Erhard’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis erhardii)

/ / Reptiles

Description

This species of wall lizard reaches a length of up to seven centimetres, with the tail then accounting for almost twice the body length again. There is a smooth collar present, and the body is covered in smooth scales (1) (2). The head has a deep shape to it, and in the south of their range it may also be rather short.

There are many variations in the patterns for this species, but typically they are a striped species, especially the females (1). Dorso-lateral stripes are often present. Colour morphs can range from greyish-brown to a tinge of green, with the females being slightly darker than the males (1) (2). Ventral surface and throat are white, but in breeding males this becomes a bright orange to red colour, and blue spots are often present on their hind legs (1).

Within the genus Podarcis there are approximately 247 species and sub-species that are recognised (3). It is thought that there may be more than one species of P. erhardii, and currently there are three sub-species recognised on the Balkan mainland: P. e. riveti in north Greece, P. e. thessalica in Thessalia province and P. e. lividiaca in central Greece and the Peloponnese (1). There are also many variations found on the Aegean islands, with currently 25 sub-species being recognised (1). It is similar in appearance to the Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis) and the Pelopnnese Wall Lizard (Podarcis pelopnnesiaca).

Habitat

It is mainly a lowland species, but has been known to occur up to 1000 m above sea level. P. erhardii occurs in low, dense vegetation with low levels of humidity in the atmosphere (1).

Life Cycle

Mating season occurs from March until May, with eggs being laid in July (2). Females that are found on the continent usually lay around two to four eggs, but this clutch size may be smaller for those populations that occur on islands. The eggs typically hatch in September, and the hatchlings usually have a snout-vent length of three centimetres (1) (2). Sexual maturity is reached by the age of two years (1).

Distribution

Erhard’s Wall Lizard occurs in the south Balkans, going north into Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria. It is present on many of the Aegean islands, and some islands close to Asiatic Turkey (1).

Behaviour

Although it is an excellent climbing species, Podarcis erhardii does not spend as much time climbing as the other wall lizard species (1). It is more typically found hiding amongst bushes and low-lying scrub (2). During the breeding season the males will often fight with each other over the receptive females (2).

Feeding

The main component of the wall lizards’ diet is insects, especially Lepidoptera and Diptera (2).

Conservation status
[tab:Description]

This species of wall lizard reaches a length of up to 7cm, with the tail then accounting for almost twice the body length again. There is a smooth collar present, and the body is covered in smooth scales (1) (2). The head has a deep shape to it, and in the south of their range it may also be rather short.

There are many variations in the patterns for this species, but typically they are a striped species, especially the females (1). Dorso-lateral stripes are often present. Colour morphs can range from greyish-brown to a tinge of green, with the females being slightly darker than the males (1) (2). Ventral surface and throat are white, but in breeding males this becomes a bright orange to red colour, and blue spots are often present on their hind legs (1).

Within the genus Podarcis there are approximately 247 species and sub-species that are recognised (3). It is thought that there may be more than one species of P. erhardii, and currently there are 3 sub-species recognised on the Balkan mainland: P. e. riveti in north Greece, P. e. thessalica in Thessalia province and P. e. lividiaca in central Greece and the Peloponnese (1). There are also many variations found on the Aegean islands, with currently 25 sub-species being recognised (1). It is similar in appearance to the Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) and the Pelopnnese wall lizard (Podarcis pelopnnesiaca).

[tab:Habitat]

It is mainly a lowland species, but has been known to occur up to 1000m above sea level. P. erhardii occurs in low, dense vegetation with low levels of humidity in the atmosphere (1).

[tab:Life Cycle]

Mating season occurs from March until May, with eggs being laid in July (2). Females that are found on the continent usually lay around 2-4 eggs, but this clutch size may be smaller for those populations that occur on islands. The eggs typically hatch in September, and the hatchlings usually have a snout-vent length of 3cm (1) (2). Sexual maturity is reached by the age of 2 years (1).

[tab:Distribution]

Erhard’s wall lizard occurs in the south Balkans, going north into Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria. It is present on many of the Aegean islands, and some islands close to Asiatic Turkey (1).

[tab:Behaviour]

Although it is an excellent climbing species, Podarcis erhardii does not spend as much time climbing as the other wall lizard species (1). It is more typically found hiding amongst bushes and low-lying scrub (2). During the breeding season the males will often fight with each other over the receptive females (2).

[tab:Food]

The main component of the wall lizards’ diet is insects, especially Lepidoptera and Diptera (2).

[tab:Conservation status]

It has been given a status of Least Concern by the IUCN (4). This is due to the fact their population numbers remain stable throughout the regions in which it is found.

It is also listed under Appendix II of BERN Convention (5).

[tab:References]

Description written by Sheridan Willis (2009)

(1)   Arnold, E.N., 2004. A field guide to the reptiles and amphibians of Britain and Europe. 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers

(2)   Dimitropoulos, A. and Iwannides, I. 2002. Natural History Museum Gulandris “Reptiles of Greece and Cyprus”. KOAN, Biblia Tou Kosmou

(3)   Zipcode Zoo 2009. Podarcis erhardii in: <http://www.zipcodezoo.com/Animals/P/Podarcis_erhardii/> Downloaded on 09 July 2009

(4)   IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. Podarcis erhardii in: <www.iucnredlist.org> Downloaded on 09 July 2009

(5)   Europe, C.o., 2002. Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats: Bern Convention. [Online] Available at: http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/FR/Treaties/Html/104-2.htm [Accessed 23 July 2009] [tab:END]