Tag Archives: Lizards in Spain

Large Psammodromus – Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija Colilarga

  • English: Large Psammodromus
  • Scientific: Psammodromus algirus (Linnaeus 1758)
  • Castilian: Lagartija Colilarga
  • Catalan: Sargantaner gros
  • Portuguese: Lagartixa-do-mato
  • Family: Lacertidae
  • Distribution: Iberia (excluding the northern Atlantic coastal stretch.) Algeria, France, Gibraltar, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia

The Large Psammodromus – Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija Colilarga can have a body length of up to 9cm with a slender tail that is two or three times longer. Its back is a soft brown with two pale yellow or off white stripes running down each flank. The back legs up to the beginning of the tail are a soft orange colour, all of this helps them to blend well with fallen leaves and soil shades under bushes which is where they are normally seen. This can be in forests, woods or more open scrubland but generally not far from shrubs that they can hunt through and use as shelter. They are very agile and can even be seen climbing nimbly through gorse bushes, often only giving away their position as they rustle through leaves. This species is very adaptable and can inhabit areas from sea level up to 2600m in altitude in the warmer southern areas of their distribution range.

Large Psammodromus - Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija colilarga-2
Large Psammodromus – Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija colilarga Note the stripes down the flanks.

This is the most numerous species of lizard in Iberia. Their diet consists mainly of arthropods – beetles, spiders, grasshoppers and ants, they will also eat small lizards and fruit or seeds. If the temperature exceeds 15 degrees then they can be active throughout the year only hibernating in areas where the temperature drops lower than this. They are generally diurnal but may also be out on summer nights.

Large Psammodromus - Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija colilarga-2
Large Psammodromus – Psammodromus algirus – Lagartija colilarga – Lunching on a grasshopper.

The males can have blue spots along their sides just above the forelimbs and can also show red / yellow colouring on their faces during the breeding season. Breeding begins in the spring and there may be two or rarely three clutches consisting of between 2 to 11 eggs. The incubation time can vary from one to six weeks with the young appearing from August through to October. The young are 2.5 to 3cm in body length and have the same colouration and patterns as the adults. This species may live up to 7 years.


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

https://grazalemaguide.com/

Lilford’s wall lizard

Lilford’s wall lizard (Podarcis lilfordi ) is a species of lizard in the family Lacertidae. The species is endemic to the Balearic Islands, Spain.

Spanish: Lagartija balear

Its natural habitats are temperate Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, rocky areas, and rocky shores. Originally distributed throughout the Balearics, the introduction of alien species which started with the Romans has confined the species to the uninhabited islets around the major islands, on almost each of which a local subspecies has evolved.

Lilford’s wall lizard grows to a body length of around 8 cm (snout to base of tail). The tail is about twice the length of the body. The dorsal surface is usually greenish or brownish but varies much between different island subpopulations. There is usually a pale dorso-lateral stripe and there may be several dark streaks or three dark lines running along the spine. The underside is white, cream or pinkish.and the throat may be blotched with a darker colour. Hatchlings very often have a blue tail.

Native to the islands of Menorca and Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, the Cabrera Archipelago to the south of Mallorca, and most of the neighbouring rocky islets This lizard is not present on the main islands any more due to predation by introduced species (cats) and also habitat loss.

Feeding and breeding habits

It mainly feeds on insects, spiders and other arthropods, snails and some vegetable matter which includes flowers, fruits, nectar and pollen.

Some plants endemic to the Balearic Islands depend on this lizard for pollination and plants known to be pollinated by it include the mastic tree Pistacia lentiscus, rock samphire Crithmum maritimum, wild leek Allium ampeloprasum, clustered carline thistle Carlina corymbosa and the sea daffodil Pancratium maritimum.

Breeding takes place in the summer and females sometimes lay up to three clutches of one to four eggs. These hatch in about eight weeks and the emerging young measure 3 to 3.5 cm

There are twenty-seven recognized subspecies many of which are found on only a single island (From wikipedia).

  • Podarcis lilfordi lilfordi (Günther, 1874) – Aire islet, off the southeastern coast of Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi addayae (Eisentraut, 1928)
  • Podarcis lilfordi balearica (Bedriaga, 1879)
  • Podarcis lilfordi brauni (L. Müller, 1927) – Colom islet, off Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi carbonerae Pérez-Mellado & Salvador, 1988 – Carbonera islet, off Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi codrellensis Pérez-Mellado & Salvador, 1988 – Binicondrell islet, off the southern coast of Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi colomi (Salvador, 1980) – Colomer islet, off northeast Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi conejerae (L. Müller, 1927)
  • Podarcis lilfordi espongicola (Salvador, 1979)
  • Podarcis lilfordi estelicola (Salvador, 1979)
  • Podarcis lilfordi fahrae (L. Müller, 1927)
  • Podarcis lilfordi fenni (Eisentraut, 1928) – Sanitja islet, off northern Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi gigliolii (Bedriaga, 1879) – Dragonera islet, off north of Majorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi hartmanni (Wettstein, 1937)
  • Podarcis lilfordi hospitalis (Eisentraut, 1928)
  • Podarcis lilfordi imperialensis (Salvador, 1979)
  • Podarcis lilfordi isletasi (Hartmann, 1953)
  • Podarcis lilfordi jordansi (L. Müller, 1927)
  • Podarcis lilfordi kuligae (L. Müller, 1927)
  • Podarcis lilfordi nigerrima (Salvador, 1979)
  • Podarcis lilfordi planae (L. Müller, 1927)
  • Podarcis lilfordi probae (Salvador, 1979)
  • Podarcis lilfordi porrosicola Pérez-Mellado and Salvador, 1988 – Porros islet, north of Menorca
  • Podarcis lilfordi rodriquezi (L. Müller, 1927) – Ratas Island lizard – Formerly Ratas Island, in Mahón’s harbour (Menorca). Extinct after island was demolished in harbour expansion.
  • Podarcis lilfordi sargantanae (Eisentraut, 1928) – islets located by the north coast of Majorca (Sargantana, Ravells, Bledes and Tusqueta).
  • Podarcis lilfordi toronis (Hartmann, 1953)
  • Podarcis lilfordi xapaticola (Salvador, 1979)

