stcroixgroundlizard_page
Image Source
Info Source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Arkive

Saint Croix Ground Lizard

The Saint Croix ground lizard (Ameiva polops) is a member of the Teiidae family of lizards. Growing to a size of between 35 and 77mm (excluding the tail), it is noticeable for the pattern of light brown, dark brown and white longitudinal stripes down its back. Below these are a series of narrow brown, black and white vertical stripes, which extend from the sides down to the stomach. The stomach is light grey with bright blue markings, and the rest of the underside is a deep pinkish-red hue. The tail changes from a brown color near the body to a deeper blue color near the tip, and have alternating rings of blue and black. It eats virtually any prey items it can find, including amphipods, moths, ants and small hermit crabs. These lizards are found in beach areas and upland forest, frequently amongst leaf litter and tidal litter, or in crab burrows. Smaller individuals are found in more exposed habitat while larger lizards are found in more canopied areas.

The Saint Croix ground lizard is federally listed as a critically endangered species in any region in which it is found. The disappearance of the Saint Croix ground lizard on Saint Croix has been attributed to habitat loss and the introduction of a mammalian predator, the Indian mongoose, both of which continue to threaten the future of the species in its remaining range.