Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cuban Invasion in the Brickpile

I began seeing a very zippy brown lizard in nurseries a few years ago. You might never notice it if it stayed put, but it sees you before you see it and skitters dramatically to someplace it considers safe. It is Anolis sagrei, the Cuban brown anole. I assume they came over in plant shipments from Florida. Now I see them flinging themselves around my backyard whenever I go out. Cuban brown anoles are like our green anoles on amphetamines, but of course, brown. Some worry that these little invaders will pressure the green anoles out. But if my backyard is any indication, they prefer different niches.

Green anoles hang out in plants and sometimes on walls. This one likes the Lindheimer muhly grass. They are mellow and into unbroken eye contact. In a good mood, they are bright green with random sprinkling of sky blue scales, and a ring of powdery blue eye shadow which puts me in mind of a truckstop waitress.

Cuban brown anoles hang out in the brick pile and on the driveway, and they don’t mind the construction site which takes up half of the backyard. This one only stopped long enough to get photographed because it hesitated to hurl itself into the dark crawl space.

For more about Brown anoles, there is an interesting article on invasive reptiles in Texas here.

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