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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The range encompasses, New Mexico, northwestern Texas, and probably adjacent Chihiahia, Mexico (Stebbins: Presidio County, Texas, north to Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and west to Hidalgo County New Mexico. The species occurs disjunctly near Conchas Lake, San Miguel County, and Fort Sumner, De Baca County, in New Mexico (Taylor 2002), and at Petrified Forest National Park, Apache County, Arizona (Persons and Wright 1999). The Conchas Lake and Fort Sumner populations in New Mexico may be natural occurrences (Taylor 2002) but could possibly represent introductions, whereas the Apache County record in Arizona more likely represents an introduction. Elevational range is around 1,010 to 1,890 m (Stebbins 2003).
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) The range encompasses, New Mexico, northwestern Texas, and probably adjacent Chihiahia, Mexico (Stebbins: Presidio County, Texas, north to Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and west to Hidalgo County New Mexico. The species occurs disjunctly near Conchas Lake, San Miguel County, and Fort Sumner, De Baca County, in New Mexico (Taylor 2002), and at Petrified Forest National Park, Apache County, Arizona (Persons and Wright 1999). The Conchas Lake and Fort Sumner populations in New Mexico may be natural occurrences (Taylor 2002) but could possibly represent introductions, whereas the Apache County record in Arizona more likely represents an introduction. Elevational range is around 1,010-1,890 meters (3,300-6,200 feet) (Stebbins 2003).

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Continent: Middle-America North-America
Distribution: USA (W Texas, New Mexico, Arizona [Petrified Forest National Park]), Mexico (N Chihuahua)  
Type locality: McDonald Ranch Headquarters, 4,800 feet elevation, 8.7 miles west and 22.8 miles south of new Bingham Post Office, Socorro County, New Mexico”.
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 30 cm

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Type Information

Paratype for Aspidoscelis neomexicana
Catalog Number: USNM 132468
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1947
Locality: McDonald Ranch headquarters, Socorro, New Mexico, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Lowe, C. H. & Zweifel, R. G. 1952. Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. 9 (13): 230.
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Paratype for Aspidoscelis neomexicana
Catalog Number: USNM 132467
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1947
Locality: McDonald Ranch headquarters, Socorro, New Mexico, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Lowe, C. H. & Zweifel, R. G. 1952. Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. 9 (13): 230.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitats characteristically are perpetually disturbed, disclimax habitats within the Rio Grande drainage (Degenhardt et al. 1996), such as those along floodplains (Stebbins 2003), including grasslands with scattered shrubs, mesquite-creosote bush communities, river basins, washes, arroyos (dry creeks), and vacant lots; also shrubby edges of desert playas and desert/grassland ecotones (west of the Rio Grande) (Degenhardt et al. 1996); generally in areas with loose sand or packed sandy soil (Stebbins 2003); it also can be numerous among human-generated rubble (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). It rarely occurs at higher elevations in pinyon-juniper woodland where open sandy alluvial benches are present (Parker and Selander 1984, Degenhardt et al. 1996). Eggs are laid probably in a nest dug in soil/underground.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Habitats characteristically are perpetually disturbed, disclimax habitats within the Rio Gramde drainage (Degenhardt et al. 1996), such as those along floodplains (Stebbins 2003), including grasslands with scattered shrubs, mesquite-creosotebuch communities, river basins, washes, arroyos, and vacant lots; also shrubby edges of desert playas and desert/grassland ecotones (west of the Rio Grande) (Degenhardt et al. 1996); generally in areas with loose sand or packed sandy soil (Stebbins 2003); it also can be numerous among human-generated rubble (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). It rarely occurs at higher elevations in pinyon-juniper woodland where open sandy alluvial benches are present (Parker and Selander 1984, Degenhardt et al. 1996). Eggs are laid probably in a nest dug in soil or underground.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats insects and spiders (Stebbins 1985).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: This species is represented by hundreds of occurrences or subpopulations. For example, Degenhardt et al. (1996) mapped nearly 200 collection sites in New Mexico.

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Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 100,000. This is a common lizard in most of its range.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

All female, parthenogenetic. Lays clutch of 2-4 eggs in summer. Eggs hatch in 50-60 days.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2007

Assessor/s
Hammerson, G.A., Lavin, P., Vazquez Díaz, J., Quintero Díaz, G. & Gadsden, H.

