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Heloderma suspectum COPE, 1869

IUCN Red List - Heloderma suspectum - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaHelodermatidae, Platynota, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesHeloderma suspectum cinctum BOGERT & MARTÍN DEL CAMPO 1956
Heloderma suspectum suspectum COPE 1869 
Common NamesE: Gila Monster
E: Banded Gila Monster [cinctum]
E: Reticulate Gila Monster [suspectum]
S: Monstruo del Gila 
SynonymHeloderma suspectum COPE 1869: 5
Heloderma suspectum — BOULENGER 1885: 302
Heloderma suspectum — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 193
Heloderma suspectum — WERMUTH 1963: 2
Heloderma suspectum suspectum — HARDY 1969: 153
Heloderma suspectum — STEBBINS 1985: 169
Heloderma suspectum — LINER 1994
Heloderma suspectum suspectum — LINER 2007

Heloderma suspectum cinctum BOGERT & MARTÍN DEL CAMPO 1956
Heloderma suspectum cinctum — LOVICH & BEAMAN 2007 
DistributionUSA (SE California, S Nevada, SW Utah, Arizona, New Mexico), Mexico (Sonora, Sinaloa)

Type locality: Sierra de la Unión, “Sonora” (= Arizona)

cinctum: USA (SE Nevada, W Arizona, SW Utah); Type locality: Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada  
Typessyntypes: USNM 2971
Holotype: AMNH 7456, adult male, collected by Mr. William H. Rogers, April 28, 1919; paratypes: BYU [cinctum] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Bogert & Martin del Campo 1956: 36 (suspectum) and p. 47 (cinctum). 

Subspecies: Douglas et al. (2010) and Schuett et al. 2017 stated that they found no mtDNA evidence for the two subspecies of H. suspectum; however, their results are difficult to evaluate because little information is provided on the collection localities of the sampled specimens. Further study is needed (Crother et al. 2017).

