Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Friday, 27 March 2015

Wall Lizards...

Ventnor on the Isle-of-Wight is home to the UK's oldest established colony of Common Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis. They have been recorded here since the 19th Century and have become established in a several places in the local area including the Ventnor Botanical Gardens. Some authorities even feel that they could be native, perhaps clinging on to their most northerly European outpost but they have very likely been introduced, as at Portland Bill in Dorset.

Similar in size to our native Viviparous Lizard Lacerta vivipara (though males can be larger), they have a slightly larger, bulkier, blunt snouted head and granular scales between the supraocular and supraciliary scales. Bright males are very distinctive. I checked the main site in Ventnor today and found seven basking on the wall at la falaise car park, including a stunning green male. Whatever their origins, they are beautiful reptiles and well worth looking for.

Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis, Ventnor: R. Harris
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis, male: R. Harris
The I-O-W population's genes are closest
to nigriventris from NW Italy
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis, male: R. Harris
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis, male: R. Harris
What a stunner.
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis: R. Harris
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis, male
doing what Wall Lizards do: R. Harris
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis: R. Harris
Wall Lizards Podarcis muralis: R. Harris
Wall Lizard Podarcis muralis: R. Harris

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