Tag Archives: Anolis sagrei

Female Brown Anole Inspecting Nest Pot

It is not new to most of us that female lizards choose between different nest sites (e.g. Shine & Harlow, 1996; Warner & Andrews, 2002), anoles included (Socci et al., 2005; Reedy et al., 2012 – covered on Anole Annals). But what is new to me is how females assess soil characteristics to decide where to lay their eggs.

Brown anoles in an intimate moment.

Brown anoles in an intimate moment.

For context, I recently started to breed brown anoles in the lab for the first time. I’m using large vertical screen cages in an outdoor set up, which I believe makes them pretty comfortable to keep their daily anole life. There have been lots of  male-male interactions (displaying and serious fights), mating and nesting.

A few days ago I started to notice females head down in the nests pots, breathing heavily from time to time. I wondered if they were inspecting the nest pots before laying and shared a video on Twitter. They take a long time in that position, which made me really curious to know how they assess their chosen nest-site characteristics. Let me know if you know more about it. Posted above is the video I uploaded to youtube.

I feel so lucky to be able to observe all these cool behaviors and I hope to share some more soon!

JMIH 2016: Rock ‘n’ Bowl Anole

At the JMIH in New Orleans this past July, the 100th anniversary celebration of the ASIH was held at the Rock ‘n’ Bowl, where music, food, drink, dancing, and bowling were enjoyed by all. But for those who were alert on their way in, there was an added bonus: anoles! Or, at least, one anole, spotted by Quynh Quach and corralled by Kristin Winchell.

Quynh and Kristin spot their quarry.

As other attendees file in, Quynh and Kristin spot their quarry in the bushes.

Taking a picture of the crowd filing in, I serendipitously caught our two intrepid anoleers  about to make the catch in the bushes to the right of the entrance. Kristin made the grab, and displayed her catch.

Kristin displays the catch.

Kristin displays the catch.

It was, of course, Anolis sagrei, the invasive Cuban species which has been spreading through the southeastern US for more than 80 years now. He was a nice-sized adult male, typical of the nominate form that occurs through most of the species’ US range.  The edificarian habitat– in bushes at the edge of a parking lot next to a building– is also typical of where invasive sagrei can be found.

Adult male Anolis sagrei, New Orleans, Louisiana, 10 July 2016.

An appreciative crowd gathered.

Eager anolologists immortalize the NOLA anole in pixels.

Eager anolologists immortalize the NOLA anole in pixels.

I was glad to see it, because prior to this I had only seen Anolis carolinensis in New Orleans (more on this in a later post).

Quyhn and Kristin show off their catch.

Quynh and Kristin show off their catch.

 

Notes from the Field: Predation on Anolis sagrei on Isolated Cays in Abaco, Bahamas

Curly tail with brown anole tail visible from its mouth

Curly tail with brown anole tail visible from its mouth

Kayaking to the cays

Kayaking to cays

I was recently in Abaco, Bahamas with Losos lab post-doc Oriol LaPiedra and Ph.D. candidate Darío Fernández-Bellon from University College Cork, Ireland, to carry out some behavioral studies of Anolis sagrei on the island and its surrounding small cays. We kayaked (a highly recommended transportation mean for its lesser-impact on the marine ecosystem, not having to rely on the tide schedule, while allowing you to see rays and sharks and sea turtles!) our way out to islands that are known to have A. sagrei naturally existing alone, or with one of their natural predators, Leiocephalus carinatus.

Curly-tailed lizards are known to prey on A. sagrei and can have significant impact on anole behavior and adaptation. Twice I observed Leiocephalus capturing and consuming A. sagrei, one of which was an adult male and the other an adult female. We have also noticed that the A. sagrei on these island tend to perch higher and are seldomly seen on rocks or leveled ground compared to those on islands without curly tails, so this behavior could be an effect of Leiocephalus being present.

