New York Natural Heritage Program
Fence Lizard
Sceloporus undulatus (Bosc and Daudin, in Sonnini and Latreille, 1801)
Reptiles

Habitat [-]
Naturally occurring fence lizard populations are confined to the Hudson Highlands region of the state. These areas are characterized by steep slopes with extensive open rocky areas that are surrounded by mixed-deciduous, oak-dominated, forests. The introduced population on Staten Island has been documented in sandy openings and pine woods within post oak-blackjack oak barren communities.

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Appalachian oak-hickory forest*
    A hardwood forest that occurs on well-drained sites, usually on ridgetops, upper slopes, or south- and west-facing slopes. The soils are usually loams or sandy loams. This is a broadly defined forest community with several regional and edaphic variants. The dominant trees include red oak, white oak, and/or black oak. Mixed with the oaks, usually at lower densities, are pignut, shagbark, and/or sweet pignut hickory.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Chestnut oak forest
    A hardwood forest that occurs on well-drained sites in glaciated portions of the Appalachians, and on the coastal plain. This forest is similar to the Allegheny oak forest; it is distinguished by fewer canopy dominants and a less diverse shrublayer and groundlayer flora. Dominant trees are typically chestnut oak and red oak.
  • Oak-tulip tree forest*
    A hardwood forest that occurs on moist, well-drained sites in southeastern New York. The dominant trees include a mixture of five or more of the following: red oak, tulip tree, American beech, black birch, red maple, scarlet oak, black oak, and white oak.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit
    A community that occurs on warm, dry, rocky ridgetops and summits where the bedrock is non-calcareous (such as quartzite, sandstone, or schist), and the soils are more or less acidic. This community is broadly defined and includes examples that may lack pines and are dominated by scrub oak and/or heath shrubs apparently related to fire regime.
  • Post oak-blackjack oak barrens
    Open barrens on upper slopes and low ridges characterized by the presence of stunted individuals of post oak, scarlet oak, and blackjack oak. There is a sparse heath and grass ground cover growing in very dry, deep, exposed sand overlying a clay subsoil.
  • Rocky summit grassland
    A grassland community that occurs on rocky summits and exposed rocky slopes of hills. Woody plants are sparse and may be scattered near the margin of the community. Small trees and shrubs may be present at low percent cover.

Associated Species [-]
  • Five-Lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus)