An adult specimen from Maricopa County, Arizona. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A juvenile Northwestern Short-horned Lizard from Logan County (AMNH R_36911). Image © Travis W. Taggart.
REPTILIA (Reptiles) SQUAMATA (PART) (Other Lizards) PHRYNOSOMATIDAE (Sand and Spiny Lizards)

Northwestern Short-horned Lizard
Phrynosoma hernandesi (Bell 1828)
frī-nō-sō-mă — hĕr-năn-dĕs-ī


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: SNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None
Diagnosis:
A medium-sized flat lizard with short, stubby, horn-like scales projecting from the back of the head. A wide gap separates the bases of the two central horns. Several isolated, pointed scales project from the back. Each lower side of the body is edged with a single fringe of enlarged, pointed scales. The base coloration is tan, yellow-brown, orange-brown, reddish-brown, or gray and usually matches the soil on which the animal lives. There are two large, dark blotches on the neck. The back is usually marked with a series of dark, irregular blotches or crossbars. The underside, particularly the chin, is often mottled with gray and the throat and chest may have tints of yellow-orange or reddish-orange. The broad gap separating the two central horns of this lizard distinguishes it from the Texas Horned Lizard.

Distribution:
This species has been recorded within 25 miles of the Kansas border adjacent to Wallace County, Kansas.
Darrel Frost (AMNH) has recently examined the specimens from Logan County in his care and reaffirms their identity.
(,   Museum Voucher) (,   Observation) (,   Literature Record) (,   iNat Record), (  Fossil)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details.
Full range depicted by light shaded red area. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 25
    Records 
  • 24
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 1
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Clark (1); Ellis (1); Geary (1); Logan (3); Smith (1); Unknown (18);

Fossil History:
Not known from Kansas.

Natural History:
Habitats of this lizard range from semiarid plains to high mountains; usually the species is in open, shrubby, or openly wooded areas with sparse vegetation at ground level; soil may vary from rocky to sandy (Hammerson 1999, Stebbins 2003). When not active on the surface, the lizards burrow into the soil or occupy rodent burrows.

Occurrence Activity:
Number of Unique Obervations (=days): 1; Range: 01 May to 01 May
Remarks:
First reported from Kansas by Hallowell (1857) based on three specimens sent to him from "Kansas" by Fort Riley surgeon William A. Hammond. Bocourt (1879) states (page 229; translated from French) "This Tapaya inhabits the plains of Kansas and Nebraska (United States). The museum [National Museum of Natural History (Paris)] does not have it." Cragin (1880) ascribed those specimens collected by Hammond and reported by Hallowell (1857) to Fort Riley (Riley County), and reports the species from Douglas and Doniphan counties based on authority of University of Kansas entomologist Francis Snow. Cragin (1880) further states that specimens from Kansas are in United States National Museum (USNM) and Philadelphia Academy of Science (ANSP). Yarrow (1882) lists eight specimens from Kansas in the USNM collected from "Kansas" by US Topographical Engineers Captain William F. Reynolds and geologist Ferdinand V. Hayden, one collected from "Kansas" by Reynolds, four specimens from Fort Riley collected by H. Brandt, and another six with no collector recorded. Burt (1933) reported a specimen from Ellis County in the Museum of the Kansas State Teachers College at Hays that was collected in 1907. The earliest existing specimen (KU 188427) was collected at Jacobs Well (Clark County) on 30 April 1955. There are certainly older specimens in the collections at KU from Logan and Smith counties, however, their dates of collection are not recorded.
There are no known extant populations in Kansas. It should be looked for in Wallace, Greeley, and Hamilton counties.

