These stunning images of Puerto Rican emerald anoles, Anolis evermanni, drinking nectar are from the website of Alfredo D.Colón Archilla who has also published an account of the observations.
I highly recommend his website for anyone interested in some great photos of Puerto Rican herps for use in future posts; you can also read about how he uses his photos elsewhere, including on EOL, on the home page.
As an added bonus here is a much lower quality photo of Anolis grahami doing the same thing.
You must click on this link and listen to the song (click the red circle in the upper left corner of the page). Then come back here and read the rest.
Anole In Love – The song the Beatles would have written if they were green anoles! This lovely ballad is the work of Monty Harper, who writes: “I write songs that convey what I find awesome about science: the questions, the methods, the passion, dedication, and creativity of the people who do it. My inspiration comes from speaking directly with scientists about their latest research projects.”
This has Top 40 written all over it, all it needs to do is get produced. Help make it happen by going to Monty’s Kickstarter page and making a donation. But, hurry–the deadline is Friday.
Tail loss (aututomy) is one of the more amazing things done by lizards, but for for me it’s a frustrating reality of studying the physiology of sprinting because rough handling (by me when I was a beginning Ph.D. student and now in my lab by some undergrads) results in a lost tail and thus changed locomotor mechanics. But this frustration turned to fascination when I began studying locomotion in Takydromus sexlineatus. This species is pretty special as it holds the distinction of having the longest tail (relative to snout-vent length) of any lizard.
So I had to pull the tail off and measure how locomotion was changed. This then snowballed into studying the effect of autotomy in Anolis carolinensis and then a collaboration with Philip Bergmann to more broadly address how autotomy influences locomotor performance in lizards by using a meta-analysis of the published literature. We showed that longer tails result in a more drastic change in performance for all lizards studied except the two Takydromus species…so we are still left wondering what that huge tail does!
The result was a talk at the World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver and a publication in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology as part of a special issue on Tail Loss in Lizards, organized by Tim Higham and Tony Russell.
Grass anoles have really really long tails too….I wonder how those tails are used? Convergence between Takydromus and Grass Anoles? E.N. Arnold did a lot of work on Takydromus and hypothesized that the tail aids in grass-swimming. I have observed this species stand up bipedally and use the tail as a prop (like Varanus). Thoughts?
Almost nothing is known about Anolis macrinii, which is a little surprising because it is rather large (nearly 100 mm snout-vent length) and apparently locally moderately abundant. However, it’s small, localized range in Oaxaca, Mexico is no doubt the explanation. In any case, now a bit more is known, thanks to a recent paper by Gunther Köhler and colleagues in Breviora (freely available on the MCZ publications website).
The paper includes a detailed morphological description of the species, as well as notes on natural history and conservation status. Most interesting to me is the sexual dimorphism in dewlap size (males on top above, females below), which we have discussed in previous posts, and the aberrant patterning of one juvenile individual (right).
Here’s the abstract:
During three short visits to the coffee-growing region in the hills north of Pochutla (Oaxaca, Mexico), we observed Anolis macrinii in its natural habitat. The species appeared to be relatively abundant, and we collected 12 individuals, including several adult males. The holotype of this species was reported erroneously to be an adult male but actually is a female. The confusion might have arisen from the moderate-sized dewlap present in adult females. However, males have a very large dewlap and a pair of moderately to greatly enlarged postcloacal scales. We provide color descriptions in life for three individuals, color photographs in life, description and illustration of hemipenis morphology, and some natural history notes. Finally, we discuss the conservation status of this species.
Situated at the northern end of the the Lesser Antillean island chain, Montserrat is home to a number of interesting herps, including the endemic galliwasp Diploglossus montisserrati, the endemic skink Mabuya montserratae, and the endemic anole Anolis lividus. This anole was bravely investigated and reported on by Anole Annals’ intrepid anoleologist Martha Munoz. If your inquiry into the reason I used the words “bravely” and “intrepid” has left you a little lost, the smoke Montserrat is emitting from its active volcano will drag you to the answer: Martha was on the island when the Soufrière Hills dome collapsed and spewed volcanic ash 9 miles skyward!
I got these photos of Cuban anoles from Allan Finlayson, taken around Las Terrazas, Artemisia. Can anybody help with their IDs? Thanks!
P.S.: Sorry, there are no better photos, I believe. Locality: http://goo.gl/maps/oHfAS
When videotaping Sitana last year, I noticed an odd interaction between a male and female, wherein the female suddenly ran towards the male, and after he displayed a little bit at her, she sat on him. She remained there for a couple of minutes, and then ran away.
