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Wildlife Diploid Checkered Whiptail Page


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 Diploid Checkered Whiptail
 Cnemidophorus tesselatus

Habitat: Typical habitat in Colorado for this ground-dwelling species consists of the bottoms, slopes, and escarpments of rocky canyons, often where grassland or grassy-weedy associations meet open juniper woodland.

Food and Predators: These lizards feed opportunistically on available invertebrates. In southeastern Colorado, the adult diet includes various arthropods, particularly grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, ants, termites, and bugs; hatchlings eat mainly mites, spiders, termites, and leafhoppers (Paulissen et al. 1993).

Predators are poorly known. In southern New Mexico, nesting Swainson’s hawks (Buteo swainsoni) occasionally prey on this species (Pilz 1983).

Recognition: Body and tail long and slender; dorsum with small granular scales; belly with larger rectangular scales; scales along front edge of fold of skin across throat conspicuously enlarged; paravertebral pale stripes gray-tan to tan or gold, irregular in outline, interrupted, and/or fused with bars; mid-dorsal (vertebral) stripe gray-tan to tan (or absent), single and irregular, or doubled or partly doubled; lowermost lateral stripe gray, irregular, and/or interrupted and fused with spots and/or bars (these stripes may be partly or entirely lost in older individuals); area between two uppermost pale stripes (not counting the vertebral line) on each side of dorsum with pale spots, either longitudinally fused into supernumerary line or transversely expanded into bars; dorsal surface of thighs with profuse pale spotting and some spots fused.

Distribution: Discontinuous from southeastern Colorado (extending north to the vicinity of the Ninemile Valley of the Purgatoire River at Higbee, Otero County) south through extreme western and southwestern Oklahoma, New Mexico, possibly extreme southeastern Arizona, western Texas, and well into Chihuahua, Mexico, along the Río Conchos (Walker, Cordes, and Taylor 1997).


Status: This species is not listed.


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Diploid Checkered Whiptail Specific Links
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