Malpolon monspessulanus

Photograph by Matthieu Bufkens, 2015

Subspecies Malpolon monspessulanus monspessulanus (HERMANN 1804)
Malpolon monspessulanus saharatlanticus GENIEZ, CLUCHIER & DE HAAN 2006 \

Mangiacotti e.a. (2014) studied the morphological differences between the species and subspecies of Malpolon, and found systematic differences in headshape. See Mangiacotti 2014.

Common Names English: Montpellier Snake, Lizard snake
German: Eidechsennatter
Dutch: Hagedisslang 
Synonym Coluber monspessulanus HERMANN 1804
Natrix lacertina WAGLER 1824
Psammophis lacertina - SCHLEGEL 1837: 203 (part.)
Coelopeltis lacertina — EICHWALD 1841
Coelopeltis lacertina — BÖTTCHER 1877: 287
Coelopeltis lacertina — BOULENGER 1887: 345
Coelopeltis monspessulanus — BOULENGER 1896
Coelopeltis monspessulanus — BOULENGER 1913
Malpolon monspessulanus — MERTENS & MÜLLER 1928
Coelopeltis monspessulanus — LAURENT 1935: 347
Malpolon monspessulanus — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Malpolon monspessulanus — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 502

Malpolon monspessulanus saharatlanticus GENIEZ, CLUCHIER & DE HAAN 2006
Malpolon monspessulanus insignitus — VALVERDE 1992
Malpolon monspessulanus — GENIEZ & GENIEZ 1993: 7
Malpolon monspessulanus — BONS & GENIEZ 1996: 242
Malpolon monspessulanus monspessulanus — DE HAAN 1999: 701
Malpolon monspessulanus ssp. — GENIEZ et al. 2004 
Distribution For the distribution of Malpolon insignitus see that page.
M. m. monspessulanus: Italy (W Liguria), SE France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco
M. m. saharatlanticus: along the north-western Atlantic coast from Bou Izakarn (Morocco to Dakhla (Western Sahara) with inland extensions up to Aoulouz and Tafraoute on the southern slopes of the western Atlases including the lower Drâa valley and upper Souss valley; Type locality: 3 km south from Tah towards Laâyoune (Western Sahara) [27.653° N, 12.961° W]

Click for larger map.
Type locality: Montpellier, Southern France  

Derivatio nominis Named after the Latin name for Montpellier in southern France. 'From Montpellier'.
Comment Malpolon monspessulanus insignitus (GEOFFROY DE ST-HILAIRE 1809) has been elevated to full species status with fuscus as a subspecies (CARRANZA et al. 2006).
  • Anonymous 2002. Malpolon monspessulanus Montpellier Snake (Hermann, 1804). Reptilia (GB). (23): 39-42
  • Berg, P. & Berg, R. 2010. Herpetologische Eindrücke von der Mittelmeerinsel Ile du Levant, Südfrankreich. Elaphe 18 (4): 54-61
  • Böhme, W. & De Pury,S. 2011. A note on the generic allocation of Coluber moilensis REUSS 1834 (Serpentes: Psammophiidae). Salamandra 47 (2): 120-123
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1913. The snakes of Europe. Methusen & Co. Ltd, London, 151 pp.
  • Boulenger, George A. 1891. Catalogue of the reptiles and batrachians of Barbary (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), based chiefly upon the notes and collections made in 1880-1884 by M. Fernand Lataste. Tr. Zool. Soc. 13: 93-164
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  • Carranza, S.; E.N. Arnold and J.M. Pleguezuelos 2006. Phylogeny, biogeography, and evolution of two Mediterranean snakes, Malpolon monspessulanus and Hemorrhois hippocrepis (Squamata, Colubridae), using mtDNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 450 (2): 532-546
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  • Feriche, Mónica, Juan M. Pleguezuelos and Xavier Santos. 2008. Reproductive Ecology of the Montpellier Snake, Malpolon monspessulanus (Colubridae), and Comparison with Other Sympatric Colubrids in the Iberian Peninsula. Copeia 2008 (2): 279-285
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  • Geniez, P.; Cluchier, A. & De Haan, C.C. 2006. A multivariate analysis of the morphology of the colubrid snake Malpolon monspessulanus in Morocco and Western Sahara: biogeographic and systematic implications. Salamandra 42 (2-3): 65-82
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  • de Haan, C. 1999. Malpolon monspessulanus. In: Böhme, W. (ed.), Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas., pp. 661-756.. Aula-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
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  • Marc Franch and Olatz San Sebastián. 2007. A case of cannibalism by an extra large female of Malpolon monspessulanus (Montpellier snake) in the Iberian Peninsula. Herpetology Notes, volume 6: 379-380 (2013) (published online on 23 August 2013)
External links  
IUCN status Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern     Year Assessed: 2008
Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Claudia Corti, Valentin Pérez Mellado, Paulo Sá-Sousa, Juan M. Pleguezuelos, Marc Cheylan
Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Reptile Assessment)

Listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Population Trend: Stable

Link to IUCN.

Venom There are some testimonials of cases of envenomation. Click here.

Direct references for this page:


Photo by Matthieu Bufkens, 2018    


Faits divers

Zie mijn blog van woensdag 7 september 2011


The next video is made by Vincent Prié, and published in his Youtube channel.


And another nice video on Youtube, from a unknown contributor. Mind the habitat:


Video by Pierre Legeard, showing a mantis eating a juvenile Malpolon monspessulanus alive. The video was posted on Facebook. Click here to see the original.