Spanish Algyroides discovered in Murcia!

The rare and secretive lacertid lizard, the Spanish Algyroides (Algyroides marchi) has been discovered for the first time in the autonomous community of Murcia, where I studied and lived in 2008. The lizard, classed as endangered (EN) by the IUCN red list because of the loss of habitat, and relatively small distribution is related to only two other algyroides, both found in the Balkans.

Spanish Algyroides (Algyroides marchi) (C) Wouter Beukema

Its previous distribution was believed to consist of mountain ranges in Andalusia (Jaen, Granada) and Albacete, but thanks to research from Dutch Herpetologists the species has been found in the extreme north-west area of Murcia. It was noted in the reseach that the find was partically surprising as the lizards were located in a very different, barren landscape compared to the more humid, shaded areas they prefer in other populations. Murcia is relatively small and not too well studied in terms of reptiles and amphibians, and it just goes to show what new finds can turn up through a little field research. As this is a rare species I certainly hope further studies on this population will take place, I may even do it myself! The photo on the left was taken by my colleague Wouter Beukema from one of the Andalusian populations, you can see more of his photos at www.flickr.com/wouterbeukema/

To read the interesting article on this find in Murcia please click here

By Matt Wilson

2010 trip updates

I can now add a trip to Majorca (Mallorca) in August to my 2010 schedule. This trip was supposed to go ahead last year but alas it never did, but finally this year I will be able to search for a number of species endemic to this Mediterranean island. This looks like it will be my final list of trips for the coming year:

April: Non herping trip to Murcia (Spain), perhaps a day or two may be spent visiting some known sites.

May: Thessaloniki, Thrace, Limnos Island, maybe also other areas in northern Greece.

August: Majorca, specifically to search for Alytes muletensis, Podarcis lilfordi, and Macroprotodon cucullatus (mauritanicus)

Proposed areas of Spain that will be visited in April and August

By Matt Wilson