Show me it like this, you would never answer the question - who is it? How diverse nature is all the same ... Well, in between times we'll figure out what kind of creature it is and what its name is.
Among all genera related to iguana-like lizards, anoles are one of the most numerous, numbering more than four hundred species. A special place among them is occupied by Anolis proboscis - the most mysterious species, whose existence is associated with as yet unsolved mysteries.
The unofficial name of this almost mythical creature that lives in the foggy forests of the western foothills of the Andes in Ecuador is the horned anole. The main advantage of its elegant appearance is the long outgrowth on the head, similar to the horn of a rhinoceros. The male uses this kind of sword to impress the female he likes, which nature has deprived of such a spectacular decoration.
Horned anoles do not like to attract attention very much, so scientists were practically deprived of the opportunity to observe them in the wild: each new meeting with Anolis proboscis took place almost once every several decades. Interestingly, from 1960 to 2005, researchers never managed to see this lizard in the wild. Everyone already thought that she was extinct. However, already in 2005, the horned anole was again seen. One of the lizards, which belongs to exclusively arboreal species, crossed the road in one of the suburbs of Ecuador.
The resurrected scientists instantly organized an expedition of biologists and photographers to describe the reptiles and amphibians in the Mindo region for the book of the same name, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. It was then, in the third year of research, that they met the lizard Pinocchio.
Many scientists breathed a sigh of relief: the horned anole is alive!
After rediscovery and closer examination, it became clear the reason why the horned anole was listed as extinct. The whole point turned out to be that it is very, very difficult to find this lizard, the size of which does not exceed 17 cm, because they lead an extremely mysterious way of life, crawl extremely slowly, taking step by step, and only at a pace that can be qualified as nothing faster than scanning.
Add to that the fact that they are incredibly well camouflaged in the dense yellow and green vegetation they inhabit, and that they are usually found high above the ground, so it should come as no surprise that few people have ever seen them. Indeed, when scientists showed the horned anoles to the locals in Mindo, most of them said they had never seen these lizards before.
Until now, the true purpose of its proboscis-like outgrowth remains a mystery. It is only known that males can change its shape and angle of inclination. How they do it is another mystery, since the muscles in this part of the body are missing.
This "nose" is not a functional organ; its presence characterizes the good genetics and health of the male. Researchers have not yet established how this amazing organ can move in different directions. Hydrostatic pressure may be one of the reasons.
Interesting fact! Thanks to recent studies, it was possible to find out that females of the horned anole not only do not possess an elongated rostral appendage, but are also not as brightly colored as males. But on the other hand, both sexes have a small spiny dorsal ridge.