gila monster


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gila monster

(hē`lə), venomous lizard, Heloderma suspectum, found in the deserts of the SW United States and NW Mexico. It averages 18 in. (45 cm) in length, with a large head, stout body, thick tail that acts as a food reservoir, and short legs with strong claws. Its skin is covered with beadlike scales. Its coloring is marbled, a combination of brown or black with orange, pink, yellow, or dull white. The lizard's movements are slow and clumsy. It feeds on young birds and mammals and on eggs. Because the neurotoxic venom is produced by glands in the lower jaw and the grooved teeth through which it passes are set far back in the mouth, venom does not always enter the wound when a victim is bitten. The gila monster must fix its teeth deeply in a certain position to give a fatal bite. The only other member of the genus Heloderma, the beaded lizard, H. horridum, is a somewhat larger black and yellow lizard, found in W Mexico. These two species are the only known lizards whose venom is fatal. They are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Helodermatidae.

Gila Monster

 

(Heloderma suspectum), a poisonous lizard of the family Helodermatidae. Length, up to 60 cm. The body is covered with protuberant, granular scales. The skin is dark brown, heavily splotched with yellow orange or reddish brown. The conical teeth are curved backward into the mouth; four teeth of the upper and lower jaws have grooves that are fed by the ducts of highly developed submaxillary poison glands. The bite of a gila monster is very painful and may even lead to death. Gila monsters are found in the western mountainous parts of the USA and Mexico.

They are nocturnal animals, feeding mainly on the eggs of birds and reptiles. When they have adequate food they quickly accumulate fat, which is stored in the tail and used during periods of food shortage.

Gila monster

[′hē·lə ‚män·stər]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for two species of reptiles in the genus Heloderma (Helodermatidae) distinguished by a rounded body that is covered with multicolored beaded tubercles, and a bifid protrusible tongue.

Gila monster

small but venomous lizard found in U.S. desert. [Zoology: NCE, 1084]
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, Gienger and Tracy (2008) and Beck (1990) observed Gila monsters attempting to raid nests of G.
Assuming that the sighting was unremarkable at the time, Haxel made a casual annotation in the margin of his copy of Jaeger 0957) The North American Deserts, next to the description of the Gila Monster.
com This Enchanted Learning site features free information about the Green Iguana, the King Cobra, the Gila Monster, and the Basilisk Lizard.
The Gila monster feeds on small mammals, eggs of groundnesting birds and reptiles, lizards, insects, and carrion (Beck, 1990).
This is everything from cobras to garter snakes to tiny geckos to the Komodo Dragon to the Gila Monster.
Properly dressed and armed against stingrays and the Gila monster most American can risk stepping outside.
Kennedy recalls the lush ecosystem of his boyhood, when otters, muskrats and now-extinct varieties of fish abounded (the only critters seen now are a lone gila monster and a rattler).
The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum), widely distributed in parts of the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, is rare in California.
Other animals in this gallery include the fried egg jelly (which actually looks more like scrambled eggs), the strawberry anemone (it's very pink), the Southern Pacific rattlesnake and the Gila monster -- whose venom has been used to treat diabetes.
There are only two lizard species that are venomous: the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard.
His search is interrupted by a flash flood and a meeting with a gila monster - one of only two types of poisonous lizards.