A Flash of Green

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The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is the most common lizard in the Southeast. Because it can change colors from bright green to dark brown, it’s often referred to as a chameleon, but it’s actually related to the iguanas, a diverse family found mainly in North, Central and South America. Male anoles have a flap of […]


The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is the most common lizard in the Southeast. Because it can change colors from bright green to dark brown, it’s often referred to as a chameleon, but it’s actually related to the iguanas, a diverse family found mainly in North, Central and South America.

Male anoles have a flap of pink and white skin on their throats, called a dewlap, which they display during courtship or when another male enters their territory. They accent the display with a series of frenetic "pushups," bobbing up and down to establish dominance.

Green anoles feed on live insects and a variety of larger creatures feed on them, which may account for their preference for yards and patios, places they’re less likely to share with other predators.

They may be tasty, but they’re tough to catch. Anoles are surprisingly fast on their feet, which are equipped with both claws and suction pads. They’re often glimpsed on sidewalks, snapping up a careless bug, then vanishing in a flash of green.

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