Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mood Lizards

Mood rings were a hot item when I was a teenager. The source of these wonders was Regency Square Mall 38 miles north in Jacksonville (aka "murder city"...these days).

When we were lucky enough to get there, we teens headed for Spencer Gifts to bask in tasteless trinkets and general naughtiness. The back of the store was lit with black lights so we could see what the blacklight posters would look like if we would just buy a black light AND a poster for our bedrooms.

Mostly, we stood around in the gloom and pointed out each other's glowing sneaker laces and other odd bits that reflected the "black" light.
It was on one of these excursions that I first encountered the mood ring and of course, had to have one.
Back home, it was a source of awe for a week or two until every kid at school had one too. Somewhere along the way, it was tossed into a junk drawer ... which I imagine put it in a pretty foul mood.

These days, I like mood lizards a lot more than mood rings.
Here's one showing off ... chromatophorically speaking.

A happy anole lizard ... or a worried anole who just realized that when he hopped off the green honeysuckle vine, he landed on a black lamp cover.

Here he's starting to go brown. His chromatophores are flooding with melanin and it's beginning to mask the green.

Almost there, ... more brown than green.
He's definitely focused on me with that swivelly eye.

Ahhh ... comfortably brown.
He was so cozy, he didn't flinch when I went from standing (first 3 shots) to lying down on the warm grass for this lizard level view.
In fact we were both pretty content hanging out there until the dogs discovered me at their level and came over to schnuffle me.
When I emerged from the doggy tag team match, he was gone, but he left me in awe of his ability to quickly change his skin color.
I guess you could say I'm green with envy ...
... only not really.


Anonymous said...

Nice tan. I can't do that.

Your neck of the woods is amazing!

What a great moment to see this happen.

robin andrea said...

That's very cool. Great photography, fc.

kathy a. said...


Anonymous said...

Now these little critters don't bother me at all. I remember seeing my first one when we were at your place with the kids...many moods er, I mean moons ago.

Paintsmh said...

Oh so cool!!!

Hurricane Teen said...

AHHH have I gone back in time?! I THINK it's Sunday! If not, I guess I am missing school today! (check the date of your post)
I saw one of thost little guys do this recently. Turned from brown to green while I was trying to catch him in a jar to get him out of the window screen. Just another day for a Floridian...catching lizards in jars.

Juli said...

"Murder City" is right. We're eager to move once I complete grad school. Speaking of crime.. someone molested my Jeep! (Imagine JEEP in white letters.) Someone took a knife to the side plastic window in an attempt to break in. They don't grow 'em too smart around here considering the back door was unlocked AND the windows zip out, but we'll just keep that between you and me.

pablo said...

So can anoles see in color?

Floridacracker said...

Critter central, dude, critter central.

Thanks, but it was so easy. It just happened while I was shooting him.

Kathy A,
These are cool lizards ... check their expressions.

You guys will have plenty of these at your place.

Sorry you don't have these up there!

Oops, yup, Emma set me straight on the date!

Not needed to be a color changer. Cuttlefish are amazing color changers, but they do not see color, only tones and patterns.
I don't know about the anole's color vision.

ldybug said...

one of your best posts this year!!!! I love the beginning, middle, and end!

Floridacracker said...

JEEP desecration is a zero tolerance thing here. Sorry to hear about yours.
Jacksonville is my local news link on MSN and I swear there must be a new murder or shooting each and every day.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks! I feel a little guilty, it was ridiculously easy photography. He just sat there and did his thing while I did mine.

SwampAngel65 said...

How cool to catch the entire morph! If I didn't know those lizards well, I'd swear you photoshopped them ;)

We used to have so many more of them around than we do these days. The brown anoles have pretty much taken over down here...I love when I spot a green one. I swear they are more graceful than the goofy brown ones.

Doug Taron said...

I remember Spencer's well. Since then, I've found much better uses for blacklights. The lizards don't necessarily need to be able to see the colors. It's their predators that exerted the selection pressure. Birds have very good color vision.

Island Rambles Blog said...

I love the amazing colors on the lizard and how you captured the changes...did you enhance the colors?? I are going to lizard lake and I will photo some of the little critters for you. cheers from ocean.

threecollie said...

Oh, cool. I remember mood rings, but black lights were the best. We had a black light for the band and we had a lot of fun with it...painted our own posters, which said one thing in daylight and something else entirely in the black light. I had a black and white Easy Rider poster of Peter Fonda (?) sitting on his bike. I took a tiny dab of pink dayglo paint and "lit" his cigarette for him. It was pretty funny when folks noticed it.
I like lizards better though.

Floridacracker said...

I do no photoshopping here. The most I do is click the "I'm feeling lucky" or "sharpen" button in Picasa.
I like the green ones best too, but I did meet an amazing bull brown anole on the pickett fence last week.

Funny to me that you use blacklights, I remember old NGeographic articles where the bug guys had a white sheet and lanterns blazing to catch bugs.

Thanks! I'll drop in later and check those out!

I had that exact same poster!

dani813 said...

Green Anoles are just the coolest!!

Doug Taron said...

Blacklights are widely used in this way, but so are other kinds of lights like mercury vapor bulbs. The sheet is used in both cases. Because of the lower power draw, it's much easier to rig up a portable power supply for the black light.

Rurality said...

Hubby saved a baby one from a cat's jaws, and now we have a new pet... Anatoli the Anole. I am trying to convince him to release it, but so far no go. When they are in captivity, supposedly brown is a sign of stress. Probably not so much in the wild...?

Floridacracker said...

Ditto Dani!

Thanks! I have a porchlight bug post coming up you will enjoy.

Supposedly, but I also think they do well in captivity. I just have never kept one since they come inside on their own and they are all over the porch area.