The following is taken from the Society for the Study of Amphibian and Reptile’s website:
Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles
The Catalogue consists of accounts of taxa prepared by specialists, including synonymy, description, diagnosis, phylogenetic relationships, published descriptions, illustrations, distribution map, and comprehensive list of literature for each taxon. Over 900 accounts have been published since the initiation of the series in 1963. The series covers amphibians and reptiles of the entire Western Hemisphere. Previously, accounts were published as loose-leaf separates; beginning in 2013 accounts are published as on-line PDFs. All accounts are open access and are available for free download at the University of Texas Library Repository.
Just this week, one of the latest catalogue entries is for the little known Anolis ruibali of Cuba, written by Robert Powell, Javier Torres, and Nils Navarro Pacheco.
Poor Anolis, snack box of the jungle. Seems that just about anything will eat an anole. So, it’s not surprise to learn that the teid lizard Kentropyx calcarata joins the lizard of anole consumers. So report Franzini et al. in a recent report in Herpetology Notes. Anolis fuscoauratus was the unfortunate victim, the crime discovered by examination of stomach contents.
Consider two lizard species that differ in limb length, with one species having relatively longer legs than others. During development, how does this difference arise? Do the limbs start at the same length when they first appear in the embryo, but grow at a greater rate in the longer-legged species? Or is the initial limb bud longer in the embryo of the longer-legged species, and then the rate of growth the same in the two species, preserving the initial difference?
Thom Sanger’s elegant work showed that the latter answer is correct for Anolis: the limb buds of long-legged species start out longer and then grow in parallel with those of shorter-legged species.
But does this finding also hold when comparing across a broader range of lizards? Robin Andrews and Sable Skewes decided to find out, comparing embryos of a chameleon, two geckos, and the brown anole.
The answer: the same pattern as within anoles! And it applies to tail length (but not head length) as well as limbs.
I was lucky enough to spend some months working at the Museum of Comparative Zoology of Harvard as part of the Losos lab. There I learned a good deal about anoles and got to meet anole-loving people face to face. Even though this atmosphere tempted me to develop a project related to one of the greatest examples of adaptive radiation, I had other plans in mind involving some of their distant cousins: tropidurine lizards! The results of this study are already published (Toyama, 2017) and I will describe a bit of what I found.
Tropidurinae is a group of lizards whose representatives have diversified across South America. They come in different shapes, colors and sizes, as you would expect from any group of organisms spreading in a diverse territory in terms of habitats, climates and altitudes. Rainforests, deserts, mountains and dry forests are just some examples of the different ecosystems where you can find these lizards. Given this scenario, I wondered if the morphological diversity observed in this clade could be linked to the challenges imposed by the different habitats types found in the continent.
Inspired by similar studies that focused on other lizard radiations, I took measurements of functional morphological traits of several species of lizards coming from 10 out of the 12 genera comprising the Tropidurinae. These traits would allow me to look for a possible correspondence between morphology and habitat.
However, as I was not only interested in the link between morphology and habitat use, but also in the morphological diversity itself, I started looking at purely morphological information. The next figure shows the illustrative results of a Principal Component Analysis (PCA), which tries to separate the species as much as possible based on the morphological measurements. In the figure, we can observe how the dots of each color (representing species of the same genus) occupy a particular zone in the graph. This means that, in general, species of the same genus are, as expected, morphologically more similar between them than to species of other genera (exceptions aside, given the overlaps between some genera).
Going a bit farther in respect to morphological diversity, Continue reading The Evolution Of Morphological Diversity In Tropidurine Lizards: the Influence Of Habitat
hardinherpetologica: Interesting observation while walking through the woods. Found this #BoxTurtle eating a dead #GreenAnole. I’m assuming it was a scavenged find but the entire body was gone by the time I came upon the scene. #Neature
Has anyone else observed box turtles (or any other chelonian [I guess now testudine?]) interacting with anoles?
Among anoles, West Indian ecomorphs are the best known microhabitat specialists, but they are not the only ones. Semiaquatic anoles, of which there are 11 described species, live exclusively near streams and will sometimes enter water to feed or to escape a threat. The Central American species Anolis aquaticus appears to be specialized for climbing on rocks, particularly relative to other Central American semiaquatic anoles (Muñoz et al. 2015). Recent posts on A. aquaticus have addressed sleep site fidelity, dewlaps and trait scaling, and underwater foraging.
