Published May 26, 2022. Updated January 27, 2024. Open access.

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Pearl Anole (Anolis peraccae)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Anolidae | Anolis peraccae

English common names: Pearl Anole, Chimbo Anole, Peracca’s Anole.

Spanish common names: Anolis perla, anolis de Peracca.

Recognition: ♂♂ 17.5 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=5.2 cm. ♀♀ 18.3 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=4.8 cm..13 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.4,5 The Pearl Anole (Anolis peraccae) differs from the other slender and blue-eyed Chocoan anoles (particularly A. anchicayae, A. fasciatus, and A. festae) based on dorsal coloration, dewlap pattern, and presence of a dark postocular band.6 The dorsum in males is greenish brown with oblique black streaks; in females, there is a light vertebral stripe with a dark border.3,6 Anolis fasciatus differs from A. peraccae by having dorsal bands that enclose a reticulation of light spots and by lacking a distinct postocular dark band.6 The dewlap in adult males of A. peraccae it is uniformly grayish-white whereas in males of A. anchicayae is saffron yellow; in males of A. festae it is white with a distinct black blotch at the base.5,7

Figure showing variation among individuals of Anolis peraccae

Figure 1: Individuals of Anolis peraccae from Hacienda Cerro Chico, Los Ríos province, Ecuador.

Natural history: Anolis peraccae is a locally abundant arboreal lizard that thrives in a variety of habitats, including evergreen lowland and foothill forests, pastures with scattered trees, plantations (such as palm, banana, and naranjilla), rural gardens, and forest borders alongside rivers and roads.19 Pearl Anoles are active between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm during sunny and cloudy days when the ambient temperature is 19.8–25.1°C.1,8 They are usually seen active on leaves, twigs, stems, and palm fronds 0.5–2.5 cm in diameter, but they also use broad branches and trees in semi-open areas at heights up to 15 m above the ground.2,58 Pearl Anoles are included in the “grass-bush” anole ecomorph because they primarily use the undergrowth and herbaceous forest strata at 38.1–104 cm above the ground.1,10 Though primarily arboreal, these lizards descend to the ground when chased by a predator or when chasing prey. They also use man-made structures such as wood poles and thatched roofs.2 At night, they sleep on flimsy perches within 1 m from the ground level.2 This strategy allows the lizards to detect potential predators by sensing the vibration on the perch, to which they respond by jumping and disappearing into the dark. Anolis peraccae feeds primarily on insects of the order Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, and Orthoptera, but also include flies, ants, butterflies, insect larvae, mollusks, spiders, pseudoscorpions, plant matter, and seeds in its diet.8 In Ecuador, gravid females containing two oviductal eggs have been reported in January,6 but the real clutch size is not known.

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Conservation: Least Concern Believed to be safe from extinction given current circumstances..913 Anolis peraccae is listed in this category due to its abundance in human-altered environments and its extensive distribution across regions that have not suffered severe deforestation.9,14 The species appears to have stable populations and is also present in large protected areas, including Awá Ethnic and Forest Reserve, Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, and Cayapas Mataje Ecological Reserve.

Distribution: Anolis peraccae is native to an area of approximately 55,616 km2 in the Chocoan lowlands and adjacent Andean foothills of Colombia and Ecuador. The species occurs from Cauca department in Colombia to Chimborazo province in Ecuador (Fig. 2).

Distribution of Anolis peraccae in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Anolis peraccae in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: Chimbo, Chimborazo 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.15 The specific epithet peraccae honors Mario Giacinto Peracca (1861–1923), an Italian herpetologist who described new genera and species of reptiles from Ecuador.3

See it in the wild: Pearl Anoles can be reliably found in semi-open forested areas across their distribution in Ecuador. These lizards are easy to spot during daylight hours, as they favor large tree trunks and broad branches. When night falls, they can be located roosting on low vegetation. In Ecuador, the areas with the most recent sightings of Anolis peraccae include Centro Científico Río Palenque, Rancho Suamox, and Hacienda Tinalandia.

