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Heloderma horridum (WIEGMANN, 1829)

IUCN Red List - Heloderma horridum - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaHelodermatidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Mexican Beaded Lizard
G: Skorpions-Krustenechse
S: Escorpión 
SynonymTrachyderma horridum WIEGMANN 1829: 421
Heloderma horridum — WIEGMANN 1829
Heloderma hernandesii WIEGMANN 1834
Heloderma horridum — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 499
Heloderma horridum — SUMICHRAST 1864: 497
Heloderma horridum — BOULENGER 1885: 301
Heloderma horridum — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 193
Heloderma horridum — WERMUTH 1963: 1
Heloderma horridum horridum — HARDY 1969: 152
Heloderma horridum — STEBBINS 1985: 169
Heloderma horridum — LINER 1994
Heloderma horridum — KÖHLER 2000: 51
Heloderma horridum — REISERER et al. 2013
Heloderma horridum — MATA-SILVA et al. 2015
Heloderma horridum — SCHUETT & REISERER 2017 
DistributionMexico (Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, Morelos, W Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Durango)

Type locality: Mexico; restricted to Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico (BOGERT & MARTIN DEL CAMPO 1956). TAYLOR (1969) stated that the type was collected at “Tehuantepec”.  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 483 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Bogert & Martin del Campo 1956: 21 

Subspecies: all previous subspecies have been elevated to full species status by Reiserer et al. 2013.

Type species: Trachyderma horridum WIEGMANN 1829 is the type species of the genus Heloderma WIEGMANN 1829 and of the family Helodermatidae.

Distribution: for a map see Reiserer et al. 2013: Fig. 7. 
EtymologyApparently named after the venomous bite of this species (and its relatives) which is unique among lizards.

