When I arrived at the University of Florida this summer, I was struck by the bustling sidewalks – bustling not with students, but with brown/festive/Cuban anoles. They were everywhere! But now that it’s cool out (not cold, lets say below 70 degrees to be generous), they are essentially gone. Where I could once count ten anoles sitting on a single bench, it would now take some effort to find this many in a reasonable amount of time. Where did they go?
Today, while cleaning up piles of leaves from the yard, I was surprised to find a fairly large collection of A. sagrei under my leaf piles. One pile had as many as four under it (lizards that were not shoveled up inadvertently before realizing my cache) and every pile had at least a few. These individuals were almost certainly below their thermal optima as my son had no problem scooping up three at once and proudly displaying them for a photo op. Is it possible that the lizards found these piles warmer than those found elsewhere, attracted to the heat of the composting leaves? Maybe they were just there to stay out of yesterday’s rain and had not yet ventured out. I would be curious to hear if anyone else ever observed something like this?