Striking Color Variations in Anolis pogus on Pic Paradis

Yesterday I took a trip to the summit of Pic Paradis, the highest point on the island at approximately 1400 feet. Near the summit, Anolis pogus was very common and I found a wide array of color and pattern variations while I was there. Previously, the specimens I had encountered conformed entirely to the published descriptions I have read: light tan with few visible markings and a turquoise patch around each eye. This time, I saw many color variations, some clearly linked to behavior.

While some individuals sported the “typical” Anolis pogus coloration, others varied wildly. The trademark blue around the eye was often not present at all. In some individuals, there was a clearly defined, white dorsal stripe. In others, there were dark bands across the back. The overall color varied from the typical tan to dark gray. Often, this was combined with a dark red on the top of the head. Yellow patches on the sides of the chest were also common. In males preparing to fight over territory, two dark spots appeared behind the eye.

These wide variations were seen in a myriad of combinations, and individuals could be found at varying points in between. From watching a pair of males fighting, it seemed that these color variations were likely to be temporary, related to the emotional states of the lizards and potentially as camouflage as well.

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