The animal pictured in this photograph is a Prairie Racerunner, Cnemidophorus sexlineatus viridis. It is one of two species found in Texas. This picture was taken in Fort Worth and is a part of the state where both species of Racerunner can be seen. This specimen has green stripes along its sides and a faint line inside the dorsal brown stripe giving this guy 7 stripes down his back. These two characteristics distinguish this lizard from his cousin Cnemidophorus sexlineatus sexlineatus, the Six-lined Racerunner. Also, the blue belly and throat identify this animal as a male.
The Prairie Racerunner belongs to the whiptail family (Teiidae) whose members occupy North and South America only. Cnemidophorus is the only genus in this large family found in the United States. There are nine species in Cnemidophorus found in the U. S.
These busy little lizards are active during the day and zip along hunting insects and small animals. They like grasslands, shrublands, margins of rivers, streams, and lakes. Rocky habitat in these areas provides them places to hunt and hide.
This picture shows a female who is in the process of shedding her outer layer of skin. Lizards and snakes periodically slough off their outer scales after having grown an entire new layer beneath. In effect, they give themselves a new set of “clothes”.