Anolis Tigrinus, Another Mainland Twig Anole

Anolis tigrinus. Photo by Anthony Herrel

Anolis tigrinus. Photo by Anthony Herrel

The last leg of our Little Known Mainland Anole Tour took us to the mountains above Caracas, in quest of Anolis tigrinus. A “mystery anole” photo of that species was put up on AA in December, and savvy readers quickly pegged it as a mainland species, noting it’s twig anole-like appearance. Moreover, the only publication on the natural history of this species, by Ugueto, Rivas, Barros, and Smith, suggested it was a twig anole as well. Given our previous work that had identified the twig anolishness of A. proboscis in Ecuador and A. (Phenacosaurus) heterodermus in Colombia (earlier in this trip), we’re beginning to see a trend: twig anoles seem to be the one kind of West Indian ecomorph that has evolved many times on the mainland (the A. pentaprion clade is another candidate).

Colonia Tovar

Colonia Tovar

So, fresh from the beaches of Maracaibo, we headed to the mountains in quest of the tiger anole. A last minute change in plan led us to the little town of Colonia Tovar at about 7000 feet in elevation. We didn’t know what to expect from TC, but Wikipedia describes it as “Germany in the Caribbean.” Established by settlers from Baden (now part of Germany) in the 1850’s, the town gradually declined for a century, before reinventing itself as a kitschy tourist trap in the 1960s, and now it’s booming. And it was delightful. All of the buildings seemed straight out of Bavaria, there were brewhauses and wienerschnitzel (see photo at bottom of post), the waitresses wearing their fraulein get-ups.

The friendly locals in Colonia Tovar

The friendly locals in Colonia Tovar

We stayed at a delightful little hotel, Cabañas Heidelberg. And for no extra charge, we were able to go lizard hunting in the little patch of woods out back. Continue reading

(Un)true Facts About The Tarsier

According to Ze Frank, this screen capture shows the cover of the children's book "Lizard Has A ****** Day."

According to Ze Frank, this screen capture shows the cover of the children’s book “Lizard Has A ****** Day.”

If you’re not already familiar with Comedian Ze Frank’s True Facts Series, you need to check them out. Frank interweaves interesting facts about wildlife with hilariously (off)color commentary. He’s done videos on everything from star-nosed moles to dung beetles (I was first alerted of the series by a comment made by Tracy Heath over at the new Treethinkers blog). I was recently viewing True Facts About The Tarsier, and was shocked to see this puny little Southeast Asian quasi-monkey feeding on one of my favorite lizards. At around 1:26 into this video, Frank notes that the Tarsier is “the only entirely carnivorous primate, eating insects, rodents, reptiles and small birds. This incidentally is the cover of the children’s book “Lizard Has A ****** DAY.” Very funny. Of course, its practically impossible that a tarsier in nature would be feeding on what appears to be a  green anole (Anolis carolinensis). As far as I’m aware A. carolinensis is not been reported from any of the Southeast Asian islands occupied by the tarsier. Thus, if there’s we’ve learned from this video, it is that this lizard is having a ****** day because somebody just thrust it into the waiting arms of a captive tarsier.

Observations Of Female Territoriality In Anolis armouri

Two Anolis marmoratus males fighting on Basse Terre, Guadeloupe

Two Anolis marmoratus males fighting on Basse Terre, Guadeloupe

When it comes to territorial behavior male anoles tend to get all the attention. I suppose it makes sense – nothing catches the eye like a brightly colored male doing a few dewlap extensions or engaging in a dramatic battle. It would be a bit of an understatement to say that we like to talk about male-male territoriality and aggressive encounters on this blog (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and the list goes on!). In fact, we’ve even had photo contests to document the best fights, which tend to feature large, colorful males.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, but females can be just as aggressive as males. At SICB this past January, I learned about Jessica Edward’s research on aggressive encounters between Anolis carolinensis and A. sagrei. It turns out that the victor of female-female staged encounters was nearly always A. sagrei. There are plenty of interesting papers on the topic, for those that are interested (1, 2, among others).

Figure 1. The author waiting for the sun (and the lizards) to come out.

Figure 1. The author waiting for the sun (and the lizards) to come out.

