Published March 5, 2022. Open access.

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Parrot Anole (Anolis chloris)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Anolidae | Anolis chloris

English common name: Parrot Anole, Boulenger’s Green Anole.

Spanish common names: Anolis loro, anolis verde de Boulenger.

Recognition: ♂♂ 13.8 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=6.2 cm. ♀♀ 13.7 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=5.8 cm..1,2 Anoles are easily distinguishable from other lizards by their diurnal habits, extensible dewlap in males, expanded digital pads, and granular scales on the dorsum and belly.3 The Parrot Anole (Anolis chloris) is a small solid green lizard with a entirely whitish dewlap and a blue iris.25 It can be differentiated from other co-occurring green Anolis by its small size and its dewlap color. In the Chocó rainforest of Ecuador, the most similar anoles in size and coloration are A. purpurescens and A. parvauritus, but these other lizards are larger in body size, have different dewlap color, and the females have a dewlap as well (dewlap absent in females of A. chloris).2

Figure showing variation among individuals of Anolis chloris

Figure 1: Individuals of Anolis chloris from Reserva Ecológica Mache-Chindul, Esmeraldas province, Ecuador (); Canandé Reserve, Esmeraldas province, Ecuador (); and Morromico Reserve, Chocó department, Colombia (). j=juvenile.

Natural history: FrequentRecorded weekly in densities below five individuals per locality., but often overlooked due the species’ arboreal habits.1 The Parrot Anole is a diurnal lizard that perches 4–50 m above the ground (mean perch height ~3 m)6 and only descends to the ground when chased by a predator or when chasing prey.17 Members of this species prefer to perch on large vertical trunks devoid of mosses, lianas, or epiphytes,1,8 or on thick branches and coconut palm trunks.9 Parrot Anoles are usually seen on trees in open areas in general, including the border of evergreen lowland and foothill forests, in the middle of pastures,1 plantations,10 or along rivers and roads.1,11 They also perch on palm fronds, banana leaves,1 or on railings or wooden walls of rural human constructions.1,10 Adults of the Parrot Anole bask during the less sunny hours of the day such as in the early morning or late in the afternoon.1,6 During the hottest hours is when individuals are most active, moving through their territory and foraging.1,8 It is also when males perform the majority of their dewlap displays for territorial defense or for courtship.1,8 Parrot Anoles spend the night sleeping on the tips of leaves or on thin branches at heights between 90 cm and 10 m above the ground.1 Anolis chloris is a primarily insectivorous predator. Individuals feed mainly on insects of the order Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, and Orthoptera, but also include mollusks, isopods, insect larvae, spiders, and seeds in their diet.1,9 There is a record of a Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) preying upon an individuals of this species.1 As a defense mechanism, Parrot Anoles usually run vertically or horizontally along their perch1,12 and jump to different branches or trees. For this reason, these lizards prefer trunks devoid of epiphytes that can hinder their escape. If persecuted to the ground, they can hide in the leaf-litter or among the roots of the same or a nearby tree.1

Conservation: Least Concern Believed to be safe from extinction given current circumstances..13 Anolis chloris is listed in this category given its wide distribution over areas that have not been heavily affected by deforestation and its presence in several protected areas in Panama, Colombia and Ecuador. Therefore, the species is considered to be facing no major immediate extinction threats. The most important threat for the long-term survival of some populations is large-scale deforestation caused by the expansion of the agricultural frontier.13

Distribution: Anolis chloris is distributed throughout the Chocoan lowlands and adjacent Andean foothills from eastern Panama, through western Colombia, to Cotopaxi province in Ecuador. In the latter country, the species has been recorded at elevations between 0 and 1228 m (Fig. 2).

Distribution of Anolis chloris in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Anolis chloris in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: Paramba, Imbabura province. See Appendix 1 for a complete list of the presence localities included in the map.

Etymology: The generic name Anolis is thought to have originated from Cariban languages, specifically from the word anoli, which is the name Arawak peoples may have used to refer to this group of lizards.14 The specific epithet chloris, which comes from the Greek word chloros (meaning “green”), refers to the bright green coloration in this anole.

