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Anolis oligaspis COPE, 1894

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Higher TaxaDactyloidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Bahama Anole 
SynonymAnolis oligaspis COPE 1894: 430
Anolis angusticeps chickcharneyi OLIVER 1948 (fide SCHWARTZ & THOMAS 1975)
Anolis angusticeps oligaspis — SCHWARTZ & THOMAS 1969
Anolis angusticeps oligaphis [sic] — FRANZ et al. 1993
Anolis angusticeps oligaspis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988: 73
Norops oligaspis — NICHOLSON et al. 2012
Anolis angusticeps oligaspis — POWELL & HENDERSON 2012
Anolis angusticeps oligaspis — ROBINSON et al. 2014
Anolis oligaspis — NICHOLSON et al. 2018 
DistributionBahamas: New Providence Island, Cat I., North Bimini, South Bimini

Type locality: Bahama Islands, New Providence.  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 26119 
DiagnosisDefinition. A subspecies of A. angusticeps characterized by usually smooth ventral scales, modally 9 scales between first canthals, modally one row of scales between supraorbital semicircles, median dorsal scales in first caudal verticil high in number, post-mental scales modally 6, femoral scales usually smooth but some times keeled, head scales usually smooth in both sexes, and ventral color white, not yellow (Schwartz 1969: 59).

Variation. Considering the entire sample of A. a. oligaspis first, the snout scales between the first canthals vary between 6 and 12, the number of loreals between 21 and 44, the supraorbital semicircles are almost always (94 of 113 lizards) separated by one row of scales, modally there are 1/1 scales between the interparietal and the semicircles, and 0/0 supraorbitals in contact with the interparietal, fourth toe subdigital lamellae vary between 15 and 22, first caudal verticil median dorsal scales range from 5 to 9, tenth caudal verticil median dorsals vary from 4 to 6, and post-mentals are 4 to 8.
All Bahaman lizards have been separated into five samples on the basis of geography and for convenience of discussion; these samples are 1) North and South Bimini, the sample is composed of South Bimini lizards with one exception; 2) Andros and the Berry Islands; 3) New Providence; 4) Great Exuma, Long, Cat; 5) Eleuthera. The above survey of the characteristics of A. a. oligaspis can be further broken down on the basis of these samples; such a procedure is necessary to determine the status of A. a. chickcharneyi.
Means of snout scales between the first canthal scales vary from 8.1 (New Providence) to 9.3 (Andros, Eleuthera), with Bimini lizards having a mean of 8.4. Modes of snout scales are 7 (New Providence), 8 (bimode on Andros) or 9 (Bimini, Andros bimode, Great Exuma, Eleuthera). The Andros sample (range 7-12) includes the total range for this scale character in the entire Bahaman lot, and other samples lack only one or the other extreme.
Mean number of loreals varies from 28.9 (Bimini) to 33.9 (Eleuthera). The supraorbital semicircles are almost always sepa rated by one row of scales; exceptions are supraorbitals in contact (13 Bimini, two Andros, two New Providence including the holotype, two Great Exuma); the only specimen from Cat Island and one from South Bimini have the semicircles separated by 2 scales.
The scales between the interparietal and the supraorbital semi circles usually are 1/1 (modal condition in Bimini, Andros, Great Exuma), but on New Providence, the nine specimens are evenly divided between the 1/1, 1/2, 2/2 categories and there is thus no mode; on Eleuthera the mode is 2/2 (six specimens) with two lizards having 1/1 and one lizard 1/2.
The number of supraorbitals contacting the interparietal is usually 0/0 (only condition observed on New Providence and Eleuthera); variants are 0/1 (three lizards), 1/1 (four), 2/2 (two) on Bimini, 0/1 (one) on Andros, 0/1 (one) on Great Exuma.
Fourth toe subdigital lamellae means vary from 18.2 (Bimini) to 19.6 (Great Exuma). Scales in the first caudal verticil have means from 5.5 (New Providence) to 6.3 (Andros) with Bimini lizards having a mean of 5.8. Means of scales in the tenth caudal verticil range from 4.7 (Great Exuma) to 5.1 (Andros).
Postmentals vary in mean from 4.7 on Bimini to 6.2 on Eleuthera, with New Providence intermediate (5.4). The modal num ber of postmentals is six in all populations except that on Bimini, with a mode of 4.
