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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Galapagos Carpenter Bee
May 11, 2010
When I saw your posts about the Valley Carpenter Bee and the similar carpenter bee from Guam, I knew you’d want to see this Galapagos Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa darwinii). My husband Tom captured the last moments of this male carpenter bee being eaten by a lava lizard! The Galapagos Carpenter Bees are dimorphic also, with black females and golden brown males. Our guide said we were very lucky to see the males, since they don’t stick around very long. This photo was taken on January 23, 2010.
Mary
Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Carpenter Bee eaten by Lava Lizard

Dear Mary,
What an awesome Food Chain image you have submitted.  It is also nice to get an image of a species closely related to our Southern California Valley Carpenter Bee.  The males have a much shorter life span than the females because the females may take up to several months to gather enough pollen to provision a nest for approximately six offspring.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

worm or snake
March 7, 2010
Hey found this “thing” in my house, on my carpet. Any idea what it is? Has two black eyes, behaved defensive when we tried to touch it. After placing it in the restroom sink to better observe, it died withing a minute. I have small children, is this something we should be worried about?
Thanks, Roxy
ranch in south texas

Blind Snake

Hi Roxy,
We believe this is a harmless Legless Lizard, though we would defer to any reptile experts that care to comment.

Hi,
I saw that you posted a picture of what you thought was a legless lizard. I’m pretty sure it is actually a blind snake, possibly Leptotyphlops humilis, the western blind snake. According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, they live throughout the southwestern U.S., including Texas. It could also be Leptotyphlops dulcis, the Texas slender blind snake, which lives throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, and central Texas. Although I’m not an expert, I have been around reptiles all my life. I actually found one of these little guys several years ago and that is why I immediately recognized it as a blind snake.
Josh Kouri

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Orb Weaver with Skink Pt2
July 24, 2009
I sent two images earlier today and got one more of the same unknown orb weaver with her skink. By now he’s collapsing on himself from her nonstop feast. As my son said, “Cool. Spiders are like vampires!”
Resa in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

Uknown Spider Feasting on Lizard
July 24, 2009
Saw this unknown spider had caught a baby skink it its web last night. I tried to get a decent night shot as the spider was biting the skink’s tail. The poor little lizard was twisitng fruitlessly. This morning the spider had turned the now dead skink and was working on it’s face. My kids enjoyed seeing the circle of life in action. I hope you enjoy the shots as well.
Resa in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

Hi Resa,
We are thrilled to be able to post your awesome documentation, though we have a certain fondness for lizards.  We do really hate those television commercials with the animated gecko though.   Your spider is not an Orbweaver, but rather a Cobweb Spider.  We believe it is the highly variable Common House Spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Spiders are able to incapacitate much larger prey when the prey becomes entangled in the web.  We have photos in our archive of a Golden Orb Weaver feeding on a Hummingbird and we have linked to an image of a Golden Silk Spider eating a Finch.

Common House Spider eats Gecko

Common House Spider eats Skink

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

UNNECESSARY CARNAGE
Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 5:55 AM
Hi Bugman,
This basilisk lizard is not a pet. While sitting out by the pond fishing, this female ran over and grabbed the poor caterpillar. It was right in front of me on the ground and I didn’t see it until she grabbed it and it was too late. Do you have any idea what kind of caterpillar it was? It took the lizard around ten minutes to scarf it down. She looked pretty satisfied after she ate her prize.
Jordan
Costa Rica

Basilisk Lizard eats Silk Moth Caterpillar

Basilisk Lizard eats Silk Moth Caterpillar

Hi Jordan,
This is far from unnecessary carnage. That section of our website is devoted to the hapless creatures that are squashed and swatted by humans out of ignorance. This Basilisk Lizard is dining on a Giant Silk Moth Caterpillar as part of the beautiful Food Chain cycle that dictates many creature must eat or be eaten. It is difficult to ascertain the exact species of the caterpillar from the camera angle, but we are relatively certain it is in the family Saturniidae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

