Spanish algyroides (Algyroides marchi)

Spanish: Lagartija De Valverde
GenusAlgyroides (1)
SizeLength: c. 15 cm (2) (3)

The Spanish algyroides is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Only discovered in 1958, the Spanish algyroides (Algyroides marchi) is a small, flattened lizard. The scales are relatively flat, giving it a smooth appearance, and the scales on the back are much larger than those on the sides (3).

The Spanish algyroides is usually chestnut-brown (3), occasionally with a greenish tinge (4), and it may have a darker streak down the centre of the back (3). The throat is usually whitish, although it is sometimes more yellowish in the male (4). In some parts of its range, the male may develop a bright blue throat (3) (4).

During the breeding season, the pale underparts of the male turn yellow, possibly with a greenish tinge (3) (4). Young Spanish algyroides tend to be darker than the adults (4).

There are two subspecies of Spanish algyroides: Algyroides marchi marchi and Algyroides marchi niethammeri (5).

The Spanish algyroides is endemic to southeast Spain, where the various isolated subpopulations are largely restricted to the Alcaraz, Cazorla and Segura mountain ranges (1) (4). This species used to occur more widely (1), but now has one of the narrowest geographical ranges of all continental European lacertids (6).

The Spanish algyroides is found at elevations between 700 and 1,700 metres above sea level (1) (4).

The Spanish algyroides occurs in shady, rocky habitats (1) (3) (6), either in or close to woodland (1) (3) (4). This species favours high altitude areas near to streams (1) (3) (6), with low shrub cover and low exposure to the sun (6).

A good climber, the Spanish algyroides can sometimes be found in bushes and trees (3).

The Spanish algyroides has been described as a shy but agile lizard. An adept climber, it can be found clambering among boulders, and hunting or hiding under loose bark and the undersides of branches and rocks (4).

This species is thought to favour cool, humid conditions so that it has a plentiful source of arthropod prey, including small spiders (6) and insects (3).

The female Spanish algyroides produces clutches of between one and five eggs (1) (3) (4), although usually two or three are laid (4). When the eggs of this species hatch three to six weeks later, the young lizards have a head-body length of 2 to 2.5 centimetres (4).

Although locally common in areas of good habitat, the Spanish algyroides is in decline. Habitat loss is a threat to this species, occurring through deforestation, stream bank erosion, water abstraction and forest fires (1).

The Spanish algyroides is also predated upon by cats (Felis catus) and rats (Rattus spp.) (1).

The Spanish algyroides is listed both on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive (7), and on Appendix II of the Bern Convention, which means that it should be afforded strict protection (8). This species is also protected by national legislation and occurs in some protected areas (1).

Suggested conservation measures to ensure the future survival of the Spanish algyroides include the prevention of logging in gullies associated with streams and boulders (6).

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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:

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. Álvarez, F.P. and Cuesta López, A.E. (2003) Zoología Aplicada. Ediciones Díaz de Santos, Madrid, Spain.
  3. Gibson, C. (2010) Wild Animals. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London.
  4. Arnold, E.N. (2002) A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., London.
  5. The Reptile Database - Spanish algyroides (November, 2011)
  6. Rubio, J.L. and Carrascal, L.M. (1994) Habitat selection and conservation of an endemic Spanish lizard Algyroides marchi (Reptilia, Lacertidae). Biological Conservation, 70(3): 245-250.
  7. EU Habitats Directive (November, 2011)
  8. Council of Europe: Bern Convention (November, 2011)