Animals that start with x

22 Animals That Start With X With Pictures and Facts

How often do you come across an animal with a name that starts with x? Like most people, the names of your local animals probably start with more common letters. In this article, we satisfy your curiosity with a list of animals that start with x and some facts about them.

Animals That Start With X

Quick links to our picks of our diverse picks of fascinating animals whose names start with x.

1. Xami Hairstreak

Xami Hairstreak
Photo: Xami Hairstreak. Credit: Erik Karits on Unsplash

Scientific name: Callophrys xami
Conservation status: Least Concern
Fun fact: Xami hairstreak is a polygynous species7- they have multiple mating partners in their lifetime. 

Xami hairstreak is a rare butterfly species that is part of the subgenus and the genus Callophrys family of Lycaenidae. First up in our list of animals that start with x, the Xami hairstreak butterfly has brightly colored wings that spread to 2.86cm. Its hindwing is a shade of yellow and green, with a distinctive white line sitting behind the middle of its wings. You can find them in southern and southeastern Arizona, Texas, Mexico, and Guatemala. 

They thrive in regions that are cool, warm, and temperate. This rare butterfly has a host plant where it lays its eggs that comes from two genera of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae family, native to the southwestern parts of the United States where this butterfly is native. 

2. Xuthus Swallowtail

Xuthus Swallowtail
Photo: Xuthus Swallowtail. Credit: Greg Peterson (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Scientific name: Papilio xuthus
Conservation status: Not Threatened
Fun fact: It has sensitive photoreceptors that can sense a wide range of wavelengths6 

Xuthus swallowtail, a medium-sized yellow butterfly, is a member of the genus Papilio from the family Papilionidae. The Swallowtail butterfly has a beautiful mix of yellow and black wings across up to 110mm wingspan.

You can find the Xuthus swallowtail butterfly in northeast Asia, northern Myanmar, southern China, Taiwan, and the Hawaiian Islands. They came to Hawaii in 1971, while there was also a record of Papilio Xuthus in Arunachal Pradesh, India, in 2014. 

3. Xantus’s Hummingbird

Xantus’s Hummingbird
Photo: Xantus’s Hummingbird. Credit: Ron Knight via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Basilinna xantusii
Conservation status: Least Concern 
Fun fact: Male Xantus hummingbirds have darker colored hair than females.

Xantus's hummingbird is a member of the tribe Trochilini, a subfamily of Trochilinae. It got its name from a Hungarian zoologist called John Xantus de Vesey. The bird is native to Baja California, a state in northeast Mexico, and it's also not uncommon to see these birds venturing into California.

The Xantus Hummingbird is mid-sized, weighing about 4 grams, and adults can grow up to 9cm long. Its features include a white line that runs from the back of its head to the top of its eye and emerald green colored wings8.

Related: Check our compilation of the best bird quotes for some more inspiration from our feathered friends. Also, we found another animal starting with x from the bird classification. Xenops are small birds found in Central and South America.

4. Xantic Sargo

Xantic Sargo
Photo: Xantic Sargo. Credit: Public Domain

Scientific name: Anisotremus davidsonii
Conservation status: Not evaluated
Fun fact: It uses its pharyngeal teeth to crush mollusks, crustaceans, and bryozoans

Xanthic sargo, a mid-sized fish, weighing up to 11 pounds, is part of the grunt fish family. This fish species got its name from the grunting sounds produced when it rubs its flat teeth plate together. Xanthic are nocturnal animals, feeding during the night and spending the daylight hours asleep. Whereas it can grow up to 21 inches, most adult fish are around 11 inches long. 

The fish's natural habitat is the coastal waters of Eastern Central Pacific, ranging from Santa Cruz in central California, USA, to southern Baja California, Mexico. You can also find them in the waters of the Gulf of California. It has a silvery body, with black or brown stripes on both sides, and they thrive in rocky underwater areas. 