Regardless, I was completely caught off guard during my field expedition last summer to the Dominican Republic when a female A. armouri engaged in a territorial display against a male intruder. Along with Ellee Cook, an undergraduate at Trinity, I was catching A. armouri near Loma de Toro high in the Sierra de Baoruco, the mountain chain that runs between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the southwest of the island. It’s frequently rainy and overcast at these high elevations and we spent most of our time languishing in the drizzle and waiting for the lizards emerge, as evidenced in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Continue reading

Help Us With Extra Eggs


A portion of our current collection. Each cup contains a single incubating egg.

Our group has posted frequently about our anole breeding work. Now many years of fine-tuning our methods has resulted in a very efficient and high yield colony, but has generated an unforeseen, but welcome problem… too many eggs. We currently have 260 eggs incubating and are getting 50-70 new eggs laid a week (in addition to the ~2700 eggs and ~1500 hatchlings that this experiment has already produced). All of these eggs are the results of a cross involving members of the A. distichus species complex from Hispaniola. This quantity of eggs is more than we need for our current experiments and more than we can house, so we are wondering if folks in the AA community can help us figure out how to put them to good use. These eggs are from a research colony and can only be used for research purposes at an accredited research institution; we cannot provide eggs or hatchlings to be kept as pets*.

Do you have a need for, or ideas for the use of, a large number of eggs, embryos or recent hatchlings? We are looking for suggestions that might help us use these eggs to learn something about anole biology that we may not have thought of, or don’t have the expertise to do. For example, if there is anybody out there who wants to create a developmental series for A. distichus, we can provide you with the required samples. Perhaps someone could make use of a large sample of egg yolk or other egg components for their work on anole reproduction? We are also hoping for some creative suggestions; see, for example, a recent study on explosive hatching in response to predator presence.

Drop us a line in the comments or contact me directly if you are interested or have ideas.

* To be clear, we are not against keeping anoles as pets but our university committee on animal resources stipulates that animals from our colony must be used for addressing specific projects or questions. Indeed, any potential uses would need to be approved by the approproate institutional review committee(s).

Curly-tailed Lizards Eat Brown Anoles… Not On Cayman Brac!

Within the framework of my PhD, I examine what determines dewlap diversity in Anolis sagrei and aim to improve understanding of the morphological, performance and behavioural variation within this species on diverse Caribbean islands. Last month I was sampling a few brown anole populations on the Cayman Islands and I encountered some interesting curly tail – brown anole interactions, which might be worth mentioning on Anole Annals. Previous observations have shown that curly tails (Leiocephalus carinatus) do eat a lot of anoles, including A. sagrei; see previous posts (<1>, <2>, <3>, <4>)

Curly-tailed  together with plasticine anole model on Cayman Brac

Curly-tailed  together with plasticine anole model on Cayman Brac

Curly-tailed together with plasticine anole model on Cayman Brac

Our sample site at Cayman Brac consisted of a very dense brown anole and curly-tailed population living together. To make an estimation of the relative predation pressure, I generally place 120 plasticine anole models per sampling site and recollect them after 48 hours to score for predation marks. Because of the high abundance of curly tails on our site in Cayman Brac, I expected to recollect many attacked plasticine models, but instead… (see pictures). The curly-tailed does not intend to attack the model, but is trying to copulate with it! A rather unexpected observation from my point of view. Of course, the models are not moving and the chemical cues are completely absent, but still… Furthermore, I made lots of  behavioural observations on A. sagrei individuals and had the impression that they didn’t care at all about the presence of curly tails close by. The brown anoles were often perching within less than 1.5m  of a curly-tailed and still very relaxed; and vice versa, the curly tails didn’t really care about the brown anoles sitting near. In contrast, when a red-legged thrush (Turdus plumbeus) was approaching, all anoles in the close surroundings escaped very fast.

Conclusion: it seems that curly tails on Cayman Brac ‘love’ their prey…

Female eating her infertile egg

Last year Martha Muńoz posted on AA about odd behaviors of captive anoles.

Following recent posts about the production of “slugs” or infertile eggs, I thought the readers of AA might be interested in this short (low quality) video of  an A. apletophallus female eating her infertile egg. I think this was a very rare event (only observed once – out of many females) and probably an artifact of being in captivity. Possibly the egg rolled off a leaf or branch and the female grabbed it thinking it was an insect. In the wild the infertile eggs would be consumed very quickly by any number of things – like ants or fungus.

