by ANDREI SOURAKOV
Aug 15, 2023
Final week, I used to be about to go to work, after I noticed a drama unfolding on my window: a inexperienced anole had captured a sphinx moth. After all, I needed to cease and examine.
Moth predation by anoles will not be one thing value running a blog about in its personal proper, however this sphinx moth was the dimensions of the anole’s complete physique and positively thicker than its head. These moths are very robust fliers, and the truth that this anole might maintain on to it appeared fairly exceptional. My bets have been on the sphinx moth escaping. And if not, I used to be positive the anole was not going to have the ability to eat it.
The anole had different plans.
Quickly, one other inexperienced anole approached with the apparent intention of sharing in its conspecific’s success, however the hunter most well-liked to dine alone, rejecting the invitation to commensalism. It relocated from the window to the desk beneath after which to an much more secluded spot on the again of a patio chair.
My curiosity piqued, I adopted.
The moth finally stopped exhibiting any indicators of life. This was fascinating, as sphingids are usually very arduous to kill by pinching. Maybe the beta-defensin peptides that inexperienced anoles possess, that are much like reptile venom, performed a job in subduing its prey: the lizard had clearly secreted one thing whereas chewing on the moth, because it was fairly damp by this level.
To my amazement, the moth started to vanish, heading head-first into the anole’s mouth.
The anole was doing the trick snakes pull, which I’d had no thought anoles might do: swallowing one thing bigger than its personal head, till all the moth disappeared.
Whereas I ended up being fairly late for work that day, I had a most unique excuse: “I used to be watching an anole swallowing a moth.” If you wish to watch it too, you may click on on the embedded video beneath.
P.S. There’s a detailed web page about inexperienced anoles (hyperlink beneath):
P.P.S. Florida Museum’s Blackburn lab created a CT scan mannequin of the inexperienced anole’s anatomy, the place one can assess the dimensions of its abdomen.