Published December 15, 2020. Updated November 14, 2023. Open access. Peer-reviewed.

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Buenaventura Anadia (Anadia buenaventura)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Gymnophthalmidae | Anadia buenaventura

English common name: Buenaventura Anadia.

Spanish common name: Anadia de Buenaventura.

Recognition: ♂♂ 16.3 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=6.2 cm. ♀♀ 15.7 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=5.3 cm..1 The Buenaventura Anadia (Anadia buenaventura) is distinguishable from all other lizards in its area of distribution by having large, smooth, and sub-hexagonal dorsal scales. The snout is slim and pointed, the dorsum is brownish and marked by light cream dorsolateral stripes (Fig. 1), and the belly is light cream without markings. The tails is extremely long (~1.8–2 times the snout-vent-length) and has a characteristic pattern of rhomboid vertebral marks.1

Figure showing juvenile individual of Anadia buenaventura

Figure 1: Juvenile of Buenaventura Anadia (Anadia buenaventura) from Buenaventura Reserve, El Oro province, Ecuador.

Natural history: Anadia buenaventura is an extremely rare diurnal and presumably arboreal lizard that inhabits humid evergreen foothill forests. The available information about the natural history of this species comes from only five observations. Four individuals have been found active during the daytime inside buildings (lodges and scientific stations) in semi-open areas surrounded by secondary forest.1,2 One individual was captured and being consumed by an Ochraceous Attila (Attila torridus) while being perched on a branch 5 m above the ground in a forest border during the daytime.3

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Conservation: Critically Endangered Considered to be facing imminent risk of extinction.. Anadia buenaventura has not yet been formally evaluated by the IUCN. Here, it is proposed to be assigned to the Critically Endangered (CR) category following IUCN criteria4 because the species’ extent of occurrence is approximately 12 km2, which is much less than the 100 km2 threshold to qualify for this category. The species is known from just three localities and there is continuing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat outside the single protected area. El Oro province has the sixth highest deforestation rate among Ecuador’s 24 provinces.5 The expansion of Buenaventura Reserve is probably the best strategy to prevent A. buenaventura from going extinct.

Distribution: Anadia buenaventura is endemic to an estimated 12 km2 area along the Pacific foothills of the Andes in southwestern Ecuador (Fig. 2).

Distribution of Anadia buenaventura in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Anadia buenaventura in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: Buenaventura Reserve, El Oro province, Ecuador. See Appendix 1 for a complete list of the presence localities included in the map.

Etymology: The generic name Anadia does not appear to be a reference to any feature of this group of lizards, but a matter of personal taste. John Edward Gray usually selected girl’s names to use on reptiles.69 The specific epithet buenaventura refers to the type locality, Buenaventura Reserve,1 the last remaining stronghold of humid evergreen foothill forest in El Oro province.

See it in the wild: Anadia buenaventura is one of the rarest lizard species in Ecuador. Despite occurring in a protected area that has been continuously visited by herpetologists, tourists, and photographers over the past two decades, only five individuals have ever been registered. Surveys of the canopy and arboreal bromeliads have not resulted in additional individuals. Since the habits of the species are still unknown, the best strategy to locate an individual is just to spend long periods of time in the places where the species has been sighted.

Acknowledgments: Special thanks to Leodán Aguilar for finding the individual of Anadia buenaventura pictured here. This account was published with the support of Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior Ciencia y Tecnología (programa INEDITA; project: Respuestas a la crisis de biodiversidad: la descripción de especies como herramienta de conservación; No 00110378), Programa de las Naciones Unidas (PNUD), and Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).

Author: Alejandro ArteagaaAffiliation: Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador.

Academic reviewer: Jeffrey D CamperbAffiliation: Department of Biology, Francis Marion University, Florence, USA.

Photographer: Amanda QuezadacAffiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador.,dAffiliation: Laboratorio de Herpetología, Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador.

How to cite? Arteaga A (2020) Buenaventura Anadia (Anadia buenaventura). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/MSZR5664

Literature cited:

  1. Betancourt R, Reyes-Puig C, Lobos SE, Yánez- Muñoz MH, Torres-Carvajal O (2018) Sistemática de los saurios Anadia Gray, 1845 (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) de Ecuador: límite de especies, distribución geográfica y descripción de una especie nueva. Neotropical Biodiversity 4: 82–101. DOI: 10.1080/23766808.2018.1487694
  2. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  3. Garzón-Santomaro C, Cabrera L, Ramírez-Jaramillo SM (2020) Ecological interactions between Ochraceous Attila and Buenaventura lizard: recording of new food habits in the south of the Ecuador. Huitzil, Revista Mexicana de Ornitología 21: e-605. DOI: 10.28947/hrmo.2020.21.2.447
  4. IUCN (2012) IUCN Red List categories and criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland and Cambridge, 32 pp.
  5. MAE (2012) Línea base de deforestación del Ecuador continental. Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador, Quito, 30 pp.
  6. Gray JE (1831) Description of a new genus of ophisaurean animal, discovered by the late James Hunter in New Holland. Treuttel, Würtz & Co., London, 40 pp.
  7. Gray JE (1831) A synopsis of the species of the class Reptilia. In: Griffith E, Pidgeon E (Eds) The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organization. Whittaker, Treacher, & Co., London, 1–110.
  8. Gray JE (1838) Catalogue of the slender-tongued saurians, with descriptions of many new genera and species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1: 274–283.
  9. Gray JE (1845) Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of the British Museum, London, 289 pp.

Appendix 1: Locality data used to create the distribution map of Anadia buenaventura in Ecuador (Fig. 2). Go to the section on symbols and abbreviations for a list of acronyms used. Asterisk (*) indicates type locality.

EcuadorEl OroAtahualpa, 20 km NW ofPhoto by Anton Sorokin
EcuadorEl OroCasa de investigadoresBetancourt et al. 2018
EcuadorEl OroPlatanillosGarzón Santomaro et al. 2020
EcuadorEl OroReserva Biológica Buenaventura*Betancourt et al. 2018
EcuadorEl OroSan IsidroiNaturalist; photo examined