09 August 2012
Posted in NatureWorks
We see lizards scurrying around on sidewalks, buildings and just about everywhere, but have you ever stopped to wonder exactly what type of lizard they are? The two most common lizards to Florida are the green anole and the brown anole. However, do not be fooled by their similar names because these critters have their differences.
The green anole, also known as the Carolina anole, is the only anole species native to Florida. They are small lizards usually ranging from six to eight inches long – about half of which is comprised by its tail. It is also mainly an arboreal species, meaning they are primarily found living in trees or branches of trees.
The green anole's colors range from the brightest of greens to the darkest of browns, the latter of which typically indicates distress. Their diets consist mainly of small insects such as crickets and grasshoppers, but they have also been known to consume grasses as well.
While native to Cuba and the Bahamas, the brown anole has found its way to Florida in rather larger numbers. The brown anole is a small, semi-arboreal lizard, meaning it lives some of its life both in trees and on the ground. Its colors most commonly range from light gray to brown to almost black with irregular patches, spots or patterns. A very distinguishable feature of this lizard is its expandable dewlap: the flap of skin that hangs beneath the lower jaw or neck, which can be yellow to red-orange in color and is used in mating and territorial displays. Its diet is similar to that of the green anole, feeding mainly on small insects such as grasshoppers and crickets, but the brown anole is also known to eat other lizards such as the green anole.
Both lizards exhibit autonomy, or self-amputation, whereby they can sever their tail to avoid predation. The detached tail can continue to move and distract its predator. The tail can grow back to an extent.