Perhaps this is Anole Annals’ first NSFW post, but the mating event depicted in the photo above was such an exciting observation and photographic opportunity that I can’t help but share. Yesterday we discovered a new contact zone between two phenotypically and genetically distinct populations of Anolis distichus along the Rio Bani (this contact zone is along the river’s eastern bank rather than along its well-traversed western bank). Along a narrow zone of contact (~500 m), green bodied, orange dewlapped populations of A. d. ignigularis come into contact with gray-bodied, yellow dewlapped populations of A. d. ravitergum. While sampling this contact zone, we ran across the copulating pair pictured above. The fact that the male is predominantly gray and the female predominantly green may be an indication that this is a hybridization event between A. d. ravitergum and A. d. ignigularis; genetic analyses on tissue samples collected from the pair will soon provide the answer!
If it is a hybrid pair, its likely to be more successful than others reported recently on anole anoles (e.g., A. carolinensis and A. sagrei); although hybrids between A. d. ignigularis and A. d. ravitergum are rare in nature, our captive mating experiments have yielded hundreds of eggs and offspring from matings between A. d. ravitergum and A. d. ignigularis.