Arizona Whiptail Lizard Cnemidophorus Teiidae - Stock Image

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An Arizona Whiptail Lizard Cnemidophorus, family Teiidae, hangs upside down from charred tree, studying the photographer. Also called a Racerunner, it is intently alert, defending its position while looking for prey. These lizards occupy low desert scrub through grasslands, woodlands, pine forests and all throughout the Sonoran Desert. They are often found under rocks or nosing around leaf litter. Whiptails feed on a variety of terrestrial invertebrates and occasionally on smaller lizards. In Arizona approximately 60 percent of whiptail species are parthenogenetic, meaning that they reproduce asexually. The species consist entirely of genetically identical females that lay unfertilized eggs, creating a population of clones. Most Sonoran Desert lizards use a variety of behaviors in a purely social context - head bobs, push-ups, open-mouthed gaping, lunging and body shudders. Truly a strange bunch. Yavapai County, Arizona, 2009.Yavapai County, Arizona, 2013.

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