Heloderma charlesbogerti: History of an Elusive Species

Campbell, Jonathan A.

Department of Biology

University of Texas – Arlington

Arlington, Texas USA

campbell@uta.edu

The genus Heloderma has been confirmed from Guatemala since at least 1963, at which time the distribution of this taxon was known to include only a tiny portion of the Upper Río Grijalva Basin in the extreme western part of the country. Although presumably suitable habitat exists in several of the isolated but well-collected rain-shadow valleys across central Guatemala comprising "Stuart's Subhumid Corridor," the existence of Heloderma in these regions remained unknown until the early 1980s when it was discovered in the Middle Motagua Valley. A discussion of how this lizard was finally tracked down and made known to science is another example of how seemingly obvious animals can sometimes evade human detection.


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