Little striped whiptail

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Little striped whiptail
Three species of whiptail: little striped whiptail (C. inornatus), New Mexico whiptail (C. neomexicanus) and tiger whiptail (C. tigris).
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Teiidae
Genus: Cnemidophorus
Species: C. inornatus
Binomial name
Cnemidophorus inornatus
Baird, 1859

Cnemidophorus perplexus
Van Denburgh, 1922
Cnemidophorus gularis velox
Springer, 1928
Aspidoscelis inornata
Reeder, 2002

The little striped whiptail (Cnemidophorus inornatus) is a species of lizard found in the southwestern United States (in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) and in northern Mexico (in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, and Nuevo León). A significant amount of research was done on the species during the mid-1990s, with several new subspecies being added, many of which some sources consider to be distinct enough to warrant full species status, and the research is ongoing. It is called little to distinguish it from many other species known as striped whiptails and to indicate that it is the smallest of those species.


The little striped whiptail grows from 6.5 to 9.5 inches in length. It is typically black in color, with yellow or white striping from head to tail, and a light blue underside. It is slender bodied, with a blue colored tail approximately three times the body length. The blue coloration is much more pronounced on males than females. They aren't always striped or blue, sometimes they are brown with darker patches to blend in with the sand or dirt.


Like most species of whiptail lizard, the little striped whiptail is diurnal and insectivorous. They are wary, energetic, and fast moving, darting for cover if approached. They are found in a range of habitats, from grasslands to semi-aridm rocky slopes. Breeding takes place in the late spring, and clutches of 2 to 4 eggs are laid from May to July and hatch approximately six weeks later. The whiptail species eat crickets and other insects that live in Arizona. They are very fast in speed and quick to dive under a cactus if necessary.


There are eight recognized subspecies of Cnemidophorus inornatus: