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Amphibians and Reptiles 
in the
Canary Islands

Noting those during Focus On Nature Tours
with an (*)




A list compiled by Armas Hill

(photo by Alan Brady)


(i):   introduced in the Canary Islands

(e):   endangered 
(t):    threatened 
(nt):  near (or potentially) threatened 

EH:  found on El Hierro
FV:  found on Fuerteventura
GC:  found on Gran Canaria
LG:  found on La Gomera
LP:  found on La Palma 
LZ:  found on Lanzarote
TE:  found on Tenerife
(or offshore, relating to the sea turtles)  


Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in the Canary Islands

Birds of the Canary Islands

Mammals & Marine Life of the Canary Islands

Butterflies, Dragonflies, & Damselflies in the Canary Islands

Interesting Plants of the Canary Islands



  1. Iberian Water Frog  (i)  ______  TE
    Rana perezii  

    The Iberian Water Frog, Rana perezii, has occurred in the pools in the Parque Garcia Sanabria in Santa Cruz. in the large ponds at Erjos, and at many other locations on Tenerife.  
    In the southern part of the island, they have been in ornamental pools in the garden of the Las Gangarras restaurant.  

  2. Stripeless Tree Frog  (i)  ______  TE
    Hyla meridionalis

    The Stripeless Tree Frog, Hyla meriidonalis, are found on farms and banana plantations where it breeds in the reservoirs and irrigation tanks. It is often heard calling at night.

    Both of these species of amphibian occur on other islands in the Canaries in addition to Tenerife. 



  3. Atlantic Lizard  ______  FV  GC(vulnerable)  LZ  (& nearby islets)  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Gallotia atlantica
    Gallotia a. atlantica  ______ 
    Gallotia a. delibesi  ______ 
    Gallotia a. ibagnezi  ______  
    Malpais de la Corona Lizard  ______
    Gallotia a. laurae  ______ 
    on the islet Malpais de La Corona, northeast of Lanzarote 
    Gallotia a. malhoratae  ______ 
    FV  GC   

    Gallotia atlantica
    is the smallest of the species in the genus. The basic color of both sexes varies between gray and olive-brown, partly according to their habitat. They do not have color-changing ability.     
    There is considerable variation in coloration at different stages in its life-cycle. Juveniles range from gray-orange to a dark gray, with some being ochre-orange with a metallic sheen. Subadults have a brown-gray dorsum with a coppery sheen.

    Apart from the usual invertebrate prey, Galliotia atlantica also eats a considerable amount of plant matter.  

    Galliota atlantica is apparently quite common in the Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote.
  4. Boettger's Lizard  ______  EH  (rare on Greater Roque Salmor)  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Gallotia c. caesaris 
    (has also been Galliota galloti caesaris)
    La Gomera Boéttger's Lizard  ______ LG
    Gallotia c. gomerae 
    (has also been Galliota galloti gomerae)

    Gallotia caesaris has been considered a subspecies of Galliota galloti.

    Gallotia c. gomerae
    is not as dark as Gallotia c. caesaris.

  5. West Canaries Lizard  (or Tenerife Lizard ______  EH  LG  LP  TE  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Gallotia galloti
    Gallotia g. galloti  ______ 
    (south & central)
    Eisentraut's West Canaries Lizard  ______  TE
    (north) (rare on Roque de Tierra)
    Gallotia g. eisentrauti
    Roques de Anaga Lizard  ______ 
    on Roque de Fera off the Anaga Peninsula (vulnerable)
    Gallotia g. insulanagae
    Palma West Canaries Lizard  ______  LP
    Gallotia g. palmae

    Gallotia galloti is the most commonly seen of the ''wall lizards" in the Canary Islands.

    About two-thirds of the length of Gallotia gallotia is the tail.

    In Tenerife, Gallotia gallotia is fairly abundant, from sea level to the sides of Mount Teide. It is only absent in areas with lurisilva.  

    The subspecies Gallotia g. palmae is larger than those of El Hierro and La Gomera, and smaller than those of Tenerife.
    Galliotia g. galloti is the smaller of the two Tenerife subspecies. 

  6. EL Hierro Giant Lizard  (e)  ______  EH   (part of a "complex" of living & extinct giant lizards of the Canaries; until recently all of its members were believed to be extinct)  (endemic to the Canary Islands, a critically endangered species)
    Gallotia simonyi machadoi  _____ 
    EH  (endangered)
    Gallotia s. simonyi  ______ 
    EH (Roques del Salmor) (extinct)

    Gallotia simonyi is reduced to a small colony (that numbered about 200 individuals in 1975), surviving on the inaccessible north of the island of El Hierro. It is strictly protected.
    The nominate, Gallotia s. simonyi, on the Roques del Salmor died out around 1935.

    Gallotia simonyi are herbivorous lacertids, feeding basically on the two plants Kleinia neriifolia and Lavandula abrotanoides.
    They are stocky lizards with a broad head and pronounced jowls.
    The basic coloration is a dark gray-brown, with two lateral rows of pale orange patches. 

