Leaping Lesbian Lizard Facts
- The Leaping Lesbian Lizard is the popular name for the New Mexico Whiptail Lizard produced through inter-breeding of two distinct native species of lizard.
- Further, the Leaping Lesbian Lizard is the official state reptile of New Mexico.
- This lizard is a hybrid between the Little Striped Whiptail and the Western Whiptail. The hybridization of these species produces sterile males, however.
- Therefore, parthenogenesis (a type of asexual reproduction) allows the resulting all-female population to reproduce. The lizard has thus evolved into a unique species capable of reproduction.
- In fact, this combination of inter-species hybridization and parthenogenesis exists as a reproductive strategy in several species of whiptail lizard.
Leaping Lesbian Lizard Physical Description
This lizard grows to a length of as much as 9 in (23 cm). Its coloring is typically overall brown or black with seven pale yellow stripes from head to tail.
Light spots often occur between the stripes. In fact, the coloring is an evolutionary adaptation to its habitat.
Individuals have a white or pale blue underside, with a blue or blue-green colored throat. The body is slender and has a long tail.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Telidae
- Genus: Cnemidophorus
- Species: C. neomexicanus
Leaping Lesbian Lizard Behavior
Like most other whiptail lizards, the New Mexico whiptail lizard is diurnal (active mainly in the daylight) and insectivorous. It also remains wary, energetic, and fast moving, darting for cover if approached.
When it reproduces, up to four unfertilized eggs get laid in mid-summer. The eggs will hatch approximately eight weeks later.
Despite reproducing asexually, and being an all-female species, the lizard still engages in mating behavior with other females of its own species. Interestingly, a common theory is that this behavior stimulates ovulation, as those who do not mate do not lay eggs.
Leaping Lesbian Lizard Distribution and Habitat
The New Mexico Whiptail Lizard lives in a rather wide variety of semi-arid habitats that may include grassland, rocky areas, shrubland, or mountainside woodlands.