Second Pine Forest Anole Described from Mexico

peuciphilis1Until now, Anolis omiltemanus was the only Mexican anole restricted to pine forests. However, in a new paper in Zootaxa, Gunther Köhler and colleagues have described a new species, A. peucephilis, from the southern Sierra Madre del Sur in southern Oaxaca, nearly 300 km from A. omiltemanus. The new species differs morphologically in a number of respects, most notably in its extremely short legs. It is also is divergent in mitochondrial DNA. All specimens were collected at night in pine trees at heights ranging from 2-10 meters. No specimens could be located during the day, suggesting that they are very cryptic, a common trait with short-legged anoles.

Wondering what the name means? Here’s what the paper says in its etymology section: “The name peucephilus is a compound adjective derived from peuke (Greek for pine) and philios (Greek for loving) referring to the obvious habitat preference of this species.”

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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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