Anolis punctatus Mating and Feeding

Now for another story from the rainforests of eastern Ecuador. While I was passing through camp on my way to lunch at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, I stumbled across this pair of Anolis punctatus mating only about five and a half feet above the ground on a small tree. I don’t know when they began, but they disbanded about five minutes after I found them. I probably had something to do with this as the male displayed immediately after separating from the female which you can see below.

Interestingly, the male seems to have a piece of debris stuck in his eye, which he eventually flicks out of his eye at the 40 second mark after mating. Another interesting note is that I spotted the same female (identified by dorsal spot patterning) in the same tree one day earlier where it was perched much higher on a thin branch covered with leaves.

Before I could contemplate what misstep I took in my life that brought me to sit and record the act of two lizards copulating on video, I was preoccupied with watching what this pair would do next. The male split after two hours when he was disturbed by a passing scientist. Prior to disappearing into the canopy he displayed a few times and ate an unidentified insect.

Post-coital "Anolis punctatus" malePost-coital "Anolis punctatus" female

A photoshoot took place after the act. The piece of debris is still visible on the male’s face.

The female stuck around longer and quite low to the ground the entire time. After a few hours she started foraging by perching on Heliconia stems, running into a small patch of leaf litter to retrieve an insect and then returning to another stalk to eat her meal and then stake out the next. I can’t make out what arthropods she was eating, but notice how she gives a few slight head motions throughout (notably at 0:42 and 1:09). This may have been a motion to aid in swallowing food, but I’ve also seen the same female and one other perform this movement outside of the foraging contexts  which leads me to believe it’s a headbob.

Thanks for watching!

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