Published July 12, 2023. Updated November 15, 2023. Open access. Peer-reviewed.

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Peters’ Anadia (Anadia petersi)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Gymnophthalmidae | Anadia petersi

English common name: Peters’ Anadia.

Spanish common name: Anadia de Peters.

Recognition: ♂♂ 21.4 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=7.4 cm. ♀♀ 20.1 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=6.9 cm..1,2 The Peters’ Anadia (Anadia petersi) differs from all other lizards in its area of distribution by having large, smooth, and sub-hexagonal dorsal scales.1,3 The snout is slim and pointed, the dorsum is light tan, unmarked or with short transverse dark bars, but without distinct light dorsolateral lines (Fig. 1).1,2 The tail is extremely long (~1.9 times the snout-vent-length)2 and may have a pattern of bars or rhomboid vertebral marks.2 Adult males are larger, more brightly colored, and have more (9–12 vs 0–6) lateral ocelli than females.1

Figure showing a juvenile of Anadia petersi

Figure 1: Juvenile of Anadia petersi from El Chaco, Napo province, Ecuador.

Natural history: Anadia petersi is an extremely rare diurnal and arboreal lizard that inhabits evergreen forests in foothill or mountainous areas.1,2 Individuals have been taken from felled trees2 or seen moving among weeds in rural gardens near bromeliad-covered trees.4 Peters’ Anadias move with a characteristic swinging twig-like motion along thin branches, stems, and tree trunks.5 Lizards of the genus Anadia in general are arboreal, bromelicolous, and like to dwell in the thatch of roofs.68 Gravid females of A. petersi containing two eggs have been found in March, but the real clutch size is not known.2

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Conservation: Data Deficient There is inadequate information to make an assessment of extinction risk..9 Anadia petersi is included in the DD category because there is inadequate information to make an assessment of its extinction risk based on its scarce distribution data. The species is known with certainty from its type locality and a second locality in Zamora Chinchipe province (Fig. 2),2 but it is unsure whether the remaining localities in central and northern Ecuador correspond to the same species. The most important threat to all populations seems to be deforestation due to gold mining.

Distribution: Anadia petersi is endemic to the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Ecuador (Fig. 2).

Distribution of Anadia petersi in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Anadia petersi in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: San Ramón, Zamora Chinchipe province. 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.1013 The specific epithet petersi honors American herpetologist James A Peters (1922–1972), in recognition of his contributions to expanding the knowledge on Neotropical reptiles, particularly those from Ecuador.

See it in the wild: Species of the genus Anadia are among the most rarely encountered lizards in Ecuador and A. petersi is no exception. Due to the species’ secretive and arboreal habits, individuals are encountered usually only by accident and no more than once every few months. The area with the greatest number of observations is the Anzu river. Peters’ Anadias are most often seen in rural gardens surrounded by lush vegetation and near trees having arboreal bromeliads. The lizards may be more easily located by scanning these trees during sunny mornings.

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

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

How to cite? Arteaga A (2023) Peters’ Anadia (Anadia petersi). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/JZPZ5745

Literature cited:

  1. Oftedal OT (1974) A revision of the genus Anadia (Sauria, Teiidae). Arquivos de Zoologia 25: 203–265. DOI: 10.11606/issn.2176-7793.v25i4p203-265
  2. 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
  3. Peters JA, Donoso-Barros R (1970) Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: part II, lizards and amphisbaenians. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, Washington, D.C., 293 pp.
  4. Diego Piñán, pers. comm.
  5. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  6. Amézquita A, Daza JM, Barragán Contreras LA, Orejuela C, Barrientos LS, Mazariegos LA (2022) One more and one less: a new species of large bromelicolous lizard (Gymnophthalmidae: Anadia) from the Andean cloud forests of northwestern Colombia and the phylogenetic status of Anadia antioquensis. Zootaxa 5150: 217–238. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5150.2.3
  7. Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Guayasamin JM (2013) The amphibians and reptiles of Mindo. Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica, Quito, 257 pp.
  8. Ortega-Andrade HM, Bermingham J, Aulestia C, Paucar C (2010) Herpetofauna of the Bilsa Biological Station, province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Check List 6: 119–154. DOI: 10.15560/6.1.119
  9. Cisneros-Heredia DF (2016) Anadia petersi. The IUCN Red List of threatened species. Available from: DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T44578233A44578237.en
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Gray JE (1945) 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 petersi in Ecuador (Fig. 2). Go to the section on symbols and abbreviations for a list of acronyms used. Asterisk (*) indicates type locality.

EcuadorMorona SantiagoNuevo IsraelBetancourt et al. 2018
EcuadorNapoCosta AzuliNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorNapoEl ChacoReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorNapoWild Sumaco Wildlife SanctuaryBetancourt et al. 2018
EcuadorOrellanaReserva Río BigalGarcía et al. 2021
EcuadorOrellanaSan José de SunoiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaMirador MirameraiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaReserva Río AnzuBetancourt et al. 2018
EcuadorPastazaSumak Kawsay In SituBentley et al. 2021
EcuadorPastazaVeracruzBetancourt et al. 2018
EcuadorTungurahuaReserva La CandelariaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorZamora ChinchipeSan Ramón*Oftedal 1974
EcuadorZamora ChinchipeSubcuenca del río WawaymeBetancourt et al. 2018