CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California



Green Anole - Anolis carolinensis

(Voigt, 1832)
Click on a picture for a larger view



Green Anole California Range MapThis lizard appears to be expanding its range into California. 
Black and Red dots on the map indicate some of the areas where it has been found and could be established.
Click map for a larger view.

If you see any lizard that looks like this living in
the wild anywhere in California please email me at grynaf@yahoo.com and send a picture if you can.





observation link






This is an alien species that has been introduced into California. It is not a native species.

Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult male displaying his dewlap, San Diego County © Tom Day Adult, Redhawk area of Temecula, Western Riverside County, 2010,
from a population of anoles observed since 1993. © Curtis Croulet
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult, Chino Hills, San Bernardino County © Nate Loftin Adult found in a Newport Beach, Orange County, backyard. The photographer discovered that this lizard was one of three released in her neighbor's yard. If these lizards survive and breed, they could become established in the neighborhood. That's why it is a bad idea (and against the law) to release non-native reptiles.
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adults from San Diego a few miles northeast of Balboa Park. © Robert Farwell
Adult, San Diego Zoo
© Walter Ray-Dulany
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult, Carlsbad, San Diego County
© Samantha Blattler
Adults, Huntington Beach, Orange County © Carol Robertson
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adults from Tustin, Orange County
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult, San Diego Zoo, San Diego County © Caroline Roberti Adult from Tustin, Orange County © Kevin Strong
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult male showing the dorsal crest, Laguna Hills, Orange County
© Andrew Hausheer
Adult, Fountain Valley, Orange County
© Eric Lessenger
Green Anole Great Basin Collared Lizard  
Adult, Balboa Park, San Diego County
© Brian Flaigmore
Green Anoles, genus Anolis,
have small granular scales.
 
     
Habitat
  Green Anole Habitat  
  Balboa Park, San Diego County  
     
Green Anoles From Outside California
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult, Monroe County, Florida Adult, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana Adult, Miami-Dade County, Florida
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult male displaying distended pink dewlap, Galveston County, Texas Adult male displaying distended pink dewlap (left) in green phase, and
moments later, in brown phase (right) Galveston County, Texas
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult male displaying distended pink dewlap, Galveston County, Texas Adult, Miami-Dade County, Florida Adult, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
A light-phase green anole tried to catch a fly, but failed, Volusia County, Florida Adult male, Liberty County, Florida Adult jumping, Broward County, Florida
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
Adult, Travis County, Texas Adult, Jasper County, Texas
   
Short Videos
Green Anole Green Anole Green Anole
A male green anole in Chambers County Texas displays his pink dewlap. A male green anole in Chambers County Texas quickly changes his color from green to brown. A light-phase green anole in Florida tries to catch a fly, but fails.
     
Description
 
Size
Adults are usually 3 inches long from snout to vent, and about 5-8 inches including the tail.

Appearance
A small thin lizard with a long head and snout and a long thin tail.
Color and Pattern
Color varies: at times plain green, brown, or mottled green and brown. Dark streaks or spots may occur, often giving the appearance of a light stripe on the back.
Male dewlap is pink.
Male/Female Differences
Males distend a pink dewlap when trying to attract a female and when displaying their territory.

Life History and Behavior

Diet and Feeding
Small invertebrates and grasses.
Breeding
Breeds from  April to August or September.
Males pursue females, bobbing up and down and displaying their colorful dewlap.
Females lay several clutches of eggs during the season, totalling about 10.
Eggs are buried in soft soil or compost.
Eggs hatch in 30 - 45 days.

Geographical Range
Native to southern and southeastern North America, from South and Central Texas to the Florida Keys and north to North Carolina, and the southern parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Introduced into the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California and probably elsewhere.


Green Anoles Found In California


According to Jones, Lawrence, Rob Lovich, editors. Lizards of the American Southwest: A Photographic Field Guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009, a population of Green Anoles exists at the San Diego Zoo. They are also well-known from Balboa Park which surrounds the zoo.
My personal communications with San Diego County herpers confirms their presence there in 2013.

In a blog post on October 18th, 2013, the Los Angeles Natural History Museum reported a population of Green anoles in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. They added four specimens from Hancock Park to the museum on October first.

There is an internet forum report of Green Anoles inhabiting a park in Carlsbad in San Diego County on FieldherpForum, with several pictures. I have also received information of a sighting of a single anole in the Rancho Carrillo area of Carlsbad.

There is a voucher specimen in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History collection of a lizard found in Northridge in 1980.



Some locations where this anole has been seen in California

(E) = Known to be an established population.

Many of these locations are areas that have been reported to me since I put up this page in 2013. This species may or may not be established in all of these areas. I will continue to add locations here and on the map as I hear of them. If you see any or know of any locations not on this list, please email me.



Los Angeles County

Los Angeles - Hancock Park (E)
Northridge


Orange County

Cypress (E)
Fountain Valley(E)
Huntington Beach (E)
Huntington Harbor (E)
Irvine
Laguna Hills
Laguna Niguel
Tustin (E)


Riverside County

Menifee
Temecula


San Bernardino County

Chino Hills


San Diego County

Carlsbad (E)
Escondido (E)
San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido
San Diego
- Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo (E)
- and a few miles north near the stadium (E)
San Marcos
Vista

Full Species Range Map
Habitat
So far, this lizard is known from a park in San Diego California near sea level with many non-native plants and trees, and residential areas with mostly non-native vegetation.

Notes on Taxonomy
Two subspecies are recognized:
Anolis carolinensis carolinensis
Anolis carolinensis seminolus

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Any alien species may pose a threat to native wildlife.
Taxonomy
Family Dactyloidae Anoles Fitzinger, 1843
Genus Anolis (Norops) Anoles Daudin, 1802
Species

Anolis carolinensis (Voigt, 1832)
Original Description

Anolis Daudin, 1803 - Hist. Nat. Rept., Vol. 4, p. 50
Anolis carolinensis (Voigt, 1832) - in Cuvier's Thierreich, Vol. 2, p. 71

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
West Indian anoli lizard — Native Antillean name

carolinensis - belonging to the Carolinas - refers to the area where it was originally discovered.

from Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained © Ellin Beltz

Alternate Names
Carolina Anole
American Chameleon
Red-throated Anole
American Anole

Related or Similar California Herps
No native lizards are related, or green in color, but the brown phase is somewhat similar in shape and size and color to
Urosaurus graciosus
- Long-tailed Brush Lizard
and
Urosaurus ornatus
- Tree Lizard

More Information and References
Robert Powell, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

Conant, Roger, and Joseph T. Collins. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.

Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Lizards, Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Cornell University Press, 1946.

R. D. Bartlett, Patricia P. Bartlett. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company. 1999.
A
Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.




Organization
Status Listing
NatureServe Global Ranking
NatureServe State Ranking
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) none
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) none
California Department of Fish and Wildlife none
Bureau of Land Management none
USDA Forest Service none
IUCN


Home Site Map About Us Identification Lists Maps Photos More Lists CA Snakes CA Lizards CA Turtles CA Salamanders CA Frogs
Contact Us Usage Resources Rattlesnakes Sounds Videos FieldHerping Yard Herps Behavior Herp Fun CA Regulations
Beyond CA All Herps


Return to the Top

 © 2000 -