Common Chuckwalla

Sauromalus ater; The generic name, Sauromalus, is a combination of two ancient Greek words: σαῦρος (sauros) meaning “lizard,” and ομαλυς (omalus) meaning “flat.” The common name chuckwalla derives from the Shoshone word ‘tcaxxwal’ or Cahuilla ‘caxwal,’ transcribed by Spaniards as “chacahuala.” Harmless to humans, these lizards are known to run from potential threats. When disturbed, a chuckwalla will wedge itself into a tight rock crevice and inflate its lungs in order to entrench itself. Males are seasonally and conditionally territorial; an abundance of resources tends to create a hierarchy based on size, with one large male dominating the area’s smaller males. Chuckwallas use a combination of color and physical displays, namely “push ups,” head bobbing, and gaping of the mouth to communicate and defend their territory.

Exposure: 1/20 sec;   f/5.0;   ISO 400;  70mm; Pentax K5 with Sigma 70mm f2.8 DG Macro.

The lighting in this enclosure was just a bit brighter, so I was able to decrease the shutter speed all the way to 1/20 of a second. I really wanted to use a smaller aperture in the second shot, but I was afraid the shutter speed would be so slow that I wouldn’t be able to get anything into focus. In any case, this guy was a pretty happy camper when breakfast was served.

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~ by kbfotografix on October 25, 2012.

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