The Tenerife Speckled Lizard is a recently discovered species, first described in 1996!
There are 40 isolated populations of the Tenerife Speckled Lizard along 9km of coastline, totalling just 500 individuals on Tenerife Island.
The Gallotia lizards have been evolving on the Canary Islands since the first islands emerged from the sea, over 20 million years ago!
The main threat to this species is predation by introduced cats and rats. Due to the isolation each population faces, it is believed the smaller populations may suffer from the effects of inbreeding depression, where deleterious genes (genes that have a harmful effect) are more numerous within the population’s gene pool.
There are measures to control access of cats to some of the remaining populations by increased fencing around their habitat. A recovery action plan has also been developed and this species occurs in at least one protected area. Further surveys are required in other inaccessible parts of Tenerife to see if there are any populations there.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Lacertidae
- Population: 500
- Trend: decreasing
This species is found in Macizo de Teno, northwest Tenerife Island, Spain
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in rugged terrain with rocks and boulders. It is often found on small rock ledges with sparse vegetation and is a largely herbivorous species.