A Northern Curlytail Lizard in the Florida Keys; 14 March 2019

Leiocephalus carinatus, the Northern curytail lizard;
Monroe county, Florida (14 March 2019).

The Northern curlytail lizard, Leiocephalus carinatus, is one of many non-native lizard species now scratching out a living among the tangles of the Floridian peninsula. They’re also a nice reminder that non-native lizards can work their way south just as much as they work their way north… Introduced in the Palm Beach county region, Northern curlytails have now fairly well penetrated the Florida Keys. This individual was photographed on Bahia Honda Key in the Lower Keys, and I’ve seen plenty more darting about the bushes and shrubs of both the Lower and Middle Keys.

Interestingly, Northern curlytails have been observed predating another non-native species in Florida: the Cuban brown anole, Anolis sagrei. There’s certainly no shortage of sagrei-snacks throughout the entirety of the Floridian peninsula. There’s also no shortage of shrub-lined sidewalks, which Northern curlytails seem to really enjoy. I most often find them basking along the edges of sidewalks with adjacent shrubbery — which they’ll quickly duck into as “danger” approaches.

I haven’t seen any Curlytails in Volusia county yet, but they seem to be fairly well established in Brevard county at this point (just to our south), and I’ve seen a report of at least one in the Port Orange area in Volusia. I suspect we’ll start seeing Northern curlytail lizards in Daytona and Ormond Beach sooner than later. Watch out, you brown anoles you!

 

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