CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Brown Anole - Anolis sagrei

Dumeril and Bibron, 1837
Click on a picture for a larger view



mapClick map for a larger view.

This alien lizard appears to be expanding its range in California. 
Black dots on the map indicate some of the areas where it has been found and could be established.


These are just the places that I know about, there are probably more. If you know a location that is not shown on the map or if you see a lizard that looks like this one anywhere in
California that is not shown on this map,
please email me at grynaf@yahoo.com and
send a picture if you can for verification.




observation link






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

Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard
Displaying adult male, Vista,
San Diego County © Len Geiger
Displaying adult male, Irvine,
Orange County © L. Thomas
Adult, Vista, San Diego County 
© Len Geiger
Adult, Vista, San Diego County 
© Len Geiger
Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard
Adult, Vista, San Diego County 
© Len Geiger
Displaying adult male, Vista,
San Diego County © Len Geiger
Adult, Huntington Beach, Orange County © Gordon Snelling Adult and Juvenile, Huntington Beach, Orange County © Gordon Snelling
Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard
Adult male, Palm Desert, Riverside County © Charlie Wheeler Adult male, Rancho Mirage, Riverside County © Valya
Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard
Adults, Santa Ana, Orange County © Larry Leon Adult, Santa Ana, Orange County
© Mark Garcia
Adult, Santa Ana, Orange County
© Mark Garcia
Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard      
Hatchling, Orange County
© James Chiate
     
       
Brown Anoles from Outside California
Adult male, Miami-Dade County, Florida, displaying distended orange dewlap with yellow border. Adult male, dewlap display, Monroe County, Florida Adult male, Monroe County, Florida
Adult female, Monroe County, Florida Adult male, Monroe County, Florida Adult female, Miami-Dade County, Florida Adult female, Miami-Dade County, Florida
Adult male, Miami-Dade County, Florida Adult female, Sarasota County, Florida Adult female, Miami-Dade County, Florida
 
Adult female, Sarasota County, Florida Adult female, Monroe County, Florida Adult male, Monroe County, Florida  
       
Habitat
Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Habitat Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Habitat Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Habitat  
Some of the lush imported ornamental vegetation in developed desert areas of the
Coachella Valley in Riverside County, where brown anoles have been seen.
 
Short Videos
   
A male brown anole in Florida
displays his orange dewlap.
A male brown anole in Florida
displays his orange dewlap.
   
     
Description
 
Size
Adult males grow up to 2.5 inches in length (6.5 cm) from snout to vent.
They grow up to about 8 inches long including a full tail.

Females are smaller, up to about 1.9 inches in length (4.8 cm) from snout to vent. (Meshaka Jr. et al 2004)

Appearance
A small thin lizard with a long head and snout and a long thin tail.
Male Color and Pattern
Males are brown or gray with a white streak down the center of the throat (which is the light bottom border of the dewlap.) This streak is not always very prominent.
The color of a lizard can change from light gray to dark brown.

The male dewlap is typically bright orange-red with a cream to yellow border, but sometimes varies to a pale yellow (due to extensive intergradation of two subspecies. (Bartlett, 1999)

Sometimes 6 or more vertical rows of spots are visible.

Some males have a pronounced crest on the top of the neck and back, and sometimes the tail.
Female Color and Pattern
Females are gray to brown with a narrow yellowish stripe on the center of the back with dark brown half circles on each side, creating the appearance of a scalloped pattern on the back.
The color of a lizard can change from light gray to dark brown.
Comparisons With Green Anole
Brown Anoles are less arboreal than Green Anoles, tending to stay closer to the ground.
Green Anoles tend to go higher up into trees, although they can also be found lower down.

Brown Anoles are always gray, light brown, or dark brown, never green.
Green Anoles can turn from dark brown to bright green.

Male Brown Anoles have a bright orange-red dewlap with a cream to yellow border.
Male Green Anoles have a pink dewlap.
(Be aware that dewlaps appear different colors when seen in different lights.)

Brown and Green Anoles are about the same size, but Green Anoles have a larger and longer head.

Life History and Behavior

Activity
Often seen basking in the sun on rocks, bushes, fences, walls, and tree tree trunks. 
Males bask on higher sites than females and juveniles. 
Adapt well to habitats modified by humans.
Sometimes seen foraging at night under lights.
(Meshaka Jr. et al 2004)
Predators
In Florida, predators include several other species of alien lizards, Cuban treefrog, American crow, corn snake, ring-necked snake, broad-winged hawk, and cattle egret. (Meshaka Jr. et al 2004)
Diet and Feeding
Eats mostly insects and other small invertebrates. Hatchling Green Anoles are also consumed and most likely other hatchling lizard species, including Brown Anoles.
Breeding
A study in Miami (Lee et al., 1989) found reproduction to be seasonal, peaking from April through June, with the fewest reproductively active lizards found from November through January for males and November through February for females. (Meshaka Jr. et al 2004)

Females lay several eggs each summer roughly each 14 days, one egg at a time. Eggs hatch in about a month. (Bartlett, 1999)

Habitat
Habitat in California appears to be suburban ornamental landscaping.