Authors: Fernanda GordonaAffiliation: Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador. and Alejandro ArteagabAffiliation: Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador.

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

How to cite? Gordon F, Arteaga A (2024) Pearl Anole (Anolis peraccae). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/JJDV5258

Literature cited:

  1. 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.
  2. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  3. Boulenger GA (1898) An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Mr. Rosenberg in western Ecuador. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 9: 107–126.
  4. 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.
  5. Castro Herrera F, Ayala SC (1988) Saurios de Colombia. Unpublished, Bogotá, 692 pp.
  6. MECN (2010) Serie herpetofauna del Ecuador: El Chocó esmeraldeño. Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito, 232 pp.
  7. Poe S, Velasco J, Miyata K, Williams EE (2009) Descriptions of two nomen nudum species of Anolis lizard from Northwestern South America. Breviora 516: 1–16.
  8. 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.
  9. Castañeda MR, Velasco J (2020) Anolis peraccae. The IUCN Red List of threatened species. Available from: DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T44577649A44577654.en
  10. Moreno-Arias R, Velasco JA, Urbina Cardona J, Cárdenas-Arévalo G, Medina Rangel G, Gutiérrez Cárdenas P, Olaya-Rodriguez M, Noguera-Urbano E (2021) Atlas de la biodiversidad de Colombia. Anolis. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá, 72 pp.
  11. Reyes-Puig C (2015) Un método integrativo para evaluar el estado de conservación de las especies y su aplicación a los reptiles del Ecuador. MSc thesis, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, 73 pp.
  12. Carrillo E, Aldás A, Altamirano M, Ayala F, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Endara A, Márquez C, Morales M, Nogales F, Salvador P, Torres ML, Valencia J, Villamarín F, Yánez-Muñoz M, Zárate P (2005) Lista roja de los reptiles del Ecuador. Fundación Novum Millenium, Quito, 46 pp.
  13. Morales-Betancourt MA, Lasso CA, Páez VP, Bock BC (2005) Libro rojo de reptiles de Colombia. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá, 257 pp.
  14. Hansen MC, Potapov PV, Moore R, Hancher M, Turubanova SA, Tyukavina A, Thau D, Stehman SV, Goetz SJ, Loveland TR, Kommareddy A, Egorov A, Chini L, Justice CO, Townshend JRG (2013) High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. Science 342: 850–853. DOI: 10.1126/science.1244693
  15. 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 peraccae in Ecuador (Fig. 2). Go to the section on symbols and abbreviations for a list of acronyms used. Asterisk (*) indicates type locality.

