SIZE AND REPRODUCTIVE
SUCCESS IN A LIZARD
I first visited Jamaica in August 1968, in the company of my advisor, Professor Ernest Williams, Harvard's Curator of Herpetology. Dr. Williams was an authority on Anolis lizards, about 200 species spread from South America to the southern United States and including many species in the West Indies. I took one look at the women of Jamaica and a second look at the island itself and decided that if I had to become a “lizard man” to pay for frequent visits to the island, then by God I would humble myself and become a lizard man.
My arrival in Jamaica with Professor Williams was captured in a dedication I wrote in Hicks and Trivers (1983):
Ernest W. Williams took me to Jamaica in 1968. He was on a collecting expedition; I was the driver. We arrived in Kingston in the evening and drove in a blinding rainstorm to the Maryfield Guest House, a decaying English great house set on three acres. The beautiful old trees and well-tended garden attracted a big population of lizards. We began our fieldwork over breakfast on the veranda watching Anolis lineatopus. The males warmed themselves in the sun and then engaged in display and aggressive encounters as they reoccupied their territories. These bright, active little lizards reminded one almost of puppies or kids, enjoying a little social play in the early morning hours.
Ernest soon drew my attention to a more sinister species, which seemed to hide in the background. This was Anolis valencienni, which moved in a very distinctive fashion…. Individuals of this species seemed unusually abundant at the Guest House and since an Anolis of this type had not been studied, I soon concentrated on figuring out its social system. Ernest impressed me very warmly on that trip to Jamaica. He traveled in a very calm, quiet, unpretentious style. When we filled out our immigration cards and were asked to state our occupation, my natural impulse was to jack up the description as high as I could. I expected Ernest to do likewise. Nothing less than “Alexander Agassiz