A female red-winged blackbird with a brown anole in its beak

A female red-winged blackbird with a A. sagrei in its beak

On a different island where Leiocephalus were absent, A. sagrei are still under predation pressure, this time by red-winged blackbirds nesting on the island. We observed a female blackbird with an A. sagrei in its beak waiting for us to leave the island so that it can feed its chicks. This observation suggests that A. sagrei on islands without Leiocephalus might still be under predation pressure by other species that might not be present on the island at all times. Also, predation pressure exerted by an aerial predator differs from that by a terrestrial predator or if both predators are present, so this might be a factor in morphological or behavioral changes in these lizards on these islands.

Anolis sagrei on one of the small cays

Other interesting observations include A. sagrei density on islands seems to be unintuitive. Some small islands with fewer perches hosted many more adult males and females than large islands did. Sizes of individuals also seem to vary greatly between different islands: small cay A. sagrei seem to be, on average, larger than those on mainland Abaco. Personally, I am unable to note major differences between islands which might have resulted in these observations. I’m excited to see if the data we’ve collected will give more insight into these observations as well as other behavioral results that will come from this study!

Evolution 2016: It’s Getting Cold in Here!

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Tamara Fetters with her poster at Evolution 2016

Tamara Fetters, from the McGlothlin lab at Virginia Tech, reported on her ongoing work on thermal physiology in Anolis sagrei during the first poster session here at Evolution 2016 in Austin, Texas. Tamara looked at thermal tolerance and sprinting abilities at different temperatures and how that related to the latitude of the population. Specifically, she asked if lower temperatures regularly experienced by the Northern populations influence cold tolerance and performance at those temperatures. She expected that Anolis sagrei, native to Cuba and the Bahamas and introduced into the Southern U.S., would show signs of adaptation to its new, colder home in the more Northern mainland populations compared to the native range island populations in the South.

Tamara’s poster focused on two main experiments. In the first she calculated thermal tolerance to cold temperatures using a classic critical thermal minimum (CTmin) setup: with an ice bath she slowly lowered the body temperature of each animal until it was unable to right itself. This method approximates the minimum temperatures that the animals can handle in the wild. She found a clear trend showing a decrease in the minimum temperature tolerated as latitude increased. In short, Northern populations could handle the cold and Southern populations could not.

In the second experiment, Tamara acclimated the lizards to 6 temperatures ranging from 12-41 °C before running them up a track to calculate sprint speed. Tamara used an impressive 25-50 animals from each of 5 populations! She calculated sprint speed from the high-speed video she took using the program Kinovea. Tamara found that across all temperatures the most Southern population ran the slowest while the most Northern population ran the fastest, with the differences remaining fairly constant.

So what’s next for Tamara? She is planning on rearing animals in a common garden setup with some animals in hot temperatures with low variability between day and night (mimicking the native range, Southern habitats) and some animals in cool temperatures with high variability between day and night (as is experienced in the Northern habitats). She hopes that these studies will help her understand the genetic basis of this thermal tolerance and the extent of plasticity in thermal adaptation.

One last note – Tamara wanted to thank Anole Annals for helping her determine her study locations. She was able to determine which areas were likely to have Anolis sagrei and how far North they have spread because of Anole Annals posts (like this one) and comments.

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Click to view a bigger version of Tamara’s poster

Age- and Sex-Specific Variation in Habitat Use by Brown Anoles

Little guys like it narrow. Photo from Daffodil’s Photo Blog.

The influence of habitat use on ecological and evolutionary patterns in Anolis lizards is well documented. Despite extensive work on interspecific variation, how habitat use varies within a species is relatively understudied.

As part of my master’s work in Dan Warner’s lab, we caught and recorded the perch height, width, and substrate (i.e., ground vs. vegetation) of 717 brown anoles (A. sagrei) on a small island in the Halifax River, near Ormond Beach, Florida. The island consisted of two main habitat types (open-canopy and forest) with an intermediate between the two.

