Coast Horned Lizard
Over their million-year evolution, when California's coast horned lizards moved north from Baja California and spread throughout the state, they diverged into at least two new species. The species of coast horned lizard pictured here, P. cerroense, was identified by researchers in a 2009 study. The study findings are important for future conservation efforts. Coast horned lizard populations are declining from southern Baja California to northern California for many reasons including loss of lowland habitat from agriculture and urbanization and the introduction of Argentine ants, which displace the more nutritious harvester ants that these lizards feed on.
Image credit: Jimmy A. McGuire, University of California, Berkeley