Anoles of the Rainbow — and a Newly Discovered Color Variant!
There are myriad lizards in our Florida wilds — chirping geckos, monitors, prehistoric basilisks, stealthy iguanas, invasive curlytails, skinks, lined racerunners, and colorful anoles, just to name a few. But the anoles stand out in ever-lovely radiance. I’ve had the luck to spot not only green, but rare yellow-phased anoles — and now, a newly discovered (and as yet, unwritten) mutation — orange!
While I haven’t seen anything scientific written on this new color variant to date, a few others have noted their existence in South Florida in the last few months. At first, it was considered an oddity — or perhaps a side-effect of the high concentration of iron in the ground water. However, I captured this guy in the wilds of the northern section of the Everglades, not in an urban neighborhood with sprinkler systems. FASCINATING! The red/orange coloration of these anoles is curious and striking, and it will be interesting to read further input of their new color-phased mutation in the upcoming months.
During a walk through Fern Forest, a magnificent 247-acre conservation site and wildlife refuge characterized as “the last remaining stronghold of ferns in southeastern Florida,” we spied a rare yellow anole (aka yellow-phased green anole). Unfortunately, anoles with this unique color mutation don’t usually live long in the wild, as the green coloring offers them valuable camouflage for hunting prey and hiding from predators. Colonies of these rare color-phased anoles have been reported — and I like to think this guy was part of one….
Far into our hike on the Hog Hammock Trail in the Grassy Waters Preserve — on a particularly hot and humid, but fortunately cloudy day — I spied a flash of green at the water’s edge. Luckily it was a *small* green flash. A green anole kindly took the time to pose for me and my camera.
This is so COOL! Never seen anything like that. Really interesting!
I was SO excited! I knew about the rare yellows — and I was thrilled to nab one of them — but ORANGE! I can’t wait to read what the academics have to say about this mutation…!
Beautiful! Wonder what the orange mutations are doing for them.
Isn’t he lovely, absolutely brilliant? I can’t wait to read what the academics have to say about this mutation… I know the yellow coloration has a tough time in the wild, since it stands out more — no camouflage. But the orange seems to blend a bit better with the surroundings…
Makes sense. If it’s helping it to blend in better (at least better than yellow), then it’s a useful adaptation. Cool!
Love these little guys and the orange on is stunning, great photos
Thanks so much! I was THRILLED to capture him (although my guy actually found him, heh!)… I can’t wait to read what the pros have to say about this orange mutation…
Maybe they will name it after you?
Hahah! Funny. I’ve only seen one other person — definitely knowledgeable in the ways of reptiles (which I am not) — also discuss their presence within the last 6 months.
Oooh! Lovely captures!! I only have ever seen the lighter of green ones about my home. ‘Twould be lovely to see the other colors….
Thanks so much! Isn’t he just magnificent? The yellow anoles are rare enough, but ORANGE…? I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about this (new?) color mutation, though!
How wonderful to have spotted this new colour variant! What an exciting moment that must have been. Stunning photos.
Thanks so much! My guy spied this little critter… I was focused on a *closed* trail, heh! But I knew immediately something was amiss — and I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about this (new?) color variant/mutation! ♥
I do think these are wonderful shots!! Having chased a few myself I know that getting a nice sharp shot is not always very easy. The lighting is great here too!! Having read so much about birds and their color morphs…like the Great White Heron once thought a different species than the Great Blue Heron..and now being considered a color variant…this has always been a fascinating subject. The darker green lizard on the bottom seems to have hints of orange colorations along the spine and on its head…so the color is probably in the genes. Maybe it is some sort of recessive/dominant thing. Interesting to follow. Thanks for the treat.
Thanks so much!! These guys ARE tough to capture, sometimes… I was SO lucky that Dave spotted him — I was more focused on the “closed trail” (“why is it closed? huh? huh?”).
The yellow anoles are rare enough, but ORANGE…? I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about this (new?) color mutation! I’m thinking it’s a variation of the brown anoles. But I’ll leave that to the experts. 🙂 FASCINATING stuff, these color morphs! I always want to know *why* they occur — the *when* seems to be fairly recent.
Yellow phased… Lucky or not lucky? I’m confused…
Heh, thanks so much!! Well, *I* was lucky to spot a yellow-phased anole… Since they’re on the rare side. But I don’t know how lucky *they* are, in the wild! They can’t camouflage easily, making them easy bait, and likewise making hunting difficult.
These are very pretty lizards. Curiously I commented on a post about Anoles just a few days ago in another blog. I hadn’t been aware of them before. 🙂 You’ve captured them so well. And I love that orange one – just gorgeous!
Thanks so much! That’s great — perhaps anoles are your new animal totem, heh!
