New Anole Behaviors in Herp Review: Brown Anole Steals Wasp from Spider, and Crested Anole Sleeps on Lampshade

The journal Herpetological Review, published by the society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, frequently has interesting anecdotal reports of natural history observations of anoles. This quarter’s edition has two: nocturnal activity in Anolis cristatellus and prey stealing behavior in Anolis sagrei. Here is a synopsis:

Dean and Jennifer Metcalfe report on nocturnal behavior of A. cristatellus wileyae observed (while perhaps on vacation) at the Nanny Cay Resort and Marina on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The authors observed that the subject anole had navigated the interior of their hotel room in near darkness after dusk, selecting a nocturnal perching site on a lampshade. They suggest that this is similar behavior to that of an anole selecting an arboreal perch site at dusk. Two questions come to mind though. First, whether the room was completely dark- as the authors acknowledge that some light might have been entering the room- and whether the animal came from the outside into the room to perch or was residing in the room. Second, the author mentioned that this was the only anole seen on Tortola during her brief stay, which is also a bit unusual as the species should be abundant there. This might not add much to our understanding of anoles, but it certainly raises some questions about the co-habitation of humans and anoles.

The second note comes from David Delaney, a master’s student in Dan Warner’s lab at UAB, and friends, who report on an opportunistic A. sagrei in Ormond Beach, Florida. The anole had apparently been observing a predation attempt of a spider-wasp on a funnel-web spider. To summarize, the wasp attacked and envenomed the spider, captured it, and began dragging it across the ground. At this point the anole jumped to the ground, grabbed the spider, and took it up the tree to eat it. The wasp, likely disappointed, fled the area to hunt again.

Metcalfe, DC and JE Metcalfe. 2014. Anolis cristatellus wileyae (Vrigin islands Crested Anole). Nocturnal Activity. Herpetological Review 45: 323-324.

Delaney, DM et al. 2014. Anolis sagrei (Brown Anole). Prey stealing behavior. Herpetological Review 45: 324-325.

About Graham Reynolds

Graham is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His research focuses on Caribbean herpetology- specifically anoles and boas.

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