The genus was named after Greek helo = wart; derma = skin. The genus name is feminine (as all genus names ending in -derma, Böhme & Denzer 2019). 
  • Aguilar-López JL, Luría-Manzano R, Pineda E, Canseco-Márquez L 2021. Selva Zoque, Mexico: an important Mesoamerican tropical region for reptile species diversity and conservation. ZooKeys 1054: 127-153 - get paper here
  • Aminetzach, Y.T. et al. 2009. Convergent Evolution of Novel Protein Function in Shrew and Lizard Venom. Current Biology 19 (22): 1925-1931 - get paper here
  • Angeli, S.L. 2005. Beaded Dragon. Reptile Care (9): 36-39
  • ARENAS MORENO, DIEGO MIGUEL; ADÁN BAUTISTA DEL MORAL & DAVID ALEJANDRO BRINDIS BADILLO. 2022. New altitudinal record of Heloderma horridum (Wiegmann, 1829) (Squamata: Helodermatidae). Revista Latinoamericana de Herpetología 5(1): 22–24. - get paper here
  • Ariano-Sanchez, D. & Salazar, G. 2012. Heloderma horridum charlesbogarti (Guatemalan beaded lizard) shelter use. Herpetological Review 43: 645-646 - get paper here
  • Ariano-Sanchez, Daniel and Gilberto Salazar. 2013. Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti (Guatemalan beaded lizard) wild reproductive ecology. Herpetological Review 44 (2): 324 - get paper here
  • Ariano-Sánchez, Daniel and Gilberto Salazar. 2015. Spatial ecology of the endangered Guatemalan Beaded Lizard, Heloderma charlesbogerti (Sauria: Helodermatidae), in a tropical dry forest of the Motagua Valley, Guatemala. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (1): 64–74 - get paper here
  • Augstenová, Barbora, Eleonora Pensabene, Lukáš Kratochvíl, and Michail Rovatsos. 2021. Cytogenetic Evidence for Sex Chromosomes and Karyotype Evolution in Anguimorphan Lizards. Cells 10, no. 7: 1612 - get paper here
  • Bañuelos-Alamillo, Jorge A., Rubén A. Carbajal-Márquez, Gustavo E. Quintero-Díaz and Gabriela Moreno-Ochoa. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Heloderma horridum (Mexican beaded lizard). Herpetological Review 46 (3): 383 - get paper here
  • Beck, D.D. 1989. Helodermatids - ecology and energetics of beaded lizards: the gracefulness of being sluggish. Tucson Herpetological Society Newsletter 2(3):17-22.
  • Beck, D.D. 2005. Biology of Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards. University of California Press, xii + 211 pp. - get paper here
  • Bogert, C. M., & MARTÍN DEL CAMPO, R. 1956. The gila monster and its allies. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 109:1-238. - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. & Denzer, W. 2019. Warum die Endungen adjektivischer Artnamen dem Geschlecht der Gattungsnamen angepasst werden müssen Sauria 41 (1): 55–62 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Branch, W. R. 1982. Hemipeneal Morphology of Platynotan Lizards. Journal of Herpetology 16 (1): 16-38 - get paper here
  • Campbell,J.A. & VANNINI,J.P. 1988. A new subspecies of beaded lizard, Heloderma horridum, from the Motagua Valley of Guatemala. Journal of Herpetology 22 (4): 457-468 - get paper here
  • Casas-Andreu, G., F.R. Méndez-De la Cruz and X. Aguilar-Miguel. 2004. Anfibios y Reptiles; pp. 375–390, in A.J.M. García-Mendoza, J. Ordoñez and M. Briones-Salas (ed.). Biodiversidad de Oaxaca. Instituto de Biología, UNAM-Fondo Oaxaqueño para la Conservación de la Naturaleza-World Wildlife Fund, México, D. F.
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  • Cobarrubias, Edgar Flores; Daniel Cruz-Sáenz, and David Lazcano 2012. Notes on the Herpetofauna of Western Mexico 6: Amphibians and Reptiles of Hostotipaquillo, Jalisco, Mexico. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 47 (2):21-26 - get paper here
  • Cooper Jr., William E. & John Arnett 2003. Correspondence between diet and chemosensory responsiveness by helodermatid lizards. Amphibia-Reptilia 24 (1): 86-91 - get paper here
  • Cooper, Taylor; Amanda Liew, Gabriel Andrle, Elisabeth Cafritz, Hannah Dallas, Trent Niesen, Emily Slater, Joseph Stockert, Taylor Vold, Michael Young & Joseph Mendelson 2019. Latency in Problem Solving as Evidence for Learning in Varanid and Helodermatid Lizards, with Comments on Foraging Techniques. Copeia 107 (1): 78-84 - get paper here
  • Curtis, L. 1949. Notes on the eggs of Heloderma horridum Herpetologica 5 (6): 148. - get paper here
  • Douglas, Michael E.; Marlis R. Douglas, Gordon W. Schuett, Daniel D. Beck, Brian K. Sullivan 2010. Conservation phylogenetics of helodermatid lizards using multiple molecular markers and a supertree approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55 (1): 153-167 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M. C. and G. Bibron. 1836. Erpetologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol. 3. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 528 pp. - get paper here
