Northern Spain, 02. - 13.09.2011

Our herpetological trip to the northwest of Spain included three major stations: the mountains west of Leon, the Atlantic coast south of A Coruña and the Picos de Europa. Our starting point was the airport of Bilbao. At the end of our 12-day trip – travelling 2800 km by car (never underestimate the distances in Spain!) – we had seen 6 new species and 6 new sub-species. For valuable tips on the local herpetofauna, we would like to thank Andre Schmid, Benny Trapp, Frank Deschandol, Jan van der Voort and Matthieu Berroneau.

  • Northwestern Spain, 16.-23.9.2017

    Northwestern Spain, 16.-23.9.2017

    Reptile Rallye on the Iberian Peninsula

  • Ionian Islands, 25.5.-5.6.2017

    Ionian Islands, 25.5.-5.6.2017

    Cruising through Ulysses’ homeland

  • Portugal, 14. – 21.4.2017

    Portugal, 14. – 21.4.2017

    Lizard safari at the Atlantic coast

  • Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 27.3. – 2.4.2017

    Rhodos & Kastellorizo, 27.3. – 2.4.2017

    Season Opening 2017

  • 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

  • Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Spain, November 2008 / February 2009

    Lizards in the Alicante Province

  • Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Samos, September 2008 / 2009

    Chamaeleons, Trachylepis and beautiful beaches...

  • Eifel region

    Eifel region

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

  • Subtle prelude: Podarcis liolepis at the motorway service between Bilbao and Burgos


    From Bilbao airport we made our long trip to Puebla de Sanabria (west of Leon) – in that area we wanted to find Iberolacerta galani.

  • After a 5 hours trip we finally arrived in the mountains of Sanabria


    Photo tour in the mountains, initially at 1700 m altitude. There we found Iberolacerta galani, Natrix maura and Rana iberica. In lower altitude (1400m) we were able to photograph Podarcis bocagei, Lacerta schreiberi and Timon lepidus. Further down at 1200 m altitude we came across Podarcis hispanicus morphotype 1a (Iberian wall lizard) and, again, Timon lepidus.

  • Habitat of Iberolacerta galani

  • A female Iberolacerta galani ...

  • ...and a male...

  • This species’ coloration is quite variable: a specimen with a yellow belly...

  • ...and a greenish animal

  • Among numerous Iberolacertas we also found this Natrix maura basking

  • Podarcis bocagei warming up on a dry stone wall

  • Perfectly illuminated by the afternoon sun: another Podarcis bocagei

  • With a little patience, we managed to get this shot: Timon lepidus

  • At Lago de Sanabria we found Podarcis hispanicus type 1a in high population density

  • Nosy guy: Podarcis hispanicus

  • Again: Timon Lepidus

  • Tired of hunting lizards ...


    Unsuccessful tour to other Iberolacerta habitats, due to cloudy weather in the mountains. In the deeper altitudes, our findings were little spectacular at first – some Psammodromus algirus and Lacerta schreiberi. But in the afternoon we found some interesting species: Coronella austriaca, Natrix maura and Salamandra salamandra.

  • Not the best weather to search for Iberolacerta galani!

  • The whole Schreiber family: male Lacerta schreiberi ...

  • ... the mother ...

  • ...and one of the offspring

  • Juvenile Coronella austriaca acutirostris

  • Very angry Natrix maura

  • Salamandra salamandra gallaica / bejarae - the subspecies status could not be clarified so far


    Moving to another location: From Puebla de Sanabria we went to our second station at the Atlantic coast near A Coruña – crossing the Portuguese border for a side trip in order to find Chioglossa lusitanica. There, we also came across Lacerta schreiberi, Rana iberica and Pelophylax perezi.

  • Chioglossa lusitanica: This species looks and moves like an Ablepharus – a very swift salamander.


    Fantastic mountain tour on the Atlantic coast south of A Coruña, where we visited an isolated population of Iberolacerta monticola. The mountains are also populated by Lacerta schreiberi, Timon lepidus, Podarcis hispanicus morphotype 1a and Podarcis bocagei. The population density is remarkably high in these mountains.

  • Great view to the end of the world: Cap Finisterre

  • Spectacularly patterned Podarcis hispanicus morphotype 1a – resembling to Apathya cappadocica

  • The males of Podarcis hispanicus are sometimes green-backed in that area

  • Timon lepidus: sharing it’s habitat with ...

  • ... Iberolacerta monticola!

  • The males of this rock lizard population showed a strong green coloration

  • Group picture with our granite buddy...


    Herping in a coastal habitat with Chalcides bedriagai, Chalcides striatus, Podarcis bocagei, Psammodromus algirus and Timon lepidus. We missed Chalcides striatus that day, but found numerous Chalcides bedriagai.

  • Beautiful beach – fog inclusive!

  • Chalcides bedriagai (subsp. pistaciae) at the northern limit of its distribution range

  • Group picture: one of these four is not a skink...

  • Tiny juvenile Psammodromus algirus


    Next attempt to find Chalcides striatus in another section of the coast - successful this time. Also Coronella girondica is supposed to occur there but we didn’t find it.

  • Beautiful eyes: Bufo bufo spinosus

  • Anguis fragilis

  • Chalcides striatus

  • “Get closer, Baby!” - Portrait of Chalcides striatus ...

  • ...and, again, Chalcides bedriagai

  • Cooperative photo model #1: Timon lepidus

  • “Jurassic Park”: the Atlantic coast looks like the setting of a Steven Spielberg movie.


    Moving to our third station, from the west coast to the Picos de Europa – with stopover at a lookout point in Asturia. There, we found Iberolacerta monticola and Salamandra salamandra bernardezi.

  • Female Iberolacerta monticola at the tourist car park

  • Salamandra salamandra bernardezi


    Intensive search for Salamandra salamandra alfredschmidti – at the first habitat we failed but at the next place, we were successful.

  • Salamandra salamandra alfredschmidti with characteristic coloration ...

  • ... and a yellow one (Tendi morphe) – we found more yellow specimen than characteristically colored animals

  • Podarcis muralis brongniardii is omnipresent in this part of Spain

  • Somewhere in the Picos de Europa ...


    During the first hours of an excursion in the southern part of the Picos de Europa we only found Podarcis muralis. In the afternoon we came across Vipera seoanei and Zootoca vivipara.

  • Cooperative photo model #2: Vipera seoanei

  • Zootoca vivipara louislantzi inhabiting dry stone walls – together with Podarcis muralis

  • Evening in the Picos de Europa


    We drove to Covadonga and the Lagos de Covadonga - this beautiful mountain area is crowded of tourists. We wouldn’t recommend going there at weekends (we actually have been there on a Monday). The mountains are populated by Iberolacerta monticola and Podarcis muralis and Zootoca vivipara as well.

  • At the Lagos de Covadonga: due the warm weather it was difficult to get good pictures of the lizards ...

  • ... but Birgit practiced her special lizard whisperer technique and convinced the animals to pose in front of the camera

  • "I am the greatest!" - Male Iberolacerta monticola

  • Another Iberolacerta monticola sleeping in the sun.


    Return to Bilbao with a stop at a coastal place north of Bilbao place with an introduced population of Podarcis pityusensis. In the evening: Return flight to Dusseldorf.

  • Wild Atlantic Coast: an unusual habitat for Podarcis pityusensis

  • “Podarcis pityusensis on the rocks”...

  • ... A beautiful specimen

  • A large male

  • “My big fat pityusensis” - well fed animals!

  • A pair of P. pityusensis