An Annotated Bibliography of the Texas Alligator Lizard

(Gerrhonotus infernalis Baird)

Compiled by Tom Lott [TEL].


[These bibliographies and their annotations are an on-going project. I have many comments on papers that I have not yet posted but I will attempt to attend to this task as time allows. Comments proffered in the annotations are strictly my own opinions and should be taken as such. If you wish to comment or supply additional references that I have overlooked, you may contact me via E-mail. Xerox or PDF copies of papers in more difficult to obtain journals are highly welcomed.  To correspond with me, click here.  Thanks for reading, Tom Lott]           

Axtell, R.W. 1959. Amphibians and reptiles of the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, Brewster County, Texas. Southwest Naturalist 4(2): 88-109.

Bailey, V. 1905. Biological survey of Texas. N. Amer. Fauna 25.  [Classifies the species as "Upper Sonoran" in west Texas. Mentions but a single specimen collected at 6000 ft. in the Chisos Mountains.  "It was nosing about in the dry leaves under scrub oaks on the mountain side in the manner peculiar to the individuals of the genus."   There is no elaboration as to what these mannerisms might be -- TEL]

Baird, S.F. 1858. Description of new genera and species of North American lizards in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution.  Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 10: 253-65  [Original description of Gerronotus infernalis; type locality: "Devils River, Texas."--TEL] [A PDF copy of this paper may be downloaded from: ]

Bartlett, R. D. 1994. Herping in Texas: The Big Bend. Trop. Fish Hobby. 42(11): 112, 114, 116-118, 120, 122-126.

Blair, A.P. 1950. Notes on two anguid lizards. Copeia 1950(1):57

Blair, W.F. 1949. The biotic provinces of Texas. Texas J. Sci. 2(1):93-117.

Brennan, J.N. 1945. Field investigations pertinent to Bullis fever: Preliminary report on the species of ticks and vertebrates occurring at Camp Bullis, Texas. Tex. Rept. Biol. Med. 3(1): 112-121.

Brooks, B. 1906. The anatomy of the internal urogenital organs of certain North American lizards. Trans. Texas Acad. Sci. 8:23-38.

Brown, B.C. 1950. An annotated check list of the reptiles and amphibians of Texas. Waco, Tex.:Baylor Univ. Studies. [Provides locality records from ten Texas counties (only one {Brewster} from west of the Pecos River); "Remarks -- In spite of the fact that there are few records, Gerrhonotus liocephalus infernalis is to be found throughout most of west Texas in suitable habitats.   Its secretive habits make it uncommon in most collections.  Even in areas where it occurs commonly, local residents look upon it as an oddity.  . . .  Natural history is not well known." -- TEL]

Burkett, R.D. 1962. Two clutches of eggs in the lizard Gerrhonotus liocephalus infernalis. Herpetologica 18(3):211.

Carignan, J.M. 1988. Geographic distribution. Gerronotus liocephalus infernalis. Herpetol. Rev. 19(3): 60.

Cochran, D.M. 1961. Type specimens of reptiles and amphibians in the United States National Museum. Bull. United States Natl. Mus. 220:1-291

Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of eastern-central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of eastern-central North America, 3rd edition (expanded). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Cope, E.D. 1900. The crocodilians, lizards, and snakes of North America. Ann. Rept. United States Natl. Mus. 1898: 155-1294.

Cordes, J.E., J.M. Walker, and M.S. Calaway. 1987. Geographic distribution. Gerronotus liocephalus infernalis. Herpetol. Rev. 18(2): 40.

Degenhardt, W.G., T.L. Brown, and D.A. Easterla. 1976. The taxonomic status of Tantilla cucullata and Tantilla diabola. Texas J. Sci. 17(1):225-234.

Degenhardt, W.G. and W.W. Milstead. 1959. Notes on a second specimen of the snake Tantilla cucullata Minton. Herpetologica 15(3):158-159.  [Incorrectly cited in an earlier on-line bibliography of this species as providiing the first record of this taxon from the Davis Mountains of Texas.   Actually the authors report that T. cucullata is found in similar habitats as G. infernalis in Green Gulch, in the Chisos Mountains, where it is well known.  Despite some tantalizing anecdotal reports, G. infernalis remains officially unreported froom the Davis Mtns. -- TEL]

Ditmars, R.L. 1936. The Reptiles of North America. New York: Doubleday, Dorman & Co. Pub.

