Western Whiptail

Aspidoscelis tigris

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''.
Great Basin Whiptail Lizard Great Basin Whiptail Lizard (Aspidoscelis tigris tigris) crawls under the brush on a hot day at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California, United States. Aspidoscelis tigris,Aspidoscelis tigris tigris,California,Death Valley National Park,Geotagged,Great Basin Whiptail Lizard,Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes,Spring,United States,Western Whiptail

Appearance

The western whiptail’s chromosomes show that they are polyploids. They are also a bisexual species. Usually in the northern end of their range, they mate in the first half of June while the females begin to lay eggs in late June. The eggs usually begin hatching by mid-August. Females will only lay one clutch per year. At the southern end of their range, however, the females will begin to lay eggs as early as May and they will usually hatch as early as mid-June. In the southern end of their range, females may also lay two clutches per year instead of just one.The western whiptail has a long and slender body, small grainy scales on its back, and larger rectangular scales on its belly. Its upper side often has light stripes and its throat can be pinkish or somewhat orange when they are adults. Their maximum size is about 5 inches. Hatchlings are orange-yellow with dark brown-black spots or stripes.
Whiptail The western whiptail is widely distributed but uncommon over much of its range in California, except in desert regions where it is abundant in suitable habitats. The species is found throughout the state except in the humid northwest, along the humid outer Coast Ranges, or mountainous regions above 2290 m (7500 ft). Also absent from much of the northern part of the Central Valley (Montanucci 1968). The western whiptail occurs in a variety of habitats including valley-foothill hardwood, valley-foothill hardwood-conifer, valley-foothill riparian, mixed conifer, pinyon-juniper, chamise-redshank chaparral, mixed chaparral, desert riparian, desert scrub, desert wash, alkali scrub, and annual grassland.  Aspidoscelis tigris,Geotagged,Spring,United States,Western Whiptail

Habitat

The western whiptail is usually found throughout Southern Idaho through southern Arizona and into northern Sonora. In the northern parts of its range, the western whiptail usually emerge from hibernation in May, and most adults aestivate during the midsummer months, but in the south the animals are active from April through late August. The seasonal period of activity is therefore considerably shorter in the north. Daily periods of activity are of similar duration from north to south, although the time of emergence tends to be later in northern areas. They are found in desert regions that have moderate to limited amounts of vegetation such as sagebrush or shadscale . Their habitats range from sand and gravel to hardpan and loess. Regardless of type, however, burrows seem to be an important component. Rocks on the other hand, don't seem to be necessary.

Reproduction

The western whiptail’s chromosomes show that they are polyploids. They are also a bisexual species. Usually in the northern end of their range, they mate in the first half of June while the females begin to lay eggs in late June. The eggs usually begin hatching by mid-August. Females will only lay one clutch per year. At the southern end of their range, however, the females will begin to lay eggs as early as May and they will usually hatch as early as mid-June. In the southern end of their range, females may also lay two clutches per year instead of just one.

Food

The western whiptail mostly eats insects, spiders, scorpions, lepidopterans , crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles. They use their jaws instead of their tongue to capture their prey.

References:

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Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyTeiidae
GenusAspidoscelis
SpeciesA. tigris