The Ground Anole of Costa Rica
Ground Anoles fall under a large grouping of different species of very similar lizards that inhabit the Neotropics region. Their taxonomy is often debated by naturalists.
There are more than 150 species in the Norops genus alone, and their range encompasses Central America and the Caribbean islands. It inhabits lowland wet tropical forest, coffee plantations, premontane and montane forest. In Costa Rica, you’ll find Ground Anoles in Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Children’s Eternal Rainforest and La Selva Biological Station.
Mating & Reproduction
Males have a flap of skin that they use to make a display to females in courtship. They are very territorial, and will not tolerate another male entering their area. Courtship increases in the rainy season, because the amount of food is more plentiful. Females may lay as many as one egg every day throughout the rainy season. Anoles, both ground and brown, are considered an invasive species in many places due to their exceptional rate of propagation.
The Ground Anole is so named for the area of the forest that it prefers to stay within as opposed to other species in the Anolis or Norops genera. Some species in Anolis or Norops are more arboreal than the Ground Anole, and Anolis sagrei may be considered somewhat arboreal as it prefers to stay on the trunks of trees.
The diet of Anoles is often flies, termites, beetles, cockroaches, crickets, spiders and centipedes. It has many natural predators, as well. Some of these predators include snakes, raptors, agoutis and small felids.
Anoles are studied throughout Central America and the Caribbean for their evolution. There are many different body types found among anoles in a variety of locations, and some are convergent. This means that a species that has changed its body type from another anole has come back to being of a similar body type over time.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park, Children’s Eternal Rainforest, La Selva Biological Station
Diet: flies, termites, beetles, cockroaches, crickets, spiders, centipedes
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Habitat: lowland wet tropical forest, coffee plantations, premontane and montane forest
Size: length=110-120 mm weight=negligible
Species: Anolis sagrei, Norops humilis