Above image Wikipedia By Orchi – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=890856


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado

  • English: Ocellated Lizard
  • Spanish: Lagarto ocelado or Lagarto
  • Portuguese: Sardão
  • Family: Lacerta
  • Distribution: Iberia, southern and western France, noth west Italy
  • Classification: Formerly classified as Lacerta lepida and now a species of Timon, a genus of lizard sometimes regarded as a subgenus of Lacerta, both of which belong to the family of Lacertidae (the wall lizards). They are commonly referred to as “ocellated” due to the eyelike spots of colour on the body.
  • Timon lepidus lepidus – Most of Spain and Portugal. Present where the other sub-species are not present.
  • Timon lepidus ibericus – North-western Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) Their teeth are not arranged the same as the other sub-species, being more aligned and becoming larger and irregular towards the back of the mouth.
  • Timon lepidus nevadensis – South-Eastern Spain. They are duller in colour; their head also seems more pointed.
  • Timon lepidus oteroi Extreme North-Western Spain.
Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado
Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado

The ocellated lizard is the largest lizard resident in Europe growing to an adult size between 40 to 60 centimetres and sometimes reaching 90 centimetres. Generally, two thirds of the length is taken up by the thick tail. The legs, especially the hind legs, are muscular and strong, with long curved and sharp claws. The sides of the body are decorated with blue spots (especially during breeding season) and the back is a mixture of greens, browns, yellows and reds. The throat and belly, particularly of the males, are yellow. Adult males generally have more blue spots and always a larger, wider head.

Often though, you need to see both sexes at the same time to tell the difference between male and female. Females are generally smaller and sometimes have no blue spots at all. A long lived reptile they can live for as much as 25 years given a lot of luck and agility.

The species is found throughout almost all of Iberia, (plus Mediterranean France and southern Italy) and prefers habitats that are open to the sun, rocky scrub, olive plantations and grasslands. Juveniles seem especially at home close to dry river beds, lakes and water courses but adults seem to thrive in the driest of terrains. Territorial area is usually quite small and localised colonies can be made up of breeding adults, juveniles and young. When disturbed they will quickly run to the nearest cover or return to their burrow amongst tree roots or under a large rock.

Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado
Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado A female (I think!) emerging from her burrow.

Telling the difference between the sub species is very difficult but the geographical position will help. (See classification list at top). In reality only a capture and close inspection will reveal the true identification. Beware though as an adult can inflict a very painful bite which almost always festers and takes an age to heal!

Diet is very varied and made up of large insects, beetles and spiders, on occasion bird’s eggs, baby birds, small mammals, other lizards and small snakes. Fruits and berries will be eaten when available as well. Rabbit burrows are often occupied which of course means that a constant supply of young rabbit is available.

Breeding occurs in late spring and early summer, often accompanied by violent fights between males over territory and the right to mate with a female. Generally 5 to 12 eggs are laid between June and July in the ground and the incubation period is about 3 months. The young start to emerge during the month of September giving them only a few short weeks to find a food supply and a suitable safe place to hibernate through the winter.

Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado
Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus ibericus(Lacerta lepida)) Lagarto ocelado Juvenile with the unmistakeable spotty body.

Hibernation takes place from October until March or April depending on seasonal temperatures

The Ocellated lizard is preyed upon by Eagles such as Short toed (aguila culebrera) Circaetus gallicus. Large snakes will take young and juveniles but a fully grown adult only has one real enemy, man, and although reasonable populations are present in Spain and Portugal there has been a substantial decline in many areas due to habitat loss and persecution by hunters that fear the lizard eats all of the partridge eggs and young rabbits.

In the past larger lizards were hunted and eaten as well. A lizard stew in garlic and tomato sauce may sound tasty but beware as the main ingredient is now a protected species!


