Psammodromus edwarsianus - Edwards' Psammodromus

Psammodromus edwarsianus
Male, E / Finestrat (Alicante), 23.12.2011 - Note the "checkered" back pattern.

The former Psammodromus hispanicus has been split into three species in 2012*. The eastern form is now referred to Psammodromus edwarsianus. It is a tiny - but pretty - species that may be easily overlooked. This small, ground-dwelling lizards seem to be most abundant in open habitats where they can be noticed rushing between low shrubs. The tribute, these lizards have to pay for their small size is a rather shrot life (approx. 2 years).


Erdwards' Psammodromus occurs in eastern Spain and southern France (even east of the river Rhone). However, the exact ranges of the three small Psammodromus species are poorly known (see map).

Usually, it inhabits Mediterranean habitats with warm winters, where it may be active during the whole year. But it can also be found in altitudes up to 1700 meters with snow in winter (Javalambre Ski Station / Teruel).


Due to its wide distribution range, Psammodromus edwarsianus co-occurs with several other species. Anyhow, it can be easily separated from other small Lacertids of the area by its characteristic back pattern of alternating black and white bars, which generate a "checkered" appearance


It differs from Psammodromus hispanicus and Psammodromus occidentalis by its supra-labial scale below the subocular scale (see picture above).


(Sub-)Adult Acanthodactylus erythrurus may have similar patterns but are much bigger.

Distribution Psammodromus hispanicus
Distribution of the small Iberian Psammodromus species: Edwards' Psammodrommus inhabits Mediterranean influenced areas in Spain and southern France.

Psammodromus edwarsianus
E / Alicante, 01.01.2018 - In coastal habitats, these lizards are active during the whole year.
Psammodromus edwarsianus
Juvenile, E / San José (Amería), 15.09.2018 - Juveniles look almost the same as adults.
Psammodromus edwarsianus
Open landscape in the Cuenca Province (Eastern Central Spain): Typical habitat of Psammodromus edwarsianus.

* FITZE, P.S. & GONZALES-JIMENA, V. & SAN-JOSE, L.M. & SAN MAURO, D. & ZARDOYA, R. (2012) - A new species of sand racer, Psammodromus (Squamata: Lacertidae), from the Western Iberian Peninsula - Zootaxa 3205: 41–52 (2012)