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Xantusia vigilis BAIRD, 1859

IUCN Red List - Xantusia vigilis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaXantusiidae (Xantusiinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Desert Night Lizard
E: Sierra Night Lizard [sierrae]
E: Utah Night Lizard [utahensis]
E: Desert Night Lizard [vigilis]
S: Nocturna de las Yucas 
SynonymXantusia vigilis BAIRD 1859: 255
Xantusia vigilis — BOULENGER 1885: 327
Xantusia vigilis — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 154
Xantusia vigilis utahensis TANNER 1957
Xantusia vigilis — SAVAGE 1963: 35
Xantusia vigilis utahensis — BEZY 1982
Xantusia vigilis — STEBBINS 1985: 143
Xantusia vigilis — LINER 1994
Xantusia vigilis — SINCLAIR et al. 2004 
DistributionUSA (S California, S Nevada, S Utah, W/C Arizona, S Utah),
Mexico (W Sonora, Baja California Norte)

Type locality: Fort Tejon, California.  
Reproductionovovivparous 
TypesSyntypes: USNM 3063
Holotype: CAS 401 [gilberti]
Holotype: BYU 11733 [utahensis] 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus): see Savage 1963: 21

Diagnosis. Readily distinguishable from the other subspecies by: (1) ventrals usually in less than 29 transverse rows, 25 (27.4) 29; (2) dorsal blotches formed by fusion of several dark spots; a second colorphase uniformly grayish-brown with no evidence of spots on dorsum or tail; (3) tail spots occupy whole scale,either arranged to form lines or completely lacking (from SAVAGE 1952).

Diagnosis (utahensis): A subspecies of Xantusia similar to X. v. vigilis in having the same number of ventrals, dorsals, and scale rows, but differing in the following characteristics: larger size (snout-vent to 50.5 mm); proportionately longer legs, hind legs 38-40% of snout vent length; lamellae on 4th finger and 4th toe more numerous,16-19 and 23-25, respectively. There are more gulars and supratemporals than in other Xantusia, and the striking buff color is unique (Tanner 1957). 
CommentType species: Xantusia vigilis is the type species of the genus Xantusia BAIRD 1859.

Subspecies: SINCLAIR et al. (2004) did not recognize X. vi. utahensis and considered several taxa as “candidate species” (indicated in their paper and above by single quotes). For their arizonae, wigginsi and extorris, however, it remains unclear if they are morphologically diagnosable while ‘sierrae’ is. However, mtDNA haplotypes of sierrae nested within vigilis and is thus the most closely related form. Noonan et al. did not recognize any subspecies.

Xantusia vigilis arizonae KLAUBER 1931 and Xantusia vigilis wigginsi SAVAGE 1952 have been elevated to species level based on recognition by multiple authors.

Habitat: rocks and decomposing plants. 
EtymologyNamed after John Xantus a.k.a Louis deVesey (1825-1894), Hungarian-born naturalist who arrived in the US in 1850 and then had various jobs. 
References
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  • Baird, S.F. 1859. Description of new genera and species of North American lizards in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 10: 253-256 [1858] - get paper here
  • Baker, Rollin H.; Baker, Mary W.; Johnson, Jerry D.; Webb, Robert G. 1981. New records of mammals and reptiles from Northwestern Zacatecas, Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 25(4):568-569 - get paper here
  • Bartholomew, Breck 1992. Utah night lizard, Xantusia vigilis utahensis, Tanner. Intermontanus 1 (2): 3
  • Bartholomew, G.A., Jr. 1953. The Modification by Temperature of the Photoperiodic Control of Gonadal Development in the Lizard Xantusia vigilis Copeia 1953 (1): 45-50. - get paper here
  • Bezy, R L 1982. Xantusia vigilis Baird. Desert night lizard. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 302: 1-4 - get paper here
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  • Bezy, R.L. 2014. Desert Night Lizard, Xantusia vigilis Baird, 1859. Herpetofauna of the 100 Mile Circle. Sonoran Herpetologist 27 (1):7-11. - get paper here
  • Bezy, Robert L. 1967. A new night lizard (Xantusia vigilis sierrae) from the southern Sireea Nevada in California. Journal of the Arizona Academy of Science 4 (3): 163-167 - get paper here
  • Bezy, Robert L. and Oscar Flores Villela. 1999. A new species of Xantusia (Squamata: Xantusiidae) from Zacatecas, Mexico. Herpetologica 55 (2): 174-184. - get paper here
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  • Klauber, Laurence M. 1940. Notes from a herpetological diary, II. Copeia 1940 (1): 15-18 - get paper here
  • Kour, E.L. & V.H. Hutchison 1970. Critical thermal Tolerances and Heating and Cooling Rates of Lizards from Diverse Habitats Copeia 1970 (2): 219-229. - get paper here
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  • Miller, M.R. 1951. Some Aspects of the Life History of the Yucca Night Lizard, Xantusia vigilis Copeia 1951 (2): 114-120. - get paper here
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  • Morafka, David J.;Banta, Benjamin H. 1968. The addition of Xantusia vigilis (Reptilia: Lacertilia) to the known herpetofauna of Monterey County, California, with some ecological observations. Wasmann Journal of Biology 26 (1): 151-153 - get paper here
  • Morafka, David J.;Banta, Benjamin H. 1973. The distribution and microhabitat of Xantusia vigilis (Reptilia: Lacertilia) in the Pinnacles National Monument, San Benito and Monterrey Counties, California. Journal of Herpetology 7 (2): 97-108 - get paper here
  • Noonan, Brice P.; Jennifer B. Pramuk, Robert L. Bezy, Elizabeth A. Sinclair, Kevin de Queiroz, Jack W. Sites Jr. 2013. Phylogenetic relationships within the lizard clade Xantusiidae: Using trees and divergence times to address evolutionary questions at multiple levels. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Volume 69, Issue 1, October 2013, Pages 109–122 - get paper here
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  • Stebbins, Robert F. 1948. New distributional records for Xantusia vigilis with observations on its habitat. American Midland Naturalist 39 (1): 96-101 - get paper here
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  • Webb, Robert G. 1965. A new night lizard (genus Xantusia) from Durango, Mexico. American Museum Novitates (2231): 1-16 - get paper here
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