“How many WHIPTAIL lizards are there in Oklahoma?”
One of the most interesting groups of lizards is Whiptail Lizards, sometimes called Racerunners.
Both names are completely appropriate! These lizards’ tails are impossibly long, sometimes even three times their body length! And they’re so fast you might miss them unless you’re incredibly observant.
Today, you’ll learn the 2 kinds of whiptail lizards in Oklahoma.
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#1. Six-Lined Racerunner
- Aspidoscelis sexlineata
- 2.25 to 3.75 inches long from snout to vent (length does not include the tail).
- “Dark fields,” or broad stripes in between lighter stripes on whiptails, are brown to black.
- 6-8 light stripes vary in color from white or yellow to gray-blue.
- In males, coloring is much brighter, with greens on the back and light turquoise on the belly.
This species has the widest range of all the whiptail lizards in Oklahoma.
They thrive in varied habitats, including grassland, rocky terrain, wooded areas, and even floodplains. So, you have a good chance of seeing one as long as you’re within their range!
Six-Lined Racerunners are insectivores, and their primary food source is termites. However, they also eat beetles, ants, and spiders, so these small whiptails can be handy to have around if you have a pest problem.
The Six-Lined Racerunner lives up to its name, clocking speeds at up to 18 miles per hour! They have no problem outmaneuvering predators and curious humans!
#2. Common Spotted Whiptail
- Aspidoscelis gularis
- 2.25 to 4.25 inches long from snout to vent (length does not include the tail).
- The coloring of the body is greenish, sometimes brown. There are 7 or 8 light stripes on the back.
- In the dark stripes, white to yellow-brown spots are present.
- The tail is brown, sometimes with a reddish tint.
Common Spotted Whiptails in southern Oklahoma are prevalent in prairie grassland and riverbank habitats.
They eat insects like termites, grasshoppers, and moths, as well as spiders.
These whiptail lizards have one of the longest tails in their family! Its tail is often more than three times the length of its body.
Your chances of finding a Common Spotted Whiptail are good because they are not very skittish. You may also know this species by its other common name, the Texas Spotted Whiptail.
Do you need additional help identifying whiptail lizards?
Try this field guide!
Which of these whiptail lizards have you seen in Oklahoma?
Leave a comment below!