Dixon, J.R. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. College Station: Texas A&M Press.  [The source of most of the pre-1982 citations in this bibliography, it also contains county distribution maps, but does not list specific collection localities. -TEL]

Dixon, J.R. 1993. Supplement to the literature for the Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, 1987. Smithson. Herpetol. Info. Serv. 94:1-43.

Dixon, J.R. 1996b. Ten year supplement to Texas herpetological county records published in Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, 1987. Texas Herpetol. Soc. Spec. Publ. (2):1-64.

Dixon, J.R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. (2nd edition). College Station: Texas A&M Press  [Includes twenty-two additional citations for this taxon; declares the Dallas County (Seifert, W.S. 1978) record to be an "accidental introduction." - TEL]

Flury, A. 1949. Gerrhonotus liocephalus infernalis Baird in Texas. Herpetologica 5(3): 65-67.  [ Presents data from seven adult and two juvenile specimens kept in lab.  States that "species appears to be uncommon in central Texas."  Specimens were "collected on warm mornings in the spring or fall . . . except for three specimens collected on a midsummer morning after a light shower and a single specimen seen sunning itself on a warm December day."  Stalking and feeding behavior is described.   Captives fed on "grasshoppers, crickets, June Beetles, etc."   Juveniles fed on larvae of dermestid beetles.  Temperament is described as "gentle" except that juveniles were "more active and excitable than the adults."  States that area ranchers use the names "copperhead lizard . . . , Gila monster, mountain boomer or barking lizard" and that most locals consider them to be venomous.  Notes several fall copulations or attempts.  Mating position is described.  Records captive oviposition on 30 March and 11 May, of 14 and 22 eggs, respectively.  Eggs of the first clutch had mean dimensions of 17.2mm X 10.5mm.  Eggs of first clutch began hatching after forty-six days.   Nine of eleven eggs (81.8%) of the first clutch hatched.  The second clutch spoiled.  Those hatchlings that were measured had a mean S-V length of 37.5mm.   Coloration of adults and hatchlings is described.  One of the best early natural history summaries for the species -- TEL]

Garrett, J.M. and D.G. Barker. 1987. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Texas. Austin: Texas Monthly Press.

Gehlbach, F.R. 1991. The east-west transition zone of terrestrial vertebrates in central Texas: A biogeographical analysis. Tex. J. Sci. 43(4): 415-427.

Good, D.A. 1988. Phylogenetic relationships among gerrhonotine lizards: An analysis of external morphology. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 121:1-139.

Good, D.A. 1994. Species limits in the genus Gerrhonotus (Squamata:Anguidae). Herpetol. Monogr. 8: 180-202.

Good, D.A. and M.G. Wiedenfeld. 1995. The holotype of the Texas alligator lizard, Gerrhonotus infernalis Baird (Squamata:Anguidae). J. of Herpetol. 29(4): 628-630. [Authors apply historical records (Kennerly's field notes) and some questionable information concerning the pre-Amistad environment of the Devils River Canyon to restrict the type locality of the species to "0-13 km N Baker's Crossing, Val Verde County, Texas," where it was collected on 8 November 1854 by Dr. Caleb Burwell Rowan Kennerly.  The authors also seem to labor under the misconception that the species is limited to mesic conditions, but this paper is an interesting read anyway -- TEL]

Greene, H.W. and B.E. Dial. 1966. Brooding behavior by a female Texas alligator lizard. Herpetologica 22(4):303.

Guttman, S.I. 1971. An electrophoretic analysis of the hemoglobins of old and new world lizards. J. Herp. 5(1-2):11-16.

Hampton, N. 1976. Annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Travis County, Texas. Pp. 84-101 in A bird finding and naturalist's guide for Austin, Texas, area. Edited by E. Kutac and S. Caran. Austin, Tex.: Oasis Press.

Kauffeld, C.F. 1960a. The search for subocularis. Bull. Phila. Herpetol. Soc. 8(2): 13-19.

