Anatololacerta pelasgiana - Pelasgian Rock Lizard

Anatololacerta pelasgiana
Male: GR / Rhodes, 28.03.2017 - In higher altitudes of Rhodes, these lizards may show heavy dark markings.

The Pelasgian Rock Lizard is a highly photogenic species, quite varaible in colouration and pattern. Remarkably, this species shows a low sexual dimorphism: Females can be as colourful as males.

 

Moreover, these lizards show a unique mating behavior as copulation may last more than 30 minutes. During this time span, both partners may rest in the same position with hardly any movement. This is quite surprising as it could significantly increase predation risk for such a small reptile.

In Greece, this species occurs on Rhodos and some adjoining islets, Symi and Nisyros. An introduced population exists on Kastellorizo.

 

In particular on Rhodes it is highly abundant and often quite approachable. It occupies a wide range of habitats: rocky coasts, woodlands, olive groves and even human settlements. Vertical structures seem to be important for this well climbing species.

 

It may co-occur with the following species:

  • Ophisops elegans, which differs from Anatololacerta pelasgiana by its fixed eyelid and a very rough appearance of its scales.
  •  Juveniles of Lacerta trilineata (present on Rhodes) frequently show a distinct light vertebral line which lacks in Anatololacerta oertzeni.
The European distribution of Anatololacerta pelasgiana is limited to Rhodes and some adjoining islets, Symi and Nisyros. An introduced population exists on Kastellorizo.
The European distribution of Anatololacerta pelasgiana is limited to Rhodes and some adjoining islets, Symi and Nisyros. An introduced population exists on Kastellorizo.

Anatololacerta pelasgiana
Male: GR / Rhodes, 28.03.2017 - Some specimens show a slightly greenish back.
Anatololacerta pelasgiana
Female: GR / Rhodes, 28.03.2017 - This female shows rather uniform brownish colours.
Anatololacerta pelasgiana
Male: GR / Nisyros, 19.05.2018 - A light specimen with fine pattern.
Anatololacerta pelasgiana
Female: GR / Kastellorizo (introduced), 30.03.2017 - Note the orange throat of this specimen.
Anatololacerta pelasgiana
Coastal habitat of Anatololacerta pelasgiana at Lindos (Rhodes).