Monkey Eats Polychrus

What have I done? Capuchin monkey photo

Sure they’re cute, but in reality they are anole-killing machines. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but at least some monkeys will eat just about anything, and I was once told of a capuchin that caught a large anole (A. frenatus), held it by its hindparts and smacked its head repeatedly against a branch to dispatch it, and then ate it. This is why life is so tough for mainland anoles–there are so many critters out there trying to eat them.

Any way, that brings me to the subject of this post. In a recent Natural History Note in Herpetological Review (Vol. 42, pp.432-433), Cassimiro and Pereira Martins report an observation of a crested capuchin monkey (Cebus robustus) eating a Polychrus marmoratus, which ironically has the common name of “monkey lizard.” Although we now know that Polychrus is not the sister group of anoles, still, if a monkey’s eating monkey lizards, it’s probably eating anoles, too. And, in any case, we at Anole Annals are not going to discriminate against the poor monkey lizards just because they’ve lost their special status as almost-anoles, and hence we will continue to report from time to time on late breaking developments in the monkey lizard world.

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

4 thoughts on “Monkey Eats Polychrus

  1. I suddenly and uncharacteristically dislike Capuchin monkeys. Sure, everything has to eat; but I’d rather prefer it didn’t eat THAT.

  2. Once upon a time there were Greater Antillean monkeys… And to be fair – I’m sure most of us have friends from the GA’s that have the same story: “You mean you study those little brown lizards? Man! My cousin and I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to see who could kill the most with a club/fire works/pellet gun/rock/etc.”

  3. I never liked Capuchins. They throw branches and fruits at you while you’re trying to videotape anoles in the jungle. Now I like them even less. Come to think of it, maybe the monkeys were just irritated I was hogging all the anoles, even if just to videotape them.

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