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Holbrookia lacerata COPE, 1880

IUCN Red List - Holbrookia lacerata - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaPhrynosomatidae, Phrynosomatinae, Callisaurini; Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Spot-tailed Earless Lizard, Plateau Earless Lizard, Northern Spot-tailed Earless Lizard
S: Lagartija Cola Punteada 
SynonymHolbrookia lacerata COPE 1880: 15
Holbrookia lacerata — BOULENGER 1885: 209
Holbrookia maculata lacerata — COPE 1900
Holbrookia lacerata — SCHMIDT 1922: 718
Holbrookia maculata lacerata — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 83
Holbrookia lacerata lacerata — AXTELL 1956
Holbrookia lacerata — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 101
Holbrookia lacerata — CROTHER 2000
Holbrookia lacerata lacerata — CROTHER et al. 2012
Holbrookia lacerata lacerata — ROELKE et al. 2018
Holbrookia lacerata — HIBBITTS et al. 2019 
DistributionUSA (S/C Texas),
Mexico (NE Coahuila, N Nuevo Leon, NW Tamaulipas ?)

lacerata: USA (Texas); Type locality: not given by COPE 1880 but said to be "Erath County, west of the upper Brazos .... in Comanche County," and "on the Guadalupe River in Kendall or Comal County." Revised by Axtell (1956:172) to "within a circle with a three mile radius from Helotes [29° 35' N, 98° 41' W], Bexar County, Texas".

subcaudalis: Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas ?, N Nuevo Leon), USA (Texas); Type locality: "In plowed field 4.8 miles east northeast (27° 36' N, 97° 45' W) of Bishop, Nueces County, Texas. Elevation 75 feet."  
TypesLectotype: USNM 10160A, adult male (selected from 2 syntypes by Axtell 1956: 172) 
DiagnosisDescription: “Although I fully agree with Stejneger (1890, p. 110) as to the difficulty of distinguishing certain H. lacerata from H. maculata maculata, I regard lacerata as specifically distinct. The most distinctive color characters, the presence of subcaudal black spots in both sexes, and the absence of lateroventral black spots in the male are not invariable; two of the seven specimens before me lack the subcaudal spots and the lateroventral spots are absent in two specimens, faint in two, and distinct in two. Most specimens are characterized by perfectly flat, smooth scales, considerably larger than in maculata maculata; but one large specimen (U. S. N. M. No. 46697) from Sabinas, Coahuila, Mexico, while agreeing exactly in coloration with lacerata, has the small tuberculate scales of maculata maculata or maculata approximans. The flat scales seem to relate lacerata to the elegans-pulchra group of H olbrookia. It is possible that, although genetically distinct from maculata, it may occasionally hybridize with it, as the specific distinctions in H olbrookia are admittedly close.” (Schmidt 1922: 718).

