Nonnatives - Puerto Rican Crested Anole

Puerto Rican Crested Anole - Anolis cristatellus cristatellus


Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.


First year: 1975

Extirpated year:

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

Estimated Florida range: 1 county  At least 10 years, 1 county  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Expanding

Puerto Rico Crested Anole
Photograph by Kevin M. Enge © 2003

Threats to natives: Possible competitor of the green anole (Anolis carolinensis).

Species Account: This native of Puerto Rico has been introduced at several localities in Dade County via pet trade escapees, and in recent years has spread widely and is now frequently seen in urban, suburban, and agricultural situations. Males may reach 19 cm (7.5 in) in length and have dark-bordered dewlaps that range in color from olive-green to yellow or orange. Males typically have a wavy tail crest, and the vertebral and nape crests can be erected by muscular contraction. The dorsal color ranges from olive-tan to almost black, with lighter colored anoles exhibiting dark bars or blotches on the trunk and tail. This somewhat arboreal species is usually seen close to the ground, often perching head downward, on tree trunks, shrubs, fenceposts, building walls, brush piles, and rock piles. When frightened, it usually climbs upward, but it may seek refuge in ground debris. It feeds on insects, blossoms, and fruit (Bartlett 1995a, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). It competes for structural habitat with the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), and in areas of sympatry, crested anoles reduce the perch height of brown anoles (Salzburg 1984). Brach (1977) speculated that crested anoles may reduce brown anole populations as they expand their range.

Habitats: Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns, Agricultural habitat, Recently disturbed, early successional community

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status   Notes


Not reported breeding Riverside Inn (Seigel et al. 1999)
DADE 1975


At least 10 years (Schwartz and Thomas 1975); several populations in the Miami area and on Key Biscayne


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.

Brach, V. 1977. Notes on the introduced population of Anolis cristatellus in south Florida. Copeia 1977:184-185.

Salzburg, M. A. 1984. Anolis sagrei and Anolis cristatellus in southern Florida: a case study in interspecific competition. Ecology 65:14-19.

Schwartz, A., and R. Thomas. 1975. A check-list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 1. 216pp.

Seigel, B. J., N. A. Seigel, and R. A. Seigel. 1999. Anolis cristatellus (Puerto Rican crested anole). Herpetological Review 30:173.

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