An Anole That Sees With Its Eyes Closed

The last post makes me recall this weird situation while in Cuba in 2007. Anolis argenteolus seems to have a “fake eye” right at its eyelid. This is mentioned in the species’ descriptions as 2 transparent palpebral scales “as windows”… Looking at some pictures I noticed the scale’s surface being quite reflective and with some iridescence, but it is hard to tell whether they really can see thru it or whether it is just a false eye so when they roost or they close their eyes during the day they are able to show that they still alert. According to Williams & Hecht (1955), these “windows” in the lower eyelids are presumed to act as “sunglasses” in order to reduce light intensity, though I saw the animal doing this even in shady situations. Or they may serve to detect movement while sleeping (Vergner and Polak, 1996).

This also reminded me of the Northern Potoo, a night bird native to the Dominican Republic which has some gaps in its eyelids that help them to detect light changes and movement while roosting. Or it just may be a false/fake eye just to cheat intruders from males of same species, or  potential predators. Anyways, I am not stating anything, that’s why is a trivia, it just seemed kind of unique in the anoline world (the one I know best -insular-).

(To me the best language is the graphic, specially If I am still learning the technical terminology and nomenclature)

Even the juvies have or use “the trick” (they may need it more If it is to avoid predation). Look at the long limbs and the forelimb toes of this thing.

About Hispanioland

Amateur naturalist, Photographer, Eco-tour guide/leader
This entry was posted in Natural History Observations and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to An Anole That Sees With Its Eyes Closed

  1. Rich Glor says:


  2. jerryhusak says:


  3. Pingback: Another Anole That Sees With Its Eyes Closed |

  4. lukemahler says:

    Cool post Miguel, and awesome photos! The idea that these scales might serve to fool predators certainly hadn’t occurred to me, but it’s an interesting hypothesis. I’ve also seen this species look through its closed eyes in the shade in Cuba.

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