Invasive Cuban Brown Anole Found on Bermuda Island

December 10, 2015

A Florida International University biology student has discovered an invasive lizard in Bermuda that may have a detrimental impact on the critically endangered Bermuda skink (Plestiodon longirostris). James Stroud, a Ph.D student at FIU discovered a Cuban brown anole  (Anolis sagrei) during a two year conservation project that involved studying the island’s lizard populations. 

Cuban brown anole

James Stroud

Cuban brown anoles have been discovered in Bermuda.

"The Cuban brown anole most likely reached Bermuda by human transport," said Stroud, who study’s at the university’s Kenneth Feeley Lab. "These lizards hitch rides between ports as unintended stowaways amongst cargo, usually in nursery plants and building materials. Although further research is needed to confirm it, this route of introduction seems likely."

Cuban Brown Anole Facts

  • Scientific Name: Anolis sagrei
  • Family: Iguanidae
  • Adult Size: 5 to 8 inches
  • Range: Bahamas, and introduced to peninsular Florida and scattered urban area in the southern United States, Hawaii, California, and Taiwan.
  • Habitat: Fields and open woodlands, canal banks, open urban areas.
  • Captive Lifespan: 5 to 8 Years

Stroud told FIU News that the Cuban brown anole has not yet been found in the same areas as the Bermuda skink so the effects of this population of invasive lizard on the Bermuda skink is not yet known. Stroud did say that populations of the Cuban brown anole have been found in all life stages in the central part of the island. This indicates that the species is thriving. Stroud also noted that the Jamaican anole is also found all over Bermuda island as well. He also noted that the Antiguan anole has expanded into other areas of the island. 

Bermuda Skink Facts

  • Scientific Name: Plestiodon longirostris
  • Family: Scincidae
  • Adult Size: 3 inches
  • Range: Bermuda Island
  • Habitat:  Rocky coastal areas of the Bermudas 

The Bermuda skink's population numbers have dwindled due to such factors as habitat loss and the introduction of non native species such as cats, rats and birds to the island environment.

Bermuda Skink

brian gratwicke

The Bermuda skink is critically endangered.

It grows to about three inches in length, not including the tail and is known locally as the rock lizard. It can be found in rocky coastal areas of the Bermudas and eats crickets, beetles, and terrestrial crustaceans. It was listed as a protected species in 2003 by the Bermuda Protected Species Act.

The Cuban brown anole is arguably one of the most invasive reptile species in the world, having established populations throughout the southeastern United States, to the Hawaiian Islands and on Taiwan. 

John Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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