The Striped Anole, Anolis lineatus, was probably the species of lizard I most encountered in Aruba. I assume the common and scientific names refer to those dark broken lateral stripes, but it’s known locally as Waltaka.
Here’s another one, a female perhaps.
My earlier post of the lizard on a tree is also one.
After a good bit of googling, I came across a good free resource on the reptiles and amphibians of Aruba, link below.
Aruba could easily be called “Lizard Island”. You can’t take a step without seeing a few scurrying away. I don’t think there’s a square inch of sand that doesn’t have a lizard track in it.
I came across this small blind snake as it slowly wormed its way along a clear patch of ground next to a corn field. I thought it first it might be a worm, but something just looked a little odd about it. I picked it up and through my hand lens I could see it had scales. I also spotted its tongue darting in and out of its tiny mouth.
I didn’t know it then, but I was in the initial stages of chicken pox. All I knew was that I was feeling poorly and wasn’t motivated to take pictures in the field. I stuffed it in a small container for pictures later. The next day I took a few photos as I held it in my hand. I released it later that day in a field much like the one where I found it.
Anoles were abundant everywhere I went in Costa Rica. They are difficult to identify though, and I gave up trying to figure out which species this might be.
Compared to the male, this female Gonatodes albigularis is quite drab.
She looks as if she has suffered some unfortunate incident. Not only does she appear to be regrowing the tip of her tail, but one of her hind feet seems a bit mangled.
I thought it would be difficult to identify this skink, but it turns out there are only three skinks in Costa Rica. Only two of those occur in the area I was in. And only one, Mabuya unimarginata, is bronzed like this one.
Chiefly arboreal, this one was nonetheless basking on a log near the ground.
See more images of this species here.
Reference:A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Ricaby Twan Leenders
I photographed this slender anole, Norops limifrons, not long after sunset. This species is common and abundant in Costa Rica. It ranges from Mexico to Panama.
According to Leenders, observations suggest that this species mates for life, a rare behavior for a lizard. Energy otherwise spent by the male on defending a territory against other males is instead spent on maintaining the relationship with the female. The male and female stick together, usually never more than a few meters apart. If I’d known this at the time, I’d have looked around for this one’s mate.
This species, Gonatodes albigularis, can usually be found on surfaces two to three meters above the ground. Not surprisingly then, I spotted this male just above eye-level on the side of a tree, shortly after dark.
Male coloration as shown here is distinctive among Costa Rican lizards. Interestingly though, coloration changes after dark. The head darkens a bit and the body lightens somewhat. Both still remain distinct from each other. What you see above then is the night color phase, or perhaps a transitional phase between the two. Males also have that white-tipped tail.
As dusk arrived, I spotted this small vine snake, Imantodes cenchoa, descending a large tree. This species is chiefly arboreal, so seeing one near the ground was sheer luck.
A small snake, the head shown here is only 5mm wide. Overall I estimated this one to be less than a meter long, although they can grow to a bit more than that.
The head is much wider than the body. Thin as it may be, it can swallow prey ten times the width of its body. Nocturnal, these snakes hunt sleeping lizards, particularly anoles.
In the photo above, you can easily see the two scales above the far eye that give this snake its common name. No other Costa Rican snake has this distinctive feature.
I used my Canon 100mm macro combined with my Tamron 1.4x teleconverter to get some closeup shots, without getting too close myself. A handful of people die in Costa Rica every year from bites by this snake.