I had no idea what was happening–there were at least two more females in the vicinity, and I wondered if this sitting behaviour was an instance of female competition over the male. But I didn’t see the behaviour again, and thought no more of it until Kristin Winchell mentioned that she had seen similar behaviour in her captive Anolis cristatellus, being housed in male-female pairs for a common garden experiment. Moreover, she has noticed the same pairs repeatedly engaging in such interactions. Any thoughts on what might be going on?
When AA contributors attend scientific conferences, we try our best to post about as many talks and posters as we can visit, but inevitably we simply can’t visit them all. I will be attending the annual meeting for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology this upcoming January. This will be the third consecutive year in which I blog about SICB and I want to try a different approach this time. Rather than choosing the talks and posters myself, I want to get your input on what types of research most interest you. If you like to read about new research presented at conferences, then please take the survey provided below. Choose up to three different subject matters and I’ll decide my schedule based on the results. You can access a list of anole-related presentations here. Most presentations can fit into more than one category, but I just want a general idea of what most interests the readers. Now go vote!
I’m a little embarrassed to be writing this post, but I’m still unable to figure out some of the proposed changes to anole binomials in Nicholson et al.’s (2012) taxonomic revision of Anolis. I’m a real novice with implementation of “The Code” and the rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, so I’m looking for a bit of help from AA readers who are more expert than I.
I understand that some of Nicholson et al.’s proposed changes to specific epithets are necessitated by the fact that their taxonomic revision would change the gender of generic epithets (e.g., Anolis chlorocyanus would be Deiroptyx chlorocyana due to the fact that Anolis is masculine and Deiroptyx is feminine). These types of changes are demanded by The Code’s article 31.2. However, I am struggling to understand Nicholson et al.’s proposed changes to twelve binomials that – to my novice eyes – do not appear to be due strictly to changes in the gender of generic epithets (see table below). Because the authors of this paper include leading authorities on taxonomy and nomenclature, I trust that these changes are not simply the result of typographical errors.
In most cases cited in my table, Nicholson et al. add or change vowels in the correct original spellings of species epithets, where the “correct original spelling” is defined under The Code as “the spelling used in the work in which the name was established.” Based on my amateur reading of The Code, changes to correct original spellings are not permitted unless it can be shown that the original spelling was inadvertently incorrect due to a printer’s error or related mistakes unrelated to the authors lack of familiarity with Latin (ICZN, Article 32). Can somebody enlighten me about which articles in the code govern the changes in the table below?
In this table, I provide the genus to which Nicholson et al. assign each species, the gender of this genus, the exact spelling for the specific epithet used in their manuscript, the spelling of the specific epithet from the Reptile Database, the spelling of the specific epithet from the original publication (NAs indicate that I have yet to check the original citation4), the type of change that Nicholson et al. have proposed, and the citation of the original description. Below the table, I provide some additional details about three specific cases. Thanks in advance for your help.
|Genus||Gender||Nicholson et al.||Reptile Database||Original Spelling||Change||Description Citation|
|Anolis||Masculine||anfilioquioi||anfiloquioi||anfiloquioi||o to io||Garrido 1980|
|Anolis||Masculine||maclientus||macilentus||macilentus||e to ie||Garrido and Hedges 1992|
|Anolis||Masculine||pumilis||pumilus||pumilus4||u to i||Garrido 1988|
|Ctenonotus||Masculine||monoensis||monensis||monensis4||e to oe||Stejneger 1904|
|Ctenonotus||Masculine||nubilis||nubilus||nubilus4||u to i||Garman 1887|
|Dactyloa||Feminine||anatolorus||anatoloros||anatoloros||o to u||Ugueto et al. 2007|
|Dactyloa||Feminine||euskalerrari||euskalerriari||euskalerriari||ia to a||Barros et al. 1996|
|Deiroptyx||Feminine||domincanus [see comments for correction and clarification]||dominicanus||dominicanus||delete i||Rieppel 1980 [Note: the original version of this post incorrectly referenced de Quieroz et al. 1998]|
|Norops1||Masculine||forbesi||forbesorum||forbesi||si to sorum||Smith & Van Gelder 1955|
|Norops||Masculine||schiedei [see comments]||schiedii||schiedii4||ei to ii||Wiegmann 1834|
|Norops2||Masculine||williamsi||williamsii||williamsii||ii to i||Bocourt 1870|
|Norpos3||?||parvicirculatus||parvicirculata||parvicirculata4||rops to rpos and a to us||Alvarex del Toro & Smith 1956|
I have a bit more information about three cases in this table.
