Nonnatives - Bark Anole

Bark Anole - Anolis distichus


Florida's Nonnative Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1946

Extirpated year:

Established status: Populations are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years.

Estimated Florida range: 4 counties  At least 10 years, 1 county  Less than 10 years, 1 county  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Expanding

Bark Anole
Photograph by Kevin Enge © 2003

Threats to natives: None known.

Species Account: This West Indian species is abundant in certain areas of Broward and Dade counties. It was first discovered in Brickell Park, Miami, in 1946 (Smith and McCauley 1948). It is our smallest anole, reaching a maximum length of 12.7 cm (5 in). It blends remarkably well with the bark of trees upon which they are often found. Its coloration and pattern are changeable, but it is some shade of gray, green, brown, or almost black. When sleeping with tail tightly coiled, however, they may appear putty-colored or almost white. Diagnostic characters are a dark line across and between the eyes and a prominently banded tail, most conspicuous distally. Two small, eyelike spots are often present on the back of the head, and 4 vague, backward-pointing chevrons are often on the back. The dewlap is yellow with a pale orange blush. Three subspecies were once recognized in Florida. The Florida subspecies (floridanus) was spread rather widely over much of Dade and Monroe counties, the "green" subspecies (dominicensis) was found in Miami near the Tamiami Canal, and the Bimini subspecies (biminiensis) was found in Lake Worth. However, the formerly discrete populations of floridanus and dominicensis have grown, intermingled, and interbred so that they can no longer be distinguished. The Bimini bark anole population in Lake Worth may no longer be extant. This arboreal lizard preys on ants and aphids while low on the trunks of ornamental trees, vines, and other plants. It is nervous and wary, skittering gecko-like around to the far side of tree trunks and then ascending when approached. It is often abundant in urban gardens and around lushly planted office complexes (Conant and Collins 1991, Bartlett 1995a, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Habitats: Central or core urban area, Exotic plant community, Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns, Rockland Hammock

County First Year Extirpated Year  Breeding status Notes 


At least 10 years Coral Springs (Meshaka et al. 2004) Plantation (Reppas et al. 1999)
DADE 1946


At least 10 years Miami (Smith and McCauley
LEE 1990s


Not reported breeding Fort Myers (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999)


At least 10 years Boynton Beach (Meshaka et al. 2004)


At least 10 years Key West (Lazell 1989)


Less than 10 years Hobe Sound Beach (Meshaka et al. 2004)


Bartlett, D. 1995a. The anoles of the United States. Reptiles 2(5):48-62, 64-65.

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. 278pp.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to amphibians and reptiles of eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 450pp.

Lazell, J. D., Jr. 1989. Wildlife of the Florida Keys: a natural history. Island Press, Covelo, California. 254pp.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr., B. P. Butterfield, and J. B. Hauge. 2004. The exotic amphibians and reptiles of Florida. Krieger, Melbourne, Florida. 166pp.

Reppas, A. T., K. L. Krysko, C. L. Sonberg, and R. H. Robins. 1999. Anolis distichus (bark anole). Herpetological Review 30:51.

Smith, H. M., and R. H. McCauley. 1948. Another new anole from south Florida. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 61:159-166.

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