Per the ancient lore, part 10

male brown anole Anolis sagrei displaying dewlap
After a brief jaunt into the future with last week’s post, we return to the earliest days of digital photos (for me, anyway) and of course Florida. The subject here is the lovely textures of a Caribbean sycamore tree, rudely blocked by an impertinent anole. Okay, I lie, I have no idea what kind of tree it is, and was instead after the anole itself, hard as that may be to believe. This is a male brown anole (Anolis sagrei,) doing his territorial/mating display thing. Typically, if you see this it’s a signal to look around carefully, since it virtually always indicates another within visual range, though I admit I don’t think I ever saw the beneficiary of this display. I doubt it was for me, but cannot vouch for the sexual proclivity of any individual lizard.

We’ve made it to the Reptiles/Amphibians folder, of course. The brown anoles weren’t originally native to Florida and are thus considered an invasive species, but the definition of this can be debated if one is so inclined. Right now the browns outnumber the native green anoles significantly, and are probably the easiest reptile species to spot in Florida, small as they are (roughly 14cm in overall length.) Which reflects a little on my changed approach to nature photography in the intervening years (this was taken in May of 2004.) The anoles, both green and brown, in Florida are abundant, and I even had a resident within the tree right outside my window, but I never sat down and did a detailed photo-examination of them. They were certainly easier to find than the Chinese mantids that I’ve been chasing the past several years, if a bit spookier, but I have far fewer images of them. Nowadays, with such easily available models, I’d probably have a full selection of portraits and behaviors, eggs and newly-hatched young and so on, within my stock folders, and this is at least partially due to writing blog posts, realizing that I had a good subject to feature and trying for more illustrating images. Certainly I’d have better-lit versions than this (and do,) but when you spot a wild and rather shy reptile displaying, you get what you can without thinking about how to coax it into a different position, or whether you can get a fill-reflector in place. And as the theme goes, these are the early digitals shots, so this is not an example of the best that I’ve ever gotten.

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