Giant Lizard of El Hierro

The Giant Lizard of El Hierro (Gallotia Simonyi) It is endemic to the island of El Hierro, in the Canary Islands. It is an endangered species, included in the Berne Convention (Anexo II) and the Habitats Directive (Anexos II y IV).

As early as the second century A.C. Juva King II of Mauritania on his expedition to Canary refers to an island full of giant lizards. Also in the chronicles of the conquest, in 1.404 by Juan Betancourt, collected: «…large lizards are like a cat, but do no harm and has no poison…»

In 1.779 El Hierro travel to the Perpetual Regidor and Treasurer of The Royal Revenue, Urtusáustegui, who notes: "In the smaller Roque Salmone (Rock Salmor), the most advanced sea, lizards are very thick, long rod (83’5 cms), that so flaky and painted me as, I judge that are kind of alligators. "

There are records of other researchers, and nineteenth century, as Viera y Clavijo, in the Dictionary of Natural History (1.886) or Sabino Berthelot in his Annals of Ethnography and the Conquest of the Canary Islands, who writes: «…their food consisted of roasted maize meal and roast goat or ram. However, There is a popular saying that probably indicates that they had a taste for meat of lizards. These animals were very common on the island; reached almost the size of iguanas of America, the Indians are so greedy…»

The scientific community, the late nineteenth century, became interested in the enigmatic lizard, and the 5 January 1.863, Swiss naturalist Karl von Fritsch visit El Hierro confirming the existence of the reptile at one of the Roques de Salmor and the eastern part of the island.

In 1.890, German ornithologist Meade-Waldo tries to achieve the above mentioned Roque unsuccessfully for the poor state of the sea. Yes, I won the English Canon Tristram. Upon hearing this, Austrian Professor Oscar Simony, that collected samples of the natural history of the Canary Islands to the Vienna museum, sent three specimens were captured in 1.889 al herpetólogo, also Austrian, Franz stone roofs, who to preempt British scientists published a brief description of the reptile in question, as giving scientific name Lacerta Simonyi (Steindcher, 1.889), Simony Oscar in recognition.

In 1.891 a detailed and descriptive characteristics of the lizard and phenomenal lithographs published by Dr. Boulenguer, specialist reptiles of the British Museum of Natural History, where they ended two of the three specimens caught by Tristram. Another British, Hugh B. Cott, captured two specimens are also found in the British Museum of Natural History.

The mythical lizard becomes increasingly coveted by scientists and collectors. In 1.891, Don Eloy Diaz Casañas donated a copy to the Museum of Santa Cruz de La Palma and preserved in a bottle alcohol, of 51 inches, with a tail regenerated from the ring 27.

Another example of 53 centimeters in the Insular Museum of Natural History Santa Cruz de Tenerife, donado by don José Ángel Rodrigo Vallabriga, colonel of engineers who promoted the Well of Sabinosa El Hierro, who had bought from a fisherman 50 pesetas.

The lizard died Salmor not only spurred by excessive, but because he had a very small population. Today there are only 10 specimens in museums aforementioned.

In 1.975, in the Fuga de Gorreta, a pastor captured for the German Werner Bings 2 copies. Hearing lizards authorities confiscated and returned to their natural habitat. It was thought that the Lizards were legendary Salmor, however, after several studies 1.984, concluded that the lizard is different Gorreta that existed in the Roque de Salmor, although both belong to the same species.

The extinct lizard Salmor resolves scientific name Gallotia Simonyi Simonyi Subspecies (Steindachner, 1.889), while we know as the giant lizard of El Hierro, Simonyi is the Gallotia Subspecies machadoi (López-Jurado, 1.989).

In 1.994 Integral Natural Reserve of Los Roques Salmor and the Special Nature Reserve is declared official Tibataje, comprising all northern outcrop of El Golfo Valley, including Gorreta. The Department of the Environment of the Canary Islands Government has established a Recovery Center, at the foot of Gorreta and opened in May 1.995, equipped with two laboratories and a vivarium where they breed more than 300 lizards in captivity, where some of them are exposed to the public as a tourist attraction for the island. The LIFE program of the European Commission, has helped to finance these facilities, as well as studies and conservation programs. In like manner, Universiades two of the Canary Islands and the European Herpetological Society collaborate on studies of appropriate locations for their future single, and two having done quite successfully in the Roque Chico and Salmor La Dehesa.

Giant Lizard of El Hierro is fairly robust and pardonegrusco Color, two lateral series of ocelli yellow lemon, that intensify the reproductive period. Measure around 60 centimeters and can be overcome 400 grams. Its dimensions are quite remarkable when compared with the 20 centimeters and 10 grams of mere or island common lizards (Gallotia Caesaris). Sheds its skin once a year in summer. Although slow growth, can live up 20 years old. Their young are brown with clear dorsal lines, presenting one or two rows of ocelli yellowish color on both sides. After four years this color begins to darken, related to the process of sexual maturation and hormonal regulation.

The adults feed mainly vegetarian lizards is, but supplement their diet with some insects. Juveniles are more entomáfagos, essentially luring ants and insect larvae, without neglecting either plant.

As for reproduction, know that sexual activity begins the first half of May, when the specimen has two years of life or something then if it is released. In the mating, the male approaches the female inflating his throat and making a series of vertical nods. The female, wrapped by the male, tries to bite, but it is the male who bites it in the neck for then place your pelvis under your partner and then enter one of the two hemipenes into the cloaca of the female.

The start, between 4 and 14 eggs, begins the first week of June, still hatching in early August, after 59 incuvación days to one temperature 28-29 degrees Celsius. The lagartitos at birth are about 17 inches and weigh only 4 grams.

Giant Lizard of El Hierro has become the undisputed symbol of the island, and declared, also, Canary by Parliament under Act 7/1.991, of 30 April, Symbols of Nature to the Canary Islands.

Near the Lagartario is the Eco-museum of Guinea, also called Town of Guinea, which is declared of cultural interest for its archaeological value, historical and ethnographic. Allows known through its various stages of construction civilization of the island.

At the end of this page we offer two maps so you can locate exactly the giant lizard of El Hierro (Lagartario) and the Eco-museum of Guinea, they both have the same location and entry for visitors: in the second map is to get from the nearest town, Border. If desired, we can provide booking tickets with special discounts, to do so click on the link below: reservations.



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