New Species of Horned Lizard Discovered in Southern Mexico

May 14, 2014



A new species of horned lizard has been discovered in southern Mexico that is different from other species in that the scales on the newly described lizard, tentatively named Phrynosoma sherbrooke, are rough. The scientists collected 14 specimens in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains in Guerrero state and took DNA samples to support their theory that the lizard is indeed a new species.

 

phrynosoma sherbrooke

Photo Credit: Herpetologists League Journal

The scales on Phrynosoma sherbrooke are rough, unlike other horned lizards. 

When compared against known horned lizard species, of which there are 16, the scientists determined that the Phrynosoma sherbrooke has rough scales, smaller body size, shorter tail, and different horns than other horned lizard species. They also noted that the lizard lives in a small area and suggest it be protected until they can learn more about the population of these lizards.


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Horned lizards are also called horny toads, horned toads and horned frogs, but they are lizards. Of the 16 species of horned lizards, eight are native to the United States. Although they sometimes appear in the pet trade, they are best left in the wild due to the fact that their diet consists almost exclusively of ants. A distant cousin in Australia is called the thorny devil (Moloch horridus). One interesting fact is their capability to squirt a fine stream of blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism.

The full paper can be seen at the Herpetologists' League Journal.

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