Some other names for this species:
Carolina Anole, American Chameleon
Subspecies I've seen:
Anolis carolinensis carolinensis
Northern Green Anole
Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida—December 26, 1998
Green Anoles are the only anole species native to Florida, but they're getting harder and harder to find what with all the competition from the hardy and prolific little brown anoles
. This one was in a Coral Gables backyard.
Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, Monroe County, Florida—December 30, 1998
Here's another green anole in the Everglades. Green anoles are such elegant creatures.
Bill Sadowski Park, Perrine, Miami-Dade County, Florida—January 3, 1999
This one is right in the middle of shedding its skin. Green anoles can turn brown, an ability that earned them the confusing misnomer "American chameleon" (they aren't chameleons
; they're anoles!). Brown anoles
cannot, however, turn green.
Anole expert Dr. Ann Paterson told me that a lookalike (and closely related) Cuban anole species, Anolis porcatus, has been found in south Florida and is possibly spreading. So, the pictures I have here of A. carolinensis in south Florida may really be A. porcatus instead.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory garden, Hilo, Hawaii County, Hawaii—November 25, 2000
Not only does the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory have yummy chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts, but its garden area provides home for a thriving population of introduced green anoles. What more could you ask for? The one in the first picture was drinking water from the leaf's surface. The one in the second picture seems to be pondering how to snatch the tasty snack on its back.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida—February 7, 2004
Back in Florida, here's a photogenic juvenile green anole posing on a sea grape leaf.
Willow Pond Nature Trail, Fort Clinch State Park, Nassau County, Florida—April 19, 2004
You just gotta love that green-on-green camouflage.
Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida—December 25, 2006
Nags Head Woods Preserve, Dare County, North Carolina—April 11, 2008
Anolis carolinensis is named after the Carolinas, so I was happy to get a chance to see a few in the Carolinas. This one might look like it lost a fight with an angry cat, but in reality it was just shedding its skin. I was interested to see that it evaded me by hopping away on the ground, rather than by running up the nearest tree as I would have expected from my experience with Floridian green anoles.
Palmetto State Park, Gonzales County, Texas—April 9, 2010
Since my wife's family lives in Florida and we live in California, we have driven through Texas several times on our way across the country. However, we have typically taken this route in the late winter, when temperatures are too low for reptiles, and even at other times we've never stopped to see the sights. That is my excuse for why this humble green anole is my first ever herp photo from Texas.
Mahogany Hammock Boardwalk, Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—March 19, 2011
This green anole kept a careful watch on me. It joined only a handful of visible lizards on this cool day in the Everglades.
near Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida—March 23, 2013
Jake Scott and I pondered this lizard for awhile, wondering whether it was A. carolinensis or the introduced lookalike A. porcatus. Some references suggest that the well-defined ocella (eye-like spot) above the front leg suggests A. porcatus, whereas others suggest that there is no way to tell the two apart short of DNA analysis, whereas others suggest that the two species should really be lumped into one. Needless to say, I did not arrive at a clear answer.
Anolis carolinensis seminolus
Southern Green Anole
Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, Collier County, Florida—April 4, 2004
Most green anoles have strawberry-red dewlaps, but some populations in southwest Florida have gray or greenish dewlaps. These populations were recently designated to be a separate subspecies, Anolis carolinensis seminolus
. Unfortunately these anoles are just as hard to find amidst the far more plentiful Brown Anoles
as their northern cousins. Here's a pretty individual from Fakahatchee Strand that had a faint row of light blue dots down its side.
Oscar Scherer State Park, Sarasota County, Florida—April 8, 2004
Here's a Southern Anole that showed off its distinguishing dewlap for me.
Corkscrew Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary, Collier County, Florida—April 5, 2008
This anole had some particularly nice blue speckles on its neck and shoulders.
- Read Todd Campbell's overview of the competition between green anoles and brown anoles in an Insitute for Biological Invasions Invader of the Month column.
- This species is often kept in captivity. I know nothing about captive care, but you can find information by searching with Google.
- Ashton, R. E. Jr., Ashton, P. S. 1991. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida, Part Two: Lizards, Turtles, & Crocodilians, Revised Second Edition
- Bartlett, R. D., Bartlett, P. B. 1999. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Carmichael, P., Williams, W. 1991. Florida's Fabulous Reptiles & Amphibians
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding. SSAR Herpetological Circular 39:1-92.
- Mckeown, S. 1996. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands
- Rogner, M. 1997. Lizards
- Smith, H. M. 1995. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and Canada
- Smith, H. M., Brodie, E. D. Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification