Checklist of Late Pleistocene Vertebrates of the El Paso Region


This checklist is, in many ways, now outmoded with the web publication of the Pleistocene Vertebrates of New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas. It is being left up as a guide for anyone who wants a quick look at the El Paso Region's Pleistocene vertebrates. However, for more complete data, see the work linked above.

The UTEP Biodiversity Collections unit has been active in paleobiological work for over 46 years. The emphasis always has been on understanding the past regional climate and ecology.

Although much work has been done in southeastern and southwestern New Mexico, the El Paso region has not been neglected. There are more than 180 different fossil vertebrates from the latest ice age (the Wisconsin Age) represented in the LEB collections from within about 60 miles of El Paso. Some are extinct, many no longer occur at comparable latitudes and elevations. Most are small to medium sized animals; although the large extinct forms catch and hold the imagination of most people, the smaller animals generally are best for revealing details of past climate, vegetation, and ecological communities.

Sites involved are Aden Fumerole, Anthony Cave, Conkling Cavern, Pendejo Cave, Robledo Cave, and Shelter Cave.

In the list of fossil vertebrates, extinct taxa are indicated by a "†" in front of the scientific name. Species reported by others, but not present in the LEB collection, have a "*" in front of the name. "?" indicates a very unsure identification; "cf." indicates a likely, but not sure, identification. Identifications are those recorded in the LEB Paleobiology Catalogue or the scientific literature; errors in identifications are possible and, for some groups, likely. As in scientific studies in general, this is a work in progress.

CLASS AMPHIBIA—Salamanders, Frogs, Toads, and Relatives

Order Caudata—Salamanders

 Ambystoma mavortium—Barred Tiger Salamander

Order Anura—Frogs and Toads

*Scaphiopus cf. couchii—Couch's Spadefoot
 Spea multiplicatus—Mexican Spadefoot
 Anaxyrus—True Toads
 Lithobates—True Frogs
*Lithobates cf. pipiens—Leopard Frog

CLASS REPTILIA—Turtles, Snakes, Lizards, Crocodilians, and Relatives

Order Testudines—Turtles

 Terrapene ornata—Ornate Box Turtle
 Gopherus morafkai—Morafka's Tortoise

Order Squamata, Suborder Sauria—Lizards

 Crotaphytus collaris—Eastern Collared Lizard
 Phrynosoma cornutum—Texas Horned Lizard
 Phrynosoma hernandesi—Mountain Short-horned Lizard
 Phrynosoma modestum—Round-tailed Horned Lizard
 Cf. Sceloporus undulatus—Eastern Fence Lizard
 Aspidoscelis ? tigris—Western Whiptail
 Plestiodon obsoletus—Great Plains Skink

Order Squamata, Suborder Serpentes—Snakes

 Arizona elegans—Glossy Snake
*Coluber constrictor—Racer
 Diadophis punctatus—Ring-necked Snake
 Pantherophis emoryi—Great Plains Rat Snake
 Bogertophis subocularis—Trans-Pecos Rat Snake
 Hypsiglena torquata—Night Snake
 Lampropeltis getula—Common Kingsnake
 Lampropeltis pyromelana—Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake
*Masticophis—Coachwhip Snakes
 Masticophis flagellum—Coachwhip
 Pituophis catenifer—Gopher Snake
 Rhinocheilus lecontei—Long-nosed Snake
 ? Salvadora grahamiae—Mountain Patch-nosed Snake
 Cf. Sonora semiannulata—Ground Snake
 ? Thamnophis—Garter Snakes
 Trimorphodon vilkinsonii—Chihuahuan Lyre Snake
*Crotalus atrox—Diamondback Rattlesnake


Order Anseriformes—Ducks, Geese, and Swans

 Cf. Anabernicula—Pygmy Geese
*Anabernicula gracilenta—Graceful Pygmy Goose
*Anas acuta—Northern Pintail
*Anas crecca carolinensis—Green-winged Teal
 Anas cf. platyrhynchos—Mallard
*Branta canadensis—Canada Goose
*Anser ? albifrons—Greater White-fronted Goose