1. Anolis forbesi is the original spelling in Smith and Van Gelder (1955), but Michels and Bauer (2004) corrected this name to Anolis forbesorum due to the fact that this species is named after more than one person. Michels and Bauer (2004) suggest that this change is a “justified emendation” under Articles 31.1.2-3 and 33.2.2 of The Code. We know that at least one author of Nicholson et al. (2012) was aware of this report because Michels and Bauer thank Jay Savage for having provided thoughtful comments on their manuscript. I’m not sure why Nicholson et al. (2012) reject this proposed change by using forbesi.
2. Nicholson et al. (2012) delete the final ‘i’ from a species originally named Anolis williamsii, in spite of the fact that article 33.4 of the ICZN states that “[t]he use of the genitive ending -i in a subsequent spelling of a species-group name that is a genitive based upon a personal name in which the correct original spelling ends with -ii, or vice versa, is deemed to be an incorrect subsequent spelling, even if the change in spelling is deliberate.” Which part of this rule or related rules in The Code permits changes from ‘ii’ to ‘i’ under some conditions?
3. Nicholson et al. (2012) change both the generic and specific epithets of Anolis parvicirculata when they refer to this species throughout their manuscript as Norpos parvicirculatus (see pages 91 and 96). Although I have included this change in my table for completeness, it is the one change that I think we must attribute to a typo, even though the misspelling of Norops as Norpos appears at least twice. The change from parvicirculatus seems likely due to the fact that this species originally, and incorrectly, had a feminine rather than a masculine specific epithet.
4. This post was revised to include original spellings confirmed by Peter Uetz, thus no more NAs in the table. Thanks Peter!
Last week, while going through some old pictures I had stored on my computer , I happened upon a few photos of A. equestris that I must have saved back when I used to surf the web for pictures of anoles. Taking a second to glance through the pictures for old times sake, I realized something: A. equestris is actually a quite variable species. Now I’m sure others besides myself have realized this before, the people who went about naming the long list of subspecies that I just found out this species has for example, but I can’t seem to find pictures of some of these subspecies so as to identify the animals in the photos, if they are indeed different subspecies that is, so I decided to post them here in hopes of getting an ID. I have chosen one photo for each of the different forms that I have noticed. I have my guesses about many of them and I’m pretty sure about a couple others. I have written my guess, if any, under each photo along with the photo reference; could anyone who knows the ID of a particular animal post their opinion in the comments? Thanks in advance!
Posts about how other lizards have outdone anoles in one way or another are a common theme here on Anole Annals (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4). Keeping this trend going, I wanted to share a photograph of a remarkable species of lizard found in northeastern Thailand and Laos. This photograph of Mantheyus phuwuanensis is by S. Manthey and appears in Ulrich Manthey’s book Agamid Lizards of Southern Asia: Draconinae 2 Leiolepidinae. Very little is known about this species. The photo caption in the book notes that this is a male display. The Reptile Database has a few references, but most are not readily accessible. The one paper I could get my hands on is Ananjeva and Stuart’s (2001) paper from the Russian Journal of Herpetology that moves this species from Ptyctolaemus to its own monotypic genus based on the presence of femoral pores and other traits. Ananjeva and Stuart (2001) don’t comment on the belly dewlap, but do note that the species lives along rock streams and that it spreads its ribs and becomes dorsoventrally flattened when handled, a “behavior that is almost certainly an adaptation for fitting into rock crevices.”
Ananjeva, N. B. and B. L. Stuart. 2001. The agamid lizard Ptyctolaemus phuwuanensis Manthey and Nabhitabhata, 1991 from Thailand and Laos represents a new genus. Russian Journal of Herpetology 8:165-170.
We were long overdue for a little make-over here at Anole Annals, so we just updated our WordPress theme. We’re also going to be adding some new header images derived from this year’s photo contest. We will include a credit to the copyright holder on each image, but please let us know if you’d prefer not to see your image in our header. We hope you enjoy the new look and please let us know if you notice any problems.
