Data from 711 occurrences (585 museum vouchers).
- 412 museum vouchers > 30 yrs.
museum vouchers < 30 yrs.
394 unique localities.
Date Quartile Plot:
53 - DOR
96 - AOR
33 - Active, off-road
2 - Under cover
Public Lands Records:
2 - Big Basin Prairie Preserve
2 - Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area
18 - Cimarron National Grassland
3 - Clark Wildlife Area
8 - Fort Riley
1 - Geary State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area
4 - Kanopolis State Park
14 - Meade State Park
12 - Meade Wildlife Area
3 - Smoky Hill Weapons Range
1 - Wilson Lake Corps Parks
1 - Wilson Wildlife Area
TEXAS HORNED LIZARD Phrynosoma cornutum,
Species in Need of Information
Dorsal ground color varies with environment, but may be tan or gray with white and red or yellow tones
The dorsal pattern consists of dark brown spots with pale posterior borders behind the head, on body, and tail on each side of light middorsal line.
The Texas Horned Lizard is found across the southern half of Kansas, the Flint Hills, and Smoky Hills. East of the Flint Hills the taxon may be locally abundant and consists of scattered relic populations.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences)
Allen (8), Anderson (1), Atchison (1), Barber (55), Barton (1), Bourbon (1), Butler (3), Chase (8), Chautauqua (3), Clark (60), Comanche (20), Cowley (28), Dickinson (6), Douglas (6), Edwards (1), Elk (3), Ellis (62), Ellsworth (8), Ford (1), Geary (11), Gove (1), Grant (1), Greenwood (13), Hamilton (2), Harper (9), Harvey (2), Hodgeman (1), Johnson (1), Kearney (1), Kingman (3), Kiowa (21), Labette (8), Lincoln (6), Lyon (3), Marion (1), McPherson (7), Meade (83), Mitchell (3), Montgomery (2), Morton (57), Osborne (7), Ottawa (6), Phillips (3), Pratt (12), Riley (18), Rooks (4), Rush (1), Russell (59), Saline (5), Sedgwick (1), Seward (13), Smith (4), Stanton (10), Stevens (5), Sumner (3), Trego (3), Wabaunsee (3), Wilson (8)
Breeding occurs in late spring upon emergence from hibernation. Females lay eggs in burrows.
This diurnal lizard is quick. It seeks shelter among brush or in animal burrows. It may also cover itself in loose sand. It is only seen on warm days of late Spring or Summer. It feeds on large ants and squirts blood from its eyes under stress. It hibernates from late Summer to late Spring.
Growth and Longevity:
The largest specimen from Kansas was collected in Stevens County (MHP 7469) on 31 April 2002 by Travis W. Taggart and Curtis J. Schmidt and was 90 mm (3.54") SVL and 123 mm (4.84") in total length, Taggart and Schmidt (2005).
Pleistocene fossil specimens are known from Meade County.
Over the past 30 years, southern populations of Texas Horned Lizards have been dramatically declining. Although the culprit leading to the declines has yet to be positively identified, a leading theory correlates their disappearance to the spread of the introduced Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta). This ant was introduced accidentally into the United States around the 1930s and has steadily spread northward. It was first reported in Kansas in 1998; however there is no evidence that it has become established anywhere in the state.
This study found healthy populations in the Smoky Hills, Permian Prairie, and southern High Plains. However, this taxon was conspicuously absent from the Arkansas River valley, and portions of the Flint Hills east. Platt (1985, 1998) reported the absence of Texas Horned Lizards during his studies of Harvey County populations over 40+ years, despite there being an historic record for the area.
This pattern of disappearance is similar to that shown by the Lesser Earless Lizard, albeit somewhat delayed. Further survey work is needed especially in those areas specimens were not found during this study. The continued monitoring of this species should also be a priority.
1998. Platt, Dwight R. Monitoring population trends of snakes and lizards in Harvey County, Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. Pp. 42 pp.
2005. Taggart, Travis W and Curtis J. Schmidt. Phrynosoma cornutum (Texas Horned Lizard) new state maximum length. Journal of Kansas Herpetology. (14): pp. 10.
2010. Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas. Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. Pp. 400.