Reviewer/s
Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of the probably stable extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size. No major threats have been identified.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

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Population

Population
This species is represented by hundreds of occurrences or subpopulations. For example, Degenhardt et al. (1996) mapped nearly 200 collection sites in New Mexico. The total adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 100,000. This is a common lizard in most of its range. The extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size are probably relatively stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

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Threats

Major Threats
There appear to be no major threats to this species.
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Degree of Threat: Low

Comments: No major threats have been identified.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This lizard occurs in White Sands National Monument, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, various national forests, and other protected or nominally protected areas. No direct conservation measures are needed for this species as a whole.
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Global Protection: Several to many (4-40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: This lizard occurs in White Sands National Monument, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, various national forests, and other protected or nominally protected areas.

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Wikipedia

New Mexico whiptail

The New Mexico whiptail (Cnemidophorus neomexicanus) is a species of lizard found in the southern United States in New Mexico and Arizona, and in northern Mexico in Chihuahua. It is the official state reptile of New Mexico.[1] It is one of many lizard species known to be parthenogenic. Individuals of the species can be created either through the hybridization of the little striped whiptail (C. inornatus) and the western whiptail (C. tigris)[citation needed], or through the parthenogenic reproduction of an adult New Mexico whiptail.

The hybridization of these species prevents healthy males from forming whereas males do exist in both parent species (see Sexual differentiation). Parthenogenesis allows the resulting all-female population to reproduce and thus evolve into a unique species capable of reproduction. This combination of interspecific hybridization and parthenogenesis exists as a reproductive strategy in several species of whiptail lizard within the Cnemidophorus genus to which the New Mexico whiptail belongs.

Description[edit]

The New Mexico whiptail grows from 16.5 to 23 cm (6.5 to 9 in) in length, and is typically overall brown or black in color with seven pale yellow stripes from head to tail. Light colored spots often occur between the stripes. They have a white or pale blue underside, with a blue or blue-green colored throat. They are slender bodied, with a long tail.

Behavior[edit]

Like most other whiptail lizards, the New Mexico whiptail is diurnal and insectivorous. They are wary, energetic, and fast moving, darting for cover if approached. They are found in a wide variety of semi-arid habitats, including grassland, rocky areas, shrubland, or mountainside woodlands. Reproduction occurs through parthenogenesis, with up to four unfertilized eggs being laid in mid summer, and hatching approximately eight weeks later.

The New Mexico whiptail lizard is a crossbreed of a western whiptail which lives in the desert and the little striped whiptail that favours grasslands. The lizard is a female-only species that reproduces by producing an egg through parthenogenesis. Despite reproducing asexually, and being an all female species, the whiptail still engages in mating behavior with other females of its own species, giving rise to the common nickname "lesbian lizards". A common theory is that this behavior stimulates ovulation, as those who do not "mate" do not lay eggs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chapter VIII. New Mexico state animals". New Mexico Envirothon. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 


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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Reeder et al. (2002) examined phylogenetic relationships of the whiptail lizards of the genus Cnemidophorus based on a combined analysis of mitochondrial DNA, morphology, and allozymes. They determined that Cnemidophorus in the traditional sense is paraphyletic and thus in need of nomenclatural revision. Rather than subsume all cnemidophorine species (including Kentropyx) in a single large genus (Ameiva), they proposed a split that placed the North American "Cnemidophorus" clade in the monophyletic genus Aspidoscelis; under this arrangement, South American taxa remain in the genus Cnemidophorus.

This species is a parthenogen, derived through hybridization between A. (tigris) marmorata and A. inornata (Frost and Wright 1988, Cole et al. 1988). It exhibits low clonal diversity (Parker and Selander 1984). See Cole et al. (1988) for a discussion of the origin of two atypical electrophoretically distinct clones.

Cnemidophorus perplexus is a senior synonym of A. neomexicana (the lectotype of perplexus evidently is not a hybrid; Taylor and Walker 1996, Copeia 1996:945-954). To promote nomenclatural stability, Smith et al. (1997), including Walker, proposed to the ICZN that C. neomexicanus be conserved and that Cnemidophorus perplexus be suppressed. This proposal was approved (1999 Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 56(2):162-163).

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