  7. La Gomera Giant Lizard  (e)  ______  LG  (species was discovered in 1996 & described  in 1999) (endemic to the Canary islands, critically endangered) 
    Gallotia bravoana 
    (was Gallotia (simonyi) gomerana & Gallotia simonyi bravoana)   

    Gallotia gomerana resembles Gallotia simonyi and inhabits a similar environment (inaccessible cliffs and rocks).

    Although Galliota gomerana was known from fossils, local people on La Gomera insisted that the large lizards had been alive quite recently and quite abundant.
    After the rediscovery of the lizards, 6 were transferred to breeding site. 

    The coloration of Gallotia gomerana is dark or black, with ivory ventral surfaces, especially on the throat. One captive male has had a rosy patch on the corners of its mouth.     

  8. Giant Canary Giant Lizard  (e)  ______  FV(i)  GC  (endemic to the Canary Islands, a critically endangered species)  
    Gallotia stehlini   

    Gallotia stehlini was formerly considered a subspecies of Gallotia simonyi. It is the largest Canarian lizard that most visitors are likely to see.  Females are usually about 8 inches smaller than males.

    Dorsal coloration varies between dark reddish brown to gray-brown, and many individuals have lighter bands of varying intensity across the back. The snout is usually darker, while the lower sides of the head, the cheeks and part of the neck are a bright yellow or orange. The ventral surfaces are flecked with white.

    Galliotia stehlini is less often found in wooded areas than in banana plantations, tomato fields, and rubbish dumps. It is quite shy by nature. On Gran Canaria, it occurs from sea level to the highest parts of the island.    

  9. La Palma Giant Lizard  (e)  ______  LP  (endemic to the Canary Islands, critically endangered)
    Gallotia auaritae

  10. Tenerife Giant Lizard  ______  (extinct, known from subfossil remains) (was endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Gallotia goliath
      (includes Gallotia maxima)

    Gallotia goliath, restricted to Tenerife, was apparently closer to Gallotia intermedia than to Gallotia simonyi.

  11. Tenerife Speckled Lizard  (e)   ______  TE  (species discovered in 1996 & described in 1999)  (endemic to the Canary Islands, critically endangered)
    Gallotia intermedia  

    Gallotia intermedia resembles Gallotia simonyi and inhabits a similar environment (inaccessible cliffs and rocks) in the southwestern Teno Peninsula of Tenerife.
    Gallotia intermedia differs from Gallotia gallotia on the rest of Tenerife not only by the coloration, but also by its longer tail.  

    The overall color of Galliotia intermedia is dark gray with a lighter mottled pattern and blue spots on the flanks in both males and females.  

    There may be no more than 500 individuals in the population of Gallotia intermedia. Thus, strict protection and conservation is necessary.


    In the Canary Islands, the TARENTOLAE seem at times to be present in almost every house. On the various islands, there are species and subspecies that resemble each other.   

  12. East Canary Gecko  ______  FV(rare)  GC  LZ  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Tarentola angustimentalis

  13. Boettger's Wall Gecko  ______  EH  GC  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Tarentola boettgeri

  14. Tenerife Gecko  ______  LP  TE  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Tarentola delalandii

  15. Gomera Wall Gecko  ______  LG  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Tarentola gomerensis

  16. Mediterranean House Gecko  (or Turkish Gecko ______  GC(rare)  TE(vulnerable) 
    Hemidactylus turcicus


  17. East Canary Skink  ______  FV  LZ  (rare)  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Chalcides simonyi

    Chalcides simonyi has been considered a subspecies: Chalcides polylepis occidentalis, the Many-sided Cylindrical Skink of Morocco & Western Sahara.

  18. Gran Canaria Skink  ______  GC  (endemic to the Canary Islands)
    Chalcides sexlineatus

  19. West Canary Skink  ______  EH  LG  (endemic to the Canary Islands) 
    Charcides viridanus
    Charcides v. viridanus  ______ 
    EH  &
    Roque de Tierra & Roque de Fuera (rare) 
    Charcides viridanus coeruleopunctatus  ______ 


    Currently, there is no indication of any of the following marine turtles nesting in the Canary Islands, but it is thought that some may have done so in the past. Now, they occur as visiting migrants.    

  20. Loggerhead Sea Turtle  ______  (photo at top of list)
    Caretta caretta 

    The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is by far the most common species of marine turtle in the Canary Islands. 
  21. Green Sea Turtle ______  
    Chelonia mydas

  22. Atlantic Hawksbill  ______
    Eretmochelys imbricata imbricata

  23. Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle  ______
    Lepidochelys kempii

  24. Leatherback Sea Turtle  ______
    Dermochelys coriacea

    There have been several sightings of Leatherback Turtles on beaches in Fuerteventura Island, but (as noted above), there has been no credible indication of nesting, either recently or historically.   

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