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Brown Anole Fact File

Anolis sagrei

Credit: Public Domain

Weight

2-6g

(0.07-0.2oz)

Length

15-20cm

(6-8in)

Lifespan

Wild 2-3 years

Captive 8 years

Diet

Carnivore

Invertebrates

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

Check Out That Flag!

Both male and female brown anoles have a bright orange flag-like dewlap on the underside of their throat. This can be used to display to other anoles.

These animals are carnivores which hunt for a range of invertebrates.

Brown anoles have been able to expand their range through introductions of pets and animals which have hitched a ride on ships or trucks. They are continuing to expand their range especially in the United States.

They are active during the day when they are often seen basking in the sun.

Learn more about these remarkable reptiles below.

Appearance

What does the Brown Anole look like?

Across their range these animals have variable coloration and may be brown or grey. They are covered by a number of small scales. These animals can change their color in small amounts with males becoming almost black.

Under the neck the brown anole has a flag like appendage which sticks out known as the dewlap. This is colored an orangish-red and is patterned with small white spots. It tends to have a lighter yellow stripe along the edge.

When not extended this patch folds under the neck and is visible only as a pale stripe. This is present in both males and females. It can be used to communicate with other anoles.

The brown anole has a long tail at the end of its body.

An average individual will measure between 15 and 20cm (6-8in) long and weigh 2-6g (0.07-0.2oz). Males tend to be larger than females.

Adaptations

How does the Brown Anole survive in its habitat?


Brown anoles are considered to have excellent eyesight. This allows them to spot prey from metres away.

The coloration of the brown anole assists them with camouflage in their habitat.

If threatened the brown anole will lose its tail. They are able to generate a new tail if this occurs. The new tail is colored grey and shorter than the original.

On their feet are sticky pads. These are covered by a millions or mircoscopic fibers which help them to cling on to surfaces. This adaptation allows them to climb up almost any surface.

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Diet

What does the Brown Anole eat?

Brown anoles are carnivores which feed on a range of invertebrates.

Learn more about the Brown Anole in this video from TerraNaturalist on YouTube

Range

Where do you find the Brown Anole?

These animals were naturally found on a number of islands in the Caribbean including the Bahamas; Belize; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Grenada and Mexico.

The origin of populations found in Jamaica are unclear. It is unknown if these were introduced or naturally occurring.

This species is highly invasive and has established outside of their range in a number of locations including – Costa Rica; Taiwan; Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States. In the United States they are found in the following states – Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, California, Hawaii and Texas. Their range within the US is continuing to expand.

Habitat

Where can the Brown Anole survive?

Anoles are common in a wide range of habitats but tend to avoid forest.

With their expanding range this species has adapted to man-made habitats and can commonly be found near houses.

During cool weather these animals will seek shelter under bark or among a rotting log. Multiple anoles may be seen in the same hiding spot.

Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)

Credit: Public Domain

Reproduction

How does the Brown Anole produce its young?

Prior to the breeding season brown anoles will establish territories in which they can find a mate.

Females move close to the male when they are ready to breed. She will signal she is ready to mate by moving her head to the side which provides a spot for the male to grab her during mating.

Multiple females are often seeking the attention of a single male and he may chose not to mate with one after initially grabbing her.

A female will lay a single egg during spring and summer. Occasionally a second egg is included in the clutch. This will be deposited in to leaf litter and then covered. Females will produce multiple clutches laid at regular intervals across the breeding season.

Females are able to store sperm allowing them to continue producing eggs even when males have ended the breeding season.

Young typically hatch during June.

Sexual maturity is reached by one year old.

Behavior

What does the Brown Anole do during its day?

These animals are active during the day and will often be seen basking in the sun. During winter they tend to become less active. In human occupied areas they may hunt under lights.

These animals are considered arboreal and spend much of their time in the trees. They will use their sticky feet pads to help climb up trees and other such surfaces.

They will live communally in a small group. Each group maintains a small territory which is around the size of a single bush.

Throughout the year the brown anole will molt its skin in small pieces. These are consumed by the brown anole which helps to replenish their supplies of calcium.

Brown anoles have no notable vocalizations instead using visual cues to communicate.

Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)

Credit: Public Domain

Predators and Threats

What stops the Brown Anole from surviving and thriving?

Natural predators of the brown anole include reptiles such as snakes and larger lizards along with birds. Juveniles are often subject to hunting by larger species of anole.

If seen by a predator these animals will quickly run away aiming to find safety.

Brown anoles have benefited from introduction to a number of additional locations helping to expand their population.

These animals are present in the pet trade and many of the introduced populations come from escaped individuals. They have also moved to new areas by hitching a ride on planes or boats.

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Quick facts

This species may also be known as the Cuban anole or the De la Sagra's anole.

They were first described for modern science during 1837.

Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)

Credit: Public Domain

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Howard, J., 2019. Encyclopedia of animals. London: Quatro Publishing.     

Lee, J., Mandujano, R.C., Reynolds, R.G., Buckner, S. & Fong, A. 2020. Anolis sagreiThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T197443A2484119. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T197443A2484119.en. Accessed on 24 April 2022.

Outdoor Alabama. 2022. Brown Anole | Outdoor Alabama. [online] Available at: <https://www.outdooralabama.com/lizards/brown-anole> [Accessed 24 April 2022].

Tsusinvasives.org. 2022. details. [online] Available at: <http://www.tsusinvasives.org/home/database/anolis-sagrei> [Accessed 24 April 2022].

Oaklandzoo.org. 2022. Oakland Zoo | Brown Anole (Cuban Anole). [online] Available at: <https://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/brown-anole-cuban-anole> [Accessed 24 April 2022].

Srelherp.uga.edu. 2022. Species Profile: Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) | SREL Herpetology. [online] Available at: <https://srelherp.uga.edu/lizards/anosag.htm> [Accessed 24 April 2022].

Casanova, L. 2004. "Norops sagrei" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 24, 2022 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Norops_sagrei/

Californiaherps.com. 2022. Brown Anole – Anolis sagrei. [online] Available at: <http://www.californiaherps.com/lizards/pages/a.sagrei.html> [Accessed 24 April 2022].

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