Bibliography:
1857 Hallowell, Edward. Note on the collection of reptiles from the neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, recently presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Dr. A. Heerman. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():306-310
Report on a lot of specimens received at the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences from Dr. Hammond of Ft. Riley Kansas. Of special note are three specimens of Phyrnosoma douglassii (=Phyrnosoma hernandesi) from Ft Riley (it does not naturally occur there and likely never did). Several of the specimens are marked Bridger's Pass (in Wyoming) (Western Milksnake, Plains Hog-nosed Snake, Slender Glass Lizard, and Western Tiger Salamander; all but the Slender Glass Lizard occur near there). A specimen of the Red-spotted Toad is reported as well, however, it does not occur near Ft. Riley, and as given "One Bufo punctatus, (young of Americanus)." there is some question as to its actual identity.
1874 Bocourt, Marie F. Etudes sur les reptiles. [Studies on reptiles.] Pages 193–280 in Duméril, Mocquard, and Bocourt, 1870-1909. Recherches Zoologiques pour servir a l'Histoire de Ia Faune de l'Amérique Centrale et du Mexique. Mission Scientifique au Mexique et dans l'Amér. Livraison 4. [ Zoological Research to be used in the History of the Fauna of Central America and Mexico. Scientific Mission to Mexico and America. Delivery 4]. Imprimerie Impériale [Imperial Printing Office], Paris, France. pp.
In French. In text comments on Phrynosoma hernandesi (as Tapaya brevirostris) and Aspidoscelis sexlineata from Kansas.
1880 Cragin, Francis W. A preliminary catalogue of Kansas reptiles and batrachians Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 7():112-123
Also listed the Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea) [=Ophibolus doliatus var. coccineus] and Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) [=Spelerpes ruber] from Kansas.
1882 Yarrow, Henry C. Check list of North American Reptilia and Batrachia with catalogue of specimens in U. S. National Museum. Bulletin of the United States National Museum (24):1-249
A summary of all herpetological species known at the time, with reference to specimens in the United States National Museum. Including one three Acris blanchardi from Fort Riley; Agkistrodon contortrix from Fort Riley; three Ambystoma mavortium from "Kansas" and another from Fort Riley; one Anaxyrus woodhousii from "Kansas"; one Anaxyrus cognatus from "Kansas" and another from Fort Riley; one Carphophis vermis from Fort Scott; three Coluber constrictor from "Kansas" and two from Fort Riley; one Crotalus horridus from 1858; one Diadophis punctatus from Hyatt [Hyette sic], Kansas (Anderson County); one Graptemys pseudogeographica from the Republican River in Kansas;   two Heterodon nasicus from Fort Riley; one Lampropeltis calligaster from Neosho Falls; one Lampropeltis holbrooki from Fort Riley, one from "Natchez", Kansas, and one other from Shawnee Mission, Kansas;one Lampropeltis gentilis from Fort Riley and one other from the Republican River, Kansas; one Pantherophis obsoletus from Fort Riley;fourteen Phrynosoma douglassi from "Kansas" and four from Fort Riley; three Phrynosoma cornutum from Fort Riley (Riley County);  three Pituophis catenifer from "Platte Valley", Kansas [likely from eastern Colorado prior to 1861] and two specimens from Fort Riley; one Plestiodon septentrionalis from Neosho Falls (Woodson County); one Plestiodon obsoletus from Fort Riley; one Thamnophis sirtalis from "Kansas"; one Nerodia sipedon from Fort Riley and another from Neosho Falls; one Scincella lateralis from Fort Scott (Bourbon County); one Thamnophis proximus from Fort Riley; four Sceloporus consobrinus from Fort Riley; one Tantilla nigriceps from Fort Riley; four Thamnophis sirtalis from "Kansas" and two from Little Blue River, Kansas; 
1900 Cope, Edward D. The crocodilians, lizards and snakes of North America. Pages 153-1270 in Report of the U. S. National Museum for the Year Ending June 30, 1898 , Washington, D. C. pp.
1916 Householder, Victor H. The Lizards and Turtles of Kansas with Notes on Their Distribution and Habitat. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 100pp.
1920 Taylor, Edward H. The Lizards of Kansas with Notes on Habits. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 117pp.
Though Dr. Taylor's thesis lists 1916 as the publication date (as does version that the KHS published in 1993). His degree was not awarded until 1920, which is the official publication date.
1928 Burt, Charles E. A key to the species of lizards definitely reported from Kansas. Privately printed, Enterprise Press, Bristow, Nebraska. pp.
Essentially a separate from the writer's "Lizards of. Kansas" which was in-press in the Transactions of the Academy of Science of St. Louis (Burt 1928. 26(1):1-81). Includes a glossary and a note on the variation in Sceloporus undulatus thayerii (= Sceloporus consobrinus).
1928 Burt, Charles E. The lizards of Kansas. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26(1):1-81
1933 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1934 Brennan, Lawrence A. A check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():189-191
