Corsica 2015 part 3 – Herpetofauna

I can’t quit believe that it’s taken me two months to get around the posting the third part of my Corsican trip series. Still, better late than never…

This post focusses on the herpetofauna that I encountered whilst ambling around the pleasant hillsides and valleys of Corsica with my family. The island of Corsica is home to a pretty cool variety of herps, including some endemic species like the Corsican Fire Salamander, Corsican Brook Newt and Corsican Painted Frog, whilst a variety of Lizards, Snakes, Frogs and Terrapins can be found there too. I failed miserably to find the former three species, despite looking in the relevant habitats, but I did record a good selection of other species, which I have included below with brief captions.

Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard (Podarcis tiliguerta)
This is by far the commonest species we encountered, particularly on the coast. It was present all over, and took refuge amongst stone walls and gravely ground. It was interesting to observe to distinct ‘morphs’ – that of the very brown-looking individuals (top two images), and then the more greenish-tinged ones (lower). There seemed to be far more of the greener individuals up in the mountains than on the coast
Italian Wall Lizard – (Podarcis sicula)
This was a scarcer species that I only saw in any significant numbers on the exposed coast. Coastal beaches and garrigue scrub seemed to be the areas this species preferred; the most I saw whilst on the island was at Plage de Ostriconi 
Tyrrhenian Rock Lizard  (Archaeolacerta bedriagae)
This larger and more sluggish species was present at high elevations in mountainous areeas- in the Restonica Valley and Monte Cinto, for example. They were plentiful amongst the large rocky outcrop and loose stone walls
 Pool Frog – (Pelophylax lessonae bergeri)
This was a very common amphibian, present in most areas of fresh water around the sites we visited- from the coast up into the more mountainous areas. It was great fun trying to photograph and calling males, and especially tricky to try and get the top wide angle image
European Pond Terrapin – (Emys obicularis)
I only saw these charismatic but very shy terrapins at the reservoir near Galeria (on the coast). It was amusing to watch as more and more heads slowly popped up above the weed on the reservoir, before watching some individuals hauling themselves to bask in the sun on nearby rocks

There are some great trip reports on Corsica, and one herpetologically-focussed trip report by Matt Wilson was very useful indeed, and definitely worth a read : click here
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