5. Xenarthra

Armadillo, member of the Xenarthra family
Photo: Armadillo, member of the Xenarthra family. Credit: Lauren Mitchell via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The name Xenarthra means strange joints. Xenarthra is a group of mammals commonly referred to as placental mammals. Currently, there are 31 species of the same family native to the Americas and often found in rainforests. They include:

  • Tree Sloths
  • Anteaters
  • Armadillos 
  • Aquatic Sloths
  • Pampatheres
  • Ground Sloths
  • Glyptodonts 

They were first discovered in South America 60 million years ago4. Xenarthra mammals possess unique characteristics that differentiate them from other placental mammals, predominately unusual limb bone structures and single-colored vision.

Xenarthran teeth also have a distinctive form- they have no enamel and only have a single set of teeth in their lifetime. Some Xenarthra species only eat vegetation, whereas others are omnivores, also catching smaller animals for food. Also, they don't have the same amount of vertebrae as other mammals1.

6. Xantus’ Murrelet

Scripps's Murrelet
Photo: Scripps's Murrelet, one species of Xantus Murrelet. Credit: Channel City Camera Club via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Synthliboramphus hypoleucus
Conservation status: Deficient data
Fun fact: Xantus' Murrelet has two species: Scripps's Murrelet and Guadalupe Murrelet

Next up in our list of animals that start with x is the Xantus Murrelet, a small seabird found in the Pacific ocean. Its colors are black and white, combined with a small head and a thin bill. 

You can find the bird on Southern California islands, the United States, Mexico, and northwestern Baja California. These sea birds usually nest under shrubs and in rock crevices. Unfortunately, it is part of the endangered species of the auk sea bird group.

7. X-ray Tetra

X-ray Tetra
Photo: X-ray Tetra. Credit: iStock

Scientific name: Pristella maxillaris
Conservation status: Not Listed
Fun fact: X-ray tetra fish's biggest problem is water pollution

X-ray Tetra, a small fish that grows up to 5cm long, has a variety of colors. They are yellow, black, white and silver. It primarily feeds on worms, small insects, and crustaceans. However, it falls prey to larger fish, frogs, and birds. The X-ray tetra fish is endemic to the coastal waters of Brazil, Guiana, Guyana, and Venezuela. It thrives in acidic and alkaline waters and can also tolerate brackish water. 

It is commonly referred to as X-ray fish because of its translucent appearance. Some people also keep it as a pet in an aquarium, and it can consume fish foods. X-ray fish have a short lifespan, living up to 5 years maximum. 

8. Xingu River Ray

Xingu River Ray
Photo: Xingu River Ray. Credit: iStock

Scientific name: Potamotrygon leopoldi
Conservation status: Deficient data
Fun fact: Scientists named it after a former king of Belgium

Xingu River ray is a fish species from the Potamotrygonidae family and is commonly referred to as the white-blotched river stingray. It is a venomous stingray fish with venom in the dentine spine around its tail. However, its venom toxicity level decreases over time as ray fish age. The freshwater fish is native to the Xingu River basin in Brazil, Central America.

An interesting fact about Xingu River ray fish is in its name. Scientists named it after King Leopold III of Belgium because he sponsored tons of scientific research at the Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique. Interestingly, researchers found that 33% of females carried litters fathered by more than one Xingu River Ray5.

9. Xantus Leaf-toed Gecko

Xantus Leaf-toed Gecko
Photo: Xantus Leaf-toed Gecko. Credit: iStock

Scientific name: Phyllodactylus xanti
Conservation status: Least Concern
Fun fact: Leaf-toed gecko is a nocturnal animal. 

The Xantus leaf-toed gecko’s habitat is in the Baja California Peninsula and other islands in North West Mexico. The leaf-toed gecko has three different dorsal colors; brown, grey, and pink, while its ventral area has a light shade. 

Its other features include vertical pupils, immovable eyelids, granular scales, and leaf-shaped toes. A Xantus leaf-toed gecko's length can range from 2.5 cm to 6.2 cm, and its natural habitats are desert, shrubland, and arid regions. They primarily eat small insects. 

