Saturday, June 12, 2010

St. Croix - Lizards

My family often traveled to Florida when I was younger, and my favorite and most vivid memories of those trips include catching Anole lizards.

Even when we went to Disney World when I was 10 years old... I don't remember too many rides, but I do remember that I caught 50 lizards that week.

I only caught one Anole (Anolis acutus) during this trip to St. Croix, as they're a bit more wily and wild than they are in Florida. Though maybe I'm just loosing my touch as I'm getting older?
I encountered a few other reptile species as well. I caught a little Common Dwarf Gecko (Sphaerodactylus macrolepis), but did not get a photo of it. I also got my hands on a few Mediterranean House Geckos (Hemidactylus mabouia) - two adults, and one youngster.

We got to see a few iguanas (Iguana iguana), but they were of course too shy and quick to be captured. Not sure I'd even want to try, with the considerably dangerous tails and claws they have! We did feed them apples, though.
There are 11 species of lizards on the island of St. Croix, but so far these are the only ones I have personally encountered. There is an endangered species, the St. Croix ground lizard (Amevia polops), which only lives on two small islands just off the coast of St. Croix (Green Cay and Protestant Cay, while efforts are in place to introduce them to Buck Island). They were wiped out on the main island due to the introduction of the Mongoose, which has decimated much of the wildlife on St. Croix and other Caribbean islands.

Sadly, there are no snakes on St. Croix, except for the little Blind snake (Typhlops richardii). Very small, secretive and fossorial, they are difficult to find.


ColleenB said...

I went to Florida a few months ago and spent my whole week catching those- I even made an insect/lizard/amphibian net with a grapefruit mesh bag and a brocken tennis racket! :)

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