News Blog of the 2012 IEEE International Workshop on Information Forensics and Security

WIFS weekly news #10: Canarian fauna (part one)

Due to insularity and also to the very particular climate, Canary Islands is home of a very complex diversity of fauna. As in Galápagos Islands, Australia or Madagascar, this archipelago has always been isolated from the mainland. This fact reflects in Canarian fauna with very few species and many endemisms. Perhaps, one of the most significant among all these unique species is lizards.

The name for the canarian lizard genus is Gallotia. These reptiles have been evolving here ever since the first islands emerged from the sea over 20 million years ago and their species and subspecies have a number of characteristics that make them quite special within their family. Gallotia are distinctive for eating significant quantities of plants, and for several lineages having evolved insular gigantism.

Gallotia Galloti Palmae or Giant Lizard of La Palma

Different subspecies of lizards can be found distributed all along the archipelago. In fact, some of them are confined to a very small area in one single island. This is the case of Gallotia intermedia or Tenerife Giant Lizard, that lives in some isolated populations along altogether 9 km of coastline, in the extreme west coast of the island.

Gallotia intermedia or Tenerife Speckled Lizard

The most abundant species nowadays is the Gran Canaria Giant Lizard; unfortunately. Giant Lizards of El Hierro and La Gomera are critically endangered species and have been reproduced in captivity to be reintroduced in predator-free areas.

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