Reported only from three general areas at elevations between 2500-3700 m within the High Atlas Mountains of Marrakech Prefecture, Morocco, Lacerta andreanszkyi appears little studied (Saint Girons, 1953; Pasteur and Bons, 1960; Bons, 1967; Klemmer, 1969). Since Werner's (1929) description of this apparently restricted apecies, nothing has been published regarding its biology. The following limited data concerning population density, biomass, sex ratio, feeding ecology, reproduction, frequency of injury, and thermal environment and response of this elusive species are presented below to partially fill this void.
Relationships among representatives of five genera of lacertid lizards from Iberia, Morocco, and South Africa were studied using quantitative micro-complement fixation analysis of serum albumin evolution. Using the albumin molecular clock to establish divergence times we suggest (1) South African Ichnotropis and North African Psammodromus diverged from the lineage representing Lacerta lepida-L. monticola during the Oligocene, (2) South African Pedioplanis and Heliobolus diverged from this lineage during the late Miocene, and (3) ancestral representatives of L. andreanszkyi, L. perspicillata and Podarcis hispanica diverged from lineages leading to L. monticola and L. lepida during the mid-Miocene. Radiation within the Palearctic Lacertidae has clearly been extensive, yet fewer than twenty percent of the species in this radiation have been examined biochemically. Until additional data can be gathered, the current classification of the Palearctic Lacertidae cannot be much improved and we recommend adherence to the taxonomy proposed by Arnold (1973).
Autecological aspects of Acanthodactylus erythrurus were examined at La Algaida, Cádiz Province, Spain. The male population is composed of 60 % adult and 40 % subadult individuals; male hatchlings increase in size at a rate of 0.06 mm/day from hatching ( 31 mm snout-vent length) to sexual maturity (∼61 mm); 50 % do not survive beyond 1.5 years, but those which reach adult size may live 1.9 years. Females grow from hatching (∼ 28 mm) to sexual maturity( 57 mm) at a rate of 0.05 mm/day; less than half survive 1.4 years and the life span of some individuals is 2.1 years. Adult males outnumber adult females 1.4:1, but subadult ratios are 1:1. Adults and subadults associate with different plant species during their activity period, but each age class tends to avoid open sand patches. These 8.4-13 g lizards feed on a wide variety of insects and appreciable quantities of plant material. 49% ofall males and 82% ofall females actively consume Halimium halimifolium. We suspect this lizard species is wide ranging and non-territorial ; only one agonistic encounter was recorded and it was interspecific (with Psammodromus algirus). The frequency of escape from predation is estimated at 26.8 %, based on tail-loss figures, and the incidence of cestode parasitism (Oochoristica cf. tuberculata) is 2.1 %. The population studied was highly resilient to 16 months of intense human predation.
Cádiz Province, Spain, is the southernmost extent of the range of L. lepida. Within this area, L. lepida demonstrates no distinct preference for any habitat and inhabits man-made and natural shelters with equal frequency. L. lepida is diurnal and active at the surface at ambient temperatures between 15.6°C and 42°C from February through November. Males are 4% to 8% heavier than females of equivalent body length. The rate of parasitism from nematodes is low (6%). The Cádiz Province population has the most diverse diet of any population studied to date. The taxonomic composition of the diet of males and females is identical, and consists mostly of invertebrate prey. Mean prey size and prey diversity are not correlated with lizard body size. Lacerta lepida is cannibalistic. Spermatogenesis and follicular development occur from April through July, egg laying occurs between early June and early July, and clutch size may vary from 4 to 18. Lacerta lepida reproduces only once annually.