Texas spotted whiptail (Cnemidophorus gularis)

The Texas spotted whiptail (Cnemidophorus gularis) is a species of long-tailed lizard native to the southern United States, in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and northern Mexico in Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Veracruz.

Texas spotted whiptails grow 6.5 to 11 inches (17 to 28 cm) inches in length. They are typically a tan brown or green-brown in color, with a pattern of seven distinct grey or white stripes that run the length of the body, and stop at the tail, with light colored spots along the sides. Their underside is uniformly white in color. Males often have a red colored throat, blue belly, and black or blue patches on their chest, while females have only a pink colored throat. Their tail is long compared to the body, usually close to three times their body length. It is usually a uniform peach or tan color.


C. gularis are diurnal and insectivorous. They are highly active and found in a wide variety of habitats, from grassland and semi-arid regions, to canyons and rocky terrain, typically not far from a permanent water source. Breeding occurs in the spring, and a clutch of 1-5 eggs is laid in the early summer.


Some sources list six subspecies of the Texas Spotted Whiptail:

  • Cnemidophorus gularis gularis (Baird & Girard, 1852)
  • Cnemidophorus gularis colossus (Dixon, Lieb & Ketchersid, 1971)
  • Cnemidophorus gularis pallidus (Duellmand & Zweifel, 1962)
  • Cnemidophorus gularis rauni (Walker, 1967)
  • Cnemidophorus gularis semiannulatus (Walker, 1967)
  • Cnemidophorus gularis semifasciatus (Cope, 1892)


Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Photograph is available under a Creative Commons License from C.V. Vick.

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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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