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 ?
The New York Times reported that Eli Lilly will pay Amylin Pharmaceuticals approximately $325 million for the rights to 50% of domestic profits and 80% of international profits for a diabetes drug being developed from Gila monster venom.
However, previously published reports described an aggressive interaction between Morafka's desert tortoise and a Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum), where a female tortoise was observed attacking a Gila monster that tried to raid her nest and eat her eggs (Vaughan, 1984; Barrett and Humphrey, 1986; Zylstra et al.
Ecology and behavior of the Gila monster in southwestern Utah.
The date was 30 April, 1974, during the time of year when most Gila Monsters have been observed in California.
Since that time, Haxel has seen about a half dozen other Gila Monsters in Arizona; Nevada; and Sonora, Mexico further confirming his identification of the specimen seen in the Chocolate Mountains.
Below we present a description of a new species of coccidian from captive Gila monsters at the Dallas Zoo.
Two additional female Gila monsters at the Zoo were also found to be passing oocysts of this new species.
3 rebounds per game last year while helping the Gila Monsters go 21-10.
Gila monsters were probably already rare in California long before the arrival of Europeans due to changes in climate and landform that delimited the marginal location of California in the range of this species.
The 'Animals: Desert' series focuses on desert creatures with the same bilingual format/age range reached for Gila Monsters (083-6848276) and its Spanish bilingual Mostruos De Gila (0836848411), Vultures (0836848314) and its bilingual sister Vultures/Buitres (0836848454) and Rattlesnakes/Serpientes De Cascabel (0836848-438).
Most of the critters here can be found in nearby Saguaro National Park, but in that natural world you might have to sneak about with a flashlight in the evening to spy such nocturnal creatures as rattlesnakes, scorpions or gila monsters.
Simply gorgeous drawings by John Francis from cover to inside encourage leisure browsing and reading despite a title which sounds quite ordinary: once inside, kids in grades 4-6 will find How Animals Live is packed from cover to cover with inviting natural history facts about a wide range of animals, from jewel fish and wild schools of animals to gila monsters.