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FAQ
Target Species: Reticulated Gila monster, Heloderma suspectum suspectum & Rio Fuerte beaded lizard, Heloderma horridum exasperatum
Location: Alamos, Sonora, Mexico (and Tucson, Arizona)
Director: Roger Finnigan


Location: The Gila monster occurs from Utah to n.Sinaloa, the Beaded lizard occurs from Guatemala to s.Sonora. The two species overlap in southern Sonora.

Mission Statement:

There are only two species of venomous lizard in the world, the Gila monster and the Beaded lizard. The former exists as two subspecies in southwestern USA and northwestern Mexico south to northern Sinaloa State, the latter occurs as four subspecies from Guatemala, north through western Mexico to southern Sonora State. There is a small overlap zone in southern Sonora where both species occur and Mark plans to try to find both species as close together as possible. This task is made more difficult by the fact that Gila monsters are basically desert fringe lizards while beaded lizards inhabit deciduous woodlands, different habitats in other words. They also spend a large proportion of their lives underground so the chances of finding them out and about are slim. Brent Martin has considerable experience with Sonoran reptiles so his assistance will be essential if Mark is to succeed. In Sonora Mark discovers one of the richest herpetofaunas of his life.

[Mark’s first visits the famous Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to acquaint himself with his quarry, goes into the Arizona desert to find rattlesnakes and tortoises and also spends some time with the police and other authorities trying to protect Arizona Gila monsters from being poached and stolen, or killed in gardens. None of the Arizona section made the final film.]


A close view of a Rio Fuerte beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum exasperatum), note longer head and more subdued patterning.

Species recorded during 'Monsters Of The Madre'

Species Common Name
BUFONIDAE TRUE TOADS
Bufo alvarius Colorado River toad
Bufo mazatlanensis Sonoran toad
Bufo punctatus Red spotted toad
HYLIDAE TREEFROGS
Smilisca baudini Common Mexican treefrog
LEPTODACTYLIDAE SOUTHERN FROGS
Eleutherodactylus augusti cactorum Western barking frog
RANIDAE TRUE FROGS
Rana magnaocularis Northwest Mexico leopard frog
EMYDIDAE POND TERRAPINS & BOX TURTLES
Terrapene nelsoni klauberi Sonoran box turtle
KINOSTERNIDAE MUD & MUSK TURTLES
Kinosternon integrum Mexican mud turtle
Kinosternon alamosae Alamos mud turtle
TESTUDINIDAE TORTOISES
Gopherus agassizii Desert tortoise
GEKKONIDAE GECKOES
Hemidactylus turcicus Turkish house gecko
HELODERMIDAE VENOMOUS LIZARDS
Heloderma horridum exasperatum Rio Fuerte beaded lizard
Heloderma suspectum suspectum Reticulated Gila monster
IGUANIDAE IGUANAS
Ctenosaura hemilopha macrolopha Mainland spiny iguana
PHRYNOSOMATIDAE SWIFTS & SPINY LIZARDS
Callisaurus draconoides draconoides Common zebra-tailed lizard
Callisaurus draconoides brevipes Short-footed zebra-tailed lizard
Cophosaurus texanum scitulus Southwestern earless lizard
Holbrookia maculata Lesser earless lizard
Phrynosoma solare Regal horned lizard
Sceloporus clarki Clark's spiny lizard
Sceloporus magister magister Sonoran spiny lizard
Sceloporus nelsoni Nelson's spiny lizard
Uta stansburiana Side-blotched lizard
Urosaurus ornatus Tree lizard
POLYCROTIDAE ANOLES
Anolis nebulosus Clouded anole
TEIIDAE MACROTEIIDS
Cnemidophorus costatus griseocephalus Grey-headed whiptail lizard
Cnemidophorus sonorae Sonoran spotted whiptail lizard
Cnemidophorus tigris gracilis Arizona desert whiptail
BOIDAE BOAS
Boa constrictor imperator Imperial boa
COLUBRIDAE TYPICAL SNAKES
Drymarchon corais rubidus Red tailed cribo
Drymobius margaritiferus fistulosus Western speckled racer
Hypsiglena torquata ochrorhyncha Sonoran night snake
Gyalopion quadangulare Desert hooknose snake
Leptophis diplotropis diplotropis Pacific coast parrot snake
Masticophis bilineatus bilineatus Sonoran whipsnake
Masticophis flagellum cingulum Sonoran coachwhip
Phyllorhynchus browni fortitus Sonoran leaf-nosed snake
Pituophis melanoleucus affinis Sonoran gopher snake
Rhinocheilus lecontei antonii Mexican long-nosed snake
Sympholis lippens rectilimbus Mexican short-tailed snake
Trimorphodon tau tau Mexican lyre snake
VIPERIDAE VIPERS & PITVIPERS
Crotalus atrox Western diamondback rattlesnake
Crotalus basiliscus Mexican west coast rattlesnake

 


Location: Alamos and Navojoa in the southern Sonoran Sierra Madre Occidental is the center of the species overlap zone.


Mark O'Shea and Arizona herpetologist Brent Martin plan their trip down to Sonora, Mexico.

 

 


Lush deciduous forest and rocky creek beds near Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, typical Beaded lizard habitat.

 

 


A defensive Reticulated Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum suspectum), note venom gland swellings in lower jaws.

 

 


O'Shea with one of several Rio Fuerte beaded lizards (Heloderma h.exasperatum) captured in southern Sonora, Mexico.

 


O'Shea introduces the camera to a newly captured Speckled racer (Drymobius margaritiferus fistulosus).

 


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