Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti

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Motagua Valley beaded lizard[1]
Conservation status
CITES Appendix I (CITES)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Helodermatidae
Genus: Heloderma
Species: H. horridum
Subspecies: H. h. charlesbogerti
Trinomial name
Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti
Campbell and Vannini, 1988[2]

The Motagua Valley beaded lizard, Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti, is a highly endangered subspecies of beaded lizard, a venomous lizard endemic to the dry forests of the Motagua Valley in southeastern Guatemala,[3] an ecoregion known as the Motagua Valley thornscrub.[4] It is the only allopatric subspecies, separated from the nearest population of beaded lizards (H. h. alvarezi) by 250 km of unsuitable habitat.[2] The Motagua Valley beaded lizard is the rarest and most endangered subspecies of beaded lizard and it is believed that fewer than 200 of these animals exist in the wild, making it one of the most endangered lizards in the world.[5] In 2007 it was transferred from appendix II to appendix I of CITES because of its critical conservation status.[6]


The Motagua Valley beaded lizard belongs to the family Helodermatidae which forms part of a clade of reptiles with toxin secreting glands.[7] Apart from being the only allopatric population of Heloderma horridum this subspecies differs from other subspecies in coloration and size, being the smallest one. Home ranges and behavior of these lizards were investigated using radio-telemetry at the dry forests of Zacapa, Guatemala.[8] The average home range for individuals was found to be 130 ha.[8]

This subspecies was first discovered in 1984 by an agricultural laborer named D. Vasquez in Guatemala's Motagua Valley.[2][5] Its generic name Heloderma means "studded skin", from the Ancient Greek words hêlos (ηλος)—the head of a nail or stud—and derma (δερμα), meaning skin. Its specific name, horrĭdum, is the Latin word meaning rough or rude. Its subspecific name is after US herpetologist Charles Mitchill Bogert.[2][5]


H. h. charlesbogerti dwells in arroyos characterized by high densities of bird nests of doves and parakeets, whose eggs form the primary component of its diet.[9] These birds nest closer to the ground in these arroyos in trees with branches thick enough to support the weight of this heavy-bodied lizard.[9] It is known to prey upon insects, such as beetles and crickets.[8] The eggs of the Guatemalan Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura palearis), an endangered species endemic to the same region, are an important food source for the Motagua Valley beaded lizard, thereby possibly linking the status of the two.[10]


  1. ^ "Heloderma horridum charlesborgeti". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d Campbell, Jonathan A.; Jay P. Vannini (1988). "A new subspecies of beaded lizard, Heloderma horridum, from the Motagua Valley of Guatemala". Journal of Herpetology 22 (4): 457–468. doi:10.2307/1564340. JSTOR 1564340. 
  3. ^ Ariano-Sánchez, D. & G. Salazar. (2007). "Notes on the distribution of the endangered lizard, Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti, in the dry forests of eastern Guatemala: an application of multi-criteria evaluation to conservation"'. Iguana 14: 152-158.
  4. ^ "Motagua Valley thornscrub". World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  5. ^ a b c Beck, Daniel D. (2005). Biology of Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards (Organisms and Environments). University of California Press. p. 247. ISBN 0-520-24357-9. 
  6. ^ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. 2007. Resume of the 14th Convention of the Parts. The Hague. The Netherlands.
  7. ^ Ariano-Sánchez, D. (2008). "Envenomation by a wild Guatemalan beaded lizard Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti"'. Clinical toxicology. 46 (9): 897-899.
  8. ^ a b c Ariano-Sánchez, D. (2006). "The Guatemalan beaded lizard: endangered inhabitant of a unique ecosystem". Iguana 13: 178-183.
  9. ^ a b Ariano Sánchez, Daniel (2003) Distribución e historia natural del escorpión, heloderma horridum charlesbogerti Campbell y Vannini, (Sauria:Helodermatidae) en Zacapa, Guatemala y caracterización de su veneno. Guatemala : U.V.G., p. 68.
  10. ^ Coti, P.; D. Ariano (2008). "Ecology and traditional use of the Guatemalan black iguana (Ctenosaura palearis) in the dry forests of the Motagua Valley, Guatemala". Iguana 15 (3): 142–149. 

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