Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

What to do if you want to photograph Podarcis pityusensis but don't want to spend a whole week on Ibizia / Formentera? The solution is flying to Mallorca, photograph the introduced populations of this species and afterwards you can easily travel from Mallorca to other destinations in Spain. So, for this year's season opening, we first spent two days on Mallorca and then visited the Alicante area on mainland Spain. Overall, the result of this season warm-up tour was 16 reptile species. Thanks to Mike Zawadzki and Bobby Bok.

  • Pyrenees, 2008 - 2016

    Pyrenees, 2008 - 2016

    Searching for Pyrenean lizards - third time's a charm!

  • Sicily & Aeolian Islands, 26.5. – 6.6.2016

    Sicily & Aeolian Islands, 26.5. – 6.6.2016

    Mission Volcano! Smoking mountains and rare reptiles

  • Astypalaia & Naxos, 25.3.-3.4.2016

    Astypalaia & Naxos, 25.3.-3.4.2016

    Hellas reloaded – Back in Europe’s biodiversity lab

  • Spain, 29.8.-11.9.2015

    Spain, 29.8.-11.9.2015

    Biodiversity on the south-eastern tangent

  • Montenegro, 2. – 11.7.2015

    Montenegro, 2. – 11.7.2015

    Lizard Safari in the mountains of Montenegro

  •  Malta, 3. – 6.4.2015

    Malta, 3. – 6.4.2015

    The exclusive Podarcis filfolensis Home Story!

  • Oman, 6.–15.3.2015

    Oman, 6.–15.3.2015

    Adventures in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula

  • Central Spain, 29.8. - 14.9.2014

    Central Spain, 29.8. - 14.9.2014

    14 days in the heat of Castile

  • Lefkada, Kefalonia & Akarnania, 24.5. - 3.6.2014

    Lefkada, Kefalonia & Akarnania, 24.5. - 3.6.2014

    Reptile adventures in Western Greece

  • Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

    Mallorca / Alicante - 15.-23.03.2014

    2014 Season Kick-off with 16 reptile species

  • Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

    Corsica, 07.-17.09.2013

    Mountains, sea and rock lizards

  • Portugal, 13. - 20.07.2013

    Portugal, 13. - 20.07.2013

    Lizard hunting in Central Portugal

  • Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

    Romania, 24.05. - 03.06.2013

    Herping adventures from the Black Sea coast to the Iron Gate

  • Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

    Menorca, 17. - 24.03.2013

    Visiting the Balearic lizards

  • Peloponnese, 20. - 27.10.2012

    Peloponnese, 20. - 27.10.2012

    Autumn trip on Peloponnese

  • Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

    Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

    Summer trip in the mountains of Montenegro

  • Skyros & Evia, 26.05. - 04.06.2012

    Skyros & Evia, 26.05. - 04.06.2012

    Our search for the legendary giant lizards...

  • Crete, 06. - 13.04.2012

    Crete, 06. - 13.04.2012

    Searching for flowers and lizards on Crete...

  • Andalucia, 10. - 18.03.2012

    Andalucia, 10. - 18.03.2012

    A hot week full of herping highlights in Southwestern Andalucia

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 12. - 19.03.2011

    Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 12. - 19.03.2011

    Trip to the easternmost island of Greece...

  • 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

  • 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

  • Northern Peloponnese, 3.-11.4.2010

    Northern Peloponnese, 3.-11.4.2010

    Four Podarcis species in one area!

  • Northern Greece, 01. - 15. 06.2009

    Northern Greece, 01. - 15. 06.2009

    Great trip to the Pindos mountains...

  • Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

    Sicily, 28.03. - 04.04.2009

    Orchid trip to eastern Sicily

  • Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Chamaeleons, Trachylepis and beautiful beaches...

  • Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Lizards in the Alicante Province

  • Eifel region

    Eifel region

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

  • City-herping in Palma de Mallorca


    We arrived on Mallorca in the afternoon and went directly to Palma. Beneath the cathedral there is a population of introduced Podarcis pityusensis. These lizards as well as the omnipresent Tarentola mauritanica were photographed quickly and afterwards we did what you would expect from tourists on Mallorca: numerous street cafes allured with cold beer and we didn't try too hard to resist this seduction.

  • Podarcis pityusensis

  • Macro Photography # 1: Tarentola mauritanica

  • Macro photography # 2: Cerveza Estrella


    Like on Menorca (see our 2013 report) the native Balearic lizard (Podarcis lilfordi) is extinct on Mallorca and can only be found on the offshore islets. One of these islets has been connected to the mainland by a pier and thus can be approached easily. The subspecies status of lizards on that islet is not clear: On the surrounding islands, the melanistic subspecies jordansi occurs; the Cabrera Archpileago south of Mallorca is populated by subspecies kuligae. The animals in the habitat we visited seem to be hybrids of two subspecies - probably, the kuligae specimen were introduced by tourist boats on this islet. The lizards were extremely shy, which might have to do with the fact that this place is preferably used as a dog toilet. So, cute dogs and their lordies frequently trample through the bushes. Nevertheless, the population seems to be vital - we estimate >50 animals - and we even could see the lizards in the hotel gardens of the adjacent mainland: the species is back on the Majorcan mainland.