Continue reading Age- and Sex-Specific Variation in Habitat Use by Brown Anoles

Notes from the Field: Another Successful Bahamian Adventure

AbacoI just got back from a trip to the Bahamas with Losos lab post-docs Anthony Geneva and Alexis Harrison, accompanied by expert lizard catchers Inbar Maayan and Sofia Prado-Irwin (Harvard graduate student). We parted ways for the first few days of the quick trip, with Anthony and Sofia headed to Bimini and Alexis, Inbar, and myself on Abaco. Read more about the Bimini trip in Sofia’s recent post.

Deck at the Friends for the Environment Kenyon Center field station

Friends for the Environment Kenyon Center field station

On Abaco, we stayed at the brand new Friends of the Environment Kenyon Center. We were really impressed by the great accommodations of this field station. The station was sustainably built and had all the modern amenities we could wish for. The field lab was large and equipped with microscopes and plenty of counter space. We were equally impressed by the staff and their outreach efforts. The Friends for the Environment does a fantastic job providing nature education to local kids from age 3 through college! Their ambitious organization seeks to provide high-quality and low-cost facilities for visiting scientists and to provide outreach and education to the local community. We spoke with the coordinators of the organization who told us that any time researchers are looking for extra hands in the field they are happy to arrange local students to assist. We strongly encourage others traveling to Abaco to stay here!

In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum (posted at the Friends for the Environment)

Our main goal on this trip was to capture Anolis sagrei to continue ongoing research into the amazing diversity among islands in this species. We were immediately struck by how much smaller the Anolis sagrei on Abaco were compared to those on the other islands we have been to. I was also struck by how many A. sagrei used the ground. I normally study Anolis cristatellus, and although they are the same ecomorph, I rarely see A. cristatellus on the ground. I also don’t recall seeing A. sagrei frequently on the ground on Bimini or Eleuthera. So observing these lizards, particularly the females, on the ground at such a high frequency (they literally scattered as I walked!) was very surprising. Is this common on other islands with A. sagrei and I just haven’t noticed before?

As with any good field trip, we also encountered a great diversity of herps. Although the only native anole to Abaco is  A. sagrei (according to Powell and Henderson 2012), we also saw plenty of Anolis distichus and a few Anolis smaragdinus. We also saw the invasive Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis), the native Eleutherodactylus planirostris, and plenty of curly-tails (Leiocephalus carinatus). No live snakes to report, although we did come across a couple of roadkill Cubophis.

Although we found no Sphaerodactylus, we did find plenty of non-native Hemidactylus. Interestingly, Hemidactylus is not listed in Powell and Henderson’s (2012) list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles for Abaco. Can anyone ID this species (the photos are of two individuals) and tell me if this has been reported before for Abaco? Obviously Hemidactylus are widespread in the Caribbean, but I was surprised to see it absent from the species list for many of the Bahamas islands.

Continue reading Notes from the Field: Another Successful Bahamian Adventure

Brown Anole Predation by Red-bellied Woodpeckers in Florida

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While visiting relatives last week in Fort Myers (FL), anole enthusiast and avid wildlife photographer Kyle Wullschleger noticed a commotion among the trees while on an afternoon hike in a small neighbourhood nature preserve. On closer inspection he witnessed a group of red-bellied woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) foraging on surrounding cypress trees, with a couple eventually appearing with their apparent target–non-native Cuban brown anoles (A. sagrei). He recalls some of the details:

“The photos from the sequence aren’t all that fantastic because I cropped in so it really just shows the behavior. The whole sequence the woodpecker was basically just slamming the anole against the tree and then trying to pick it apart – it was hard to tell what exactly it was doing, but I believe it eventually swallowed it whole before flying away–it hopped behind the tree so I couldn’t see it anymore.”

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“There were at least five birds all moving up and down the lower third of the cypress trees just around the boardwalk I was on. They were moving around the trees without really knocking the wood, so maybe they were purposefully targeting anoles? I only saw successful predation twice, but the brush is so thick–it’s obviously happening quite a bit.”