Lichtenstein, H. 1856. Nomenclator Reptilium et Amphibiorum. Musei. zoologici berolinensis. Berlin.

McAllister, C.T. 1991d. First report of Mesocestoides sp. Tetrathyridia (Cyclophllidea: Mesocestoididae) in the Texas alligator lizard, Gerrhonotus liocephalus infernalis (Sauaria: Anguidae) from Coahuila, Mexico. Tex. J. Sci. 43(3): 325-326.

McCallion, J. 1945. Notes on Texas reptiles. Herpetologica 2(7-8):197-198.

Milstead, W.W. 1960.  Relict Species of the Chihuahuan Desert.  Southwest. Nat. 5(2):75-88.  [The author, in listing fourteen relict species of the Chihuahuan Desert, considers Gerrhonotus liocephalus (=infernalis) as a possible relict as it meets at least one of his four criteria.  He declines to do so, however, because of its "widespread distribution in . . . areas contiguous with the Chihuahuan Desert leaves considerable doubt as to whether or not they should really be thought of as disjunct species."  Given that G. infernalis is currently considered a full species, one would wonder whether the late Dr. Milstead might reconsider his opinion on this -- TEL]

Miller, D. 1983. The Texas alligator lizard. Chihuahuan Desert Disc. 6:3.

Minton, S.A. 1959. Observations on amphibians and reptiles of the Big Bend region of Texas. Southwest. Nat. 3:28-54.

Morafka, D.J. 1977. A biogeographical analysis of the Chihuahuan desert through its herpetofauna. Biogeographica 9:1-313.

Murray, L.T. 1939. Annotated list of amphibians and reptiles from the Chisos Mountains. Contrib. Baylor Univ. Mus. 24:4-16.

Neck, R.W., D.H. Riskind. Undated [1977-78]. [Unpublished TPWD report.] Significant range extension and related environmental factors in a Gulf Coast population of the Texas alligator lizard, (Anguidae).

Neck, R.W., D.H. Riskind, and K. Peterson. 1979. Geographical distribution Gerrhonotus liocephalus infernalis. Herp. Rev. 10(4):118.

Owen, J.G. 1989. Patterns of herpetofaunal species richness: Relation to temperature, precipitation, and variance in elevation. J. Biogeogr. 16:141-150.

Owen, J.G. and J.R. Dixon. 1989. An ecogeographic analysis of the herpetofauna of Texas. Southwest. Nat. 34(2): 165-180.

Parmley, D. 1998b. Middle Holocene herpetofauna of Klein Cave, Kerr County, Texas. Southwest. Nat. 33(3): 378-382.

Pritchett, A.H. 1903. Some experiments in feeding lizards with protectively colored insects. Biol. Bull. 5:271-287.

Rakowitz, V.A., R.R. Fleet, and F.L. Rainwater. 1983. New distributional records of Texas amphibians and reptiles. Herp. Rev. 14(3):85-89.   [Recorded a specimen from Llano Co., TX (9.6 km W Llano, SFA-4267), collected on 10 August 1969 by J. Filecia -- TEL]

Schmidt, K.P. 1953. A check list of North American amphibians and reptiles. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Schmidt, K.P. and T.F. Smith. 1944. Amphibians and reptiles of the Big Bend region of Texas. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser. 29:75-96.

Seifert, W.S. 1978. Geographic distribution. Gerrhonotus liocephalus infernalis. Herp. Rev. 9(2): 61-62.

Smith, H.M. 1946. Handbook of lizards. Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Publ. Co.  [This reference contains remarkably little information about the Texas Alligator Lizard, considering that Smith was a Texas resident at the time, teaching at Texas A&M -- TEL]

Smith, H.M. and H. K. Buechner. 1947. The influence of the Balcones Escarpment on the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Texas. Bull Chicago Acad. Sci. 8(13): 277-84.

Smith, H.M. 1950. Type localities of Mexican reptiles and amphibians. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 33:313-79.

Smith, H.M. 1950. An annotated checklist and key to the reptiles of Mexico exclusive of the snakes. United States Natl. Bull. 199:1-253.

Stebbins, R.C. 1958. A new alligator lizard from the Panamint Mountains, Inyo County, California. Amer. Mus. Novitates 1883:1-27.

