The New Mexico whiptail is one of the greatest mysteries of nature and it is the official state reptile of New Mexico. It is a female-only species of lizard found in the United States and in Mexico. This whiptail lizard is a crossbreed of a Western whiptail, which lives in the desert, and the Little striped whiptail, which favors grasslands. The New Mexico whiptail is one of many lizard species that are parthenogenic; they don't need males in order to reproduce. These fascinating lizards are typically overall brown or black in color with seven pale yellow stripes from head to tail. Light-colored spots often occur between the stripes. They have a white or pale blue underside, with a blue or blue-green colored throat. They are slender-bodied, with a long tail that is more commonly blue-green in their infant stage, melding into the same spotted brown and yellow color as they age.
New Mexico whiptails are found in the southwestern United States in New Mexico and Arizona, and in northern Mexico in Chihuahua. They live in a wide variety of semi-arid habitats, generally in areas with loose sand including grassland, shrubland, or shrubby edges of desert playas. They may also be found in mountainside pinyon-juniper woodlands.
New Mexico whiptails are solitary and diurnal lizards. They are wary, energetic, and fast-moving, darting for cover if approached. They spend the day constantly moving around digging in the soil in search of food. These lizards are very fast and often run upright on their hind legs. During cold winter months, New Mexico whiptails hibernate in their shelters.
The New Mexico whiptail is a female-only species that reproduces by producing an egg through parthenogenesis. Individuals of the species can be created either through the hybridization of the Little striped whiptail and the Western whiptail or through the parthenogenic reproduction of an adult New Mexico whiptail. Despite reproducing asexually, and being an all-female species, these lizards still mate with other females of its own species as according to common theory, those that do not "mate" do not lay eggs. New Mexico whiptails lay up to 4 eggs, usually in mid-summer, and hatching occurs approximately 8 weeks later.
There are no major threats facing this species at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the New Mexico whiptail total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.