Loading...

BIG Fat Horned Lizard (aka-Horny Toad)

19,561 views

Loading...

Loading...

Transcript

The interactive transcript could not be loaded.

Loading...

Loading...

Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Jul 23, 2010

Erroneously called "horny toads," horned lizards are bizarre, spiny, ant-eating lizards unlike any other lizards in North America. Fourteen species are currently recognized, 8 of which are found within the continental USA (one reaches southern Canada), and 6 other little-known species are restricted to Mexico (one reaches Guatemala). Most horned lizard species are well represented in the fossil record by the Pleistocene (1 million years ago, mya), P. cornutum is found in the upper Pliocene (3 mya), and P. douglasi is known from the mid Miocene (15 mya). Three species went extinct in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, long before there were any humans. The genus is thought to have split from an ancestor shared with the sand lizards (Uma, Callisaurus, Cophosaurus, and Holbrookia) during the late Oligocene-early Miocene (23- 30 mya).




Humans and horned lizards have shared each other's company for thousands of years. This relationship is recorded from Anasazi, Hohokam, Mogollon, and Mimbres cultures through their use of horned lizard images on pottery, petroglyphs, effigy bowls, figures, and shells. Hopi, Navajo, Papago, Pima, Tarahumara and Zuni cultures portray horned lizards in their ceremonies and stories as symbols of strength. Piman people believe horned lizards can cure them of a staying sickness by appealing to the lizard's strength and showing their respect to the animal. They formulate a cure by singing at a patient's side songs describing the lizards and their behaviors. A horned lizard fetish may be placed on an afflicted person's body during the songs. Native Mexican people also respect horned lizards attributing the words, "Don't tread on me! I am the color of the earth and I hold the world; therefore walk carefully, that you do not tread on me." A Mexican common name for horned lizards is "torito de la Virgen" or the Virgin's little bull. This name apparently was given to the lizards both because of their horns and because horned lizards are sacred to many people due to their blood squirting behaviors, otherwise considered weeping tears of blood.

These interesting lizards were first introduced to European audiences in 1651 by the Spaniard Francisco Hernandez. Hernandez was fortunate to observe a living individual which squirted blood from its eyes -- he noted this behavior in his report on the first scientific expedition to Mexico by Spain. Over a century later in 1767, a Mexican cleric of Spanish descent, Clavigero, also showed his wonder of horned lizards in his illustrated volumes of Mexican history. Still later, in 1828 Wiegmann coined the official scientific generic name Phrynosoma, which is Greek for toad-bodied (phrynos means "toad", soma means "body").

Species descriptions

Horned lizard species are distinct and easily recognized from each other. Arrangement of occipital and temporal horns on the head are enough to distinguish species, but other features such as number of rows of lateral, abdominal fringe scales and dorsal scale patterns are helpful, too. Color or color patterns generally are not good distinguishing features because these lizards are extremely variable and tend to match the color of the sand or rocks in their local environment. However, color can be used in certain circumstances as stated in species' descriptions below. The geographic ranges described below are based on historic records and do not reflect species' current distributions. Ranges of most species have been severely reduced.

Loading...

When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next.

Up next


to add this to Watch Later

Add to

Loading playlists...