Algyroides marchi - Spanish Algyroides

Algyroides marchi
Adult: E / Huelga Utrera (Jaén), 20.09.2018 - Note the keeled scales which are characteristic for the genus Algyroides.

The genus of Algyroides comprises a group of possibly ancient species, which formerly may have been widely distributed within Europe. However, the currently four species of this genus inhabit a disjunct range, only.


The Spanish Algyroides covers an isolated distribution area in montane areas of the pre-Baetic mountain range (Sierra de Alcaraz,

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas, Sierra de las Cabras - Provinces of Albacete, Jaén, Granada and Murcia).


The name of Algyroides marchi, which was described in 1958, is still a puzzle: Back in 1916 another species, Algyroides hidalgoi, had been described for Central Spain - however, this was never seen again in the wild and with regard to morphology, it cannot be distinguished from Algyroides marchi*. Meanwhile, it seems most likely that the description of Algyroides hidalgoi was based on a mistaken location and it actually referred to the lizards from southeastern Spain. In this case, Algyroides marchi would be the right name for the Spanish Algyroides.

Algyroides marchi prefers humid habitats, often close to brooks and climbs well on rocks and trees.


Like other Algyroides species, it shows characteristic keeled scales. The underside of these lizards is yellow but it gets blue in preserved specimen*. This may have led to the description of a "blue-throated subspecies" niethammeri which actually doesn't exist.


Within its relictual distribution range in south-eastern Spain, this species cannot be mistaken with other species; its closest relative is Algyroides fitzingeri on Corsica and Sardinia.


It differs from Wall Lizards of the area (Podarcis hispanicus, Podarcis liolepis, Podarcis virescens) by its keeled scales and the uniform brownish flanks with light brown or olive-grey backs.


Psammodromus algirus also has keeled scales but shows distinct light dorsolateral lines wich lack at Algyroides marchi.

The distribution range of Algyroides marchi is limited to the pre-Baetic mountain range in southeastern Spain.
The distribution range of Algyroides marchi is limited to the pre-Baetic mountain range in southeastern Spain.

Algyroides marchi
Juvenile: E / Huelga Utrera (Jaén), 20.09.2018
Algyroides marchi
Juvenile: E / Cazorla (Jaén), 30.10.2017
Algyroides marchi
Nacimiento del Río Mundo (Riópar / Albacete): Typical habitat of Algyroides marchi with plenty of water.

* SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS, A. & CALVO-REVUELTA, M. & GARCIA-PARIS, M. (2018) - Taxonomic and nomenclatural status of Iberian Algyroides (Lacertidae). - Amphibia-Reptilia, 2018. DOI:10.1163/15685381-20181016