The Marshmallow, in herpetology and medicine

marsmallow_lizardThe 390 species of Anolis-lizards are generally considered insectivorous. Some also eat fruit and nectar. Recently, a new source of food for these New World reptiles was discovered: On the Consumption of Marshmallow Residues, an Atypical Food Item, by Anolis cristatellus Duméril and Bibron, 1837 in Puerto Rico [LEB (Life: The Excitement of Biology) 2: 270-271, January 10, 2015]

Norman Greenhawk, of Tropic Ventures Research and Education Foundation, Las Casas de la Selva, Buzón, Puerto Rico, reports:

On March 18th, 2014, at approximately 09:00, I observed an adult male Anolis cristatellus eating the remains of a marshmallow that had been roasted over a campfire the night before. The remains were on the end of stick that had been discarded on an outdoor table at the homestead of Las Casas de la Selva, a sustainable forestry project in the Carite Forest region of Patillas, Puerto Rico. The anole licked the charred marshmallow residue and four times bit the end of the stick. This feeding event took place for eleven minutes, until one of the observers accidentally startled the anole.

The author concludes:

I believe this is the first record of an anole consuming a human-manufactured food item.

Please note that consumption of marshmallows by other – even carnivorous – reptiles is well-known in Florida and Louisiana:

BONUS: “The Marshmallow as an Aid to Radiologic Examination of the Esophagus” by J. Edward Kelly, Jr in New Engl J Med 1961; 265:1306-1307