Recent northward range expansion of the parthenogenetic lizard Aspidoscelis tesselatus in Colorado and the distributional enigma posed by pattern-classes C and D at the northern range periphery

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The range of the parthenogenetic lizard Aspidoscelis tesselatus extends from eastern Chihuahua, Mexico, to southeastern Colorado, USA. In Colorado, pattern-class D, source of the neotype of the species, is syntopic with the more widely distributed pattern-class C only in Ninemile Valley of the Purgatoire River, beyond which, in all directions, these pattern classes are allopatric. We identify a recent northward range expansion of pattern-class C to the same northern latitude attained by pattern-class D, thereby establishing a latitudinal baseline for the species. The two northern arrays of pattern-class C, reported herein, occupied open habitats of sparsely distributed shrubs on rocky slopes, whereas the northernmost arrays of pattern-class D were using juniper woodland. Although this allopatric arrangement suggests ecological segregation of pattern classes, we provide an example of pattern-class C in juniper woodland only ca. 11 km south of the new records, which suggests that other factors could be involved.

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