Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

In winter 2008/2009 we had the opportunity to visit the Alicante region twice (in November and February). Hence, we got an idea of the reptile activities in some habitats in November as well as in February. Actually, reptiles can be noticed in this region all-the-year. We concentrated our attention to the local types of Podarcis hispanicus: Our major finding is that the Podarcis in the northern part of the Alicante province differ considerably from those in the southern part of that province.

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    Astypalaia & Naxos, 25.3.-3.4.2016

    Hellas reloaded – Back in Europe’s biodiversity lab

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  • Spain, 29.8.-11.9.2015

    Spain, 29.8.-11.9.2015

    Biodiversity on the south-eastern tangent

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  • Montenegro, 2. – 11.7.2015

    Montenegro, 2. – 11.7.2015

    Lizard Safari in the mountains of Montenegro

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  •  Malta, 3. – 6.4.2015

    Malta, 3. – 6.4.2015

    The exclusive Podarcis filfolensis Home Story!

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  • Oman, 6.–15.3.2015

    Oman, 6.–15.3.2015

    Adventures in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula

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  • Central Spain, 29.8. - 14.9.2014

    Central Spain, 29.8. - 14.9.2014

    14 days in the heat of Castile

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  • Lefkada, Kefalonia & Akarnania, 24.5. - 3.6.2014

    Lefkada, Kefalonia & Akarnania, 24.5. - 3.6.2014

    Reptile adventures in Western Greece

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  • Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

    Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

    2014 Season Kick-off with 16 reptile species

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  • Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

    Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

    Mountains, sea and rock lizards

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  • Portugal, 13. - 20.07.2013

    Portugal, 13. - 20.07.2013

    Lizard hunting in Central Portugal

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  • Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

    Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

    Herping adventures from the Black Sea coast to the Iron Gate

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  • Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

    Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

    Visiting the Balearic lizards

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  • Peloponnese, 20. - 27.10.2012

    Peloponnese, 20. - 27.10.2012

    Autumn trip on Peloponnese

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  • Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

    Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

    Summer trip in the mountains of Montenegro

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  • Skyros & Evia, 26.05. - 04.06.2012

    Skyros & Evia, 26.05. - 04.06.2012

    Our search for the legendary giant lizards...

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  • Crete, 06. - 13.04.2012

    Crete, 06. - 13.04.2012

    Searching for flowers and lizards on Crete...

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  • Andalucia, 10. - 18.03.2012

    Andalucia, 10. - 18.03.2012

    A hot week full of herping highlights in Southwestern Andalucia

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  • Northern Spain, 02. - 13.09.2011

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    Herpetological trip to the northwest of Spain: the mountains west of Leon, the Atlantic coast south of A Coruña and the Picos de Europa.

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  • Central spain, 25.09. - 03.10.2010

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    Our first trip to the Alps led us to the Allgäu area, the Julian Alps and Carinthia

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  • Northern Peloponnese, 3.-11.4.2010

    Northern Peloponnese, 3.-11.4.2010

    Four Podarcis species in one area!

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  • Northern Greece, 01. - 15. 06.2009

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    Great trip to the Pindos mountains...

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  • Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

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    Orchid trip to eastern Sicily

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  • Samos, September 2008 / 2009

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    Chamaeleons, Trachylepis and beautiful beaches...

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  • Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Lizards in the Alicante Province

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  • Eifel region

    Eifel region

    Our local "playground": botanical highlights, meadows with numerous butterflies and some herpetofauna...

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  • Podarcis liolepis from Callosa d'en Sarria

    The article published by Geniez et al (2010) has revealed that the lizards from the north of the Alicante Province are Podarcis liolepis while those of Southern Alicante are Podarcis hispanicus (sensu stricto). Besides of the wall lizards we visited the island of Tabarca where we found Chalcides bedriagai – one of our most wanted species of that region during the last years. Furthermore, in November we noticed numerous insects (in particular grasshoppers), whereas in February few insects could be seen – but that time has been more interesting from the botanical perspective.

    Santa Pola

    Near Santa Pola, there are still some unspoiled coastal sections. In a dune habitat (which is now a nature reserve and therefore is fenced) we noticed several juvenile Acanthodactylus erythrurus in November. The lizards can easily be observed from the plank roadways crossing the reserve. Obviously Acanthodactylus hibernates: In earlier years, we didn’t notice these lizards in December, in February 2009 we only spotted one juvenile (which was the only reptile we saw there at all in February). Probably, in comparison to rock habitats the sand-dunes are cooler and more humid and therefore are hardly capable for reptile activities in winter. In fact, the single Acanthodactylus we noticed in February wasn’t found in a sandy habitat but on a dry hill of saline clay. The dunes are inhabited by Acanthodactylus and the two Psammodromus-species in syntopy, but not by Podarcis hispanicus.

