Assistance Needed for Anole Identifications from Camera Trap Images from the Peruvian Amazon

4 Anolis sp. 4 cropped

Although camera traps have historically been used to study endotherms, particularly mammals, recent studies have found them to also be effective for reptile research, given proper conditions. Indeed, Welbourne and colleagues (2015) found them to be as effective as complementary methods for detecting reptiles.

We conducted a study in the Lower Urubamba Region of the Peruvian Amazon using camera traps to monitor mammal use of natural canopy bridges for crossing over a pipeline road between September 2012 and October 2013 (see Gregory et al. 2014 for further description). Unexpectedly, we ended up with numerous records of reptiles, including many of Uracentron flaviceps, which is easy to identify because if its large body size, and records of 17 individuals we have not been able to identify. We suspect many of them to be Anolis species, but they are very difficult to see. We would be grateful for identification assistance from the Anolis researcher community.  Below we show pairs of images for each individual: the full camera trap photo and then a cropped image of just the individual. Please e-mail me ( with the individual number (listed above each photo pair) and any thoughts you have about identifications. Thank you Anolis research community!

Gregory, T., Carrasco-Rueda, F., Deichmann, J.L., Kolowski, J., and Alonso, A. (2014). Arboreal camera trapping: taking a proven method to new heights. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5:443-451.

Welbourne, D.J., MacGregor, C., Paull, D., and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2015). The effectiveness and cost of camera traps for surveying small reptiles and critical weight range mammals: A comparison with labour-intensive complementary methods. 42:414-425.

Unknown sp. 17

17 Unknown sp. 17 full17 Unknown sp. 17 cropped

Unknown sp. 16

16 Unknown sp. 16 full16 Unknown sp. 16 cropped

Unknown sp. 15

15 Unknown sp. 15 full 15 Unknown sp. 15 cropped

Unknown sp. 14

14 Unknown sp. 14 full14 Unknown sp. 14 cropped

Unknown sp. 13

13 Unknown sp. 13 full13 Unknown sp. 13 cropped

Unknown sp. 12

12 Unknown sp. 12 full 12 Unknown sp. 12 cropped

Unknown sp. 11

11 Unknown sp. 11 full 11 Unknown sp. 11 cropped

Anolis cf. punctatus (#10)

10 Anolis punctatus sp. 10 full10 Anolis punctatus sp. 10 cropped

Unknown sp. 9

9 Unknown sp. 9 full9 Unknown sp. 9 cropped

Unknown sp. 8

8 Unknown sp. 8 full8 Unknown sp. 8 cropped

Unknown sp. 7

7 Unknown sp. 7 full 7 Unknown sp. 7 cropped

Unknown sp. 6

6 Anolis sp. 6

Unknown sp. 5

5 Unknown sp. 5

Anolis sp. 4

4 Anolis sp. 4 full 4 Anolis sp. 4 cropped

Anolis sp. 3

3 Anolis sp. 3 full 3 Anolis sp. 3 cropped

Anolis sp. 2

2 Anolis sp. 2 full2 Anolis sp. 2 cropped

Anolis sp. 1

1 Anolis sp. 1 full 1 Anolis sp. 1 cropped



4 thoughts on “Assistance Needed for Anole Identifications from Camera Trap Images from the Peruvian Amazon

  1. I don’t see a single photo in which an identification can be made based on the photos, and I have worked with most of the species that should be there. I seriously doubt that decent data on anoles could be collected with cameras in Amazonian rainforest. Some species look alike from a distance (e.g., A. fuscoauraus/A. ortoni; A. punctatus/A. transversalis). Without a very good photograph, especially ones with dewlaps showing, I don’t see how cameras will produce decent data. Personally, I think that learning to identify these lizards from a distance and spending the field time necessary to collect reliable data is a much better way to study these lizards.

    1. We run into the same problems in Mexico–I’m frequently asked to ID specimens where no diagnostic traits are visible. Sometimes an educated guess is warranted but often there’s nothing you can do based on just the photos. Overconfidence in one’s ability to ID anoles based on pictures is far too common.

  2. Thanks for the input. In fact, we even have trouble IDing mammals with the camera trap photos and ended up collecting a dwarf porcupine specimen to confirm the species ID (no wonder we were uncertain since we were 900km away from the known range of the species we finally determined it to be!). I had a feeling it was a long shot, but being a mammalogist, I’m a bit outside of my comfort zone, so I thought I should consult the experts!

  3. I think the specie Unknown sp. 7 could be Anolis ortonii, because I can see the black marks on the dorsal side (between legs and tail). Unknown sp. 9 can be a diferent genus of lizard, I can see a black collared and also the shape of the lizard (maybe it can belong to Polychrus, Plica)

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