LIZARDS OF ABACO: ANOLES (AND DEWLAPS)


Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce)

LIZARDS OF ABACO: ANOLES (AND DEWLAPS)

Everyone knows about CURLY TAIL LIZARDS. Everyone loves them and their little ways. The other lizards that may be found on Abaco – the anoles, green and brown – are easier to take for granted. Unless, maybe, you see one displaying its DEWLAP. These are essentially folds of neck skin that are seen in many creatures – even large ones like the moose – and which in some species are inflatable / retractable. 

Abaconian Rhonda Pearce has taken some excellent photos of anoles recently. By oversight I have never given anoles a day in the sun in this blog before, and it’s high time I did (see above re overlooking anoles in favour of curly tails…). First, here are some impressive dewlaps to admire.

Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce)Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce) Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce)

And here are a few green and brown anoles hanging out on trees and leaves in an anole-type way. In a couple of these images, you can see the dewlap in its non-display mode. They are all just… lizards. Non-scary, non-venomous, non-poisonous little guys that are probably a peripheral part of everyone’s experience, but which really deserve a closer look. 

Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce) Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce) Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce) Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce) Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce) Anoles of Abaco, Bahamas (Rhonda Pearce)

You can read more about anoles, including their sex lives, on the excellent Abaco Scientist’s site HERE

OPTIONAL MUSICAL DIGRESSION

The first time I heard the word ‘dewlap’ (misheard by the young me as ‘dewlat’) was in the mid-60s, in Georgie Fame’s excellent Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde. This song – and doubtless the film – was number 1 in the UK and maybe also the States. Famous too for such fine songs as ‘Yeh Yeh!’ and ‘Sitting in the Park’, Fame’s ‘Ballad’ is probably his best-loved song.

I assumed then that a ‘dewlat’ was some sort of valuable gold coin  – like a gold sovereign – that bank robbers put into a specially designed ‘dewlat bag’ to carry them away… Ah! The naivety of youth.

Bonnie and Clyde advanced their reputation

And made the graduation into the banking business

“Reach for the sky,” sweet-talking Clyde would holler

As Bonnie loaded dollars in the dewlap bag

Credits: all photos, Rhonda Pearce with thanks as ever; icecreammakesuhappy, youtube

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE… CURLY TAIL LIZARD KIND


CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE… CURLY TAIL LIZARD KIND

These little lizards are irresistible. They sun themselves. They scuttle. They blink. Their tails curl. What’s not to like. Here’s one I got close to… Double click and you can get even closer. Look! Tiny Claws!

Curly-tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco

CURLY-TAIL LIZARD, ABACO

“WONDROUS TAILS”: CURLY TAIL LIZARDS ON ACACO


“WONDROUS TAILS”: CURLY-TAILED LIZARDS ON ACACO

There is no known connection between ‘curly tails’ and the festive season. So trotting out a few of these charming little creatures in any season is a good idea. Are reptiles inherently repellent? Not these ones, for sure.Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco CS2Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco CS1Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco

TIME FOR A CHANGE OF OUTFIT…Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco CS3Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco 1

I AM A DRAGON… GRRRRRRRRRRR (note the remarkable finger length)Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco RH

AWWWWW… A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU TOO!Curly Tail Lizards, Delphi, AbacoCredits: Charlie Skinner (including the sloughed skin) & RH (including the ‘tired’ pair)

CURLY TAIL LIZARDS: ABACO’S CHARMING REPTILES


CURLY TAIL LIZARDS: ABACO’S CHARMING REPTILES

I have previously posted about these cute creatures that lie sunning themselves and occasionally blinking; or scuttle away when they see you. See CURLY TAILS for photos and details about these lizards and their habits. Here are a few more recent images. The first three were taken at the Delphi Club, where they seem to enjoy the pool area in particular. The top one has one extraordinarily long finger. It’s worth clicking on these 2x to enlarge them to see the structure of their skin / overlapping scales

An impressive “complete double curly”

This pair of curly tails was at Crossing Rocks, where we were trying to locate Bahama Woodstar hummingbirds in the scrubland. We rather felt that we might be interrupting something… They look endearingly affectionate.

BAHAMAS CURLY TAILS ON ABACO: ENCHANTING LIZARDS


Curly Tail Lizard, Delphi, Abaco CS2

CURLY TAILS – ENCHANTING LIZARDS

This is an expanded and rejigged post based on  bits and pieces originally scattered around the MISC WILDLIFE page, written now partly because of various search queries recently – diet and so forth – which had not been covered.

First, the very dull scientific classification bit (wiki-debt): Kingdom – Animalia; Phylum – Chordata; Class – Sauropsida; Suborder – Iguania; Family – Leiocephalidae; Genus – Leiocephalus [Subspecies Carinatus?]

The ‘curly-tailed lizard’ family is widely found throughout the Caribbean but is apparently relatively unstudied (but why on earth not?). There are nearly 30 distinct varieties, many specific to individual islands. My completely uneducated guess is that the Abaco ones may be one of the several subspecies of ‘Cuban or Northern Curly-tailed Lizard’ carinatus, the ones found generally in the Bahamas. But who cares? By any standards they are totally cute! This photo was taken at the bottom of the steps down to the Delphi Club beach.

            (Photo credit: Mrs RH)

             (Photo credit: PM Himself)

NEW ADDITION April 2012 A fine Curly Tail from Brigitte Carey of Tilloo Cay 

DEPLHI CLUB: ‘OFF-DUTY’ CURLY TAIL, OR A DIFFERENT TYPE OF LIZARD?

The CT is described as an active, robust lizard that is mostly terrestrial and will retreat into a burrow or cavity when frightened. It prefers sunny areas with loose rubble and rock. Bahamas curly tails were apparently released intentionally in Palm Beach, Florida, in the 1940s in an attempt to control sugar cane pests.

Jan 2012 update: Having had a number of hits over the last few months for ‘what do Curly Tails eat’ and other CT-related information, I checked out aqualandpetsplus.com of Des Moines, Iowa (the first Google hit, in fact). With kind permission (many thanks, Larry) here’s some more about these little lizards 

THE CURLY TAIL DIET: “Considered insectivores, curly-tails scamper right after crickets.  They’ll also learn to eat mealworms and superworms from your fingers.  You can give them other insects like wax worms which they love but tend to over-eat.  Roaches, houseflies, or any arthropods / bugs that accumulate around your porch light make a nice change of pace…OR…take a stroll down the baby food aisle.  Think twice about the bananas. Bananas are not good for some lizards.  Skip the bananas.  Anyway, apple sauce works great.  The best thing about baby food?  You can add a Calcium/Vitamin D supplement to it.  Much easier than dusting crickets (which start cleaning it off the second it gets on them).  Curly-tails will also eat bits of leafy lettuce.  Uneaten crickets in their cage  will also eat the fruits and vegetables you offer your lizards” Larry Arnold

So I can’t answer someone’s specific query ‘do they eat tomatoes?’, save to say ‘why not try tomato sauce’ (and I don’t mean a well-known proprietary brand, one of 57 varieties). Maybe have a few crickets handy in case it is politely declined

For further info on curly tails from theBahamas National Trust website CLICK LINK ===>>> http://www.bnt.bs/curlytaillizardinfo.php?catid=&subid=  where there is also a downloadable PDF version

Finally, an excellent CT photo from Gareth Reid, the Master Chef of Delphi

BIBLIOGRAPHY:  “101 Uses for a Curly Tail” Rolling Harbour Press (2011)     

(1) The gate latch                                           (2) The window latch

                       

(NB No Curly Tails were harmed in the creation of these images)