Anolis (Norops) bicaorum
1973 Anolis lemurinus - WILSON &
Norops bicaorum KÖHLER exclusively
occurs on Utila and Roatan, two islets belonging to the Bay Islands (Islas
de la Bahia) off the northern coast of Honduras. In 1996 Dr. Gunther Köhler
Senckenbers, Frankfurt/ Main) described this animal (previously thought
to be Norops lemurinus) as a new species. The name bica-orum
has been assigned in honour to a local conservation agency, the Bay Island
Conservation Agency (BICA).
Ground color varying between reddish and greyish
Males have a snout-to-vent-length (SVL) of maximally
75 mm (3”), a total length (TL) of up to 200 mm (8”), and show a interrupted
middorsal line. During mating or territorial behaviour, a rich brown lateral
line emerges. The dewlap is proportionally very large, red with a darker-pigmented
centre, and multiple rows of white scales.
The SVL of females is maximally 65 mm, TL up
to 170 mm. Females show dorsal “X”-markings, and have a small, white dewlap.
The dorsal markings are a reliable secundary
sex characteristic, and are already present in hatchlings.
Dr. Köhler obtained permission from the
Honduran authorities to collect some live specimens, in order to study
their behaviour in captivity. Due to sub-optimal housing facilities at
the Senckenberg institute, private facilities were approached in 1997.
Through mediation by Leo Wijffels, we received three females in 1997. In
1998, Dr. Köhler reported that in the mean time, he had managed to
collect some males, and that he wanted to place one of them in our care.
On July 5th, 1998, we collected this animal in Frankfurt. Immediately afterwards,
one of our females became anorexic and died on February 22nd 1999, despite
all attempts at health improvement.
In the mean time, the dominant female had deposited
eggs, and the first young (a male) hatched on January 3d, 1999. Subsequently
a male hatched on February 2nd, a female on February 24th, and another
male on April 10th. Later in 1999, Dr. Köhler reported having one
wild-caught male and two wild-caught females remaining in captivity. He
was willing to part with these animals, provided that a carefully managed
breeding program would be instigated for this species.
It was now possible to form five pairs.
All interested parties (Anolis Contact Group participants)
met up for re-distribution of the animals in Hamm (Germany) on September
18th, 1999. Two pairs – a combination of wild-caught and captive-bred animals-
are now in the care of Thomas Lakowitz (Helsingborg, Sweden). One pair
was placed with Pascal Eusemann (Germany), and one pair with Wilco Hoogers
Thomas is a highly experienced anole breeder,
and by now has a large number of N. bicaorum offspring. Our own
animals, after being relatively inactive for some time, have resumed breeding
with a vengeance, and so far some 10 young have hatched this year. The
wild-caught females placed with Pascal and Wilco did not survive the transfer,
and have by now been replaced by female offspring from Thomas’ colony.
We have now registered this species in an official
breeding program (“studbook”), with the Overkoepelend
Orgaan Stamboeken (Cross-organisation body for studbooks) in the Netherlands.
Due to the success of the program so far, (proven!) experienced anole breeders
are now sought for expansion of the number of breeding colonies. Candidates
are kindly asked to contact Piet van Beest
for more information (please write in Dutch, English, or German).
Piet van Beest.