Aspidoscelis gypsi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Teiidae

Scientific Name: Aspidoscelis gypsi (Wright & Lowe, 1993)
Common Name(s):
English Little White Whiptail
Cnemidophorus gypsi Wright & Lowe, 1993
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon was first described as a subspecies of Cnemidophorus inornatus (Aspidoscelis inornata). Crother et al. (2000) and Collins and Taggart (2002) treated it as a distinct species. Samples from Edge of Sands have characteristics that suggest earlier gene exchange with Aspidoscelis inornata llanuras; there is no evidence at present for direct contact between gypsi and llanuras (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: Vulnerable D2 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 Vulnerable because it is known from only a single location.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to a small area in the southwest of the United States. Its range includes the White Sands region, in south-central New Mexico (Wright and Lowe 1993). The White Sands region encompasses about 712 sq. km, and the lizard inhabits only a portion of this area.
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The entire range of this species can be regarded as comprising only one occurrence or subpopulation. The total adult population size is unknown but may exceed 10,000 (assuming at least 10 adults per ha [1,000 per sq. km] over at least 10 sq. km; however, density and area of occupancy are unknown). Population trends are unknown but probably stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This lizard is restricted or nearly restricted to dunes of white sand (Wright and Lowe 1993). Dixon (1967) reported finding individuals as far as 50 m from the dunes, on what he called "adobe soil."

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats have been identified.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This lizard occurs on the White Sands National Monument and White Sands Missile Range.

Classifications [top]

8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
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
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
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 Queiroz, K., Frost, D.R., Highton, R.H., Iverson, J.B., Meylan, P.A., Reeder, T.W., Seidel, M.E., Sites Jr., J.W., Taggart, T.W., Tilley, S.G. and Wake, D.B. 2000. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetological Circular No. 29. 82 pp.

Dixon, J.R. 1967. Aspects of the biology of the lizards of the White Sands, New Mexico. Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Contributions in Science 129: 1-22.

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

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

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 gypsi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T64269A12759727. . Downloaded on 23 April 2018.
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