Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the May 26, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO


Exactly when it had grown light enough to see the vegetation around my tent a slender lizard darted onto a bush stem running horizontally at arm distance right before my eyes. The critter froze there for several minutes, appearing to look at me as if trying to understand what I was doing sitting cross-legged in a tent's door at daybreak. Happily, I was able to get to the camera and snap the picture at the top of the page.

In the dim early-morning light I wasn't able to make much out about the lizard, but once the picture had been downloaded onto my computer's screen it was clear that I'd been visited by a Silky Anole, ANOLIS SERICEUS, occasionally placed into the genus Norops. This is the closest species we have here to the Green Anoles, or "Chameleons," who used to hang on my trailer walls back in Mississippi.

Like my Green Anoles, adult Silky Anoles possess colorful dewlaps they can unfurl beneath their chins when displaying. My twig-sitter was hiding his dewlap but you can see another one with his fan unfurled at http://www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/drongo/177/sericeuspvb05002.JPG.

This species is widely distributed from northern Mexico to Costa Rica and occurs in many habitats, from tropical wet forest to dry, open areas. It also exhibits several color and pattern variations, so taxonomists sometimes refer to the "Anolis sericeus complex," hinting that splitters may want to divide it into several distinct species, but lumpers are keeping it all together for the moment.

I read that over the course of the rainy season the female produces several nests, or clutches, in which she deposits a single egg.