Anole Annals Trivia: What are We Looking At?

Invertebrates associated with Hispaniolan anoles. Scale bar in right panel is in millimeters.

The invertebrates in the image above were photographed yesterday in the Dominican Republic.  Today’s trivia is related to these invertebrates and consists of three questions:

1. What are these invertebrates and how do they interact with anoles?

2. How many individuals are in the right panel (note: all of these individuals were associated with a single anole)?

3. How do these invertebrates factor into Dominican folklore?

About Rich Glor

Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and longtime anole enthusiast.
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9 Responses to Anole Annals Trivia: What are We Looking At?

  1. hispanioland says:

    Barbaro Ricky, that is an interesting topic. Do you still keep the similar invertebrates taken out from the mouth of A. ricordi in January? It would be nice to compare, as the specimens come from different regions (south and north paleo-islands). I could also check for A. barahonae If they have them too.

    Yes, this implies an infamous tale for the anoles, in dominican countryside culture. I bet some of you have heard about it.


  2. Joe Burgess says:

    I remember a similar post on this as well. I cannot answer #1 and can olnly guess at #2 (73), but for #3…I recall from my visits to the DR that they suck blood and give you worms when they bite you. After that, a cow has to mooo or you must cross some bridges to be cured, or something like that.

  3. Rich Glor says:

    1. As Miguel suggested, these are sarcophagid fly maggots from the mouth of Anolis baleatus.

    2. Joe’s guess of 73 is good one and may be all that’s actually visible in this image, but we ended up with nearly 100 maggots from the mouth of a single anole.

    3. As Joe suggests, many Dominicans believe that you’ll get worms if bit by a giant anole (which are known in the Dominican countryside as “Salta Cocotes”).

  4. Pedro Genaro says:

    Sooo…how do these maggots end up in Anolis baleatus’ mouth?

  5. Rich Glor says:

    We’re not sure of that, but Luke Mahler may have just figured out how they get out of the mouth…

  6. Robert Powell says:

    Giant anoles are not the only lizards bearing sarcophagid fly larvae. See: Smith et al. (1994. Carib. J. Sci. 30:148–149) for a report on pharyngeal myiasis in Ameiva chrysolaema.

  7. Jonathan Losos says:

    Also see:
    Dial, R., and J. Roughgarden. 1996. Natural history observations of Anolisomyia rufianalis (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) infesting Anolis lizards in a rain forest canopy. Environmental Entomology 25:1325–1328.


    Irschick, D.J., G. Gentry, A. Herrel, and B. Vanhooydonck. 2006. Effects of sarcophagid fly infestations on green anole lizards (Anolis carolinensis): An analysis across seasons and age/sex classes. Journal of Herpetology 40:107–112.

  8. Rich Glor says:

    I’ve seen the Smith et al. paper. We were actually wondering if you still have any of the larvae from this study that we could sequence… The ones in the Irschick et al. paper are not in the mouth, but we should definitely use some sequences from this larvae as well. I need to check out the Dial and Roughgarden paper.

  9. Robert Powell says:

    I don’t think any of the larvae are extant, but I’ll check tomorrow.

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