During a field ecology course with the Organization for Tropical Studies last winter, I compared patterns of substrate use between A. aquaticus and another Central American semiaquatic anole, Anolis oxylophus. Unlike A. aquaticus, A. oxylophus perches predominantly on woody and leafy substrates (Table 1). I wondered what was driving the differences in substrate use between these two species that appear broadly similar in morphology and lifestyle. Some Caribbean anoles alter their behavior to use only a narrow subset of available substrates in their habitat, whereas others have a greater breadth of substrate use that more closely reflects habitat-wide availability (Irschick and Losos, 1999; Mattingly and Jayne, 2004; Johnson et al., 2006). To evaluate whether substrate use differences between A. aquaticus and A. oxylophus are driven by substrate availability, species-specific selectivity, or both, I simultaneously quantified lizard substrate use and substrate availability within their streamside habitats.
Thanks to the work of Roger Thorpe and colleagues, Lesser Antillean anoles are renowned as an example of adaptive geographic variation. On many islands in the Lesser Antilles, populations in wet areas, where vegetation is lush, are green in color, whereas those in more xeric areas tend to be a drab gray, often with markings on their back. This pattern is repeated on many different islands, the convergent geographic variation thus making a strong case for the adaptive basis of anole coloration.
In a new paper in PLoS One, Thorpe takes this work a step further, asking whether we can use the parallel patterns seen across Lesser Antillean islands to predict the coloration of an anole species on another island. The focal species is Anolis bonairensis, which occupies the extraordinarily dry island of Bonaire (see our previous posts on this species).
The prediction: A. bonairensis should be grayer and drabber than populations of anoles that occur at the driest sites on Lesser Antillean answers.
The answer: yes! Just as predicted, Anolis bonairensis is one drab lizard. Score one for evolutionary predictability!
Anolis bonairensis is represented by the red circles. The x-axis goes from aridity on the left to the most mesic on the right. As you can see, A. bonairensis‘s color and patterning is well-predicted by variation in other species.
Anolis biporcatus is, if I’m not mistaken, the largest mainland beta/Norops anoles, attaining a length of ca. 100 mm snout-vent. In addition, it has an enormous geographic distribution, ranging from southern Mexico to Ecuador. In a new paper in Salamandra, a team of New Mexican and Ecuadorian biologists headed by Janet Armstead have sliced off part of the species, raising the Ecuadorian/Colombian A. biporcatus parvauritus to species status. They make this decision based on a detailed analysis of morphology and molecular data. Their data also find deep genetic subdivisions within A. biporcatus in Costa Rica, suggesting that there may be more cryptic species awaiting recognition.
A key difference between the species is the color of the distal scales on the dewlap of males, white in biporcatus, black in parvauritus.
Note, too, that like many mainland anoles, the males and females have very different dewlaps.
Here’s the distribution of the two species:
We would like to introduce our recent paper on the invasive green anole (Suzuki-Ohno et al. 2017). In Japan, the green anole Anolis carolinensis invaded the Ogasawara Islands in 1960’s and Okinawa Island in 1980’s. In Ogasawara Islands, A. carolinensis expanded its range and had a significant negative impact on native species and the ecosystem. This becomes a big problem since Ogasawara Islands are designated as a natural heritage.
On Okinawa Island, A. carolinensis was first captured in 1989 and it did not expand its distribution until more than 25 years later, although its density is extremely high in the southern region. In the northern region of Okinawa Island, Yambaru area, native forests are preserved so that it is important to avoid the invasive effects of A. carolinensis. Thus, It is important to determine whether A. carolinensis has the potential to expand its distribution on Okinawa Island.
Phylogenetic analysis shows that the invader A. carolinensis originated in the western part of the Gulf Coast and inland areas of the United States. Interestingly, all of the invaded A. carolinensis in Ogasawara, Okinawa and Hawaii originated from the Gulf Coast and inland areas of the United States.
We used a species distribution model (MaxEnt) based on the distribution of native populations in North America to identify ecologically suitable areas on Okinawa Island. The MaxEnt predictions indicate that most areas in Okinawa Island are suitable for A. carolinensis. Therefore, A. carolinensis may have the potential to expand its distribution in Okinawa Island.
The predictions indicate that habitat suitability is high in areas of high annual mean temperature and urbanized areas. The values of precipitation in summer in the northern region of Okinawa Island were higher compared with those of North America, which reduced the habitat suitability in Okinawa Island. Adaptation to low temperatures, an increase in the mean temperature through global warming, and an increase in open environments through land development will likely expand the distribution of A. carolinensis in Okinawa Island. We think that invasive anoles (A. calrolinensis and A. sageri) prefer open habitats.
Therefore, we suggest that A. carolinensis should be removed by using traps and/or chemicals. In addition, we must continue to be alert to the possibility that city planning that increases open environments may cause their range to expand.
I’ve been looking through a lot of anole museum specimens lately, and I’ve noticed that many of them have pretty pronounced endolymphatic glands, which made me curious about their prevalence and function in anoles generally.