They’re quite beautiful and (sometimes) bright little critters. I was THRILLED to capture this guy… And I can’t wait to read what the academics have to say about this *new* orange mutation…! Just fascinating.
These lizards are gorgeous 🙂
Thanks so much! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, exactly… And then, totally thrilled to capture him. I can’t wait to read what the pros have to say about this orange mutation…
love it 🙂
He’s so bright and unique… I love this little guy!!
i have seen the green guy, but never seen the red one. he posed well too 🙂 your findings always amaze me.
Didn’t he pose just perfectly? I can’t take the credit for finding him… I was more obsessed about a closed section of the trail, hahah! My guy spotted him, and I was immediately stunned — orange? Whaa? As often as we escape to Nature, I’m surprised we don’t find more, truth be told… 🙂
Here you go again, pulling out awesome photos of small reptiles. Amazing! BTW, heard a pig frog today. Didn’t see it though. ;-(
Thanks so much! I was THRILLED to capture him (although I can’t take the credit for spotting him — I was more focused on a closed section of the trail, heh!)… I can’t wait to read what the pros have to say about this orange mutation…
Those little pig frogs are so hard to spot! Let me just tell you how I shot that little guy — leaning WAY over into the water, holding precariously onto a cypress — and peering right and left for gators. For a frog… 🙂
I love lizards anyway, but I think these could easily go to the top of my list!
I was so thrilled to nab him! I love anoles, too (although geckos are probably my favorite)… I was especially excited to spy the yellow-phased guy; he was so bright and seemingly out-of-place in the forest.
That orange anole is absolutely gorgeous! And what a great photo!!!
Thanks so much! Isn’t he just magnificent? The yellow anoles are rare enough, but orange…? I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about this (new?) color mutation in our area!
Fascinating . The orange coloration almost reminds me of the deepest orange on the heads of our invasive and long time established brown Cubans I rarely see true fl green anoles vs the giant green cubans siting in tree’s these days. Splendid photos and look forward to reading up on this amazing coloration you were so lucky to see.
Thanks so much!
At first I also thought it was a brown Cuban, but then his coloring was so BRIGHT… Isn’t he just magnificent? I was so excited. The yellow anoles are rare enough, but ORANGE…? I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about this (new?) mutation, too!
Yes it is very striking color though I am almost certin it is a brown Cuban variation /mutation not green based on the photos. The green and yellow are so elegant in body and head .not to take anything away it certainly is an orange anole like none I ever seen and a lucky find. Our Green/yellows are our only native anoles
We definitely have lots (unfortunately) of Cuban Brown Anoles in our area — highly invasive little critters. This guy definitely wasn’t one of them — or at least, a *pure* Brown Cuban. He could be a hybrid, but his coloring was *bright* orange, and he wasn’t sporting the same markings of the Cuban Browns… A bit more elegant, too. This photo was taken in a dark swamp, with no touch-up. There have been a few others who have noted their existence in our area — and they all look the same. It will be interesting to hear what the pros have to say of the color morph. 🙂 I was just thrilled to have seen the little guy!
They are so pretty. That is one thing about living in the north, no lizards here. I used to see lots in Oklahoma.
Definitely… They don’t like the cold, heh!! Even down here, many don’t make it past the northern part of South Florida — too “cold” for ’em! I was thrilled to spy this totally unique and striking guy, though.
Here’s a link that shows a Cuban Brown Anole. The dewlap looks like the one you found.
Whether Cuban or American or a hybrid, it is a neat little lizard.
Yeh, we have lots (unfortunately) of Cuban Brown Anoles in our area — highly invasive little critters.
This guy definitely wasn’t one of them — or at least, a *pure* Brown Cuban. He could be a hybrid, but his coloring was *bright* orange, and he wasn’t sporting the same markings of the Cuban Browns… A bit more elegant, too. This photo was taken in a dark swamp, with no touch-up. There have been a few others who have noted their existence in our area — and they all look the same. It will be interesting to hear what the pros have to say of the color morph — or perhaps interbreeding. 🙂
Yes, I was just seeing the similarity in the dewlap. The Orange is unique and amazing and beautiful. As usual, your posting is terrific.
What a beautiful collection of photos! The anoles are quite amazing – what striking colours they all have.
Thanks so very much! I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about the newly-discovered orange morph…. Although I’m still partial to the rare yellow guys. 🙂
Love the colors… we only have tree lizards… very dull. Seems they need it to survive.
I was excited to nab this little guy — I knew about the rare yellows (love them) — but ORANGE! I can’t wait to read what the academics have to say about this morph / mix… You’re right though; while these colors are lovely, they do fail to camouflage well (especially the yellow).
Don’t know how you do it. So consistent and so beautiful.
You’re so kind! I’m lucky to have a set of (patient) eagle-eyes with me on hikes… Otherwise, I would haven’t even spotted this little guy in the dark swamp! (I was more obsessed with a closed section of the trail.)
