Nonnatives - Largehead Anole

Largehead Anole - Anolis cybotes


Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1967

Extirpated year:

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

Estimated Florida range: 3 counties  At least 10 years

Statewide trend: Unknown status

Largehead Anole
Photograph by Kevin M. Enge © 2003

Threats to natives: Males may prey upon smaller vertebrates, including lizards.

Species Account: This Hispaniolan species is only known from small areas in Martin, Broward, and Dade counties. The site in Parkland, Broward County, is less than 5 ha in size, but in 1991, it contained more than 50 lizards, which perched on various trees, buildings, lumber piles, and fence posts around a horse stable that was formerly a reptile importer's warehouse (Butterfield et al. 1994). The status of the Broward County population is tenuous, but the northeast Miami colony, although still small in area, has existed in its circumscribed range since a deliberate introduction in February 1967 (Bartlett 1995a). The Martin County colony was deliberately established in 1986 and was thriving when visited in 2002 (K. M. Enge, FFWCC, Quincy, Florida, personal observation), despite commercial collecting pressure. Males of this robust species may reach 23 cm (9 in) long and can erect vertebral and nape crests. Their dorsal color is some shade of brown with lighter flanks, and broad dorsal bands and a light lateral stripe are often present. Males have enlarged heads and huge dewlaps that are colored cream, yellow, or yellow-gray, often with a pale orange center. These dewlaps are used during frequent displaying by the very territorial males, which typically display from prominent positions low on tree trunks, fence posts, and walls. This species is quick and agile, and when frightened, often seeks refuge in ground debris instead of running upward. They feed on insects, snails, small vertebrates, and ficus fruits (Bartlett 1995a, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Habitats: Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns


County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status  Notes


At least 10 years At a horse stable (formerly a reptile dealer's warehouse) in Parkland, north of Holmberg Road (Butterfield et al. 1994); still observed here in 2002 (K. M. Enge, FFWCC, Quincy, Florida, personal observation)
DADE 1967


At least 10 years Miami (Ober 1973, Bartlett 1995a); suburban and vacant lots in northeast Dade County (Truitt and Ober 1973)


At least 10 years Introduced on a reptile dealer's property in Mayaca on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee in 1986 (J. Watt, personal communication), and still present here and in surrounding area in 2002 (Krysko et al., in press).


Butterfield, B. P., W. E. Meshaka, Jr., and R. L. Kilhefner. 1994. Two anoles new to Broward County, Florida. Herpetological Review 25:77-78.

Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, J. H. Townsend, E. M. Langan, S. A. Johnson, and T. S. Campell. In Press. New county records of amphibians and reptiles from Florida. Herpetological Review.

Ober, L. D. 1973. Introduction of the Haitian anole, Anolis cybotes, in the Miami area. HISS News-Journal 1:99.

Truitt, J. O., and L. D. Ober. 1971. A guide to the lizards of south Florida (Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Keys). Hurricane House, Miami, Florida, USA. 37pp.

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