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

Western Three-toed Skink

  • Spanish: Eslizón tridáctilo
  • Scientific: Chalcides striatus
  • English: Western Three-toed Skink
  • French: Scinque à trois doigts
  • German: Westliche Erzschleiche
  • Italian: Luscengola striata
  • Portuguese: Cobra-de-pernas-tridáctila

Description

Notable in the Western Three-toed Skink is the elongated serpent like body, often reaching lengths around 30 cm in total (12 inches). An intact tail can be longer than the head-body in length. Colouration is yellowish to brown or more often grey, with a metallic sheen.

They have 9 or more narrow, dark longitudinal stripes. The limbs are very short and have only 3 digits. It is very agile and fast as it moves across the surface. Females normally exceed males in length.

chalcides striatus – eslizón tridáctilo – western three-toed skink
chalcides striatus – eslizón tridáctilo – western three-toed skink – Tiny legs with just three toes

On the hottest days they restrict their movement to early in the morning or late evening remaining hidden during the main heat of the day and so regulating their body temperature. They prefer damp meadows and cool hillsides including seasonally flooded areas, abandoned fields, hedges and land with abundant herbaceous vegetation.

The Western Three-toed Skink feeds mainly on insects – crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and spiders and worms etc.

Between March and June the breeding season begins. Between two and three months after mating, females give birth to 1 – 12 fully formed young. They are ovoviviparous (able to incubate the eggs inside the female)

  • Conservation Status: LC. Least Concern – The IUCN has listed the western three-toed skink as being of “Least Concern” because of its wide range and the fact that it is very common in some parts of its range. It is nevertheless threatened by changes in agricultural practices resulting in degradation of its habitat. In some areas it is persecuted because it is mistakenly thought to be venomous.
  • Distribution: Portugal, Spain, the Mediterranean coast of France, NW Italy.

Similar species: Bedriagai’s Skink (Chalcides bedriagai)


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

The Turkish Gecko

  • Spanish: Salamanquesa Rosada
  • Scientific: Hemidactylus turcicus
  • English: Turkish Gecko
  • French: Gecko nocturne
  • German: Europäische Halbfinger
  • Italian: Geco verrucoso
  • Portugese: Osga-turca

Description

A delicate-looking gecko which normally measures about 8-9.5 cm (3 -3¾ inches) including an intact tail, which is half the overall length. They are mainly pink in colour with black spots and paler areas, somewhat translucent, especially on the belly. The head is narrow and short, triangular in shape, their eyes are placed closer together than in the common gecko, with a vertical pupil.

The tail has alternating light and dark stripes providing it is the original, a regenerated tail will be smooth. Another characteristic of this species is that each digit has a curved claw. The toes are equipped with adhesive pads that allow them to adhere to vertical surfaces.

Nocturnal, spending the day hidden in the cracks of stone walls, in ruins, and rubble or under rocks and logs. This is reptile has adapted well to living with the man and is commonly seen hunting insects on summer nights near street lights and house walls etc.

The breeding season begins in March and lasts until July, consisting of 1 or 2 small eggs with the capability of laying up to 5 clutches per year. The eggs are are deposited under rocks, crevices in the ground etc and incubation lasts between 50 to 72 days.

Baby turkish gecko in Spain
Note the pinky translucent skin of the baby Turkish gecko.

IUCN Conservation Status: LC Least Concern

Distribution: Mediterranean Basin (Introduced elsewhere)

Similar species: Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/

The Moorish gecko

  • Spanish name: Salamanquesa Común
  • Scientific name: Tarentola mauritanica
  • English: Moorish Gecko
  • French: Tarente de Maurétanie
  • German: Mauergecko
  • Italian: Geco comune
  • Portuguese: Osga-moura

Description

The moorish gecko is a small reptile that can reach 16 cm (6¼ inches) in length – including the tail. Its body is robust and flattened with a broad, large head that is almost triangular in shape. The eyes are large with vertical pupils. The colour ranges from grey/brown, brown or light brown including black in the early morning hours. These light and dark patterns are an aid in camouflage. It has a scaled back with prominent tubercles. Its spiny tail is banded in different shades.

Very often seen without a tail (after been attacked by domestic cat or predated on by a bigger lizard or snake.) The tail can regenerate and the new one is much smoother.

The feet have 5 digits, 2 with well developed claws (third and fourth digits). The toes are equipped with adhesive pads that allow them to adhere to vertical surfaces (including glass).

Moorish geckos emit croaking sounds of varying types for communication between individuals, to mark their territory etc.

A common species found in rocks and stones, as well as manmade structures in the countryside, towns and cities (making use of the artificial lights that attracts their prey). They are most active during the early hours of the night and spends the rest of the time hidden, although you can see them basking in the morning sun.

They hunt at night and are mainly insectivorous; sawflies, wasps, bees, moths, grasshoppers and spiders.

The breeding season begins in March and lasts until July, consisting of 1 or 2 small eggs placed in crevices such as the bark of trees, gaps in walls or under stones. Incubation lasts 55 to 98 days. Females lay two or three egg clutches per year.

Baby Moorish gecko in Spain
Baby Moorish geckos are tiny. Note the striped tail which helps to identify them

IUCN Conservation Status: LC Least Concern

Distribution: Mediterranean area (introduced elsewhere)

Similar species: Turkish Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/