Thursday, January 16, 2014

Say hello to the brown anole

A morning visit to Gardens by the Bay for birds turned into a reptile photo session instead. On the bakau support poles propping the transplanted trees in by the car park were pencil long brown lizards sunning themselves.

The brown anole is a recent introduced species (see ST article). These lizard came in a shipment of plants and they have taken up residence at the Gardens by the Bay.
These lizards are native to Cuba and the Bahamas, and are considered a highly invasive species. They have  been accidentally introduced to many parts of the world. They are extremely successful because they eat anything that will fit into their mouths much like the American bullfrog.
They are usually light brown colored with markings on their back that are a darker brown to black, and on their sides they have several tan to light color lines. Like other anoles, they can change color, in this case to darker brown or black coloration. The ones I saw were mostly dark brown to black as they had been in the sun for sometime.
What got me so stuck with these lizards were their bright colored dewlaps.
Besides, size differences between male and female, the other way to differentiate the sexes is their dewlaps. The dewlap of males is also usually larger than that of the females. Female brown anoles often exhibit a dorsal line that can appear as a light-colored wave, zig-zag or diamond pattern that males typically lack. Mature males also exhibit a pronounced crest-like ridge running down the back.

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