Order Falconiformes—Vultures, Condors, Hawks, and Falcons

*Breagyps clarki—Clark's Condor
 Cathartes aura—Turkey Vulture
 Coragyps occidentalis—Western Vulture
*Gymnogyps californianus—California Condor
 Accipiter striatus—Sharp-shinned Hawk
 Aquila chrysaetos—Golden Eagle
*Buteo ? albonotatus—Zone-tailed Hawk
*Buteo jamaicensis—Red-tailed Hawk
 Buteo cf. swainsoni—Swainson's Hawk
*Buteogallus fragilis—Fragile Eagle
 ? Circus cyaneus—Harrier
*Haliaeetus leucocephalus—Bald Eagle
 Falco mexicanus—Prairie Falcon
*Falco peregrinus—Peregrine Falcon
 Falco sparverius—American Kestrel

Order Galliformes—Prairie Chickens, Grouse, and Turkeys

 Tympanuchus pallidicinctus—Prairie Chicken
*Centrocercus urophasianus—Sage Grouse
*Meleagris crassipes—Bigfoot Turkey
*? Callipepla gambelii—Gambel's Quail
 Callipepla squamata—Scaled Quail
*Oreortyx pictus—Mountain Quail

Order Gruiformes—Cranes and Rails

 Fulica americana—American Coot
*Porzana carolina—Sora

Order Charadriiformes—Plovers, Sandpipers, Gulls, and Relatives


Order Columbiformes—Doves and Pigeons

 Zenaida macroura—Mourning Dove

Order Cuculiformes—Roadrunners and Cuckoos

 Geococcyx californianus californianus—Greater Roadrunner
 Geococcyx californianus conklingi—Conkling's Roadrunner

Order Strigiformes—Owls

 Tyto alba—Barn Owl
*Aegolius acadicus—Northern Saw-whet Owl
*Aegolius funereus—Boreal Owl
 Asio flammeus—Short-eared Owl
*? Asio otus—Long-eared Owl
*Athene cunicularia—Burrowing Owl
 Bubo virginianus—Great Horned Owl
 ? Otus flammeolus—Flammulated Owl

Order Apodiformes—Swifts and Hummingbirds

*Aeronautes saxatilis—White-throated Swift

Order Piciformes—Woodpeckers and Sapsuckers

 Colaptes auratus—Northern Flicker
 Melanerpes lewis—Lewis Woodpecker

Order Passeriformes—Perching Birds

*Sayornis saya—Say's Phoebe
*Eremophila alpestris—Horned Lark
 Aphelocoma californica—Western Scrub Jay
 Corvus corax—Common Raven
 Corvus cryptoleucus—Chihuahuan Raven
 Cyanocitta stelleri—Steller's Jay
 Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus—Pinyon Jay
 Cf. Nucifraga—Nutcrackers
 Pica pica—Black-billed Magpie
 Cf. Sitta pygmaea—Pygmy Nuthatch
 Cf. Campylorhynchos—Cactus Wrens
*Catherpes mexicana—Canyon Wren
 Cf. Salpinctes—Rock Wrens
*Turdus migratorius—American Robin
 Cf. Mimus polyglottos—Northern Mockingbird
*Oreoscoptes montanus—Sage Thrasher
*Toxostoma—American Thrashers
*Lanius ludovicianus—Loggerhead Shrike
 Cf. Amphispiza bilineata—Black-throated Sparrow
 Cf. Calamospiza melanocorys—Lark Bunting
 Cf. Junco—Snow Birds
 Cf. Melospiza—Song Sparrows
*Pipilo erythrophthalmus—Rufous-sided Towhee
*Pipilo fuscus—Brown Towhee
*? Agelaius phoeniceus—Red-winged Blackbird
 Cf. Euphagus cyanocephalus—Brewer's Blackbird
*Molothrus ater—Brown-headed Towhee
*Pyelorhamphus molothroides—Thick-billed Cowbird
 ? Quiscalus quiscula—Common Grackle
 Cf. Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus—Yellow-headed Blackbird
*Carpodacus mexicanus—House Finch


Order Soricomorpha—Shrews and Moles

 Notiosorex dalquesti—Dalquest's Shrew
 Notiosorex harrisi—Harris's Shrew
 Sorex merriami—Merriam's Shrew
 Sorex cf. monticolus—Montane Shrew

Order Pilosa—Sloths

* ? Megalonyx—Megalonyx Ground Sloths
*Nothrotheriops shastensis—Shasta Ground Sloth
* ? Glossotherium—Glossotherium Ground Sloth

