Anole murder mystery, Part II

In a recent post Miguel Landestoy shared a phenomenal photo of an unfortunate Anolis whitemani that met an untimely end in the dunes of Salinas, in the Dominican Republic. This got me thinking about odd anole deaths that I have seen in the field. Sometimes the cause of death is quite clear. Perhaps a limb has been torn off, or the body otherwise bears the marks of predation. On other occasions, however, how the anole met its fate appears more elusive.

I volley to you, the reader, the mysterious case of this unfortunate lizard. While conducting field work in the Dominican Republic, my team and I came across this female anole. We were quite puzzled by this lizard. If you notice, her guts have been pushed out of her cloaca, leading us to think that she had likely been smashed by a tire. However, she seemed pretty intact, with no tread marks, and her spine was not broken, so we couldn’t be sure this was the case. I did mention she was a female for a reason, and not because we examined the post-anal scales. If you see the picture below, you will see that we also found an egg next to the poor gal. Had she come onto the road to lay it? When her guts were pushed out, did the egg come out, too?

So I turn it over to you. As in Miguel’s post, can you name the species? Can you name where in the Dominican Republic this occurred? Can you find the egg among the pebbles? Do you agree that she was run over and, if so, did the egg come out as she was being crushed or before?


About marthamunoz

Martha is working on her PhD on the thermal ecology and evolution of anoles in the Losos Lab at Harvard University.
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3 Responses to Anole murder mystery, Part II

  1. Jonathan Losos says:

    That’s a pretty pointy head, but what would a trunk-crown anole be doing crossing a road?

  2. Joe Burgess says:

    I am going to take a couple guess at it…

    Anolis aliniger, Central Mountains, she was run over, the egg popped out and was crushed by the rear tire!

  3. marthamunoz says:

    You’ve got the Central Mountains right! But it’s not A. aliniger, as this happened hundreds of meters higher than they typically go. I agree that the egg probably came out after death. What anole in her right mind would purposefully lay an egg on the road?

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