Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata)

The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) is a species of phrynosomatid lizard.

Geographic range

It is endemic to California.

Conservation status

It is listed as an endangered species in California, a threatened species in the United States, and the IUCN classifies it as endangered.


The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard is restricted to habitats with fine, windblown sand deposits in the sandy plains of the Coachella Valley, Riverside County, California. Since the 1970s, estimates of this species’ habitat has decreased by about 75% due to human activities.


The species is well adapted to its desert habitat. It has a wedged-shaped nose which enables it to burrow through loose, fine sand. Elongated scales cover the ears to keep out blowing sand, and specialized nostrils allow it to breathe below the sand without inhaling sand particles.


The Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge, for the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, is contained within the Coachella Valley Preserve, and Indio Hills Palms State Reserve, located east of Palm Springs near Palm Desert, California, in the Colorado Desert region of the Sonoran Desert.


Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Photograph is available under a Creative Commons License from USFWS.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.