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Reptiles of Doñana

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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The problems for the conservation of these species are in many cases the same as those for amphibians, but it is also important to take in account here the effects of myxomatosis that repeatedly reduced populations of rabbits in the 60s and 70s. Being the rabbit one of the basic preys of large vertebrate predator in the Doñana area, the effect to its scarcity was its substitution by large size reptiles (snakes, ocellated lizard) whose populations were reduced remarkably. (Extracted from the list of species of the publication “Doñana:: Agua y Biosfera”)

Source of information: Doñana Biological Station.
The nomenclature used in this list follows the updated Master List of the Spanish herpetofauna published by the Spanish Herpetological Association in 2005.

1.- European pond turtleEmys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (1996): Lower Risk/near threatened (NT). Species widely spread over most of Europe, Turkey, south of Russia, around the Caspian Sea and reaching locations in northern Africa. In Doñana we have the subspecies E. o. hispanica (Fritz et al. 1996).

2.- Spanish pond turtle Mauremys leprosa (Schweigger, 1812)
Restricted to France, Iberian Peninsula and most of northern Africa. In Spain we have the subspecies M.l.leprosa.

3.- Spur-thighed tortoiseTestudo graeca (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (1996): Vulnerable (VU). Spread mainly around the Mediterranean Sea. The Spanish subspcies is the T.g.graeca.

4.- Iberian worm lizardBlanus cinereus (Vandelli, 1797). Iberian endemism
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Animals from the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula appear to differ genetically from those elsewhere, and may represent a separate species (Albert et al. 2007).

5.- Bedriaga’s skinkChalcides bedriagaii (Boscá, 1880). Iberian endemism
IUCN red list category (2009): Near Threatened (NT). It occurs widely in Spain (except the north) and Portugal, but is extremely patchy in its distribution, and is absent from many areas. Our subspecies in Doñana is Ch.b. bedriagai (Boscá, 1880). It is found from sea level up to 1,750m.

6.- Western three-toed skinkChalcides striatus (Cuvier, 1829)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Mainly spread over most of Iberian Peninsula, except Mediterranean coast, and south of France. It can be found from sea level up to 1,800m.

7.- Common wall geckoTarentola mauritanica (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Spread mainly along the Mediterranean coast and islands, most of Iberian Peninsula and Italy.

8.- Spiny-footed lizardAcanthodactylus erythrurus (Schinz, 1833)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). In Spain we have the subspecies A.e.erythrurus. This species ranges from eastern Portugal to central and southern Spain, and from central and northern Morocco through northern Algeria, almost as far as the Tunisian border.

9.- Ocellated lizard Timon lepidus (Daudin, 1802)
IUCN red list category (2009): Near Threatened (NT). This species is widely found in Portugal and Spain; it is found as isolated populations in southern, south-central and western France (north to Oleron Island), and in extreme northwestern Italy. It also occurs on some Atlantic islands along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. It is present on a few Mediterranean islands. It ranges from sea level up to 2,500m.

10.- Carbonell´s lizardPodarcis carbonelli (Pérez-Mellado, 1981). Iberian endemism
IUCN red list category (2009): Endangered (EN). This species occurs only in highly fragmented populations in western and central Portugal, occurring more continuously in Aveiro in central Portugal, two areas in on the northern slopes of the Spanish central mountain system at 500-1,200m and Doñana where we have the southernmost population.

11.- Andalusian wall lizardPodarcis vaucheri (Boulenger, 1905)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). This species occurs in southern Spain, central and northern Morocco, northern Algeria and northern Tunisia. It occurs from sea level up to 3,100 m.

12.- English name not foundPsammodromus manuelae (Busack, Salvador y Lawson, 2006). Iberian endemism
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). It occurs in Portugal and western and central parts of Spain.

13.- Spanish psammodromusPsammodromus hispanicus (Fitzinger, 1826)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). This species is found only in much of Portugal and Spain (it is largely absent from the north of Iberian Peninsula), and in the south of France. It may be found up to 1,700m.