I can’t wait to read what the academics have to say about this new color morph / mix… 🙂
Great post about the color variants, especially the orange anole who apparently hasn’t been recognized by the scientific community yet. Loved all the photos, but that one with the orange anole doing the throat display was really special.
I know that being the “wrong” color is supposed to lessen an animals survival chances, but then I stop to think about all of the amazingly colored male birds that seem to manage somehow.
Thanks so very much! I was thrilled to spot him — well, I can’t take the credit for that… My guy found him. I was more obsessed with a closed section of the trail along the swamp!
I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about this new morph — or interbreeding. And you have a really great point! Although their lack of camouflage may be a detriment to their survival, they’ve survived….
Very jealous…we hardly have no Lizards at all in Sweden! Fab post….
Thanks so much!! Oh for sure… Your area’s WAY too cold for lizards, hahah!!!
That lizard looks like a chili pepper! I’m going back to Louisiana soon….I’m going to go orange lizard hunting to see what I can see! ❤
Hahah! He does, doesn’t he? I barely even saw him in the swamp — even though he’s a morph, his camouflage works…!
I was thrilled to capture this little guy… And I can’t wait to hear what the academics have to say about the new morph / interbreeding (or whatever’s happening here!)…
I’ve nominated you for The One Lovely Blog Award. See award @ http://davidkanigan.com/2012/08/15/610am-and-inspired/. I love your work. Congratulations. Dave
How very kind — thanks so much!! Truly a compliment coming from someone such as you, with your exposure (and taste) to incredible work….
Nice photos of these lizards, Fey Girl. And they have interesting colours.
Thanks so much! Their color morphs / variants are truly spectacular — I’m thrilled we caught them amidst the all the swamp and trees!
Reblogged this on macrocritters and commented:
I’m taking this opportunity to introduce a wonderful blog entitled Serenity Spell which offers stories and photographs about the wildlife in the depths of South Florida. This post about anole lizards is my favourite so far—but every post on the site is well worth reading. I highly encourage everyone to check it out. I have added a link to the site under the heading Other Great Nature Blogs.
PS–When I created Macrocritters I didn’t intend to focus entirely on invertebrates, yet this is the first post that features photos of vertebrates. Funny how that worked out…
They look so lovely.
It was truly wonderful to see this bright little guy in the middle of the faraway swamp… All of them are so amazing in their colors though!
So what’s your theory re: the color mutation? Very fascinating, and the picture you got was SO clear! Have you sent it to any naturalist/academic experts?
I’ll be keeping an eye out for information when I search the internet…sometimes things pop up when you least expect it!
Ah, that would be so wonderful, if you found anything in your research! I was going to look for someone to send this to…. Perhaps starting with our local park services; they may have contacts.
I’m guessing the Cuban brown anoles may have started breeding with the native populations — you can see similarities of both species of anoles in their appearance. But the coloring? Brown + yellow = orangish…. Maybe? Perhaps a Cuban brown anole hooked up with a rare yellow anole? Hah!
Wow wow and more wow! Such gorgeous shots.
Thanks so much! I was just thrilled he hung around a bit for me to nab him in the darkness of the swamp… 🙂
Reblogged this on Animal Lovers' Blog.
I definatly saw one of these near boynton beach mainland side. Very neat.
Ah, really? Those are my stomping grounds, hah! This guy was up in some natural areas in West Palm….
You take such exquisite and loving shots of the creatures in the Glades.
You’re so incredibly kind… THANK you! They make it very easy to do so. 🙂
It’s lovely to receive that cooperation from the natural world. Those creatures like you.
What a wonderfully sweet comment!! I love that. 🙂 Thank you!! Ditto, ditto, ditto.
I revisited this post and was rewarded by your beautiful photographs of our reptile friends.
Aw, thanks so much! You know, a scientist recently used my orange anole image on his site – a Harvard biologist – so I just got to view these lovelies again, too!
I hope you’ve been well in the always gorgeous PNW!
Wow, that’s a compliment from the academic world.
It is gorgeous in the PNW, but from the photos you have shared, Florida looks gorgeous too. I wouldn’t mind encountering colorful lizards and an array of exotic birds. Oops, better not say that too loud or I might upset the Pacific NW Crow.
There’s a red/orange anole on our patio right now. Must have come in when “Matthew” blew out a couple of screens last Friday.
Wonderful! I’m sorry you had some storm damage… But at least this sweet little guy found a place of refuge on your patio! 🙂
Weird that this is the first time I’ve spotted your post on the anole rainbow…so glad I did! Will watch more closely from now on.
Sometimes during hikes I tend to catch the little things — it always cracks people up. But they’re the most lovely! (As shown here, wink.) I haven’t done much research lately with regards to the variants, so I’m wondering if they’re showing up more in South Florida.
