Elgaria multicarinata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Anguidae

Scientific Name: Elgaria multicarinata (Blainville, 1835)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Alligator Lizard
Taxonomic Notes: It was formerly included in the genus Gerrhonotus (see Good 1988).

Populations along the central Baja California coast, formerly included in this species, were reassigned to E. paucicarinata (Grismer 1988). Some authors have suggested that E. multicarinata and E. paucicarinata should be considered conspecific; however, Good (1988) concluded that paucicarinata is more closely allied with E. kingii.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Hollingsworth, B.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The range of this species is primarily west of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada crest in the western United States from south-central Washington and north-central Oregon (mainly west of Cascade crest) south through western Oregon and California to northern Baja California in Mexico, including islands off southern California and northern Baja California (though not on the Coronados Islands where Elgaria nana occurs) (Stebbins 2003). Isolated populations exist east of the Sierra Nevada at Grant Lake, Mono County, California; Alabama Hills and Walker Pass, Kern County, California; Walker Creek near Olancha, Inyo County, California, and along the Mojave River, California; there is also an isolated occurrence at Sierra La Asamblea, Baja California (Stebbins 2003). The species was introduced at Las Vegas, Nevada (Stebbins 2003). Unconfirmed sight record at Boulder Beach Campground, Clark County, Nevada (Stebbins 2003). DNA data suggest that the population on San Nicolas Island, California, may have been recently transported there (Mahoney et al. 2003). Elevational range is from sea level to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m asl) (Stebbins 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Mexico; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This lizard is known from hundreds of locations. Nussbaum et al. (1983) mapped about 90 localities in Washington and Oregon, and Lais (1976) mapped hundreds of collection sites throughout much of California. The total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000. The trend in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance is probably relatively stable, with localized declines not posing a threat to the species.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitats are diverse and include grassland, chaparral, oak woodland, and open pine forest; in drier regions, the species most often occurs along streams or in other moist, vegetated areas (Stebbins 2003). Microhabitats include logs, thickets, rocks, and old woodpiles and trash heaps around houses (Stebbins 2003). This is a basically terrestrial lizard that sometimes climbs bushes and trees. Egg-laying sites include burrows or stable talus (Nussbaum et al. 1983).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Commercial and residential development have caused localized declines, but many populations exist in remote areas, and the species is tolerant of a modest amount of habitat alteration.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In view of the species wide range it is suspected to occur in many protected areas. No direct conservation measures are currently needed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens

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

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 -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ 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 -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

Atsatt, S.R. 1952. Observations on the early natural history of the lizards Sceloporus graciosus vandenburgianus and Gerrhonotus multicarinatus webbi. Copeia 1952: 276.

Burrage, B.R. 1964. The eggs and young of Gerrhonotus multicarinatus nanus Fitch. Herpetologica 20: 133.

Burrage, B.R. 1965. Notes on the eggs and young of Gerrhonotus multicarinatus webbi and G. m. nanus. Copeia 1965: 512.

Cunningham, J.D. 1956. Food habits of the San Diego alligator lizard. Herpetologica 12: 225-230.

Fitch, H.S. 1970. Reproductive cycles of lizards and snakes. Univ. Kansas Museum Natural History Miscellaneous Publication 52: 1-247.

Good, D.A. 1988. Allozyme variation and phylogenetic relationships among species of Elgaria (Squamata: Anguidae). Herpetologica 44: 154-162.

Good, D.A. 1988. Phylogenetic relationships among gerrhonotine lizards: an analysis of external morphology. University of California Publications in Zoology 121: 1-139.

Grismer, L.L. 1988. Geographic variation, taxonomy, and biogeography of the anguid genus Elgaria (Reptilia: Squamata) in Baja California, México. Herpetologica 44(4): 431-439.

Grismer, L.L. 2001. An evolutionary classification and checklist of amphibians and reptiles on the Pacific islands of Baja California, Mexico. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 100: 12–23.

Grismer, L.L. and Hollingsworth, B.D. 2001. A taxonomic review of the endemic Alligator Lizard Elgaria paucicarinata (Anguidae: Squamata) of Baja California, México with a description of a new species. Herpetologica 57(4): 488-496.

Grismer, L.L. and Mellink, E. 1994. The addition of Sceloporus occidentalis to the herpetofauna of Isla de Cedros, Baja California, Mexico, and its historical and taxonomic implications. Journal of Herpetology 28: 120-126.

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

Kingsbury, B.A. 1993. Thermoregulatory set points of the eurythermic lizard Elgaria multicarinata. Journal of Herpetology 27: 241-247.

Kingsbury, B.A. 1994. Thermal constraints and eurythermy in the lizard Elgaria multicarinata. Herpetologica 50: 266-273.

Kingsbury, B.A. 1995. Field metabolic rates of a eurythermic lizard. Herpetologica 51: 155-159.

Lais, P.M. 1976. Gerrhonotus multicarinatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 187: 1-4.

Mahoney, M.J., Parks, D.S.M. and Fellers, G.M. 2003. Uta stansburiana and Elgaria multicarinata on the California Channel Islands: natural dispersal or artificial introduction? Journal of Herpetology 37: 586-591.

Murray, K.F. 1955. Herpetological collections from Baja California. Herpetologica 11: 33-48.

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.

Shaw, C.E. 1943. Hatching of the eggs of the San Diego alligator lizard. Copeia 1943: 194.

Shaw, C.E. 1952. Notes on the eggs and young of some United States and Mexican lizards, I. Herpetologica 8: 71-79.

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

Welsh, H.H. 1988. An ecogeographic analysis of the herpetofauna of the Sierra San Pedro Martir region, Baja California with a contribution to the biogeography of the Baja California herpetofauna. Proceedings of the California Academy of Science, 4th series 46: 1-72.

Zweifel, R.G. 1958. Results of the Puritan-American Museum of Natural History expedition to western Mexico. 2. Notes on the reptiles and amphibians from the Pacific coastal islands of Baja California. American Museum Novitates 1895: 1-17.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. & Hollingsworth, B. 2007. Elgaria multicarinata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63703A12707115. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided