Brown Anole: A new lizard has established in Singapore

on 19th December 2015

In June 2014 we posted a new exotic lizard from the neotropics that found its way into Singapore. Visit the Gardens by the Bay and chances are that you will encounter adults as well as hatchlings of the Brown Anole (Norops sagrei, previously Anolis sagrei) lurking among ornamental plants. Indeed these lizards have firmly established themselves in the gardens (Tan & Lim, 2012). By now they must have moved to other parts of the island.

Jeremiah Loei’s video (above), recorded in September 2014 from the same Gardens shows a male indulging in its characteristic head bobbing and colourful throat flap flashing.

Marcus Ng’s images of the lizard, photographed in November of the same year (above and below) also came from the Gardens by the Bay.

The Brown Anole obviously sneaked into the country via the introduced ornamental plants during the development of the Gardens, officially opened in October 2011.

First spotted a year later, the slender Brown Anole is easily recognised by its long tail and tapering head. The male is immediately recognised by its orange to red throat fan that has a narrow light yellow border. The female has no throat fan or a poorly developed one.

The lizard is basically insectivorous but is known to feed on other small lizards. It has been proven to be invasive and has so far moved from the Caribbean to mainland United States, the Hawaiian Islands and even Taiwan. Now it has established itself in Singapore.

The female lays one to two eggs once every 14 days (Tan & Lim, 2012). These eggs take about a month to hatch, meaning that the Brown Anole can multiply fast. How this new arrival will have an impact on the native fauna, only time will tell. However, the National Parks Board is currently monitoring the situation.

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.

Jeremiah Loei & Marcus Ng
December 2015

Heok Hui Tan & Kelvin KP Lim (2012). Recent introduction of the brown anole Norops sagrei (Reptilia: Squamata: Dactyloidae) to Singapore. Nature in Singapore 5:359-362 (PDF).

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

5 Responses

  1. If the new lizard has the capability to eat our local chichaks, good luck to it. It will probably eat smaller lizards and goodness know what else. Only time will tell…

  2. I’ve seen the resident Collared Kingfisher having a feast of these Brown Anoles. Whilst they are predators, they are also predated upon and provide a food source for our local feathered friends. As it is a relatively small lizard, I also observed our other invasive lizard (now naturalised) the Changeable Lizard, chasing the Brown Anole away from its perch in their competition for food (both were waiting for unsuspecting butterflies at the little butterfly garden at the edge of the Meadows).

  3. I wondered what species of lizard this was. I was looking around the gardens by the bay and thought it looked like some kind of anole, lucky to have spotted this lizard who had made this attraction their home. The males are so beautiful.

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