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 ?
Field observations of interactions between the desert tortoise and the Gila monster. Sonoran Herpetologist 18(3):30-31.
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. By the time of the sighting Haxel had been mapping in the southern Chocolate Mountains for more than two years, and was quite familiar with the only other large lizard species in the area, the Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater).
The Gila Monster and the King Cobra were not picked.
The Gila Monster's saliva contains a compound which is being turned into a new drug to fight the disease.
If Tom insists that he can only be productive with his pet turtle Avalon poised on his desk, why shouldn't Mindy be allowed to bring her pet gila monster to work?
Consider the range of desert dwellers requiring venom in order to survive: gila monster, ten species of rattlesnake, coral snake, scorpion, centipede, tarantula, black widow, brown recluse, and a poisonous frog known to kill the dog that licks it.
The Gila monster, Heloderma suspectum Cope, 1869 is a large, heavy bodied venomous lizard that ranges from extreme southwestern Utah to northern Sinaloa, Mexico (Stebbins, 1985).
"This is everything from cobras to garter snakes to tiny geckos to the Komodo Dragon to the Gila Monster. They range from tiny threadsnakes that can curl up on a dime to 10 feet monitor lizards and 30 foot pythons.
Properly dressed and armed against stingrays and the Gila monster most American can risk stepping outside...though a bark scorpion may be lurking on the trunk upon which a southerner places an unsuspecting hand.
This Thursday will bring "The Giant Gila Monster" (a 1959 movie about a giant lizard terrorizing a rural Texan community) and "The Killer Shrews" (also from 1959, outsized rodents who escaped from a laboratory get hunger pangs for residents of an island community).
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).