New threat emerging from another invasive reptile

| 08/11/2018 | 44 Comments
Knight anole, Cayman News Service

Knight anole (click to enlarge)

(CNS): The discovery of a Knight anole (Anolis equestris) at Vigoro Nursery in Lower Valley last week is ringing alarm bells for the Department of Environment as this green lizard is an invasive species that could threaten local ecosystems. Like the green iguana, this smaller reptile is a prolific breeder. It has been spotted locally on previous occasions, and this one turned up during the island-wide cull of green iguanas, enemy number one right now in terms of Grand Cayman’s natural environment.

And while the Knight anole hasn’t reached significant levels yet, that was once the case for the green iguana, which now has an estimated population on Grand Cayman of 1.5 million.

“This little lizard could potentially be a big problem for Cayman’s ecosystem,” said Fred Burton, the manager of the DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit. “They eat anything smaller than themselves and are voracious predators. The folks at Vigoro did the right thing reporting it to the DoE.”

Burton’s unit has taken possession of the Knight anole to euthanise it and they are asking members of the public to be vigilant for the invasive species, and if they see similar creatures, to take photos and report sightings to the DoE.

This lizard species is similar to, and often mistaken for, the common green iguana but adults are much smaller, typically growing to between 12-20 inches long. It is typically bright green with yellow flash marks below each eye and on each shoulder, but when cold or frightened they can be chocolate brown or almost black. They can become aggressive when disturbed, often biting their attacker.

They eat small birds and smaller reptiles, and therefore pose a serious threat to Cayman’s own indigenous lizards and anoles if the species becomes established.

To report sightings of the Knight anole call 949-8469 or email

Tags: , ,

Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is absolutely nothing humane about killing a living being no matter how one tries to pretty-it-up.

    Pain, then certain death – no explanation🙏🏼

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does Arden know anything about where it may have come from?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stop talking about Trump’s paradise in that manner numbnut@ 10:35am.

    Red Tide does not discriminate.

    Disrespectful little you

    • Anonymous says:

      ?? Actually it does discriminate. It likes the water up there better than Cayman so stop inventing things to regulate, especially things you can’t really do anything about.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was talking about Cayman. Now who feels like a numbnut?

      • Anonymous says:

        You should numbnut, as my comment was made to help you understand that there is red tide in the USA – whilst your try to put down Cayman with your 3rd world comment.

        Still a numbnut

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well….why wait for this “new threat” to get out of hand like how the green iguanas did. Include it in the cull and let’s get on with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t really expect these highly sought specie will be the same price as the regular green iguanas? These exotic should be culled for minimally $12 a piece.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Who surpervises the inspectors that inspect the containers of plants coming to the island? Easily transported as an egg and hatched on island? Been seeing a lot different colors of snakes on island too.

  6. Animaliberator says:

    Is there a strong law in place yet that prohibits the legal importation of “anything that does not belong here” via pet stores and/or private individuals?

    Isn’t that how the greenies came here in the first place in 1997?

    • Darwinian Foley says:

      What good’s a strong law if you can’t enforce it? And when you’ve got a big developer here importing flora from all corners of the earth it’s impossible to keep these critters out.
      The greenies came from Honduras on fishing boats for Honduran families here. They were apparently caged on a boat and ordered let loose by the authorities. Take a guess ordered them let loose? Call it and ole wife’s tale but sounds like an epic fail to me.

    • Truth sets you free says:

      Exactly. We all know who imported them to the Islands as “pets” and now they have turned into “pests”. Pity he doesn’t have to share the expense of getting rid of them.

  7. Sherry says:

    Don’t wait until it is as bad as the green iguana problem…..start now..include them in the cull for the greens.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So jus chop their heads off then 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    i see alot of anoles on this island. From being very anole, to just plain anoles.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Give a new meaning to “Going Green”

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just spend another 7 million

  12. Anonymous says:

    He looks well pissed off in that photo!

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s very likely that it was shipped as an egg in some soil and hatched on island.

  14. Jah says:

    This lizard is native to cuba so it could have been the migrants that brought them here by mistake…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same species that was discovered on a Cayman Airways flight?

  16. Anon says:

    The article says it was spotted previously. That means you already have a problem with these critters also.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Do we know if it was in the plants that were shipped here and it’s only one or do we know for certain it wondered into the nursery?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Do we have any assurance that water ballast from cruise ships aren’t also sucking up and transporting the epidemic-levels of deadly noxious Red Tide dinoflagellates plaguing South Florida and Texas home ports? Does DoE do any water quality testing for this?


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