Anoles Beaten at Their Own Game?

Both images from ganeshdhane's flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ganeshdhane/

Even though anoles aren’t the only lizards to have evolved dewlaps, their spectacular diversity of dewlap shapes and sizes certainly makes them leaders in the global arms race for dewlap dominance.  Nevertheless, I recently came across some photos of the spectacularly dewlapped-agamid Sitana ponticeriana doing something I don’t think anoles are capable of – displaying while standing on two hind limbs.  I’ve seen Australian agamids stand up for extended periods of time to display, dissipate heat, or scan the horizon, but I’ve never seen an anole do this for more than a few seconds while reaching for a new perch.  Sure, anoles can do lots of other stuff to get the message across – push-ups, full-ups, elaborate tail-wags, tongue protrusions, nuchal crest extensions, gapping, etc. – but I’m just not sure they’re built to stand.   My question to all the anoles lovers out there: has anybody ever seen one of our beloved creatures displaying while standing on its hind-limbs?

PS – Lots of other amazing photos of the dewlapped agamids are on Flickr

About Rich Glor

Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and longtime anole enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Anole Annals Trivia, Natural History Observations. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Anoles Beaten at Their Own Game?

  1. Jonathan Losos says:

    The agamid photos in the link in your p.s. are amazing, but I’m confused about Sitana ponticeriana, which appears to exhibit a wide range of dewlap colors. Is it really a single species?

  2. Ambika Kamath says:

    My Indian reptile guide says that males acquire the bright colouration on their dewlaps only in the breeding season, so part of the variation might be seasonal

  3. Jonathan Losos says:

    Wow. That’s pretty amazing. Could individuals change from looking like the picture above to this from one season to the next?

  4. Donald Miles says:

    Perhaps there are male morphs.

  5. The coloration of the orange, black, and blue dewlap of Sitana ponticeriana in the photos is indeed incredible. The structurally colored blue scales appear to be highly iridescent, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find that they reflect UV wavelengths as well. As for the uniqueness of the stance, anoles are not to be outdone by this admittedly impressive agamid. Tom Jenssen illustrated a point-for-point identical display posture in Anolis nebulosus in a 1970 paper entitled “The ethoecology of Anolis nebulosus (Sauria, Iguanidae)” (J. Herp. 4:1-38, Fig. 11b on page 24). Have a look!

  6. Pingback: Anoles Still Unbeaten |

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