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Bleached Earless Lizard (Holbrookia maculata ruthvenii), male with dark spots on side of belly. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA

Bleached Earless Lizard

(Holbrookia maculata ruthvenii)

Do Earless Lizards have ears? As a matter of fact, they do! They just don’t have external ear openings. But they do have a well-formed inner ear and can hear sounds. Presumably, the lack of external ear openings is an adaptation for burrowing head first under the sand.

The Bleached Earless Lizard is one of nine subspecies of the Lesser Earless Lizard. The “bleached” coloring makes effective camouflage in White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, which is the only place in the world where it’s found! I know he’s a male because you can see the dark spots on the side of his belly.