Table 1

Table 1: Description of the species reported to have lighter-colored populations inside than outside the gypsum dune field at White Sands National Monument.


Description of coloration



Bleached earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata ruthveni)1

"The dorsal a light, grayish cream, more yellowish on the sides.... Under the microscope no pigment granules are discernible except on the sides of the belly, where on each side two small, black spots are formed by a concentration of dark pigment granules" (p. 343, Smith, 1943).

Bundy, 1955; Dixon, 1967; Lewis, 1949; Smith, 1943

Cowles prairie lizard (Sceloporus undulatus cowlesi)2

"On the middorsal surface of the body there is a broad light blue stripe" from the head to the base of the tail. "This wide light blue stripe is bordered on either side by complete light tan...stripes" alternating with white stripes. The top of the tail is bluish towards the base and grades into pale gray towards the tip. The underside of the tail "is pure white." (p. 127, Lowe and Norris, 1956)

Dixon, 1967; Lowe and Norris, 1956

Little striped Whiptail (Cnemidophorus inornatus)

Color "is strikingly different from typical normal colored samples from southern New Mexico." In Las Cruces, the ground color is "dark brown to chocolate brown with the 7 white lines greatly contrasting against the dark ground color." (p. 17). In dunes populations, "the ground color is pale yellowish-gray to pale bluish-gray with the 6 to 7 light stripes present but somewhat obscure. The limbs are pale blue without a suffusion of grayish bars on the dorsal surfaces in most specimens. The head is light brown to gray-blue in females, bright sky-blue to blue in males" (pp. 16-17, Lowe and Norris, 1956).

Dixon, 1967


Spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus couchii)

"completely white except for black eyes and black marks on the under-side of the hind feet." (p. 232)

Stroud, 1949


Apache pocket mouse (Perognathus flavescens apachii)1, 3

Fur color ranges "from white almost to the yellow color normally found in apache pocket mice. The majority are nearly white and match the color of the background very well." (p. 27, Benson, 1933)

Benson, 1933

White sands wood rat (Neotoma micropus leucophaea)1, 4

"Upper parts pale ashy gray or near pale smoke gray, purest on cheeks, shoulders, and sides, the top of head and back thinly mixed with black producing a finely lined effect; under parts white." (p. 472, Goldman, 1933

Goldman, 1933

Spotted ground squirrel (Spermophilus spilosoma)

"somewhat paler than the Alamogordo specimens." (p. 220, Blair, 1941).

Blair, 1941


Camel cricket (Ammobaenites phrixocnemoides arenicolus)1

"Wholly colorless,...a translucent white..., the eyes are black and the spurs and spines are reddish but unpigmented." (p. 242).

Stroud, 1950

Camel cricket (Daihinoides hastiferum larvale)1

"Entirely white and the light color must be due to a lack of any pigment as one can see through the epidermis and observe internal organs" (Bugbee, 1942).

Bugbee, 1942, Stroud, 1950, Stroud and Strohecker, 1949

Locustid (Cibolacris parviceps arida)

"Reddish brown specimens were taken on red soil near La Luz, but those from the White Sands dunes area were very light in color" (p. 676).

Stroud, 1950

Tiger beetle (Cicindela praetextata)

Some beetles "were very near the typical form but others have very broad white margins covering more than half the elytra" (p. 676).

Stroud, 1950


Lycosid spider

"brown in basic color but its abdomen usually appeared as if covered with hoar-frost. This white color was easily rubbed off when individual specimens were handled."

Bugbee, 1942

Scorpion (Vejovis boreus)


Bugbee, 1942

Solpugid (Eremobates affinis)

"white in color"

Bugbee, 1942

1 Endemic subspecies (i.e., subspecies is found only in the White Sands dunefield).

2 A different subspecies (S. u. tristichus) is dark at the Valley of Fires (Lewis, 1949).

3 A related species (P. intermedius ater) is dark at the Valley of Fires (Dice, 1929).

4 A related species (N. albigula melas) is dark at the Valley of Fires (Dice, 1929).

Benson SB, 1933. Concealing coloration among some desert rodents of the southwestern United States. Univ. Calif. Pub. Zool. 40:1-70.

Blair WF, 1941. Annotated list of mammals of the Tularosa Basin, New Mexico. Am. Midl. Nat. 26:218-229.

Bugbee RE, 1942. Notes on animal occurrence and activity in the White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Trans. Kans. Acad. Sci. 45:315-321.

Bundy RE, 1955. Color Variation in Two Species of Lizards (Phrynosoma modestum and Holbrookia maculata subspecies) (Ph.D.): University of Wisconsin.

Dice LR, 1929. Description of two new pocket mice and a new woodrat from New Mexico. Occas. Papers Mus. Zool., U. Mich. 203:1-4.

Dixon JR, 1967. Aspects of the biology of the lizards of the White Sands, New Mexico. Contrib. Sci 129:1-22.

Goldman EA, 1933. New mammals from Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 23:463-473.

Lewis TH, 1949. Dark coloration in the reptiles of the Tularosa malpais, New Mexico. Copeia 3:181-184.

Lowe CH, Norris KS, 1956. A subspecies of the lizard Sceloporus undulatus from the White Sands of New Mexico. Herpetologica 12:125-127.

Smith HM, 1943. The White Sands earless lizard. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. 24:339-344.

Stroud CP, 1949. A white spade-foot toad from the New Mexico White Sands. Copeia 1949:232.

Stroud CP, 1950. A survey of the insects of White Sands National Monument, Tularosa Basin, New Mexico. Am. Midl. Nat. 44:659-677.

Stroud CP, Strohecker HF, 1949. Notes on White Sands Gryllacrididae (Orthoptera). Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 51:125-126.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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