Notes from Recodo Road: Anolis marcanoi

I had a bit of free time to take photos along the Recodo Road this afternoon and managed to get a few nice shots of Anolis marcanoi and its spectacular dewlap. Anolis marcanoi was among the first anoles to be described with the aid of genetic data, with early electrophoretic work being used to confirm that it was genetically distinct from sympatrically distributed populations of A. cybotes that have white or pale yellow dewlaps (Webster 1975, Williams 1975 [they’re a bit of a pain to access, but both articles are available via the Biodiversity Heritage Library]). Although they were initially regarded as ‘sibling species,’ subsequent phylogenetic work suggests that A. marcanoi is in fact the outgroup to all remaining species of cybotoid anoles (A. cybotes, A. longitibialis, A. strahmi, A. breslini, A. whitemani, A. shrevei, and A. armouri). Interactions between A. marcanoi and A. cybotes were also the subject of Losos’s (1985) famous ‘lipstick’ study in which “True Red” lipstick was used to experimentally render the dewlaps of A. cybotes a similar hue to those of A. cybotes (A. marcanoi males, in turn, had their dewlaps painted white with “Superior Clown White Make Up” to make them look like A. cybotes). This study remains one of the only investigations to date to address the role of the dewlap in species-recognition.  We have our last day of work in the field tomorrow before heading back to snowy Rochester!

About Rich Glor

Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and longtime anole enthusiast.
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4 Responses to Notes from Recodo Road: Anolis marcanoi

  1. lukemahler says:

    You rat! You got the coveted marcanoi dewlap shot… Nice work man.

  2. Rich Glor says:

    This 70-200mm lens is a game changer. As much as I’ve enjoyed the challenge of shooting with no more than a 105mm macro for the past decade, I can see myself getting hooked on the telephoto…

  3. lukemahler says:

    Exactly. A macro lens will probably always be the main lens of the general herpetologist, but shooting anoles is more like shooting birds than, say, frogs (good luck getting a good looking shot of an anole once you’ve caught it and it’s turned brown). I think telephoto is where it’s at.

  4. Pingback: Crossing the Rio Bani in Search of Anolis distichus |

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