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

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