Great Tales of Florida Anoles

From Dust Tracks on the Web

In a recent post, AA mentioned Janson Jones’ (Dust Tracks on the Web) report on catching a magnificent knight anole. Turns out that Jones is not only a kindred spirit, but a keen observer and an excellent photographer. Over the course of the last few days, he has posted a series of stories of observations of Florida anoles that are worth checking out.

Just a few comments. In “Clash of the Anole Titans” (photo above), he tells of a territorial battle between two male green anoles. Ultimately, the fight concludes when one male loses his grip and falls to the ground. Those who study the functional capabilities of anoles are always surprised at the great sticking ability of the anole toepad, much greater than is needed to support the lizard’s body weight (anoles can hang from a single toe!). Perhaps this ability has evolved, not for every day living, but for exceptional circumstances, such as prolonged, hand-to-hand combat or hanging on to a mini-van.

In another post, Jones notes that A. carolinensis is apparently much less common than it used to be in his youth. The key, though, is “apparently.” In contradiction to those who suggest that the introduced brown anole is threatening the survival of the greens, Jones suggests that the greenies are simply moving up into the tree to get out of the way. Given that browns and greens coexist in many places in the Caribbean, including Cuba where they both evolved, and that when together, green anoles are always much more arboreal, I suspect that Jones is exactly right, and that the presence of browns has led the greens to revert to their ancestral habitat, re-establishing the niche relationships evolved in Cuba so many millions of years ago.

Jones also recounts tales of A. distichus and A. sagrei. Catch ’em all at Dust Tracks on the Web.

About Jonathan Losos

Author and Professor at Harvard University
This entry was posted in Introduced Anoles, Natural History Observations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Great Tales of Florida Anoles

  1. Janson Jones says:

    Jonathan, thank you for the kind words and thanks to all the contributors of Anole Annals for creating and maintaining such a spectacularly focused, multi-authored blog. I must admit, I was a little more than tickled when I caught wind of Anole Annals — especially now that I’m wrapping up four years of living in Alaska and am about to move back to the U.S. southeast (Valdosta, Georgia specifically). I’m looking forward to being back in a region that more-easily fosters learning about these animals first hand. Alaska, you know, ain’t to productive on the herp-front, wood frogs aside. Heh. Anyhow, add to that the invaluable resource of Anole Annals and I’m going to be a happy camper these next few years.

    I’m not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination —just an English teacher who consistently abuses English on this here interweb— but I’ve always had a deep respect for and interest in all things Reptiles, or Sauropsia, or whatever the proper term should be. (Double-heh). Truth be told, my interests are broader than that, I suppose — but the reptiles have always captivated the focus of my attention.

    Anyhow, thanks for the kind words and please keep up the great work. I’m looking to learn a lot in the next few years and Anole Annals will most certainly be on my daily reading cycle. I’m also tempted to bug y’all with assisting identification of a handful of non-indigenous anoles I’ve photographed in south Florida… But, I’d hate to open the gates to “Can you identify this green anole for me?” hell on Anole Annals.

    Keep on keepin’ on ~

    With gratitude,

  2. Pingback: Many Hawaiians Don’t Like Brown Anoles |

  3. Pingback: Anole Annals: Your One Stop Anole Genome Information Source |

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