Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Anole - some people call them lizards

"A little Anole is just a lizard, right?", someone asks in the tour group of Woodlands residents at Mercer Botanical gardens. Well, a lizard is generic for a number of creatures. We prefer to use the generic familiar names. This one is an Anole.  This term comes from the scientific genus name "anolis". Yes, this is what people generally refer to as a "lizard" and some are even called "chameleons", which is incorrect because they do not have the facility to actually change colors. Instead, the process is comprised of using three layers of pigmentation in the Green Anole.   It is a matter of turning "on" or "off" a layer. Many of them can change apparent coloration using this method and adapt to their surroundings. This one does so also, on a minor scale. It is not as adaptive as the Green Anole which can change from full brown to a full green. 

Among these flowers, there is plenty to eat. His long tongue can reach out  a couple of inches to grab its prey, usually an insect such as a butterfly or grasshopper. This species in an invasive one, generally spreading from south Florida where it first appeared, and displacing the Green Anole through the "survival of the fittest" competitive concept.   It his called the Brown Anole and does not change apparent colors as dramatically or completely as the Green Anole does. It as been in the USA for about 120 years.

The part under its chin is called a dewlap. It is colorful and expands as a courtship tool. Anoles lay one egg every couple of months. There are hundreds of varieties all over the warm world. They thrive in warm climates.

1 comment:

El Pelon said...

The brown anole isn't native?