Published May 4, 2023. Updated December 22, 2023. Open access.

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Chocoan Banded Anole (Anolis fasciatus)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Anolidae | Anolis fasciatus

English common name: Chocoan Banded Anole.

Spanish common names: Anolis bandeado del Chocó, anolis bandeado de la costa.

Recognition: ♂♂ 16.5 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=7.2 cm. ♀♀ 16.1 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=7.1 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 Chocoan Banded Anole (Anolis fasciatus) can be differentiated from most other co-occurring anoles by having a blue iris, a greenish dorsum with dark bands enclosing a reticulation of light spots, and white dewlap in males (Fig. 1).4 The only other co-occurring anoles that resemble this description are A. peraccae and A. festae, both of which have comparatively longer snouts and lack the dark bands enclosing a reticulation of light spots.4

Figure showing variation among individuals of Anolis fasciatus

Figure 1: Individuals of Anolis fasciatus from Ecuador: Cerro de Hayas, Guayas province (); Buenaventura Reserve, El Oro province (). j=juvenile.

Natural history: Anolis fasciatus is a common diurnal lizard that inhabits old-growth to heavily disturbed evergreen lowland forests and seasonally dry forests.2,5 This species also occurs in semi-open human-modified habitats such as plantations, roadside vegetation, and border of pastures.2,5 During the day, Chocoan Banded Anoles dwell on leaf-litter or on low understory vegetation.2,5 At night, they roost on thin branches, leaves, grass blades, and twigs of bushes at 0.7–4 m above the ground.2,5 Anolis fasciatus is an insectivorous species,6 but the specific prey items consumed have not been reported. Chocoan Banded Anoles rely primarily on their disruptive camouflage to go unnoticed, but they can also jump to the ground and swiftly run away.2 When grabbed by a predator, they can shed the tail, which remains wiggling on the ground while the lizard escapes.2 This species is oviparous,7 but the clutch size and nesting sites are not known.

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Conservation: Least Concern Believed to be safe from extinction given current circumstances..8 Anolis fasciatus is listed in this category given the species’ wide distribution, presence in protected areas, and presumed population stability.8 Unfortunately, the area of distribution of A. fasciatus has lost more than 77% of its original vegetation cover.9 Although it could qualify for threatened category, the species appears well adapted to human-modified environments.

Distribution: Anolis fasciatus is endemic to an area of ~42,057 km2 area on the Chocoan–Tumbesian transition area as well as adjacent foothills of the Andes in western Ecuador (Fig. 2).

Distribution of Anolis fasciatus in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Anolis fasciatus in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: Guayaquil, Guayas 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.10 The specific epithet fasciatus comes from the Latin fascia (=band) and the suffix -atus (=provided with),11 and refers to the banded pattern.12

See it in the wild: Chocoan Banded Anoles are easily located in forested areas throughout the species’ area of distribution. The best way to find these lizards is to search for them at night along forest borders or trails while they sleep on leaves and twigs. The species is particularly common in Buenaventura Reserve, Centro Científico Río Palenque, and Cerro de Hayas Protected Area.

Special thanks to Matthew Mirabello for symbolically adopting the Chocoan Banded Anole and helping bring the Reptiles of Ecuador book project to life.

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

Photographers: Jose VieirabAffiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador.,cAffiliation: ExSitu, Quito, Ecuador. and Matthijs HollandersdAffiliation: Southern Cross University, East Lismore, Australia.

