For the last three summers, I have been treated to encounters with members of the species Phrynosoma cornutum, the Texas Horned Lizard that are living in the backyard. These delightful creatures help to eat the red harvester ants that we have in several places in the yard. The above image shows an adult in the lawn beginning to puff itself up to appear larger and to extend the thorns on its skin to warn predators that it is a choking hazard.
In this image, you can see that a Common Checkered Skipper has used this little fellow as a landing zone as well as probing him for food.
We love our little spiny friends and watch for them when we mow. They blend so well with the habitat that we often miss them until they move. I was treated this year to seeing one wiggle himself down into loose sand near an anthill so that only his head was visible. All he had to do was wait for unsuspecting ants to walk by. I didn’t have my camera or the time to photograph this one when it happened, much to my regret. However, we look for these little guys every time we go outside and especially when we are working on the lawn. So far, no tragedies. Peaceful coexistence is the rule around our house as much as is possible. Occasionally, we are rewarded with interesting pictures of neighborhood nature.