  • Enderson, Erik F.; Thomas R. Van Devender, Robert L. Bezy 2014. Amphibians and reptiles of Yécora, Sonora and the Madrean Tropical Zone of the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico. Check List 10 (4): 913-926 - get paper here
  • Fischer, J. G. 1882. Anatomische Notizen über Heloderma horridum Wiegm. Verh. Ver. naturwiss. Unterhaltung Hamburg 5: 2-16. - get paper here
  • Furrer, S. 2004. Die erfolgreiche Nachzucht der Skorpionskrustenechse (Heloderma horridum exasperatum) im Zoo Zürich, Schweiz. Reptilia (Münster) 9 (49): 76-78 - get paper here
  • Garcia-Grajales, J., Bohorquez, R. A., Macias, M. A. P. and Silva, A. B. 2020. New records of Heloderma alvarezi (Wiegmann, 1829) (Sauria: Helodermatidae) on the coast of Oaxaca and increases to its distribution in Mexico. Journal of Threatened Taxa 12: 15495-15498. - get paper here
  • Gienger, C.M. & Beck, D.D. 2007. Heads or tails? Sexual dimorphism in helodermatid lizards. Can. J. Zool. 85: 92-98 - get paper here
  • Gienger, C.M., G.W. Johnson, M. McMillan, S. Sheldon, and C.R. Tracy. 2005. Timing of Hatching in Beaded Lizards (Heloderma horridum). Sonoran Herpetologist 18 (8):93-94. - get paper here
  • Gomez-Cruz, Aaron 2019. Termorregulación en el comportamiento de Heloderma horridum (Squamata:Helodermatidae) en cautiverio. Rev. Latinoamer. Herp. 2 (2): 41-46 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. 1885. Reptilia and Batrachia. Biologia Centrali-Américana. Taylor, & Francis, London, 326 pp. [published in parts from 1885-1902; reprint by the SSAR 1987] - get paper here
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  • Herrel, A., I. Wauters, P. Aerts & F. de Vree 1997. The Mechanics of Ovophagy in the Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum) Journal of Herpetology 31 (3): 383-393. - get paper here
  • Johnson, Jerry D.; Vicente Mata-Silva, Elí García Padilla, and Larry David Wilson 2015. The Herpetofauna of Chiapas, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (3): 272–329. - get paper here
  • Jones, L.L. & Lovich, R.E. 2009. Lizards of the American Southwest. A photographic field guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ, 568 pp. [review in Reptilia 86: 84] - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2000. Reptilien und Amphibien Mittelamerikas, Bd 1: Krokodile, Schildkröten, Echsen. Herpeton Verlag, Offenbach, 158 pp.
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  • Kunz, K. 2006. Giftige Riesen vor dem Aus? REPTILIA-Projekt zum Schutz der Guatemala-Skorpionskrustenechse. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (58): 39-40 - get paper here
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  • Lemos-Espinal JA, Smith GR 2020. A conservation checklist of the herpetofauna of Morelos, with comparisons with adjoining states. ZooKeys 941: 121-144 - get paper here
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  • Loc-Barragán, Jesús Alberto and David Lazcano 2018. Notes on the Herpetofauna of Nayarit, Mexico 1: Amphibians and Reptiles of the Municipality of Tecuala. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 53(4):73-80
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  • Meléndez García, L.S. 2006. Die Guatemala-Skorpionskrustenechse, Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti CAMPBELL & VANNINI 1998. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (58): 36-38 - get paper here
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  • Reiserer RS, Schuett GW, Beck DD. 2013. Taxonomic reassessment and conservation status of the beaded lizard, Heloderma horridum (Squamata: Helodermatidae). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 7 (1): 74–96 (
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  • Reisinger, M. 2006. Die erfolgreiche und kontinuierliche Nachzucht der Skorpions-Krustenechse Heloderma horridum exasperatum. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (58): 26-35 - get paper here
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  • Wiegmann,A.F.A. 1834. Herpetologia Mexicana, seu descriptio amphibiorum novae hispaniae , quae itineribus comitis de Sack, Ferdinandi Deppe et Chr. Guil. Schiede im Museum Zoologicum Berolinense Pervenerunt. Pars prima, saurorum species. Berlin, Lüderitz, iv + 54 pp. - get paper here
  • Wilms, T. 2006. Beaded Lizards and Gila Monsters: The genus Heloderma. Reptilia (GB) (47): 12-18 - get paper here
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  • Woolrich-Piña, Guillermo A, Paulino Ponce-Campos, Jesús Loc-Barragán, Juan Pablo Ramírez-Silva, Vicente Mata-Silva, Jerry D. Johnson, Elí García-Padilla and Larry David Wilson. 2016. The herpetofauna of Nayarit, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (2): 376-448 - get paper here
  • Zarafonetis, C.J.D. & J.P. Kalas 1960. Some Hematologic and Biochemical Findings in Heloderma horridum, the Mexican Beaded Lizard Copeia 1960 (3): 240-241. - get paper here
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