Colombia NariñoTangarial del MiraMCZ 170490; VertNet
Colombia NariñoTumaco MCZ 170467; VertNet
EcuadorBolívarBalzapambaWerner 1901
EcuadorCarchiOjalá (El Ojal)CM 94557; VertNet
EcuadorCarchiSan Juan riverReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorChimborazoChimbo*Boulenger 1898
EcuadorChimborazoCumandáPhoto by Eduardo Zavala
EcuadorCotopaxiBosque Privado El Jardín de los SueñosPellet 2017
EcuadorCotopaxiRío Sillagua CabiloñaPhoto by Becca Tarvin
EcuadorCotopaxiYakusinchiPhoto by Jane Sloan
EcuadorEl OroPlayas del DaucayiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorEsmeraldasBilsa Biological ReserveOrtega-Andrade et al. 2010
EcuadorEsmeraldasBosque Protector La PerlaPhoto by Plácido Palacios
EcuadorEsmeraldasCaimitoReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldasCanandé ReserveReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldasCharco VicenteMorales 2004
EcuadorEsmeraldasEl AguacateVázquez et al. 2005
EcuadorEsmeraldasEstero ChipaVázquez et al. 2005
EcuadorEsmeraldasEstero InésVázquez et al. 2005
EcuadorEsmeraldasEstero MaríaPhoto by Néstor Acosta
EcuadorEsmeraldasFinca de Carlos VásquezPhoto by Carlos Vásquez
EcuadorEsmeraldasHacienda CucarachaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldasHacienda de Germán CortezReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldasHacienda EquinoxUSNM 234761; VertNet
EcuadorEsmeraldasItapoa ReservePhoto by Rául Nieto
EcuadorEsmeraldasLa MayrongaField notes of Giovanni Onore
EcuadorEsmeraldasMouth of Río San Miguel, 30 upriverMCZ 153170; VertNet
EcuadorEsmeraldasPartidero-Poza HondaVázquez et al. 2005
EcuadorEsmeraldasReserva ItapoaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldasRío BalsalitoUSNM 234759; VertNet
EcuadorEsmeraldasRío CupaMCZ 124389; VertNet
EcuadorEsmeraldasRío SapayoMCZ 16785; VertNet
EcuadorEsmeraldasRuta del SpondylusiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorEsmeraldasTundaloma LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorEsmeraldas Mompiche, 2 km SE ofiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorImbaburaBosque Protector Los CedrosLos Cedros Reserve 2022
EcuadorLos RíosBuena FéMCZ 147155; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosCentro Científico Río PalenqueMiyata 2013
EcuadorLos RíosHacienda Cerro ChicoThis work; Fig. 1
EcuadorLos RíosPuerto de IláUSNM 234772; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosQuevedoMCZ 38941; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosQuevedo, 4 km S and 2 km E ofMCZ 147167; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosRío CongoMCZ 124391; VertNet
EcuadorLos RíosSanto Domingo, 41 km S ofMCZ 147168; VertNet
EcuadorManabíCerro San SebastiánCisneros-Heredia et al. 2021
EcuadorManabíCerros de AyampePhoto by Matteo Resisto
EcuadorManabíJama Coaque ReserveLynch et al. 2016
EcuadorManabíLa CrespaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorManabíParque Nacional MachalillaAlmendariz & Carr 2007
EcuadorManabíThree Forests TrailPhoto by Paul Maier
EcuadorManabíZapotalPhoto by Pablo Loaiza
EcuadorManabí Recinto El MameyiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPichinchaAlto Río ToachiUSNM 234689; VertNet
EcuadorPichinchaCascada AzulReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPichinchaHacienda La HesperiaBrouwer 2018
EcuadorPichinchaHighway 28, 13 km from jct with Highway 30MCZ 147170; VertNet
EcuadorPichinchaHostería Selva VirgenReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPichinchaMashpi ShungoReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPichinchaPuerto QuitoPhoto by Raúl Nieto
EcuadorPichinchaRancho SuamoxPhoto by Rafael Ferro
EcuadorPichinchaReserva Un Poco del ChocóiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPichincha Mashpi Lodge Reserve iNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPichincha Río BlancoiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSanta ElenaCascada Dos MangasSalvatierra et al. 2014
EcuadorSanta ElenaComuna Dos MangasiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSanta ElenaFinca La SelvaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSanta ElenaReserva Ecológica Loma AltaOnline multimedia
EcuadorSanta Elena La Delicia iNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasEl CentinelaUSNM 285674; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasEl Esfuerzo, 2 km E ofGBIF
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasHacienda DyottUSNM 234767; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasHacienda TinalandiaMCZ 144302; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasLa FloridaMCZ 175914; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasOtongachi ReserveBoada Viteri 2015
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasRío Baba, 19 km S of Santo DomingoUIMNH 66137; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasRío Baba, 24 km S of Santo DomingoUIMNH 92104; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo de los ColoradosMCZ 124388; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo, 15 km E ofMCZ 150227; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los TsáchilasSanto Domingo, 5 W ofUSNM 234770; VertNet
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los Tsáchillas La Libertda del Toachi, 1 km S ofiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSanto Domingo de los Tsáchillas San Luis Housing Plan iNaturalist; photo examined