The recognition of A. c. chickcharneyi depends (Oliver, 1948) on four characters: 1) six to eight scales between the first ( = seventh sensu Oliver) canthals, 2) 24 to 32 loreals, a number intermediate between 17 to 23 in oligaspis and 35 to 38 in angusticeps, 3) 34 to 36 lamellae on the fourth toe (a number inter mediate between 33 or 34 in angusticeps and 36 to 40 in oligaspis), and 4) 4 postmentals (in contrast to 4 to 6 in angusticeps and 6 in oligaspis). We have not taken total lamellar counts on the fourth toe. There is no doubt that A. a. oligaspis differs (at least modally) from A. a. angusticeps; the status of A. a. chickcharneyi in relation to A: a. oligaspis is in question. Therefore, there is no purpose in comparing A. a. chickcharneyi with A. a. angusticeps, and we confine our comparisons of the Bimini populations with those from elsewhere in the Bahamas. Oliver was hampered in his comparisons by having very little material for comparison with his five Bimini lizards; he examined three specimens of A. a. angus ticeps and two specimens of A. a. oligaspis.
Although the number of snout scales between the first canthals is not as Oliver stated (7 to 11 rather than 6 to 8), the Bimini sample does average low (8.5) in this scale feature. However, Bimini lizards are intermediate in mean number of snout scales between 8.1 (New Providence topotypes of oligaspis) and all other Bahaman samples (means of 9.0 to 9.3). The modal number (9) of snout scales on Bimini occurs as a bimode on Andros (8 or 9) and is also intermediate between the low mode of 7 (New Providence) and 9 (Eleuthera, Great Exuma).
Bimini lizards average less (28.9) loreals than any other population of oligaspis (32.1 to 33.9); the range of the Bimini loreal counts (22 to 34) is completely embraced by those of oligaspis from Andros (22 to 40), Great Exuma (21 to 44) and practically included by those from New Providence (24 to 37).
Fourth toe subdigital lamellae on phalanges II and III average less for the Bimini sample (18.2; range 16-21), with means for other samples varying between 18.3 (Eleuthera) and 19.6 (Great Exuma). The combined ranges of fourth toe lamellae of popula tions other than Bimini are 15-22, so that the counts on Bimini are included within the balance of the counts for oligaspis.
The Bimini sample is the only one which has 4 postmentals as the modal condition; all others have 6 postmentals modally. The Bimini mean of this character (4.7) is coordinately low com pared with those of other samples (5.4 on New Providence to 6.2 on Eleuthera).
In summary, we feel that the only claim to recognition for A. a. chickcharneyi is the low number of postmentals. Although both the mean and mode are low in the Bimini lizards, the range of variation of "chickcharneyi" is enclosed by that of A. a. angus ticeps and A. a. oligaspis, and virtually so by A. a. paternus. As far as we can determine, there are no chromatic differences be tween A. angusticeps from Bimini and elsewhere in the Bahamas.
Acceptance of A. a. chickcharneyi might necessitate the naming of at least one other Bahaman population, as will be discussed below, and this is a course which we are not prepared to take at this time. Considering the variation in the various samples (some admittedly small) of A. a. oligaspis, we feel that A. a. chickcharneyi does not merit recognition.
Ventral keeling in A. a. oligaspis is usually absent, but Hardy (1967, p. 27) noted the occurrence of keeling in a specimen from Bimini. In addition to Bimini, specimens with keeled ventrals were encountered on lizards from Andros (one with weak keeling) and Eleuthera (five of nine specimens with keeling). Keeling of the scales on the anterior face of the thigh is even more prevalent in the Bahamas; 13 specimens from Bimini, six from Andros, two from the Berry Islands, two from New Providence, one from Eleu thera, five from Great Exuma, and three from Long have some degree of keeling of the scales on the anterior face of the thigh.
Considering all of the above information, the lizards from Eleu thera are unique among A. a. oligaspis in that they modally have
2/2 scales between the semicircles and the interparietal (2/2 occurs
only as a minor variant in all other samples) and that they in clude a high number of individuals with keeled ventral scales.
Eleuthera oligaspis also have a high mean number of scales be tween the first canthals (9.3, which is also the mean on Andros), the highest mean (33.9) number of loreals, always have the semi circles separated by one row of scales (a feature which is not constant in any other sample of A. angusticeps throughout its range), and have the highest mean (6.2) of postmental scales. Increasing familiarity with the Bahaman herpetofauna makes it clear that reptiles on Eleuthera have a strong tendency to differ from their relatives elsewhere in the Bahamas. In two instances (Sphaerodactylus decoratus, Thomas and Schwartz, 1966; Anolis distichtts Schwartz, 1968a) the Eleuthera populations have reached a level of subspecific difference from the balance of the Bahaman populations.