Like others breeding anoles, I have thought a lot about the production of infertile eggs. Female A. apletophallus are egg factories; in the absence of sperm they will produce infertile eggs continuously. I have always thought this was strange – it seems like a waste of resources – why don’t they reabsorb or eat their infertile eggs. The female “knows” the egg is infertile – it is deposited with little or no shell and she does not bury it like a fertile egg.  I presume hormones play an important role in governing this bury or do not bury behaviour. In the case of apleotphallus, all mature females have sperm and when they are relocated into captivity will produce fertile eggs. So I think it is fair to say that in nature they are never lacking sperm, so they will not produce infertile eggs often. Hence under normal circumstances there is no cost to producing these “slugs.”

Anolis cybotes or Anolis cristatellus?

During casual field observations at various parks in the eastern portions of south Miami, I have noticed the expansion of Anolis cybotes and Anolis cristatellus.  However, I am more adept at identifying the latter species because of the dorsal crest or sail that many of the larger males exhibit. This feature seems to be absent in cybotes, which also appears to be slightly larger and stockier than cristatellus. I believe the population in Key Biscayne (Crandon Park) is cristatellus. However, there are populations at Fairchild Botanical Gardens, Matheson Hammocks Park, Dante Fascell Park, Town of Pine Crest, and a number of the areas adjacent to the Red Road Canal (Linear Park) north of Old Cutler Road in which I have difficulties with making a positive identification. At one time, over two decades ago, the population along the Red Road canal appeared to me to be cybotes; since then there are definite pockets of cristatellus and perhaps intermingling in areas.  Both species appear to favor shaded, “woodsier” environments and seem to dominate this niche over the ever present sagrei which appears to be relegated to the sunnier perimeters of the parks or hardwood lots. I would be interested in knowing if anyone can identify the species simply from the photographs posted. Also, are these two species closely related enough to readily hybridize?  Both Anolis cybotes and Anolis cristatellus are collected locally for the pet trade which may have aided in their dispersal.POP2POP2FemBeigeBeige2

Anole Beach Party In Venezuela

A windy study site on the northwest coast of Venezuela.

A windy study site on the northwest coast of Venezuela.

All of us who study anoles in the Caribbean share a PR problem: people think we’re partying on the beach all day long. Now, it’s true that that’s exactly what some of my colleagues do (you know who you are, but I’m not naming names), but there’s a problem with this approach: anoles don’t live on the beach! And for that reason, anole researchers generally do not either, at least not during working hours.

The padless foot of Anolis onca. Photo by J. Losos.

The padless foot of Anolis onca. Photo by J. Losos.

As we all know, anoles are characterized by the possession of two characteristics, an extensible throat fan and expanded subdigital toepads. But there are exceptions. The Cuban A. vermiculatus and A. bartschi (two of the finest anoles you’ll ever come across) have no dewlap whatsoever. And one species, A. onca, entirely lacks toepads, not even a hint of subdigital lamellae.

Where am I going with this, you might wonder? The answer is simple. Where do you think A. onca lives? On the beach! Anolis onca is the only beach-dwelling anole, or so it’s said. And for that reason, our South American Little Known Anole Tour (SALKAT) moved from the chilly Andes of Colombia to the smoking hot sealevel of Maracaibo, Venezuela to see what’s up with this species.

Current exchange rate, 6.3 Bolivares (Bs) to the dollar.

Current exchange rate, 6.3 Bolivares (Bs) to the dollar.

IMG_0875xA few notes about Venezuela. Well,  one mostly. It’s incredibly expensive. Who would pay $10 for a box of Froot Loops? Not even me. Or $9 for a can of Pringles? Ahem, well, it had been a good day. Rental cars cost more than $200/day, if you can find one (when we tried to get one at the Caracas Airport, the six rental car booths had, between them, two cars available). And hotel rooms are exorbitantly priced and also in scarce supply. We were told that the reason for that is that they were full of Cuban workers, sent over by the Castros to help their socialist brothers-in-arms. And, to be honest, the people we encountered–in the airport, at the hotel, etc.–often weren’t the friendliest.

One thing was cheap, though, gasoline. They practically give it away. At one point, we only had 1/4 tank of gas, so stopped at a service station. I went in and bought a can of soda for $2.50, then paid the bill for the gas, which came to $0.60.

Anolis onca. Photo by J. Losos.

Anolis onca. Photo by J. Losos.

Any way, back to A. onca. Continue reading

Easter Day Anole Love Story: The Battered Old Guy Still Has It

That’s one beat up looking old dude, but apparently he’s still got it. Or does he? She seems to have one foot out the door.

