Herpetological Field Weekend in Bimini

I recently accompanied postdoc Anthony Geneva on a collecting trip to the small Bahamian island of Bimini for the shortest field excursion I’ve ever been on – four days in total. We were there to collect animals for a breeding colony, and luckily for us, the abundance of anoles on this tiny island is unbelievable. There are four species of Anolis present, each one representing a different ecomorph. Unsurprisingly, the brown anole A. sagrei is by far the most common, but we also saw our fair share of trunk-crown green anoles (A. smaragdinus), trunk anoles (A. distichus), and even a good number of twig anoles (A. angusticeps), which are notoriously hard to spot, so we were pretty excited. The island is also home to healthy populations of curly-tailed lizards (Leiocephalus), whiptails (Ameiva), and several species of gecko, so there was lots to see.

We collected during the day and at night, and were amused by the behavior of some of these lizards. My favorite find was this little guy sleeping under a leafy blanket. He almost fooled us, but that little curl of tail poking out gave him away.

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We were also lucky to witness an adult angusticeps in broad daylight, the first time either of us had ever spotted a twig anole during the daytime. In true twig anole fashion, he kept subtly repositioning himself around the branch to hide, making it rather annoying to photograph him. Nonetheless, it was an exciting find.

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Anolis angusticeps, taken by Anthony Geneva

On the other side of the spectrum was this very bold smaragdinus¸ who jumped from a leaf above and stood right next to me, giving me some solid side-eye before running back up the trunk.

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For a quick four-day trip, we saw a really remarkable diversity of lizards, and we had a great time on Bimini.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Herpetological Field Weekend in Bimini

    1. Hi Skip!

      Bimini is part of the Great Bahama Bank, and it’s thought that the whole area was exposed when the northern Bahamas were originally being colonized by anoles (Schoener 1968). Since they’ve been established for so long , I suppose I’d call the four species native but I guess it depends on your time scale!

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