Sean Giery had previously discussed the main avian predators of anoles in urban South Florida, but woodpeckers didn’t make the list. Woodpeckers do occur in urban areas of South Florida; a new one to add to the list?

Field Trip Recap: Herps of Bimini, The Bahamas

 

Searching for Anolis sagrei on the beautiful island of Bimini

Anolis sagrei on the beautiful island of Bimini

I just got back from a 10 day research trip to Bimini in the western Bahamas along with Harvard post-doc, Graham Reynolds, Harvard graduate student, Pavitra Muralidhar, and UMass Boston undergraduate, Jason Fredette. We went with the simple goals of kicking off a research project in the Losos lab on Anolis sagrei  and to observe as many other herps as we could.

We spent the majority of our time on South Bimini. We sampled from the well-maintained Nature Trail, where we found all four anole species (Anolis sagreiAnolis smaragdinusAnolis angusticeps, and Anolis distichus) and a Bimini boa among diverse habitat types, including blackland coppice and open Coccothrinax shrub. We also spent a couple of nights searching in some mangrove forest near the airport, which yielded only A. sagrei and A. angusticeps and in low abundance at that. The “Fountain of Youth” ended up being a gold mine for Sphaerodactylus nigropunctatus as well as boas — we caught 3 here.

We also did a fair amount of exploring. Our hosts for our house rental wanted to make sure we had a great time in Bimini and so they insisted on boating us out to a couple of the nearby islands for some snorkeling. Of course, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to catch a few lizards. Our first destination was Gun Cay, a small island a few miles to the south of Bimini. Pavitra and Jason entertained our hosts by collecting shells and feeding stingrays. Meanwhile, despite our hosts’ curiosity that we wanted to go wander in the brush, Graham and I nabbed 10 adult male A. sagrei in less than an hour. We also saw several Ameiva auberiAnolis smaragdinus, and some sort of very large rodent (does anyone know about Hutia reintroductions in the Bahamas?).

The following day, our hosts insisted we come with them to a small island 20+ miles to the north of Bimini (Great Isaac Cay) where they promised us dolphins and hammerhead sharks. On the way to the island we saw several dolphins, tons of flying fish, sea turtles, and several large nurse sharks. As we approached the island, I saw the mature Casuarina forest and yelled down to Graham from the crow’s nest tower, “I want to go explore there!”  Our hosts got us as close as they could to the rocky shore (dangerously close it seemed, the hull almost hit the rocky karst island) and all four of us hopped onto the island. The island had an abandoned lighthouse and buildings from the 1800’s that we explored. We were shocked to not find a single anole on Isaac Island, although we did find Sphaerodactylus nigropunctatus and Ameiva auberi.

The isolated Great Isaac Cay with ruins from the late 1800's.

The isolated Great Isaac Cay with ruins from the late 1800’s.

The trip was a huge success. In total, we came across all but five of the reptiles of Bimini. Surprisingly, we were unable to find any Bahamian racers (Alsophis vudii) other than roadkills, though most of our field time was at night. Unsurprisingly, we did not find either of the blind snakes or the dwarf boa, the latter of which tends to be more common in the rainy season. As expected, A. sagrei was the most abundant anole on Bimini. We came across A. angusticeps and A. smaragdinus with equal frequency and actually encountered only a few A. distichus. We did most of our searching at night, so this may be a reflection on different sleeping behaviors rather than abundance.

In summary, we were able to observe:

  • 140+ Anolis sagrei males and females
  • Sphaerodactylus nigropunctatus (black-dotted dwarf gecko)
  • Sphaerodactylus argus (ocellated dwarf gecko)
  • Dozens of Leiocephalus carinatus (curly-tail lizard)
  • Chilabothrus strigilatus fosteri (Bimini boa)
  • a handful of Anolis distichusAnolis smaragdinusAnolis angusticeps

We also saw a number of other herps that we were not able to catch or didn’t need data from:

  • Ameiva auberi (Bimini ameiva)
  • Eleutherodactylus planirostris (greenhouse frog)
  • Osteopilus septentrionalis (Cuban tree frog)
  • Hemidactylus mabouia (invasive house gecko)

