Gila monster


Gila monster
a large, venomous lizard, Heloderma suspectum, of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico, covered with beadlike scales of yellow, orange, and black.
[1875-80, Amer.; after GILA]

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One of the only two species (both in the family Helodermatidae) of venomous lizards, named for the Gila River basin and found in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.

The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) grows to about 20 in. (50 cm) long, is stout-bodied with black and pink blotches or bands, and has beadlike scales. During warm weather, it feeds at night on small mammals, birds, and eggs and stores fat in the tail and abdomen for the winter. It is sluggish but has a strong bite. The venom (a neurotoxin) is conducted along grooves in the teeth from glands in the lower jaw. Bites are rarely fatal to humans. The other venomous species is the Mexican beaded lizard (H. horridum).

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 one of two species of North American venomous lizards (lizard) in the genus Heloderma of the family Helodermatidae. The Gila monster (H. suspectum) was named for the Gila River Basin and occurs in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It grows to about 50 cm (about 20 inches), is stout-bodied with black and pink blotches or bands, and has beadlike scales. A closely related species, the Mexican beaded lizard (H. horridum), is slightly larger (to 80 cm [about 32 inches]) and darker but otherwise similar in appearance.

 During warm weather the Gila monster feeds at night on small mammals (mammal), birds (bird), and eggs (egg) (see video—>). fat stored in the tail and abdomen at this time is utilized during the winter months. Both species of Heloderma are slow, methodical predators. Their large heads and muscular jaws yield a strong bite that is held while venom seeps into the wound. Many teeth have two grooves that conduct the venom, a nerve poison, from glands in the lower jaw. Fatalities to humans are rare.

George R. Zug
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • gila monster — Heloderma suspectum, 1877, Amer.Eng., from Gila River, which runs through its habitat in Arizona …   Etymology dictionary

  • Gila monster — ☆ Gila monster n. [< GILA] a stout, sluggish, poisonous lizard (Heloderma suspectum, family Helodermatidae) having a short, stumpy tail and a body covered with beadlike scales arranged in alternating rings of black and orange, pink, or yellow …   English World dictionary

  • Gila monster — Gi la mon ster (Zo[ o]l.) A large tuberculated lizard ({Heloderma suspectum}) native of the dry plains of Arizona, New Mexico, etc. It is the only lizard known to have venomous teeth. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gila monster — ] EcologyIt is estimated that the Gila monster spends 95% of its time underground in mammal burrows or rocky shelters. It is active in the morning during the dry season (spring and early summer); later in the summer it may be active on warm… …   Wikipedia

  • Gila-Monster — Gila Krustenechse Heloderma suspectum Systematik Ordnung: Schuppenkriechtiere (Squamata) Unterordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gila monster — A large poisonous lizard, Heloderma suspectum of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico. [Gila, a river in Arizona] * * * Gi·la monster hē lə n a large orange and black venomous lizard of the genus Heloderma (H. suspectum) of the southwestern U …   Medical dictionary

  • Gila monster — noun Etymology: Gila River, Ariz. Date: 1877 a large orange and black venomous lizard (Heloderma suspectum) of the southwestern United States; also a related lizard (H. horridum) of Mexico …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Gila monster — [ hi:lə] noun a large, slow moving venomous lizard native to the south western US and Mexico. [Heloderma suspectum.] Origin C19: named after Gila, a river in New Mexico and Arizona …   English new terms dictionary

  • Gila monster — Gi′la mon ster n. ram a large, venomous lizard, Heloderma suspectum, of the SW United States and NW Mexico, covered with beadlike scales of yellow, orange, and black • Etymology: 1875–80, amer.; after Gila …   From formal English to slang

  • Gila monster — /ˈhilə mɒnstə/ (say heeluh monstuh) noun a large, venomous lizard, Heloderma suspectum, of the south western United States, having the skin studded with yellow or orange and black head like tubercles. {named after the Gila river, in Arizona, US} …   Australian English dictionary


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