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Common name
knight anole (English), iguanito (English, Miami), iguana (English, Miami), Cuban knight anole (English), ritteranolis (German), chipojo (Spanish, Cuba), large Cuban anole (English)
Synonym
Xiphosurus equestris , Fitzinger, 1826
Anolius rhodolaemus , Bell, 1827
Anolis equestris , Dumerel & Bibron, 1837
Anolis equestris , Boulenger, 1885
Anolis equestris , Conant & Collins, 1991
Anolis equestris , Schwartz & Henderson, 1991
Anolis equestris , Rodriguez Schettino, 1999
Anolis equestris , Nicholson et al, 2005
Similar species
Summary
The knight anole, Anolis equestris is a strongly arboreal, large anole lizard originally from Cuba. A popular species in the pet trade, A. equestris has become widely established in Florida where, as a generalist feeder with an expanding range, it has raised concerns of potential predation on various small vertebrate species. It has been recently introduced to the Cayman Islands, likely through shipments of ornamental plants from Florida.
Species Description
Anolis equestris is a large arboreal lizard with the upper surface of the head developed into a bony casque (Collette, 1961) with distinct canthal and frontal ridges (Camposano et al., 2008). It is usually a brilliant green colour with both sexes posessing a pink dewlap (Collette, 1961) and yellow stripes below the eyes and others extending onto the shoulder (Camposano et al., 2008). In populations introduced to Miami, males were found to range from 100 - 190 mm snout to vent length (SVL) and females ranging from 90 - 160 m SVL (Dalrymple, 1980). Here A. equestris can be difficult to find until around mid-April, where they become more frequently seen until around the end of August (Brach, 1976). During this time, A. equestris can be frequently observed perching on trunks in a rigid and unusual posture; the head is always facing down towards the ground and the body is elevated away from the trunk using the front legs (Brach, 1976). The dewlap is not erected or displayed and the individual may stay motionless for up to an hour (Brach, 1976). This perhaps could be a thermoregulatory behaviour, with Schettino (1999; in Camposano et al., 2008) observing that A. equestris descends trunks during the warmest parts of the day to avoid sunlight.
Notes
The following subspecies have been recognised: Anolis equestris equestris Merrem, 1820; A. e. brujensis Garrido, 2001; A. e. buidei Schwartz & Garrido, 1972; A. e. cincoleguas Garrido, 1981; A. e. cyaneus Garrdo & Estrada, 2001; A. e. juraguesis Schwartz & Garrido, 1972; A. e. persparsus Schwartz & Garrido, 1972; A. e. potior Schwartz & Thomas, 1975; A. e. sabinalensis Garrido & Moreno, 2001; A. e. thomasi Schwartz, 1958; A. e. verreonensis, Schwartz & Garrido, 1972 (Reptiles Database, 2010).

Because of its green coloration and large size A. equestris as well as A. garmani are often mistaken for the introduced green iguana (Iguana iguana) in Florida, USA (Camposano et al., 2008; Kern, 2009). They are sometimes referred to as \"iguanas\" or \"iguanitos\" (Kern, 2009).
Habitat Description
Anolis equestris is strictly arboreal, being only observed at heights above 15 feet and never on the ground by Collette (1961), and only observed to voluntarily come to ground level twice by Meshaka (1993), only to move rapidly to adjacent trees. Barbour & Ramsden (1919; in Collette, 1961) noted that the habitat of A. equestris in its native range consisted of orchards, palm groves and trees along roads.
Reproduction
Little is known of the reproductive cycle of Anolis equestris in its native range. Courtship and mating generally take place high in the tree canopy, and ovipositioning occurs in burrows excavated by females in the ground or in pre-existing tree cavities (Schettino, 1999; in Camposano et al., 2008). Nicholson & Richards (unpub. data) observed A. equestris mating in late March as well as early October while Meshaka (1993) observed mating during June through to August. Both of these reports were made from Miami.
Nutrition
In Miami, Florida, Anolis equestris has been observed in the field chasing and eating small insects and climbing up cherry palm trees (Pseudophoenix) to feed on ripe red fruits (Dalrymple, 1980). In laboratory conditions, A. equestris fed on crickets, cockroaches, and grasshoppers as well as smaller species of anole lizard (A. carolinensis, A. distichus and Norops sagrei) and baby rats and mice up to 40 mm in length (Dalrymple, 1980; Nicholson & Richards, unpub. data). Stomach content analysis of 18 individuals (9 male and 9 female) collected from the suburban Coral Gables area showed that 89 % of the food ingested consisted of small (most less than 15 mm) insects and spiders with the majority of lizards feeding on these. Furthermore, five of the individuals (four of which were male) contained fruit from Pseudophoenix and Ficus sp. (Dalrymple, 1980). Another stomach content analysis carried out in the same area found that three individuals collected from Ficus religiosa trees contained little more than unmasticated berries from those trees (Brach, 1976). A. equestris has also been observed feeding on tree frogs (Ruibal, 1964; in Dalrymple, 1980) and nestling birds (Brach, 1976). Although generally a sit-and-wait predator, individuals are known to travel from tree to tree using phonelines or running across the ground (Schettino, 1999; in Camposano et al., 2008).
Pathway

