Published February 17, 2022. Updated October 28, 2023. Open access.

Gallery ❯

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) differs from other green co-occurring anoles mainly on the basis of dewlap coloration. In males and females, the dewlap is bright yellow-orange with a white base.46 There are three other Chocoan anoles –A. fraseri, A. princeps, and A. purpurescens– which closely resemble A. parilis in terms of size and coloration, but each has a distinct 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, but some individuals have black-mottled bands on the flanks.8 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: Anolis parilis is a seasonally abundant anole that is often overlooked due to its arboreal habits. It primarily inhabits old-growth rainforests but can occasionally be found in disturbed forests and plantations.1 During the day, individuals perch, bask, and forage on arboreal vegetation.1 At night, they roost on leaves and twigs 2–6 m above the ground.1 Contrary to the notion that these anoles inhabit lower forest strata due to their narrow adherent pads,4 most observations are of individuals on arboreal perches.1 Anolis parilis is an insectivorous and oviparous species.9 Females deposit clutches of one egg at a time.

Reader support helps us keep the Reptiles of Ecuador book 100% free.

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 no more than 15 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 Approximately 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 area of approximately 12,467 km2 in the Chocoan lowlands and adjacent Andean foothills of western Ecuador, in the provinces Esmeraldas, Santo Domingo, and Cotopaxi (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, a Latin word meaning “equal,” refers to the similarity between this species and A. mirus.4

See it in the wild: Neighboring Anoles often elude the notice of most rainforest visitors due to their arboreal habits and their leaf-like green coloration. While these lizards are diurnal, they become easier to discover at night. They sleep on twigs and leaves, and their bright whitish bellies become conspicuous when illuminated with a flashlight. Prime locations to encounter Anolis parilis individuals are the Canandé Reserve and the Itapoa Reserve.

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

Click here to adopt a species.

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

Editor: Alejandro ArteagabAffiliation: 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 (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