Some other names for this species:
Subspecies I've seen:
Aspidoscelis tigris munda
August 23, 1998
Pine Ridge Trail, Ventana Wilderness, Monterey County, California
This one is medium sized, probably a young adult. Its regenerated tail is not so whiplike as it once was.
January 17, 1999
Garland Ranch Regional Park, Monterey County, California
This one is a juvenile; you can tell by its disproportionately larger head and shorter snout. It must have been injured, possibly stepped on, because it was writhing about when we came upon it. I picked it up and it seemed to enjoy basking in the warmth of my palm on this cool winter day. It seemed to recover well from its earlier trauma and I didn't see any injuries so I'm hopeful that it will grow up to be a big whiptail someday.
April 22, 2000
Desert Tortoise Natural Area, Kern County, California
This attractively marked one was playing the usual whiptail tease-the-photographer game which consists of resting briefly until the shutter is almost clicked, then racing off to another bush. I must have tired it out though because it finally stopped for long enough to take a couple of photos.
July 3, 2011
Pinnacles National Monument, San Benito County, California
The whiptails were busily bustling about on this hot morning. Most of them raced away in the nervous twitchy manner of whiptails everywhere, but this one paused on the trail in front of me for a little basking.
Aspidoscelis tigris punctilinealis
Sonoran Tiger Whiptail
April 10, 1999
near Signal Hill Trail, Saguaro National Park West, Pima County, Arizona
Tucson was recovering from a cold spell on this day, so there were relatively few lizards skittering about. If there were more, I'm sure I would have gotten a better picture (yeah, right).
This species was placed in the genus Cnemidophorus until recently, so most reference books still use that name.
May 27, 2001
near Quitobaquito Spring, Organ Pipe National Monument, Pima County, Arizona
My friend David Sloo and I watched this whiptail nervously excavate some sort of crunchy wiggling morsel. The lizard looked like a dog digging a hole in beach sand.
Aspidoscelis tigris septentrionalis
Plateau Tiger Whiptail
June 19, 2001
Dead Horse Point State Park, Wayne County, Utah
Another rare resting whiptail. This same morning, I saw another whiptail two feet up in a bush foraging for bugs. I had never seen one climbing so high off the ground before.
August 13, 2004
Sedona, Coconino County, Arizona
On a relatively cool day, this whiptail had just crawled out of a burrow a few inches away and was warming up for its afternoon forage.
April 28, 2006
Virgin River Recreation Area, Mohave County, Arizona
Considering the time (around 10:30 AM, plenty late enough for the whiptails to be warmed up and feisty), this lizard was remarkably polite to let me approach close enough for this photo.
June 2, 2006
Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah
I'm pretty sure that this is the closest any whiptail has ever let me approach for a photograph. It was early enough in the morning that the whiptails were just starting to bask. I didn't think the "good lizards" would be up yet, so I hadn't brought my trusty 200mm macro lens with me, but I had brought along a wide-angle lens for some photos of the scenic beauty. After this fellow started sunbathing near me, my wife, and the various dogs we had brought along, I just kept inching closer and closer to it until I could get this photo from no more than a foot away. I guess I'll have to stop bad-mouthing whiptail lizards if they're going to be this cooperative.
Aspidoscelis tigris tigris
Great Basin Whiptail
June 20, 1998
Mara Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park, San Bernardino County, California
You have to follow a lot of whiptails for a long time before one of them will stop twitching long enough for you to take a decent picture. This one was climbing in some low branches and so couldn't race off as fast as most.
April 24, 2009
Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California
When I first saw the two whiptails pictured in the top photo, one of them seemed to be chasing the other. I thought they might be a courting pair, and perhaps they were. But after a minute or two, they ended up in the same bush, digging at the same spot, apparently foraging together.
The unusually non-cameraphobic whiptail in the second photo was about to endure the scare of its life. Shortly after the full-body basking shown here, it jittered its way into a leafy bush about six feet ahead of us on the trail and momentarily disappeared. A fraction of a second later it was back in the middle of the trail, and so was the huge coachwhip that had essentially flown out of said bush in hot pursuit. I've never seen two herps move that fast -- one instant, empty trail; the next instant, whiptail and large hungry snake hit the trail simultaneously. The whiptail zipped past us down the hill. The coachwhip saw us and decided that we looked more frightening than the whiptail looked tasty, so quickly fled into the nearest cover. I didn't have nearly enough time to take a photo, but the image of that surprised whiptail and lightning-fast predator will be burned into my brain for some time to come.