We’ve been following the backyard anole antics reported in Daffodil’s Photo Blog for some time now, and Easter provided a heartwarming photo-story of an old guy who can still find some love. And this old guy seems like he’s seen some better days.

Reptile Database Reverses Courses, Places All Anoles Back Into Anolis


The saga continues. Last December, the Reptile Database, the online listing of all recognized reptile species, issued an update in which anoles were split into the eight genera proposed by Nicholson et al. Now, in the subsequent update released yesterday, they’ve done an about-face and changed all anoles back to Anolis. Here’s what they have to say:

Anolis. After serious contemplation (and consultation with several experts) we changed the names of anoles back to Anolis. For some reasons see Poe et al. (2013) Zootaxa 3626 (2): 295–299.”

Interestingly, the very next item was this:

Teiidae. The names of many teiids have changed following the suggestions of  Harvey et al. (2012) Zootaxa 3459: 1–156. However, we are already getting complaints that this may not be tenable…”

So, seems like these issues may not necessarily be unique to anoles. The Reptile Database is a great resource for the herpetological community, but I don’t envy it the task of trying to decide when to change names and when not to. Moreover, since it has become so widely used, its decisions probably have an outsized impact on whether people adopt proposed changes or not.

In any case, for any readers who need to get up to speed, the Poe et al. paper referred to above was discussed several weeks ago, and the entire discussion thread on the proposed taxonomy of Nicholson et al. is probably best found by searching with the term “Nicholson” in the search bar to the right.

An Anole Easter Egg Story

AA reader Ava writes: “Ironic that on Easter, I found myself on an egg hunt and found a green anole egg that I suspected had just been laid.  She would have laid it last night.  I put it in a cricket keeper (covered big holes), included the very soil the egg had been laid in and placed the keeper back in the main terrarium in the area where I had found it.

I read, afterward, that the position of the egg should not be disturbed. I fear I may have shifted it around in transfer. Have I blown it? Can one tell which end is up?

I live in Florida where the ‘takeover’ of the brown Bahamian anoles has been increasingly apparent.  The ‘greenies’ as we call them have taken to the trees, but seem fewer every year.  The browns are so aggressive. My hope is to ‘repopulate’ a certain mango tree where we used to see them. Pointless?  Anyone?

Oliver The Overachieving Anole.


I previously mentioned this book, but through the kindness of author Karin Mesa, I can report on the contents of Oliver the Overachiever. This fine children’s book details the lifestyle of non-conforming independent thinking Oliver, who from the day of his hatching, insisted  on doing things his way. Needless to say, the conservatives were against change, worrying–correctly–about the threats posed by housecats. But Oliver persevered and eventually triumphs, bringing great joy to the anole masses.

This is a fine message to send to young readers. The drawings are full of whimsy and the book is the recipient of the Mom’s Choice Awards in the category “Children’s Picture Books (Suitable For Ages Birth To 9)” and Preferred Choice Award of the Creative Toy Awards 2011. Apparently, this may be the first of many in the Oliver series and, who knows, maybe they’ll span a movie. You can learn more about Karin’s artistic diversity at her website.


Congratulations to Dr. Yoel Stuart, Ph.D.

Collecting data in Mosquito Lagoon. Yoel Stuart manning the helm, with Todd Campbell and Casey Gilman.

Collecting data in Mosquito Lagoon. Yoel Stuart manning the helm, with Todd Campbell and Casey Gilman.

Moments ago, AA stalwart Yoel Stuart successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled Character Displacement and Community Assembly in Anolis Lizards. The four chapters include work on species turnover in island and mainland anoles and eleutherodactylid frogs, which was published last year in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London; a review of the evidence for character displacement, just out in Trends in Ecology and Evolution; and a study on rapid evolution of character displacement, which has been discussed previously in these pages.

Let the celebrating begin! Actually, it already has.

Let the celebrating begin! Actually, it already has.

Yoel now moves on to his postdoctoral work in Dan Bolnick‘s lab at the University of Texas in Austin, where he will be studying evolutionary divergence in the Canadian aquatic anole, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Congratulations and good luck, Yoel!

Sexual Dimorphism And Geographic Variation In A Mainland Anole

Morphological differences between the sexes and among populations have been studied extensively in Caribbean anoles, but—like so many other aspects of biology—not so much in mainland species. Studies in the islands suggest that differences, both sexual and geographic, often represent adaptation to different conditions, either the sexes partitioning niches or populations adapting to different circumstances.

