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- Anolis ophiolepis  :

literature :

From Wikipedia :


Anolis ophiolepis is a species of lizard of the family of Dactyloidae 1 .

Classification according to ReptileDB :










Binomial name :

Anolis ophiolepis 
Cope , 1861

synonyms :

- Norops ophiolepis (Cope, 1861)

Distribution :


This species is endemic to Cuba 1 .

For the external links , refrences  click here to read the full wikipedia article 

Anolis ophiolepis 

couryesy to :
by Matthias Bleisch

Characteristics :

Species name:  Anolis ophiolepis

Origin:  Cuba (with the exception of Peninsula de Guanahacabibes); Isla de la Juventud

Habitat:  Open savannahs, pastures, gardens, marshes and sugar cane fields, grass stems and small bushes. Mainly near the ground.

Body size (KRL):  Males about 36mm, females ca.32mm

Sex differences:  Males have a large red-white bordered throat flag and enlarged postanal sheds.Canne a neck and back combs. Females with reduced throat. Both sexes are equally colored.



SCHETTINO, LR (1999): The Iguanid Lizards of Cuba; University Press of Florida, Gainesville, p. 376-380

Offspring and keeping anolis ophiolepis


Since I entered the terrarium with my young 15 years, the subfamily Polychrotinae of the Iguanidae fascinated me. At the beginning of 2006, I was able to adopt an anole ophiolepis , which has not yet been presented in a special posture and breeding article, but in my view this undoubtedly deserves.


description :


Anolis ophiolepis Cope (1861), one of the 55 Anolis species of Cuba, is a small, gravely ground  . 


The basic color is a variable brown, the body base is gray and differently strong with black speckles interspersed. Males of this type reach an average head-trunk length of 36.6 mm and a tail length of 83.5 mm. The females remain slightly smaller with an average head-trunk length of 32.3 mm and a tail length of 63.6 mm  


The white to greyish dorsal strip extends from the head (at the level of the ear openings) to the tail portion, where it runs along the entire width of the tail.


On each side of the body there are two white to gray lateral strips. These start at the head start, pull over the flank and run on the tail.


On the back there are various dark brown to black rectangles of different sizes between the upper lateral and dorsal streaks.


Fig. 1: Male in stress staining.

Sex differences :


With regard to the staining, there are no differences between the two sexes of A. ophiolepis in the resting phase, ie there is no sex dichromatism. In both sexes the pattern in this phase is rather pale.


However, as soon as the animals are excited, For example, by a second male or female, the coloring differences of the sexes are clearly visible: the male is mainly colored between head and trunk orange to dark red. The rectangles on the back disappear slowly and are hardly visible anymore. The four lateral strips remain white.


The females may also have a reddish coloration, but this is not as intense as that of the male; the lateral and dorsal streaks also remain white. I could never observe the erection of a back or neck combs in the females.

Fig. 2: Freshly hatched young animal with Drosophila as a size comparison.

A slightly widened tail attachment can be seen for the sex discrimination in male animals. Likewise, the female animals look a bit more graceful, which can however be a deceptive reference in a gender determination.


distribution and habitat


Distribution and habitat The distribution area of ​​A. ophiolepis covers almost all of Cuba (excluding Peninsula de Guanahacabibes), including Isla de la Juventud 

Fig. 3: High-growth female on the day of oviposition.

The animals are described as terrestrial by carrier carriers   . These iguanas occupy mainly the soil, but also the grass and shrub layer  .  in gardens, on rocky dry slopes and in savannah and pasture-like areas .


terrarium :


As a mainly terrestrial anolis, A. ophiolepis is kept by me in a standard glasterarium, ie rather long as high [FWAn96] , with a size of at least 60 × 40 × 40 cm (L × W × H). This size is ideal for a pairwise attitude of this type.



Fig. 6: Large terrarium for keeping two pairs of small anolis species.

Due to the strongly pronounced territorial behavior, it is not advisable to socialize the sexes [FlBe02] . Even though I could not find any aggressiveness in a group of 1.2 animals raised, and even fertilized eggs from the terrarium. However, this seems to be the exception,Since also later females were chased by the already present females. Of course, an attitude of two or more males must be clearly rejected, especially in such small containers. The area of ​​a male is about 10 m2 (bottle carrier, written medium). Especially in such small containers. The area of ​​a male is about 10 m2 (bottle carrier, written medium). Especially in such small containers. The area of ​​a male is about 10 m2 (bottle carrier, written medium).


