Though none are actually native to Hawaii, lizards are everywhere here, sunning, head-bobbing, and having a go at the insect and spider populations. In my backyard, it's the brown anole that I most commonly see. Today, though, I had a nice photo shoot with the green anole, Anolis carolinensis, introduced here around 1950. But it's not easy being green. Ever since the introduction of the brown anole to Oahu in 1980, the green anole population seems to be on the decline. The same displacement has been noticed in its native range, the continental southern states. In areas where their ranges overlap, the green anole has adapted by occupying the trunk-crown niche, while the brown anole dominates in the trunk-ground niche. When threatened, the green anole tends to go up, the brown anole down. The two can be difficult to identify when the green anole is in its brown phase. Both species are are able to change color due to the presence of chromatophores, or pigment bearing cells in the skin. Normally bright green, factors such as temperature, humidity, and stress can cause the green anole to look more olive, or even dark brown. The brown anole can change to various hues of brown, but cannot turn green. It is more stocky than it's green cousin, and has a blockier head; the green anole sports a slender snout and a leaner and longer body, with males reaching up to five inches ( a good portion of that being tail). Dewlaps are present in both species, that special throat pouch that is puffed up when attracting a mate or defending territory. In the green anole, this has a pinkish hue; the dewlap of the brown anole is a vivid orange-red. As these two species duke it out in my backyard, it will be interesting to see what will happen the gold-dust day gecko (another recently introduced herp with a growing population) enters the ring. With similar prey species and niches, we could be in for quite a war of the saur!
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.