Anatololacerta finikensis - Finike Rock Lizard

Anatololacerta budaki
Adult: GR / Psomi Islet, 14.05.2018 - Note the brownish basic colouration.

The Finike Rock Lizard is basically a Turkish species. However, on the small Greek islet of Psomi in the Kastellorizo Archipelago, a population of Anatololacerta was discovered by Greek scientists. First, it wasn't sure to which species those lizards refer. But in 2018, genetic analysis revealed that they are conspecific with their cousins on the Turkish mainland: According to Karakasi et al. (2021) they should be referred to Anatololacerta finikensis - the first and so far only record of this species in Greece*.

As the population on Psomi is the only one known in our area, this species could actually be regarded as Europe's rarest Lacertid. (We will not discuss here whether the Kastellorizo Archipelago belongs to Europe - Just ask any local Greek, if you want to know...)


Lizards of this population show a darker basic colouration as the closely related Anatololacerta pelasgiana. They are rather uniform brownish.


Their habitat is a karstified limestone islet with some sparse shrubs on top.


As it is the only Lacertid on this islet, it cannot be confused with other species.

Anatololacerta budaki
In our area, Anatololacerta finikensis only occurs on a small islet of the Kastellorizo Archipelago.

Anatololacerta budaki
Adult: GR / Psomi Islet, 14.05.2018 - Compared to Anatololacerta pelasgiana, these lizards show a rather uniform pattern.
Anatololacerta budaki
Psomi Islet off Kastellorizo: The only known habitat of Anatololacerta finikensis in our area.

* KALAENTZIS, K. & STRACHINIS, I. & KATSIYIANNIS, P. & OEFINGER, P. & KAZILAS, C. (2018) - New records and an updated list of the herpetofauna of Kastellorizo and the adjacent islet Psomi (Dodecanese, SE Greece). - Herpetology Notes, 11: 1009-1019.


KARAKASI, D. & ILGAZ, C & KUMLUTA, Y. & CANDAN, K. & GÜCLÜ, Ö. & KANKILIC, T. & BESER, N. & SINDACO, R. & LYMBERAKIS, P. & POULAKAKIS, N. (2021) - More evidence of cryptic diversity in Anatololacerta species complex Arnold, Arribas and Carranza, 2007 (Squamata: Lacertidae) and re-evaluation of its current taxonomy - Amphibia-Reptilia (2021) DOI:10.1163/15685381-bja10045