Martha Calderon and colleagues have just published a paper in Revista de Biología Tropical on variation in the Colombian anole A. ventrimaculatus. Examing museum specimens from seven populations, they find consistent size dimorphism (males larger) and substantial dimorphism in body proportions. The extent of these dimorphisms, however, varies among sites.

Unfortunately, at this time little is known about the habitat use and general ecology of this species, much less about differences among populations, so evaluation of the potential adaptive significance of this variation awaits further fieldwork.

The paper’s abstract:

Variation in body characteristics related to lizard locomotion has been poorly studied at the intraspecific level in Anolis species. Local adaptation due to habitat heterogeneity has been reported in some island species. However, studies of mainland species are particularly scarce and suggest different patterns: high variability among highland lizards and poorly differentiated populations in one Amazonian species. We characterized interpopulation variation of body size and shape in the highland Andean Anolis ventrimaculatus, an endemic species from Western Colombia. A total of 15 morphometric variables were measured in specimens from the reptile collection of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional, Colombia. The study included individuals from seven different highland localities. We found size and shape sexual dimorphism, both of which varied among localities. Patterns of variation in body proportions among populations were different in both males and females, suggesting that either sexual or natural selective factors are different in each locality and between sexes. Since this species exhibits a fragmented distribution in highlands, genetic divergence may also be a causal factor of the observed variation. Ecological, behavioral, additional morphological as well as phylogenetic data, may help to understand the evolutionary processes behind the geographic patterns found in this species. Rev. Biol. Trop. 61 (1): 255-262. Epub 2013 March 01.

Anolis Carolinensis/Porcatus Hybrid?


Old male passed over winter, tough overlord

For several years now, I have been noticing that Anolis carolinensis has been making a dramatic comeback in south Florida.  In the last five years or so their numbers have exploded.  Their resurgence began in the Florida Keys and they have been working their way north, recently reaching south Miami and now entering into central and northern Miami-Dade County. Unlike the original population of carolinensis, which favored rural environments, this new population is bold and holds its own against sagrei, still dominating the trunk-canopy, but ranging all across different ecological niches including completely urban environments (which carolinensis did not). However, these are simply field observations and conjecture on my part.  Having said that, my theory is that they are actually a vigorous carolinensis-porcatus hybrid.  I believe this not only because of their robust physical constitution when compared with the original carolinensis, but also because some within the population have the scapular ocellus normally found in porcatus while others in the same population do not and many have the white outline (like the old male in the picture), but not the inner dark portion of the ocelli and vice-versa.

Two contenders to take over turf (probably both offspring of old male). Notice one has prominent “eye-spot,” the other (victorious male) does not.

Two contenders to take over turf (probably both offspring of old male). Notice one has prominent “eye-spot,” the other (victorious male) does not.



Ever Seen A Transparent Anole Egg?

transparent_eggAs we have posted previously, the Glor lab has been breeding anoles to assess the degree of reproductive isolation between A. distichus-clade lineages. Most eggs we collect fall into two easily separated categories: white, calcified, viable eggs; and yellow, uncalcified, inviable eggs.  On occasion we get a third type: white, seemingly viable, yet uncalcified eggs. These represent only about 1% of the eggs in our current experiment. We always incubate these, in the hopes that they will develop, but typically they mold early in incubation and, upon dissection, show no signs of fertilization or development. The egg above is our first exception which, when incubated for about 3 weeks, was clearly developing (it has, sadly, since died).

So, AA community, has anyone else seen anything like this?  I would very much like to hear your thoughts, interpretations and comments.

Anoles Modulate Headbob Amplitude To Maximize Detectability Based On Receiver Lizard Distance

Not effective at a great distance

Think about when you want to communicate with someone, but first you have to get their attention. Let’s start with verbal communication. If Fred is across the room, you probably holler out “Hey Fred” a lot louder than if he’s sitting next to you. Now, suppose you’re the non-verbal sort. If Fred’s a long distance away, you’re going to have to wave your hand wildly, maybe even jump up and down, to get his attention. But if he’s nearby, a little wave, even a discreet hand gesture, will suffice. Why we don’t whisper or make slight movements to attract the attention of those far away is pretty obvious–the target won’t hear or see you. But why not yell loudly or gesture emphatically even when the target is nearby (ok, we all know some annoying people who do this, but mostly people don’t)?

