The abundance and distribution of animal species appears to be limited by availability of suitable habitat, and often a critical component to these suitable habitats is the presence of one or more particular plant species, and/or plant species diversity. Abundance of the Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) is inversely related to percent cover by all shrubs combined, in addition to percent cover by sagebrush, throughout the Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon. In many locales throughout the Great Basin desert sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is the dominant shrub, and its abundance is inversely related to shrub species diversity. However, in the Alvord basin, where there are abundant dry lake beds and salt-flats, G. wislizenii lizard abundance is relatively high, percent cover by shrubs varies and shrub species diversity can be high. In these areas Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) is the dominant shrub, while sagebrush is non-abundant. Gambelia wislizenii population density patterns are discussed in light of putative uses of these shrub communities by Gambelia and other lizards, as well as recreational vehicles.
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Vol. 156 • No. 1