Subject: Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard
Location: Tampa, Florida, USA
May 11, 2016 8:44 pm
I discovered this lizard in my Tampa, Florida backyard. According to wikipedia**, it ventured far!
Habitat: The desert grassland whiptail is mostly found in the deserts of southern to central Arizona and along the Rio Grande river in New Mexico. It is also found in the deserts of northern Mexico. A. uniparens is commonly found in low valleys, grasslands, and slight slopes.
**Some have argued that the species’ range is expanding due to overgrazing.
Signature: Leapin Lizards
Dear Leapin Lizards,
While we agree that your individual greatly resembles the Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard, Aspidoscelis uniparens, pictured on Reptiles of Arizona, Florida is so far from its range in Arizona and New Mexico, we do not believe overgrazing has caused it to naturally spread to your yard. Florida is no stranger to non-native species, and we believe keeping exotic pets, and a parthenogenic species that does not need sexual contact to reproduce since all individuals are females that lay viable eggs without a mate really does constitute being an exotic pet, could result in an accidental or intentional introduction to your habitat. While we acknowledge that possibility, we question your identification. We believe this is far more likely a Six Lined Racerunner, Aspidoscelis sexlineata, a native, related species from the same genus that looks quite similar. The Six Lined Racerunner is pictured on the Florida Museum of Natural History site.