Anolis Photo Presentation

Just back from a talk on primate color evolution. I was gratified to see that the opening slide of the talk included a picture of an anole—didn’t expect that in a monkey talk! However, the image used was the one above. Anole seminar aficionados know that this is a no-no—this image has been used in more talks than is humanly imaginable! The reason is simple: when you Google (or Google Image) Anolis, this image is one of the first couple that pop up. And it’s seemingly a nice picture, so people tend to use it. All the time. But look more closely. This guy is not the Adonnis of the anole world. Rather, his schnozz is very beat up. This fellow should not be the poster child for the anole world. I had always assumed that he was a captive animal, who had rubbed his snout raw against an aquarium wall, as often happens. However, the recent post on fighting A. carolinensis illustrates that perhaps this guy is a fighter, not a lover, and bears the scars of his battles. In any case, a word to the wise: use another anole photo in your presentations.

About Jonathan Losos

Author and Professor at Harvard University
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3 Responses to Anolis Photo Presentation

  1. cybokat says:

    “use another anole photo in your presentations”, and maybe also not one that shows the anole in weird brownish spottish stress colouration and is missing the right leg (which the photographer is using to hold the animal down).

  2. marthamunoz says:

    Along those lines, I’d like to add this photo of A. sagrei: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anolis_sagrei_t%C3%AAte.JPG

    It’s almost as common as the A. carolinensis pic and just as passe. Time for new pics.

  3. The injury is almost certainly due to fighting, not captivity. “Rubbed snout” in captive anoles usually appears as a swelling of the lip, especially the rostral, which may turn pinkish. This guy has tears and bleeding.

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