Lizards everywhere - basking, chasing, slinking, doing push-ups and head bobs. And yet most of us don't know our skinks from an anoles, our geckos from our chameleons. Okay, most of us know a chameleon when we see one, but what about the other guys? No worries, today's post will get you started. Let me introduce you to the brown anole, Anolis sagrei. These are the lizards that display their dewlap, the bright orange-red throat fan, when they feel threatened by you, or when flirting with a female. The females have dewlaps as well, but are less apt to show them. Anoles have great vision, and so will also deploy a variety of body gestures for courtship or for defending their territory.
I have to laugh when they do their push-up dance at me. Like geckos, they can lose their tail when threatened.
The color can vary from a light pale brown to almost black. The males are larger than the females, and the females wear a scallop pattern down the back. Note also the long toes of the brown anole, and the laterally flattened tail. Anolis sagrei is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, but is a fast colonizer where it has been introduced in the U.S. They dine on insects, slugs, snails and worms. They are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. Some people can confuse the brown anole with the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. This is because anoles, like chameleons, can change color. The brown anole can only change the shade of brown and the patterning on the skin, whereas the green anole can be bright green or brown. The green anole also has a pointier and longer snout, and has a pinkish dewlap. And green anoles are more arboreal, whereas the brown stays on the ground or lower in the trees.