Archive for the ‘reptiles & amphibians’ Category

Snakes in Barcelona

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Lucy chanced upon this Montpellier snake on Montjuic. It is remarkable that they still survive on a hill so hemmed in by urban sprawl and industry. It is also unusual for anybody to spot one. The fact that the individual is young bodes well for the population’s future.

246 loggerhead turtles hatch in Cabo de Gata

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Newly hatched turtle being measured (CSIC)

246 eggs of loggerhead turtles (tortuga boba – Caretta caretta) have hatched in the last few days on a beach in Cabo de Gata, Almeria. The eggs were taken from Cabo Verde, where a third of the world’s population of Caretta caretta lives, and form part of a reintroduction programme of the Junta de Andalucía, CSIC and the Canarian goverment (Loggerhead turtles in Fuerteventura). They have been taken to a reintoriduction sent which will raise them for the first few months to reduce mortality rates. El Mundo

It will take at least 15 years to be able to begin to measure the success of the project when hopefully some of those turtles hatched will return to the same beach as adults. Small populations of loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean exist in the Turkey and Greece.

See also:

Loggerhead turtle eggs to be buried in Fuerteventura

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

800 Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta – tortuga boba) eggs are to be buried today in La Playa de Cofete de Fuerteventura in an attempt to reintroduce the species in the Canary Islands. The eggs have been brought from the Cape Verde. 200 more are to be sent to the Centro de Recuperación de Especies in Taliarte, in Gran Canaria, and 400 to the Estación Biológica in Doñana, Andalucia. Loggerhead turtles disappeared from the Canary Islands some 300 years ago. It wil take at least 15 years to be able to begin to measure the success of the project when hopefully some of those turtles hatched will return to the same beach as adults. Terra

More on loggerhead turtles (Wikipedia – above photo) which notes that the genus name “Caretta” is a latinization of the French “caret”, meaning turtle, tortoise, or sea turtle.  Small populations of loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean exist in the Turkey and Greece.

See also: Loggerhead turtles hatch in Almeria (October 21st, 2007)

Iberianature forum sponsored wildlife project

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I’m pleased to announce the first iberianatureforum sponsored wildlife project. The plan is to support the conservation of the endangered Southern Midwife toad (Alytes dickhilleni – above photo from sierradebaza.org.) The idea has arisen from a visit members of the forum made last month to the Zoo Botanico in Jerez de la Frontera, the best in Spain in terms of conservation of local species, and has been organised by joint forum-owner Clive whom I quote here.

  • The zoo is in the process or requesting permission to collect from the wild an endangered species of amphibian for captive breeding and release and we (The Forum) can help out with the project.
  • Alytes dickhilleni is a species of Midwife toad that only occurs in the Southern part of Spain hence its common name of “Betic / Southern Midwife Toad” after the “Baetic” mountain range in the Andalucía. (In Spanish it’s a Sapo partero bético).
  • The project needs some large glass terrariums (5) in order to house and breed the toads that cost (the terrariums) about 150 Euros each. In return for our help the Iberianature Forum will be named as sponsors and our collaboration will be mentioned in all the results returned from the project. (We will be famous at last!)
  • The community of iberianature has come a long way over the last year or so and we have all contributed to an excellent resource about the natural world of Iberia but this, for me at least, is an excellent opportunity for us as a group to help in a practical way some people who are really working hard to protect their environment.

If you like iberianature and you would like to contribute to this project please send me or Clive an email.

See on the forum

New species of reptile identified on La Gomera – Chalcides coeruleopunctatus

Monday, March 24th, 2008

 Chalcides coeruleopunctatus

Our understanding of the reptile world is in a constant state of flux as advances in DNA techniques continue. The latest is the promotion of a species of skink on La Gomera to full species. The joint study by researchers from France, UK and Spain is published in the latest issue of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. They have baptised the new reptile Chalcides coeruleopunctatus, Lisa de Salvador in Spanish (Salvador’s or the Gomeran Skink in English), in honour of Alfredo Salvador, researcher at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales de Madrid, who described it for the first time in 1975 El Mundo.

La Palma Giant Lizard rediscovered

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

La Palma Giant Lizard 

The La Palma Giant Lizard (Gallotia auaritae) has remarkably been rediscovered on the Island of La Palma. The photo of a male was taken by Canarian reptile expert José Antonio Mateo, who notes that it is probably an animal in dispersion, from a population some 500-1000m away. The task is now to find it. El Mundo

Wikipedia notes (written prior to this news) “Its decline started 2000 years ago with the arrival of humans on La Palma. It appears to have become extinct in the last 500 years. The main causes of extinction appear to have been introduced cats, consumption by people, and habitat destruction for agriculture. Although the species is believed to be extinct, there is a small chance that it could be rediscovered in a remote or inaccessible location. This happened with other giant lizards of the Canary Islands, like the El Hierro and La Gomera Giant Lizards (rediscovered 1974 and 1999, respectively); the somewhat smaller Tenerife Speckled Lizard was only discovered for the first time in 1996. ”
More here on the species from Wikipedia (English)

Snake eating bird

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

This young Montpellier snake eating a bird on a fence was sent to me a few month back by Robert Parker somewhere in Alicante. Note the telltale white stripes between eyes and along jaw. But what is it eating? Follow the forum thread and more pictures.

Alligator caught in River Besòs

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

A young alligator (70 cm) was caught in Barcelona in the River Besòs yesterday. The reptile was spotted by a local naturalist doing a study on birds. Experts believe the mild temperatures on the Catalan coast and the abundant presence of swamp crayfish may allow alligators to survive the winter here.  This is the second alligator to be caught in just over a year near Barcelona, after the larger alligator caught in a pool in Collserola. (El Pais)

Goods news for El Hierro Giant Lizard

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

 After are a disastrous 2007, there’s some goods news for the critically endangered El Hierro Giant Lizard (lagarto gigante de El Hierro – Gallotia symonyi). ABC reports that three baby lizards have been born in captivity at the recovery centre in Valle del Golfo. Only 78 breeding lizards remain after storms of January 2007 killed some 182 lizards. Picked up on secret tenerife

 More on Wikipedia El_Hierro_Giant_Lizard

Original story: 30/01/2007: Worst storms in El Hierro’s history with 500mm in 36 hours decimates population of highly endangered El Hierro Giant Lizard. Only 102 survive of world pop. of 282 have survived (El Pais) 31/1 WWF classify disaster as internationally important (WWF)

Montseny brook newt bred in captivity

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

The attempts to save the Montseny brook newt (Calotriton arnoldi) from extinction have been bolstered by the successful breeding in captivity of the species. At most 1500 of these newts survive in a few fast flowing streams in Montseny in an area of 40km2, making them particularly vulnerable to fire and drought. So far just 7 larva have hatched in the breeding programme of the Centre de Recuperació de Fauna del Departament de Medi Ambient (El Periodico)

Photo of a Montseny brook newt, right, larva

Of all the amphibians in Europe , the Montseny brook newt has the most limited area of distribution and it is also one of the most endangered species on the continent. More on the Montseny brook newt