Curly-tailed lizards are prey too

The remains of a northern curly-tailed lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus) from Abaco's 'mainland' pine forest.

The remains of a northern curly-tailed lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus) from Abaco’s ‘mainland’ pine forest.

The evolutionary and ecological effects of curly-tail predation on smaller Anolis lizards has been the focus of a 3 decade long research program here on Abaco (link to back-story here). There is no doubt that curly-tails are a menacing predator of smaller, defenseless brown anoles on the small island ecosystems that are the setting for much of that work. However, here on mainland Abaco the curly-tail’s top predator status has been demoted. Numerous predators would very happily consume curly-tails. The carnage above features the remains of an adult curly-tailed lizard that most likely met its demise between the talons of a red-tailed hawk or perhaps a feral cat. Other possible predators in Abaco’s pinelands include feral dogs, pigs, kestrels, and two species of snake. My guess is a red-tail is the predator here, as I usually see one in the very area I found the remains of this personable little beast.

This is what curly-tails look like whole.

This is what curly-tails look like whole.

By | 2017-12-01T14:03:46-05:00 June 7th, 2013|Categories: herpetology, Lizards|1 Comment

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    Debra Cutler-Lurie September 7, 2019 at 7:59 am

    I live in Tampa, FL and discovered two curly tailed lizards living in and around the shrubs just outside of my garage door. This type of lizard was new to me and I became quite fond of seeing them every day when I got home from work. Sadly though, I witnessed a hawk zoom in on the more robust one of the two. I know it’s nature but I will miss seeing him/her. They don’t scare easily and I always feared another creature was going to eat it. Heart broken.

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