Anole Done In By a Black Widow

This sad photo comes to us courtesy of arachnologist extraordinaire Sarah Crews, who snapped the unfortunate little lizard (or fortunate spider, depending on your perspective) in Parque del Este in the Dominican Republic. The offending spider is a member of the genus Lactrodectus, the black widows. What a way to go.

Such spider on anole predation is far from unknown. I myself have observed a baby anole dangling in a spider web in a limestone pothole in the Bahamas, and there are a smattering of reports in the literature, including an A. carolinensis taken by a wolf spider, an A. chrysolepis ensnared by a whip spider, and an A. limifrons overpowered by a jumping spider (photo below). Indeed, I vaguely recall a fine example of scientific entrepreneurship, when a spider guy and a lizard guy teamed up to produce two papers from one such observation, publishing in a herp journal a paper with the theme “anole eaten by spider” and an arachnological journal entry with the tag line “spider eats anole.” Now, that’s maximizing research output! Alas, I could not put my finger on the publications. Anyone remember those?

Photo by Harry Greene, from Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree.

About Jonathan Losos

Author and Professor at Harvard University
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4 Responses to Anole Done In By a Black Widow

  1. Spider-Woman defeats The Lizard. 😉

  2. Jonathan Losos says:

    Sarah Crews adds: “The picture of your “jumping spider” is a member of the Ctenidae – huge fuzzy things often pictured eating herps (frogs mostly). And I have observed Selenopids being eaten by anoles numerous times…after chasing the very fast spiders around a tree for 15 minutes, only to lose it in the mouth of an anole…infuriating. This one is chewing:

  3. Pingback: Turnabout’s Fair Play |

  4. Pingback: Curly Tail Lizard Consumes Anole |

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