Lacerta citrovittata - "Cycladic Green Lizard"

Lacerta citrovittata
GR / Naxos, 30.03.2016 - This specimen shows the yellow dorsolateral stripes ("citrovittata").

The green lizards from the Cyclades in Greece look so strange that scientists were confused during the 20th century: First, these lizards were regarded as a subspecies of Lacerta viridis. Later, they were assigned to Lacerta trilineata. Genetic analysis however revealed big distances to the latter one. Hence, Lacerta citrovittata has been put into species rank in 2019*. As it has no official common name, so far, the denomination "Cycladic Green Lizard" has been put in quotation marks.

Lacerta citrovittata is an endemic species of the Central Cyclades. From external characters, it differs from Lacerta trilineata by its grey or brownish body with yellow dorsolateral stripes. In some populations, adults may show blue heads.

 

Juveniles frequently show dark brownish colors with light dorsolateral lines and a light vertebral line (they basically look like juveniles of Lacerta trilineata).

 

Lacerta trilineata is a shy and rather secretive species often hiding in dense vegetation. Watching these lizards may require patience.

 

As it is the only big Lacertid on Central Cyclades, it can hardly be confused with other species. Juveniles differ from Podarcis erhardii - the only other species present - by the prominent dorsolateral and vertebral lines.

Distribution Lacerta citrovittata
The distribution area of Lacerta citrovittata is limited to the Central Cyclades: Andros, Tinos, Syros, Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, Ios and maybe Mykonos.

Lacerta citrovittata
GR / Naxos, 01.04.2016 - The heads show greyish, sometimes bluish colors.
Lacerta citrovittata
Juvenile: GR / Naxos, 02.04.2016 - Juveniles usually show the characteristic "trilineata" stripe pattern.
Lacerta citrovittata
Habitat of Lacerta citrovittata and Podarcis erhardii on Naxos with lush, dense vegetation.

* See: Kornilios P, Thanou E, Lymberakis P, Ilgaz Ç, Kumlutaş Y, Leaché A. A phylogenomic resolution for the taxonomy of Aegean green lizards. Zool Scr. 2019;00:1–14