Anolis Sagrei In The Mexican Interior

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A view of our hotel from the parking lot, right in front of the spot where the brown anole was lounging.

A view of our hotel from the parking lot, right in front of the spot where the brown anole was lounging.

On our recent trip to Mexico, we had been warned that brown anoles were spreading beyond the coast, and sure enough, we found ’em. The photo above is a female A. sagrei we spotted in the parking lot of our point five-star hotel located in downtown Chinantla, Veracruz, Mexico. The photo ain’t pretty, but the ID is unmistakeable: them’s Cuban emigres, doing just fine in the Mexican heartland.


map chinantla mexico - Google MapsWe actually found brown anoles at two spots in Chinantla. The other was a small, bright green pained shack near the intersection of the highway and the main road through town. A bunch of female and juveniles brown anoles were running up and down the walls of the shack, easily seen from the side of the road. You can’t miss it, not only due to its bright color, but also because of the transit police standing in front, randomly waving over cars–especially those driven by oddly-attired biologists–and then finding problems with their registration or what-not. In fact, you’ll have plenty of time to watch the anoles as the officers explain at great length why they will have to impound the car, even though it is a rental and you are five hours from Veracruz, where your flight leaves the next morning, because the car’s tax certificate for 2013 is not plastered to the back window. You’ll probably be distracted by your colleague on her cell-phone berating the rental car office, but stay focused, even when–finally–the police officers realize (as the rental car people predicted) that it is possible to pay the registration tax, on the spot, in cash, and without being given a receipt. Any way, that’s where to look for brown anoles in Chinantla.

Hertz Rent-a-Car won't make that mistake again!

Hertz Rent-a-Car won’t make that mistake again!

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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