Anolis Predation

Anoles fall prey to a variety of animals. Here, a male brown anole, A. sagrei, is being subdued and swallowed by a black racer (Coluber constrictor). Casey Gilman and I heard the two animals struggling while working on spoils islands in Mosquito Lagoon.

Photo by C. Gilman, U. Mass. Amherst

All of these islands have Florida-native green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) on them. Most islands also have the brown anole, an invasive species. In his Anolis Newsletter VI contribution, Nathan Turnbough found a non-random association between brown anole presence and racer presence on Mosquito Lagoon islands. He concluded that high densities of brown anoles support more racers.

Green anoles tend to become more arboreal in the presence of brown anoles. It is generally thought that direct interactions between the species, like resource competition or intraguild predation, cause this habitat shift. However, by increasing the density of predators, brown anoles may also indirectly affect green anole habitat use. The habitat shift may result from green anoles getting out of the way of ground-foraging racers – an escape to enemy free space.

About Yoel Stuart

Yoel studies evolutionary ecology of Anolis lizards. He is a graduate student at Harvard University, in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
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6 Responses to Anolis Predation

  1. rglor says:

    Great shot! Did the snake constrict and kill the anole or swallow it alive?

  2. yestuart says:

    We got to the scene after the lizard was in the snake’s mouth. I can’t remember if the lizard was alive at the time but the lizard doesn’t move in either video clip that Casey took. I’d guess that the lizard was already deceased at that point.

  3. rglor says:

    Video! Now that’s something we need to see…

  4. mleal says:

    A long time ago, I did some captive observations on black racers. At least the two individuals I had, will swallow the anoles alive. No attempts to constrict the anoles.

  5. CGilman says:

    Here is a video of the snake swallowing the lizard (or the last half, anyway). The tail of the lizard moves quite a bit, though that may only serve as an indication of recent death…

  6. Pingback: Curly Tail Lizard Consumes Anole |

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