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Pyrenean brook newt

The Pyrenean brook newt Euproctus asper (or Calotriton asper), also known as the Pyrenean brook salamander, is found only in the Pyrenees – in France, Spain and Andorra. It lives in cold mountain streams with stony beds, in lakes and sometimes in caves. Here, at 700 to 2,500 metres (2,300 to 8,200 ft), it feeds on insects and other invertebrates and can itself be taken by trout.

Pyrenean brook newt
Pyrenean brook newt, June 2011 (IN)

It has a flattened appearance with rough-looking grey or brown skin, which has many granular nodules. The most distinctive feature – on most of those we’ve seen – is a bold yellow stripe along the back and tail, sometimes as a broken line, but there’s also a stripeless form.

We have been lucky enough to see them several times in the shallow streams in the French Pyrenees at the Cirque de Troumouse. Sometimes they swim in the open but they will hide under stones, which may mean a view of just a head or tail, as the photos on the right show.

Cirque de Troumouse
Cirque de Troumouse, September 2012: Pyrenean brook newt habitat (CD).

Pyrenean rock lizard

The Pyrenean rock lizard Iberolacerta bonnali is found in a restricted area in the central Pyrenees, in both France and Spain, that area being in the high Pyrenees (1700 to 3000m) just south of our French Pyrenees base in Gèdre (see map here). It’s closely related to the Iberian rock lizard and there are two further recently separated species, Aran rock lizard Iberolacerta aranica and Aurelio's rock lizard Iberolacerta aurelioi confined (on present knowledge) to mountain blocks a little farther east, towards Andorra.

Pyrenean rock lizard
Pyrenean rock lizard, Col de Tentes, September 2014 (Jean Dunn)

The rather uniform grey back of the Pyrenean rock lizard is the best identification feature. It is darker on the flanks and has a pale throat.

Honeyguide has found the Pyrenean rock lizard at Col de Tentes, where these photos were taken, and Troumouse. As you might expect, a sunny day while soaking up heat on a rock is the best time to see this species.

Pyrenean rock lizard
Pyrenean rock lizard, September 2012 (CD)

Common wall lizard

At lower altitudes in the French Pyrenees, the more strongly marked common wall lizard Podarcis muralis is, indeed, common. These were photographed in Gèdre.

Common wall lizard
Common wall lizard, September 2014 (Sue Lewis-Jones)

Chris Durdin, December 2012, with later updates

More nature notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . French Pyrenees

Pyrenean brook newt on Wikipedia.

More photos of Pyrenean brook newts on www.euro.herp.com.

Pyrenean brook newt

Just a hint of the lateral stripe on this newt, on the tail, June 2006 (CG).

Pyrenean brook newt

Pyrenean brook newt

Pyrenean brook newts. Top, head and tail if you look carefully, September 2012. Bottom, June 2012 (CD).

Large marsh grasshopper

Purple form of the large marsh grasshopper Stethophyma grossum, also at Troumouse, Sept 2012 (CD).

Pyrenean rock lizard on Wikipedia (just a 'stub' when linked).

More photos of Pyrenean rock lizard on www.euro.herp.com.Pyrenean rock lizard

Pyrenean rock lizard, Col de Tentes, September 2015 (Jean Dunn). Note the long toes.

Pyrenean rock lizard

Pyrenean rock lizard, September 2012 (CD)

Pyrenean rock lizard close-up

Pyrenean rock lizard close-up: note the pale throat and long toes (CD).

Welsh poppy

Also see our Nature Notes on Welsh poppies in the French Pyrenees and elsewhere.

Photographs on this page by Honeyguide leaders Ivan Nethercoat (IN), Chris Gibson (CG) and Chris Durdin (CD) or as credited.

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