Podarcis carbonelli - Carbonell's Wall Lizard

Podarcis carbonelli
Subsp. carbonelli, male: P / Vilanova de Milfontes (Alentejo), 19.04.2017 - Note the green colouration on flanks but not on the back.

Carbonell's Wall Lizard is an enchanting species: Being closely related to Podarcis virescens, it has quite a different temper as the latter one. This delicate and small lizard appears rather shy and cautious - although it is really tough: It is even able to survive in dune areas with sparse vegetation and permanently blowing cool wind.


Being specialized on such cool climates, it has stable populations at the Atlantic coast. However, the remaining inland populations in mountain areas (Peña de Francia, Serra da Estrela) seem to rapidly decrease - maybe a result of global warming.


Besides of the nominate subspecies, subspecies berlengensis has been described for the Islas Berlengas and adjoining Peniche Peninsula (Portugal).

Podarcis carbonelli differs from all other Iberian Wall Lizards by generally showing greenish flanks but no green backs. It can be distinguished from other species by the following characters:

  • Podarcis bocagei is similar but usually shows no green flanks and no blue outer ventral scales. Both species' ranges overlap in a small area near Porto where they seem to interbreed. North of the Duoro river, Podarcis carbonelli is replaced by Podarcis bocagei.
  • Podarcis virescens has longer snouts, yellow undersides and no green flanks.
  • Podarcis guadarramae has no green flanks and no blue outer ventral scales.
  • Podarcis vaucheri is bigger and has deep heads with pointed snouts. Syntopy is possible in the Doñana area (Spain), although both species have different habitat preferences.
Distribution Podarcis carbonelli
Podarcis carbonelli has a disjunct distribution range.

Podarcis carbonelli
Subsp. carbonelli, female: P / Vilanova de Milfontes (Alentejo), 17.04.2017 - Females show characteristic light dorsolateral stripes.
Podarcis carbonelli
Subsp. berlengensis, male: P / Peniche, 19.07.2013 - The populations of Peniche Peninsula and the Berlengas Archipelago seem to differ genetically from the other popuations.
Podarcis carbonelli
Dune habitat at the Atlantic coast (P / Bordeira) : A cool wind blowing from the sea and sufficient humidity make these kinds of habitats suitable for Podarcis carbonelli.