Anolis allisoni, close relative of our friendly neighborhood A. carolinensis, is a remarkable lizard. It’s also no stranger to Anole Annals, and the populations found off the coast of Honduras were just featured here. We saw a lot of these lizards in Cuba, and the post is pretty picture heavy, so join us after the jump for blue-headed lizards.
A. allisoni was abundant in every urban area we visited in central and eastern Cuba. One need only find a small pocket of trees (town squares are good for this) to locate this blue-headed beauty. Actually, I can’t remember seeing A. allisoni anywhere except human habitat, but forays into the countryside were limited on this part of the trip. Let’s start off with a couple of large males I found in drab coloration:
Not that exciting? Alright, here’s the good stuff. A smattering of the variation in blue-headed males we observed:
I was really blown away by how intensely blue these lizards can be. They weren’t quite Sceloporus-venter-blue, but then again, (most) Sceloporus don’t have blue heads. It just seems like an ill-advised thing for a medium-sized lizard to do. The males also seem to be about 50% mouth, with an impressively ridged snout. I’d guess that this maw evolved in response to male-male competition, unless male A. allisoni are out there eating baby birds or something.
Actually, the last pair of A. allisoni we saw were two spectacularly colored males, battling on the beams of a balcony 15 feet above our heads. There was dewlapping, frantic push-ups, a brief fracas, and a clear winner. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera (we were in line for the bathroom). I did however get a couple of dewlap shots. Here’s perhaps the most brilliantly colored individual we saw:
He dewlapped a few moments later – unfortunately, I think I just missed the focus on this one.
This individual dewlapped just before sunset, and proceeded to darken. A dusk “chorus,” if you will.
Well, that’s about all I have for A. allisoni pictures. I’ve heard that the brilliant blue is actually caused by a lack of yellow pigment, and that A. allisoni can be thought of as “a blue lizard wearing yellow pants.” Any anole color experts care to comment?