The orange is such a beautiful color on the anole! I live in Colorado, and had anoles as pets growing up. The 3 we had would turn green, brown and yellow, depending on what it was close to in the surroundings in their tank. It was fun watching them turn colors to blend in. I was amazed when I was 19 and went to Florida. I couldn’t believe they were everywhere in the wild there! I caught one and took care of him while we were there for a couple of weeks. Surprisingly he was very mellow and let me handle him. I released him before we left. Wish I could have kept him, but I knew he wouldn’t survive the car ride back to Colorado. I think he was the most fun I had in Florida, except for seeing the ocean for the first time! Lol
Isn’t that orange striking? It really stuck out against all the foliage, too… That’s how he caught my eye. The Florida wilds are full of such spectacles, which is why it’s SO incredibly important to protect the land and wildlife (that’s remaining), and nurture more to grow. That’s wonderful you were able to see some of your favorite critters in their natural habitats!!
Definitely post if you get more info on the orange anoles! Thank you for your pictures! 🙂
I will definitely do so — from the sounds of it, they may be popping up a bit more, too! Thanks so much for your kind words and stopping by. 🙂
We just had one in our back yard in east Fort Lauderdale. We named it Rusty. It hung around and lived in our alligator decoration from September, and just recently we found him dead. Another anole was in the alligator, so I’m thinking there was a fight. It was such a friendly little anole, would sit and listen to me talk to it. We also fed it some small crickets. Myself and my children were so upset when he died because we had never seen one like it. We were hoping for babies but didn’t know for sure the sex. I have a picture but can’t figure out how to attach it.
Oh, I’m so very sorry! I know when I had a similar critter in my little habitat, I always looked out for him (her?). He/she actually took up residence in a birdhouse that was unused. 🙂 Sometimes their varied coloring can be a hindrance in these out-of-place, different environments; but he was incredibly lucky to have you!!
I have one living in the bushes at my office building in Gainesville. I saw it and freaked out because as far as I knew they were only green or brown.
Very neat! It’s interesting to hear of more cases of these guys popping up — I wonder if there truly more of them out there since I originally saw my guy, years ago in the wilds…?
Just found an orange in Gulfport Fl, near st. Petersburg. Have pics.
It’s interesting to hear of more cases of these guys popping up throughout the state — when I first posted in 2012 no one had ever seen or heard of them! They’re quite lovely, though.
Just saw one today in Sarasota. I’ve lived here my whole life and never seen one that color. Sadly my phone was charging and I didn’t get a pic. Thanks for verifying that I’m not crazy. 🙂
Hahah! I find it VERY interesting to hear of more cases of these guys popping up throughout the state — when I first posted in 2012 no one had ever seen or heard of them! They’re quite lovely, though. Maybe he’ll make another appearance for you! 🙂
Just caught an orange Cuban anole
How wonderful! Maybe he has an orange anole family somewhere. 🙂
Just caught an orange anole, I was genuinely shocked. Their were 2 in my backyard and I have never seen an orange anole in my life. I grew up in central florida catching brown and green anoles and am very familiar with the different reptiles in Florida but never seen this before now. Has there been anything published on the orange color variant since your original posting in 2012?
Ditto – I was just as shocked, and didn’t know what I was seeing till I did a bit more research. 🙂 I no longer live in the state, so I haven’t researched the variant. But there DEFINITELY are more pictures of them on the web!
I live in the lower desert of Arizona. I have an atypical yard for my climate because of amend8ng the soil in my plant beds. One day repositioning the rocks around my water garden I soptted this yellow greenish lizzard. Now I though at first i was seeing things. The sonoran lizzard has established itself well in my yard…… But this wasbyellow with a long nose. I have no idea how it got here or where it came from….. But yup this is what iy was!!
How neat! Have you tried looking him up…? I LOVE when these oddities in nature occur – but I hope he’s a good one for your area (IE won’t eat the native guys)!
We have one that we see on our walks in Boynton Beach, FL. We named it Tangerine. I never seen one before so had no idea what it was.
How wonderful! I’ve seen them in Boynton, Boca, and the northern Everglades / Jupiter area. Never before, though! 🙂
I have been finding these types of anoles since 2006 in Seminole/Volusia County Florida. I find them where there’s rusty metal leaned up against something or when there’s a pile of roof shingles. I’ve seen all colors growing up but this was most vibrant of them all. I always thought that anoles evolved to just change to the color of their surroundings. I find dark brown anoles under things and figured – it’s cold so it can’t change color. Sometimes I’ll see green anoles that are in palms and banana trees’ flowers and they’ll be a color brown that is almost purple to match the color behind them. Anoles are truly fascinating
They really are amazing! I absolutely love finding them – they vary so much. And just gorgeous! 🙂