Endolymphatic glands serve as calcium reserves, and are present in many animals, including a number of reptile and amphibian clades. According to Etheridge (1959), these glands are present in anoles and a few of their close relatives (e.g. Polychrus), but not in any other Iguanians. But it looks like most of the research on their function (in reptiles) has focused on geckos. In geckos, the size of the glands has been shown to fluctuate in response to both stress and reproductive activity, supporting the idea that the stored calcium is used in egg production, both for the yolk and the shell (Brown et al. 1996, Lamb et al. 2017). However, in anoles and geckos, these glands are present in both males and females, so their function isn’t limited to providing calcium for eggs (Etheridge 1959, Bauer 1989, Lamb et al. 2017).
But I haven’t found much information on these glands in anoles. I personally haven’t noticed them in the wild, but so far I’ve found very pronounced glands in 13/66 museum specimens, and some of them are really striking (see photos)! So I’m curious to hear, how often do you other anole-ologists see these enlarged glands? Is there any other literature about their prevalence, seasonality, or function in anoles that I’ve overlooked? Seems like we might be lagging behind the gecko crowd on this topic!
Bauer A (1989) Extracranial Endolymphatic Sacs in Eurydactylodes ( Reptilia : Gekkonidae), with Comments on Endolymphatic Function in Lizards. J Herpetol 23:172–175.
Brown SG, Jensen K, DeVerse HA (1996) The Relationship Between Calcium Gland Size, Fecunduty and Social Behavior in the Unisexual Gecks Lepidactyluse Lugubris and Hemidactylus Garnotii. Int J Comp Psychol. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2011.5.6700
Etheridge R (1959) The relationships of the anoles (Reptilia: Sauria: Iguanidae) an interpretation based on skeletal morphology.
Lamb AD, Watkins-colwell GJ, Moore JA, et al (2017) Endolymphatic Sac Use and Reproductive Activity in the Lesser Antilles Endemic Gecko Gonatodes antillensis (Gekkota: Sphaerodactylidae). Bull Peabody Museum Nat Hist 58:17–29.
Several anole species are known from a single remote locality or only a few individuals, sometimes collected long ago. Because sampling these species is hard, we have a limited understanding about their biology and evolution. In a recent paper, we report on the rediscovery of Anolis nasofrontalis and Anolis pseudotigrinus, two mainland species from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest that were not reported for more than 40 years. Based on DNA sequence data, we examine their placement in the Anolis tree of life and estimate divergence times from their closest relatives. Moreover, based on the morphological attributes of newly and previously collected specimens (some of which were overlooked due to misidentification), we provide much needed taxonomic re-descriptions.
This study starts with efforts by collaborator Dr. Miguel T. Rodrigues (Universidade de São Paulo) to investigate reptiles and amphibians that have been undetected for years – a gap that could indicate human-driven extinctions. On late 2014, Dr. Rodrigues and his students (including co-author Mauro Teixeira Jr.) launched an expedition to the mountains of Santa Teresa (state of Espírito Santo, Brazil), the type locality of both A. nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus. After a few days (and nights) of search, the team spotted the first A. pseudotigrinus in decades. The adult female was found sleeping on a narrow branch, (probably) unaware of its significance for South American biogeography (so were we). No signs, however, of A. nasofrontalis.
Shortly after, PhD students Paulo R. Melo-Sampaio (Museu Nacional) and Leandro O. Drummond (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) decided to visit Santa Teresa, inspired by conversations with Dr. Rodrigues. At this point, Dr. Rodrigues, my supervisor Dr. Ana C. Carnaval (City University of New York), and I had agreed that a phylogenetic study of A. pseudotigrinus would fit my PhD research well. Then, on early 2016, we got an unexpected email from Paulo and Leandro, with the first picture ever taken of an A. nasofrontalis in life. Both legendary anoles were real!
Back to the lab, we generated DNA sequence data and performed phylogenetic analyses, with completely unexpected results. First, A. nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus are not closely related to the other (confirmed) Atlantic Forest species (A. fuscoauratus, A. ortonii, and A. punctatus); instead, they are close relatives of a species from western Amazonia, the “odd anole” Anolis dissimilis. These three species were found to compose a clade with A. calimae from the western cordillera of the Colombian Andes, A. neblininus from a Guiana Shield tepui on the Brazil-Venezuela border, and two undescribed Andean species (Anolis sp. R and Anolis sp. W from Poe et al. 2015 Copeia). This clade falls outside of the five major clades previously recovered within the Dactyloa radiation of Anolis, which have been referred to as species series (aequatorialis, heterodermus, latifrons, punctatus, roquet). Based on these results, we define the neblininus species series of Anolis.
