Good Eye

Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) Photo Cameron Olens

Park visitor Cameron Olens has a sharp eye. This Western Fence Lizard blends in so perfectly with its background that it’s close to invisible. In fact, several people have looked at this image and despite the fact that it’s cropped rather tight, they didn’t spot the lizard. That’s good for the lizard. But the eyes of its natural predators, such as the hawks and kites, are much, much sharper than ours, and the only way the lizard could survive in the open is by keeping perfectly still.

Can’t see it? Here’s a cheater image, manually enhanced in photo editing software:

Cameron took this photo just before the rains came with a cellphone camera. A cellphone camera usually gives poor results with subjects that are more than a few feet away (unless you have one of the new monster long-zoom phones, or a telephoto clip-on gizmo). Here the photographer was able to stand almost directly over the subject. And the cellphone image had so many pixels that it still had reasonably sharp and usable material after severe cropping.

Thank you Cameron, for sharing this image. The Western Fence Lizard is an important member of the biosphere here, Among its other contributions, it directly reduces the danger of Lyme disease. Read about that here in earlier posts about this creature.

More about the lizard: Wikipedia CalHerps In Chavez Park

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