Desert grassland whiptail

Cnemidophorus uniparens

SUBFAMILY

Teiiinae

TAXONOMY

Cnemidophorus uniparens Wright and Lowe, 1965.

OTHER COMMON NAMES Spanish: Huico de pastizal-desértico.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is a small, all-female whiptail with a maximum snout-to-vent length of 3.4 in (86 mm). It is striped without spots, containing six cream to white stripes on the olive-brown to black background. The venter is white. The tail is bright blue in hatchlings and blue-green to olive-green in adults.

DISTRIBUTION

Chihuahua, Mexico, north in Chihuahua desert to central New Mexico, United States, west to Sonora, Mexico, and southeastern Arizona, United States.

HABITAT

Desert grassland.

BEHAVIOR

This whiptail is mostly active during morning, with a smaller peak of activity in late afternoon. As do those of most teiids, the home ranges of individuals overlap.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

As do other whiptails, these active foraging lizards feed opportunistically on insects and other arthropods.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The desert grassland whiptail is an all-female species that reproduces parthenogenetically. Reproductive individuals may express both male-like behavior and initiate pseudocopulation with other females. This behavior stimulates reproduction in captivity, but its significance in natural populations is unknown. Females attain reproductive maturity at 2.4 in (60 mm) snout-to-vent length and lay one to four eggs depending on size.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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