Orange Anolis in South Florida

New minor color variants appear every once in a while, but it’s always interesting to find something completely different.  This, to the best of my knowledge, is something completely different.  I’ve found a few of these guys running around, and most had very similar colors.  Considering their size (and presumptive age) I wonder if they were from the same clutch, or if a single breeding pair yielded this Punnett square anomaly.

I think the concept of cryptic coloration isn't on his mind.

Both of the males I had time to annoy/photograph (and the one female that was slightly less photogenic) exhibited the usual traits of A. sagrei.  From the heavier build and shorter snouts, as well as the bolder attitude than our native carolinensis (I think the dewlap display was more for me than anything else; even when I was three feet away with a rather bulky camera, both males stood their ground), they would definitely fit the profile. But they’re not structurally an exact match to sagrei’s either. I don’t have a great head-on shot, but they’re narrower.  Considering the insect population in the area I can’t say it’s from undernourishment.  They move and jump more like carolinensis as well. They just don’t seem to be a differently-colored sagrei.  Maybe there’s a little A. cristatellus in there.

So what exactly is our bold little friend here?

I’m not the first one here to wonder what hybridization would yield and what cool little recessive traits could come from it, but I haven’t seen nearly enough specimens to suggest it’s a morph that may stick around- whatever it’s source.

17 thoughts on “Orange Anolis in South Florida

  1. A few years back, I saw some strongly orange-ish sagrei in Gainesville, Florida, specifically at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens just west/north of Paynes Prairie. Interestingly, this same area (Kanapaha) also had some orange cottonmouths and orange banded watersnakes. Don’t know how/why, but I couldn’t help but to notice all those orange tones back in 2006/2007. I need to get back down there and see what’s shaking these days…

    ~ janson

    Editor’s note (11/9/11): Janson has provided a photo of the orange sagrei, as well as other orange critters from Kanapaha, here

    1. Now that’s a name from the past! I used to catch your photos on DeviantArt 100 years ago. After a hiatus from the place (as it turned into facebook2.0 and the ‘art’ part of the site became inane anime drawings) I came back to find your account deactivated, and Floridana powered down. Great to see you (and your work from the fun end of the camera)!

      I have caught sight of an oddly-orange-pigmented cottonmouth at Paynes Prairie near the edge of Chacala Pond, but nothing else that exciting. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time someone has suggested it may be a regional/environmental issue. This sounds like a fun thesis project some day…

      1. Heh. Ah, deviantArt. That was fun for awhile — until, as you so beautifully described it– the site was overrun by inane anime. (Mental Note to Self: if I ever start an emo-goth-pop band, name it “Inane Anime”…)

        You’ve got me now wanting to compose an orange-themed post on Dust Tracks featuring the Kanapaha herps in all their Halloween gaudiness. It’ll be fun tracking through those images. I definitely want to get back down there. Alachua is rich, rich, rich.

        Now, can we find some anime of anole ninjas conquering a giant robotic iguana? If so, I bet it’ll be on deviantArt.

    2. Found this little orange anole in bushes out front. (11-17-13) I live in Ormond Beach, FL. I have no sprinklers so the orange did not come from Iron in water. Hope I get more of them.

  2. What a beautiful sagrei! Cybotes can sometimes get that color on the top of their heads, but I’ve never seen it on the whole body. Just lovely.

  3. I’m actually the last comment (I just signed it “B.”) in the thread… Jonathan Losos suggested I renew the topic to see if someone has new input on the sightings.

  4. I first saw one of these males at a friend’s herp collection in 2007 – it seems this is indeed a polymorphism in Florida. This friend was raising a number (> 8) of hatchlings in the cages with the adult pair (they hatched in situ) but none of them showed the striking coloration, although they were clearly several weeks old.

  5. After catching a male Anolis sagrei with an unusual amount of red coloration I decided to selectively breed him with several normal colored females to further develop the red coloration. It appears that the trait is not recessive because I managed to develop a line of red Anolis sagrei (both males and females) within two generations. I also acquired a couple of wild caught red males from the Keys and used them to further diversify my genetic stock.

  6. I have many red anole type looking lizards in my yard. I also have many brown anoles. Here is an example, even though it is not as orange as some, it was the only one I could catch at the time. I also only had a camera phone at the time.

  7. I have a red/orange anole~sagrei here in my garden. He’s partial to the Angel Trumpet in big turquoise planter. I’ve named him Toruk after the red dragon in Avatar. There are a few infants running around now that are clearly his spawn-a touch of his coloring with brown and geometric design along their backs.


  8. I just snapped this pic of an orange anole in back yard (Palm Beach Gardens) today. I grew up catching brown and green in Jupiter Farms, but I’ve never seen one like this until today! Beautiful! Given that your post is from roughly two years ago, I’m assuming these orange variations have been spotted for some time now?

    1. I do not have a pic, not yet at least. I have seen one of these guys a couple times towards the back of my home, but then last night in my flower garden. Out if curiosity i looked it up amd found this post. I live in palm beach county florida. I thought they were really cool looking.

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