SPAIN 2011



Reptilia: TESTUDINES (Terrapins)

Two species of terrapins are found on the Iberian Peninsula but we only encountered one, and that was at fairly long range.


Emys orbicularis fritzjuergenobsti - Iberian pond terrapin
One the first night a terrapin was seen briefly in the larger of the pools at Zarzalejo. Its dark domed carapace was more indicative of the widespread European pond terrapin (Emys orbicularis) than the other possible species, the Spanish terrapin (Mauremys leprosa). On the final afternoon a pair of terrapins were seen basking on a rock in a small pond, comprising little more than a flooded field, close to the original sighting. It was only possible to obtain two photographs before they disappeared into the water and the fact the only lens to hand was a wide-angle zoom and the sun was on the other side of the terrapins, meant that the images obtained were hardly high quality. However, they seem to confirm the species as a positive record.

In the Iberian Peninsula this species exhibits a more fragmented distribution than the Spanish terrapin but it may occur up to 1,000 m. t acheived carapace lengths up to 230 mm.


Iberian pond terrapin,
Emys orbicularis fritzjuengenobsti

a pair basking near Zarzalejo
click on the images to enlarge