Dirty Day

This wasn’t intentionally aimed for Earth Day, yet it’ll do, unless I find something else. As indicated in the previous post, I was slightly delayed in getting this out, given that it happened yesterday, but so it goes.

While doing yard work yesterday, I came down the back steps and found this indelicate display right out there for all to see.

mating Carolina anoles Anolis carolinensis on iron gate
These are, naturally, Carolina anoles (Anolis carolinensis,) and they’re engaged in… well, they’re apparently beyond engagement at this point, but this is how they mate. I mentioned just a few days ago that I had several goals concerning this species, and this was one of them. I hadn’t wasted any time in grabbing the camera so I wasn’t fully equipped for video with tripod, microphone, external monitor, or even a longer lens, and thus what I captured was ‘on the fly,’ but quite acceptable for that. Quality-wise, anyway – I can’t vouch for the views of any delicate souls out there. So yes, I did capture a handful of video clips to illustrate, though there admittedly wasn’t a lot to illustrate.

For what little I have here, I was out there for quite a while, determined to capture a complete display of courtship and mating should it occur. Given that I had already seen the mating, only a few minutes earlier, I was surprised to see the male displaying a short distance away from the female, until I realized that there were two females. Or so I surmise, anyway, because while both sexes can change their coloration this distinctly, typically the territorial display for males is flashy green with other patches, not brown. But what had happened in the short space while I wasn’t observing? Was either female the one seen initially? Here, I figured I’d leave them be while they conducted business, and this resulted in missing some part of the drama.

male Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis during courtship/breeding display showing pink dewlap
The male spent a great deal of time scampering around on the fence, from the immediate vicinity to several meters away, displaying enthusiastically. The second female that appeared ever-so-briefly in the video remained completely out of sight, while the first took shelter and shortly reappeared, though circumspectly; I suspect this was from my presence. For my part, I picked a spot that had a decent view and held still, getting both too warm and more than a little achey from holding the camera higher. Not only that, but soon after starting video, the low-battery warning was flashing, typical when I start video because it uses the LCD for focusing and framing and this takes a lot more power. It’s one of the reasons that I have an external monitor – when I bother to have it attached.

Nothing ever came of this whole secondary courtship, despite my observing for about 15 minutes.

female Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis remaining unimpressed
From what I’ve seen of the species, they tend to be remarkably sharp-eyed, but I was never certain whether either could see the other – the female definitely showed no recognition of the male’s display, and the male never approached the female any closer than that seen in the video. Eventually, he gave up and took a position along a fence slat, his color fading closer to that of the fence as he appeared to get in a quick nap.

Meanwhile, I’m still not sure if this is my imagination, but the female here seems to show a hint of purple in her coloration. Is this typical, and I’ve never noticed it? Is it sparked by the proximity of the flowers? (I’ve once again forgotten the species.) Are my eyes shot? Tune in next week – we won’t have the answers then either, but perhaps there will be something else of interest.

By the way, as of this brief video upload, I believe I’ve reached my free limit on Vimeo, and will have to give them some money to host anything further. This isn’t a hint or anything – just observing. Gosh, sure are a lot of cool videos up here though, with fancy title cards and everything. Pretty classy for free content, you know? Not that I’m saying anything…

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