Genomics: this is one of the species selected by the Genome 10K consortium for complete genome sequencing. 
EtymologyCope chose the epithet "suspectum" for the Gila monster because he "suspected" it was venomous. 
  • Alibardi, Lorenzo 2015. Ultrastructural features of skin pigmentation in the lizard Heloderma suspectum with emphasis on xanto-melanophores. Acta Zoologica 96 (2): 154–159, DOI: 10.1111/azo.12062 - get paper here
  • Beaman, Kent R., Barrett J. Scurlock, Jeffrey E. Lovich and Lara A. Kobelt. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Heloderma suspectum cinctum (banded Gila monster). Herpetological Review 46 (3): 384 - get paper here
  • Beaman, Kent R., Jason L. Jones, Jeffrey E. Lovich, C. M. Gienger and Polly M. Conrad. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Heloderma suspectum cinctum (banded gila monster). Herpetological Review 45 (3): 462-463 - get paper here
  • Beck, D.D. 1985. Heloderma suspectum cinctum (Banded Gila Monster). Pattern/Coloration. Herpetological Review 16:53 - 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
  • Beck, D.D. & Jennings, R.D. 2003. Habitat use by Gila monsters: the importance of shelters. Herpetological Monographs 17: 111-129 - get paper here
  • Bernstein, Peter 1999. Morphology of the nasal capsule of Heloderma suspectum with comments on the systematic position of helodermatids (Squamata: Helodermatidae). Acta Zoologica 80: 219-230. - get paper here
  • Bezy, Robert L. and Charles J. Cole 2014. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Madrean Archipelago of Arizona and New Mexico. American Museum Novitates (3810): 1-24 - 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
  • Bonetti, Mathilde 2002. 100 Sauri. Mondadori (Milano), 192 pp. - 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
  • Boulenger, George A. 1891. Notes on the osteology of Heloderma horridum and H. suspectum, with remarks on the systematic position of the Helodermatidae and on the vertebrae of the Lacertilia. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1891: 109-118 - get paper here
  • Branch, W. R. 1982. Hemipeneal Morphology of Platynotan Lizards. Journal of Herpetology 16 (1): 16-38 - get paper here
  • Brown, W.H. & C.H. Lowe, Jr. 1955. Technique for Obtaining Maximum Yields of Fresh Labial Gland Secretions from the Lizard Heloderma suspectum Copeia 1955 (1): 63. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1869. [Protocol of the March 9, 1869 meeting]. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 21: 5 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Davis, Jon R. and Dale F. DeNardo 2010. Seasonal Patterns of Body Condition, Hydration State, and Activity of Gila Monsters (Heloderma suspectum) at a Sonoran Desert Site. Journal of Herpetology 44 (1): 83–93 - get paper here
  • Degenhardt, William G.; C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. Univ. New Mexico Press, 431 pp.
  • Devender, Thomas R. Van; James C. Rorabaugh, Francisco Isaías Ochoa-Gutiérrez, and Ana Lilia Reina-Guererro 2017. The Gila Monsters (Heloderma suspectum) of Cajón Bonito and the southern Four Corners Area. Sonoran Herpetologist 30 (2): 43 - 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
  • Eidenmüller, B. 1993. Ergänzende Bemerkungen zu einem Nachzuchtbericht von Heloderma suspectum. Salamandra 29 (3-4): 258-260 - get paper here
  • Eidenmüller, B. 1996. Bemerkungen zur Nachzucht von Heloderma suspectum (Cope, 1869). Elaphe 4 (2): 2-4
  • Eidenmüller, B. & R. Wicker 1992. Über eine Nachzucht von Heloderma suspectum (COPE, 1869). Salamandra 28 (2): 106-111 - get paper here
  • Farrar, Victoria Sophia; Taylor Edwards and Kevin Edward Bonine. 2017. Elusive does not always equal rare: genetic assessment of a protected Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) population in Saguaro National Park, Arizona. Amphibia-Reptilia 38 (1): 1-14 - get paper here
  • FLESCH, AARON D.; DON E. SWANN, DALE S. TURNER, AND BRIAN F. POWELL 2010. HERPETOFAUNA OF THE RINCON MOUNTAINS, ARIZONA. Southwestern Naturalist 55(2):240–253 - get paper here
  • French, Robert; Daniel Brooks, Anne-Michelle Ruha, Farshad Shirazi, Peter Chase, Keith Boesen & Frank Walter 2015. Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) envenomation: Descriptive analysis of calls to United States Poison Centers with focus on Arizona cases. Clinical Toxicology 53:1, 60-70, DOI: 10.3109/15563650.2014.988791 - get paper here
  • Funk, Richard S. 1966. Notes about Heloderma suspectum, along the western extremity of its range. Herpetologica 22 (4): 254-258 - get paper here
  • Garman, H. 1890. On the “Gila Monster”. Bull. Essex Institute 22: 60-69
  • Gienger, C. M.; C. Richard Tracy, and Kenneth A. Nagy 2014. Life in the Lizard Slow Lane: Gila Monsters Have Low Rates of Energy Use and Water Flux. Copeia Jun 2014, Vol. 2014, No. 2: 279-287. - get paper here
  • GIENGER, C. M.; SETH COHEN, JASON JONES & C. RICHARD TRACY. 2021. HELODERMA SUSPECTUM (Gila Monster). REFUGE REUSE. Herpetological Review 52 (3): 648. - 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
  • Goldberg, S.R. & C.H. Lowe 1997. Reproductive Cycle of the Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum, in Southern Arizona Journal of Herpetology 31 (1): 161-166. - get paper here