How to cite? Arteaga A (2023) Chocoan Banded Anole (Anolis fasciatus). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/ESTC3015

Literature cited:

  1. 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.
  2. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  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. MECN (2010) Serie herpetofauna del Ecuador: El Chocó esmeraldeño. Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito, 232 pp.
  5. Cruz García FK (2017) Diversidad y preferencia de microhábitats de la herpetofauna del Bosque Protector Pedro Franco Dávila (Jauneche) y del Área Provincial Natural de Recreación Cerro de Hayas (Naranjal). BSc thesis, Universidad de Guayaquil, 94 pp.
  6. Torres-Carvajal O (2022) Nicho dietético de las lagartijas del género Anolis. Available from:
  7. Uetz P, Freed P, Hošek J (2021) The reptile database. Available from:
  8. Yánez-Muñoz M, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Sánchez J, Reyes-Puig C (2020) Anolis fasciatus. The IUCN Red List of threatened species. Available from: DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T44577331A44577338.en
  9. MAE (2012) Línea base de deforestación del Ecuador continental. Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador, Quito, 30 pp.
  10. Allsopp R (1996) Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 776 pp.
  11. Brown RW (1956) Composition of scientific words. Smithsonian Books, Washington D.C., 882 pp.
  12. Boulenger GA (1885) Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum. Taylor & Francis, London, 497 pp.

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

EcuadorAzuayArquilloReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorAzuayBella RicaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorAzuayMina Nueva UnióniNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorAzuayPaguancayiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorBolívarBalsapambaKU 132483; VertNet
EcuadorBolívarRecinto Esperanza AltaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorBolívarTelimbelaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorBolívarTres CrucesReyes-Puig & Ríos-Alvear 2017
EcuadorCañarChontamarcaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorCañarEl ChorroReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorCañarHidroeléctrica OcañaMZUA.RE.166; examined
EcuadorCañarHuatacónReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorChimborazoChimboBoulenger 1898
EcuadorCotopaxiBosque Privado El Jardín de los SueñosPellet 2017
EcuadorEl OroCaliforniaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEl OroCascadas de Manuel Garzón-Santomaro et al. 2019
EcuadorEl OroLimón PlayaGarzón-Santomaro et al. 2019
EcuadorEl OroLote TituanaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEl OroMarcabelíGarzón-Santomaro et al. 2019
EcuadorEl OroPotrero GrandeiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorEl OroQuebrada ObscuraReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEl OroRepresa TahuinGarzón-Santomaro et al. 2019
EcuadorEl OroReserva Biológica BuenaventuraAyala-Varela et al. 2021
EcuadorEl OroZambotamboReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldasBosque Protector La PerlaPhoto by Plácido Palacios
EcuadorGuayasBalao ChicoQCAZ 16356; Ayala-Varela & Carvajal-Campos 2020
EcuadorGuayasCerro de HayasReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorGuayasGuayaquil*Boulenger 1885
EcuadorGuayasRancho AlemánQCAZ 18217; Ayala-Varela & Carvajal-Campos 2020
EcuadorLojaAlamor, environs ofAMNH 22216; VertNet
EcuadorLojaBosque Petrificado PuyangoGarzón-Santomaro et al. 2019
EcuadorLos RíosBosque Protector Pedro Franco DávilaCruz & Sánchez 2016
EcuadorLos RíosBuena FePoe et al. 2009
EcuadorLos RíosCentro Científico Río PalenquePoe et al. 2009
EcuadorLos RíosPichilinqueMCZ 147011; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosQuevedo, 3 km E ofMCZ 147189; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosReserva Forestal Cerro SamamaYánez-Muñoz et al. 2016
EcuadorManabíCantalapiedraSalvatierra et al. 2014
EcuadorManabíParque Nacional MachalillaAlmendariz & Carr 2007
EcuadorManabíPorto Viejo, 50 km E ofMCZ 151646; VertNet
EcuadorManabíQuebrada La MurcielagueraQCAZ 16024; Ayala-Varela & Carvajal-Campos 2020
EcuadorManabíReserva Jama CoaqueReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorManabíReseva Lalo LoorPhoto by Zach Cava
EcuadorPichinchaMashpi ReserveMedina 2021
EcuadorPichinchaMilpe Bird SanctuaryReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPichinchaRecinto 23 de JunioiNaturalist; photo examined