Tag Archives: Costa Rica


A Costa Rican Anole… with Eyespots? (ID Help Please)


My friend, Ricardo Kriebel (post-doc at University of Wisconsin – Madison), asked me for some help identifying an anole he came across in Costa Rica. He took these photos a couple of days ago in Cerros de Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica in a cloud forest at ~2000m. Can anyone identify this species for him?


Ricardo reports that the lizard was unusually easy to catch (which says a lot since he is a botanist and not accustomed to hand-catching anoles). He came across it on the ground in the leaf litter and it didn’t move when he got close to it. Weather wasn’t likely to blame for it’s sluggishness as it was fairly warm out. Maybe this species relies heavily on crypsis? The body pattern in the photos above certainly looks like it would blend in well in leaf litter.

anolis_7Ricardo also pointed out that on the top of the head the pattern resembled eyes. He noted that eye mimicry is common in this region in insects as a defense against predatory birds (e.g. Janzen et al. 2010). He proposed that perhaps the pattern on the top of this anole’s head was a similar type of mimic meant to resemble the eye or face of something an aerial predator should be wary of, like a snake. In a quick search I was unable to find any papers proposing mimicry of this type in anoles, so I turn to the Anole Annals readers. What do you think? Eyespots or random pattern? Does anyone know of any research on potential mimicry of this type in anoles?



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!

Name That Anole (x2)!

I’ve enjoyed this type of post and figured I would contribute myself. On a trip to Costa Rica in early 2010, I had the pleasure of wandering around catching all the anoles I could see. Although most of my photos have unfortunately been lost in a massive computer/hard drive failure, I have recovered a few shots from the field. Here are photos (of two species) that always get me thinking about dewlap coloration, and maybe they will get you thinking more about that too. So what are the species, everyone?

Results of the Costa Rica cristatellus Expedition

Map from http://www.costaricamapproject.com/InfoMaps/topographic.html

I’ve completed the brief survey of the distribution of A. cristatellus in Costa Rica (see previous post for explanation).  The work was hampered by rainy and cool weather.  Nonetheless, several new localities were identified.  In particular, we found cristatellus in Bribri, very close to the Panamanian border.  We actually went to the border town of Sixaolo, and even walked across the bridge, setting foot in Panama for a full 90 seconds (border officials apparently routinely allow tourists across the border to take a photo).  However, by that time, the weather was very overcast and cool, and no lizards were out.  Were I a betting man, I’d wager that cristatellus is already in the land of the canal. Continue reading Results of the Costa Rica cristatellus Expedition

Looking for the Puerto Rican A. cristatellus in Costa Rica

Anolis cristatellus in the front yard of a house in Turrialba.

I’ve just arrived in Limon, a port town on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, to track the spread of the introduced species A. cristatellus.  Several realizations occurred to me as we wended our way down the mostly beautiful road from San Jose.  First, I realized that not only have I seen cristatellus in its native range of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but I’ve also seen introduced populations in Miami and the Dominican Republic, as well as here.  This species gets around!  Continue reading Looking for the Puerto Rican A. cristatellus in Costa Rica