Small shrubby plants, which have branches with a diameter of a few millimeters, are suitable for planting, so that they can withstand the weight of small iguanas. Also, B. Plant catgrass in a bowl and place it directly in the terrarium. The iguanas like to use this kind of planting as a climbing possibility and visibility.


With stones and small rock formations, the animals are still further climbing possibilities, by the spot irradiation of the stones can be created by means of a small spot a heat island with a temperature of about 35-40 ° C. The rest of the ter- rium should have temperature zones of 23-30 ° C. At night, I let the temperature drop to about 20-23 ° C.


For me, the bottom of the soil consists mainly of about 5 cm of semi-dry coconut fibers. A part of the ground should consist of sand and thus represent the dry hot area [SHLe06] . In addition to this dry area, the animals should also be provided with a rather moist "corner".


With the help of corkscrew hammers (Corylus avellana contorta) ideal climbing possibilities can be introduced into the terrarium. The basic lighting consists of at least one, better two T5-full-spectrum fluorescent tubes and a UV-Sparlampe.


The drinking needs of the animals seems relatively large, but this is not satisfied or hardly over a drinking bowl, but over the licking of the spray water. Standing water with me is only rarely and then rather from eg filled bromeli-emitters or Blattachseln absorbed. Immediately after spraying, the animals drink also from the small water collections, Which form in the vaults of the withered leaves on the ground. In order to achieve a relative humidity of 40-70% (depending on the place in the terrarium) and to satisfy the drinking needs of the animals, should be sprayed daily.

Fig. 8: A breeding terrarium.

As a sleeping place, my animals mainly use the corkscrew branches distributed in the terrarium. Leaves and other smooth terrarium furnishings are rarely used as sleeping places, and A. ophiolepis has rarely been discovered by me and other terrarers (Zeilfelder, written communication) as sleeping on the disc, although in other species like A. carolinensis, A. Roquet summus and A. Vermiculatus is often used as a sleeping place (own observations). Compared to the species mentioned above, A. ophiolepis can hardly hold on to smooth surfaces, which is not necessarily necessary for its terrestrial life.


Since Anolis ophiolepis is the ideal nursery for a spectacle, I did not want to miss this experience and started an experiment with the attitude of a larger group in a large terrarium. This terrarium has the dimensions 130 × 60 × 70 cm (L × W × H). The stock consists of two males as well as two females of this species. The terrarium had to be structured very well, in order to offer the two males many evasive possibilities.


The expected territorial disputes between the males remained largely unchanged during the last five months since the terrarium is now in use. The females underneath one another were interesting under these conditions, and they also showed much greater disturbances in the region, which also coincided with my observations described above concerning the traction of new females into existing groups.


In contrast to small terrariums, the animals can form their own larger areas, and harassed animals can hide more easily. The holes in the terrarium raised bricks are used, but also as sleeping places. Despite the relatively large area, the anolis could rarely be observed when sunbathing together.


Invaders in a strange area are threatened with violent nods. If this does not show any effect, the intruder is hunted out of the area. Correct battles with (until now) injured bites could only be observed twice.

Fig. 5: An adult animal in the molt.

In contrast to this, the copulations are: both pairs have been surprised several times at a distance of a few centimeters with simultaneous copying (own observations). However, a targeted breeding of the animals does not have to be done with this dimensioning of the terrarium, since offspring are hardly found.


But the much more complex behavior (compared to that in small terrariums) compensates for the failure of offspring by far.


nutrition :


The fringes described here eat almost everything they get into their mouths. From small crickets to oven fish, small green cockroaches, flourworms up to a maximum of 15 mm in length, small and large drosophila, beetle beetles, flour moths as well as their caterpillars everything is gladly and eagerly accepted. Especially the nimble fishes and the flying flour moths present a special challenge to the hunting skills of these iguanas and lighten the terrarium day of the animals.


