The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database

Anolis roosevelti Grant, 1931

Culebra Island giant anole, Roosevelt's giant anole, Giant anole



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Xiphosurus roosevelti Grant, 1931


Conservation Status

Last record: 1932

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered


Only a very few specimens have ever been collected of [i]Anolis roosevelti[/i]. Some were collected in the 1860's (de Queiroz & Mayer, 2011). The holotype was collected in 1931, the year of scientific description, with the last official record of the species being the next year (i.e. 1932), when a specimen was collected for Grant, "supposedly" by a Mr. J. M. Ortiz (Grant, 1932b; Gaa, 2010:229). However, Mr. Dimas Villanueva (incorrectly referred to as "Mr. Dumas"), the person who captured the holotype, apparently claimed to have seen specimens up until 1978 (Campbell & Dodd, 1982:2; also cited in de Queiroz & Mayer, 2011). But during an interview with (Gaa, 2010) Mr. Villanueva:

[i]"[S]aid that was the first and last time he ever saw this type of lizard or any other one similar to it."[/i]

Thus conflicting reports exist regarding whether Mr. Villanueva ever saw another similar lizard again. However, (Gaa, 2010) addressed this issue in the following terms:

[i]"He confided in me that he told some of these individuals stories just to get rid of them because they were a bother. I believe that what he told me was as accurate as his memory allowed because I went to interview him with a family member I had befriended."[/i] (p. 231)



Culebra, Vieques (= Bieque = Crab Island), St. John, and Tortola islands, Puerto Rico


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: MCZ 36138 (see [url=]here[/url])

Type locality: Culebra island, Puerto Rico


7 other specimens exist (Gaa, 2010; de Queiroz & Mayer, 2011)

UMMZ 73644 (Campbell & Dodd, 1982:1)



For a photo of the preserved holotype see:

For photos of multiple specimens see here:



Original scientific description:

Grant, Chapman. (1931). A new species and two new sub-species of the genus Anolis. Jour. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 15(3): 219-222.


Other references:

Campbell, H.W. and Dodd, C.K. (1982). Culebra Island Giant Anole Recovery Plan. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 19 pp.

Carr, Tom. (undated ms.). The marine turtles and terrestrial reptiles of Culebra Islands. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washignton D.C. 28 pp. + 24 fig.

de Queiroz, K. & Mayer, G.C. (2011). Anolis roosevelti. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. ( Downloaded on 16 September 2012.

Dodd, C.K., Jr. (2001). Culebra Island Giant Anole Anolis roosevelti, pp. 614–615. In: Beacham's Guide to the Endangered Species of North America. Vol. 1. Mammals, Birds, Reptiles. Beacham, W., F.V. Castronova, and S. Sessine (Eds.). Gale Group, Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Dodd Jnr., C. K. and Campbell, H. W. (1982). Anolis roosevelti. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 300: 1-2.

Etheridge, Richard. (1959). The relationship of the anoles (Reptilia: Sauria: Iguanidae). An interpretation based upon skeletal morphology Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor. xiii + 236 p.

Gaa Ojeda Kessler, Ava. (2010). Status of the Culebra Island giant anole (Anolis roosevelti). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 5(2): 223-232.

Grant, Chapman. (1932a). The herpetology of Vieques Island. Journal of the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico 16: 37–39.

Grant, Chapman. (1932b). Herpetological notes from the Puerto Rico area. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 16(2): 161-165.

Honegger, Rene (ed.). (1979). Giant anole, Culebra giant anole. IUCN Red Data Book. Vol. 3. Amphibia and Reptilia. Mor(q/g)es. Switzerland.

Mayer, Gregory Christian. (1989). Determistic aspects of community structure in West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Ph.D. Thesis, Harvard University.

Mayer, Gregory Christian. (1990). Status and distribution of an endangered species, Anolis roosevelti, on the Puerto Rican Bank. Status y distribtucion de los reptiles y anfibios de la region de Puerto Rico: un simposio/taller. Depto. de Recursos Naturales, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, April, 1990.

Mayer, Gregory Christian and Gamble, Tony. (2019). Using archival DNA to elucidate anole phylogeny, pp. 158-168. In: Stroud, J.T., Geneva, A.J., Losos, J. B. (eds.). Anolis Newsletter VII. Washington University, St. Louis MO.

McGarvey. (1977). Giant Puerto Rico Lizard listed as an endangered species. United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Powell, Robert and Henderson, Robert W. (2012). Island lists of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 51(2): 85-166. [considers this taxon possibly extinct]

Revell, Liam J. et al. (2015). Placing cryptic, recently extinct, or hypothesized taxa into an ultrametric phylogeny using continuous character data: A case study with the lizard [i]Anolis roosevelti[/i]. Evolution 69(4): 1027-1035. [Abstract]

Rivero, Juan A. (1978). Los antibos y reptiles de Puerto Rico. Universidad de Puerto Rico, Editorial Universitaria, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. 152 p. + 49 plates.

Uetz, P. et al., The Reptile Database, , accessed December 11, 2010.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1977). Final Determination of Endangered Status and Critical Habitat for Giant Anole; (Anolis roosevelti).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1977). Proposed Endangered Status and Critical Habitat for Giant Anole; 42 FR 2101 2102 (Anolis roosevelti).

Williams, Ernest E. (1962). Notes on Hispaniolan herpetology. 6. The giant anoles. Breviora 155: 1-15.

Williams, Ernest E. (1972). The origin of faunas: evolution of lizard congeners in a complex island fauna. A trial analysis. Evolutionary Biology 6: 47-89. 

Williams, Ernest E. (1976). West Indian anoles. A taxonomic and evolutionary summary. 1. Introduction and a species list. Breviora 440: 1-21.


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