  • Dune habitat at Santa Pola

  • Juvenile Acanthodactylus erythrurus: lots of them in November…

  • …but only a single one in February

  • Aeshna mixta

    In a rocky coastal section near Santa Pola (February 2009) we noticed the two Psammodromus-species in syntopy with Podarcis hispanicus, but not Acanthodactylus erythrurus. The Podarcis of that area are P. hispanicus (sensu stricto). They show a greyish colouration, distinct dorsolaterale stripes and one or two black vertebral stripes.

  • Coastal section at Santa Pola: habitat of Podarcis hispanicus, Psammodromus algirus, Psammodromus hispanicus

  • Podarcis hispanicus (sensu stricto) with characteristic colouration

  • Very nosy young male of P. hispanicus (sensu stricto)

  • Psammodromus algirus (juvenile)…

  • …the camera aroused this lizard's curiosity

    Isla Tabarca

    According to our literature, the island of Tabarca is inhabited by five species: Hemidactylus turcicus, Tarentola mauritanica, Chalcides bedriagai, Malpolon monspessulanus, Coronella girondica. During two trips on the island we saw all these species. The richness in species on Tabarca is remarkable with regard to the fact that the island is flat, sparsely vegetated and rather small (it takes only 20 minutes to walk around the island). Both gecko species seem to be quite common there. Searching for Chalcides bedriagai we weren’t lucky in November but succeeded in February.

  • Habitat on Tabarca

  • Hemidactylus turcicus

  • Chalcides bedriagai

  • Coronella girondica

  • Cadaver of Malpolon monspessulanus with 1,5 m length

  • Asteriscus maritimus

  • Echium plantagineum

  • Asphodelus fistulosus

    Habitats near Callosa d’en Sarria

    From an imaginary line between the cities of Benidorm and Alcoy southwards there can be found Podarcis hispanicus (sensu stricto) with the same colouration as the lizards we have seen in Santa Pola (The northernmost point where we have seen P. hispanicus (sensu stricto) is Finestrat near Benidorm). The Podarcis north of this line – for instance in the area of Callosa d’en Sarria – look quite different: brown or greenish colouration, weak dorsolateral stripes and usually no vertebral stripes. These are Podarcis liolepis. The border between both species correpsonds with a climatic frontier: The region south of Benidorm is extremely dry like many parts in south-eastern Spain whereas the area north of Benidorm is characterized by mountains of more than 1000 m altitude with a more humid climate and rich Mediterranean vegetation. Near Callosa, we noticed Podarcis liolepisin high population density together with other reptiles. Rock habitats are inhabited as well as cultivated areas, in particular plantations with dry stone walls.

  • Habitat of Tarentola mauritanica, Podarcis liolepis, Psammodromus algirus, Hemorrhois hippocrepis

  • Tarentola mauritanica

  • Green coloured male of P. liolepis

  • Female of P. liolepis: characteristic pattern

  • For comparision: Female of P. hispanicus (sensu stricto) from Finestrat - only 10 km south of Callosa

  • Dark coloured male of P. liolepis from Callosa

  • P. liolepis posing in front of the camera

  • Hemorrhois hippocrepis

    Mountains at Callosa d’en Sarria

    In mountain habitats with warm micro-climate near Callosa d’en Sarria we noticed Podarcis liolepis being active up to an altitude of 800 m in winter. The lizards share their habitat with the two Psammodromus-species, Timon lepidus and Elaphe scalaris.

  • Male Podarcis liolepis

  • Another male of P. liolepis

  • Psammodromus hispanicus hunting for insects

  • Anacridium aegyptium

  • Mantis sp.

    In the mountains several spring flowers and the first orchids (Ophrys fusca) were flourishing – a foretaste of the coming season!

  • Left: Narcissus assoanus, right: Ophrys fusca

  • Left: Gagea fistulosa (?), right: Muscari botryoides

  • Romulea columnae

    Literature:

    Geniez, Philippe; Guilaume, Claude P.; Crochet, Pierre-André; Renoult, Julien P.; Bacquet, Paul: Systematics of the Podarcis hispanicus-complex (Sauria, Lacertidae) II: the valid name of the north-eastern Spanish form (2010)
     
    Geniez, Philippe; Cluchier, Alexandre; Sá-Sousa, Paolo; Guilaume, Claude P.; Crochet, Pierre-André: Systematics of the Podarcis hispanicus-complex (Sauria, Lacertidae) I: Redefinition, morphology and distribution of the nominotypical taxon

    Renoult, J. (2006): Histoire évolutive du Lézard ibérique Podarcis hispanicus (Squamata: Lacertidae): discordances entre morphologie, ADN nucléaire et ADN mitochondrial