Side note: Also sharing the name xantus, is another animal that starts with x, the xantus swimming crab.

10. Xenopus (Genus)

African Clawed Frog of genus Xenopus
Photo: African Clawed Frog of genus Xenopus. Credit: Rawpixel via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Xenopus laevis
Conservation status: Least Concern 
Fun fact: African clawed frogs can reproduce up to 4 times a year

Xenopus is a genus of aquatic frogs, popularly known as the African clawed frog. The clawed frog is an inactive animal that can hibernate for as long as a year and has a long lifespan, living up to 15 years. You can find Xenopus in lakes, rivers, swamps, and artificial reservoirs. If its water source dries up, it makes it away into another body of water. Xenopus is a highly aquatic animal species that are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently, there are 21 species of the genus Xenopus all with similar flat and streamlined egg-shaped bodies. They have strong full webbed toes that give them excellent swimming skills and a protective mucus covering that causes their skin to be slippery. Surprisingly, they don't have haptoglobin in their blood like other amphibians.

11. Xerus (Genus)

Xerus Rutilus or Unstriped Ground Squirrel
Photo: Xerus Rutilus or Unstriped Ground Squirrel. Credit: Bernard Dupont via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Xerus rutilus
Conservation status: Least-concern
Fun fact: They are solitary animals. 

Xerus, another animal that begins with x, is a species of African ground squirrel and is one of the genera that make up the Xerinae subfamily. Xerus Rutilus are burrowing animals known as unstriped ground squirrels. African ground squirrels have an orange-brown or yellowish-brown color and a ring of white hair around the eyes. Their body weight is different according to their habitats, weighing up to 420 grams with an average length of 8 inches. 

An African ground squirrel has an average tail length of 6.8 inches. You will find the unstriped ground squirrel in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti. The natural habitats of this squirrel family are dry savanna, subtropical, and tropical dry shrubland. 

Related: You might also like our list of 19 squirrel facts.

12. Xucaneb Robber Frog

(no photo available)

Scientific name: Craugastor xucanebi
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Fun fact: These frogs enjoy the mountain air living in mountain areas

This small brown frog, from the Craugastoridae family, is native to Guatemala and is found in the higher mountain regions of around 600-1300 meters above sea level. 

You might find this frog hard to spot initially as it loves the moist darker area under bushes and undergrowth. Here it also finds a rich diet of insects and bugs.

Sadly, the IUCN lists the Robber Frog as endangered, as forestry, agriculture, and other human activities have encroached on its habitat.

13. Xinjiang Ground-Jay

Scientific name: Podoces Biddulph
Conservation status: Near Threatened
Fun fact: The species is in the Taklimakan Desert, the southern part of Xinjiang

One of the animals beginning with x is Xinjiang Ground-Jay. Xinjiang Ground-Jay is a small bird from the Corvidae family. Its feathers are a shade of brown, with a touch of black and white on its hind feathers. You can find this bird species in China. 

Unfortunately, there isn't enough information about Xinjiang Ground-Jay as it is almost extinct. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed its conservation status as 'Near Threatened.'

14. Xema (Sabine’s gull)

Xema (Sabine’s gull)
Photo: Xema (Sabine’s gull). Credit: Dominic Sherony via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Xema sabini
Conservation status: Least Concern
Fun fact: Naturalist Joseph Sabine formally described sabine’s gull in 1814

Xeme, next in our list of animals starting with the letter x, is popularly known as Sabine's gull or the fork-tailed gull. It is a small gull that’s 27 - 33 cm long and weighs up to 225g. Xeme has a striking appearance due to its wings. An adult Sabine gull has a pale gray back, with black primary flight feathers and white secondary feathers. Young birds also have a similar color pattern, but the brown color replaces the grey color. 

Xeme is found across North America and Eurasia, but they breed in the Arctic region. Its feeding diet also varies according to season and habitat. A fun fact about Xeme is its distraction display. When threatened, the gull performs a distraction dance by faking an injury. This act deceives the predator as the gull leads harm away from the nesting area. 