DEFINITION. “A medium-sized Holbrookia with an average snout-vent length of about 59 and a maximum of 71 mm. The tail is circular in transverse section (not dorsoventrally flattened) and about as long as the head and body in adult males, but slightly shorter in adult females. The sum of femoral pores varies from 21 to 41. Two series of dusky brown dorsal blotches (paravertebral and dorsolateral), on a gray to grayish tan ground color, extend from occiput to groin. The paravertebral blotches continue as paired chevrons to the tail tip. The dorsal blotches are distinct (never obliterated by the fine pale speckling present in male H. maculata or H. propinqua), and completely encircled by a black border with a white outer margin. Dorsally, the limbs resemble the trunk and tail in coloration and blotching. The ventral coloration is usually opaque white, with concentrations of melanophores interrupting the whiteness of the gular region, along the lateral margins of the trunk, and beneath the tail. Gular marks, when present, consist of pale grayish spots or lines radiating from the mid-gular region anterolaterally. The small, rounded, lateral abdominal dark spots (as contrasted with the more elongate blotches of H. maculata and H. propinqua) vary from only a trace of pigmentation to six well-defined spots on each side. There is no brightly colored (blue or green) areola surrounding the lateral spots. The rounded subcaudal spots (not transverse bands) are invariably present but vary greatly in pigmentation and number. The neck, trunk and base of the tail become pale yellow or yellowish green in gravid females. This coloration is lost after oviposition. Males show less tendency for color change during the breeding season but occasional individuals may develop a female-like yellowish suffusion along the lateral fold, and in some populations, an orange-red coloration laterally on the neck.” (Axtell 1968) 
CommentDistribution: Axtell 1956: 164 pointed out that Erath and Comanche counties are actually outside the range of H. lacerata. The revised type locality is that indicated on the tag of the lectotype. The Holbrookia in Erath and Comanche Co. is H. maculata perspicua (R. Axtell, pers. comm., 11 Oct 2014). 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin term lacerare "torn; mangled," presumably referring to the conspicuous serrations on the posterior edges of the dorsal blotches. 
  • Axtell, R.W. & De Queiroz, K. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Holbrookia lacerata lacerata (Northern Spot-tailed Earless Lizard). Herpetological Review 48 (4): 812 - get paper here
  • Axtell, Ralph W. 1956. A solution to the long neglected Holbrookia lacerata problem, and the description of two new subspecies of Holbrookia. Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences 10 (11): 163-179
  • Axtell, Ralph W. 1968. Holbrookia lacerata. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (56): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Bartlett, R. D. & Bartlett, P. 1999. A Field Guide to Texas Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas, 331 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. and T. W. Taggart 2009. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Sixth Edition. Center for North American Herpetology, 48 pp.
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Cope, E.D. 1880. On the zoological position of Texas. Bull. US Natl. Mus., No. 17: 1-51 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. 2000. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Herpetological Circular 29: 1-82
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Duran, C. M., Anderson, W. M. & Perry, G. 2012. Geographic distribution: Holbrookia lacerata lacerata (northern spot-tailed earless lizard). Herpetological Review 43: 305-306 - get paper here
  • Lazcano D, Nevárez-de los Reyes M, García-Padilla E, Johnson JD, Mata-Silva V, DeSantis DL, Wilson LD. 2019. The herpetofauna of Coahuila, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13(2) [General Section]: 31–94 (e189) - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal, J.A. & Smith, H.M. 2007. Amphibians and reptiles of the state of Coahuila, Mexico. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 550 pp.
  • Liner, Ernest A. 2007. A CHECKLIST OF THE AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF MEXICO. Louisiana State University Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural Science 80: 1-60 - get paper here
  • Liner, Ernest A.;Montanucci, Richard R.;González-Alonso, Arturo;Mendoza Quijano, Fernando 1993. An additional contribution to the herpetology of Northern Coahuila, Mexico. Bol. Soc. Herpetol. Mex. 5 (1): 9-11 - get paper here
  • Maldonado, Jose A. 2022. Signatures of Genome Evolution in Two Divergent Lizard Species from Texas. PhD thesis, UTA, - get paper here
  • Marr, John C. 1944. Notes on amphibians and reptiles from the Central United States. American Midland Naturalist 32: 478-490 - get paper here
  • Neuharth, D B; Frizzell, S L; Ryberg, W A & Hibbitts, T J 2018. Holbrookia lacerata (Spot-tailed Earless Lizard) Predation. Herpetological Review 49 (3): 537 - get paper here
  • Neuharth, D B; Walkup, D K; Frizzell, S L; Kachel, J Z; Adams, C S; Johnson, T E; Hibbitts, T J & Ryberg, W A 2018. Holbrookia lacerata (Spot-tailed Earless Lizard) Burying behavior. Herpetological Review 49 (3): 536-537 - get paper here
  • Nevárez-de-los-Reyes, Manuel, David Lazcano, Elí García-Padilla, Vicente Mata-Silva, Jerry D. Johnson and Larry David Wilson. 2016. The Herpetofauna of Nuevo León, Mexico: Composition, Distribution, and Conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (3): 558–638 - get paper here
  • RANGEL, E. DRAKE; CHRISTIN MOELLER, LUKE WILLARD, SCOTT HENKE, CORD B. EVERSOLE & RUBY AYALA. 2022. Approach tolerance and escape distances of Plateau, (Holbrookia lacerata) and Tamaulipan, (Holbrookia subcaudalis), Spot-tailed Earless Lizards. Herpetology Notes 15: 267–270. - get paper here
  • RANGEL, E. DRAKE; SCOTT E. HENKE, CHRISTIN MOELLER, LUKE WILLARD, CORD B. EVERSOLE & RUBY AYALA. 2022. HOLBROOKIA LACERATA (Plateau Spot-tailed Earless Lizard) and HOLBROOKIA SUBCAUDALIS (Tamaulipan Spot-tailed Earless Lizard). HABITAT USE. Herpetological Review 53(3): 498.
  • RANGEL, E. DRAKE; SCOTT E. HENKE, CHRISTIN MOELLER, LUKE WILLARD, CORD B. EVERSOLE & RUBY AYALA. 2022. HOLBROOKIA LACERATA (Plateau Spot-tailed Earless Lizard) and HOLBROOKIA SUBCAUDALIS (Tamaulipan Spot-tailed Earless Lizard). BURYING BEHAVIOR. Herpetological Review 53(3): 497–498.
  • Roelke, Corey E.; Jose A. Maldonado, Blake W. Pope, Thomas J. Firneno Jr, Travis J. Laduc, Toby J. Hibbitts, Wade A. Ryberg, Nathan D. Rains & Matthew K. Fujita 2018. Mitochondrial genetic variation within and between Holbrookia lacerata lacerata and Holbrookia lacerata subcaudalis, the spot-tailed earless lizards of Texas. Journal of Natural History 52: 1017-1027
  • Walkup, D K; Adams, C S; Ryberg, W A & Hibbitts, T J; 2018. Holbrookia lacerata (Spot-tailed Earless Lizard) Predation. Herpetological Review 49 (4): 742-743 - get paper here
  • Weidler, J M 2019. Protected areas of Texas in relation to Texas reptiles. Herpetological Review 50 (3): 462-473 - get paper here
  • Werning, H. 2017. Der große Treck – Teil 5. Don’t mess with Texas. Reptilia (Münster) 22 (128): 68-79 - get paper here
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