Electoral Map Awash In Blue In Anole Photo Contest

Well, the election is finally over, and the electoral results are awash with the color blue. More than 300 votes were cast in the semi-finals round, and then an all-star panel chose our winners from the top 12 in the popular vote. Perhaps surprisingly (perhaps not), the hoi polloi and the experts identified the same top three photos.

So now, with no further ado, the winner of the 2012 Anole Photo Contest is…

Steven De Decker and Tess Driessens for their photo of Anolis allisoni.

Steven tells us how the shot came to be: “The Anolis allisoni photo was taken at Los Caneyes, Central Cuba, during an amazing field work expedition within the framework of a PhD study about function and evolution of the Anolis dewlap. This sweet male seemed to be more interested in the photographer than in the female allisoni which was sitting just two meters apart …”

The reward to the grand prize winner is a copy of Karen Cusick’s wonderful book, Lizards on the Fence, as well as a copy of the 2013 Anole Annals calendar, which will feature their photo on its cover.

The bluewash was not limited to the top spot; the second place winner is a photo of Anolis gorgonae taken by AA regular Joe Burgess.

Here’s what Joe had to say: “The image of the A.gorgonae is a female shot in-situ on Gorgona. I am not sure if the defensive posture was due to the close proximity of the camera (and me) or the flash? I am assuming that she was selecting a leaf to perch on for the night as sunset was near?” For his second place position, Joe will receive a copy of the calendar bearing his blue lady on the back cover.

Finally, just to be bipartisan, honorable mention goes to a red anole:

Here’s the story: “This picture was taken by Emelia Failing, a student at Union College, while participating in a research project led by Leo Fleishman and Manuel Leal that examined the relationship between dewlap colors and natural background colors. Male anoles give frequent spontaneous displays, so all we had to do was wait patiently for this male to show off to capture this “lizard’s eye view.” The colors of the dewlap of Anolis pulchellus are particularly beautiful when viewed under natural light conditions.  In addition to the yellow scales, purple center, and red rim, we now know that the dewlap has an ultraviolet section that spans parts of the purple and red sections of the dewlap, adding even more colors, that other anoles (but not humans) can see.  The fact that the colors in the dewlap are absent from any patches in the background, make them highly visible to other members of its species.”

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 “Electoral Map Awash In Blue In Anole Photo Contest

  1. Congratulations to all the participants and to the winner! I was completely blown away by the quality and originality of all the pictures. I can’t wait to check out the new Anolis calendar!

  2. Congratulations to the winner but- As much as I love blue reptiles, I would have liked to see the pulchellus picture win. It’s got a fabulous composition.

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