Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard

Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard Aspidoscelis uniparens

Type of Animal:

Desert, desert grasslands, semi-desert grasslands, grassland, low valleys, small valleys, slight slopes, dense shrubbery, dense brittlebush, bajadas, grassland valleys, desert scrub, riparian scrub, woodland, grassy forest openings, inland chaparral, shrubland, arid scrubland

SW US & N Mexico

Long slim lizard w/ long thin tail, 6 yellowish lines run along body, olive to brown coloration fading to faint blue/gray tail, juveniles have bright blue tails

Insects, insect larvae, arachnids

Status in Wild:

Monitoring of protected areas

Solitary or small groups of 3-8 lizards

Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Leap
Female: 0.14 oz
Young: 0.019 oz

2.5-3 months 

Life Span:
7 years

Body Length:
Female: 2.76-3.38 in
Young: 0.5 in

Tail Length:
5.2-6.9 in

Main predators are larger lizards, predatory birds, snakes, & coyotes.
Become sexually mature at 7 months old.
Breed from May-July.
These lizards produce 2-3 egg clutches a year, w/ each clutch having 1-4 eggs.
Active during the day (diurnal), especially in morning & late afternoon.
These lizards move very fast.
Hibernate in cooler months.
These lizards like to dig & dig less in predator-rich areas.
Retreat into burrows/other shelter at night.
Often use tongues to smell surroundings & locate prey.
These lizards/other members of genus Aspidoscelis formerly placed in genus Cnemidophorus.

Fun Fact(s):
These lizards can shed tail if captured, w/ detached tail continuing to wiggle, creating deceptive sense of continued struggle, attracting predator’s attention from fleeing lizard.
These lizards all female, reproducing asexually by parthenogenesis in which eggs undergo chromosome doubling after meiosis, developing into lizards w/o being fertilized. This enables these lizards to reproduce twice as quickly as sexually-reproducing lizards.
These lizards originally resulted from hybridization of Texas Spotted Whiptails & Little Striped Whiptails (both species that reproduce sexually) eventually becoming own species.
While these lizards all female, courtship often occurs between females & pseudo-mating rituals occur that resemble those of whiptail lizards that reproduce sexually.
Pseudo-mating behavior involves more dominant female playing male role biting/mounting, while other female plays stereotypical female role.
These lizards have chromosome triplets paired w/ copies rather than counterparts enabling these animals to have genetic diversity while being completely asexual.

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