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Posted by kearley on January 07, 2002 at 05:05:06:
In Reply to: Purity posted by Craig on January 06, 2002 at 22:51:53:
Are you refering to within captivity or in the wild? It has been my understanding that it is a natural occurance where their ranges overlap.
I cannot speak from experience other than in captivity as I have never seen a gila monster in the wild. Unfortunately they aren't indigenous to Florida(LOL). But other individuals within this forum, such as Kerry, have done extensive field observations and have noted that at the extreme edges of cinctum and suspectum's ranges that you get the more "pure" representation but this is still an area of debate.
A while back I had posed the question as to how to tell the difference between a "true" cinctum and a "true" suspectum. There has been a lot of documentation as to the shape of the scales, the amount of color in the light bands, the size or number of the bands on the tail. My problem was that I had seen pictures of animals that were documented as cinctum that I would have thought were suspectum and vise a versa. Even individuals within my collection are an area of debate. Some would say that within capticity today that there is little representation of "true" subspecies differences due to indiscriminate breeding and no "truly" known locality data from founding stock. In other words did it occur from and intergrade zone or not.
There are however some people that are breeding for locality specific much like they do with gray bands.
My personal opinion, once again only from my observations within captivity, is that there appears to be a definite morphological difference between my gilas. In other words some are what I would call shorter and squatier than others that I have which appear more elongate in appearance. What this is atributed to for sure I can't say.
It has been my experience from observations at zoological facilities as well as from individual's collections that they are a highly variable lizard when it comes to pattern, color, and body structure.
I feel this will always be an area of debate because you will have individuals that will selectively breed for pattern or color and others that if they can get two to breed so be it (much like many other reptiles maintained in captivity).
It has been said before and I'll say it again. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", It is my opinion that all gila monsters, regardless of color, pattern, and body structure are fascinating animals.
I don't know whether this answers your question or not but it is my opinion. If you scroll down there are other times when people have posted the same if not similar questions. Maybe those answers might point you in the right direction.