Anolis blanquillanus is a rare lizard that occurs on the flattened Blanquilla Island and on Los Hermanos archipelago (the Brother’s Archipelago), which comprises a series of seven islets or Morros that emerge abruptly from the sea. These islands are ubiquitous in the Venezuelan Caribbean Sea and have never been connected to the mainland. A recent visit to Los Hermanos archipelago from 16-19th of August 2013, sponsored by the Laboratorio de Protección y Manejo de Cuencas at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), allowed us to make some observations of this interesting lizard. Specifically, we had the opportunity to visit Morro Fondeadero (36 ha, 0.5 Km2, 120 m of elevation), one of the seven Morros that make up Los Hermanos archipelago. This group of islands forms an arc to the southeast of Isla La Blanquilla and is located approximately 80 km NW of Isla de Margarita, 10 km SE of La Blanquilla, and 160 km N of the Venezuelan mainland (Puerto La Cruz).
One of the goals of this trip was to study the terrestrial herpetofauna, which is mainly composed of lizards, although marine turtles also inhabit the surrounding areas (but there are not nesting beaches). My personal goal was to collect an undescribed species of Gymnophthalmid lizard, observed more than 70 years ago in this archipelago by the Dutch naturalist P. Wagennar Hummelinck, but never collected until our recent survey work. Los Hermanos and La Blanquilla were surveyed by Hummelinck during the late 1930s, which resulted in the description of Anolis blanquillanus and Phyllodactylus rutteni. More recently, these islands are rarely visited, although on occasion fishermen climb to Morro Fondeadero mainly to make a prayer to the Virgen del Valle (the Valley Virgin) in order that she protect them during the time they are working on the sea.
During the five days we spent at Morro Fondeadero, we had the opportunity to take some data on Anolis blanquillanus, the most commonly observed reptile on the island. The vegetation in this Morro is composed of cactuses, some bushes and isolated trees (Ficus sp.). Temperatures can reach over 40ºC and the relief possesses much inclination. For this reason, we decided to sleep on a little less inclined rocky surface that would be a safer place to sleep, although not comfortable.
During the first day, after we found the place for our provisional camp, we opened a small trail in search for the summit to verify vegetation data we had obtained using satellite images. On this trail we saw the first individual of A. blanquillanus; after that first encounter, many additional juveniles and adults appeared before our eyes, including males fighting! Some individuals were very curious, approaching us very close, head bobbing and displaying their dewlaps.
To my surprise, all individuals observed were in good condition in spite of the very dry habitat resulting from the particularly long and dry season. I observed some individuals jumping from their perch trying to catch insects. Also I had the opportunity to see a big male swallowing a small fruit of Ficus sp. One individual that we collected defecated digested fruit of Ficus sp. while it was in the bag. Also, I was surprised with how two males were fighting only approximately two meters away from us without caring much for our presence. Anolis blanquillanus, along with Gonatodes naufragus, Phyllodatylus rutteni and Iguana iguana, are the only species (all natives) that have colonized Morro Fondeadero. Interestingly, species such as Cnemidophorus leucopsammus, the most common lizard in La Blanquilla, is absent, although Hummelinck reported the species there. Nine of us worked intensively during the day for four days, and no Cnemidophorus were observed, nor were P. rutteni (also observed by Hummelinck in 1940). Our findings suggest that it is unlikely C. leucopsammus ever existed there; however, it might exist in low densities, or it might have been extirpated by exotic species, such as domestic rats (Rattus rattus) that are very common on the island.
Book-ended by this year’s photo contest winners, the 2014 anole calendar features 13 spectacular anole photographs selected by you, Anole Annals’ readers. Unlike previous year’s calendars, this year’s edition has a heavy South American influence thanks to photographs by Lucas Bustamante and Diana Troya. In addition to the two contest winning snaps of A. chrysolepis and A. gemmosus, other pin-ups include A. princeps, A. proboscis, and A. biporcatus. That’s not to say that some of our favorite Caribbean species don’t also make an appearance. Hispaniola is particularly highlighted, thanks to several photos by Cristian Marte, including stunning shots of A. bahorucoensis and A. coelestinus. in addition, there’s a lovely silhouette of A. sagrei displaying and an intriguing vignette of a tree boa and a sleeping A. aeneus. Check them all out at zazzle.com, where the calendars are now on sale. Til midnite tonight, you can get 20% with the discount code “TDAYPOSTSALE.”
Editor’s Note, Monday, Dec. 2: 60% off until 1 pm Eastern time today, code : ZAZZLEMONDAY
Sorry to post this right before Thanksgiving dinner, but here is something to think about the next time you eat after handling an anole: approximately 30% of anoles in Japan carry salmonella, twice the level in feral goats and more than ten times greater than that found in public toilets. Read the complete (freely available) study here.
