Aspidoscelis sp.—Whiptails // Aspidoscelis (small)—Small-sized Whiptail // Aspidoscelis (large)—Large-sized Whiptail // Aspidoscelis (A. tigris size)—Western Whiptail Size // Aspidoscelis tigris—Western Whiptail
Synonyms. Cnemidophorus. Reeder, Cole, and Dessauer (2002) assigned North American species north of Mexico that were earlier assigned to Cnemidophorus to the genus Aspidoscelis Fitzinger 1843.
A number of species of whiptail lizards occur in the Southwest, with osteological differences little studied. The various species differ notably in habitat requirements, but most require relatively benign temperature regimes. Asplund (1974) suggested that smaller species tend to inhabit more open habitats while the larger species tend to live in more shaded areas.
Literature. Asplund 1974; Reeder et al. 2002.
Late Blancan: California Wash (Lindsay 1984).
Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Rickart 1977); Desert Almond (Van Devender et al. 1977a).
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Balcony Room (UTEP); Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984); Fowlkes Cave (Parmley and Bahn 2012).
Literature. Lindsay 1984; Mead et al. 1984; Parmley and Bahn 2012; Rickart 1977; Van Devender et al. 1977a.
Van Devender and Worthington (1977) noted a number of elements of Aspidoscelis from Howell's Ridge Cave that were smaller than those of A. tigris, but unidentifiable to species.
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Howell's Ridge Cave (Van Devender and Worthington 1977).
Literature. Van Devender and Worthington 1977.
Applegarth (1979) inspected 743 identifiable lizard items from Dark Canyon Cave without finding Aspidoscelis, leading him to suggest that Rickart's (1977) record from that cave may have represented contamination from the post-Pleistocene. He also suggested that the apparent absence of whiptails from the Pleistocene of Dark Canyon Cave and Dry Cave "may have been due to a relatively dense growth of grasses at that time" (p. 108).
Mid Wisconsin: U-Bar Cave (Harris 1987).
Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Rickart 1977); Deadman Cave (Mead et al. 1984).
Literature. Applegarth 1979; Harris 1987; Mead et al. 1984; Rickart 1977.
Only three whiptail elements from New Mexico seem to surely be Pleistocene in age (assuming Applegarth, 1979, is correct in assigning the Dark Canyon Cave specimen to the post-Pleistocene). The two specimens from the terminal Wisconsin deposits of Dry Cave are large, the size of the Western Whiptail. The U-Bar Cave specimen also is a large whiptail, but is mid-Wisconsin in age. The Pendejo Cave specimens both appear to be intrusive, and the Balcony Room specimen likely is Holocene.
Mid Wisconsin: U-Bar Cave (Harris 1993c: as Cnemidophorus [large]);
Mid/Late Wisconsin: Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003)
Late Wisconsin: Pendejo Cave (UTEP); TT II (Harris 1993c).
Literature. Applegarth 1979; Harris 1993c, 2003.
Van Devender and Worthington (1977) identified frontals from Howell's Ridge Cave as certainly A. tigris based on the rugose dorsal surface of the frontals; a number of other elements attributable to the genus were not surely identifiable to species but were consistent in size with this lizard.
Fig. 1. Western Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris). Photograph by Carl S. Lieb.
Late Wisconsin: Picacho Peak (Van Devender et al. 1991); Vulture Cave (Mead and Phillips 1981: cf.); Vulture Canyon (Van Devender et al. 1997a: cf.); Wolcott Peak (Mead and Phillips 1981: cf.).
Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Howell's Ridge Cave (Van Devender and Worthington 1977: cf.).
Literature. Mead 2005; Mead and Phillips 1981; Van Devender and Worthington 1977; Van Devender et al. 1977a.
Last Update: 4 Mar 2013