CLASSIFICATION OF HELODERMA (GILA MONSTER​)

PHYLUM :- CHORDATA (Notochord, dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill slits present)

GROUP :- CRANIATA (Definite head. Cranium with brain present)

SUB-PHYLUM :- VERTEBRATA (vertebral column present)

DIVISION:- GNATHOSTOMATA (Jaws and paired appendages present)

SUPER CLASS :-  TETRAPODA (Paired limbs, lungs, bony skeleton and cornified skin)

CLASS :- REPTILIA (Scaly vertebrates with right and left aortic arches. Single condyle, pulmonary respiration. Embryo with amnion and allantois).

SUB CLASS :- DIAPSIDA (Skull with two temporal openings separated by postorbital and squamosal).

ORDER :- SQUAMATA (Lizards and snakes with horny epidermal scales or shields. Quadrate bone movable. Vertebrae procoelous. Anal opening transverse).

SUB ORDER :- SAURIA (Lizards. Body slender, limbs 4. Pterygoid in contact with quadrate. Eyelids movable).

FAMILY :- HELODERMATIDAE (Poisonous lizard. Fleshy bifid tongue).

Genus :- Heloderma

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION

  • Heloderma is found in deserts of Mexico and U.S.A.

HABIT AND HABITAT

  • Heloderma lives in dry places under rocks and in burrows. It is a clumsy, sluggish animal which feeds on snake eggs and lizards.

HELODERMA (GILA MONSTER​)

GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF HELODERMA (GILA MONSTER​)

  • Commonly called as Gila monster or Hella monster.
  • Body measuring about 60 cm, is covered with ugly tubercles and divided into head, neck, trunk and tail.
  • Body contains black and orange scales forming coloured patches. Dorsal scales are bead-like over bony tubercles (osteoderms). Ventral scales flat.
  • Head is short, stout having eyes, nostrils and a wide mouth. External ear opening present behind eyes. 
  • Teeth pleurodont, fang-like and contain labial poison glands which open on outer ‘gum’ of lower jaw. Tongue is fleshy and bifid.
  • Trunk and tail stout and rounded.
  • Forelimbs and hind limbs are short, powerful and well developed. It is capable of swift movement. Digits are clawed. 
  • Heloderma lays eggs in the nest formed in sandy soil.
HELODERMA (GILA MONSTER​)

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Heloderma is the only poisonous lizard. The poison apparatus comprises of a modified sublingual salivary gland that secretes a poisonous fluid. Poison glands open on outer gum of lower jaw. Venom is potent; bite is fatal to small animals, and rarely to man.

IDENTIFICATION

  • This lizard has bead-like scales, tubercles, coloured patches, stout trunk and above features, hence it is Heloderma.
HELODERMA (GILA MONSTER​)
HELODERMA (GILA MONSTER​)
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