English name: Spiny-footed Lizard
Scientific name: Acanthodactylus erythrurus
Castilian: Lagartija Colirroja
Distribution: From eastern Portugal to central and southern Spain, and from central & northern Morocco through northern Algeria, almost as far as the Tunisian border. The species is native to Algeria, Morocco, Portugal & Spain. Usually found at altitudes below 400m, it may occur at up to 1,750m (Sierra Nevada, S Spain) & up to 2,800m as in Morocco.
The Red-tailed Spiny-footed Lizard – Acanthodactylus erythrurus is considered to be the fastest member of the huge Lacertidae family. The average length of an adult of the species is between 18 and 20 centimetres. They are a very attractively marked, although the colouration and the pattern of its spots are extremely variable as is evident in my photographs. This has, from time to time, led to zoologists to classify such variations as separate species. The lizard’s common name refers to the spines that are arranged like a comb on its hind legs.
Habitat: It is generally found in open, loose sandy areas, with some sparse vegetation. It can also occur in rockier habitats, open woodland, coastal areas and in traditionally cultivated fields.
The spiny-footed lizard does not have a particularly pleasant nature. Like every member of this genus, it is very aggressive and bites tenaciously if one tries to catch it. Individuals are continuously involved in skirmishes with other members of the species and the males strenuously defend the borders of their territories.
The Acanthodactylus is oviparous. The females lay one or two clutches of one to eight eggs annually.