Great Basin Naturalist


The diversity and abundance of reptiles were studied in three vegetation types on the Santa Rita Experimental Range, Arizona. Total reptile sightings were greatest in undisturbed mesquite and mesquite with irregularly shaped clearings. No zebra-tailed lizards (Callisaurus draconoides) or desert spiny lizards (Sceloporus magister) were seen, and significantly fewer western whiptails (Cnemidophorus tigris) were in the mesquite-free area. Only the Sonora spotted whiptail (Cnemidophorus sonorae) was significantly more abundant in the mesquite-free area than in the undisturbed mesquite. In an effort to increase grass production for cattle in mesquite grasslands, it is preferable to clear irregularly shaped areas rather than to attempt total mesquite removal, if reptiles are to be considered.