AbstractAnolis equestris Merrem, the Cuban giant anole, was described in 1820. The formal description is based upon an account of the lizard by CUVIER (“le grand Anolis a crête”) in 1817. MERREM’S description is very brief but sufficiently detailed to assign the name to the Cuban species rather than to any other Antillean giant anole. The lizard was redescribed by BELL (1827) as Anolius [sic] rhodolaemus, based upon material collected by W. S. MACLEAY. NOBLE & HASSLER (1935) named Anolis luteogularis from a long series from western Cuba. This species was relegated to subspecific status under A. equestris by BARBOUR & SHREVE (1935), who also named A. e. hassleri from the Isla de Pinos (based upon two specimens) and A. e. noblei from eastern Cuba (based upon three specimens). SCHWARTZ (1958) named A. e. thomasi from Camagüey Province and later (1964) reviewed the status of the species in Oriente Province, naming A. e. smallwoodi, A. e. palardis, A. e. baracoae, A. e. galeifer, and A. e. saxuliceps. As presently understood, there are ten subspecies of A. equestris throughout Cuba and the Isla de Pinos. Comments by SCHWARTZ (1964) indicated that there were several Oriente specimens which did not agree with the concepts of the subspecies defined by him and suggested that there was still a great deal to be learned about the distribution and variation in A. equestris at least in Oriente, the physiographically and ecologically most diverse of the Cuban provinces. The junior author became interested in A. equestris when he encountered lizards from various Cuban localities which did not agree in detail with taxa already named. In addition, the discovery of two “subspecies” equestris and luteogularis) occurring syntopically in the same wooded area suggested that perhaps the entire complex needed serious restudy and revision. Accordingly, GARRIDO made extensive collections of A. equestris from much of Cuba and the Isla de Pinos (whence previously only very few specimens have been available) as well as on Cayo Cantiles in the Archipiélago de los Canarreos. In addition, GARRIDO succeeded in securing large series of some populations which had previously been known from single individuals or very small samples.
TypeArticle / Letter to the editor