 

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Bolder Lizards Drop Their Tails More Readily to Compensate for Risky Behavior

(editor’s note: this video was added by the editor. Decide for yourself whether it illustrates the experimental approach described below)

It’s no secret that grabbing a lizard by its tail will often times leave you with the tail rather than the lizard. Why? Because the tail would simply break off. The voluntarily shedding of the tail in lizards (tail autotomy) has fascinated herpetologists ever since the 70s, and it didn’t take long for those people to notice that the propensity for tail autotomy varies extensively among species, conspecific individuals, or even within the same individual at different developmental stages. Four decades have passed, what might be responsible for the variation in tail autotomy is still not entirely clear. In a recent paper, we tried to solve a piece of the puzzle by testing the hypothesis that lizards might autotomize the tail with different propensities to compensate for their intrinsic risk-taking tendency.

Our idea was simple: bolder lizards, due to their behavioral tendency, tend to expose themselves more to higher predation risk. Therefore, selection might favor higher propensities for tail autotomy in bolder lizards as a compensation mechanism. We were also interested in knowing how food availability in the environment might affect tail autotomy. So, we caught a bunch of juvenile brown anoles from the same population in New Orleans and assigned them into two dietary groups: low versus high food availability. After the lizards reached adulthood, we picked out the males and examined the relationship between boldness and the propensity for tail autotomy. (In case you wonder how we measured the propensity for tail autotomy, we refer you to a paper by Stanley Fox, who contributed greatly to our knowledge of tail autotomy.)

And here’s what we found:

The relationship between boldness and the propensity for tail autotomy in the brown anole lizards

Bolder lizards did autotomize their tails more readily as a means to compensate for their risk-prone personality, but only in the group raised with abundant food. Our results helped explain why lizards from the same population autotomized the tail with different propensity. Moreover, our study highlighted the role of food availability in the cost-benefit dynamics of tail autotomy, which has never been explicitly discussed or tested before. Aside from those exciting implications for the study of tail autotomy, our results also have important bearings on broader topics such as the evolution of trait compensation and animal personality. If you are interested in knowing more about this project, check out our recent paper:

CHI-YUN KUO, DUNCAN J. IRSCHICK and SIMON P. LAILVAUX. (2014). Trait compensation between boldness and the propensity for tail autotomy under different food availabilities in similarly aged brown anole lizards. Functional Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12324

Territorial Dispute

territorial_dispute_resizedI observed this (full size image) interaction in my backyard one afternoon while I was hunting for good pictures. All anoles tend to flee as I walk around my backyard, but some only retreat partially or temporarily. These two stayed relatively out in the open until I moved a little closer, causing one to flee in to the vicinity of the other one causing the event seen in the picture.
Continue reading Territorial Dispute

Request For Brown Anole (A. Sagrei) Photographs

Brown anoles. Photo courtesy Bob Reed

Brown anoles. Photo courtesy Bob Reed

Hello fellow scientists and photography aficionados!

My name is Veronica Gomez-Pourroy and this is week has been laden with firsts for me: first time living in the US, first week at the Losos Lab, and now… the first post in this brilliant blog!! I am a zoologist on my third semester of my Evolutionary Biology masters, and I’ve begun working on my first (of two) Master’s thesis. I will be investigating phenotypic variation in the widespread and very cool Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei), working with Jonathan Losos and Marta López Darias.

One of the elements we’d like to look into is variation in skin patterning and dewlap colouration – but at the moment I’m using specimens from museum collections and as we know, colour gets corrupted soon after an animal is “pickled.” For this reason, I am asking for your help to compile a comprehensive collection of pictures of A. sagrei–both males and females–that span most of their range. If you’d like to share your pictures with us, please email them to:

veronica.gomez-pourroy@evobio.eu

and include the location and, if possible, date when the photo was shot. I will be forever grateful for any help, and will acknowledge you in my thesis, of course!!
A huge thank you in advance, I’ll keep you posted on the progress made.