Earlier this year, I lamented not having any cameras when I witnessed the most epic fight in 5 months of Sitana fieldwork. As luck would have it, I saw an equally impressive fight on the last day of my sixth month of Sitana observation, and this time I had a video camera! I was working in Manimutharu, Tamil Nadu, at the Agasthyamalai Community-Based Conservation Centre, home to Sitana with partially-coloured dewlaps.
This male-male interaction lasted over 11 minutes, and ended only because I disturbed the lizards. Neither male was injured at all when I caught them after the fight. I’ve broken the video into two parts, one short and one long. The video begins when I realised I was watching two lizards–one is on the large rock to the right, and the other just below the rock on the left. Apologies for the shaky camera-work.
In between the two videos is over two minutes of the lizards biting each other ceaselessly. This length of fighting is atypical–actual combat between Sitana males is usually over in seconds, though the displays and staring-competitions can persist for much longer. This second video gives a better feel for the pace of these interactions. The lizards start out near the rocks on the right of the screen.
It’s over, it’s all over! After more than 50 fabulous submissions, 600 votes, and detailed review of the finalists by an all-star team of anole photography experts, Anole Annals is pleased to unveil this year’s winners. Last year’s theme was blue anoles, this year’s: Ecuador!
The Grand Prize winner (above) is a lovely photo of Anolis chrysolepis taken in Amazonian Ecuador by Lucas Bustamante (check out Lucas’ photography on the Tropical Herping website or in his new book on the herpetofauna of Mindo, Ecuador). Lucas reports that the photo was taken in Yachana Lodge, an ecotourism lodge located on the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Says Lucas: “I was walking in the morning to the viewpoint and I found this male Goldenscale Anole (Anolis chrysolepis) making a display. I took my camera as soon as possible but I couldn’t photograph it “red-handed.” However, he maintained an elegant posture and I was happy with the picture. This anole lives in low vegetation and litter. Males, females and juveniles are very territorial.”
Second prize goes to Diana Troya for her fabulous photo (below) of two Anolis gemmosus males displaying to each other, tongues out, bodies raised and compressed. What a gorgeous dewlap, especially when backlit! Diana’s reports that the photo was taken ”in the Natural Reserve Rio Guajalito in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas-Ecuador. I was a field assistant of Andrea Narvaez, who is doing her doctoral thesis on the ecology of Anolis and as part of her project we had to film the display of Anolis species.”
Congratulations to both winners!
With all my preparations for Thanksgiving underway, I had almost forgotten that the highlight of the holiday season is upon us. I am referring, of course, to the annual meeting for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB). Unlike most scientific conferences, which tend to host their meetings during the summer, SICB bucks the trend and meets during the first week of January. To me what is most exciting about SICB is the diversity of work that is presented there. SICB draws biomechanists, ecologists, physiologists, and geneticists, among many others, under the same roof. Thus, for those of us who are interested in anoles, SICB is a one-stop shop for learning about what’s new and exciting in Anolis lizards. In recent years, anoles have had a very strong presence at SICB. At the 2012 meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, there were 26 anole-related talks and posters. Last year’s meeting in San Francisco saw a bit of a lull, as there were only 18 talks and posters focusing on anoles. The program for the 2014 meeting has just been released, and a few quick searches using the terms “Anolis” and “anole” turn up 22 talks and posters. I hope this means that the Anolis presence at SICB is back on the rise. I will be posting about as many talks and posters as I can visit, so stay tuned. The talks and posters are given in alphabetical order by author below.
Check out the Grenadines, a polyphyletic chain of approximately 600 islands found at the southern end of the Lesser Antilles. The islands north of the Martinique Channel are governed by St. Vincent. The islands south of the Martinique Channel are governed by Grenada. (Grenada, you’ll recall, was invaded by the US in 1983).
Given Martinique Channel’s apparent role as a political boundary, I wondered if it is also an important biogeographical boundary, much like Wallace’s Line in Indonesia. Wallace’s line, which passes through through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok and between Borneo and Sulawesi, denotes a clear faunal break between Asian and Oceanic faunas. The biogeographical explanation is that Wallace’s line follows the transition from continental shelf to deep water channel, which serves as a barrier for migration.
A look at the Caribherp distribution of herpetofauna found on the Grenadines suggests that the Martinique Channel is not actually a biogeographic break. The distribution of most herps found on the Grenadines crosses the channel, suggesting that the channel is not a barrier to migration. And, consistent with this, Google Earth suggests that the channel is not very deep.
Oh, almost forgot: the Anolis species on the Grenadines are A. aeneus, A. richardi, and the invasive A. sagrei.