An unofficial first sighting on the hill

We need to take a slight detour here to indulge ourselves. People use the term “Bug” for many reasons. Scientifically, a True Bug is an insect in the suborder Heteroptera, but our humble site has used the slang term bug for other insects as well as spiders, scorpions, crustaceans, worms, amphibians and even reptiles, because these are things that “bug” some folks. Now that we have justified ourselves on this one, we will relate the story. The lovely rustic neighborhood of Mt Washington is currently being raped by insensitive developers. There is a new Notice of Intent sign posted with an address 1538 N. Randall Court, Los Angeles, 90065 and this lot was cleared of brush Sunday. We suspect this California Legless Lizard, Anniella pulchra, was living a carefree life, enjoying the loose sandy soil and eating all manner larval insects, beetles, termites, and spiders before it was disturbed by the weed wackers. Last night, the little bugger was found in the pristinely manicured and landscaped front yard of Phot across the street. We were lucky enough to capture what we thought was a snake of unknown taxonomy. Since moving to our current home/office over 8 years ago, we have sighted two others of this unusual species. We rushed home with the thrashing “snake” in a paper bag and quickly telephoned Julian Donahue, the local keeper of species sighting records, to get an identification. Julian identified the creature as a California Legless Lizard and noted this would be the first local sighting that he knows about. More information on this unique species can be found on the California Reptiles and Amphibians website. We brought the California Legless Lizard home and took some photos in the kitchen sink. After a short night’s rest in the paper bag, the California Legless Lizard is soon to be released into the open space of our gem of a state park, Elyria Canyon State Park where it won’t need to worry about being evicted ever again. We are sorry to have leapfrogged in front of our faithful and curious readership on this one, but it seemed so significant. Meanwhile, we are continuing to plow through all the letters that arrived in our week long absence, and we are only scratching the surface of June 9 right now. Thanks for your patience.

Released into Elyria Canyon Park

Update: (06/14/2008) Legless lizard
Great site and if I am correct you are also a fellow member of MWHA. I grew up on Mt. Washington and began finding what I assumed were newts when the clay soil was very wet as far back as the early 1990’s when my wife and I bought the family home. Very interesting to learn that they are not newts but California Legless Lizards. I occasionally come upon one or two when gardening or doing slight excavation, but they only seem to be in the front garden for some reason, maybe due to bark or proximity to the main sewage line. I also occasionally find something similar but with very immature and short legs. Should I come across one again, I will photograph and send photos. We are generally gentle with our bug friends (not very fond of the damn slugs which devour much of my herbs) but we have a pesticide free (and petrochemical free for that matter) garden. It has been nice to see the eco system rebound after all the malthion orgy during the 1980’s. Again great work neighbor, your site is a great resource.
Doug Nickel Mt. Washington

Hi Doug,
Thanks for the additional information. The California Legless Lizard inhabits sandy soil. It burrows quickly into the ground, so hard packed clay would not be an ideal habitat. Crumbled sandstone slopes found in certain areas of Mt Washington are ideal. The California Legless Lizard grows to 7 inches in length. Much more common in Mt Washington are Slender Salamanders in the genus Batrachosep , which sound like what you are describing. They are smaller and have tiny little feet. The ones I find are dark. If you are certain you are finding two different creatures, then perhaps the population of California Legless Lizards on Mt Washington is bigger than Julian Donahue supposed. Come to the next meeting of the MWHA and introduce yourself. I expect to write a piece on the California Legless Lizard for the next newsletter, and perhaps I can get some information from you.

Julian Donahue Comments: (06/14/2008)
Hi Doug,
You may be talking about two different critters. The California Legless Lizard is, indeed, legless, but is fast moving, almost like a skink. Its body is covered with small scales. The other is the Slender Salamander, which has very small legs. As an amphibian it is smooth-skinned and moist, with no scales. It prefers damper locations than the lizard. Both have now been confirmed on Mt. Washington. Your neighbor down the street,
Julian

Update:  September 22, 2013
It seems there is more diversity among Legless Lizards in California than was originally believe.  Read about the four new species of Legless Lizards in California on Popular Science and Yahoo News.

Julian Donahue provides information on the Legless Lizard diversity:  September 19, 2013
Just discovered a new paper that splits four species of legless lizards from the one species, California Legless Lizard, making five in all in California.
Ours is now Anniella stebbinsi, the Southern California Legless Lizard. I have just posted this info on the Alliance Facebook page, updated the Mt. Washington herptile list, and attach a PDF of the full article for your files.  Anniella-4 n spp
Julian

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination