Sunday, July 30, 2017

Arizona Desert Whiptail

The western whiptail is one of 11 species of whiptail lizard in the U.S. It, in turn, has eight subspecies, including the Arizona Desert whiptail which is found over much of southern Arizona and quite a ways into Mexico. 
Look at how good the coloring blends in with the rock. This color rock is very plentiful in the area. 
The stripes on the back are very apparent in this photo.
The distinguishing characteristics include four distinct even-edged stripes on the back and a less distinct stripe on each side, although the striping can be vague or absent in some adults. The hind limbs, sides and dark fields often have rounded light spots giving it an overall spotted effect. They also have a darkening of the throat, chest and underside of the fore limbs. In large adults the throat and chest may be black. 
The rounded white spots on the sides are visible in this photo.
I was in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona this weekend and found this whiptail in the Ajo Mountains in Estes Canyon. Whiptails are very difficult to photograph because they rarely stay still. Fortunately, this one paused for a while. 
Note the darkened fore limbs in this photo. 
This picture was with my point and shoot camera. The others were taken with my Canon SLR. Amazing difference in color, and this particular photo was colored up a bit in Lightroom. 


  1. His tail is about twice as long as his body. I wonder if that's so if prey aims for his tail, and he can break away (losing his tail in the process but keeping his life).

  2. That really is quite an impressive tail. It seems like that tail would make it an easy target for a hungry predator.