Steinberg and LealSignal modulation is an area of great interest in the field of animal communication, and Steinberg and Leal have just published a fascinating study on the Puerto Rican A. gundlachi in Animal Behaviour (pdf). The key to understanding signal modulation is to investigate how signal detectability changes as a function of distance. Building on prior work by Fleishman on A. sagrei, Steinberg and Leal conducted lab studies in which they move a black disk against white paper to determine how much movement is needed to attract the lizard’s attention. Fortunately, this can be easily done with lizards because they have something called the  visual grasp reflex–when something gets their attention, they shift their eye to gaze right at it. Easy to determine in the lab. So, by moving the disk up-and-down different amounts and varying the distance of the lizard, the authors were able to determine the degree of amplitude of movement in the visual field most detectable by the lizards (see figure on right). Notably, there is not only a minimum visual angle, but also a maximal one, above which response declines (and then increases again; for reasons discussed in the paper, Steinberg and Leal focus on the maximal peak in the 0.25-0.75 degree range).

Of course, because the movement is expressed as an angle relative to the visual field, then as the distance to the target receiver increases, larger amplitude movements would be necessary to be detected. Moreover, looked at the other way, because there may be a degree of movement too great to maximally stimulate a response, the amplitude would be expected to decrease at shorter distances. Continue reading

From North to South (Paleo-islands).

The Hispaniolan Northern Green Anole (Anolis cholorocyanus) is a widespread species in the trunk-crown ecomorph. Its known distribution is almost entirely restricted, as the name indicates, to the north paleo-island of Hispaniola, but also includes Gonave, Tortue and Saona islands, and some portions of local “mesic” (oases) forests and hills south of Valle de Neiba, in the northern slopes of Sierra de Baoruco.

A. chlorocyanus, photographed at Jaragua National Park station in Laguna de Oviedo, Pedernales province.

The individual pictured to the left was photographed the 12th of March 2013 in a far south locality for the species, in the facilities of the Jaragua National Park, NE of Oviedo. Consulting Schwartz & Henderson 1991, and Henderson & Powell 2009, it is mentioned that its occurrence may extend into the Barahona city, which is 53 kms from the recently reported locality (Google Earth, measured as airline distance). does not display it for that area in the species’ range map. Anolis chlorocyanus is a mesophilic anole as well as a human commensal, so there is the possibility that the species arrived at this disjunct locality by the transportation of construction material used to build the park’s station (several years ago), or arrived on flotsam that often washes ashore in this area of the Barahona peninsula coast (sea currents bring debris and garbage from far east). Since A. chlorocyanus‘s south island counterpart, A. coelestinus, has a restricted range through the Domincan Republic, I haven’t seen any interaction between the two, despite the fact that the latter is also a human commensal (in Pedernales and along the Barahona coast). A similar scenario could be displayed when comparing distributions of other two ecologically (tough xeric) equivalent north and south island species: A. whitemani and A. longitibialis; the former shares a similar distribution with A. chlorocyanus along the Baorucos, and seems to be limited by topographic/climate features or direct competition by its southern counterpart, A. longitibialis. I have observed both species of trunk-ground anoles independently using the same saxicolous-based subtrate in this mountain range, one in the southern (but primarily in the Barahona peninsula’s lowlands), the other in its northern slopes.

Adding some more ecological notes, A. chlorocyanus can often be observed using royal palm trees (Roystonea), usually high near the base of flower/fruit fronds, which when in blossom attract many bees and other insects. A. chlorocyanus as typically seen in Los Haitises, in a royal palm (Roystonea). Photo taken near Caño Hondo.

A. chlorocyanus as typically seen in Los Haitises, in a royal palm (Roystonea). Photo taken near Caño Hondo.

How The Bearded Anole Got Its Name

Anolis pogus. Photo from Wildlife of St. Martin.

The resemblance is uncanny

The diminutive A. pogus of St. Martin is sometimes referred to as the bearded anole. Since anoles lack hair, facial or otherwise, one might wonder where the name comes from. In fact, Mark Yokoyama explains on his Wildlife of St. Martin site, the name is a misnomer, a misguided translation of the specific epithet pogus. Rather than being derived from the Greek pogos, the name is a reference to the cartoon character Pogo the possum! Who else would be behind this than AA faithful Skip Lazell? Anyone have any other favorite anole scientific names?