Night Lizards (Family Xantusiidae)
Desert Night Lizard,Xantusia vigilis (Baird, 1858). (Plate 10.23, Map 10.17) 2–4 in (5–10 cm); background coloration gray or brown with tiny black flecks that form indistinct stripes; belly uniform cream with scales arranged in transverse rows; eyelids absent. Habitat: This secretive, rarely seen lizard occurs in a variety of habitats up to at least 6,800 ft (2,070 m) in the White-Inyo mountains region. However, it has been found above 9,000 ft (2,750 m) in the Panamint Mountains of Death Valley National Monument. Specimens are most commonly found under the rubble of fallen Joshua Trees but have also been taken from under rocks, logs, and piles of brush. At Joshua Flats and Lee Flat in the Inyo Mountains, where no specimens have been seen, they appear not to live in Joshua Trees. Remarks: The subspecies of Desert Night Lizard present in the area is the Common Night Lizard (X. v. vigilis ). Although the common name implies that this species is nocturnal, they are in fact active during the day under cover objects. This is the smallest species of lizard in the area and is easily overlooked. There are very few records of Desert Night Lizards from north of the Panamint Valley, and the range of this species is certainly more extensive than is
presently known. The farthest north that Desert Night Lizards are known to occur in the west is the vicinity of Bishop. In the east, they are known from southeastern Utah. One record, for 6,800 ft (2,070 m) in Silver Creek Canyon, east of Laws in the White Mountains, is at the northern edge of the known range of this species. This high-elevation locality indicates that this species should be expected further north (see ? on Map 10.17). The Night Lizard family (Xantusiidae) consists of about 12 species, most of which are present in Mexico. A single species occurs in Cuba, and one species is present on three of the Channel Islands of California. Range: Valleys and mountains of the southern White-Inyo mountains region up to at least 6,800 ft (2,070 m). Presently known from the Panamint Valley, Argus Mountains, Saline Valley, Last Chance Range, Eureka Valley, Owens Valley north to the Mono County
line, and the west side of the White Mountains. Reference: Bezy and Sites (1987), Zweifel and Lowe (1966).
Localities: California, Inyo Co.: Near Big Horn Mine, Hunter Canyon, Inyo Mtns. (USNM); 4,500 ft, 5 mi N, 2 mi W Bishop (W of area); BLM Ecology Center, 9 mi NW Bishop on Hwy. 395 (NW of area) (UNM); 4,500 ft, Daisy Canyon, Inyo Mtns. (CAS); 25.1 mi SW Hwy. 168 on Eureka Valley Rd.; French Spring, Inyo Mtns.; 4,200–4,400 ft, Grapevine Canyon, Nelson Range (CAS); 1.4 mi W Independence; 5,800 ft, Last Chance Spring, Last Chance Range; 5 mi W Lone Pine (LACM); Montezuma Mine, 1 mi NE Tinemaha Reservoir; 1,380 m, Silver Creek Canyon, 2.0 mi E Laws; 2,060 m, Silver Creek Canyon, 7.2 mi E Laws.