The western whiptail is a small lizard that ranges throughout most of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Most of its populations appear stable, and is not listed as endangered in any of the states comprising its range. It lives in a wide variety of habitats, including deserts and semiarid shrubland, usually in areas with sparse vegetation; also woodland, open dry forest, and riparian growth. It lives in burrows. Major differences between this species and the checkered whiptail include the lack of enlarged scales anterior to the gular fold and the presence of enlarged antebatrachial scales. It was previously known under ''Cnemidophorus tigris'', until phylogenetic analyses concluded that the genus ''Cnemidophorus'' was polyphyletic. Since it does not migrate, a number of forms have developed in different regions, several of which have been given sub-specific names - for example the California whiptail, ''Aspidoscelis tigris munda''.