The Saban Anole

On most of the Lesser Antilles, there are one or two species of Anolis lizard per island. In fact, these lizards have been studied frequently as a great example of adaptive radiation. On St. Martin, there are two species (A. gingivinus and A. pogus). On Saba, there is just one (A. sabanus). The male Saban anole is quite striking, with a pattern of dark spots. The female is more plain, looking much like the A. pogus found on St. Martin, although apparently A. sabanus is more closely related to A. gingivinus.

Just looking at them for the day, it seemed to me that there was quite a difference in size between the males and females, although I couldn’t be sure if I was comparing adults of each. If so, however, this would make some sense. On islands with two species of anole, usually one species is larger than another. On islands with just one species, the sexes are more likely to exhibit more sexual dimorphism in terms of size. This allows more lizards to share the same resources as they can target prey of slightly different sizes.

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