Cnemidophorus burti is a large whiptail lizard. It occurs in mesas, canyons, and riparian areas in arid and semi-arid regions of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico (Stebbins 2003).
Juveniles display light longitudinal stripes and spots on a dark background. This pattern becomes less distinct in adults as the light color fades with age (Stebbins 2003, Degenhardt et al. 2005).
Based on the result of a phylogenetic analysis by Reeder et al. (2002), this lizard is now commonly treated under the name Aspidoscelis burti.
endemic to a single state or province
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: Range includes south-central Arizona and possibly adjacent Sonora, Mexico (Stebbins 2003, Walker and Cordes 2011).
Distribution: USA (S Arizona, New Mexico), Mexico (Sonora)
Type locality: La Posa, 10 miles northwest of Guayamas, Sonora (fide SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 185) xanthonotus: Ajo Mountains, Pima County to the Sierra Estrella near Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. stictogrammus: C Arizona and Mexico southward through Sonora and probably N Sinaloa, and the northern parts of Chihuahua and Coahuila.
Type locality: Yank Springs, 6 miles southeast of Ruby, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
Diagnosis. Related to C. perplexus, but with a tendency toward a reversal of the typical color pattern. The young are five-lined; brownish or tan dots on a dark-brown background between much widened, bright, cream-colored, lateral lines, and between the dorso-lateral and the broad, lavender, median lines. Most of the older specimens lose practically all trace of the dots and the pair of lateral lines on each side are strongly intensified, while the median becomes dim lavender to reddish in color. The ground color becomes dark or light reddish-brown.
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled
Names and 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.
Under the genus Cnemidophorus, Stebbins (2003) retained xanthonota as a subspecies of A. burti. de Queiroz and Reeder (in Crother 2008, 2012) accepted A. xanthonota as a species, based on Collins (1991).