Anolis equestrisKnight anole

Geographic Range

Knight anoles are native to Cuba. They have been introduced into southeastern Florida, and there are now breeding populations in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties (Behler 1979, B. Hammond pers. comm.).


Knight Anoles are arboreal and commonly found under shady canopies of large trees.

Physical Description

Knight anoles grow to a length of 13 - 19 3/8 inches. They are the largest of the Anolis species. The snout is long and wedge-shaped. The tail is slightly compressed with a serrated upper edge. Each toe is expanded in the form of an adhesive pad. The adhesive pad occupies the central portion of the toe and is of an elongated form. The adhesive toe pads allow the knight anole to easily run up smooth, vertical surfaces, or run body downward on a horizontal plane. The body is covered with small granular scales with a yellow or white stripe under the eye and over the shoulder. They are bright green in color which can change to a dull grayish-brown. There is sexual dimorphism. Males have a pale pink throatfan that distends when excited. (Ditmars 1930, Behler 1979).

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes colored or patterned differently
  • male more colorful
  • sexes shaped differently


Breeding occurs during the summer. Courting is similar to the beginning of fighting but attitudes are less extreme. The male nods his head one or more times and frequently expands his throatfan and then seizes the female by the nape of the neck. The male forces his tail under the female to bring their cloacas in contact. The male inserts his hemipenis into the cloaca of the female. Lab studies have shown males attempting to mate with other males; possibly due to their inability to distinguish males from females (Noble 1933). (Noble and Bradley, July 1933)

These anoles are egg-layers (Pope 1966). (Pope, 1966)

  • Breeding interval
    Anoles breed once yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs during the summer months.



Knight Anoles are diurnal. They can be fiercely defensive when a snake or anything like a snake (a stick, a garden hose), gets too close. Their defensive display is to turns sideways, extends the throatfan, raise back crest, and gape menacingly (Behler 1979). A male fighting with other male anoles protrudes the throatfan to its fullest and then retracts it, repeating several times. He rises on all four legs, stiffly nods his head, and turns sideways towards rival. The male then turns bright green. Frequently the fight will end with the display, and the male most impressed by the display will drop his crest and slink away. If fighting continues, males rush at each other with mouths open. Sometimes jaws will lock if they go head on, otherwise they try to go for the limb of their opponent (Noble 1933). (Behler and King, 1979; Noble and Bradley, July 1933)

Food Habits

In the wild they eat grubs, crickets, coachroaches, spiders, and moths (Kaplan 1996). In captivity they can be fed crickets, mealworms, and smaller lizards (web2 1999).

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Many Anolis species are sold in pet stores. They make a good pet for the first time reptile owner.

Conservation Status

Other Comments

Knight anoles are relatively slow and can be caught by hand, but they do have strong jaws and sharp teeth. In Florida, most do not survive cold winters (Behler 1979).


Jennifer Niederlander (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

pet trade

the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


Living on the ground.


defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


????, G. "Exotic Reptiles" (On-line). Accessed January 21, 2002 at

Behler, J., F. King. 1979. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians.. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Ditmars, R. 1930. Reptiles of the World. New York:

Haberham, Z. "Anolis Contact Group" (On-line). Accessed January 21, 2002 at

Kaplan, M. 1996. Accessed January 21, 2002 at

Noble, G., H. Bradley. July 1933. The mating behavior of lizards; its bearing on the theory of sexual selection.. New York Academy of Sciences Annals, 35: 25-100.

Pope, C. 1966. The Reptile World. New York: