Puerto Rican Crested Anole

Puerto Rican Crested Anole

Puerto Rican Crested Anole

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The Puerto Rican crested anole (Anolis cristatellus cristatellus) is the nominate subspecies of a species of anole belonging to the Polychrotidae family of reptiles.

Geographic range

This lizard is found throughout Puerto Rico and has been introduced into eastern Hispaniola, Dominica, and Florida. Another subspecies, Anolis cristatellus wileyae, is found on islands off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, such as Culebra and Vieques, and also on the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Coloration may vary significantly from a brownish-red color to a dark black or to a very light gray, and colors shift in reaction to temperature and behavioral state. They are often incorrectly referred to as "chameleons" because of their ability to slightly change color, but they are not related to true chameleons. They have a crest along the tail, probably serving to demonstrate dominance in a contest against another male for a female. The males have a bright yellow-orange dewlap which is also used in determining dominance when attempting to control territory. They usually are from 5-8 inches in length but occasionally will grow up to 10 inches.


When they are looking for a mate or defending their territory, they will display their dewlap and perform "pushups" to establish their dominance. Males aggressively defend territories when mating, but only rarely does this result in physical combat. As a defense against predators, they autotomize their......
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