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Phrynosoma platyrhinos, Desert Horned Lizard
Dr. Wendy Hodges - University of California at Riverside
The Deep Scaly Project
Phrynosoma platyrhinos
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Texas Memorial Museum (TNHC 18496)

Image processing: Dr. Jessie Maisano
Image processing: Mr. Stephen Roberson
Publication Date: 15 Oct 2003


Phrynosoma platyrhinos, the desert horned lizard, occurs in lowland deserts in southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho through Nevada, western Utah, California, Arizona, south barely into northern Baja California and northern Sonora, Mexico. P. platyrhinos can be distinguished from other horned lizard species by the following: one row of lateral abdominal fringe scales; two moderately elongated occipital horns, not in contact at base; enlarged chin shields; nostrils inside the canthus rostralis; and blunt snout.

Phrynosoma platyrhinos
About the Species

This specimen was collected by Blair in 1952 in Paraunuwear Canyon in Hurricane, Utah. It resides in the Texas Natural History Collections of the Texas Memorial Museum (TNHC 18496). It was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. Wendy L. Hodges of the Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside. Funding for scanning was provided by a National Science Foundation grant (DBI-0204459) to Dr. Hodges. Funding for image processing was provided by a National Science Foundation Assembling the Tree of Life grant (EF-0334961), The Deep Scaly Project: Resolving Squamate Phylogeny using Genomic and Morphological Approaches, to Drs. Jacques Gauthier of Yale University, Maureen Kearney of the Field Museum, Jessie Maisano of The University of Texas at Austin, Tod Reeder of San Diego State University, Olivier Rieppel of the Field Museum, Jack Sites of Brigham Young University, and John Wiens of SUNY Stonybrook.

Dorsal view of specimen

Dorsal view of head

Lateral view of head

About this Specimen

The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 27 May 2003 along the coronal axis for a total of 755 slices. Each 1024x1024 pixel slice is 0.0243 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.0243 mm and a field of reconstruction of 22.9 mm.

About the


Frost, D. R., and R. Etheridge. 1989. A phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of iguanian lizards (Reptilia: Squamata). University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication 81.

Pianka, E. R., and W. S. Parker. 1975. Ecology of horned lizards: A review with special reference to Phrynosoma platyrhinos Copeia 1975:141-162.

Presch, W. 1969. Evolutionary osteology and relationships of the horned lizard genus Phrynosoma (Family Iguanidae) Copeia 1969:250-275.

Reeve, W. L. 1952. Taxonomy and distribution of the horned lizard genus Phrynosoma. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 34:817-960.

Smith, H. M. 1946. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Comstock Publishing Co., Ithaca, New York.


More on horned lizards from Eric Pianka and Wendy Hodges

Phrynosoma platyrhinos page on the Digital Atlas of Idaho

P. platyrhinos page from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center

The Horned Lizard Conservation Society

& Links

Three-dimensional volumetric renderings of the skull with the scleral ossicles, hyoid and jaw removed, and of the isolated left mandible. All are less than 2mb.

Skull pitch movie

Skull roll movie

Mandible yaw movie

Mandible pitch movie

Mandible roll movie


To cite this page: Dr. Wendy Hodges, The Deep Scaly Project, 2003, "Phrynosoma platyrhinos" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 19, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Phrynosoma_platyrhinos/.

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