Lizard sightings!

Why are these lizards changing color?

Like the world-famous lizard named Green Fruit Loop in the video above, the reptiles you’ll observe on this page are green anoles, a.k.a. Carolina anoles (scientific name: Anolis carolinensis), which are native to the southeastern United States (see map below).

Green anole distribution

On this page, we will be documenting the times and dates that our growing community of green anoles appears on or near a green or brown background, to see if we can decide if these amazing lizards change color to blend in with their background, or if there is some other reason that they might change. All students, of any age, could keep a tally of backgrounds (green or brown) and the color of the anole (green, brown, or mixed) when on that background. This activity helps fulfill the following Next Generation Science Standards:

1-LS1-1 Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

3-LS3-2. Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.

4-LS1-2. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

MS-LS1-8. Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.

MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

MS-LS4-6. Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

For middle and high school students, there is also a fascinating video on anoles that was made by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and it features Professor Jonathan Losos of Harvard University:

But without further ado, please look through the pictures and see what you might decide, and then share your observations with us in the comments section below!

 

Friday, December 23, 2016 at 1:36 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a green background.

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 1:05 PM

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This appears to be a male Carolina anole on a green vine made from construction paper.

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 1:04 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a vine made from brown construction paper.

 

Monday, October 31, 2016 at 1:19 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a background made from green tape.

 

Monday, October 31, 2016 at 7:30 AM

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This is a male Carolina anole on a vine made from brown construction paper.

 

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 2:07 PM

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This is a male Carolina anole on a vine made from green construction paper.

 

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 2:06 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a platform made from wood and green tape.

 

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:28 AM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a vine made from brown construction paper.

 

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:28 AM

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These are two female Carolina anoles at the very top of the terrarium. The one on the left is on a vine made from brown construction paper, and the one on right is on black plastic.

 

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:27 AM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a vine made from green construction paper.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 2:29 PM

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This is a male Carolina anole on a vine made from brown construction paper.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 1:53 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a vine made from green construction paper.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 1:28 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a platform made from wood and brown tape.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 12:50 PM

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These appear to be two female Carolina anoles on the black plastic at the top of their terrarium.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 12:49 PM

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This appears to be a female Carolina anole on a vine made from brown construction paper.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 12:49 PM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a platform made from wood and green tape.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 11:40 AM

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This is a female Carolina anole on a platform made from wood and green tape.