Anoles Can Find Their Way Home

Photo by Manuel Leal in the New York Times

The New York Times yesterday had a long article on Manuel Leal’s research on the homing ability of Anolis gundlachi. Manuel has discovered that if you catch a gundlachi and let it go somewhere else in the forest, it will very quickly find its way back to its tree. He’s done a number of experiments to see if they’re using magnetic sense, polarizing light or telepathy (ok, maybe not the last one), but so far has been unable to figure out how they manage to get home. In fact, as the article states, he’s looking for suggestions. Read the article and give him such much-needed help!

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.

5 thoughts on “Anoles Can Find Their Way Home

  1. I saw this same behavior in A. carolinensis in Texas a few years ago. I’d catch the anoles, number them with a sharpie pen, and then release them in different locations around my residence. By the next day, they were often back at their original perch.

    1. And even if their home range doesn’t extend to 80m, maybe it’s still big enough that a random walk is somewhat likely to find the extended home range. Did the simulations adjust for different sizes of home range?

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