Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States. Its patchy distribution extends from southern Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico south through Sonora into northern Sinaloa, Mexico (Stebbins 2003). In New Mexico, the species has been found only in Guadalupe Canyon, Hildago County, at 1,321 to 1,387 m (Degenhardt et al. 1996); an unsubstantiated report exists for the Alamo Hueco Mountains, Hildago County (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997). Its Arizona range includes Cochise, Pinal, and Pima counties (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1997). The subspecies Aspidoscelis burti xanthonota in central southern Arizona is probably isolated from other subpopulations of this species.
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endemic to a single state or province

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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: Range includes south-central Arizona and possibly adjacent Sonora, Mexico (Stebbins 2003, Walker and Cordes 2011).

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Continent: Middle-America North-America
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.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Holotype for Aspidoscelis burti stictogramma
Catalog Number: USNM 132456
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Ruby, 6 mi SE of, Yank Springs, Santa Cruz, Arizona, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Burger, W. L. 1950. Natural History Miscellanea, The Chicago Academy of Sciences. (65): 5.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This whiptail inhabits mountain canyons, arroyos (dry creeks), and mesas in arid and semi-arid regions, entering lowland dry thorn scrub along stream courses; often it occurs in rocky areas or among dense shrubs near streams (Stebbins 2003). In New Mexico, it occupies riparian zones, either wooded with sycamore, cottonwood, and ash, or with bunch grasses (Degenhardt et al. 1996). Eggs are laid probably in nests dug in soil/underground.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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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., Frost, D.R. & 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 its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

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Population

Population
At least several occurrences are extant in Arizona. In New Mexico, this species has been documented in one canyon and unsubstantiated reports exist for a couple additional locations (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1985; Degenhardt et al. 1996). More than 100 occupied sites probably exist in Sonora, Mexico, with 85% of the occurrences in good condition; extensively surveyed in 1995 (A. Villareal Lazarraga pers. comm. 1998). The total adult population size is unknown but is certainly many thousands. The species can be common even at the periphery of the range. For example, 159 individuals were collected during 1992-1994 surveys in Guadalupe Canyon, New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996). Specific population trend information is not available, but populations appear to be stable. According to J. Rorabaugh (pers. comm. 1998), the United States populations show no evidence of decline. The Guadalupe Canyon population, New Mexico is considered healthy and stable. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (1997) indicates that Arizona populations are apparently stable. The species is regarded as stable in Sonora, Mexico (A. Villareal Lazarraga pers. comm. 1998), where it is not usually abundant but is consistently present.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Overall, this species is currently not threatened. Locally, potential threats include habitat alteration and overcollecting. Due to limited habitat, the population in New Mexico could be impacted by uncontrolled wildfire or overgrazing of riparian vegetation.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It presumably occurs in some protected areas. Other than general research, no direct conservation measures are currently needed for this species.
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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.

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).

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