If we accept A. a. chickcharneyi as a valid subspecies, we would be reluctant to leave the Eleuthera A. angusticeps unnamed. Eleuthera lizards differ more from A. a. oligaspis than do Bimini lizards. However, the small series of A. angusticeps from Eleuthera causes us to be circumspect; we regard all Bahaman popula tions as A. a. oligaspis (Schwartz 1969: 59, OCR not proofread).

Comparisons: A. a. oligaspis differs from A. a. angusticeps and A. a. paternus in several scale characters. The higher number of snout scales between the first canthals (3-10 in angusticeps, 3-8 in paternus, 7-12 in oligaspis), and the greater number of scales in the first caudal verticil (4-7 in angusticeps and paternus, with means by area from 4.6-5.4; 5-9 in oligaspis with means by island between 5.5 and 6.3) are distinctive. The usually smooth head scales in both sexes of oligaspis serve also to distinguish the subspecies from both angusticeps and paternus.
Dorsal color and pattern of A. a. oligaspis is variable. Notes taken on two living specimens will serve to demonstrate this variability; 1) ASFS V7241, female, dorsal ground color gray with a series of transverse black markings in the style of crossbars but only irregularly so; a pair of pale gray dorsolateral lines; posterior dorsum suffused with rich wood brown; tail banded gray and black; 2) ASFS V6803, female, dorsal ground color brown with yellow longitudinal striae on flanks superimposed on brown bars on a gray ground; color when caught gray with dark mottlings.
Males tend to lack the dorsolateral lines ascribed to the females noted above, but in some color phases males have these lines. In some phases, there is also a black, butterfly-shaped lumbar spot. Dewlaps of A. a. oligaspis have been recorded in life as PI. 10 C 6 (pale peach) on Great Exuma, PI. 2 A 10 (peach) on South Bimini, and PI. 9 B 7 and 9 C 7 (dark peach) on South Bimini. Although there is no evidence that A. a. oligaspis shows variation in dewlap color comparable to that of A. a. angusticeps, our data for the Bahaman subspecies are too limited to be conclusive (Schwartz 1969: 64, OCR not proofread). 
CommentThe status of this species is contentious and it may be better to treat it as subspecies (J. Losos, B. Hedges, R. Powell, RG Reynolds, pers. comm., 18-19 May 2021). 
  • Cope, E.D. 1895. The Batrachia and Reptilia of the University of Pennsylvania West Indian expedition of 1890 and 1891. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 46 [1894]: 429-442 - get paper here
  • NICHOLSON, KIRSTEN E.; BRIAN I. CROTHER, CRAIG GUYER & JAY M. SAVAGE 2012. It is time for a new classification of anoles (Squamata: Dactyloidae). Zootaxa 3477: 1–108 - get paper here
  • NICHOLSON, KIRSTEN E.; BRIAN I. CROTHER, CRAIG GUYER & JAY M. SAVAGE 2018. Translating a clade based classification into one that is valid under the international code of zoological nomenclature: the case of the lizards of the family Dactyloidae (Order Squamata). Zootaxa 4461 (4): 573–586 - get paper here
  • Poe, S. 2013. 1986 Redux: New genera of anoles (Squamata: Dactyloidae) are unwarranted. Zootaxa 3626 (2): 295–299 - get paper here
  • Powell, R., R. W. Henderson, K. Adler, And H. A. Dundee. 1996. An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. In R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (eds.), Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz, p.51-93. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca (New York). Contributions to Herpetology, volume 12. [book review in Salamandra 36 (2): 136]
  • Robinson, C. D., Kircher, B. K., Johnson, M. A. 2014. Communal Nesting in the Cuban Twig Anole (Anolis angusticeps) from South Bimini, Bahamas. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians, 21(2), 71-72
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1988. West Indian Amphibian and Reptiles: A Checklist. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contr. Biol. Geol. No. 74: 264 pp.
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Schwartz, A. & Thomas, R. 1969. A Review of Anolis angusticeps in the West Indies. Quarterly J. Florida Acad. Sci. 31 (1): 52-69 [1968] - get paper here
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