Anolis is a genus of lizards belonging to the family Polychrotidae. Anoles, as they are commonly known, are distributed from southeastern North America to central South America, including the West Indies. Most anoles are brown, grey or green, with a few exceptions including Anolis gorgonaewhich is blue. Anoles are vertebrates (have a backbone or spine), have four limbs and a long tail, and are characterized by having adhesive toe-pads, and in most species, brightly colored throat fans, called dewlaps. Species found in the Caribbean are the most studied, but the majority of species are found in Central and South America (~60%). There is one anole species native to the United States, Anolis carolinensis, also known as the North American Green Anole (1). Often studied as an example of evolutionary diversification and adaptive radiation, the genus Anolis is an important research subject in areas like physiology, behavior, and community ecology, among others. The scientific importance of this group is reflected in that the North American green anole lizard was selected to be the first non-avian reptile to have its genome sequenced (3).
- 1. Alföldi, J. et, al. The genome of the green anole lizard and a comparative analysis with birds and mammals. Nature 477, 587–591 (29 September 2011) doi:10.1038/nature10390
- 2. Losos, J.B and Schneider, C. Anolis lizards Current Biology Vol 19 No 8 R316
- 3. Sweetlove, L. Lizard genome unveiled. Nature. Published online 31 August 2011 doi:10.1038/news.2011.5123.