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Griffith's Most Wanted: Have you seen me?



Coast horned lizard (left), occurs in chaparral on sandy soils. It is like a fat, spiny version of the very common western fence lizard (right), but has vanished from large areas of southern California.


Greater Roadrunner (left) favors areas with sparse vegetation and is threatened by fire suppression/natural maturation of vegetation. (Compare with the smaller, solid-brown California Thrasher, right)


Chalcedon Checkerspot (left), a mid-sized, checkered butterfly once found in a variety of scrub habitats in the L.A. area and now nearly extinct here. Compare with smaller Behr's Metalmark (right), still found locally in chaparral.

The unmistakable Chocolate Lily, one of the few brown flowers in nature, favors heavy clay soils, particularly in grassy understory of oak woodland. Threatened by trampling, competition by non-native grasses.


Griffith Park is a large "island of habitat" surrounded by the urbanized Los Angeles Basin.

It is bordered on three sides by freeways, and on a forth side by a solid barrier of residential housing (Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles). Even after the major fire in May 2007, large areas of scrub have not burned in more than 50 years, which has resulted in large shrubs like Laurel Sumac and Ceanothus crowding out many wildflowers and native grasses. At the same time, the most sensitive habitats, such as streamsides, are being degraded by a variety of forces like trampling by off-leash dogs and transients, and inappropriate tree-planting

Though the park is in good ecological shape overall, a few plant and animal species may have gone extinct here since the early 1900s. However, few surveys have been done, and they may be hanging on in remote canyons and on inaccessible slopes.

If you have seen any of these in the park please contact us by e-mail Thanks!