Indeed this post is not about current events on the news. Furthermore it is about nature in action. And Kathy and Gary witnessed a cool behavior! She shared it with me. So now I am sharing with y’all.

Yesterday evening Kathy and Gary were out on the porch when they were witness to a interaction between two Prairie Lizards (Sceloporus consobrinus). She thought they were both Prairie Lizards at the time. However they did look different, color and lines or lack of lines on the back.
The male sports a blue throat patch and additional blue patches on the sides of its belly. The blue patches will only be present during breeding season. The males have little to no pattern on their backs.
The male will pump up and down in his efforts to woo a girl! The males have little to no pattern on their backs.
The female with the wavy lines on her back.
Rear view!

So you may have noticed in the still shots that the female was arching her back.

Now watch this video captured by Kathy! What strange behavior they were witnessing! Arched back and hopping! Weird, but after a search I found this paper on the behavior in Animal Behavior, 1975, 23, 279-286 by Marian B. Vinegar. What it said was the males bobs his head rapidly up and down known as courtship nods (Carpenter 1962), jiggling (Ruibal 1967), or shuddering (Ferguson 1970). If receptive, the female is quiet and mating occurs. “If not, she avoids him by moving away, by nipping him, or by hopping away stiffly on all four legs with her back arched”. This is called sidlehopping (Carpenter 1962). So she was sidlehopping!!

Kathy’s observations can be found on at iNaturalist, male and female.

That was such a cool interaction Kathy caught! Thanks so much!!!!

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  1. Wow! What a great video Kathy. Thanks for sharing. Interesting behavior. I think lots of male lizards bob up and down but never heard of female hopping. Pretty cool.

  2. Exactly Judy. We sat in our mule watching in awe. And just happened to have my camera in my lap. I’m still awed by this experience. Thank you Mary for your avenue to share it.

  3. I am thankful to have this venue to share with those that can really appreciate it. There are so many who wouldn’t care about hearing or seeing but it was so exciting to us. And when nature presents something cool, you want to share it with those who would also enjoy it. Thank you Mary for sharing.

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