosoma orbiculare, pp. 241–243).
  • Horowitz, Samuel B. (1955). "An arrangement of the subspecies of the horned toad, Phrynosoma orbiculare (Iguanidae)". American Midland Naturalist 54 (1): 204-218. (Phrynosoma orbiculare bradti, new subspecies; P. orbiculare orientale, new subspecies).
  • Linnaeus C (1758). Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. Stockholm: L. Salvius. 824 pp. (Lacerta orbicularis, new species, p. 206). (in Latin).