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment

Review:

Publication date: 2010-06-08

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2018) Species profile: Anolis equestris. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Anolis+equestris on 16-11-2018.

General Impacts
While no invasive impacts have yet been recorded from introduced populations, Anolis equestris is a generalist feeder known to prey on small vertebrates such as nestling birds and similar reptile species including the native A. carolinensis in Florida (Brach, 1976; Dalrymple, 1980). Reports of predation may therefore begin to surface as A. equestris continues its spread throughout Florida, having already become estalished in at least 11 counties (Camposano et al., 2008).
Management Info
Physical Control: Various methods have been used to catch Anolis equestris and other herpetofauna (Krysko, 2000). Camposano et al. (2008) used nooses made out of dental floss and attached to a long pole to effectively catch individuals. When these were ineffective, a fishing rod was used to cast food items close to the individual which was then reeled in easily after the bait was taken (Camposano et al., 2008). This fishing technique was first modified by Krysko (2000) from the technique of Camp and Lovell (1989; in Krysko, 2000). Krysko managed to capture almost 95 % of observed individuals using a 2 m fishing rod, a 2 kg monofilament line and a hook which had had its barb removed. Hooks were baited with dead dragonflies and positioned 15 cm from the end of the fishing rod; this was then presented to the individual. After taking the bait, the individual would be lowered slowly down from the tree where it could be quickly hand-collected and have the barbless hook easily removed. No negative effects or short or long-term aversion responses on A. equestris individuals were observed (Krysko, 2000). These techniques are reportedly effective and efficient for catching individuals for scientific study (Kryso, 2000; Camposano et al.A. equestris populations on a local scale. However, physical capture techniques such as these are generally labour-intensive over large scales and may thus be unfeasible for larger management projects for the control of A. equestris. More studies into the effectiveness of these tools for the population control of A. equestris and other introduced reptiles are needed.
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Anolis equestris
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • cuba
Informations on Anolis equestris has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
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Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Anolis equestris in information
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Invasiveness
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Occurrence
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Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
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Outcome:
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Impact information
While no invasive impacts have yet been recorded from introduced populations, Anolis equestris is a generalist feeder known to prey on small vertebrates such as nestling birds and similar reptile species including the native A. carolinensis in Florida (Brach, 1976; Dalrymple, 1980). Reports of predation may therefore begin to surface as A. equestris continues its spread throughout Florida, having already become estalished in at least 11 counties (Camposano et al., 2008).
Red List assessed species 0:
Management information
Physical Control: Various methods have been used to catch Anolis equestris and other herpetofauna (Krysko, 2000). Camposano et al. (2008) used nooses made out of dental floss and attached to a long pole to effectively catch individuals. When these were ineffective, a fishing rod was used to cast food items close to the individual which was then reeled in easily after the bait was taken (Camposano et al., 2008). This fishing technique was first modified by Krysko (2000) from the technique of Camp and Lovell (1989; in Krysko, 2000). Krysko managed to capture almost 95 % of observed individuals using a 2 m fishing rod, a 2 kg monofilament line and a hook which had had its barb removed. Hooks were baited with dead dragonflies and positioned 15 cm from the end of the fishing rod; this was then presented to the individual. After taking the bait, the individual would be lowered slowly down from the tree where it could be quickly hand-collected and have the barbless hook easily removed. No negative effects or short or long-term aversion responses on A. equestris individuals were observed (Krysko, 2000). These techniques are reportedly effective and efficient for catching individuals for scientific study (Kryso, 2000; Camposano et al.A. equestris populations on a local scale. However, physical capture techniques such as these are generally labour-intensive over large scales and may thus be unfeasible for larger management projects for the control of A. equestris. More studies into the effectiveness of these tools for the population control of A. equestris and other introduced reptiles are needed.
Locations
UNITED STATES
Management Category
Prevention
Bibliography
24 references found for Anolis equestris

