Carolinensis – Sagrei Hanky Panky

Photos by Mark Lucas from his Facebook page

Those rascals! I’ve heard reports of this before, but never seen a photo. I wonder if it’s always a male green anole, or whether both ways occur. In any case, it would be shocking if such liaisons led to the production of hybrid offspring, given that the two species belong to evolutionary lineages that separated many many millions of years ago.

About Jonathan Losos

Author and Professor at Harvard University
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12 Responses to Carolinensis – Sagrei Hanky Panky

  1. HenryA says:

    I wouldn’t be totally shocked – there are hybrids between snakes of genera Elaphe, Lampropeltis and Pituophis all available in the commercial reptile trade, and apparently the hybrids are fertile (as evidenced by F2 offspring). Of course, that’s all in the environment of captivity, where you can manipulate just about any variable to induce breeding and the offspring don’t have to compete with others nor face environmental hardships. I’m even familiar with an accidental Crotalus x Sistrurus hybrid. Hybrid lizards aren’t as common in the pet trade, though I’m unsure whether this is due to breeding difficulties / viability or just purchasing preferences of lizard-keepers.

  2. Joe Burgess says:

    I have seen this same coupling (male carolinensis/female sagrei), in Tampa as a teenager in my backyard. Could have been that so few carolinesis females where available that he just got lonely. I never came across any odd looking anolis after that though?

  3. thsanger says:

    If someone else witnesses this PLEASE capture the female A. sagrei. It would be great to analyze the eggs and offspring to see if there are, in fact, viable hybrids being produced. And even if the eggs don’t hatch it will be interesting to examine when during embryogenesis development crashes and for what reasons.

  4. Gerrut Norval says:

    I agree 120% with thsanger. And whatever the result, please try to get it published, even if it is just a short note!

  5. Sven Vogler says:

    On Yucatán I once saw a male Anolis rodriguezi raping a female Hemidactylus frenatus.
    While I was lying in the hammock – early afternoon, Siesta time – I watched a female Asian House Gecko coming out of the palm-thatched roof, obviously being attracted by some insects congregating on the upper part of of one of the Palapa-poles.
    Suddenly another lizard darted from the upper side of the palm-leaves onto her, bit her in the neck and started copulating. I almost fell out of the hammock when I realized that one being an anole….

  6. D. Lambrechts says:


    I have a picture the other way arround. Found it on the web once and it’s undeer captive conditions. Don’t know who made the picture but if you E-mail me I will send you the photo of a male sagrei mating a female carolinensis

    Editor’s note: here it is!
    carolinensis-sagrei mating

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  9. Heidi Meador says:

    my roommate had a female sagrei and a male carolinensis. We just found two hatchlings in the terrarium… She’s had the anoles for about 2 months, so it’s possible the female mated with a male sagrei at the pet store, and just laid eggs after we brought her home, but there’s always the chance the little guys are hybrids. They look very much segrei-ish, though – not sure which phenotype would be dominant in such a hybrid, or if they’d look intermediate. Is it possible to have them analyzed without sacrificing them?

  10. Jonathan Losos says:

    Heidi, Anolis sagrei are known to store sperm for many months, so it seems much more likely to me that the offspring were fathered by a male with whom the female consorted prior to your roommate getting it, especially if the baby’s look like sagreis. Testing would require a tissue sample: a bit of the tail would suffice. And, since no hybrids have been documented, we don’t know about dominance, etc. Would certainly be interesting to find one!

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