15. Xestus Sabretooth Blenny

Petroscirtes xestus
Photo: Petroscirtes xestus. Credit: Jordon and Seale (Public Domain)

Scientific name: Petroscirtes xestus
Conservation status: Least Concern
Fun fact: It is a solitary animal. 

Xestus Sabertooth Blenny is a species of combtooth blenny with dense spotting on its body. It's a small fish with pale shades of yellow, white, and grey. Also, a white line starts from the eye to the base of its tail. They're native to the coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific oceans, where they prefer to live in sandy and weedy regions. 

16. Xiphosura

Xiphosura or Horseshoe Crab
Photo: Xiphosura or Horseshoe Crab. Credit: annie! via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Xiphosura
Conservation status: Not extinct 
Fun fact: They use their spines to tear up food before passing it to their mouths

One of the stranger animals starting with x is Xiphosura, commonly known as the horseshoe crab, a part of the order of arthropods that comprises Mangrove horseshoe crabs, Chinese horseshoe crabs, and Atlantic horseshoe crabs. They can grow up to 60 inches, and their bodies have two main parts: the prosoma and the opisthosoma. They have a thick covering made of a formidable cuticle, and it doesn't contain crystalline biominerals. 

They have four eyes located on different sides of their body and five pairs of legs. Researchers have found the horseshoe crab's blood valuable for medicine, where it can help to spot bacteria contaminating a small area with minimal effort2. A female Xiphosura can lay up to 300 eggs in one reproduction cycle.

Related: Xiphosura is definitely not the prettiest! You might also like our compilation of the world's ugliest animals for more weird and wonderful creatures from the animal kingdom.

17. Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli
Photo: Xoloitzcuintli. Credit: Alfredo&Sara Aguirre via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris
Conservation status: Endangered
Fun fact: Xoloitzcuintli is Mexico's national dog

Xoloitzcuintli is an ancient dog breed, generally referred to as the old Aztec dog of the gods. This dog comes in two varieties, hairless and coated with fur, and has a life expectancy of about 13 - 18 years3. However, the coatless dog is more common than the coated one. Hairless Xoloitzcuintli has tough and smooth skin and an incomplete dental structure, unlike the coated breed. 

They are intelligent and sensitive dogs. They also have excellent hunting and social instincts, which makes them suitable for companionship and guarding services. There are three sizes of Xoloitzcuintli dog breeds: toy, miniature, and standard. Their sizes range from 4kg to 20kg, and the species come in brown, black, or bluish-gray colors. 

18. Xingu Corydoras

Xingu Corydoras
Photo: Xingu Corydoras. Credit: Shutterstock

Scientific name: Corydoras xinguensis
Conservation status: Not Extinct
Fun fact: It holds a lot of commercial profits for the aquarium industry

Next up in our animals that start with x is the Xingu corydoras, a tropical freshwater fish from the family Callichthyidae. The fish grows up to 3.7 cm in length. It also has a vascularized intestine that allows it to breathe atmospheric air. Xingu fish is an omnivore, feeding on other animals like worms, benthic organisms, insects, and plants.

It is native to the inland waters of South America, the upper Xingu River basin in Brazil. As you can already guess, it got its name from the river. A unique feature of the Xingu fish is its spine. It has a hardened pectoral spine that can injure the human skin if handled carelessly. Also, they are scaleless, which makes them highly sensitive to salt. Whereas small, these unique features make them one of the most interesting creatures that start with x.

19. Xantusia (Genus)

Xantusia vigilis
Photo: Xantusia vigilis. Credit: Marshal Hedin via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientific name: Xantusia vigilis
Conservation status: Least Concern
Fun fact: They give birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs

There are three genera in the night lizard family, and Xantusia is one of them. The Xantusia species are small and medium-sized. It is another of the animals that start with x, named after John Xantus. These small animals are native to the Southwest region of the U.S. and Northern Mexico. 