Strecker, J.K. 1909. Notes on the herpetology of Burnet County, Texas. Baylor Univ. Bull. 12(1): 1-9.

Strecker, J.K. 1909. Reptiles and amphibians collected in Brewster County, Texas. Baylor Univ. Bull. 12(1):11-16.

Strecker, J. K. 1915.  Reptiles and amphibians of Texas.  Baylor Univ. Bull. 18(4):1-82.  ["Texas Gerrhonotus :   Plated Lizard.  This rare lizard has been recorded from only a few scattered localities, mostly in the central-northern, central and western sections of the State.  It inhabits rocky places and is our most pugnacious lizard{?}.  The following are the published localities:  Devil's River, Helotes Creek and Wichita County (Cope), Chisos Mountains, Brewster County, at 6,000 feet (Bailey), Hays and Travis Counties and between Lewisville and Roanoke, Denton County (Cragin).  My three specimens are each from a different locality, i.e., White Bluff, Burnet County, the hills west of Austin, and the foothills of the Chisos Mountains."  The Wichita and Denton county records were erroneous -- TEL]

Strecker, J.K. 1922. An annotated catalog of the amphibians and reptiles of Bexar County, Texas. Bull. Sci. Soc. San Antonio 4:1-31.

Strecker, J.K. 1926. Alist of reptiles and amphibians collected by Louis Garni in the vicinity of Boerne, Texas. Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus. 6:3-9

Strecker, J.K. 1928. Common English and folk names for Texas amphibians and reptiles. Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus. 16:1-21.

Strecker, J.K. 1928. Doubtful Texas reptile records. Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus. 18:3-5.

Strecker, J.K. 1930. A catalogue of the amphibians and reptiles of Travis County, Texas. Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus. 23:1-16.

Strecker, J.K. 1935. The reptiles of West Frio Canyon, Real County, Texas. Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus. 38(3):32.

Strecker, J.K. and W.J. Williams. 1927. Herpetological records from the vicinity of San Marcos, Texas, with distributional data on the amphibians and reptiles of the Edwards Plateau region and central Texas. Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus. 12:1-16.

Tihen, J.A. 1948. A new Gerrhonotus from San Luis Potosi. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 51:302-305.

Turcotte, R. 1968. The alligator lizards. Herpetology 2(2):7.

Vermersch, T.G. 1992. Lizards and turtles of south-central Texas. Austin: Eakin Press.  [Arguably the best natural history summary of this species published to date, based upon his own data and two "private keepers."   States age at sexual maturity to be 3-4 years, differing considerably from the estimates of others - TEL]

Ward, R., E.G. Zimmerman, and T.L. King. 1990. Multivariate analyses of terrestrial reptile distribution in Texas: An alternate view. Southwest. Nat. 35(4): 441-445.

Wauer, R. 1980. Naturalist's Big Bend. An introduction to the trees and shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish, and insects. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

Werler, J.E. 1949. Reproduction of captive Texas and Mexican lizards. Herpetologica 5(3): 67-70.  [Describes an oviposition of a 121mm S-V specimen from Bexar Co., Texas collected on 28 February 1949.  Twenty-four eggs were laid on 21 March, several of which appeared not to be fully calcified.  Lizard's behavior prior to and during oviposition is described.   Eggs varied from 18-24mm in length and 9-13 mm in width (mean= 20.7mm X 10.8mm, including those incompletely calcified).  Eggs were incubated at room temperature (75-90F) under an inch of damp sand in a Pyrex dish.   Hatching began on 23 April, after 33 days of incubation.  Only 7/24 eggs hatched (29.2%).  "Total length" of  hatchlings ranged from 43-52mm (median=47.5mm).  A full page B&W photo of the lizard and her clutch is provided -- TEL]

Werler, J.E. 1951. Miscellaneous notes on the eggs and young of Texas and Mexican reptiles. Zoologica 36:34-48.

Yarrow, H.C. 1882. Checklist of North American Reptilia and Batrachia with catalogue of specimens in the U.S. National Museum. Bull. United States Natl. Mus. 24:1-249.

Home About Me Contents Caveat

All text, images, sound bites, etc., are Tom Lott (2007) unless indicated otherwise.