Communal Nesting in Anolis angusticeps

Previous posts have discussed communal nesting behavior among a number of anole species, whereby females deposit eggs in the same cavity. A new paper by AA‘s own Michele Johnson and friends extends this growing body of observations, stretching all the way back to Stan Rand’s 1967 work. This behavior has been previously reported for the Cuban Twig Anole (Anolis angusticeps) in Cuba, though apparently not in the Bahamas. According to Robinson et al. (2014), at least nine West Indian anole species are now known to engage in communal nesting, with others potentially to be added. AA has also called attention to a tenth mainland species (A. lionotus), described in Montgomery et al. (2011). So these observations bring to mind some questions: what intrinsic factors of a nest cavity draw multiple females to oviposit there? Are female offspring returning to the site in subsequent years to lay their own eggs? Does this behavior vary individually or regionally? Let us know if you have some of your own observations.

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Communal nest of Anolis angusticeps on South Bimini. Figure 2 from Robinson et al. 2014, photo by B. Kircher.

 

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.

3 thoughts on “Communal Nesting in Anolis angusticeps

  1. Not surprisingly, it appears that another mainland aquatic species, Norops oxylophus, also nests communally to some degree (Savage 2002).

  2. Maybe nesting sites/holes are a limited resource, favoring communal use of optimal &/or available sites. In effect, this suggestion constitutes an “ecological constraints” model for the evolution of groups. Do any of the communally-nesting species exhibit degrees of sociality [cooperation, for example]? These observations have great research potential. clara b. jones, Twitter @cbjones1943

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