Iberolacerta aranica - Aran Rock Lizard

Iberolacerta aranica
E / Val d'Aran, 23.08.2016 - Male on top, female below. Note the characteristic three large masseteric scales.

The Aran Rock Lizard is a lovely animal: These Lacertids use basking as part of their social life. They can be seen basking pairwise or in small groups - unlike other lizards, they even seem to enjoy physical contact. Although population densities may be high in suitable habitats, intraspecific agression seems to be moderate: We saw two adult males alternately basking on the same stone (see pictures below).

 

Iberolacerta aranica isn't a pure rock dweller: After thermoregulation they can be seen hunting in the grass for insects.

The distribution range of Iberolacerta aranica is limited to the Spanish Val d’Aran area and adjoining France.

 

Within its distribution range, this species co-occurs with Zootoca vivipara and presumably Podarcis muralis. Iberolacerta aranica differs from these species by the characteristic three big masseteric scales.

 

Zootoca vivipara frequently shows a dark vertebral line which lacks in Iberolacerta aranica. Furthermore, Iberolacerta aranica has a characteristic pointed snout.

 

Podarcis muralis may have a dark vertebral line which lacks in Iberolacerta aranica. Furthermore, it has a dark-spotted, frequently orange throat, whereas Iberolacerta aranica has an unspotted whitish throat.

 

Iberolacerta aranica differs from other Pyrenean Rock Lizard species (Iberolacerta bonnali, Iberolacerta aurelioi) by the characteristic three big masseteric scales.

Iberolacerta aranica
Distribution area of the Pyrenean Rock Lizards: The range of Iberolacerta aranica is in between of the other two Pyrenean Rock Lizards.

Iberolacerta aranica
E / Val d'Aran, 23.08.2016 - Female and subadult specimen basking together.
Iberolacerta aranica
E / Val d'Aran, 23.08.2016 - Three Aran Rock Lizards warming up in the morning sun.
Iberolacerta aranica
E / Val d'Aran, 23.08.2016 - An adult male basking on a rock.
Iberolacerta aranica
E / Val d'Aran, 23.08.2016 - Another male basking on the same rock as the one above.
Iberolacerta aranica
Habitat of Iberolacerta aranica near Baguerge (Val d'Aran / Spain).