Though they are not as flashy as some of their West Indian relatives, Anolis scriptus, the Southern Bahamas Anole, is an ecologically important and interesting component of the herpetofauna of the distal end of the Bahamas Archipelago. Small and brown to brownish green, they seem to be rarely photographed or discussed, so I thought they deserved a post on Anole Annals. These are individuals from the Turks and Caicos Islands- where they are ubiquitous on most emergent land- from the largest islands at over 290 square km to the smallest rocks with some vegetation. Interestingly, this species has been shown to modify its perch height in response to the presence of predators (more on predation in a later post). When curly-tailed lizards (Leiocephalus psammodromus) are around, the anoles are more arboreal (Smith 1994;1995). However, we have found this to be the case mostly on smaller islands, while on larger islands the anoles will still use the ground and lower tree trunks, even in close proximity to high densities of curly-tailed lizards.
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According to Nicholson et al. (2005), Anolis scriptus is also closely related to A. cristatellus, which seems quite interesting biogeographically since Cuba & Hispaniola are much closer to the southern Bahamas than is Puerto Rico.
I’ve always wanted to learn more about this species; thanks for the post.
I found the Smith references, but neither seems to be available online:
Smith GR. 1995. Observations on perch use in two lizards (Anolis scriptus and Leiocephalus psammodromus). Herpetol. J. 5: 285-286.
Smith GR. 1994. Observations on activity in two lizards (Anolis scriptus and Leiocephalus psammodromus). Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc. 30: 120-125.
Yes, not online, Geoff might have some reprints though: http://www.denison.edu/academics/departments/biology/geoff_smith.html
If you look at the track of Hurricane Irene (e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/projects/hurricanes/#!/2011/Irene?hp), you’ll see that it crossed over central Puerto Rico, and its next landfall was the Turks and Caicos/Inagua. That might be the same path by which cristatellus got from PR to T&C to become scriptus.
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