Fill In The Blank: Obscure Anole Life History Traits

In collaboration with the Conservation Biology course taught by Dr. Karen Beard here at Utah State University, where I am a Ph.D. student, I have been involved in gathering life history data on ~400 species of reptiles that have been introduced outside of their native ranges for an analysis of how life history traits (e.g., diet, fecundity, longevity) interact with other factors to influence the likelihood of successful establishment. Appendix A of Fred Kraus’ 2009 book Alien Reptiles and Amphibians is the source of the species list we are using, and included in this analysis are 26 species of Anolis. This is where you come in.

First, we coded all anoles as (i) sexually-dichromatic, (ii) diurnal, (iii) non-venomous, (iv) oviparous, (v) omnivores that lack (vi) temperature-dependent sex determination and (vii) parthenogenesis. Is anyone aware of any exceptions to these seven generalizations?

Second, we searched for data on clutch size, clutch frequency, incubation time, and longevity. The Anole Classics section of this site and the Biodiversity Heritage Library were particularly useful. After conducting what I feel to be a pretty thorough literature scavenger hunt, I am forced to conclude that some of these data simply do not exist at the species level for all of the species we’re interested in, or are not explicitly stated in a way that is obvious to a non-anole-expert. Of course, there is a lot of literature, including many books that I don’t have access to, and there are also lots of credible observations that don’t get published. I’m hoping that some of the readership here can help fill in at least some of the blanks in the table below. As one member of the team, I did not collect all of the data that are filled in myself, nor have I personally vetted every value, so if you spot an error please do point it out.

Two important points:

  1. Many environmental factors obviously influence the life history parameters of our beloved and wonderfully plastic reptiles, so we appreciate that many of these values would be better represented by ranges and are dependent on latitude, altitude, climate, and many other factors. Where a range is published, we are using its median value.
  2. I should also emphasize that, because of the large size of this study and the diversity of taxa included (ranging in size from giants like Burmese Pythons, Nile Crocodiles, and Aldabra Tortoises to, well, anoles and blindsnakes), it is more important for the data to reflect the relative values of these life history parameters across all anoles (and all reptiles) than it is to specifically and precisely represent all known variation within a given species of anole.

Without further ado (for your enjoyment, and because I know from my own blog that nobody reads posts lacking pictures, I’ve embedded an image of each species):

Species Median clutch size Median clutches per year Incubation time (days) Maximum longevity (months)
A aeneus
A. aeneus
2
A baleatus
A. baleatus
A bimaculatus
A.bimaculatus            
2 43 84
A carolinensis
A. carolinensis
1.15 6  41.5 65
A chlorocyanus
A.chlorocyanus
1 18
A conspersus
A. conspersus
1
A cristatellus
A. cristatellus
2.5 18 83
A cybotes
A. cybotes
1 18 45
A distichus
A. distichus
1 16 45.5
A equestris
A. equestris
1 1 48 149
A extremus
A. extremus
A ferreus
A. ferreus
1 18
A garmani
A. garmani
1.5 18 67
A grahami
A. grahami
1
A leachii
A. leachii
A lineatus
A. lineatus
A lucius
A. lucius
1 3.5 60
A marmoratus
A. marmoratus
2  50
A maynardi
A. maynardi
A porcatus
A. porcatus
1 18 63.5
A pulchellus
A. pulchellus
1
A richardii
A. richardii
1
A sagrei
A. sagrei
2 20  32 22
A stratulus
A. stratulus
A trinitatis
A. trinitatis
2  50
A wattsi
A. wattsi
1

Thanks in advance. I think this is a great blog and I hope to post something more interesting on here soon.

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Shelby Prindaville’s Anole Artwork

Watercolor drawing by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Polychrotidae (Heatstack) detail, watercolor and pencil on paper, 30×22″, 2011

My watercolor drawings and figurative sculptures feature a variety of Anolis lizards.  The visually fascinating characteristics of anoles combined with their small size yet reptilian “otherness” (occupying a middle ground between too-easily-anthropomorphized mammals and too-alien fish or invertebrates) make anoles an ideal animal representative for my broader ecological interests.

