What kind of Lizard is this?
Location: boynton beach florida
May 6, 2011 5:06 pm
I was walking my dog one morning and noticed this guy, went home to get my camera. I never saw anything like it before…What is it?
Signature: Irene

Cuban Knight Anole

Hi Irene,
We have moved out of our comfort zone with your request, but since in the loosest and most unscientific sense, bugs are “things that crawl” and Lizards do crawl, they do have a place on our site.  A web search of “green lizard Florida” led us to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary site and its profile of the Green Anole,
Anolis carolinensis, which somewhat resembles your Lizard.  Since Florida seems to be an ideal habitat for invasive exotic species including reptiles whose owners have released them into the habitat, we did not discount that this might be some foreign species.  We believe we have identified your Lizard as a Cuban Knight Anole, Anolis equestris, and according to the Discover Life website:  “The Knight anole is the largest Anolis species in the world.  They grow in length from 13-19 3/8 inches.  The head is large and bony, and their eyes can move independently. They have strong jaws and sharp teeth. The tail is often longer than the entire body and has a jagged upper edge. They have special adhesive lamella on their five clawed toes that allow them to stick to surfaces making it easier for them to run. This adhesive pad is located on the central part of each toe. Their body is covered with small granular scales with two white or yellowish stripes below each eye and over each shoulder.  They are a bright green color, which can change to a light brown with yellow markings. Their color change depends on their mood, temperature, or other types of stimuli. Yellow areas may appear and disappear around the tail. Males are usually larger than females and have a pale pink throatfan that balloons up when excited.”  We learned on the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity website that:  “Knight anoles are native to Cuba. They have been introduced into southeastern Florida, and there are now breeding populations in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties” and that “Knight Anoles are diurnal. They can be fiercely defensive when a snake or anything like a snake (a stick, a garden hose), gets too close. Their defensive display is to turns sideways, extends the throatfan, raise back crest, and gape menacingly (Behler 1979). A male fighting with other male anoles protrudes the throatfan to its fullest and then retracts it, repeating several times. He rises on all four legs, stiffly nods his head, and turns sideways towards rival. The male then turns bright green. Frequently the fight will end with the display, and the male most impressed by the display will drop his crest and slink away. If fighting continues, males rush at each other with mouths open. Sometimes jaws will lock if they go head on, otherwise they try to go for the limb of their opponent (Noble 1933).”  You may also find information on the Florida Gardener website.  The introduction of invasive exotic species like the Cuban Knight Anole may have a significant negative impact on native species.

Cuban Knight Anole

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Location: Florida

4 Responses to Cuban Knight Anole

  1. Ashley says:

    I just spotted the same kind today in Boynton Beach as well! I’d never seen this kind and this “big” of a lizard around here either. pic.twitter.com/o0c0YEg4kn

  2. Ron Perazza says:

    Live in Highland Beach and saw one of these lizards the other day. It was quite huge and startled me at first. Have never seen one before.

  3. Randall Lyon says:

    I just spotted one in Naples FL

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