Published February 17, 2022. Open access.

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Neighboring Anole (Anolis parilis)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Anolidae | Anolis parilis

English common name: Neighboring Anole.

Spanish common names: Anolis vecino, anolis gemelo del Chocó.

Recognition: ♂♂ 30 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=10.1 cm. ♀♀ 26.5 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=8.5 cm..1 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.2,3 The Neighboring Anole (Anolis parilis) is distinguished from other co-occurring large green anoles mainly on the basis of dewlap coloration. In males and females, the dewlap is bright yellow-orange with a white base.46 Three other Chocoan anoles similar to A. parilis in size and coloration are A. fraseri, A. princeps, and A. purpurescens, but these have a different dewlap coloration. Males of A. purpurescens have the most similar dewlap pattern, but the white patch is on the anterior base, whereas in females, the dewlap is green with rows of white scales.7 The dorsum of A. parilis is bright green, although it can change to brown under stress. In some individuals, there is black mottling forming transverse bands on the flanks.8 In both sexes, the belly is pale yellow and the iris is pale red.4

Figure showing variation among individuals of Anolis parilis

Figure 1: Individuals of Anolis parilis from Canandé Reserve, Esmeraldas province, Ecuador. j=juvenile.

Natural history: UncommonUnlikely to be seen more than once every few months. and often overlooked due the species’ arboreal habits. Anolis parilis occurs primarily in old-growth rainforests, but occasionally also in disturbed forests besides plantations.1 During the day, individuals perch, bask, and forage on arboreal vegetation.1 At night, Neighboring Anoles are found asleep on leaves and twigs 2–6 m above the ground.1 This observation contradicts the suggestion that these anoles inhabit the lower forest strata because they have narrow adherent pads that don’t allow them to climb higher.4 Anolis parilis is an insectivore and oviparous species.9 Females deposit clutches of one egg at a time.

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Conservation: Vulnerable Considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the mid-term future..10 Anolis parilis is assigned to this category because the species has been recorded in few localities, its extent of occurrence is estimated to be less than 13,000 km2, and its habitat is under increasing pressure from deforestation, particularly due to the replacement of rainforest with palm oil plantations.10 An estimated ~64% of the potential distribution area of A. parilis has already been converted to pastures and agricultural fields and each year it loses an additional 254 km2 of forest cover.11 The type locality is now heavily deforested and the species probably no longer survives there. Fortunately, A. parilis are periodically recorded in reserves Cotachi-Cayapas, Canandé, and Itapoa.

Distribution: Anolis parilis is endemic to an estimated 12,467 km2 area in the Chocoan lowlands and adjacent Andean foothills of western Ecuador, provinces Esmeraldas, Santo Domingo, and Cotopaxi. The species has been recorded at elevations between 60 and 697 m (Fig. 2).

Distribution of Anolis parilis in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Anolis parilis in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: Río Baba. 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.12 The specific epithet parilis is a Latin word meaning “equal.” It refers to the similarity between this species and A. mirus.4

See it in the wild: Due to their arboreal habits and green leaf-like coloration, Neighboring Anoles often go unnoticed by most visitors to the rainforest. Although individuals can be seen active on vegetation during the day, they are much easier to find and approach at night, as they are sleeping on twigs and leaves where their bright whitish bellies stand out when lit with a flashlight. Since these lizards are usually associated with well-preserved rainforests, the best localities to find individuals of A. parilis are Canandé Reserve and Itapoa Reserve.

Special thanks to Eelco Bouwman for symbolically adopting the Neighboring Anole and helping bring the Reptiles of Ecuador book project to life.

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Author: Angie Tovar-OrtizaAffiliation: Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

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

Photographer: Jose VieiracAffiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador.,dAffiliation: ExSitu, Quito, Ecuador.

How to cite? Tovar-Ortiz A (2022) Neighboring Anole (Anolis parilis). 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/HKEC5264

Literature cited:

  1. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  2. 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.
  3. Castañeda MR, de Queiroz K (2013) Phylogeny of the Dactyloa clade of Anolis lizards: new insights from combining morphological and molecular data. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 160: 345–398. DOI: 10.3099/0027-4100-160.7.345
  4. Williams EE (1975) South American Anolis: Anolis parilis, new species, near A. mirus Williams. Breviora 434: 1–8.
  5. Ayala-Varela F, Valverde S, Poe S, Narváez AE, Yánez- Muñoz MH, Torres-Carvajal O (2021) A new giant anole (Squamata: Iguanidae: Dactyloinae) from southwestern Ecuador. Zootaxa 4991: 295–317. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4991.2.4
  6. Van Den Elzen P, Schuchmann KL (1980) Notes on Anolis notopholis Boulenger, 1896 (Sauria: Iguanidae). Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 31: 319–322.
  7. Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D (2019) Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich online portal, with dynamic checklists and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13: 209–229.
  8. Huleback E, Poe S, Ibáñez R, Williams EE (2007) A striking new species of Anolis lizard (Squamata, Iguania) from Panama. Phyllomedusa 6: 5–10. DOI: 10.11606/issn.2316-9079.v8i2p81-87
  9. Blackburn D (1999) Viviparity and oviparity: evolution and reproductive strategies. In: Knobil E, Neill JD (Eds) Encyclopedia of Reproduction. Academic Press, London, 994–1003.
  10. Cisneros-Heredia DF, Yánez-Muñoz M (2020) Anolis parilis. The IUCN red list of threatened species. Available from: DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T50950394A50950399.en
  11. MAE (2012) Línea base de deforestación del Ecuador continental. Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador, Quito, 30 pp.
  12. 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 parilis in Ecuador (Fig. 2). Go to the section on symbols and abbreviations for a list of acronyms used. Asterisk (*) indicates type locality.

EcuadorCarchiRío San JuaniNaturalist
EcuadorCotopaxiBosque Privado El Jardín de los SueñosPhoto by Christophe Pellet
EcuadorEsmeraldasAlto Tambo, 4 km W ofPhoto by Ítalo Tapia
EcuadorEsmeraldasCinco de JunioiNaturalist
EcuadorEsmeraldasDurango, 1 km S ofThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasDurango, 3.6 km W ofTorres-Carvajal et al. 2019
EcuadorEsmeraldasGualpiThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasItapoa ReserveThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasReserva Biológica CanandéThis work
EcuadorEsmeraldasReserva Ecológica Cotacachi-CayapasiNaturalist
EcuadorEsmeraldasVerdecanandéThis work
EcuadorImbaburaGetsemaníPhoto by Felipe Campos
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasRío Baba*Williams 1975