1935 Brennan, Lawrence A. Notes on the Distribution of Amphibia and Reptilia of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 114pp.
1936 Brumwell, Malcolm J. Distributional records of the reptilia and amphibians of Kansas. Privately printed, . 22pp.
County dot maps of the Kansas herpetofauna. This work has been attributed to have been written around 1933, but that may be in error. 
Hypsiglena jani was not known from Kansas until Claude W. Hibbard collected three specimens on the Stevenson Ranch in north-central Clark County (above Clark State Lake) during June 1936 (Hibbard, 1937). Brumwell plotted this locality, which leads me to believe that the 1936 would have been the earliest date this manuscript could have been written.
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
The first modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table and text say 97 on p. 10) and 13 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies.
1952 Reeve, Wayne L. Taxonomy and distribution of the horned lizards genus Phrynosoma. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 34(14):817-960
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
Schmidt's first edition of his standardized checklist to North American amphibians and reptiles. Includes several specific references to Kansas in the range descriptions.
1956 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Second edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (9):1-356
Hobart M. Smith's updated second edition of his first (1950) modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table says 97 on p. 10; text says 98 on p. 10) and 11 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies. The second edition has updated taxonomy, added Plestiodon laticeps, and removed Eurycea tynerensis.
1962 Gish, Charles D. The Herpetofauna of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 34pp.
1965 Clarke, Robert F. Lizards in Kansas. Kansas School Naturalist 11(4):1-16
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
Joseph T. Collins first Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Smith 1956)>
1974 Platt, Dwight R., Joseph T. Collins, and Ray E. Ashton, Jr. Rare, endangered and extirpated species in Kansas. II. Amphibians and reptiles. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 76(3):185-192
The initial initiative to determine population and conservation status of Kansas' amphibians and reptiles based on our understanding at the time. A lot has changed regarding our increased knowledge on all the listed species.
1976 Ashton, Ray E., Jr., Stephen R. Edwards, and George R. Pisani. Endangered and threatened amphibians and reptiles in the United States. Herpetological Circulars (5):65
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
Joseph T. Collins second Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1974)>
1985 Lynch, John D. Annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Science 13():33-57
1987 Montanucci, Richard R. A phylogenetic study of the horned lizards, genus Phrynosoma, based on skeletal and external morphology. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Contributions in Science (390):1-36
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
Joseph T. Collins third Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1982)>
1996 Dundee, Harold A. Some reallocations of type localities of reptiles and amphibians described from the Major Stephen H. Long Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, with comments on some of the statements made in the account written by Edwin James.  Tulane Studies in Zoology and Botany 30():75–89
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians & Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 131pp.
2001 Reeder, Tod W., and Richard R. Montanucci. Phylogenetic analysis of the horned lizards (Phrynosomatidae: Phrynosoma): Evidence from mitochondrial DNA and morphology. Copeia 2001(2):309-323
2004 Hodges, Wendy L. Evolution of viviparity in horned lizards (Phrynosoma): testing the cold-climate hypothesis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 17():1230–1237
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
Joseph T. Collins fourth Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1993)>
2012 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada: Second Edition, Revised and Updated. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 152pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Crother, Brian I. (editor) Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding. Eighth edition. Herpetological Circulars (43):102
2019 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada. Third Edition. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 192pp.
2021 Leache, Adam D., Hayden R. Davis, Sonal Singhal, Matthew K. Fujita, Megan E. Lahti and Kelly R. Zamudio Phylogenomic assessment of biodiversity using a reference-based taxonomy: An example with Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9(678110):1-15
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Travis W. Taggart © 1999-2024 — w/ Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University