Thursday, February 21, 2013

A tribute to the Slender Anole

We are lucky enough to see many weird and wonderful creatures here in Jalova. From the Northern Tamandua to the Eyelash Palm-pitviper; from the Agami Heron to the Red-eyed Tree Frog; everybody is enthusiastic and excited about almost everything we see, and it is usually these things that make it onto the blog.

Sadly there is one little lizard who is not always greeted with excitement or enthusiasm, but it is one thing that visitors here are almost 100% guaranteed to see. Its name is said repeatedly on surveys with a resigned sigh, and the person recording in the book wearily writes its name again and again. I speak of the Slender Anole, and I am writing this blog to show them some appreciation.

A Slender Anole eating some kind of insect, pretty cool I'd say.

It may not be the most exciting animal here, or even the most exciting anole, but at least they are consistent. Many a BAS (Biological Assessment Survey) would be almost empty were it not for the presence of these little guys.  Let us not be deceived into thinking that consistency is their only good quality though. They have excellent jumping skills, bouncing from leaf to leaf like tiny ninjas, and it’s always an exciting guessing game whether the movement of a leaf is a cricket hopping or a Slender Anole.

They are usually pale beige or grey in colour with dark and light banded tails, not quite so bright or flashy as some of our other species here but there is not always a need to be gaudy. They have a little white dewlap (a flap of skin on the throat used for displays during mating and territorial disputes), which may not be as colourful as some of the other Anoles but at least they are generally quite willing to show it off.

A slender anole showing off its dewlap.

So here’s to you Slender Anole, thanks for filling up our BAS surveys and for being just plain cute. Long may your plentiful status continue!

Rachel, Field Staff