Sunday 19 May
Gran Canaria giant lizard (Gallotia stehlini)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Gran Canaria giant lizard fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Gran Canaria giant lizard description
As its name suggests, the Gran Canaria giant lizard (Gallotia stehlini) is a large species of lizard endemic to the Canary Island of Gran Canaria (1). It is the largest species of the genus Gallotia, the members of which are found only on the Canary Islands (2).
The Gran Canaria giant lizard is reddish-brown to dark grey, and sometimes has lighter spots present on its sides (3) (4). The scales of its back are strongly keeled, or ridged, and it has a long, tapering tail (3). The adult male Gran Canaria giant lizard is generally larger and darker than the female, with a larger head, jowls and a distinctive red or orange throat (3) (4) (5).
- Lagarto De Gran Canaria.
Gran Canaria giant lizard biology
The Gran Canaria giant lizard is omnivorous, feeding on fruit, flowers, leaves and also insects (3). Other species in the Laceritidae family, or ‘true lizards’, are known to mainly forage for food on the ground, in low shrubs or at the base of trees (6) (7).
When faced with a predator, the most common anti-predator response in the Gran Canaria giant lizard is to quickly flee (8). However, the adult Gran Canaria giant lizard will sometimes use a threat display, facing a potential predator with its mouth open while hissing (8). This display is though to advertise its powerful jaws to potential predators (8).
The Gran Canaria giant lizard is known to reach sexual maturity at around three or four years of age (4) (7). This species is oviparous, and the female can lay between 4 and 16 eggs per clutch, with the number of eggs produced being related to body size (3) (7). The eggs take around 8 to 10 weeks to hatch (4).Top
Gran Canaria giant lizard range
There is also an introduced population of the Gran Canaria giant lizard on the island of Fuerteventura (1).Top
Gran Canaria giant lizard habitatTop
Gran Canaria giant lizard status
The Gran Canaria giant lizard is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Gran Canaria giant lizard threats
Although the Gran Canaria giant lizard is generally common, it has been shown to have been impacted by the colonisation of the Canary Islands by humans (1) (9). Along with other Canary Island lizard species, the presence of humans has caused the Gran Canaria giant lizard to undergo a reduction in the maximum size it reaches, with an associated reduction in life expectancy (3) (10).Top
Gran Canaria giant lizard conservation
The Gran Canaria giant lizard is protected by international legislation and also occurs in a number of protected areas (1).Top
Find out more
Find out more on the conservation of the wildlife of the Mediterranean Basin:
IUCN - The Status and Distribution of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mediterranean Basin:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Previously domesticated animals that have returned to a wild state.
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Raised ridges or creases on the scales of reptiles, often along the middle.
- Feeding on both plants and animals.
- An animal that reproduces by laying eggs, which hatch outside the mother’s body.
IUCN Red List (October, 2011)
- Martin, J.E. and Roca, V. (2004) Helminth infracommunities of a population of the Gran Canaria giant lizard Gallotia stehlini. Journal of Helminthology, 78: 319-322.
- Gibson, C. (2010) Wild Animals. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, London.
- Arnold, E.N. (2002) A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., London.
- Nogales, M., Rando, J.C., Valido, A. and Martín, A. (2001) Discovery of a living giant lizard, genus Gallotia (Reptilia: Lacertidae), from la Gomera, Canary Islands. Herpetologica, 57(2): 169-179.
- Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Zug, G.R., Vitt, L.J. and Caldwell, J.P. (2001) Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego and London.
- Márquez, R. and Cejudo, D. (2000) Defensive behaviour as an escape strategy in four species of Gallotia (Sauria, Lacertidae) from the Canary Islands (Spain). Copeia, 2: 601-605.
- Cejudo, D. and Márquez, R. (2001) Sprint performance in the lizards Gallotia simonyi and Gallotia stehlini (Lacertidae): Implications for species management. Herpetologica, 57(1): 87-98.
- Barahona, F., Evans, S.E., Mateo, J.A., García-Márquez, M. and López-Jurado, L.F. (2000) Endemism, gigantism and extinction in island lizards: the genus Gallotia on the Canary Islands. Journal of Zoology, 250: 373-388.
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.