  • Birgit at work

  • Podarcis lilfordi - jordansi phenotype

  • Podarcis lilfordi - kuligae phenotype

  • and their hybrids - very nice!

  • another one

  • and one more - yeah!

  • With a little patience, beautiful portrait shots were possible

  • Podarcis lifordi with fashionable accessory on its wrist

  • View to the Cabrera Archipelago


    We visited another population of introduced Podarcis pityusensis near Palma. The animals live in a touristic beach area, where they occur in high population density. Apparently they got accustomed to people and were easy to photograph - the whole setting was like a zoo visit, but it was a lot of fun. In the afternoon we took the plane to Alicante and arrived at Santa Pola, our next station, in the evening.

  • Lizard Habitat

  • A wall full of lizards

  • Curious Podarcis pityusensis

  • Morning toilet

  • Common sunbasking

  • Did anyone here drop a chocolate cookie?

  • All You Can Eat...


    The province of Alicante is home of about 20 reptile species. This sounded pretty promising for us and highly motivated we started herping. Our first goal was a dune area south of Santa Pola. There, our target species was Acanthodactylus erythrurus: We didn't have good pictures of adult animals of this species so far - now we had the opportunity. The area proved to be quite efficient: we found six species at this place.

  • Dune habitat

  • Acanthodactylus erythrurus - juvenile

  • Acanthodactylus erythrurus - subadult

  • Acanthodactylus erythrurus - adult

  • Psammodromus edwarsianus

  • Nonsense #1: Blanus cinereus - as commonly known, this species lives on tree branches

  • Nonsense #2: Hemidactylus turcicus - sunbasking animals rarely seen

  • Juvenile Rhinechis scalaris

  • Juvenile Timon nevadensis

  • Timon nevadensis: The adult animals were extremely shy - about 30 meters flight distance!


    From Santa Pola we took a boat trip to Tabarca, a small island with interesting herpetofauna. After one and a half hours we had seen what we wanted to see and took the next boat back. In the afternoon we visited the reserve of El Hondo, an extensive wetland which turned out to be less productive as we had hoped. Most parts of the area were difficult to access, not the best herping place. Anyhow, we found some Natrix maura under some litter. So far, everything went like clockwork - so we did what tourists in Santa Pola are expected to do: Nice sidewalk cafes allured us with cold beer...

  • Habitat on Tabarca island...

  • and its inhabitants: Chalcides bedriagai...

  • and Coronella girondica - about to shed its skin

  • The reserve El Hondo

  • Beautiful Natrix maura

  • Another Natrix maura


    In the morning, we explored a coastal section where Podarcis hispanicus occurs. Here, we almost stumbled over an adult Malpolon monspessulanus - an impressive, large snake! In the afternoon we went to Torrevieja, a place with more than 100.000 inhabitants in a post-apocalyptic touristic scenery: an insider tip for all who want to spent their holidays between English sports bars, Chinese fast food restaurants and Indian souvenir shops. The lagoon of La Mata, a nature reserve, is situated like an island in between the hotels and appartments. There, we could take some more pictures of Acanthodactylus erythrurus. In the evening, we left the coast and moved to the mountains of northern Alicante province where we hoped to find further reptile species.

  • The coast near Santa Pola - habitat of...

  • Psammodromus edwarsianus...

  • Podarcis hispanicus (Spanish Wall Lizard ) and...

  • Malpolon monspessulanus

  • The nature reserve of La Mata

  • Juvenile Acanthodactylus erythrurus and...

  • ...a beautiful adult


    The mountains of the northern province of Alicante are one of the few areas in Europe where even in winter numerous reptiles can be found. Now, in spring we had high expectations: We expected the lizards and snakes to literally stand in line to be photographed by us. To our surprise, we found significantly fewer reptiles than in winter, even the very common Podarcis liolepis proved to be less abundant than expected.

  • A nice mountain habitat - but where are the reptiles?

  • Pancake position: Podarcis liolepis warming up in the sun

  • Psammodromus edwarsianus

  • Tarentola mauritanica

  • Timon nevadensis - extremely shy, again

  • Psammodromus algirus


    Cold and windy - bad conditions for herping. After the relatively successful past few days, we were disappointed. Gratitude is obviously not the core strength of the herpers: If, after six successful days, the seventh day does not deliver he will be offended. We spent the remaining time with photographing spring flowers. On 23.3. we had to take our return flight to Düsseldorf and at finally sighting of our photo material we were at least a little bit grateful...

  • Sleeping Podarcis liolepis

  • Frittilaria lusitanica

  • Ophrys lucentina - an endemic orchid of the northern province of Alicante

  • Orchis olbiensis

  • Romulea columnae

  • Adios y hasta luego!