‘Lizards don’t hire,” read one sign. “Leave lizards on the commercials,” read another. These were the sentiments of the 300 residents who attended the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Rally in Midland, Texas, last April.
The attendees were protesting the candidacy of the dunes sagebrush lizard, also known as the sand-dune lizard, for inclusion on the endangered-species list. The three-inch lizard is a subspecies of the sagebrush lizard, from which it is estimated to have evolved about 15,000 years ago. It’s called a “habitat specialist” because it exclusively lives within the network of roots of the shinnery oak sand-dune system, which covers thousands of acres in West Texas and New Mexico. A particularly finicky animal, the dunes sagebrush lizard prefers areas with “medium sized” grains of sand.
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