Monday, April 07, 2008

Brash Invader vs. Shy Native

Florida is constantly being invaded by organisms that don't belong here. They come to bask in the sunshine and then unfortunately for our native species ... they stay.

They hide in their cool condos during the heat of the day.

By their sheer numbers they change the Florida environment ...

... unable to picture what was here before.
It all looks the same from the condo balcony.

Meanwhile, the natives are feeling the squeeze.

Note from FC:
The top 4 pics are the ubiquitous Brown Anole ... an exotic lizard that has successfully colonized the state. The bottom pic is a native, probably a 5 lined skink, but juvenile broadheads look like this also and both live in my father's compost bin where this guy lives.
It's just a post about lizards.
Any other interpretation is ...

... probably correct.


Sharon said...

I prefer our pretty little green anoles, these brown usurpers are darn ugly. :)

dani813 said...

A few years ago I started breeding tree frogs and our lovely green anoles. I know in my heart that I'm not changing the tide but I feel good when I hear the frogs after a good rain or see the lizards out and about. I go to my daughter's school with my plastic travel critter boxes and some native plants and I hope they will someday grow up to help too. Florida needs it.

Rurality said...

So... when you catch these invaders, do you dispose of them? (I'm talking about the lizards here, if this applies to anybody else I don't know to know!)

robin andrea said...

Are the anoles displacing the skinks, or can they survive in each other's company? Can a hawk enjoy them both as a meal? Great photographs, fc.

Suze said...

You ain't kidding! I'm not a native, though - so I guess I'm up there with the invaders. My husband's a native, though, so maybe that counts.

There is a development in North Florida that is being advertised down here - I can't remember the name of it, but I'd hate to see the rural North Florida areas built up like they are down here.

North Carolina and Tennessee are suffering the same fates. The pattern is this - New York people move to Florida, then move to North Carolina and/or Tennessee, making all the states look like the concrete they left behind in NY. Sigh.

roger said...

about the condo....."if you build it, they will come."

sez the guy living in a state where he wasn't born.

Laura said...

Roger's comment is so true!

Last year, one of our smaller local newspapers had an article about how to humanely dispose of the cuban tree frogs. I have dozens of the cuban frogs around here and couldn't bring myself to follow the instructions, some of which included catching it and freezing it! eck.

But they are squeezing out the little green frogs, which I haven't seen in years.

BTW, the skink photo brought back memories for me. When we lived out on the lake near Hawthorne, I kept seeing them everywhere, and had no idea what it was! Never saw them when I lived in Miami.
I haven't seen any down here in the Tampa Bay area either.

Anonymous said...

Nice little Godzillas, FC!

Great stuff. I just discovered a bunch of what look like alligator lizards out back. Fat little fellas. Oh yeah and some yellow jacket nests.

But they're better than the mosquitoes.

Excellent pics!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, non-native species plague us here in the mid-west, too. Taking over the streams and lakes. FC, any bets on TD sticking to his back in shape plan? Think he used a little digital editing?
Bro J

Floridacracker said...

Me too!

Please keep doing the good work you do.
It does make a difference ... especially the school part.

No, not with these brown anoles. They are just too successful. I encourage the natives by providing what they need.

I think the skink and the brown anole move in very different circles. The native green anole has moved higher into the trees to avoid the ground dwelling browns.
They are adapting.

Your last paragraph is so, so true!

would someone please stop building!

Freezing would be pretty humane ... just be sure that the popsicle you grab on a hot day really is a popsicle.
The skink family gets scarcer as you move south in the peninsula.

Thanks! Alligator lizards are cool! I just got back from photographing their larger namesake.

Bro J,
More power to him if he can. He was a twiggy thing back in college ... I'm sure being a brewmeister makes it tougher to drop a few pounds.

Dan said...

Suze, north Florida is changing rapidly. But inland Floridians are responsible for a lot of it, building vacation homes along the the formerly undeveloped coast.

When we see all the exotic species that cause problems in the US, it's easy to forget that some US species cause serious problems abroad. A good example is our eastern gray squirrel which has displaced the native red squirrel in Great Britain.

Floridacracker said...

I would bet those "inland Floridians" are mostly transplants from other states.
You are right about the exotic road being a two way street.
Our delicious blue crab is a huge problem in the Nile Delta.
At no point is it the "fault" of the animal, as usual, it's us.

Doug Taron said...

I've just spent much of the weekend battling non-native species, and encouraging rare natives. In this instantce, it all involved plants. It seems to be a problem just about wherever you go these days.

Floridacracker said...

It is.
Thank you for fighting the good fight.

Hurricane Teen said...

ha ha, I am sure you can imagine that I was interpreting this a little-teeny-tiny-bit differently than just a post about lizards :-D
To Suze - That development is probably "Nocatee"...A MEGA-SUPER-DEVELOPEMENT going in about 10 miles east of where I live. "Big 6-lane freeways where there used to be dirt roads" type of development. They're expecting more than 30,000 new residents in what used to be a beautiful, historical place called Palm Valley. Isn't progress grand?! (excuse the sarcasm and negativity)

tsiya said...

The Cuban Anoles rule from St. Augustine out to the interstate, still have Carolina Anoles around Bakersville. There is some kind of Gecko in parts of St. Augustine. It doesn't look good for the home team.

FloridaBoy said...

I spend a lot of time out in the Florida woods, and I do not see the brown anole out there. It is common in town. So far, it seems to be a denizen of disturbed habitats but not native ecosystems.

SwampAngel65 said...

Oh, I can interpret your post in a totally non-PC way! Invasive, non-native trees and plants get started here and before you know it, have taken over. The same for many different species of animals. Um... at times I feel like that poor skink surrounded by the brown anoles.

Oh...I'd better stop here or I'll get on a roll and you'll never shut me up.

Have a great week, FC!

Floridacracker said...

Just say NO!catee
I knew you'd get it.

My Carolina Anoles are holding their own. They are more arboreal.

I agree. The browns love a good sunny planted courtyard, but not a woodland.

Friendly audience here, so feel free to expound any time!
Speaking as a fellow skink.

Thunder Dave said...

Ok so I may be an invader, but at least I'm of the same species! ;-)

As for the question from Bro J: I've lost 8kg (17.6lbs)so far so you be the judge, and there was no editing in those photos! FC - you can atest to the fact that I don't take the time to edit photot, I just send 'em like they are!

Jane said...

I noticed a lot of non-natives when we were in The Keys last. Especially lizards. It's a problem the world over. Here in the UK we have problems with the grey squirrel displacing our native red, sika deer from Japan, mink killing our native water voles and signal crayfish passing on disease to our very rare white clawed crayfish. It's a constant battle tyring to keep the balance right. Good post. Got me thinking (makes a change!) Thanks! Jane

threecollie said...

Poor Florida! The little critters are cute though, although no where near as neat as the stripy little guy. No lizards here...just a very few miles too far North, although we saw one once at my uncle's farm

Floridacracker said...

Is there no beer in China?

The warmer the climate the more exotics it seems.
South FL is loaded with nonnative species.
Isolation is a thing of the past isn't it?

I'm trying to imagine no lizards ...

Cephalopodcast said...

Saw an unusual color morph this weekend, a red/orange anole. The color in this picture does not do justice to how intense it appeared in life.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha! Brilliant! I feel the same, my friend!

lej619 said...

i'll take the lizards over the skeeters any time