The desert night Lizard can grow up to 7cm long, minus the tail length. Confusingly, the desert night lizard isn't a nocturnal animal like its name suggests, and interestingly, the lizards can switch colors from light olive to dark brown. They are usually colored grey, olive, or yellowish-brown. 

20. Xestochilus Nebulosus

(no image available)

Scientific name: Xetochilus Nebulosus
Conservation status: Unknown 

Xetochilus nebulosus is a snake eel from the family Ophichthidae that can grow up to a maximum length of 47cm. It is endemic to the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific ocean. You can find the eel at ocean levels of 2m to 40m. They thrive in tidepools, weed bottoms, and sand under the water. 

21. Xanthippe’s Shrew

Xanthippe’s Shrew
Image by RPN from Pixabay

Scientific name: Crocidura xantippe
Conservation status: Least Concern 
Fun fact: Shrews can reproduce up to 3 times in a year

This shrew, whose name starts with an x, is a species of mammal from the Soricidae family. It is native to Kenya and Tanzania. Xanthippe's shrew survives in tropical dry savannah land and subtropical regions. 

22. Xylophagous Leafhopper

Xylophagous Leafhopper
Photo: Xylophagous Leafhopper or Glassy-winged sharpshooter. Credit: siamesepuppy via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scientific name: Homalodisca coagulata
Conservation status: Unknown
Fun fact: Their eggs and larvae are suitable for the pollinator species

Our last animal with the letter x at the start is the Xylophagous leafhopper, also known as a glassy-winged sharpshooter, which is native to the Southeast regions of the US and Northern Mexico. However, one can also find this creature in Southern California. Half-inched animals play a significant role in nature's food chain. However, agriculture considers leafhoppers as a pest in the environment.  

Xylophagous leafhoppers have dark brown or black heads with yellow spots and transparent wings with prominent red veins. The leafhopper is a threat because it is a vector of Pierce's Disease. Pierce's Disease is a disease that disrupts a plant's ability to get water and nutrients from the soil. Sadly, Pierce's Disease doesn't have a cure.

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Pin Image Portrait 22 Animals That Start With X With Pictures and Facts
1

Oliver JD, Jones KE, Hautier L, Loughry WJ, Pierce SE. Vertebral bending mechanics and xenarthrous morphology in the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). J Exp Biol. 2016 Oct 1;219(Pt 19):2991-3002. doi: 10.1242/jeb.142331. Epub 2016 Jul 29. PMID: 27473436.

2

The Role of Horseshoe Crabs in the Biomedical Industry and Recent Trends Impacting Species Sustainability, Krisfalusi-Gannon, Jordan; Ali, Waleed; et al., 2018, Front. Mar. Sci. 5:185, DOI : https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00185

3

S. Ohshima, T. Kimura, K. Doi, (January 1, 1993). The inheritance and breeding results of hairless descendants of Mexican hairless dogs.

4

O'Leary, M.A., Bloch, J.I., et al., (2013). The Placental Mammal Ancestor and the Post–K-Pg Radiation of PlacentalsScience, 339, 662 - 667.

5

Torres, Y., Charvet, P., Faria, V. V., & de Castro, A. L. F. (2022). Evidence of multiple paternity for the endemic Xingu River stingrayJournal of Fish Biology, 100( 5), 1315– 1318. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.15038

6

Kinoshita M, Shimada N, Arikawa K. Colour vision of the foraging swallowtail butterfly papilio xuthus. J Exp Biol. 1999 Jan;202 (Pt 2):95-102. doi: 10.1242/jeb.202.2.95. PMID: 9851899.

7

Cordero, Carlos. (1993). The courtship behavior of Callophrys xami (Lycaenidae). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. 32. 10.5962/p.266607.

8

Howell, C. A. and S. N. Howell (2021). Xantus's Hummingbird (Basilinna xantusii), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.xanhum.01.1

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Kim MyoungSung (https://www.flickr.com/photos/funcrush/) via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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