Phobias

Stumbling over the search terms leading to the Anole Annals blog today I found this interesting bit of information:

…”afraid of anolis”?

Scoliodentosaurophobia, apparently, is the scientific expression for “fear of lizards”. It’s a category to the more general Herpetophobia (fear of amphibians and/or reptiles). These sorts of fears might seem a little bit odd to the herpetologist… after all I have heard of colleagues having bite lists for fun (“what was the coolest species that ever had its fangs in you?”).  But they are surprisingly present amongst laymen and –women out there. Women in Africa would run screaming when they’d see me handling chameleons – fearing that the chameleon’s stare would prevent them from having babies. In the DR, Miguel Landestoy and I were convinced we could help prevent the slaughtering of Haitiophis snakes out of fear by telling farmers that “the girl (me) is not afraid of them either”, appealing to their machismo. The large Dominican green anole Anolis baleatus (and probably some other large crown giants too) has the nickname Salta cocote because it is supposed to jump at people from the trees, trying to suck their blood (“dice la leyenda que le salta a la gente y le muerde el cocote”). An older gentleman seemed very convinced that the Salta cocote had just sucked to death some of his neighbor’s cattle. It even has its own Merengue song (Caco e maco salta cocote, which literally means “you ugly frog head, lizard”).

Phobophobes, by the way, are afraid of phobias.

About cybokat

Kat is a Lecturer in Ecology & the Environment at the University of Hull. She is vagabonding through real and virtual landscapes in search of answers to diverse scientific questions
This entry was posted in Anole Art, Literature, and Humor, Notes from the Field. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Phobias

  1. cybokat says:

    more Salta cocote music, if you like Reggaeton…

  2. Jonathan Losos says:

    I routinely scroll down the search terms that lead to Anole Annals. “Maggot mouth” is a common one, as is “how to get rid of anoles.”

    In Jamaica, many of the locals are afraid of anoles, for reasons I forget. In my younger days, I was once commenting on this to an older scientist, pointing out how silly they were. He told me a story of how a Jamaican friend once had opened up a sink pipe, reached his hand in, and calmly pulled out an enormous handful of cockroaches, without any qualms. Every culture has its phobias, I suppose (germs, anyone?).

  3. Pingback: Anoleophobic golfers, rejoice |

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