See it in the wild: Parrot Anoles are easy to observe during daylight hours given given their preference to bask on large trunks without epiphytic vegetation in open areas or in coconut palms near the coast. They may also be found at night sleeping on palm leaves. In Ecuador, the localities having the greatest number of recent observations are Canandé Reserve and the outskirts of the town Puerto Quito.

Acknowledgments: Special thanks to Pablo Montoya for his assistance in the field and for helping photograph some of the specimens pictured in this account. Thanks to Lina Parra for helping compile information used in this account.

Author: Jose VieiraaAffiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador.,bAffiliation: ExSitu, Quito, Ecuador.

Editor: Alejandro ArteagacAffiliation: Biodiversity Field Lab, Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador.

Photographers: Jose VieiraaAffiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador.,bAffiliation: ExSitu, Quito, Ecuador. and Sebastián Di DoménicodAffiliation: Keeping Nature, Bogotá, Colombia.

How to cite? Vieira J (2022) Parrot Anole (Anolis chloris). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J, Guayasamin JM (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/QSMJ5695

Literature cited:

  1. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  2. Williams EE, Rand H, Rand AS, O’Hara RJ (1995) A computer approach to the comparision and identification of species in difficult taxonomic groups. Breviora 502: 1–47.
  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. Cortés Gómez AM, Valencia Aguilar A, Torres Domínguez DM, García Calderón LM, Villaquirán Martínez DF, Cáceres Franco AP, Castro Herrera F (2010) Guía de los anfibios y reptiles. Área en conservación de la microcuenca Quebrada Pericos. Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca, Santiago de Cali, 37 pp.
  5. MECN (2010) Serie herpetofauna del Ecuador: El Chocó esmeraldeño. Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito, 232 pp.
  6. Miyata KI (2013) Studies on the ecology and population biology of little known Ecuadorian anoles. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 161: 45–78.
  7. Velasco JA, Herrel A (2007) Ecomorphology of Anolis lizards of the Chocó region in Colombia and comparisons with Greater Antillean ecomorphs. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 92: 29–39. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00885.x
  8. Rengifo JT, Castro Herrera F, Purroy Iraizos FJ (2015) Habitat use and ecomorphology relation of an assemblage of Anolis (Lacertilia: Dactyloidae) in the Chocoan natural region from Colombia. Acta Zoológica Mexicana 31: 159–172.
  9. Boada Viteri EA (2015) Ecología de una comunidad de lagartijas del género Anolis (Iguanidae: Dactyloinae) de un bosque pie-montano del Ecuador occidental. BSc thesis, Quito, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, 111 pp.
  10. Mosquera JTR, Perea JA, Sanclemente CSA (2007) Guía de las 50 especies de fauna silvestre más comunes en la Cabecera Municipal de Quibdó y sus alrededores. Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó, Quibdó, 188 pp.
  11. Rengifo-Palacios MY, Rengifo JT, Serna JE (2021) Diversidad de Anolis (Lacertilia: Dactyloidae) en bosque pluvial tropical, del Chocó-Colombia. Revista Colombiana de Ciencia Animal-RECIA 13: e729. DOI: 10.24188/recia.v13.n1.2021.729
  12. Fitch HS, Echelle AF, Echelle AA (1976) Field observations on rare or little known mainland anoles. The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 5: 91–128. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.part.24957
  13. Batista A, Bolívar W, Velasco J, Castañeda MR (2020) Anolis chloris. The IUCN red list of threatened species. Available from: DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T203084A2760028.en
  14. Allsopp R (1996) Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 776 pp.

