2015 Herp Year in Review - Lizards/Crocodilians

2015 was a better year than most for lizards, as I picked up a bunch of species in South Florida.  I'm gonna go ahead and add my crocodilians to this post as well, as a blog entry for just two species seems a bit excessive.  For this installment, I'm going to work my way from North to South.

Northern Coal Skink - I have seen these in the same county three years in a row when I make the trek to North-central PA in search of Mountain Earthsnakes.

Five-lined Skink - These are common from the mountains through the coastal plain and are my most consistent lizard spread out across habitats.  This momma was flipped guarding her eggs underneath a railroad tie in Southern New Jersey.

Eastern Fence Lizard - These are ubiquitous in the Pine Barrens.  I've only seen them a handful of times in PA, MD, and WV.

Little Brown Skink - I see these mostly in the Pine Barrens, although I have seen them in MD as well.  This photo is from Christmas Eve with my new macro lens.  :)

Broadhead Skink - Despite counting scales on the face of way too many skinks, I only found one broadhead in VA this year.

South-eastern Five-lined Skink - Technically, I didn't get to see the scales on the ventral to confirm this species, but this was found on a refuge where a good friend had done a two year herp survey and this was the only species of five-lined documented, so I feel pretty safe with this ID.

Brown Anole - These are basically wiping out native green anoles in areas.  Their numbers are astounding in spots.  

Green Anole - I somehow was able to locate about a dozen of these natives, among the thousands of brown anoles.  What a shame.

Bark Anole - A single bark anole was seen during my trip to the Everglades.  This was found with a fruit milkshake in hand behind "Robert Is Here."  I'm blaming that shake on the blurry photo.  WORTH IT.

Wood Slave - I saw a ton of these and kept brushing them off and taking crappy shots because I wanted to find natives.  By the time I left Florida, I realized I never got a decent shot.  :(

Green Iguana - I've seen tons of these in past trips, but only encountered one this time sleeping in a tree while night-shining some agricultural areas.

Brown Basalisk - We saw three of these sleeping at night in two different spots.  This was the only one we bothered grabbing for a closer look.  These are the lizards that walk on water.

Knight Anole - More night-shining and more finding introduced lizards in the agricultural areas outside of the ENP.  We grabbed one of these and it bit the shit out of the kids.  It was fun, although I put a stop to it when someone dared a nipple bite.

Veiled Chameleon - Unfortunately, we only found two babies.  That said, what an amazingly cool animal!  Next time, I hope to see some big adults.

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana - This is the last of the invasive/introduced lizards.  We saw TONS of these from babies to large adults.  The photo in the thumbnail leading you to this blog is a mid-aged spinytail and I chose it because it looked like a rainbow - beautiful, even if it shouldn't be here.

Island Glass Lizard - This was my first legless lizard ever!  We ended up seeing a half dozen on the roads at dusk by the end of the week.

American Alligator - When the kids thought about the Florida trip, they wanted to see alligators the most.  We spent an entire week in North Carolina in 2014 trying to find one while cruising the roads next to canals, to no avail.  I told them we would be sick of them by the end of the week in Florida.   ...that wasn't the case, but I did make good on finding four within an hour of checking into the hotel.

American Crocodile - Endangered.  I'm gonna be honest.  Of course, I was hopeful to see these.  That said, I grouped it in with alligators... kinda like I'd group a garter in with a ribbonsnake.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  These things were gnarly dinosaurs.  Beasts.  Beautiful monsters.  I fell in love with them.

That does it for 2015.  It was a respectable number of species, thanks to the ecological potpourri that South Florida has become.  I don't write these blogs (at least not this entry) to focus on the negative.  It is what it is.  We enjoyed every last herp whether it should be there or not.  On an individual level, it is not their fault.  The bigger picture is another story to be told another time.

...step into the outdoors.