Is the division of this gallery into subspecies justified by the available science? There are six subspecies of western fence lizard recognized. However, these divisions don't seem to be recognized by all experts with some experts not recognizing any subspecies.
There seems to be considerable appearance variation between the lizards in our area that are larger than the variation between the images on the web that I've seen in images for the listed subspecies. In our area (Orange County, CA) there are light brown, medium brown, almost black individuals and there are individuals almost covered with iridescent blue scales on their dorsal side. The blue scale individuals are similar to the sierra subspecies shown in some of the images here except that perhaps the percentage of blue scales might be greater. So are these variations an indication of the presence of multiple subspecies in our area or are they just an indication that there is a lot of appearance variation in western fence lizards?
ETA: http://bss.sfsu.edu/holzman/courses/Fall01%20projects/lizzard.htm This article didn't have anything to say about the appropriateness of the subspecies divisions but it did suggest that the bright blue scales on the dorsal side appear during mating. So maybe the individuals that I've seen with bright blue scales are males that have just mated?
- Galleries and categories help the editors of our sister projects find useful media for articles. Consequently, I tend to follow en Wikipedia on species endemic to the US and Canada. That article lists six subspecies and cites ITIS. I think I assigned subspecies to the individuals in my photographs based on range maps or descriptions. California herps says, "molecular studies have identified 4 major clades and 11 different genetic groups in California (James Archie, Cal State University Long Beach)". The enwiki subspecies articles cite works by Hogan and Smith. I'd check those and update the enwiki article, if you have the energy. I wondered about the bright blue myself. Walter Siegmund (talk) 14:21, 4 May 2010 (UTC)