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Aspidoscelis neomexicanus (LOWE & ZWEIFEL, 1952)

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Higher TaxaTeiidae, Teiinae, Gymnophthalmoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: New Mexico Whiptail
S: Huico de Nuevo México 
SynonymCnemidophorus neomexicanus LOWE & ZWEIFEL 1952
Cnemidophorus perplexus BAIRD & GIRARD 1852
Cnemidophorus sexlineatus perplexus — BURT 1935
Cnemidophorus perplexus — TAYLOR 1938: 488
Cnemidophorus perplexus — SMITH 1946
Cnemidophorus perplexus — JAMESON & FLURY 1949
Cnemidophorus neomexicanus — STEBBINS 1985: 154
Cnemidophorus neomexicanus — MASLIN & SECOY 1986
Cnemidophorus neomexicanus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 123
Cnemidophorus neomexicanus — LINER 1994
Aspidoscelis neomexicana — REEDER et al. 2002
Aspidoscelis neomexicanus — PYRON & BURBRINK 2013
Aspidoscelis neomexicana — LEMOS-ESPINAL 2015 
DistributionUSA (W Texas, New Mexico, Arizona [Petrified Forest National Park]), Mexico (N Chihuahua)

Type locality: McDonald Ranch Headquarters, 4,800 feet elevation, 8.7 miles west and 22.8 miles south of new Bingham Post Office, Socorro County, New Mexico”.  
Reproductionoviparous<br /><br />Hybridization: The parthenogenetic species Aspidoscelis neomexicana arose from a hybridization event involving a male A. inornata and a female A. tigris. 
TypesHolotype: MVZ 55807 (Berkeley), female, collected by Charles Lowe Jr on 2 Aug 1947, paratypes: BYU 
CommentWalker et al. 1997 (J. Herpetol. 31(1): 103-10) replaced this name with C. perplexus Baird & Girard, 1852, which has priority. However, Smith et al. 199 proposed to maintain neomexicanus which was supported by ICZN opinion 1929.

“For the past 44 yr, populations of the parthenogenetic New Mexico whiptail lizard have been allocated to either Cnemidophorus perplexus Baird and Girard 1852 or Cnemidophorus neomexicanus Lowe and Zweifel 1952. The latter name has been in general use for the past 30 yr based on an opinion that the lectotype of C. perplexus, United States National Museum (USNM) 3060, was a triploid hybrid derived from insemination of a normally parthenogenetic individual of C. neomexicanus by a male of C. inornatus. Questions concerning the genealogy of the lectotype have recently resurfaced. Therefore, we used canonical variate (CVA) and principal components analyses (PCA) of nine meristic characters and snout-vent length to test the hypothesis that the lectotype of C. perplexus is a hybrid. Because C. neomexicanus and C. inornatus are sympatric at the type locality of the former, this also provided an opportunity to verify that the type of C. neomexicanus is not a hybrid. Our reference material included two sets of geographically paired samples of the presumptive parental species, C. neomexicanus (n = ) and C. inornatus (n = 105) from the vicinity of the restricted type locality of C. perplexus. Of 23 specimens presumed from morphological features to be C. neomexicanus times C. inornatus hybrids, 13 that were syntopic with one of the reference sets were used as our hybrid reference group. The type specimens of C. perplexus and C. neomexicanus were included in the CVA as unknowns for assignment to the hybrid group or taxon with which each shared the greatest multivariate similarity. The CVA assigned the holotype of C. neomexicanus to C. neomexicanus (Set 1: P = 0.642; Set 2: P = 0.358), and the lectotype of C. perplexus was assigned to C. neomexicanus as well (Set 2: P = 0.89; Set 1: P = 0.211). Projections of scores for both types in a principal components analysis of all specimens supported both assignments. In addition, the color pattern of the lectotype resembles C. neomexicanus and none of the 23 hybrids, and meristic scores of the lectotype are within the range limits of our reference samples of C. neomexicanus. Our analyses indicate that the lectotype of C. perplexus was misidentified as a hybrid by previous workers. However, there are two compelling reasons why we shall petition the ICZN to suppress perplexus as an available name for a species of Cnemidophorus: (1) ambiguity concerning the type locality; and (2) controversy as to whether the name C. perplexus should be associated with specimen USNM 3060. Approval of the petition will bring the issue to closure and extend the 30yr use of the name C. neomexicanus for the New Mexico whiptail” (from Taylor & Walker 1996). 
EtymologyNamed after the state of New Mexico. 
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  • Bartlett, R. D. & Bartlett, P. 1999. A Field Guide to Texas Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas, 331 pp.
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  • Bezy, Robert L. 2020. John William Wright— Recollections of Juan Siempre Correcto. Sonoran Herpetologist 33 (3): 83-92
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  • Christiansen, J.L., W.G. Degenhardt & J.E. White 1971. Habitat Preferences of Cnemidophorus inornatus and C. neomexicanus with Reference to Conditions Contributing to their Hybridization Copeia 1971 (2): 357-359. - get paper here
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  • Tucker, Derek B.; Guarino R. Colli, Lilian G. Giugliano, S. Blair Hedges, Catriona R. Hendry, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, Alan R. Lemmon, Jack W. Sites Jr., R. Alexander Pyron 2016. Methodological congruence in phylogenomic analyses with morphological support for teiid lizards (Sauria: Teiidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 103: 75-84 - get paper here
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  • Walker, James M., James E. Cordes, Douglas W. Burkett and James F. Scudday. 2013. Aspidoscelis neomexicana (New Mexico whiptail) habitat. Herpetological Review 44 (2): 318-319 - get paper here
  • Walker, James M., James E. Cordes, Stanley E. Trauth and Glenn J. Manning. 2013. Aspidoscelis neomexicana (New Mexico whiptail) x Aspidoscelis sexlineata viridis (prairie racerunner) duration of hybridization. Herpetological Review 44 (3): 505-507 - get paper here
  • Walker, James M.; Cordes, James E.; Dixon, James R. 2017. Distinguishing characters and variation in Aspidoscelis neomexicana (Squamata: Teiidae): a little known diploid parthenogenetic whiptail lizard in Texas. The Texas Journal of Science 68(2):33-45 - get paper here
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