Information on Anolis Maynardi (AKA The Little Cayman Green Anolis)

My husband and I are retired professors living part-time on Little Cayman, so we have come to know both A. sagrei and A. maynardi fairly well. Due to the dearth of information on the latter, we’re posting whatever we’ve got in hopes it helps someone or inspires someone. We have one, a large male, who sleeps most night on a ledge on the inside of our screen porch (he comes in a gap under the door). He goes to bed about 5:30-6 and wakes up around 8 am.

the daily cycle

Anolis who sleeps on top of screen door frame

He is very regular in his habits & quite territorial — we watched him chase a smaller green anolis out of his sleeping ledge with much head bobbing and charges and this morning he smacked into another large male who had the affrontery to be sitting on his deck outside the screen porch! The other male either jumped off the deck or moved quickly to be underneath the deck.

We attach a few photos of two maynardi mating yesterday. Total encounter time was about 6 minutes.

Another view of anole sex


Both maynardi & sagrei drink from our bird bath regularly & follow me when I water the garden to drink off wet decks or leaves. We have seen maynardi sucking nectar from flowering red passionflower vines & eating wild figs (very tiny figs, like a pea). They frequently climb on our screens and house to eat insects. They are rather abundant.

I also attach a photo of maynardi in its black/dark phase, which takes about a minute to change over completely. My guess is it is heat-related and emotion related.

Dark phase A. maynardi

Color changes

We’ll field any questions about these species that we can!

About Pat Shipman

I'm a semi-retired paleoanthropologist with a particular interest in ecology and past ecosystems. Since I now spend several months a year on Little Cayman, which boasts the rare Anolis maynardi, I have gotten very interested in anoles and conservation. I remain an amateur but as there is so little known about A. maynardi I hope the observations my husband and I make will fill in a few gaps. I am also a science writer and biographer, so if you google me or look me up on amazon, all "those people" are really just me, from the scientific books like THE ANIMAL CONNECTION to FEMME FATALE (a biography of Mata Hari).

19 thoughts on “Information on Anolis Maynardi (AKA The Little Cayman Green Anolis)

  1. Yes, they are delicate and dainty both in fig-picking and in lapping nectar out of passion flowers. They do tend to stick their faces into the flower, so maybe the long nose is partly about that? We’ve not seen them licking nectar from other flowers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do it. The red passionflower covers many trees near our house & is a major food source for birds, butterflies & anoles for probably three months or more. The passionflowers were blooming in Nov. & lasted through January, I think.

  2. Anolis maynardi may just be my favorite anole in the Caribbean!

    I visited Cayman Brac several times over the last few years to collect data on A. maynardi’s ecology and growth. I am curious about the evolutionary basis of A. maynardi’s long face. What ecological factors have led to the evolution of those long face and jaws? Surprisingly (to me anyways), when A. maynardi hatches their heads look nearly identical to those of shorter-faced species like A. sagrei.

    Thanks for describing the nectiverous and herbivorous behaviors that you have observed. We also observed this quite frequently on the Brac but never got solid plant identifications. We also observed A. maynardi licking sticks and the figs, not necessarily eating them (see photo). Have you ever observed this licking behavior?

    Thanks for the post! (please keep them coming)

  3. This is Alan. I have seen them licking all sorts of surfaces. They seem keen to lick the dry rusted screws that hold the deck railings in place and will sometimes lick the dry painted metal deck chairs. They might be getting iron and salt (we are not on the sea but salt in the air does travel quite far). They also follow my wife around when she is watering to lick drops off plants, but they are in real competition with birds (particularly the vitelline warbler (Dendroica vitellina) and banaquits (Coeroba flaveola) for the nectar of the red passionflower (Passiflora cupraea) with the birds starting to feed at first light.

  4. Yes, the red passionflower. Here is the vine & flower. We have some not very good photos of anolises liking them but not on this computer apparently. Here is the plant itself. It is a vine that grows up & over most of the trees and makes small ovoid fruits about 1″ long. This is the wild plant, not a cultivar.

  5. I finally found our photo of the Little Cayman anolis (maynardi) in among the passionflowers, though he is not at the moment of the photo licking the flowers. These anoles lick a lot of surfaces, including window screens, but the treatment of passionflowers looks very like nectar-sipping.

    For fun, I also include a photo of A. sagrei that hangs out in one of our flowerpots on Little Cayman. The sagrei are distinctly smaller and more ground-dwelling than maynardi.

  6. I have visited Grand Cayman about 10 times, I have always enjoyed watching the various lizards found there, anolis conspersus, one of the prettiest anoles I have seen anywhere. I finally made it to Little Cayman on my last visit and encountered anolis maynardi for the first time, I found an army of large hermit crabs , perhaps a hundred or more all in the same spot, and enjoyed being followed by a group of iguanas, what a wonderful place !

  7. Hey, Pat, about A. maynardi, I often find them in Florida where I live but what I find strange is that I only find them near Gainesville which is in North Florida. Is there a reason why they’re not common down in the southern part of Florida due to climate or environment preferences?

      1. No formal record of A. maynardi in Florida (which doesn’t mean it can’t be true). They have very long noses like an SST.

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