Googling Anolis

Ever wonder what would happen if you searched “Anolis.”  Well, I did.  Here’s what you get (and if you do it again, you’ll get slightly different results depending on which pages you look at):

The first and second hits are for the Wikipedia pages on anoles.

The 3rd and 8th hits are for Anolis: leading LED lighting solutions, with a chameleon as a logo. One of their products claims these advantages, appropriate for their name: Awesome power, Absolutely silent, Perfect color mixing. Anolis Lighting is a division of Robe Lighting, with offices in Czech Republic, UK, US, and Australia. The website provides no indication where the name comes from.

The 4th hit is for, a biodiversity site

See hit 15 below.

5: “Anolis is the underlying project for the XPize and Vize resource switchers for Windows Xopen source programming and has a picture of A. carolinensis at top of page. No explanation of the rationale for the name is provided.

6: A site where you can download a program named anolis that addresses “the need for long technical documents to include niceties such as cross-references and a table of contents for the purpose of easy navigation — doing this manually can be a great chore especially when sections are numbered and a section is added, consequently changing the numbering of many others, leading to it being advantageous to do it programmatically.” No explanation for the name.

7: An information sheet on P and Vista respectivly. The codebase allows for the easy swapping around of resources within Win32 executables and other files.” This site has something to do with software anoles from the National Zoo

9 and 10, 11, 13, 15 and many more: various wildlife and biodiversity sites

12: Anolis carolinensis genome project web page, Broad Institute

14: Anolis renewable energy. Sells solar panels, has a picture of A. carolinensis at top and state: “Like the Anolis Lizard that represents us, our site will change and adapt to include new products, such as new solar panels (Solar PV), wind generation and energy efficient lighting technologies as we grow.”  Later, in response to the question “Why Anolis” on the “About Anolis” page, it states: “The Anolis lizard evolved it’s colour morphing abilities to allow it to adapt to suit the changing environment – meaning it is constantly one step ahead of it’s competitors. It’s a philosophy that inspired us to start Anolis Renewable Energy,”

15. Anolis Entertainment, a German film company with a cool opening page with music, fade-in and an animated picture of an…iguana. They appear to specialize in animal themed horror films, including Arachnia which features a spider eating a car, and Equestria which features a knight anole the size of a brontosaurus terrorizing Miami.  Ok, I made that one up.

20. Casa Anolis, a rental property on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. No explanation of the name, but there is a stylistic lizard painted on the outside wall near the front door.

Googling for “anole” is much more mundane, with various wildlife and animal websites, and some scientific ones. There is,  however, a reference to “anole marvel” that leads to a site for a Marvel Universe character, claimed elsewhere to be the first gay superhero: “Raised in small-town America, young Victor Borkowski lived a normal life despite his reptilian features. The close-knit community accepted the boy for who he was until the growing world anti-mutant sentiment reached their town. For his own safety, his parents sent him to the Xavier Institute where he has excelled academically. When the students were organized into squads, Victor was placed on Northstar’s Alpha Squadron and soon became squad leader. Victor also struggled with his sexuality, forming a close bond with the openly gay Northstar. When Northstar was killed by a mind-controlled Wolverine, Victor initially had trouble dealing with his loss but soon learned to cope with help from his new advisor, Karma.”

There is also a link to another rental property, this time located on St. John and named “anole.” The pictures show that it is a stunningly beautiful place overlooking the sea with lizard art on the walls, but no explanation for the name. If you have 5 grand to spare, head down there for a week and report back.

Perhaps you may have noticed that our beloved Anole Annals is not popping up high in the search results. Why is that? Today’s New York Times has an interesting article on what determines search engine results, and how some companies game the system.  Apparently, an important factor is how many other websites link to a given site. The article also mentions a website which can let you see what other sites are linking to your site. Checking for Anole Annals, we find internal links from this site, links from various aspects of the Losos and Glor labs, from the Dechronization blog, the Society of Systematic Biology, the City University of New York and Livio Leoni (thanks, Livio!).

So, in summary, two take home messages. First, Anoles are the inspiration for a surprisingly wide diverse of companies and, second, if you have a website, how about putting up a link to us?

About Jonathan Losos

Author and Professor at Harvard University
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