Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

A trip to Menorca is a must for everyone interested in European herpetofauna: Here, some species occur that can be found nowhere else in Europe. Accordingly, Menorca is one of the best-explored Mediterranean islands. With appropriate locality data herping is easy - thanks to Mike Zawadzki and Bobby Bok! All in all, the trip provided three new species for us – a great yield!

  • Sicily & Aeolian Islands, 26.5. – 6.6.2016

    Sicily & Aeolian Islands, 26.5. – 6.6.2016

    Mission Volcano! Smoking mountains and rare reptiles

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  • Astypalaia & Naxos, 25.3.-3.4.2016

    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

    Northern Spain, 02. - 13.09.2011

    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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  • Aegean Islands, 28.05. - 13.06.2011

    Aegean Islands, 28.05. - 13.06.2011

    Five islands in two weeks: Kythira, Pori, Milos, Kimolos and Sifnos

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  • Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 12. - 19.03.2011

    Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 12. - 19.03.2011

    Trip to the easternmost island of Greece...

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  • Central spain, 25.09. - 03.10.2010

    Central spain, 25.09. - 03.10.2010

    Iberolacertas within Sierra de Gredos, Pena de Francia and Sierra de Guadarrama

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  • Alps, 03. -17.07.2010

    Alps, 03. -17.07.2010

    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

    Northern Greece, 01. - 15. 06.2009

    Great trip to the Pindos mountains...

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  • Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

    Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

    Orchid trip to eastern Sicily

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  • Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    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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  • Snow on Mallorca

    17:03

    During our arrival we had a stopover on Mallorca, which presented itself with snow-capped mountains. Apparently, it had been cold in the days before but when we arrived the weather was nice. We rushed to our accommodation, quickly dropped our luggage and started our first herping tour: In addition to Podarcis siculus and Tarentola mauritanica which are common and widespread all over the island we found Rhinechis scalaris and Natrix maura. The discovery of Rhinechis scalaris was a personal victory as we had seen that species in the Alicante area many times, but never managed to shoot good pictures...

  • The first finding on Menorca: a subadult Rhinechis scalaris...

  • ...and an adult specimen: We thought this was a big one, but some days later we learned that we were wrong (see below)

  • Juvenile Natrix maura

    18.03.

    At sunny but windy weather (Menorca is always windy) we went to the western part of the island in search of Teira perspicillata.

  • Podarcis siculus: this species is supposed to be introduced from Italy and has populated the whole island.

  • Teira perspicillata: our first new species!

  • Teira perspicillata was probably introduced from Morocco and is found in Europe only on Menorca.

  • Photographer and lizard

  • These animals are patient photo-models...with high population density.

  • Teira - Tarentola flat-sharing community...

  • ...the lizard showed respect for the gecko.

    19.03.

    Our next challenge: the Balearic lizard (Podarcis lifordi) is extinct on Menorca but still occurs on several offshore islands and islets – with various subspecies. There has been much speculation about the reason for this species’ extinction on Menorca – in particular, the introduced species Podarcis siculus and Macroprotodon cucullatus were suspected. For us, a direct displacement or extermination by these species seems unlikely - but perhaps there are epidemiological reasons?
    Anyway: At sunny weather we went to Port Addaia to find a boat to the islands - unfortunately without success. Hence, we had to take the direct route: The island of Ses Mones can be reached from Port Addaia wading through the shallow water. The Mediterranean is still very cold in March, but the island rewarded us with a Podarcis lilfordi population – another new species for us!

  • On the way to Ses Mones

  • Podarcis lilfordi, yawning

  • Subadult Podarcis lilfordi - the population of Ses Mones has not been described as a distinct subspecies so far.

  • Pair of Podarcis lilfordi: on Ses Mones, this species is not rare, there seems to be a stable population.

  • Podarcis lilfordi: note the large masseteric shield

    After this successful excursion we wanted to try it again at another place: The Escull de Binicodrell off the south coast of Menorca is the habitat of subspecies Podarcis lilfordi codrollensis. The way to the islands was a challenge (strong waves, cold water getting deeper and deeper, swimming for the last 15 meters). The Escull de Binicodrell Gros is a bare, rocky islet which surprises with a large lizard population - a fascinating place!

  • Esculls de Binicodrell...

  • Home of Podarcis lilfordi codrollensis ...

  • ...a dark brown colored animal.

  • A green-dotted specimen

  • Podarcis lilfordi is a bold wall lizard with a massive head

  • Podarcis lilfordi eating the remains of a snail

    After the adventures on the islands we went to another snake place and found Rhinechis scalaris and: Macroprotodon cucullatus - the third new species for us. We had completed our twitching list within the first three days – from now on, we were deeply relaxed!

  • Juvenile Rhinechis scalaris - these animals just don’t stand still and are therefore difficult to photograph.

  • Macroprotodon cucullatus - the species was probably introduced from North Africa

  • Emys orbicularis

    20.03.

    Rain in the morning but some sun in the afternoon. We passed the time looking for orchids but only found common and widespread Mediterranean species. Another snake hunt in the afternoon brought Macroprotodon cucullatus and Natrix Maura, again.

  • Ophrys tenthredinifera

  • Ophrys speculum – note the microscopic ants working on that flower

  • Macroprotodon cucullatus...

  • ...another pretty colored specimen

  • A magnificent Natrix Maura

  • Snake Photography

  • Pastures dominate the landscape in Menorca...

    21.03.

    Our next attempts to reach other Podarcis lifordi habitats (Illa de l'Aire, Illa Sargantana) were unsuccessful - no boats available. Hence, we tried it again in Port Addaia and this time, we found a skipper who brought us to the Illa Gran d'Addaia, the home of Podarcis lilfordi addayae - a highlight!

  • On Illa Gran d'Addaia

  • Podarcis lilfordi addayae

  • Portrait: at the windy weather, the animals seemed to have a preference for basking on lichens as these were warmer than the bare rocks.

  • A pair of Podarcis lilfordi addayae...

  • ...another pair…

  • Snuggling on the lichen carpet…

  • A green-backed female

  • Another nice green-backed specimen

  • Hemidactylus turcicus: the animals on the Illa Gran d'Addaia were described as subspecies spinalis, but recent studies point out that this is not a valid subspecies.

  • Visiting islands by boat is much more convenient than swimming!

    22.03.

    Visit of another Teira-habitat at the west coast. In the afternoon: Shopping in Ciutadella!

  • Menorca - the island of stone walls...

  • Teira perspicillata...

  • ...another specimen with nice coloration

  • A female and a juvenile basking together

  • Searching lizards in Ciutadella (Podarcis commercialis):

  • Found in high population density...

  • It is obvious that the Minorcans are proud of their "Sargantanas".

    23.03.

    We visited a coastal habitat with Testudo hermanni. There we found, in addition to the tortoises, two impressively large Rhinechis scalaris - a grand finale! At 24.03. early in the morning, we drove to the airport in pouring rain - the end of a successful and very relaxed trip.

  • Testudo hermanni

  • Juvenile Testudo hermanni

  • This very large Rhinechis scalaris...

  • ...reacted rather angrily to the photographer!

  • An even bigger Rhinechis scalaris.

  • ..."snake wrestling".

  • Podarcis siculus observing the scene, looking rather skeptical.