Mating Knight anoles (Anolis equestris) at FTBG

This morning Ken and I witnessed mating Knight anoles (Anolis equestris), a non-native lizard species introduced to south Florida from Cuba, in the rainforest section of Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens. They were positioned ~2.5m from the ground.

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Have you seen them yet? They are in this box somewhere…

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Here is a close up – still difficult to spot!

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Aside from being a pretty rare observation, this is interesting for a couple of reasons; i) relatively little is known about this species’ ecology in south Florida, so records of breeding activity and location are important, ii) this species is naturally highly arboreal – they are morphologically adapted to life at the top of the trees possessing larger toepads and shorter limbs relative to more terrestrial Anolis sp. Therefore observing an breeding pair in action, potentially representing an individual’s most vulnerable activity to either competitors or predators, outside of their preferred habitat range is interesting! Why is this occurring there?

Of course, this could just be a fluke. The majority of breeding attempts may occur in their preferred habitat location in tree crowns outside of our detection. Either way, a nice piece of lizard behaviour for a Friday morning!

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An Undergraduate’s Perspective

I would like to begin this blog post with a quick introduction about myself:  My name is Christine Pardo and I am a senior attending Florida International University in Miami, Florida. As an undergraduate pursuing a career in the fields of ecology and conservation, I have made it a goal of mine to have a myriad of experiences under my belt before I cross that threshold event into the “real world” otherwise known as graduation. In the summer of 2012 I spent three months as a volunteer with Dr. Kenneth Feeley and his graduate student Evan Rehm working in the Andean cloudforests of Manu National Park in southern Peru. This past summer, I participated in Harvard Forest’s Summer Research Program in Ecology supported through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates fellowship.

As a contributor to upwithclimate, I am going to blog a series of insights I have gained from those past experiences and more. I hope to accomplish two main goals from my series of blog posts. First, I want to actually bring to light the undergraduate perspective on a variety of topics related to pursuing a career in ecological research. Second and most importantly, I hope that my posts will serve as advice to anyone like myself who has decided during their undergraduate years to take the plunge into this truly amazing field.

My next few posts will highlight my most recent experience at Harvard Forest. I look forward with anticipation to begin this blogging project!

-Christine (cpard008@fiu.edu)

Collecting soil samples from Prospect Hill at Harvard Forest.

Collecting soil samples from Prospect Hill at Harvard Forest.