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acrylic on illustration board 16" x 20"
Through most of the deserts of western North America, the Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana) outnumbers all other lizard species combined. The males of some populations manifest three different forms: the orange-throats, which are hyper-masculine, the blue-throats, which are moderately masculine, and the hypo-masculine yellow-throats. Each form has an edge over one other form in the competition for breeding. The aggressive orange-throats expend a great deal of energy defending large territories with multiple females, managing to keep most blue-throats out. The blue-throats effectively defend small territories with single females against the yellow-throats, which have no territories, but sneak onto the territories of orange-throats to mate with their females while the male is off chasing blue throats around. Presumably, each form has an overall breeding advantage in different years depending on conditions. It's believed that all modern Side-blotched Lizards are descended from populations with all three forms. The yellow-throated form seems to be the first to disappear from a population.
This is the second of three paintings I produced for the "Art of the Sea of Cortez" exhibition which premiered in 2013 at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.