CEHMM - Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard

The dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) (DSL), also known as the sand dune lizard, is a species native to a small area of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas. The DSL is a small light brown spiny lizard with stripes on the body. Their habitat includes large networks of shinnery oak and a sloping, sandy topography, where the lizards use "blowouts" as their primary microhabitat. Blowouts are sandy, bowl-shaped interruptions in the shinnery oak sand dune system which look like small meteor craters. The roots of the shinnery oak shrubs provide structure for the DSL’s burrows, where the lizards retreat when the sand surface is too hot or cold. Threats to the lizard include habitat removal, fragmentation and degradation as a result of oil and gas development and shinnery oak removal.

On December 14, 2010, the FWS published the proposed listing of the DSL as a federally threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) starting the twelve-month timeframe in which they would make a decision to either list the species as threatened or endangered, to not list the species, or to file a six-month extension to allow for more information to be collected. On December 5, 2011, the FWS posted in the federal register a six-month extension on the listing decision for the DSL. In June 2012, the FWS ruled against listing the DSL as threatened or endangered as a result of the conservation agreements that provide for the long-term conservation of the DSL.

Final Determination Rule