Jamaica: Caribbean Herpetofauna Island of the Day


If you’re anything like me, the first image you conjure in your mind when you hear the word Jamaica is a phylogenetic tree showing a monophyletic radiation of six Anolis species representing four ecomorph classes and one unique.

What, that’s not what you thought of?


Anolis grahami, a beauty!

Anolis grahami, a beauty!

The anoles of Jamaica: Read all about them!
1) Anolis garmani is a crown-giant, although it’s on the small end, if you ask me.
2) Anolis grahami is a trunk-crown and gram for gram one of the prettiest anoles out there.
3) Anolis lineatopus is a trunk-ground anole with a stunningly large cream colored dewlap.
4) Anolis opalinus is a smallish trunk-crown nicely found in a Blue Mountains coffee grove.
5) Anolis reconditus is a unique anole – very little known about it (but see).
6) Anolis valencienni is a twig anole, large and at high population densities for a twig.
7) (And yes, A. sagrei is there, but it’s invaded from Cuba over historical time.)

And as always, check out Caribherp for a full list of the herps of Jamaica and the Caribbean!

About Yoel Stuart

I am interested in whether, how, and why ecology shapes evolution (and evolution shapes ecology) through time, with an emphasis on microevolutionary pattern and process, adaptation, and field experiments. I completed my Ph.D. on Anolis lizards in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. I am currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Texas, Austin studying threespine stickleback. They're not anoles, but they're cool too.

6 thoughts on “Jamaica: Caribbean Herpetofauna Island of the Day

  1. Thanks Yoel for citing my 1966 paper! I got my start in Jamaica in 1957, then went to some other islands too: Avagadro’s number? Today we should all be aware of the threat of a huge port development plan for the Goat Islands off Jamaica’s S coast and its imperilling of wildlife in the Hellshire Hills, especially the endemic Cyclura…. Skip

    1. Of course, Skip! A classic of Jamaican herpetology! I spent a month in 2008 looking at the A. grahami subspecies contact zone. It was great fun. Luke Mahler and I looked for reconditus with no luck. Good to know about the port development. How much are they taking the environmental impacts into account?

      1. Not very much! Key figures in the debate have expressed sentiments like “two likkle lizaad” (two small lizards) are not enough to hinder the development of the Jamaican economy”. I live in Jamaica and I really don’t want to see this development project realized, especially since I took a lot of trips to the Hellshire Hills in earlier days and they really are in a bad shape as is . Thankfully there are several environmentalist groups who are very vocal in their opposition. Some have threatened to carry the Jamaican government to court to defend the Portland Bight Protected Areas status a s a protected nature reserve. I wrote and submitted a post detailing as much as I know on it but you can read about the project at the following link. ( http://www.portjam.com/PortJam/documents/29Oct%2013%20Portland%20Bight%20Questions%20and%20Answers.pdf )

        post on it yesterday

  2. Actually, even not counting Anolis sagrei, the Jamaican anole radiation is not monophyletic. Instead, it is paraphyletic relative to Anolis conspersus from the Cayman Islands (see Jackman et al. 2002. Journal of Experimental Zoology 294:1–16). Also, Anolis reconditus seems a trunk-ground anole to me.

    1. Doh. Kevin, you’re right! Thanks for the correction. I forgot about A. conspersus. We’ve talked a little about that lizard on AA a few times. Alexis Harrison and I even collected them a few years back. I suppose I was trying to differentiate Jamaica from the other Greater Antillean islands, each of which has had at least two non-monophyletic lineages on them for a long long time.

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