Great Basin collared lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores)

The Great Basin collared lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores), also known as the desert collared lizard or the Mohave black collared lizard is a species of lizard of the Western United States. It is very similar to the common collared lizard, Crotaphytus collaris, in shape and size, but it lacks the bright extravagant colors. Males can be brown to orange and some red or pink on the belly. Females are more black or dark brown. C. bicintores have elongated scales near the nails and their tail is more triangular in shape than round as with C. collaris.


This species has a broad-head, large rear legs, and derives its name from a pair of black bands on the neck. Males have broader heads than the females, with a dark colored throat and more pronounced orange crossbands on the body. Adults range in size from 2.5 – 4.5 inches long snout to vent, with a thick tail that is often twice as long as the body.

Range, habitat, and diet

The Great Basin collared lizard is endemic to the United States, and is found in California, most of Nevada, southeast Oregon, southern Idaho, and the western regions of Utah and Arizona. It is usually found in rocky regions of arid deserts, and is most common in desert scrub and desert wash habitats. It is widely distributed throughout the Mojave, Sonoran, and southeastern Great Basin deserts.

C. bicinctores eats primarily arthropods, but will also use its powerful jaws to eat small vertebrates including lizards, snakes, and rodents. These lizards have been known to occasionally consume plant matter.


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

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.