Managment information
IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)., 2010. A Compilation of Information Sources for Conservation Managers.
Summary: This compilation of information sources can be sorted on keywords for example: Baits & Lures, Non Target Species, Eradication, Monitoring, Risk Assessment, Weeds, Herbicides etc. This compilation is at present in Excel format, this will be web-enabled as a searchable database shortly. This version of the database has been developed by the IUCN SSC ISSG as part of an Overseas Territories Environmental Programme funded project XOT603 in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment. The compilation is a work under progress, the ISSG will manage, maintain and enhance the database with current and newly published information, reports, journal articles etc.
Kern, W. H. Jr, 2009. Dealing with Iguanas in the South Florida Landscape. University of Florida IFAS Extension ENY-714
Summary: Available from: http://if-srvv-edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/IN/IN52800.pdf [Accessed 22 June 2010]
Krysko, Kenneth L., 2000. A fishing technique for collecting the introduced knight anole (Anolis equestris) in Southern Florida. Caribbean Journal of Science. 36(1-2). May, 2000. 162.
General information
Brach V., 1976. Habits and Food of Anolis equestris in Florida USA. Copeia.(1). 1976. 187-189.
Camposano, Brian J.; Kenneth L. Krysko; Kevin M. Enge; Ellen M. Donlan; and Michael Granatosky, 2008. The Knight Anole (Anolis equestris) in Florida. Iguana Volume 15 Number 4 December 2008. 213
Dalrymple, George H., 1980. Comments on the Density and Diet of a Giant Anole Anolis equestris. Journal of Herpetology, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Oct. 31, 1980), pp. 412-415
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Knight Anole - Anolis equestris equestris
Summary: Available from: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/Nonnative_KnightAnole.htm [Accessed 22 June 2010]
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), 2010. Species: Anolis equestris Merrem 1820
Summary: Available from: http://www.gbif.net/species/13497398 [Accessed 22 June 2010]
Goldberg, S.R., C.R. Bursey, and F. Kraus. 2004. Natural history notes: Anolis equestris: endoparasites. Herp. Rev. 35: 384-385
Goldberg, Stephen R.; Bursey, Charles R.; Kraus, Fred, 2005. Anolis equestris (Knight anole). Herpetological Review. 35(4). December 2004. 384-385.
Hailman, Jack P.; Hailman, Elizabeth D.; Scherer, Bonnie, 2005. Knight anoles (Anolis equestris) in Eastern Palm Beach and Martin counties following the September 2004 hurricanes. Florida Field Naturalist. 33(4). NOV 2005. 130-131.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), 2010. Anolis equestris Merrem, 1820
Summary: Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=173891 [Accessed 22 June 2010]
Krysko, Kenneth L.; Borgia, Andrew P., 2007. Anolis equestris. Herpetological Review. 38(3). SEP 2007. 351.
Meshaka, Walter E. Jr. 1993. Hurricane Andrew and the colonization of five invading species in south Florida. Florida Scientist. 56(4). 1993. 193-201
Summary: The responses of three amphibian and two reptilian species to Hurricane Andrew were recorded in an urban setting. Immediate responses to the hurricane boded well for species with a high colonizing potential. Short-term effects of the hurricane were beneficial for all but Anolis equestris. Anurans especially benefitted by stimulation to breed and by the creation of suitable egg-laying sites. Cleanup activities by humans have altered long-term effects of the hurricane and minimized short-term benefits associated with the newly created habitats and/or breeding sites made available to most of these colonizing species following the hurricane. Cleanup activities notwithstanding, responses confirmed expectations of successful colonizers historically tied to hurricanes.
Nicholson, K. E., and P. M. Richards. 1999. Observations of a population of Cuban knight anoles, Anolis equestris. Anolis Newsletter V:95-98.
Noonan, Brice, 1995. Sauria: Anolis equestris (knight anole) Herpetological Review. 26(4). 1995. 209.
Puckette, B. Gail and Hobart M. Smith, 1963. A Longevity Record for Anolis equestris. Herpetologica, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Jul. 3, 1963), p. 138
Reptiles Database, 2010. Anolis equestris Merrem, 1820
Summary: Available from: http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species.php?genus=Anolis&species=equestris [Accessed September 8 2010]
Schwartz, Albert, 1958. A New Subspecies of Anolis equestris from Eastern Cuba. Herpetologica, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Apr. 25, 1958), pp. 1-7
Strong, D., B. Leatherman, and B.H. Brattstrom. 1993. Two new methods for catching small fast lizards. Herpetological Review 24:22�23.
Contact
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