Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.
First year: 1964
Established status: Populations
are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or
more consecutive years.
Estimated Florida range: 1
county At least 10 years
Statewide trend: Stable
Photograph by Kevin M. Enge © 2003
Threats to natives: None
Species Account: This species
occurs widely in the neotropics but is presently confined in
Florida to 2 or 3 warehouse complexes in Dade County with pebbled
expanses of sandy soil and low, sparse weeds. The populations
originated from escapees or releases from the pet trade. This is
actually a species complex that looks similar but is genetically
variable and even contains some parthenogenetic (all females
species. The Florida populations, however, are apparently bisexual.
Large males may exceed 30.5 cm (12 in) in length, but most are
smaller. These are very beautiful lizards, with males having brown
backs with yellow and lime-green stripes and golden sides with
yellow spots. The face, throat, and front of the legs are turquoise
blue, and the tail is green. Females are duller with 7-9 yellow
stripes on a greenish-brown body, orangish head, and bright green
tail, hind limbs, and lower sides. Lizards actively forage for
insects on the open ground and retreat to their burrows or the
shade of a plant or building when too hot. They also will eat
leaves and flowers of the toxic European punctureweed (Bartlett
1995, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).
Habitats: Central or core urban
area, Barren land
|At least 10 years
||Hialeah (King and Krakauer 1966); this population no longer
exists, but isolated populations occur elsewhere in northern Dade
County (Wilson and Porras 1983, Bartlett 1995)
Bartlett, R. D. 1995. The teiids of the
southeastern U.S. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 43(7):112, 114-119,
Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A field
guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas. 278pp.
King, F. W., and T. Krakauer. 1966. The exotic
herpetofauna of southeast Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida
Academy of Sciences 29:144-154.
Wilson, L. D., and L. Porras. 1983. The ecological
impact of man on the south Florida herpetofauna. University of
Kansas Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 9.