Green Anoles Sunning in San Diego

Zookeeper Amber Carney sent these photos of what is likely Anolis carolinensis.  The lizards were spotted in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, at 3pm on the 19th of April. They’ve been reported in Los Angeles but, to the best of my and Jonathan Losos’s knowledge, never in San Diego. Has anyone else observed wild anoles in San Diego? Range expansion!

This looks like a female to me.

This looks like a female to me.

A male, if I had to guess.

A male, perhaps.

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.

14 thoughts on “Green Anoles Sunning in San Diego

  1. The San Diego population has been established in Balboa Park for some time. I don’t know the earliest record, but the standard story is that they are escapees from the zoo, possibly once used as feeders. Again, this is the story; I don’t know the evidence to back it up. The L.A. population that I recently documented has been there for at least 12 years. I do not yet know the origin of the L.A. population.

    I have also recently observed a Green Anole that showed up in CA via the nursery plant trade (it showed up at a nursery that also recently had a Cuban Treefrog hitch a ride on the latest shipment). I think the nursery trade is a likely mode of transport for some of these extralimital anole records.

  2. Found this guy today at San Diego zoo. This is the second time I have seen an anole in the zoo. I was very surprised.

  3. I was at the San Diego zoo yesterday Jun 27, 2015 and I saw an Ocelot pouncing on an Anole and subsequently eating it in his cage. I saw the distinct red neck flare while it was being attacked. 100% positive.

  4. There are a couple large and healthy green anole lizards that I see every year here in Mira Mesa near the canyon. They are always on the top of the fence and in the olive tree flashing the local fence lizards with their red neck flap when I see them. This year however; I have not seen them.

  5. I live on Tecolote Canyon. I caught one today. I raise endangered retiles at my property. The Green Anole is in an aquarium next to my Baby Tortoises.

  6. I’ve seen these guys during the summer time around the San Diego river in mission valley nearly every day. As well as in Bonita in residential neighborhoods. They are quite common in San Diego and have been for some time now

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