Anole March Madness 2016!

Anole MM16Are you ready for March Madness?! No, not the basketball tournament… this year we are staging the very first Anole March Madness! We should acknowledge that we came up with this idea after following the popular Mammal March Madness for the past couple of years and feeling a little left out.

What is Anole March Madness? Just like the basketball tournament, we start with 32 of the best teams from 4 regions. The groups doing battle will be Mainland (Central America and South America) versus Island (Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles). The rules are simple, if a lizard wins a bout it advances, if it loses it is out of the tournament.


Anole March Madness

Anole-March-Madness: download this pdf, fill in the text boxes, play along!

Don’t worry, no animals will be harmed in any way during this tournament. In fact, the matches are entirely fictional and come from the imaginations of AA contributors Kristin Winchell, Martha Muñoz, and Pavitra Muralidhar. We will pick the winners of each bout based on what is known about the morphology, ecology, and behavior of each species and will give a full recap of the (fictional) battles every few days.

Do your best to predict the winner of each match, and ultimately the champion! Fill in the empty text boxes in the PDF of the bracket above and pick your winners for each match. Take a photo of your completed bracket and tweet it with #AnoleMM2016 so we can all see your picks! You earn 1 point for each correct match in the first round (round of 32), 2 points in the second round (Sweet 16), 4 points in the third round (Elite 8), 8 points for the fourth round (Final 4), and 16 points if you guess the champion. Keep score and let us know how you’re doing! First matches will be posted in a few days. The Championship match will be on April 4th.

Now, meet the teams!

Mainland – Central America

  • Anolis insignisThe Decorated Anole – from Costa Rica and Panama, a crown anole with SVL of 160mm in adult males.
  • Anolis nebulosus – The Clouded Anole – from Mexico, a smaller anole (43mm SVL) that perches from the ground to high up in the trees.
  • Anolis aquaticus – The Water Anole – from Costa Rica and Panama, as the name implies this mid-size anole (60mm SVL) is adapted to streamside living.
  • Anolis tropidolepis – The Swift Anole – from Costa Rica, a medium sized anole (52mm SVL) with a red dewlap, found in montane habitats and low to the ground.
  • Anolis limifrons – The Slender Anole – widespread across Central America, a smaller anole (44mm SVL) that perches low to the ground and on narrow perches.
  • Anolis humilis – The Humble Anole – another widespread species from Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, the smallest contestant at 35mm SVL and a ground-litter inhabitant.
  • Anolis altae – The High Anole – from Costa Rica, despite the name, this 50mm SVL anole perches low to the ground (not pictured above).
  • Anolis cupreus – The Copper Anole – from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, another medium sized (49mm) low perching anole.


Mainland – South America

  • Anolis proboscisThe Horned Anole (AKA Pinocchio Anole) – from Ecuador, this large (75mm SVL) twig anole sports a long (10-20mm) proboscis.
  • Anolis gorgonae – The Blue Anole – from the Columbian Pacific island of Gorgona, a small and bright blue arboreal lizard.
  • Anolis onca  – The Bulky Anole – from Venezuela and Colombia, a 72mm SVL sand-dwelling anole that lacks sub-digital lamellae (not-pictured above).
  • Anolis macrolepis  – The Big-Scaled Anole – from Colombia, a medium sized (52mm SVL) aquatic anole.
  • Anolis frenatus – The Bridled Anole – from Columbia (and Costa Rica), a crown-giant with an SVL of 143mm.
  • Anolis transversalis – The Banded Tree Anole – widespread across Northwestern South America, a large (85mm SVL) species with sexually dimorphic colors.
  • Anolis ortonii – Orton’s Anole – widespread across Northern South America, a smaller (47mm SVL) species that prefers to perch low to the ground.
  • Anolis fuscoauratus – The Brown-Eared Anole – widespread across Northern South America, another small anole (44mm SVL) that perches low to the ground.


Island – Greater Antilles

  • Anolis cristatellus The Crested Anole – from Puerto Rico, a stocky trunk-ground species (70mm SVL) with a dorsal crest it erects in battle.
  • Anolis pulchellus – The Sharp-Mouthed Anole – from Puerto Rico, a slender grass-bush anole (47mm SVL).
  • Anolis equestris – The Knight Anole – from Cuba, our largest contender (169mm SVL) and a crown-giant.
  • Anolis garmani – The Jamaican Giant Anole – from Jamaica, another crown giant (110mm SVL).
  • Anolis placidus – The Placid Anole – from Hispaniola, a small (38mm SVL) twig anole (not pictured above)
  • Anolis distichus – The Bark Anole – from Hispaniola and the Bahamas a 51mm SVL trunk anole.
  • Anolis Chameleolis porcus – The Oriente Bearded Anole – from Cuba, a 50mm stocky anole that resembles a chameleon (not pictured above)
  • Anolis smaragdinus – The Bahamian Green Anole – from the Bahamas, an emerald green trunk-crown anole of medium size (54mm SVL).


Island – Lesser Antilles

  • Anolis lividus The Plymouth Anole – from Montserrat, a medium sized anole (70mm SVL)
  • Anolis richardii – The Grenada Tree Anole – from Grenada, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, a large (125mm SVL) crown giant.
  • Anolis marmoratus – The Guadeloupean Anole (AKA Leopard Anole) – from Guadeloupe, Ile Desecheo Saintes, and La Desirade, an 80mm SVL trunk-crown anole.
  • Anolis roquet – Martinique’s Anole (AKA Savannah Anole) – from Martinique, a large (86mm SVL) trunk-crown anole.
  • Anolis trinitatis – Saint Vincent’s Bush Anole (AKA Trinidad Anole) – from St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Chateaubelair, a medium sized (74mm SVL) trunk-crown anole.
  • Anolis pogus – The Anguilla Bank Bush Anole (AKA Bearded Anole) – from St. Martin, a 50mm SVL anole that is abundant on the single island where it is found.
  • Anolis bimaculatus -The St. Eustatius Anole (AKA Panther Anole) – from St. Eustatius, St. Christopher, and Nevis, a large (123mm SVL) and brightly colored anole.
  • Anolis terraealtae – Les Saines Anole – from Terre-de-Haut, Îlet-à-Cabrit, and Grand Ilet, and Îles des Saintes, a medium size anole (80mm SVL).


Know something unique about one of these anoles that might give them an advantage in the competition? Have a photo to share? Let us know in the comments!

About Kristin Winchell

I'm a Ph.D. candidate at UMass Boston in the Revell lab. I am interested in how animals respond to urbanization from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. My dissertation research has focused on adaptive shifts in the Puerto Rican crested anole, Anolis cristatellus, in response to urbanization. Website:

5 thoughts on “Anole March Madness 2016!

  1. I swear, “scientists” are some of the cruelest people in the nation, but they do it in the name of “science”. This however is just plain old brutality. I’m completely disgusted, this is right up there with dog fighting.

    Please remove me from your mailing list.

    1. Hi Sarah, please don’t misinterpret what we are doing here! As we stated above, we are not actually fighting animals (we would never do that!). No animals are harmed in any way. We came up with hypothetical match-ups between anole species so that we can highlight traits of anoles that people may not know much about. All “battles” are fictional.

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