An Anole Murder Mystery?

Looking through old image files I found the above picture. At first glance, this may look like an unearthed fossil. No way. Try to earn some points by answering the questions below:

  1. Which species is this?
  2. What happened to it (cause of death)?
  3. Where (within the DR) or in which type of habitat did this take place (this is linked to #1 and #2)?
  4. What is the dark patch in the background/horizon, located in the upper right of picture (linked to #2 and #3).

About Hispanioland

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

12 Responses to An Anole Murder Mystery?

  1. Jonathan Losos says:

    They don’t call it the big-headed anole for nothing! I vote cybotes.

  2. Rich Glor says:

    1. I’m with JLo, A. cybotes or some other cybotoid.
    2. I’m guessing it died while cross a hot, open sandy area.
    3. This is tough, so I’m going to make some crazy guesses. The sand looks too dark for many of the beaches along the Barahona Peninsula. I’m going to go with Samana Peninsula or somewhere along the north coast. I recognize that this is pretty vague, so I’m also going to guess that this is a sandbar surrounded by ocean on three sides.
    4. I’m guessing that the dark patch is forested habitat, or perhaps a small island.
    These are wild guesses; I can’t wait to learn the real story!

  3. Harry Greene says:

    Hunch #1: squashed by a nesting sea turtle (dark object in background)? Hunch #2, actually just a cliche: the Marguerite did it?

  4. Hispanioland says:

    Yes, a cybotoid, A. whitemani. And Rich may be right, it seems it died while probably crossing the coastal sand dunes of Peravia (southern DR, the dunes being the largest in the West Indies) from one forest patch to another (xeric vegetation). That is the most reasonable guess, despite seeing the broken tail, which could have been caused by a predator (bird), or just cracked up from the severe dehydration caused by the heath (nice try Mr. Greene, that’s a good one, but down here would it be cerveza Presidente instead). More questions and details ahead, sorry about the hard ones, I know it is more fun for the in situ observer.

  5. Rich Glor says:

    Cool photo and story, thanks for posting. Perhaps it was an ambitious attempt to colonize new ground? Or maybe he was seeking a lost love…

  6. BilBy says:

    I recently found two sagrei that met their maker under a window – I guess they were hiding under the sash of an almost closed one, and when it was properly closed…squish. The smaller one is perfect and perfectly flat – my better half thinks me odd for using it as a book mark.

  7. I once found a dead anole (A. cristatellus), in a fairly similar physical condition to the one pictured, that had been caught between two branches of a shrub that were pushed tight against one another. I’m not sure how the anole got itself wedged in– perhaps the wind separated the branches, the anole stepped in, and when the wind stopped they snapped back. Another possibility I considered was shrike-like wedging by a predator, but I don’t know of any local predators (or any predators, for that matter, other than nasty children) that might do this. The location was Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, right next to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge which links Tortola and Beef Island.

  8. Hispanioland says:

    A test for attaching Google Images and pictures of habitat. More reference to be given about the locality.

    Anolis - Dunas Calderas

  9. Scantlebury says:

    I was totally going to guess whitemani from this exact locality. I had the advantage of having hunted on these dunes with Miguel on a previous trip though.

  10. Pingback: Anole murder mystery, Part II |

  11. Hispanioland says:

    This already started as a CSI-like case, so let’s drop some more data (on the habitat) that can be usable, or of interest for some anole enthusiasts. The factors that may have influenced on the death of the anole:

    The coastal sand dunes of Las Calderas (Peravia) possesses elevations of an average of 20 mts (formerly they were recorded as high as 30 mts). It used to cover 26 square kms in the 70’s. Some of the sand mounds formed are mobile, being only the vegetated areas the places where sand is captured and held (from winds) and hence those mounds are steady (Heredia, Felícita; Dunas Costeras de la República Dominicana, 1998). However, this don’t make any easier to the anoles to reach other forest patches. The dry season is from December to April. The photo was taken in late June (the Hurricane season already started) and it is possible to see the sky overcast, which is more frequent during that month. The anole may have tried to venture to another forest patch (as Glor mentioned) at one point when it was not too sunny or after a rain shower when the sand was not hot, and saw itself stuck far from shade when sun came back. As you see in the Google Image, there is a large stretch of dunes between the vegetation (they extend more towards the east and west).

    It has happened seeing A. whitemani running across the road just before sunset in the xeric area from Duvergé to Puerto Escondido (in the Baoruco mountains) when it is cooler (pers. obers.). This is a clue to the following post (although not on same species): Anole murder mystery, Part II

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