Green Anole

Location

In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Polychrotidae
Genus: Anolis

Size

Male

Female

Height:
Length: 5-8 inches 5-8 inches
Weight: 2-6 grams 2-6 grams
Maturity: 8-9 months 8-9 months

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Carnivorous
Activity Timeframe: Diurnal
Interactivity: Social
Sexual Dimorphism: Yes
Gestation: 5-7 weeks
Lifespan in the Wild: 2-8 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 4-6 years

Geographic Range

North America, southeastern United States, from Virginia to the Florida Keys and west to central Texas and Oklahoma. Also found on Cuba and islands in the Caribbean.

Conservation

Status in the Wild:
Threats:

Characteristics

Anoles are streamlined with long tails, long legs and toes, and a narrow head. A. carolinensis is 5 to 8 inches in length and has a pointed nose and round tail. It is primarily bright green with a pale belly. Males are slightly larger than the females, with a larger head, a pink throat flap or dewlap that expands when displaying and two enlarged post-anal glands. It has a small dorsal crest immediately behind the head that is only visible during threat display.Even though they're called 'Green Anoles,' their coloring ranges from shades of brown to green or grey. Their coloring is dependent on many factors, it is most often dependent upon temperature and excitation, such as increased activity or competition. Darker brown and black colors typically signal cold or stressed conditions.

Species Specifics

Sexual Dimorphism. Physical differences also are common between males and females. Females often have a line that runs along their dorsal surface, from their neck down to their back, ending before their tail begins. Most males have dewlaps that extend from the ventral side (underneath) of their neck. Dewlaps are rarely seen in females. The dewlap is commonly pinkish in color and thought to be used by males to increase visibility as their court females. Displaying the dewlap may also represent a competitive status between males; in these cases, dewlap displays are usually related to territory boundary disputes.

Physical Characteristics

- Large adhesive toe pads enable them to walk on vertical surfaces.- This lizard is capable of rapid but limited color changes from green to gray or brown, depending on mood and background. A basking anole is typically brown; fighting males turn green w

Ecology

Habitat

Native to neotropical and nearctic regions.

Distribution

Trees and shrubs of southeastern United States from Virginia to the Florida Keys and west to central Texas and Oklahoma. Also found on Cuba and islands in the Caribbean.

Diet

Carnivorous. Insects and spiders.

Ecological Web

Secondary consumer.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Diurnal. Mostly arboreal, but frequently dwell near human habitation.

Behavior

Social Behavior

Males are extremely territorial and exert their dominance by flaring dewlaps, bobbing heads, erecting a dorsal crest and posturing to enlarge their image.

Reproductive Behavior

During the breeding season which extends from spring to fall, they use their dewlaps to entice females. Single eggs are laid every two weeks in leaf litter, loose soil, etc. Young hatch in 5-7 weeks.The sexual display behavior of green anoles is very specific. Members of almost every mating pair live within each others' territory. To attract the attention of females, males bob their heads up and down and extend their dewlaps. Not all females are receptive to male courtship; some deny them and others exhibit the same behavior as males but then arch their neck to inform the males they are receptive to mating.

Offspring

Once the young hatch from their eggs they resemble adults in coloration and pattern, but are only 23-25 mm long. Green anoles have determinate growth; they grow at a relatively constant rate from hatching to adulthood. Hatchlings develop into juvenile males and females without any parental investment.

Conservation

Status

Not Endangered. Listed as a species of Least Concern by IUCN.

Historical

Current Threats

Our Role

How You Can Help

Fascinating Facts

Anoles make up the largest genus of the iguanids with more than 110 species found in the West Indies alone, plus more in Central and South America. However, A. carolinensis is the only anole found in North America. It is known as the Common Anole or the American Chameleon (although it is not a chameleon!)

This lizard is an agile, darting creature and can fall from great heights without hurting itself.

References

Davies, Robert and Valerie. The Reptile and Amphibian Problem Solver. 1997. Tetra Press, Blacksburg, VA.

Hutchins, Michael. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Vol. 7 Reptiles. 2003. The Gale Group, Farmington Hills, MI.

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. 1989. Facts on File, Inc. New York, NY.

Palika, Liz. A Complete Idiot's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians. 1998. Alpha Books, New York, NY.

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