Aspidoscelis arizonae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Teiidae

Scientific Name: Aspidoscelis arizonae
Species Authority: (Van Denburgh, 1896)
Common Name(s):
English Arizona Striped Whiptail
Cnemidophorus arizonae Van Denburgh, 1896
Taxonomic Notes: This species was treated as a subspecies of Cnemidophorus inornatus (Aspidoscelis inornata) by Wright and Lowe (1993). Crother et al. (2000) and Collins and Taggart (2002) recognized it as a distinct species. Stebbins (2003) included A. arizonae in A. inornata, in which he did not recognize any subspecies.

This species formerly may have hybridized or intergraded with Aspidoscelis inornata llanuras in southwestern New Mexico (Wright and Lowe 1993).

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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Near Threatened because although populations appear to be stable, the small extent of occurrence (less than 5,000 km²) and small area of occupancy (less than 500 km²) may qualify the species for listing in one of the threatened categories (under criteria B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)) if populations begin to decline as a result of habitat changes.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the southwest of the United States. Its small range historically included the area in the vicinity of Willcox (Cochise County) Arizona, the vicinity of Fairbank (Cochise County), and the Hackberry Ranch in Whitlock Valley (Graham County), Arizona (Wright and Lowe 1993, Sullivan et al. 2005). Surveys in 2000-2003 found the species near Willcox and near Bonita (where not previously recorded in Graham County) but not at Fairbank or Whitlock Valley (Sullivan et al. 2005). The Fairbank locality appears to be erroneous and probably represents the base of operations rather than the collection locality (Sullivan et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In a range-wide survey, Sullivan et al. (2005) found this species at 12 sites in two general areas. Total adult population size is unknown but probably at least several thousand. Sullivan et al. (2005) noted that "relatively large numbers" were seen at three sites. Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size appear not to have changed very much from the historical situation (Sullivan et al. 2005). Wright and Lowe (1993) reported that this species is "fairing badly" in Whitlock Valley, where it occurs in syntopy with a healthy population of Aspidoscelis tigris in an overgrazed, shrubby habitat. However, Sullivan et al. (2005) concluded that the overall distribution and probably abundance appear to have been stable at least over the past 50 years.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is primarily a grassland species (Wright and Lowe 1993).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species appears to be holding its own despite habitat changes from heavy cattle grazing and the presence of a potential competitor (Aspidoscelis uniparens). Sullivan et al. (2005) found no evidence of replacement of A. arizonae by A. uniparens over the past several decades, even in area subject to heavy grazing. A. arizonae was associated with relatively open grasslands, whereas A. uniparens was often found in habitats with numerous invader shrubs (e.g., mesquite), regardless of grazing activity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Protection status is unknown, but probably most of the occurrences are not well protected.

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Collins, J.T. and Taggart, T.W. 2002. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians, turtles, reptiles and crocodilians. Fifth edition. Publication of The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrence, Kansas. Iv + 44pp.

Crother, B.I., Boundy, J., Campbell, J.A., de Quieroz, K., Frost, D., Green, D.M., Highton, R., Iverson, J.B., McDiarmid, R.W., Meylan, P.A., Reeder, T.W., Seidel, M.E., Sites Jr, J.W., Tilley, S.G. and Wake, D.B. 2003. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico: update. Herpetological Review 34: 196-203.

IUCN. 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 12th September 2007).

Reeder, T.W., Cole, C.J. and Dessauer, H.C. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of whiptail lizards of the genus Cnemidophorus (Squamata: Teiidae): a test of monophyly, reevaluation of karyotypic evolution, and review of hybrid origins. American Museum Novitates 3365: 1-64.

Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Sullivan, B.K., Hamilton, B.S. and Kwiatkowski, M.A. 2005. The Arizona striped whiptail: past and present. USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-36, pp. 145-148.

Wright, J.W. and Lowe, C.H. 1993. Synopsis of the subspecies of the little striped whiptail lizard, Cnemidophorus inornatus Baird. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 27: 129-157.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Aspidoscelis arizonae. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T64249A12758477. . Downloaded on 01 May 2017.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided