Marbled Whiptail (Cenmidophorus marmoratus)

The Marbled Whiptail (Cenmidophorus marmoratus) is a species of lizard found in the United States, in southern New Mexico and Texas, and in northern Mexico, in Coahuila, Chihuahua and Durango.


The Marbled Whiptail grows from 8 to 12 inches in length. It is grey or black overall in color with 4 to 8 yellow or white stripes, often with dark mottling, giving it a marbled appearance. Their underside is white or pale yellow, with a peach coloration on the throat. They are slender bodied, with long tails.


Like most other species of whiptail lizards, the Marbled Whiptail is diurnal and insectivorous. It is wary, energetic, and fast moving, darting for cover if approached. Its preferred habitat is semiarid, sandy areas with sparse vegetation, or the open edges of wooded areas. Breeding takes place in the spring, with up to four eggs laid sometime in the month of May. The eggs hatch in six to eight weeks. A second clutch of eggs is occasionally laid in mid summer. Hatchlings look much like the adults, except they have bright blue colored tails.


There are two recognized subspecies of C. marmoratus:

  • Cnemidophorus marmoratus marmoratus (Baird & Girard, 1852)
  • Cnemidophorus marmoratus reticuloriens (Vance, 1978)



Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Photograph is available under a Creative Commons License from Franco Folini.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

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