Order Chiroptera—Bats

 Antrozous pallidus—Pallid Bat
 Lasiurus cinereus—Hoary Bat
 Myotis californicus/ciliolabrum—California/Small-footed Myotis
 Myotis velifer—Cave Myotis

Order Primates—Monkeys, Apes, and Man

*Homo sapiens—Man

Order Carnivora—Carnivores

*Canis dirus—Dire Wolf
 Canis latrans—Coyote
 Canis lupus—Gray Wolf
 Urocyon cinereoargenteus—Gray Fox
*Vulpes macrotis/velox—Kit/Swift Fox
 Arctodus—Short-faced Bears
 Ursus americanus—Black Bear
 Bassariscus astutus—Ringtail
 Mustela cf. erminea—Ermine
 Mustela frenata—Long-tailed Weasel
 Mustela nigripes—Black-footed Ferret
 Taxidea taxus—Badger
 Cf. Conepatus—Hog-nosed Skunks
 Mephitis mephitis—Striped Skunk
 Spilogale—Spotted Skunks
*Puma concolor—Mountain Lion
 Lynx rufus—Bobcat

Order Proboscidea—Mammoths and Mastodons

 ? Mammuthus—Mammoths

Order Perissodactyla—Tapirs and Horses

 Equus conversidens—Mexican Horse
 Equus niobrarensis—Niobrara Horse

Order Artiodactyla—Split-hooved Ungulates

 Camelops—Extinct Camel
*Camelops hesternus—Yesterday's Camel
 Hemiauchenia macrocephala—Big-headed Llama
 Odocoileus hemionus—Mule Deer
 Antilocapra americana—Pronghorn
 Capromeryx minor—Diminutive Pronghorn
*Stockoceros conklingi—Conkling's Pronghorn
 Bison sp.—Bison
 Ovis canadensis—Bighorn Sheep

Order Rodentia—Rodents

 Ammospermophilus interpres—Texas Antelope Squirrel
 Cynomys gunnisoni—Gunnison's Prairie Dog
 Cynomys ludovicianus—Black-tailed Prairie Dog
 Marmota flaviventris—Yellow-bellied Marmot
 Urocitellus elegans size—Wyoming Ground Squirrel Size
 Xerospermophilus spilosoma—Spotted Ground Squirrel
 Otopermophilus variegatus—Rock Squirrel
 Tamias sp.—Chipmunk (not  T. minimus)
 Tamias minimus—Least Chipmunk
 Cratogeomys castanops—Yellow-faced Pocket Gopher
 Geomys bursarius—Plains Pocket Gopher
 Thomomys bottae—Botta's Pocket Gopher
 Thomomys talpoides—Northern Pocket Gopher
 Dipodomys merriami—Merriam's Kangaroo Rat
 Dipodomys ordii—Ord's Kangaroo Rat
 Dipodomys spectabilis—Bannertail Kangaroo Rat
 Perognathus flavescens/flavus—Plains/Silky Pocket Mouse
 Perognathus flavus—Silky Pocket Mouse
 Chaetodipus intermedius/penicillatus—Rock or Desert Pocket Mouse
 Neotoma albigula—White-throated Packrat
 Neotoma cinerea—Bushy-tailed Packrat
 Neotoma ? goldmani—Goldman's Packrat
 Neotoma mexicana—Mexican Packrat
 Neotoma micropus—Southern Plains Packrat
 Onychomys arenicola—Baird's Grasshopper Mouse
 Onychomys leucogaster—Northern Grasshopper Mouse
 Peromyscus sp.—White-footed Mice
 Reithrodontomys sp.—Harvest Mice
 Sigmodon sp.—Cotton Rats
 Lemmiscus curtatus—Sagebrush Vole
 Microtus mexicanus—Mexican Vole
 Microtus montanus—Montane Vole
 Microtus pennsylvanicus—Meadow Vole
 Erethizon dorsata—Porcupine

Order Lagomorpha—Rabbits and Hares

 Aztlanolagus agilis—Aztlán Rabbit
 Lepus californicus—Black-tailed Jack Rabbit
 Lepus townsendii—White-tailed Jack Rabbit
 Sylvilagus audubonii—Desert Cottontail
 Sylvilagus floridanus—Eastern Cottontail
 Sylvilagus nuttallii—Nuttall's Cottontail


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Last Update: 14 Feb 2012