Watercolor drawing by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Anolis proboscis (Pair), watercolor, 3P art medium, and pencil on translucent paper, 16×24″, 2012

The drawings and sculptures I create with anoles use their innate character and abilities to explore a purgatorial space. The first drawing in the watercolor series puts anoles in place of rats in the rat king myth made famous in The Nutcracker; the use of anoles allows a way out of the diseased mass through voluntary autotomy and allegorically demonstrates that repairing environments requires sacrifice. Other drawings pull from subjects ranging from the Ouroboros to Terry Pratchett’s allegory of summer.

Watercolor drawing by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Anolis carolinensis and Mimosa Pudica (Falling), watercolor and pencil on velvet paper, 27×19″, 2012

My desire to sculpt small yet still anatomically accurate anoles has actually led to the development of a new polymer medium: 3P QuickCure Clay.  I collaborate with LSU Chemistry Professor John Pojman and his company 3P, and my suggestion to create a clay and its subsequent development has allowed me to use a batch-curing process that achieves the intricately detailed results below.

Sculpture by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Polychrotidae (Dive and Climb), 3P Clay, 4x8x2.5″, 2012

To see larger images or more of my artwork, please visit shelbyprindaville.com.

A Second Front in the Sagrei-Cristatellus Wars: Anolis Sagrei Arrives in Costa Rica

Not content with kicking butt in Florida, Anolis sagrei has recently been reported from the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Photo by Melissa Losos.

Anole Annals has previously reported on the ongoing interactions between A. cristatellus and A. sagrei in Miami (for example, here and cool video here), as well as the invasion of Costa Rica by A. cristatellus. Now the plot has thickened.

In a 2009 paper in Zootaxa, Savage and Bolaños reported that A. sagrei had been collected in the vicinity of Limon, the same region in which A. cristatellus also has been introduced. Jay Savage has kindly provided further information that A. sagrei is not only common in some parts of central Limon, where A. cristatellus is also known to be common, but it is also reported to be common at a Shell gas station in the nearby town of Moin, a town in which, again, A. cristatellus is common. It will be interesting to see how rapidly A. sagrei spreads in Costa Rica, and how the two species interact. One interesting twist: in Miami, it is A. cristatellus that has invaded in the presence of an already well-established A. sagrei; in Costa Rica, the table is turned. There’s a great research project waiting to be done here!

A Little Worm “Told” Us …

Studying the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) in Taiwan has presented me with numerous new opportunities, one of which is an introduction into parasitology.

A Kiricephalus pattoni nymph under the skin of a female brown anole (Anolis sagrei), collected in southwestern Taiwan.

The first parasites I found in A. sagrei in Taiwan were relatively large worm-like parasites that are often visible as a lump under the skin of the lizard. Unfortunately, my first samples were lost by the person I had sent them to for identification. But luckily, I found some more, and with the assistance of C.R. Bursey and S.R. Goldberg, the parasites were identified as the nymphs of the pentastome, Kiricephalus pattoni. Together we reported A. sagrei as a new host of this parasite in Taiwan (Norval et al., 2009). Continue reading A Little Worm “Told” Us …

The Good Life For Green Anoles: Where No Browns Occur

Brown phase green anole. Photo by Janson Jones at Dust Tracks on the Web (http://dusttracks.com/)

At Dust Tracks on the Web, Janson Jones posts some interesting observations on green anoles (A. carolinensis) in northern Florida and southern Georgia, where the brown anole (A. sagrei) has yet to invade. To cut to the chase, he finds the green anoles to be larger, to be brown more often, and to perch much lower than green anoles do in central Florida in the presence of brown anoles.

