Those tropical lizards are very little known to humans. They are difficult to meet in the wild, and not many people keep them in captivity. Although they are timid animals, we succeeded in getting some information on them, so read on.
Yellow-spotted night lizard belongs to Lepidophyma genus, and it's a member of the Xantusiidae family. It is one of the largest species of that family.
They can be found in southern North America and Central America.
The population is distributed from central Mexico through Panama. They prefer moist and wet forested areas.
They have dark black or brown skin with yellow spots.
The spots cover the upper side and sides of the body of the animal. Those running along the sides of the body are arranged in two rows. The belly may be light brown or light yellow with brown patches.
The skin is covered with scales, the larger ones are on the upper side of the body and smaller ones on the belly of the lizard.
The scales are rough and give the body a specific texture. Those that cover the underside of the body are smoother and facilitate the movement of the animal. The finest scales cover the head, and at this point resemble the skin of a snake.
They are omnivorous.
They feed primarily on insects, but plants can also be found in the yellow-spotted night lizard diet. Yellow-spotted lizards prefer to wait for prey to come nearby rather than hunt it down. They prey mostly on ants, spiders, termites, scorpions, crickets, millipedes and centipedes.
Adults can reach body length about 13 cm (5 in).
Newborn lizards are 3 cm (1,2 in) long and look very similar to adults.
They can live up to 11 years in the wild.
It takes at least 3 years for yellow spotted lizards to reach maturity.
Contrary to popular opinion, they are not venomous reptiles.
Yet, they have very sharp teeth which can do a unpleasant pain after a bite.
They reproduce primarily by parthenogenesis and are viviparous.
It means that no male is necessary to produce next generation. Young lizards are born fully developed. In addition, those lizards are capable of laying eggs if necessary.
Parthogenesis occur when no males are present.
All lizards born this way are females. There are some populations of yellow spotted lizards that contain no males at all.
Yellow spotted lizards give birth in June and July.
Typically, five to eight young are born in a single litter.
Terrain is their primary habitat.
They can also be found on tree trunks or beneath bark, rock crevices and caves.
They are primarily nocturnal animals.
Yellow-spotted lizards tend to hunt and mate during the night but sometimes can be spotted during the day. Although they are ectothermic organisms, they do not bask in the sun.
There are four subspecies of yellow-spotted tropical lizards.
Lepidophyma flavimaculatum flavimaculatum,
Lepidophyma flavimaculatum ophiophthalmum,
Lepidophyma flavimaculatum tehuanae,
Lepidophyma flavimaculatum tenebrarum.
They are not an endangered species.
IUCN classifies those animals as LC (least concern).