Non-Native Anole in Florida — What Species Is This?

Mystery Anole

Mystery Anole

Can you identify this species?  It was recently observed in Pinellas County in Florida, where Anolis sagrei is established but not any other Anolis spp.  This photo is your only clue.

About Bryan Falk

Bryan is a USGS biologist working on invasive species in southern Florida. HIs research focuses on pythons and tegus, but anoles -- and their parasites -- are his true love.

19 thoughts on “Non-Native Anole in Florida — What Species Is This?

  1. My apologies, It’s the head shape & tail crest that make an easy ID.
    The tail crest resembles a miniature Hydrosaurus & is present year round.
    This has a tail ridge of sorts, That’s A. segrei.
    In A. cristatellus the crest is “RIBBED” .

    1. I agree that this seems highly likely to be A. sagrei; however, though some A. cristatellus have large tail crests supported by bony dorsal processes on the caudal vertebrae, many have no crests or only a very small crest (as in this photo by Manuel Leal).

  2. I haven’t seen a white stripe below the eye in A. sagrei, but I have seen it often in A. cristatellus. (Now I haven’t seen hundreds of either..). So I would tag this one as A. cristatellus.

  3. My money is still on A. segrei.
    As for this being A. cybotes, I need to disagree.
    1) The seems wrong, It could be the photo, But I don’t think so.
    2) Location. I know of several populations of A. cybotes here in Florida,
    None of which are even close to Pinellas County.

    If anyone is interested, I might have time to get photo’s of A. cybotes, A. cristatellus, & A. segrei in all their finery. I’m busy until the 5th, But after that I think I could put something together in a couple days. I’m in Palm Beach Co. so it’s a bit of a drive to get photo’s of cybotes & cristatellus, But I could use some fun!

  4. Apologies yet again.
    Edit: The HEAD seems wrong for A. cybotes.

    My money is still on A. segrei.
    As for this being A. cybotes, I need to disagree.
    1) The head seems wrong, It could be the photo, But I don’t think so.
    2) Location. I know of several populations of A. cybotes here in Florida,
    None of which are even close to Pinellas County.

    If anyone is interested, I might have time to get photo’s of A. cybotes, A. cristatellus, & A. segrei in all their finery. I’m busy until the 5th, But after that I think I could put something together in a couple days. I’m in Palm Beach Co. so it’s a bit of a drive to get photo’s of cybotes & cristatellus, But I could use some fun!

  5. Everyone — many thanks for your input. I sometimes get photos of anoles collected in Florida to identify, but this one was particularly tricky. I had the same thoughts as many of you, and I’m still not sure. Kind of a neat example of how convergent these animals are, when several experts who have collectively handled tens of thousands of these things can’t agree on an ID.

    We may be able to get someone to follow up and check out the site. If we do, I’ll post an update. And I promise to post a better photo.

    1. Figured I would chime in here based on frequently trying to ID anoles in Mexico

      There didn’t seem to be much trickiness to this one. Sagrei are in the area and this absolutely looks like a sagrei to me. Nothing about it really suggests otherwise, from what I can tell.

      Having said that, you can’t be 100% confident on an anole ID when it’s based on an imperfect photo. It’s a common problem for IDing anoles for iNaturalist in Mexico (probably in much of Latin America). So many species are variable in coloration and roughly the same size (40-65 mm SVL) that it’s risky to assume an ID unless a diagnostic trait is easily seen. In a practical sense, it should probably be assumed to be the common thing unless you have a good reason to believe otherwise.

      1. Thanks Levi. But you know, I almost left off the locality. Our purpose in IDing these animals is to detect new populations, and new populations are popping up in Florida all the time. That means we have to take a more cautious approach and not necessarily go with what might be the most common, or with what has precedence. It’s difficult to do when there’s just one crappy photo.

        Given the level of uncertainty in expert opinion — both on and off this blog — I’d rather leave it unidentified and try to get more info.

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