During this little Spring Break 2018 micro-series, I’ll continue spanning out a number of “gray dewlap” Green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) photographed in Collier county, Florida. You can read the background to the whole “gray dewlap” issue (species, subspecies, and all that jazz) here.
We found this particular individual basking in a mixed green phase. Carolina green anoles can shift their dorsal colors from a light, emerald green to a milky, mocha or even nearly-black shade of brown. The colors will shift a bit in response to environmental and psychological factors. When basking comfortably, they tend to be green… and when they’re suddenly caught, for example, they tend to turn dark brown fairly quickly. You can see this in the images below (green while basking, brown in hand).
Of note here, anoles don’t change the colors of their dewlap like they do their ventral scales. Dewlap coloration is quite specific to each species, and though there may be variations across populations of a single species (such as the “gray” variant featured here — a muddle dark dewlap rather than a light pink one), anole dewlap coloration is far more fixed and static than their dorsal patterns. That being said, the colors can appear a bit differently due to ambient light and light positioning. For example, an extended Carolina green anole dewlap with the sun behind it may seem more radiant and bright due to the light shining through it.
Of course, this is something I wish I’d thought of when we photographed these darker dewlaps in Collier county. Pretty much all of our dewlap reference shots were taken from above, looking down, with the anole in our hands. I should’ve taken some shots with the anole held up with direct sunlight behind it to see how differently the colors may have looked in that type of lighting situation. Oh well… Guess I’ll need to head back down to Collier county sooner than later… Mercy!
If you’d like to learn more about anoles, be sure to visit AnoleAnnals.org!