Brown anole

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Brown anole
Male brown anole displaying dewlap
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Family:Polychrotidae
Genus:Anolis
Species:A. sagrei
Binomial name
Anolis sagrei
Duméril and Bibron, 1837
Synonyms
  • Norops sagrei
 
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Brown anole
Male brown anole displaying dewlap
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Family:Polychrotidae
Genus:Anolis
Species:A. sagrei
Binomial name
Anolis sagrei
Duméril and Bibron, 1837
Synonyms
  • Norops sagrei
Showing back markings of female
Close up of a female
Male extending dewlap

The brown anole (Anolis sagrei) is a lizard native to Cuba and the Bahamas. It has been widely introduced elsewhere, by being sold as a pet lizard, and is now found in Florida and as far north as southern Georgia, Texas, Taiwan, Hawaii, Southern California, and other Caribbean islands.

This species is highly invasive.[1] In its introduced range, it reaches exceptionally high population densities, is capable of expanding its range at an exponential rate,[dubious ] and both outcompetes and consumes many species of native lizards.[2][3][4] Its introduction in the United States has altered the behavior and triggered a negative effect on populations of the native Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis).

Contents

Shedding

Brown anoles molt in small pieces, unlike some other reptiles, which molt in one large piece. Anoles may consume the molted skin to replenish supplies of calcium.[citation needed] In captivity, the molted skin may stick to the anole if humidity is too low. The unshed layer of skin can build up around the eyes, preventing the lizard from feeding and leading to starvation. This can be prevented by maintaining high humidity.

Diet

The brown anole feeds on insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, spiders, mealworms, and waxworms. They may also eat other lizards, such as the green anole, lizard eggs, and their own molted skin and detached tails. If near water, it will eat arthropods or small fish, nearly anything that will fit in its mouth.

Predation

As a defense mechanism, brown anoles can detach most of their tails when pursued or captured. The piece that breaks off will continue to move, hopefully distracting the predator and allowing the anole to escape. The lost tail will partially regrow.[5] If provoked, the brown anole will bite, urinate, and defecate. Predators include rats, snakes, birds and many larger predators.

Recent work in experimentally introduced populations in the Bahamas has shown that body size in the brown anole may not be affected by predation, as was previously thought.[6]

References

  1. ^ Kolbe, J.J., R.E. Glor, L.R. Schettino, A.C. Lara, A. Larson and J.B. Losos 2004. 'Genetic variation increases during biological invasion by a Cuban lizard Nature 431:177-181
  2. ^ Losos, J.B., J.C. Marks and T. W. Schoener. (1993). Habitat use and ecological interactions of an introduced and a native species of Anolis lizard on Grand Cayman, with a review of the outcomes of anole introductions. Oecologia 95:525-532
  3. ^ Campbell, T.S. 2000. Analysis of the effects of an exotic lizard (Anolis sagrei) on a native lizard (Anolis carolinensis) in Florida, using islands as experimental units. PhD Thesis, Univ. of Tennessee
  4. ^ Gerber, G.P. and Echternacht, A.C. 2000. Evidence for asymmetrical intraguild predation between native and introduced Anolis lizards. Oecologia 124: 599-607.
  5. ^ Casanova, L. 2004. "Norops sagrei" (On-line),Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 31, 2008
  6. ^ Calsbeek, R., and R.M. Cox. (2010). Experimentally assessing the relative importance of predation and competition as agents of selection. Nature 465:613-616.

External links