  • Hanley, K. & Hanley, S. 2003. Heloderma suspectum COPE 1869, Gila Monster. Reptilia (GB) (28): 39-42 - get paper here
  • Hardy, L.M., & McDiarmid, R.W. 1969. The amphibians and reptiles of Sinaloa, Mexico. Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist. 18 (3): 39-252. - get paper here
  • Hartdegen, Ruston W. & David Chiszar 2001. Discrimination of prey-derived chemical cues by the gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) and lack of effect of a putative masking odor. Amphibia-Reptilia 22 (2): 249-252 - get paper here
  • Heath, W.G. 1961. A Trailing Device for small animals designed for field study of the gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) Copeia 1961 (4): 491-492. - get paper here
  • Jones, K.B. 1983. Movement Patterns and Foraging Ecology of Gila Monsters (Heloderma suspectum Cope) in Northwestern Arizona Herpetologica 39 (3): 247-253. - 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
  • Jones, Thomas R. and Ross J. Timmons. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Heloderma suspectum (Gila monster). Herpetological Review 46 (3): 383 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal JA, Smith GR 2020. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Sinaloa, Mexico with a conservation status summary and comparisons with neighboring states. ZooKeys 931: 85-114 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal JA, Smith GR, Rorabaugh JC 2019. A conservation checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Sonora, Mexico, with updated species lists. ZooKeys 829: 131-160 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Lovich, K. & Beaman, K.R 2007. A History of Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum cinctum) Records from California with Comments on Factors Affecting their Distribution. Bull. Southern California Acad. Sci. 106 (2): 39–58 - get paper here
  • Nevárez-de los Reyes; Manuel, David Lazcano, Javier Banda-Leal and Ian Recchio 2014. Notes on Mexican Herpetofauna 22: Herpetofauna of the Continental Portion of the Municipality of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 49(8):105-115 - get paper here
  • Pokorná MJ, Rovatsos M, Kratochvíl L 2014. Sex Chromosomes and Karyotype of the (Nearly) Mythical Creature, the Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum (Squamata: Helodermatidae). PLoS One 9 (8): e104716. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104716 - get paper here
  • Polleck,R. 1992. Heloderma suspectum COPE 1869. Sauria 14 (2): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Schwandt, Hans-Joachim 2019. The Gila Monster Heloderma suspectum. Natural History, Husbandry & Propagation. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany ( 272 pp.
  • Seward, M. 2006. Heloderma suspectum - Gila Monster reproduction. Reptilia (GB) (47): 19-24 - get paper here
  • Shaw, C.E. 1948. A note on the food habits of Heloderma suspectum Herpetologica 4 (4): 145. - get paper here
  • Smith, Jeffrey J.; Melissa Amarello, and Matt Goode 2010. Seasonal Growth of Free-Ranging Gila Monsters (Heloderma suspectum) in a Southern Arizona Population. Journal of Herpetology 44 (3): 484–488 - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Steinfartz, S. 1993. Über eine Nachzucht von Heloderma suspectum (COPE, 1869) im Terrarium. Sauria 15 (1): 3-8 - get paper here
  • Stejneger, L.H. 1893. Annotated list of the reptiles and batrachians collected by the Death Valley Expedition in 1891, with descriptions of new species. North American Fauna, No. 7: 159-228 (+ 14 plates + 4 maps) - get paper here
  • Tanner, W. W. 1970. A catalogue of the fish, amphibian, and reptile types in the Brigham Young University Museum of Natural History. Great Basin Naturalist 30 (4): 219-226 - get paper here
  • Taylor, Edward Harrison 1938. Notes on the herpetological fauna of the Mexican state of Sonora. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 24 (19): 475-503 [1936] - get paper here
  • Thomson, Robert C.; Amber N. Wright & H. Bradley Shaffer 2016. California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern. University of California Press - get paper here
  • Trutnau, L. 1984. Das Gilatier. Herpetofauna 6 (32): 13 - get paper here
  • Visser, Gerard 2003. Hatchling Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) in Rotterdam Zoo Podarcis 3 (3): 114-117 - get paper here
  • Williams, C., Kirby, A., Marghoub, A., Kéver, L., Ostashevskaya‐Gohstand, S., Bertazzo, S., ... & Vickaryous, M. 2021. A review of the osteoderms of lizards (Reptilia: Squamata). Biological Reviews - get paper here
  • Wilms, T. 2006. Beaded Lizards and Gila Monsters: The genus Heloderma. Reptilia (GB) (47): 12-18 - get paper here
  • Wilms, T. 2006. Krustenechsen - die Gattung Heloderma. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (58): 18-25 - get paper here
  • Woodbury, Angus Munn 1928. The reptiles of Zion National Park. Copeia 1928 (166): 14-21 - get paper here
  • Zylstra, Erin R., Mark T. Seward, Gordon W. Schuett, Roger A. Repp, Dale F. Denardo and Daniel D. Beck. 2015. Heloderma suspectum (gila monster) probable courtship and mating behavior. Herpetological Review 46 (2): 258-259 - get paper here
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