Saturday, August 22, 2009

Amazing Anoles of the Tiburon Peninsula

I just arrived in the Dominican Republic after 2+ weeks of highly successful anole hunting in Haiti. Luke Mahler and I managed to snag all the Haitian endemics, with the notable exception of Anolis darlingtoni, an enigmatic twig anole that has only been collected twice previously. I hope to dwell on this failure a bit more in a subsequent post, but I'll focus on the positives here.

The photos to the right feature some highlights from our time on the Tiburon Peninsula. I'll work through them from top to bottom. (1) One major highlight for me was seeing A. distichus vinosus, a subspecies of a widespread and highly polymorphic trunk anole species that has a particularly spectacular red and white dewlap. My student Julienne Ng is actively studying speciation in A. distichus and the samples we collected on the Tiburon will be important contributions to her work. (2) The ├╝ber long-snouted A. dolichocephalus was another of the Tiburon beauties. The males are virtually dewlap-less, but have some striking head coloration that may act to compensate for this deficiency. (3) Anolis coelestinus is a bright green trunk-crown anole found across southern Hispaniola. In this photo you can see a male displaying on an agave with a female out of focus in the background. Males from the western Tiburon have gray dewlaps that differ rather dramatically from the yellow dewlaps that predominant to the east. (4) The fourth photo is of A. monticola, a really attractive species with scapular spots that was recently featured on the cover of Losos's new book on anoles (photo by Luke Mahler). (5) The final photo is of a female A. koopmani, a grass anole that we found hanging out in an abandoned fort (photo by Luke Mahler). It was pretty cool to be searching for herps among abandoned 18th century canons!

Tomorrow I join my students on a search for dwarf geckos (Sphaerodactylus) near the remote Dominican fishing village of Pedernales - wish us luck!


Anonymous said...

Good Luck!

Dan Warren said...

Good luck!

And wow, what great pictures.