14.- Horseshoe whip snakeHemorrhois hippocrepis (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Formerly Coluber hippocrepis. This species occurs in central and southern Portugal, southern, central and eastern Spain, southern Sardinia (Italy) and on Pantelleria Island (Italy). In North Africa it is found from Morocco, eastwards through northern Algeria to northern Tunisia. It is found from sea level up to 2,660 m.

15.- Ladder snakeRhinechis scalaris (Schinz, 1822)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Formerly Elaphe scalaris. This species is found only through much of Portugal and Spain (it is absent from much of northernmost Spain) and southern France.

16.- Southern smooth snakeCoronella girondica (Daudin, 1803)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Found over most of Iberian Peninsula, southern France, northern half of Italy and north of Morocco and Algeria.

17.- Montpellier snakeMalpolon monspessulanus (Hermann, 1804)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). This species ranges widely in Portugal, Spain (generally absent from the Cantabrian Mountains), southeastern France, and northwestern Italy (Liguria); in North Africa it distributes along northern Algeria, Morocco and coastal areas of Western Sahara. It ranges from sea level up to 2,160m.

18.- False smooth snakeMacroprotodon brevis (Günther, 1862)

19.- Viperine snakeNatrix maura (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). Spread over the whole Iberian Peninsula, a good part of France y el noroeste de Italia; también el norte de Morocco and Argelia.

20.- Grass snake Natrix natrix (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Lower risk / least concern (LC). The Iberian subspecies is N.n.helvetica. Widely distributed in Europe, except northern United Kingdom and Escadinavian countries, central Russia, Turkie and coasts of Marrocco and Argelia.

21.- Lataste’s viperVipera latasti (Boscá, 1878)
IUCN red list category (2009): Vulnerable (VU). La iberian subspecies is V.l.gaditana. This species ranges from northern Morocco to northern Algeria and extreme northwestern Tunisia in North Africa, and it is also present on the Iberian Peninsula where it has a fragmented population in both Portugal and Spain.

22.- LoggerheadCaretta caretta (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Endangered (En). Usual beachings on Doñana´s coasts. Well worldwide spread.

23.- LeatherbackDermochelys coriacea (Vandelli, 1761)
IUCN red list category (2009): Vulnerable (VU). The subspecies found in Spanish waters is D.c.coriacea. Worldwide spread

Species with uncertain or anecdotal occurrence in Doñana

24.- Mediterranean chameleon Chamaeleo chamaeleon (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). This species is found in southern Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia. In Europe it is found in Malta, and on Crete (although this requires confirmation), Samos and Chios (both in Greece), and in southern coastal Spain and Portugal where it is probably introduced before 1500.

25.- Turkish geckoHemidactylus turcicus (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). This species is widely distributed around the Mediterranean Basin, east through West Asia, often in built-up areas. Its presence in Doñana is uncertain.

26.- Green turtleChelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758)
IUCN red list category (2009): Endangered (En). The Green Turtle has a circumglobal distribution, occurring throughout tropical and, to a lesser extent, subtropical waters. There is only one record in Doñana at Pleguezuelos in 1997.

27.- Hawksbill turtleEretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766) .
IUCN red list category (2009): Critically Endangered A2bd (CR). The Hawksbill has a circumglobal distribution throughout tropical and, to a lesser extent, subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. There is only one record in Doñana at Pleguezuelos in 1997.

Exotic species

28.- Red-eared slider turtleTrachemys scripta elegans
IUCN red list category (2009): Least concern (LC). The species is is native to the eastern and central United States of America. In Europe it is becoming increasingly abundant, especially in Portugal, Spain and France. It occurs in two 2 spots in the Doñana National Park, La Rocina Stream where reproduction has not been reported, and El Acebuche Lagoons where they have been breeding in the last few years of 20th century. The numbers there have been reduced dramatically thanks to an eradication program carried out since 2000.

29.- Chinese softshell turtlePelodiscus sinensis
Recorded in 1997 at Pleguezuelos, in the Guadalquivir Marshes; considered extinct by the same author in 2002.

About José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

José Antonio Sánchez se licenció en Biología por la Universidad de Sevilla en 1985. Más tarde, durante varios años, se dedicó a organizar y guiar rutas de senderismo y naturaleza ...

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