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|Puerto Rican crested anole|
A. c. cristatellus
|Anolis cristatellus cristatellus|
The Puerto Rican crested anole (Anolis cristatellus cristatellus) is the nominate subspecies of the crested anole belonging to the Dactyloidae family of reptiles. This anole (US: // (listen)) is native to Puerto Rico, but has been introduced elsewhere, including Florida.
This lizard is found throughout Puerto Rico and has been introduced into eastern Hispaniola, Dominica, and Florida. Another subspecies, Anolis cristatellus wileyae, is found on islands off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, such as Culebra and Vieques, and also on the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
These lizards are ground-tree anoles, meaning that they spend the majority of their time on the bottom two meters of trees, but will go to the ground to disperse and also to lay eggs.
Coloration may vary significantly from a brownish-red to a dark black or a very light gray, and can shift in reaction to behavioral state. They are often incorrectly referred to as chameleons because of their ability to slightly change color, but they are not related to true chameleons. They have a crest along the tail, probably serving as means for males to demonstrate dominance in a contest for a female. The male has a bright yellow-orange dewlap which is also used in determining dominance when attempting to control territory. They are usually 5–8 in (13–20 cm) in length, but can occasionally grow up to 10 in (25 cm).
When looking for a mate or defending its territory, this anole will display its dewlap and perform "push-ups" to establish dominance. Males aggressively defend territories when mating, but only rarely does this result in physical combat. As a defense against predators, they autotomize their tails.
The Puerto Rican crested anole is found throughout Puerto Rico, excepting some of the mountainous regions of the island. They are also found on some offshore islands of Puerto Rico. These anoles have been introduced into southern Florida (but have been documented as far west as the Tampa Bay area) and the eastern Dominican Republic. They are sold globally in the pet trade.
Anoles mainly eat spiders and small invertebrates, but will occasionally eat fruit on the ground. They will sometimes even eat other anoles, due to territorial disputes or food scarcity.
- List of amphibians and reptiles of Puerto Rico
- List of endemic fauna of Puerto Rico
- List of Anolis lizards