IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)


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Desert grassland whiptail lizard

The Desert Grassland Whiptail lizard (Aspidoscelis uniparens) is an all-female species. It was formerly placed in the genus Cnemidophorus. A. uniparens have limited social stimuli, having only two basic needs: finding food and avoiding predators.[1]A common predator of the whiptail lizard is the leopard lizard, who prey on A. uniparens by using ambush and stalking hunting tactics.[2][3]These reptiles reproduce by parthenogenesis; eggs undergo a chromosome doubling after meiosis and develop into lizards without being fertilized. However, ovulation is enhanced by female-female courtship and "mating" (pseudocopulation) rituals that resemble the behavior of closely related to species that reproduce sexually.[4][5][6] However, this claim has been disputed, as Collins and Pinch relate.[7]

The lizard lives in dry deserts from central Arizona to west Texas and south into Mexico.


  1. ^ Eifler DA, Eifler MA (1998) Foraging Behavior and Spacing Patterns of the Lizard Cnemidophorus uniparens. J Herpetol 32:24–33
  2. ^ Tollestrup K (1983) The social behavior of two species of closely related leopard lizards, Gambelia silus and Gambelia wislizenii. Z Tierpsychol 62:307–320
  3. ^ Pietruszka RD (1986) Search tactics of desert lizards: how polarized are they? Anim Behav 34:1742–1758
  4. ^ Crews, D. & Fitzgerald, K.T. (1980). "Sexual" behavior in parthenogenetic lizards (Cnemidophorus). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 77, 1. pp. 499-502.
  5. ^ Crews, D., Grassman, M. & Lindzey, J. (1986). Behavioral Facilitation of Reproduction in Sexual and Unisexual Whiptail Lizards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 83, 24. pp. 9547-9550.
  6. ^ Grassman, M. & Crews, D. (1987). Dominance and reproduction in a parthenogenetic lizard. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 21. pp. 141-147.
  7. ^ Collins, H. M. & Pinch, T. J. (1993). The Golem: What You Should Know about Science. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, pp. 109-119.


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