Geographical Range
Anosis sagrei is native to Cuba, the Bahamas, and surrounding islands, and widely introduced to other areas, including other Caribbean islands, most of Florida, southern Georgia, Texas, Jamaica, Mexico, Central America, Oahu Hawaii, and Taiwan.

Introduced into Florida in the mid 20th century. Earliest records are from 1950 and early colonies were associated with seaports. Has spread to most of peninsular Florida, most likely dispersed by human agency - as abandoned or escaped pets or feeder animals and as stowaways in landscaping plants and in other cargo on boats and other vehicles. (from: Meshaka Jr. et al 2004)


This species was first documented in California on this web site.


The first published documentation was in Herpetological Review 45(4), 2014, an edited version of which you can read below:

ANOLIS SAGREI (Cuban Brown Anole). USA: CALIFORNIA: San Diego Co.: Vista, elev. 158 m) 19 July 2014.
C. Mahrdt, E. Ervin, and L. Geiger. Verified by Bradford D. Hollingsworth. San Diego Natural History Museum (SDSNH 76128–76133).

New county and state record (Granatosky and Krysko 2013. IRCF Rept. Amphib. 20[4]:190–191)
Four adult males and two hatchling specimens were collected on a one-acre parcel landscaped with palms, cycads, and several species of tropical plants and ground cover. Several boulders scattered throughout the parcel were used as perch sites for male lizards. An additional 16 adults and six hatchlings were observed in the two-hour site visit (1030–1230 h). Adults were also observed beyond the property indicating that this population is established and likely expanding through the contiguous tropical landscaping of neighboring properties. According to the property owner, he first observed the species in August 2012 shortly after receiving shipments of palm trees in May–August originating from suppliers located in the Hawaiian Islands.

CLARK R. MAHRDT, Department of Herpetology, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, California 92102, USA (e-mail: leopardlizard@ cox.net);
EDWARD L. ERVIN, Merkel & Associates, Inc., 5434 Ruffin Road, San Diego, California 92123, USA;
GARY NAFIS, (www.californiaherps.com).



Some locations where this anole has been seen in California

This species may not be established in all of these areas. These are only the areas I have heard of, there may be many more. I will continue to add locations here and on the map as I hear of them. If you see any wild Brown Anoles in California or know of any locations that are not on this list, please email me.


Orange County

Huntington Beach (apparently established)
Irvine
Santa Ana (apparently established)

Riverside County

Palm Desert (apparently established)
Rancho Mirage


San Diego County

Vista (established)



Full Species Range Map
Notes on Taxonomy
"According to Conant and Collins (1991, Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Co.), two subspecies, A. s. sagrei and A. s. ordinatus were introduced to southern Florida, but they can no longer be distinguished from one another and differ from both original races. Lee (1992, Copeia 1992: 942-954) presented evidence that the Florida populations bear a much stronger phenotypic resemblance to populations from Cuba (A. s. sagrei) than to those from the Bahamas (A. s. ordinatus). Kolbe et al. (2004, Nature 431:177-181) present evidence for multiple introductions of this species from Cuba to Florida, which suggests that A. s. greyi may also have been involved." 
(SSAR Herpetological Circular No. 39, 2012)

(The subspecies Anolis sagrei greyi  Barbour, 1914 is from Cuba.  Also (Anolis greyi - Grzimek et al. 2003 & Norops sagrei greyi - Nicholson et al. 2012)

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Any alien species can pose a threat to native wildlife.
This anole is thought to have contributed to the decline of native Green Anoles in Florida. (Meshaka Jr. et al 2004)
Taxonomy
Family Dactyloidae Anoles Fitzinger, 1843
Genus Anolis (Norops) Anoles Daudin, 1802
Species

sagrei Brown Anole Dumeril and Bibron, 1837
Original Description
Dumeril and Bibron, 1837

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Anolis - West Indian anoli lizard — Native Antillean name
OD Anolis Daudin, 1803 - Hist. Nat. Rept., Vol. 4, p. 50

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

sagrei ?

Alternate Names
None

Related or Similar California Herps
Green Anole - Anolis carolinensis (Alien Species)

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.

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

Walter E. Meshaka, Jr., Brian P. Butterfield, and J. Brian Hauge. The Exotic Aphibians and Reptiles of Florida. Krieger Publishing Copany 2004.

SSAR Herpetological Circular No. 39, 2012.
SCIENTIFIC AND STANDARD ENGLISH NAMES OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF NORTH AMERICA NORTH OF MEXICO, WITH COMMENTS REGARDING CONFIDENCE IN OUR UNDERSTANDING. SEVENTH EDITION
COMMITTEE ON STANDARD ENGLISH AND SCIENTIFIC NAMES BRIAN I. CROTHER (Committee Chair)

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.


This species is not yet listed as a California alien by the California Dept. 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


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