Continent: Middle-America Caribbean North-America Distribution: Puerto Rico (including many offshore islands), Isla Vieques, Isla Culebra, Isla Culebrita, Virgin Islands, Isla de Cabras, Punta Salinas Island, Cayo Ratones (near Jobos, Puerto Rico), Skipper Cay (south of Key Point, Peter Island, British Virgin Islands, e.g. Anegada); Dominica (THORPE, cited in POWELL & HENDERSON 2004). Hispaniola: Dominican Republic (introduced), USA (Florida, introduced) Mexico (Yucatan), Costa Rica Anolis cristatellus cristatellus: Puerto Rico, including some off-shore islands; introduced in República Dominicana and southeast Florida. Type locality: see comment. Anolis cristatellus wileyae Grant, 1931 (HOLOTYPE: MCZ 34792): islands east of Puerto Rico; US. and British Virgin Is. Isla Mona - Puerto Rico - Isla Vieques - Isla Culebra.
Competes with and dominates A. COOKI in sw. Puerto Rico (Jenssen et al. 1984, Marcellini et al. 1985). See Schwartz and Henderson 1991 for brief account of ecological relations among introduced CRISTATELLUS and native ANOLIS in Republica Dominicana.
Crested anoles rely heavily on visual cues in order to communicate with one another. Generally, males who defend territories exhibit this behavior. These displays include pushups, extensions of the dewlap, head bobbing, biting, and tail lashing. These behaviors convey one of two meanings, either telling a potential mate that the male is interested, or warning other males that they are intruding into their territory. The dewlap is a very important part of anole species' intraspecific and interspecific communication, as it varies in color across species. This visual cue is very important when defending a territory from a potential threat.
Crested anoles are known to reach lengths of 10 to 20.5 cm (4 to 8 in). Because this species has such a long tail, the SVL (snout-vent length) is usually just 7.5 cm for males and 5.7 cm for females. Females are much smaller than males. Hatchlings of this species are about 5.08 cm (2 in). Males can can vary from a grayish to a light brown color, and may have a crest on their tails. Males also have a dewlap, a flap of skin located under the neck that is able to be extended for use in communication. Dewlaps vary in color from yellow to red and may be lighter or darker depending on habitat moisture conditions. Females are drab and colored similarly to the ground, with a dark-bordered light stripe on their backs. Young males also have this dorsal stripe until they reach maturity. Females lack a tail crest and dewlap. This species has the ability to change color depending on its environment, lighting or mood.
Range length: 10 to 20.5 cm.
Other Physical Features: heterothermic
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; sexes colored or patterned differently; ornamentation
Behler, J., W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knipf, Inc..
Leal, M., L. Fleishman. 2004. Differences in visual signal design and detectability between allopatric populations of anolis lizards. The American Naturalist, 163/1: 26-39.
Perry, G., K. Levering, I. Girard, T. Garland. 2004. Locomotor performance and social dominance in male Anolis cristatellus. Animal Behavior, 67: 37-47.
Little is known about the specific development of crested anoles. Males tend to grow faster than females in most Anolis species. As individuals reach adulthood, this growth rate difference leads to sexual dimorphism. As juveniles, male crested anoles resemble females and their dewlap is not developed. This structure, and the dorsal crest, develops in males over time.
Development - Life Cycle: indeterminate growth
Losos, J. 2009. Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree: Ecology and Adaptive Radiation in Anoles. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press.
Little is known about the lifespan of crested anoles in the wild or in captivity. Several other Anolis species, however, have been reported to have average lifespans of about 7 years in captivity. It has been determined that the lifespan of an anole is strongly linked to the number of predators who share their habitat.
Average lifespan Status: captivity: 7 years.
de Magalhaes, J., J. Costa. 2009. A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22/8: 1770-1774.