New Costa Rican Anole Described

The cavalcade of new anole species continues with Gunter Köhler’s description of a new species, related to A. altae, from Costa Rica. The last few years have seen a steady progression of new species descriptions, almost all from Central and South America. Anolis must be pushing 400 species by now. Anyone got an up-to-date total?

And who’s described all these species? Rich Glor is in the midst of a five-part series identifying the big guns in Caribbean island species descriptions, but I reckon the mainlanders have been described by a very different crowd. Certainly in recent times Köhler, Poe and others must be up there, but it would be interesting to see who historically has been the most prolific. Perhaps a job for someone from Team Norops?

In any case, down to the nitty-gritty. What used to be known as A. altae has been divided now into seven allopatrically-distributed species at high elevations in Costa Rica. The species are morphologically quite similar, and some can only be distinguished by the shape of their hemipenes (for more on that, see here). Anolis tenorioensis is the latest to be described, and differs from “all other species in the A. altae complex by having the ventral surfaces of body and limbs distinctly reticulated with dark brown pigment and a male dewlap that is dark red with brown blotches, as well as in several morphometric and pholidotic characteristics. It further differs from its geographically nearest congener of this complex, A. monteverde, by having a bilobate hemipenis (unilobate in A. monteverde).” The species is found in montane cloud forest in the western part of Costa Rica and all specimens were collected at night, and so little is known of its ecology.

G.Kohler. (2011). A new species of anole related to Anolis altae from Volcán Tenorio, Costa Rica
(Reptilia, Squamata, Polychrotidae) Zootaxa, 3120, 29-42

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.

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