Tag Archives: brown anole

JMIH 2017: Removal of Curly-tailed Lizards Increases Survival of Urban Brown Anoles

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Interspecific Interactions Between Two Species of Invasive Lizards in an Urban Environment; Camila Rodriguez-Barbosa and Steve Johnson

An extensive body of work has addressed the eco-evolutionary impacts of the Northern Curly-tailed Lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus) on Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei) (much of it receiving coverage right here, here, and here on Anole Annals!). These species co-occur not only on many Caribbean islands where much of this research has taken place, but also within the urban matrix of southern Florida, where both species are introduced.

Camila Rodriguez-Barbosa and Steve Johnson investigated the impacts of curlies on brown anoles in shopping centers in southern Florida where both species were plentiful. Camila first collected baseline data on anole and curly populations at eight sites before embarking on a quest to eliminate curlies from four of her sites. Over the next four months, she removed over 300 (!) curlies from these sites, many of which had brown anole remains in their stomachs.

She found that this removal had serious consequences for brown anoles. Compared to anoles from shopping centers where curlies were unchanged, A. sagrei at removal sites experienced higher survival and consequently greater abundances. These anoles also shifted to lower perches once curlies were removed, mirroring results from previous work which show that the introduction of curlies leads to brown anoles occupying higher perches to escape this dangerous predator. Camila’s work suggests that brown anole/curly-tailed lizard interactions may be similar even in very different habitats and provides a fascinating look at lizard life (and death) in the urban sprawl of southern Florida.

JMIH 2017: Brown Anole Reproductive Output Varies Seasonally

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Tim Mitchell, Josh Hall, and Daniel Warner: Seasonal Shifts in Anolis sagrei Reproduction Invoke Challenges for Scientific Reproducibility

Sometimes a scientist just needs hundreds of hatchling anoles for an experiment. Tim Mitchell found himself in this position recently, and, like a good lizard ecologist, he started breeding colonies of anoles in the lab to produce eggs to incubate until hatching. As he created three different breeding colonies from brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) in central Florida, one each in February, June, and September, Tim found that he had also created an ideal situation in which to examine how the reproductive condition and output of brown anoles varies across the breeding season.

Tim, along with his coauthors Josh Hall and Dan Warner, found that females produced eggs with significantly greater mass later in the breeding season. These eggs took longer to produce than those earlier in the year (a greater interclutch interval), and the eggs resulted in hatchlings that had higher mass in relation to the weight of their eggs. These reproductive differences remained even after accounting for the fact that female anoles were also larger and heavier later in the year.

These findings suggest that female A. sagrei may shift their reproductive effort from producing a higher quantity of eggs (i.e., more, smaller eggs resulting in smaller hatchlings) in the beginning of the breeding season, to producing higher quality eggs (i.e., fewer, larger eggs resulting in larger offspring) later in the breeding season. Tim’s findings also stress the importance of investigating and accounting for seasonal differences when examining reproductive output in lizards.

 

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!

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?

Brown Anole (A. sagrei) Surveys in Orange County, CA

Louis Shanghan of the LA Times reports on Greg Pauly‘s field surveys of non-native Cuban brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) and geckos in Orange County neighborhoods

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“The anoles, which are native to Cuba, arrived here about a decade ago as stowaways in nursery plants,” Pauly said as the team strode down a leafy street, methodically scanning sidewalks, brick walls and tree trunks for the stick-like shapes of lizards basking in the sun. “Today, there’s at least 10 to 20 per residential lot in this neighborhood alone.”

“There’s a nice one over there,” he said, nodding toward an anole – about five inches long, adorned with light brown speckles and a bright line running from head to tail – clinging to the side of a front-yard planter box.

Full story here: Scientists survey an Orange County neighborhood’s nonnative lizard populations

As a side note, the details for the original record (as far as I know) of A. sagrei in California are as follows:

The first published documentation was in Herpetological Review 45(4), 2014, an edited version of which you can read below:

ANOLIS SAGREI (Cuban Brown Anole). USA: CALIFORNIA: San Diego Co.: Vista, elev. 158 m) 19 July 2014.
C. Mahrdt, E. Ervin, and L. Geiger. Verified by Bradford D. Hollingsworth. San Diego Natural History Museum (SDSNH 76128–76133).

New county and state record (Granatosky and Krysko 2013. IRCF Rept. Amphib. 20[4]:190–191)
Four adult males and two hatchling specimens were collected on a one-acre parcel landscaped with palms, cycads, and several species of tropical plants and ground cover. Several boulders scattered throughout the parcel were used as perch sites for male lizards. An additional 16 adults and six hatchlings were observed in the two-hour site visit (1030–1230 h). Adults were also observed beyond the property indicating that this population is established and likely expanding through the contiguous tropical landscaping of neighboring properties. According to the property owner, he first observed the species in August 2012 shortly after receiving shipments of palm trees in May–August originating from suppliers located in the Hawaiian Islands.

CLARK R. MAHRDT, Department of Herpetology, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, California 92102, USA (e-mail: leopardlizard@ cox.net);
EDWARD L. ERVIN, Merkel & Associates, Inc., 5434 Ruffin Road, San Diego, California 92123, USA;
GARY NAFIS, (www.californiaherps.com).

More information on A. sagrei in California can be found here

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.

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.

Anoles of the Florida Keys

Not an anole, but plays one on TV. Photo from Dust Tracks on the Web (http://dusttracks.com/)

Janson Jones is at it again. Having just driven about as cross-continent as you can get, from Alaska to the Florida Keys, he is now waxing eloquent on the lizards of that delightful island string. Today’s post is about introduced green iguanas, which apparently are everywhere and spreading, but yesterday he posted twice, on brown anoles (A. sagrei) and bark anoles (A. distichus) , with some keen observations on interactions between the two. Most notably, he’s noticed on multiple occasions that the larger browns chase off the the daintier barks.

postscript: Just as I hit the “post” button, Jones put up another of his own, with further observations on bark anoles and outlining what would make an excellent Ph.D. dissertation project. Plus, this intriguing observation:

“…the iPad of anoles in the Florida Keys. They’re right on the edge, living in the third space, transitory ground between the browns on the ground and the greens in the trees. They’re not iPhones, but they’re not desktops either. Right in the middle — and perhaps drawing business from both sides?”

Bark anole, A. distichus, from Dust Tracks on the Web