Anolis carolinensis in the Florida Keys, 26 July 2018

Anolis carolinensis, the Carolina green anole;
Monroe county, Florida (26 July 2018).

The Floridian peninsula serves as home to a variety of anole species, native and non-native alike. I’ve spent a good amount of time looking for and photographing these anoles in Florida. It’s been a life-long pursuit, though the photography angle didn’t really kick off until about fifteen years ago. If you want to catch a sampling of the anole biodiversity I’ve encountered in Florida, check out the Anolis tag on Floridensis (and I still have sooooo many photographs to process and publish here). Anyhow, with all the non-native “exotic” action going on, it can sometimes be easy to overlook our solitary native species, the Carolina green anole, Anolis carolinensis,

Featured here is a lovely Carolina green anole photographed in the Lower Keys. I’m always delighted to find Anolis carolinensis in south Florida, particularly in the Keys and in the Miami/Lauderdale region. With an over-abundance of non-native anoles (and other stuff) now scratching out a living in south Florida, these Carolina greens truly have to work harder for their money, so to speak. There’s more competition, more chaos, and more tension from both above and below.

Fortunately, the Carolina greens seem to be holding their own well enough in Florida, though in residential areas they seem to have moved higher into the foliage than before all the competition arrived. In the Keys, however, Carolina greens are a bit easier to find. There’s not a lot of “height” in the Keys. Everything seems to be somewhat snugged and tucked just above sea level (which sort of sucks when hurricane roll by). Further, the Carolina greens in the Keys tend to deal with less competition than their compatriots in the Miami/Lauderdale region. Though I see plenty of Brown anoles and Bark anoles in the Keys, I don’t tend to see the other non-native anole species with much frequency. The Knight anoles and Crested anoles haven’t quite colonized the entirety of the Keys just yet. (Give ’em time…)

I’m always curious to see what changes have washed over south Florida from the last time I visited. What will I find? What’s changed? In this particular case, I found a reminder of my own childhood — my beloved Carolina green anole quietly going about its day beneath the palms and in the soft, coastal breeze of the Lower Keys… an anole quietly scratching out a living as the world spins and reels with ecological change less than two hundred miles to the north.

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