CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail -
Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi

(Stejneger, 1894)

(= Cnemidophorus hyperythrus beldingi)
Click on a picture for a larger view



Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail California Range Map
Range in California: Red

Dot-locality Range Map


observation link





Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail
  Adult male, San Diego County  
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail
Adult male, San Diego County Adult female, San Diego County
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail
  Adult male, San Diego County  
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail
  Sub-adult, San Diego County  
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail
Juvenile, San Diego County. Small juvenile, Riverside County
© Darren Ramsey
Adult male, San Diego County
© Dick Bartlett
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail
Dorsal view © Patrick Briggs Lateral view © Patrick Briggs Underside © Patrick Briggs
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Great Basin Collared Lizard
Adult male head © Patrick Briggs Whiptails, genus Aspidoscelis, have small granular dorsal scales.
     
Habitat
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Habitat california kingsnake habitat Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Habitat
Habitat, San Diego County Habitat, San Diego County Habitat, San Diego County
Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Habitat Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Habitat Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Habitat
Habitat, San Diego County Habitat, Riverside County Coastal habitat, San Diego County
     
Short Video
  Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail  
  On a cold morning in early Spring, several woozy Orange-throated Whiptails, recently removed from overnight traps during a study in San Diego County coastal sage habitat awkwardly crawl across the ground to freedom.  
   
Description
 
Size
2 - 2 3/4 inches snout to vent (5.1 - 7 cm).

Appearance
A slim-bodied lizard with a long slender tail, a thin snout, and large symmetrical head plates.
Scales on the back are small and granular, and scales on the tail are keeled.

Color and Pattern
The back is unspotted and black, dark brown, or grayish with 6 or fewer pale yellow or whitish stripes.
The throat and often the chest are orange, turning brighter orange during breeding season.
The belly is pale blue-gray or whitish with large, smooth, rectangular scales in 8 lengthwise rows.
The tail color fades to gray in adults. It
The tail can reach up to two times the length of the body.
Young
The tail is blue in juveniles.

Life History and Behavior

Activity
Diurnal.
Wary and very active, moving with abrupt stops and starts, side-to-side head movement, and tongue flicking.
Often seen digging rapidly when foraging.
Difficult to approach - typically foraging near cover, and capable of quick bursts of speed into heavy brush or holes.
Territoriality
Males defend territory against other males with a threat display - arching the back, twitching the tail tip, and pointing the snout at the ground.
Diet and Feeding
Small invertebrates, especially spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and termites, and small lizards.

Breeding
Eggs are laid June - July, hatching in about 2 months.

Geographical Range
Ranges from the Santa Ana River in Orange County, and near Colton in San Bernardino County, west of the Peninsular ranges, south throughout the Baja Peninsula.
Elevational Range
From sea level to aproximately 2,000 ft. (610 m).

Habitat
Semi-arid brushy areas typically with loose soil and rocks, including washes, streamsides, rocky hillsides, and coastal chaparral.

Notes on Taxonomy
Formerly placed in the genus Cnemidophorus.

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Populations of this lizard are fragmented. It inhabits only about 25 percent of its former range. Much of the habitat it needs for survival has been destroyed by development.
Taxonomy
Family Teiidae Whiptails and Racerunners Gray, 1827
Genus Aspidoscelis Whiptails (formerly Cnemidophorus) Fitzinger, 1843
Species hyperythra Orange-throated Whiptail (Cope, 1863)
Subspecies

beldingi Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail (Stejneger, 1894)
Original Description
Cnemidophorus hyperythrus Cope, 1863 - Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Vol. 15, p. 103
Cnemidophorus hyperythrus beldingi - Stejneger, 1894 - Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., Vol. 17, p. 17

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
(Cnemidophorus - Gr. knemidos greaves and Gr. phoros wearing - refers to the large scales on forelegs)
Aspidoscelis -
shield leg
hyperythrus
- Greek - hyper above, beyond, over and erythros red - referring to the throat color
beldingi - honors Belding, Lyman

from Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained © Ellin Beltz

Alternate Names
Orange-throated Whiptail

Formerly placed in the Genus Cnemidophorus
Cnemidophorus hyperythrus - Orange-throated whiptail (no subspecies recognized)

Related or Similar California Lizards
A. t. stejnegeri - Coastal Whiptail
A. t. munda - California Whiptail
A. t. tigris - Great Basin Whiptail
E. s. interparietalis - Coronado Skink

More Information and References
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Stebbins, Robert C., and McGinnis, Samuel M.  Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Revised Edition (California Natural History Guides) University of California Press, 2012.

Stebbins, Robert C. California Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of California Press, 1972.

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.

Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Powell, Robert., Joseph T. Collins, and Errol D. Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. The University Press of Kansas, 1998.

Bartlett, R. D. & Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Turtles and Lizards of Western North America (North of Mexico) and Hawaii. University Press of Florida, 2009.

Jones, Lawrence, Rob Lovich, editors. Lizards of the American Southwest: A Photographic Field Guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009.

Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Lizards, Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Cornell University Press, 1946.

Grismer, L. Lee. Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California, Including Its Pacific Islands and the Islands in the Sea of Cortés. The University of California Press, 2002.

McPeak, Ron H. Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California. Sea Challengers, 2000.

Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.



Organization
Status Listing
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife DFG:SSC California Species of Special Concern
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None


 

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