Chalcides bedriagai, commonly known as Bedriaga's skink, is a species of lizard endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. It usually lives in sandy areas with sparse vegetation and good ground cover. It can also live in open woodland and burrow into loose soil. Females of the species give birth to live young. These skinks are active during day and dusk, and they are very timid. They reach about 16 cm (6.3 in) in total length and have five fingers on each foot. They prey on insects, spiders, slugs and woodlice.
Bedriaga's skink resembles a scaled-down version of the ocellated skink (Chalcides ocellatus). It has a small head, an elongated cylindrical body and short limbs with five digits on each foot. It measures up to 17 cm (7 in) in length, at least half of which may be the fairly broad tail. Females are usually larger than males and in both sexes the tail may sometimes be broken off or in the process of regeneration. There are 24 to 28 scales around the mid-body. The colour is pale brown, yellowish-brown or grey with numerous small black-edged eyespots and usually a paler lateral line running along either side. Juveniles are a darker colour.
Distribution and habitat
Bedriaga's skink is endemic to Spain and Portugal. It is largely absent from northern Spain and its distribution is rather patchy elsewhere. It also occurs on the Mediterranean islands of the Islas del Mar Menor and the Isla de Nueva Tabarca and the Atlantic islands of Cies Islands, Pessegueiro Island, Ons Island and Islote de Sancti Petri. Its typical habitat is sandy heathland with scrubby vegetation or sandy areas with more dense vegetation. It also occurs in open woodland, clearings, scrubland areas and rocky hillside slopes up to an altitude of about 1,750 metres (5,740 ft) above sea level. It can adapt to living in moderately degraded areas.
There are three subspecies:
- Chalcides bedriagai bedriagai (Boscá, 1880)
- Chalcides bedriagai cobosi Valverde, 1966
- Chalcides bedriagai pistaciae Valverde, 1966
Bedriaga's skink is a diurnal species and feeds on a wide range of small invertebrates. It has secretive habits and likes to bask in the sun in well-hidden locations. When disturbed it seeks cover in dense undergrowth or under ground, and it can burrow very quickly through loose soil. At breeding time, males become territorial and often fight. Females may mate with more than one male and are viviparous. The gestation period is about eleven weeks after which one to six young are born. The newly emerged juveniles are about 6 cm (2.4 in) long.
Major threats to this species, C. bedriagai, include modification of its habitat by increased afforestation or coastal development, and increases in the population of the wild boar (Sus scrofa) may have an impact. The population of this skink is believed to be in decline, especially in some island populations, and the IUCN has listed it as being "Near Threatened".
- Pleguezuelos, Juan M.; Sá-Sousa, Paulo; Pérez-Mellado, Valentin; Marquez, Rafael; Martínez-Solano, Iñigo (2009). "Chalcides bedriagai". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009: e.T61472A12472701. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T61472A12472701.en.
- Chalcides bedriagai at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 9 January 2021.
- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Chalcides bedriagai, p. 21).
- Arnold, E. Nicholas; Ovenden, Denys W. (2002). Field Guide: Reptiles & Amphibians of Britain & Europe. Collins & Co. p. 188. ISBN 9780002199643.
- Boscá E (1880). "Gongylus Bedriagi, Nueva Sub-Especie de la Península Ibérica ". Anales de la Sociedad Española de Historia Natural 9: 495-503. (Gongylus ocellatus bedriagai, new subspecies, p. 503). (in Spanish).
- Photos and info