Our Sago palm hosts a number of wildlife but today's post focuses on two critters I find very interesting and entertaining.
The first is the Orchard Orbweaver spider, Leucauge venusta. This little lady has bright markings but is not dangerous to humans. She is dangerous to small insects though.
She is part of the orbweaver family and as such she makes large round webs. When you think of the classic spider web shape, that is an orbweaver.
The interesting thing about Orchard Orbweavers is that they build their web in an upright position, usually at a slight angle. Then they hang out below the center, waiting for their prey to get stuck in the web. Then they pounce "GOT YOU!"
The other Sago inhabitant is the Green Anole, Anolis carolinensis, also known as Carolina Anole. The Green Anole is the only anole native to the United States. All others are escaped specimens.
Some people refer to them as Chameleons, but they are not related other than they are both lizards. It is like confusing a person with an ape. Both are primates, but we aren't even second cousins.
The confusion comes in because Green Anoles can change to brown or gray if they are in distress, ill, or as a form of camouflage. Some scientists speculate the color of the anole when in a social situation with other anoles, reflects dominance or submission.
Anoles eat an assortment of small insects. Some of the prey they will devour are crickets, cockroaches and even spiders. I have a feeling that the orbweaver is safe. Maybe she tastes yucky and her orange spots warn the anoles away. Whatever the case, they seem to cohabitate without issue.
Male anoles are aggressive to one another. They may go through elaborate displays before fighting, but they will fight if necessary. Some of their displays include extending their dewlap (a bright colored fold of skin under their chin), raising the crest on their back and doing a dance that looks like push ups.
Anoles also make great pets, but you should ensure that the pet shop you go through is not selling wild caught. You run the risk of buying one that is ill or malnourished. Captive Bred would be preferable in this situation. They are used to being in an aquarium and have not had a chance to be exposed to disease. We raised anoles when I was a child and they were a lot of fun. If you would like more information on anoles as pets, I will list some websites with more information in the post script. As for me I will enjoy them in the wild on my sago palms.
For more macros, please visit: http://lisaschaos.com/.
Keeping pet anoles references:
PetsMart Care Sheet
Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care
About.com's Green Anoles As Pets