Ophidiologist extraordinaire Frank Burbrink posted a photo of this Costa Rican anole on Facebook, challenging several of us to identify it. The consensus is that it’s A. lionotus or perhaps A. poecilopus. Any thoughts? More importantly, Frank of snake phylogenetics fame (including a paper on Caribbean serpents), had this to say:
“I really like these streamside anoles. Ecologically and morphologically they seem so un-Anolis like. There were tons of these guys along the wet rocks also inhabited by plethodontids nearby. I would love to see an Anole Annals post about these the very wet streamside anoles.”
So, here one is! He goes on:
“First off…they seemed unusually wet and cold. Second they were everywhere. Third they seemed to be able to hold onto the face of very slippery large rocks (boulders)…some right next to the waterfalls. I am not sure how they actually got there…unless they swam and crawled up the face of the rock. That seems like it wouldn’t take much effort to observe how they do it. Anyhow, everything about them was very non-anole like—other than the huge dewlap, body and head shape.”
“They seem to exist in a niche not filled by other lizards …certainly not even the semi-aquatic gymnothalmids. It makes you wonder from what ancestral ecomorph they invaded this particular niche…which again seems so un-Anolis” like.
Editor’s note: we’ll be hearing soon about the talks in the upcoming herp meetings, one of which is on aquatic anoles. More on that soon.