Friday, April 8, 2016

Ghost Anole, Anolis cf. lemurinus (Family Dactyloidae)

Boulenger (1885, 2:88) reported Anolis biporcatus from Trinidad based upon a British Museum specimen received from a Mr. C. Taylor in 1863. Werner (1900) listed this specimen as being from Port of Spain. Mole and Urich (1894a) retained this species on Trinidad based upon Boulenger’s account. Barbour (1930c) considered Mole and Urich’s record to be based upon Anolis aeneus. Parker (1935b) stated some authors have accepted this as a valid record, but noted that no other specimens have been forthcoming, and the specimen is present in the British Museum is not A. aeneus, but that it is closely allied to, if not conspecific with A. biporcatus. Parker listed this species in a section titled “Species Probably Incorrectly Reported from Trinidad.” Subsequently, someone suggested it be cataloged as Anolis lemurinus. My examination confirms this specimen is conspecific with, or very close to, A. lemurinus, a species known from Veracruz, Mexico, southward to Colombia. It occurs on both the Caribbean and Pacific versants of Central America, Its presence on Trinidad seems unlikely in the absence of additional specimens. But it may have extended along the northern forests of South America to Trinidad in the past. Description: The single Trinidad specimen, BMNH, is a male, SVL 69 mm, tail 144 mm. Hind limbs are 26 mm, 38% of the SVL. It seems likely that a lizard with these habits would have been discovered on Trinidad if it was present, but there is nothing to indicate the locality data is in error, and it may represent a population extirpated by habitat alteration in the last century.

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