As I’m writing this on my back patio in Ormond Beach, Florida, an hour or so before the sun will rise on the first Monday after spring break, a few short hours before classes kick back in, I’m slightly bewildered and perplexed on how to handle all the photographs and experiences I soaked up in the past five days.
My field-partner, Eric, and I headed down to south Florida from Wednesday through Sunday. Wednesday through Friday morning were largely spent in the Big Cypress region photographing and working with Nerodia watersnakes and Agkistrodon cottonmouths. Then, Friday afternoon through Sunday evening were spent in Coral Gables for the Anolis Symposium VII — a rowdy and brilliant collective of anologists and anolenthusiastss gathered together to share research, data, stories, and perspectives on the grounds of the beautiful and pristine Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden just south of Matheson Hammock. It was a hell of a trip on all fronts.
Rather than simply posting everything chronologically and as a kind of linear travelogue, I’ll alternate a bit between the Big Cypress and Anolis Symposium stages of the trip and build a kind of cross narrative to give a sense of how and why these kinds of experiences (and organisms) mean so much to me. We’ve got a slew of organisms coming up — ranging from the “big” Nerodia watersnakes and Agkistrodon cottonmouths of south Florida to the Anolis lizards of south Florida, native and non-native alike, not to mention a variety of birds, flora, and other stuff. Most excitingly, we were even able to track down and photograph some of the anomalous, dark-dewlapped Green anoles of Collier county, Florida. Matheson Hammock and Fairchild Garden in Coral Gables certainly didn’t disappoint on the lizard front either… Finally, of course, I’ll also post a slew of images from the Anolis Symposium itself. The anole community of researchers and scholars is, to put it bluntly, a colorful and mischievous group of hominids. It was fantastic getting to meet many of these people in the flesh — after years of virtual communication and social media chatter.
So, with all that being said, let’s start with a simple yet elegant Carolina green anole, Anolis carolinensis, photographed on the grounds of a small municipal park in South Miami this past Friday. Though my focus tends to be on the non-native species when I visit Miami-Dade county and southeast Florida, I always find time to pause and admire our single, solitary native species of Anolis lizard; the Carolina green anole is a slick, adept, and elegant organism — and I can’t imagine “Florida” without them!
As always, if you’d like to learn more about the Anolis lizards, you should certainly check out Anole Annals — the online hub and central nexus for the anole community. Further, you can filter all anole posts featured on Floridensis at this time by searching ANOLIS. Also note that each species represented on this website is linked in the “species list” on the right side of the standard-browser version of Floridensis. Because this website is so new, posts are somewhat scant right now — but they’ll continue to build over time, and I’ve already inaugurally covered all eight Anolis species I’ve managed to photograph in the pseudo-wilds of South Florida.
This is going be a fun romp.