Animals are fed every two days with a small amount of feed. As far as possible, the feed animals are dusted with commercially available vitamin and calcium preparations at every second feeding. The pollinated feed animals are accepted without problems. The animals can be very well conditioned on the tweezers, this goes so far that they bite into the tweezers, If there are no fodder animals on it. This conditioning is sometimes somewhat unnatural, since the anolis "stick" to the terrarium disc at the mere sight of the tweezers. However, this behavior is advantageous for handling with the animals (eg for a check of the "general state"). Since the anolis "glue" at the mere sight of the tweezers on the terrarium disk. However, this behavior is advantageous for handling with the animals (eg for a check of the "general state"). Since the anolis "glue" at the mere sight of the tweezers on the terrarium disk. However, this behavior is advantageous for handling with the animals (eg for a check of the "general state").


Multiplication and rearing :





Abb. 4: Wenige Wochen altes Jungtier.

The courtship of A. ophiolepis is a very impressive affair. In both sexes a nodding can be observed. The male turns reddish into the color of the excitement, sets up his neck and back, and begins at the same time the swirling of the small throat, which is orange in color, and is white to yellowish-spotted. The following pairing with a neck bite can be 4.31-9.


The nest, which consists of one egg, rarely two eggs, is buried in semi-moist soil at a depth of about 1-3 cm (own observations). Further scrims are often deposited near the first.


After an incubation period of 38-45 days, the small anolis hatch with a head-trunk length of about 12 mm. The very fragile-looking young animals are raised with me in a gauze-covered Heimendose. As a substrate, kitchen paper or coconut fiber was used. However, I prefer the kitchen paper since cleaning the container is much easier.


In the first few days to weeks, the young animals show a high level of fluid demand, so they must always be given fresh drinking water, For example in a PET bottle cap. Even though the young animals tend to lick the drops when spraying, the standing water is essential as protection. Two days without water can already be acknowledged to the death of the young animals (own observations).


Two to three days after the hatch, the boys take their first food. This is already eagerly chased, as in the case of adults. In the first few weeks of the year, they used jumping tails, white asses, small drosophila, small homes and small oven fish.


Because of the low aggressiveness of the young animals, they can easily be reared in small groups, which is very useful because of the high reproduction rate of this species. From two pairs, I was able to raise 14 healthy young animals within a short year.


Due to various beginners' mistakes, six young animals died, five eggs were destroyed by incubation errors, and four eggs were placed by the mother animal at an unfortunate position (too dry for the incubation).


It should also be mentioned that young animals should not be left in the terrarium, since it was observed that the parents were following them (Zeilfelder, oral communication). The young animals of A. ophiolepis are reproducible after about 8-10 months ( [FlBe02] , own observation).


The young animals of A. ophiolepis are reproducible after about 8-10 months  , own observation).

Fig. 7: Abdominal staining of A. ophiolepis.

Fig. 9: A male of A. ophiolepis shows his throat.

socialization :


The socialization of A. ophiolepis with other terrariums was not a question for me, because of their very agile and active nature. Only the following should be said: A possible socialization should be chosen in such a way that, firstly, the attitude parameters can be complied with and not a compromise must be addressed; secondly,


thanks :


A heartfelt thanks to Iris Zeilfelder, Uwe Bartelt and Axel Fläschendräger, thanks to their experience and help I was able to keep these animals. I would also like to thank Nicola Lutzmann and Philipp Zerbe for their great help in writing this article.


images :


Adult animals

Anolis ophiolepis males in biotope, Cuba: Las Terrazas, about 300 m. 
Photographed by Axel Fläschendräger

Anolis ophiolepis 
Photographed by Uwe Bartelt

Anolis ophiolepis 
Photographed by Timo Plochowietz

Anolis ophiolepis 
Photographed by Matthias Bleisch

Anolis ophiolepis 
Photographed by Matthias Bleisch

Anolis ophiolepis 
Photographed by Matthias Bleisch

pairing :


Anolis ophiolepis at mating. 
Photographed by Uwe Bartelt

Anolis ophiolepis at mating. 
Photographed by Uwe Bartelt

young animals :

Anolis ophiolepis . 
Photographed by Matthias Bleisch

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