Which Anole Species are in Albert Schwartz’s Top Five?

Breakdown of anoles in the Schwartz collection housed at KU, highlighting proportional representation of the five most frequently sampled species.

Albert Schwartz was a prolific describer of new anole species and author of peerless contributions to our understanding of geographic variation within and among widespread anole species (see 1 and 2).  In addition to his published contributions, Schwartz and his colleagues accumulated a massive collection of preserved specimens that continues to serve as a foundation for research on anoles.  Although these specimens are now housed at a number of institutions, the bulk of his anole material – 15,511 specimens to be precise – can now be found at the University of Kansas.  This collection includes representatives of 93 anole species, but the sampling among species is highly uneven and the five most frequently sampled species account for more than 35% of the total collection.  Sampling of these top five species ranges from 552 to 1838 individuals.  My trivia question to you, my fellow anole enthusiasts, is “What are the top five species in Schwartz’s KU collection?”  As a hint, I’ll remind you that Schwartz’s efforts were focused primarily on the northern Caribbean and that he spent the last few decades of his career working extensively on Hispaniola.

14 thoughts on “Which Anole Species are in Albert Schwartz’s Top Five?

  1. Although he was my early mentor, he sure was a human vacuum cleaner when it came to herps. He would attempt to collect everything he encountered when he visited me at GTMO. We collected A. argenteolis, loads of A. porcatus and A. homolechis, and some A. smallwoodi. More than once I asked him if he was getting to the point where he was describing what had been there before he arrived.

  2. I’d say distichus has to be the big winner, and I’ll guess the Hispaniolan cybotes and brevirostris. He lived in Miami, so I’m guessing sagrei. Fifth place? What the heck–chlorocyanus!

  3. And, just for the record, Schwartz described 10 anole species and more than 60 subspecies, as far as I can see. The species with most subspecies are A. baleatus (9 subspecies named by Schwartz), A. distichus (11), equestris (6), luteogularis (6), olssoni (7). Does anyone of you guys keep track if all those subspecies are still valid?

    1. I gave Schwartz credit for eight Greater Antillean species in my posts on the kings of anole taxonomy, but this was based both on your species list and additional criteria outlined in the original posts (e.g., to avoid double counting, I didn’t give him credit for species where he was the junior co-author to another of the five kings).

      Subspecies are a work in progress and the evidence so far is somewhat mixed. Support for the hypothesis that subspecies of baleatus are species or incipient species is relatively weak. Some of the subspecies of distichus, however, seem deeply divergent and at least partially reproductively isolated. It seems likely that some subspecies will eventually be elevated to full species status.

  4. (Lunch at desk.) Searched two herp databases. If the KU collection is 15K+, neither database I looked at is even close to complete. Watt’s Anole is pretty low on both lists (I lose). Nonetheless my cheating ways find the following specimens in triple-digits out of ~4K. Given that the top to bottom range of the first five is nothing like your sampling, and in light of my inconsistent results, I suppose the data here are far from random.

    KU Web Grand Count 3745
    A. cristatellus Count 275
    A. cybotes Count 265
    A. marmoratus Count 242
    A. aeneus Count 199
    A. bahorucoensis Count 194
    A. etheridgei Count 188
    A. distichus Count 184
    A. christophei Count 170
    A. oculatus Count 158
    A. sagrei Count 154
    A. richardi Count 133
    A. semilineatus Count 130

    HerpNet Grand Count 4292
    A. aeneus Count 189
    A. etheridgei Count 180
    A. christophei Count 163
    A. cristatellus Count 147
    A. b. bahorucoensis Count 140
    A. cybotes cybotes Count 128
    A. richardi Count 127
    A. semilineatus Count 123

    1. HerpNet is definitely missing some data, but not as much as your numbers suggest. I just did a search on HerpNet and recovered 27,854 records for Anolis. My previous number – 15,511 – was only for the Anolis at KU collected by Schwartz. To figure out which specimens Schwartz collected I needed to get the data directly from KU because HerpNet often doesn’t provide field numbers.

      1. Aye. I too hit 27,854 for KU anolis, but got kicked down to 3,745, when *schwartz* was added to the query. Regardless, at 15K+, his contribution to the collection is impressive. Peter’s description of a “human vacuum” appears to hit its mark.

  5. Schwartz’s top five at KU: distichus 1838, cybotes 1606, sagrei 951, brevirostris 569, chlorocyanus 552. Jonathan got all the right species and only had brevirostris an sagrei out of sequence. The vast majority of his sagrei are from the Bahamas rather than from Florida.

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