Cannibalism in Anolis sabanus and Other Anoles

cannibal sabanus

In the most recent issue of IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians, Powell and Watkins provide an eyewitness account of an adult male Anolis sabanus killing a juvenile, presumably en route to eating it (which occurred off stage). The paper also provides a listing of other documented cases of Caribbean anole cannibalism, of which A. sabanus becomes the 19th species known to eat its own.

Editor’s Note: The IRCF webpage appears to be down. You can access the paper here.

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

7 thoughts on “Cannibalism in Anolis sabanus and Other Anoles

  1. The website is functioning again. Note also a brief entry about reproduction in Anolis smallwoodi by Yasel U. Alfonso, Veronika Holanova, and Kenneth L. Krysko.

  2. Does anyone have a list of known cannibalistic spp.? I know equestris, smallwoodi, baracoae, and sagrei… What else is known to eat other Anolis? Or other reptiles? Do any of them having a diet that is mostly lizards/Anolis as opposed to mostly invertebrates?

    Looking forward to hearing your answers.

    1. Jeremy, the paper referred to in this post lists only sagrei of the species you mention. Do you have documentation of cannibalism in the other species?

    2. In my opinion, all members of equestris group would eat smaller anoles of their/any other kind. I have this personal experience with noblei, luteogularis, baracoae and smallwoodi. The same goes for former Chamaeleolis genus. A. valencienni, porcatus and bartschi would do the same. I think this is pretty common. I have seen in nature Leiocephalus cubensis hunting its own youngs. I find more interesting that in my hands A. vermiculatus never ate their newborns. And actually A. argenteolus also did not touch the babies.

  3. Cannibalism and predation on other anoles are two different things, although I suspect that most anoles that prey on other species would also prey on smaller conspecifics and that species for which cannibalism has been documented would also eat other size-appropriate species.

  4. Today, I witnessed a Green Anole catch and eat a very small one of it’s own species. I was shocked, frankly. I had no idea they were cannibalistic. I felt kind of sorry for the small one.

  5. I have observed and photographed Anolis grahami (Jamaican Turquoise anole) eating a small A. lineatopus (Jamaican brown anole).

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