|Female (left) and male (right)|
Peters and Orces, 1956
Anolis proboscis, commonly known as the Proboscis anole, Ecuadorian horned anole or Pinocchio lizard, is a small anole lizard belonging to the family Dactyloidae. A single male specimen was discovered in 1953 in Ecuador and formally described by Peters and Orces in 1956, but the species then went unreported until its rediscovery in 2004. Its currently known habitat is a small stretch of vegetation along an Ecuadorian highway. It has been classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to its restricted distribution and ongoing habitat loss.
Anolis proboscis has a total body length (excluding tail) of roughly 5–7.5 cm (2.0–3.0 in). Males possess a conspicuous proboscis, an elongated structure arising from the middle of the snout and about 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) in length; it appears to be used in courtship displays, as is the dewlap that is present in both sexes. There appear to be several colour morphs, with colouration ranging from yellowish-green to brown with orange or black markings, and generally a white belly.
Among anoles, only three species have a proboscis, the other being the poorly known and rarely seen Amazonian A. laevis and A. phyllorhinus. Despite this similarity and the historical inclusion of all three in the laevis group, A. phyllorhinus does not appear to be closely related to the two others, which however do appear to be close relatives and part of the "Phenacosaurus" group. The proboscis is likely the result of convergent evolution.
Distribution and habitat
Based on the few localities known, Anolis proboscis inhabits montane forest habitats in the Chocó, where it keeps to high trees. Specimens have predominantly been found in primary and secondary vegetation along a well-traveled dirt road. Only five localities in total are currently known, with a maximum distance of 13 km (8 mi) between the two furthest ones. While the area of occurrence includes pasture land and secondary forest, it is likely that the species also occurs in other mid-altitude (1,200–1,650 m or 3,940–5,410 ft) areas in the Ecuadorian Andes.
Anolis proboscis was feared extinct when it was not seen after the original collection in 1953. It was rediscovered in 2004 when an individual was seen and photographed in a cloud forest near Mindo, Ecuador, by a visiting ornithologist. In August 2009, a herpetology expedition from the University of New Mexico located the species in a remote region of Ecuador. In total, they found five individuals including three males and the first two females ever seen and collected. Since 2009, several other expeditions were able to relocate the species in remote regions of Ecuador.
The species is currently classified as Endangered due to its possibly restricted distribution in combination with ongoing threats in the form of habitat loss from logging, human settlement, agriculture, and grazing.
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- Media related to Anolis proboscis at Wikimedia Commons