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

ColombiaNariñoChucunezICN 9052
ColombiaNariñoCORPOICAPinto-Erazo et al. 2020
ColombiaNariñoDirección General Marítima (DIMAR)Pinto-Erazo et al. 2020
ColombiaNariñoEstación Mar AgrícolaPinto-Erazo et al. 2020
ColombiaNariñoJunín, 4 km NE ofiNaturalist
ColombiaNariñoUniversidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede NariñoPinto-Erazo et al. 2020
EcuadorCarchiChinambíPhoto by Andreas Kay
EcuadorCarchiEl GoaltaliNaturalist
EcuadorCarchiLa PrimaveraThis work
EcuadorCarchiPeñas BlancasThis work
EcuadorCarchiSiete CascadasMECN 3706
EcuadorCarchiTobar Donoso, 1.8 km SW ofiNaturalist
EcuadorCotopaxiBosque Privado El Jardín de los SueñosPhoto by Christophe Pellet
EcuadorCotopaxiYakusinchiPhoto by Jane Sloan
EcuadorEsmeraldasBilsaThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasBosque Protector La ChiquitaOnline multimedia
EcuadorEsmeraldasCabeceras de BilsaAlmendariz & Carr 2007
EcuadorEsmeraldasCachabiUMMZ 58911
EcuadorEsmeraldasCaimitoThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasCharco VicenteMorales 2004
EcuadorEsmeraldasEstero ChipaVázquez et al. 2005
EcuadorEsmeraldasFinca de Carlos VásquezPhoto by Carlos Vásquez
EcuadorEsmeraldasHacienda EquinoxUSNM 234599
EcuadorEsmeraldasHotel Flor de MompicheiNaturalist
EcuadorEsmeraldasLa MayrongaThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasLote SalvadoresThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasPichiyacuTorres-Carvajal et al. 2019
EcuadorEsmeraldasReserva Biológica CanandéNarváez et al. 2019
EcuadorEsmeraldasReserva Ecológica Mache-ChindulInstagram 
EcuadorEsmeraldasSan LorenzoUSNM 234598
EcuadorEsmeraldasSan Lorenzo, 3 km SE ofMECN 5407
EcuadorEsmeraldasSan MateoMCZ 57020
EcuadorEsmeraldasSan MiguelMCZ 153169
EcuadorEsmeraldasTesoro EscondidoThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasTundaloma LodgeThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasVerdecanandéThis work
EcuadorImbaburaCachacoPhoto by Andrea Narváez
EcuadorImbaburaLitaThis work
EcuadorImbaburaParamba*Boulenger 1898
EcuadorImbaburaTúmbezUMMZ 58913
EcuadorLos RíosCentro Científico Río Palenque (CCRP)MCZ 147001
EcuadorPichinchaAlluriquínMHNG 2463.041
EcuadorPichinchaEl Chalpi-SaguangalMECN 2009
EcuadorPichinchaENDESAMHNG 2521.058
EcuadorPichinchaFinca Turística MapacacaoiNaturalist
EcuadorPichinchaHostería Isla del ColibríiNaturalist
EcuadorPichinchaHostería Selva VirgenThis work
EcuadorPichinchaHotel ZaracayMCZ 144315
EcuadorPichinchaLos Bancos iNaturalist
EcuadorPichinchaMashpi, 1 km S ofiNaturalist
EcuadorPichinchaMilpe Bird SanctuaryThis work
EcuadorPichinchaMonterreal Rainforest EcolodgePhoto by José Schreckinger
EcuadorPichinchaMouth of Río YambiUSNM 234603
EcuadorPichinchaNanegal GrandeUSNM 234601
EcuadorPichinchaPacto, 2 km NE ofUSNM 234602
EcuadorPichinchaPedro Vicente MaldonadoiNaturalist
EcuadorPichinchaPuerto Quito MCZ 164413
EcuadorPichinchaRancho SuamoxPhoto by Rafael Ferro
EcuadorPichinchaRío CaoniUSNM 234604
EcuadorPichinchaSanta MarianitaiNaturalist
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasLa FloridaMHNG 2463.038
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasOtongachi ReserveBoada Viteri 2015
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasRío Baba, 19 km S of Santo DomingoUIMNH 65976
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo de Los ColoradosUSNM 234600
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo, 13 km S ofMCZ 146998
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo, 41 km S ofMCZ 146999
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo, 5 km SE ofUSNM 285813
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo, 8 km S ofField notes of Steve Poe
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSantuario de Aves Río SilancheiNaturalist
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasValle HermosoiNaturalist