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Brown Anole

Anolis sagrei


The brown anole is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it was first observed in the Florida Keys in 1887 (Garman 1887). It arrived in the major seaports of South Florida during the 1940s (Oliver 1950, Bell 1953) and had become firmly established in most large urbanized areas south of Gainesville by 1980 (Godley et al. 1981, Lee 1985). Peripheral populations continue to be established in the panhandle and northern peninsular Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas via motor vehicles (Campbell 1996) or transport of potted landscaping vegetation. Many of these peripheral populations are along major highways at rest areas, campgrounds, and hotels (Campbell 1996). Cold winters reduce these northern populations but enough individuals usually survive to maintain viable populations. Dense populations occur on nearly every dredge spoil island along the Intracoastal Waterway in the Indian River south of Melbourne (Campbell 1996). Anoles reach these islands by riding on boats or on firewood piles transported on boats by campers (Campbell 1996). This species thrives in disturbed habitats and ornamental plantings but can potentially inhabit almost any inland or coastal habitat in Florida. It is apparently the most abundant anole over much of the southern half of peninsular Florida, and populations now occur in every county in peninsular Florida (Campbell 2003). It often perches low in trees and shrubs but is quite terrestrial, often escaping by running along the ground. Males reach a length of 20 cm (8 in). The body is brown, and males often have bands of yellowish spots, whereas females and juveniles have a light vertebral stripe with dark, scalloped edges. The edge of the dewlap is white and appears as a stripe on the throat when not distended. The dewlap may vary in color from a bright red-orange to pale yellow. Two subspecies, the Bahaman (ordinatus) and Cuban (sagrei), could once be identified in Florida (King and Krakauer 1966), but they can no longer be recognized due to extensive intergradation (Lee 1985, 1987).



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James McNair
Spotted by
James McNair

Cocoa, Florida, USA

Spotted on Apr 18, 2014
Submitted on Apr 18, 2014

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