Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.

Florida Lizards: Anoles
Anoles are a type of lizard found in Floridian nature. Most anoles are small in size ranging from 3-6 inches in length. The Knight anole is the largest anole in the state of Florida and can get to be over 13 inches long! Green anoles are the most abundant anole in the state and are sometimes confused with chameleons because of their ability to change colors. Another striking feature of the green anole is its dew lap, or throat fan. It is attached to the throat and displayed by means of a flexible rod of cartilage which can be swung downward and forward, thereby revealing a brightly colored patch of skin. Males display their dew lap during courtship and when defending territory. This display is often accompanied by a series of head-bobs and push-ups.

Florida bark anolesFlorida Bark Anole- Bark anoles are native to Hispaniola. This West Indian species is abundant in certain areas of Broward and Dade counties. It was first discovered in Brickell Park, Miami, in 1946.  Florida bark anoles spend their time clinging to trunks and large branches of trees. and blend remarkably well with the bark. Bark Anoles are Florida's smallest anole, reaching a maximum length of 12.7 cm (5 in). Its coloration and pattern are changeable, but the Florida Bark Anole has some shade of gray, green, brown, or almost black. When sleeping with tail tightly coiled, however, bark anoles may appear putty-colored or almost white. The Florida Bark Anole has a dark line across and between the eyes and a prominently banded tail. Two small, eyelike spots are often present on the back of the head, and 4 vague, backward-pointing chevrons are often on the back. The dewlap is yellow with a pale orange blush.

Cuban brown anoleCuban Brown Anole- The brown anole is native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and their satellite islands, and six subspecies occur throughout the Caribbean. Cuban brown anoles are primarily active in daylight, but sometimes they feed around lights at night. Voracious eaters, the brown anole devours large amounts of insects, while the anole themselves are a a readily available food source for many Florida snakes and birds. Cuban Brown Anoles eat their shredded skin and recycle the minerals contained in within it. Cuban Brown anoles have highly variable patterns on their backs and are usually three to five inches long.

Florida green anoleGreen Anole- The green anole is by far the most common anole in the state of Florida, Sometimes called chameleons, these anoles change from green to brown to blend into the environment. Although the green anole is the only anole species native to the U.S., several other species have been introduced in Florida and are expanding their ranges northward. Green Anoles are generally arboreal (living in trees) but can be found almost anywhere. Anoles are commonly found in suburban or even urban areas and can often be seen perched on fences and rooftops. Green Anoles are active by day in warm weather and often bask in vegetation, occasionally charging away from a basking spot to grab and inset or chase off a rival anole. During cool weather anoles are often found hiding under tree bark, shingles, or in rotten logs. Sometimes many anoles can be found taking refuge in one spot. Green Anoles eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Throughout the warm months, female green anoles lay single, round, eggs, in moist soil or rotten wood. Young green anoles resemble miniature adults.

knight anoleKnight Anole- Knight anoles are the largest of the Anoles,  growing in length from 13" to 19-3/8". Knight Anoles have a large and bony head which gives the lizard a profile reminiscent of the knight in chess, hence the name. Their eyes can move independently, and the knight anole's  tail is often longer than the entire body and has a jagged upper edge which at first sight reminds people of an iguana. Knight anoles have special adhesive lamella on their five clawed toes that allow them to stick to surfaces making it easier for them to run.  The body of the knight Anole is covered with small granular scales with two white or yellowish stripes below each eye and over each shoulder. Knight Anole are a bright green color, which can change to a light brown with yellow markings. Their color change depends on their mood, temperature, or other types of stimuli. Yellow areas may appear and disappear around the tail. Males are usually larger than females and have a dew lap, or throat fan. Knight anoles are active during the day rarely leaving the trees they live in. They will hunt and eat almost anything smaller than themselves such as insects and spiders, other lizards, tree frogs, nestling birds and small mammals. While they do not have large teeth, their teeth are sharp and a Knight Anole has very strong jaw muscles. Knight anoles can inflict a painful bite if carelessly handled and aggravated. Knight Anoles only eat live prey as the prey must move to be detected by the lizard.

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