On my way into Armstrong Atlantic this morning, I found this legless, Eastern Glass Lizard: Ophisaurus ventralis. It was positioned in the posture in the photographs when I encountered in on the side of the road, so, when I dismounted my bike and approached it, I hesitated to grab it to avoid being bitten… Then, when I did grab it, I realized it was stiff and dead.
Glass lizards resemble snakes, in that they don’t have legs, but have external ear openings (the hole on the head, behind the eye) and movable eyelids. Relative to snakes, they’ve evolved from a distinct lineage of lizards and belong to the family Anguidae. Anguids look a bit like skinks, especially those Anguids with legs, and I’ve encountered one in Costa Rica – a beast of a lizard called a galliwasp. Glass lizards are reportedly pretty common around here, and I’ve seen one other on Skidaway Island, but it was too fast to catch. A friend also captured some on video mating… (edit: before seeing the video, I thought the subjects were anguids – looks more like broad-headed skink though)
Jessie Knowlton, one of the mentors of NAPIRE, had a keen eye for sleeping Norops polylepis.
This anole suns near the lab at the Las Cruces lab most days, and I was recently able to catch and key it. This is likely a female; she lacks a prominent dewlap. Norops biporcatus is a large anole that is most often bright green and resembles Dactyloa spp. and Polychrus spp., because of its size. However, presence of elongated, unkeeled lamalle on its toes, and dorsal + nuchal ridges help to place it in Norops. I was really hoping for a Polychrus: the Neotropical chameleon… but it was still fun to catch.
A second species of stream anole, Norops aquaticus, found at Quebrada Cusigno at Las Cruces during a bat-catching trip. The other, which I’ve seen in RBAMB and Hitoy Cerere, is N. oxylophus. One cool distinguishing feature: N. aquaticus has greenish eyes, whereas N. oxylophus has coppery eyes.
Two N. aquaticus hide under a log at Quebrada Cosigno
Dewlap coloration - N. aquaticus has yellow stripes throughout the dewlap.
Norops polylepis also occurs on La Osa Peninsula (another specimen and its perch) and Alice found this one at Las Alturas.
Mastigodryas melanolomus was my first snake sighting/catch in Las Cruces! I was beginning to get jealous of the snake reports from other mentors and students… But, on the way back from a sampling period today, two of my students, Mel and David, spotted this juvenile (it still has some blotches – adults are more solid) salmon-bellied racer.
I’ve seen and posted about Norops oxylophus on other trips, including to Hitoy Cerere, where this one was, and RBAMB.
I’m a little rusty on photographing… plus, I didn’t have my flash with me at the time of encountering this parrot snake (Leptophis sp.), so the photos I got were pretty poor. In any case, this is one of two species that occur on the caribbean slope: L. ahaetulla or L. depressirotris.