Dinarolacerta montenegrina - Prokletije Rock Lizard

Dinarolacerta montenegrina
Female: MNE / Prokletije-Massiv, 03.07.2015 - Note the yellowish chin.

The Prokletjie Rock Lizard is a rather inconspicuous, greyish species. However, it has chosen one of Europe's most scenic habitats: It only occurs in a few localities of the Prokletjie mountain range at the Montenegrinan-Albanian border; a remote but truely magic place with a "Lord-of-the-Rings"-like atmosphere.

Only described in 2007, this species looks very similar to Dinarolacerta mosorensis. However, it has been separated from the latter one by the deep Morača Canyon for some million years.

 

Dinarolacerta montenegrina lives in karstified mountain habitats up to 1700 m which are still under some Mediterranean influence. The presence of the sub-Mediterranean pine (Pinetum heldreichii) seems to be an indicator for suitable habitats.

 

Unfortunately, this species' habitats seem to be threatened by increasing cultivation and house building and also by wildfires.

 

Dinarolacerta montenegrina may co-occur with Podarcis muralis which has darker flanks, frequently orange throats and shorter snouts.

The ranges of Dinarolacerta mosorensis and Dinarolacerta montenegrina. The latter one is known from a few mountain habitats at the Montenegrinan-Albanian border, only.
The ranges of Dinarolacerta mosorensis and Dinarolacerta montenegrina. The latter one is known from a few mountain habitats at the Montenegrinan-Albanian border, only.

Dinarolacerta montenegrina
Montenegro / Prokletije mountains, 30.07.2012 - Males may have yellow undersides.
Dinarolacerta montengrina
Male: Montenegro / Prokletije mountains, 03.07.2015 - Note the blue outer ventral scales.
Dinarolacerta montenegrina
The Prokletjie Mountains near Bukumirsko Lake at the Montengrinan-Albanian boarder: Habitat of Dinarolacerta montengrina and Podarcis muralis.