The effect of brown anoles on greens in Florida has been surprisingly poorly documented. Just as surprisingly, very little information exists in the scientific literature on the habitat use, behavior, and other aspects of green anole natural history in places where they occur by themselves. We have almost no useful data on what green anole biology was like in Florida pre-sagrei, nor few data from areas where sagrei does not occur today. Detailed and quantitative studies of such populations would be particularly useful, as well as repeated surveys through time in areas that brown anoles may eventually invade to document what happens when they get there (of course, repeated surveys in areas that brown anoles don’t invade would be important to, as controls). Those of you who live in appropriate areas, get to it!

Orange sagrei

I saw the recent posts about orange/red sagrei and I thought I might contribute another observation of orange-colored brown anoles.  A few years ago while assisting another grad student with his dissertation work I spotted a few orange-colored brown anoles in a suburban yard in S. Florida.  What I thought was most interesting about the observation was that: 1) there were multiple males (2-3) with orange color, and 2) many of the palms on which lizards were perched were a similar orange color.  It got me thinking that it could be more than a coincidence.

The orange color on the trees, sidewalks, and other hard substrates in the area is from ground water with a high concentration of iron.   When sprayed on the surface with sprinklers it mixes with oxygen and leaves an orange color.  Many houses, signs, sidewalks, and even cars in S. Florida are graced with an arc or two of orange residue.  I’ve yet to revisit this lawn or surrounding houses, but I bet there are quite a few more houses with orange lizards.  For what it’s worth, I see and catch a lot of brown anoles further south in the Miami area and this is the only case of red/orange brown anoles I’ve seen yet.  It’s possible that these lizards were covered in rust, but it didn’t look like it when I got one in my hand.  It’s also interesting that all of the photos I’ve seen of orange-colored brown anoles are male, however I’ve only seen about 4 cases including this observation.  Oh, and the dewlaps on these males were normal(ish), not like the cool one recently posted by Joe Burgess.

Carolinensis – Sagrei Hanky Panky

Photos by Mark Lucas from his Facebook page

Those rascals! I’ve heard reports of this before, but never seen a photo. I wonder if it’s always a male green anole, or whether both ways occur. In any case, it would be shocking if such liaisons led to the production of hybrid offspring, given that the two species belong to evolutionary lineages that separated many many millions of years ago.

Anole Research Cleans Up on Awards at JMIH

A figure illustrating dewlap color variation in the distichus species group from Anthony Geneva's award winning poster.

Two posters on anole evolution presented at JMIH last weekend were honored with SSAR poster awards.  Anthony Geneva, a PhD student at the University of Rochester took home the prize in the Evolution, Genetics, & Systematics category for his poster on “A Multi-locus Molecular Phylogeny of Distichoid Anoles.”  Mingna Zhuang, an undergraduate researcher at UC Berkeley, won in the Ecology, Natural History, Distribution, & Behavior category for her poster on “Comparative Gliding Performance of Anolis carolinensis and Anolis sagrei.”  Although not on anoles, it also bears noting that Daniel Scantlebury’s study of adaptive radiation in Sphaerodactylus – which has been inspired partly by work on Anolis – won the SSAR’s Henri Seibert Award for best student talk on Evolution/Systematics.  Congrats to Anthony, Mingna, and Dan!

JMIH 2011: More Anole Posters

The Sunday night poster session at JMIH 2011 had a few more anole offerings.  Melissa Moody from Iowa State reported on a laboratory experiment on the developmental and fitness consequences of varying Anolis sagrei egg incubation temperature and humidity.  Anolis sagrei eggs seem relatively robust to the variation experienced during this experiment.  Paul Cupp of Eastern Kentucky University asked whether ground skinks (Scincella lateralis) and green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) could detect chemical deposits from the Eastern Milk Snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum); he found evidence that the skinks could detect these deposits while the anoles could not.  Finally, Mingna Zhuang discussed comparative gliding performance of Anolis carolinensis and Anolis sagrei.  She found that A. carolinensis is a considerably better glider, perhaps due to the fact that it has a flatter gliding posture than A. sagrei.