Iberolacerta monticola / West Iberian Rock Lizard

navigator Darevskia praticolaoverviewIberolacerta galani
  • Iberolacerta galani / Galan's Rock Lizard

    Iberolacerta galani / Galan's Rock Lizard

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  • Iberolacerta cyreni / Cyren

    Iberolacerta cyreni / Cyren's Rock Lizard

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  • Iberolacerta martinezricai / Peña de Francia Rock Lizard

    Iberolacerta martinezricai / Peña de Francia Rock Lizard

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  • Subsp. monticola, Male: P / Serra da Estrela, 17.07.2013

    The genus Iberolacerta is present with four species in northern and western Iberia. Their distribution ranges are often limited to single mountain chains (see distribution map). These isolated distribution ranges can be interpreted as glacial relicts: After the last ice age, these lizards, which are adapted to cool temperatures, were restricted to refugia in high altitudes. As the different species can look very similar, the location is crucial for identification.

    Iberolacerta monticola has the biggest distribution range. Currently, three subspecies are known: Iberolacerta monticola monticola lives in the high altitudes of Serra da Estrela in Portugal. Iberolacerta monticola astur, which has been described in 2014, occurs in a small mountain area south of Villablino / Province Léon. Iberolacerta cantabrica occurs in the major part of the Cantabrian Range and in some isolated coastal areas in Galicia.

    Usually, this species lives in mountain areas up to 2000 meters where it can be found on granite rocks. In Galicia, however, there are some populations on sea level.

    Male specimen show bright greenish (or cyan) colors with dark markings and can hardly be confused with other species. Male Lacerta schreiberi may look similar on the first glance but they are bolder and bigger. Furthermore, they show characteristic blue throats in spring.

    Females are rather brownish and can be confused with Podarcis muralis, Podarcis bocagei or maybe with Podarcis guadarramae. A characteristic of Iberolacarta are the tail segments: they are alternately broad and narrow. At Podarcis, all tail segments have the same size. Furthermore, female Iberolacerta monticola have dark flanks contrasting with light backs but no explicit light dorsolateral line. The frequently have dark markings on the back but no clear dark vertebral line. Female Podarcis muralis however, frequently have light dorsolateral lines and a dark vertebral line.

    Female Podarcis bocagei have light dorsolateral lines and a dark supra-dorsolateral line (or row of dark spots). By these characters they can be distinguished from Iberolacerta monticola. The same applies for female Podarcis guadarramae.

    Juvenile Iberolacerta monticola frequently show bright blue tails and can be distinguished by this from juvenile Podarcis muralis. Juvenile Podarcis bocagei or Podarcis guadarramae also may have blue tails. In case of doubt, the dark supra-dorsolateral lines can be helpful for identification. However, the identification of single females or juveniles can be different sometimes.

  • Distribution of the genus Iberolacerta in northwestern Iberia

  • Subsp. monticola, Male: P / Serra da Estrela, 17.07.2013

  • Subsp. monticola, male: P / Serra da Estrela, 15.07.2013

  • Subsp. monticola, male: P / Serra da Estrela, 15.07.2013

  • Subsp. monticola, female: P / Serra da Estrela, 15.07.2013

  • Subsp. astur, male: E / Villablino, 20.09.2017

  • Subsp. astur, female: E / Villablino, 20.09.2017

  • Subsp. cantabrica, male: E / Picos de Europa, 12.09.2011

  • Subsp. cantabrica, male: E / A Coruna, 06.09.2011

  • Subsp. cantabrica, female: E / Picos de Europa, 09.09.2011

  • Subsp. cantabrica, juvenile: E / Picos de Europa, 12.09.2011