Caribbean National Forest

Lizards
Gorp.com

In Puerto Rico there are 12 native angle lizards. Angles are tree or grass lizards of medium size and sometimes of bright coloration. The Puerto Rican Giant Anole (Anolis cuvieri) is the most colorful and the largest in length at 125 mm (5 in)not including the tail.

The male angles are larger than the females, have larger heads, and a brightly colored dewlap.

The dewlap is the sac on the male's throat. He inflates it at will to establish and defend his territory and to display for females. The dewlap display is often accompanied by push ups, head bobbing, tongue protruding and tail wagging. Sometimes males also erect a dorsal crest. Such interesting display behaviors vary from one species to another.

Most angles have the ability to change color, taking on different tones of brown, or when green, changing to brown or almost black. Apparently these color changes represent reactions to excitement or to a change in temperature, and do not necessarily serve to camouflage the angle.

Angles seem to reproduce throughout the entire year but the reproductive peak for most species occurs during the rainy season. The female normally lays a single egg, sometimes two. Eggs are laid under rocks, logs or leaves.

Insects of all kinds constitute the main diet of angles but they also eat spiders, earthworms, small frogs and young angles. Several species of birds feed upon the angles such as the Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo (thus its name) and the Red-legged Thrush.

Anges have pads on their toes that help in climbing. Tree angles usually restrict their activity to a preferred perch, sometimes at considerable heights. Grass angles prefer perches close to the ground.

Lowland species of angles do not extend to high elevations but mountain species do occur in the lowlands. While at El Yunque watch for these fascinating creatures active all around you.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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