The neblininus series is composed of narrowly-distributed species that occur in mid-elevation sites (or adjacent habitats in the case of A. dissimilis) separated by large geographic distances. This pattern suggests a complex biogeographic history involving former patches of suitable habitat between regions, followed by habitat retraction and extinction in the intervening areas. In the case of A. nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus, for instance, past forest corridors may explain a close relationship with the western Amazonian A. dissimilis. Atlantic and Amazonian rainforests are presently separated by open savannas and shrublands, yet geochemical records suggest that former pulses of increased precipitation and wet forest expansion have favored intermittent connections between them. These connections may have also been favored by major landscape shifts as a result of Andean orogeny, such as the establishment of the Chapare buttress, a land bridge that connected the central Andes to the western edge of the Brazilian Shield during the Miocene.
During our morphological examinations of A. nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus, it became apparent that these two species are not very different from Caribbean twig anoles, with whom they share short limbs and cryptic coloration. We learned that these features are also present in other, distantly-related mainland anoles, such as A. euskalerriari, A. orcesi, A. proboscis, and A. tigrinus. Phylogenetic relationships support that a twig anole-like phenotype was acquired (or lost) independently within Dactyloa, perhaps as a result of adaptive convergence. Alternatively, this pattern may reflect the conservation of an ancestral phenotype. In the former case, an apparent association with South American mountains is intriguing.
Unfortunately, natural history data from A. nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus are lacking. It is currently unclear whether they exhibit the typical ecological and behavioral traits that characterize the Caribbean twig anole ecomorph, such as active foraging, slow movements, infrequent running or jumping, and preference for narrow perching surfaces.
It has become increasingly clear that broader sampling of genetic variation is key to advance studies of mainland anole taxonomy and evolution. This significant challenge also provides exciting opportunities for complementary sampling efforts, exchange of information, and new collaborations between research groups working in different South American countries.
To learn more:
Prates I, Melo-Sampaio PR, Drummond LO, Teixeira Jr M, Rodrigues MT, Carnaval AC. 2017. Biogeographic links between southern Atlantic Forest and western South America: rediscovery, re-description, and phylogenetic relationships of two rare montane anole lizards from Brazil. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, available online 11 May 2017.
Liam Revell has developed a method, which he explains in Phytools.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a post on the phylogenetic distribution of blue eyes in anoles. They pop up all over anole phylogeny and in species with diverse habitats and geography. The post attracted 32 comments.
At the time, I asked if anyone had a photo of the blue-eyed Anolis etheridgei. Photographer par excellence Rick Stanley quick obliged, but I never got around to posting his photo, so here it is.
But the bigger question is: what about those blue eyes? Why hasn’t anyone studied the phenomenon? If you’ve got a good photo of a blue-eyed anole, send it here!
A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. But what if there’s an anole sleeping inside of it?
We anolologists (and herpetologists generally) are a devoted bunch, particularly when it comes to our field equipment. It is therefore very troubling to learn that an essential component of our field kit is being discontinued. Perhaps most chilling is the thought losing access to our beloved   Cabela’s Panfish Poles. A recent series of tweets between AA stalwart James Stroud and Cabela’s customer service revealed noose poles are currently out of stock and may not return:
@Cabelas but the website won’t let me buy the IK-115800! Even though it says that you have them in stock (albeit limited)
— James T. Stroud (@jameststroud) April 21, 2017
@Cabelas nice! Thanks! So are there more I can order now or was that the last one in stock?
— James T. Stroud (@jameststroud) April 21, 2017
@jameststroud That was the last one we had available. -Melanie
— Cabela’s (@Cabelas) April 21, 2017
We have experienced the disappearance and return    of these poles before and, despite our best efforts, have not found a good alternative. With this essential tool at risk, I am taking up the effort to convince Cabela’s it is worthwhile to continue producing panfish poles. I would like to present them with the economic argument that many herpetologists use, and will continue to buy, this product. I created a Twitter poll below and will present the results to Cabela’s customer service in making our case. Please take a moment to share your thoughts using the poll and in the comments. Thanks!
Hey, herpetology community… Quick question.
Do you use (and would you continue to buy) @cabelas panfish poles for your fieldwork? Thanks!
— Anthony J Geneva (@AnthonyGeneva) April 25, 2017
Michele Johnson (top) and Manuel Leal (bottom). For more on the Leal lab’s march-related activities, check out the post on Chipojolab.
From the pages of Facebook. Specifically, from Paul Marcellini Photography (check out the beautiful photos on his website). Note that we previously featured another account of a nesting female hummingbird attacking an anole, in this case Anolis stratulus in the Virgin Islands.
here’s a close-up, from Marcellini’s FB page: