Elgaria coerulea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Anguidae

Scientific Name: Elgaria coerulea (Wiegmann, 1828)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Alligator Lizard
Taxonomic Notes: Elgaria coerulea formerly was included in genus Gerrhonotus (see Good 1988).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of the wide distribution, large number of populations, the species' tolerance of some forms of habitat disturbance, and the relatively stable population trend.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This lizard occurs in the west of the United States and in southwestern Canada. It ranges from southern British Columbia (including Vancouver Island) southward through western Washington and western Oregon to west-central coastal California and the central Sierra Nevada (including the east side of Lake Tahoe basin) and Washoe County, Nevada (Vindum and Arnold 1997). It also ranges southward in the Rocky Mountains to northern Idaho and western Montana. Disjunct populations occurs in several areas in south-central Oregon, northeastern California, and northwestern Nevada (Stebbins 2003). The western edge of the distribution includes some small coastal islands (Stebbins 2003). The elevational range extends from sea level to around 3,200 m (Stebbins 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Nussbaum et al. (1983) mapped more than 200 locations where this species has been found. The total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 10,000. The species is often fairly common in suitable habitat (St. John 2002). The overall population is probably relatively stable in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat includes open areas in coniferous forest, grassy grown-over areas at margins of woodlands, clearcuts, and areas along streams; along coast this lizard sometimes occurs far from trees or major cover; it is associated with rock outcrops and talus in some areas (Lais 1976).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat may be outright destruction of habitat. The species tolerates some habitat disturbances such as logging. Nussbaum et al. (1983) stated that the introduction of the cinnabar moth for weed (tansy ragweed) control may have adverse effects on northern alligator lizards. The moths are reported to be highly poisonous to the lizards.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in many protected areas.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Tyria jacobaeae ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 12th September 2007).

Lais, P.M. 1976. Gerrhonotus coeruleus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 178: 1-4.

Nussbaum, R.A., Brodie Jr., E.D. and Storm, R.M. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho. 332 pp.

Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

St. John, A. 2002. Reptiles of the Northwest. Lone Pine Publishing, Renton, Washington.

Vindum, J.V. and Arnold, E.N. 1997. The northern alligator lizard (Elgaria coerulea) from Nevada. Herpetological Review 28: 100.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Elgaria coerulea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63701A12706801. . Downloaded on 21 February 2018.
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