Podarcis hispanicus - Spanish Wall Lizard

Podarcis hispanicus
E / Sierra Espuña (Murcia), 30.09.2017: Note the flat head and elongated snout

The Iberian Podarcis species (the so called "Podarcis hispanicus complex") are a fascinating group of lizards. They are actually like Darwin's finches: From one common anchestor they developed to several species which have occupied different ecological niches. There are ground dwellers, granite rock specialists, allrounders… This may be a reason for scientists having done a pile of research on this species complex during the last years.

Among these species, Podarcis hispanicus has most extremely modified the basic Wall Lizard shape: It's a tiny and slender lizard with a flat head and sharp snout.

 

This species occurs in south-eastern Spain, only. It seems to be more tolerant with regard to dry and sparse habitats than other Podarcis species. In higher altitudes of the Baetic Mountain Range it is replaced by Podarics liolepis.

 

It frequently shows a conspicious stripe pattern; juveniles may have bright blue tails. In the contact zones with other species (Podarcis vaucheri, Podarcis virescens, Podarcis liolepis), it may be identified by the following morphological characters:

 

1. Vertebral line is bifurcated in the front part
2. Light and dark dorsolateral lines continue on the parietal plates
3. No bluish outer ventral scales

distribution Podarcis hispanicus
The approximate distribution ranges of the Iberian Podarcis species.

Podarcis hispanicus
Male: E / Alicante, 28.02.2019 - This specimen from the northern edge of the range shows slightly bluish outer ventral scales which may be a sign for introgression with Podarcis liolepis.
Podarcis hispanicus
Adult with greenish tail: E / Molinicos (Albacete), 30.09.2016
Podarcis hispanicus
Juvenile with blue tail: E / Molinicos (Albacete), 30.09.2016
Podarcis hispanicus
E / Callosa de Segura (Alicante), 18.11.2016 - Podarcis hispanicus may have a greenish glance but it doesn't show clear green colours on the back.
Dry slope at Finestrat / Alicante: Habitat of Podarcis hispanicus, Psammodromus algirus, Psammodromus edwarsianus and Timon nevadensis
Dry slope at Finestrat / Alicante: Habitat of Podarcis hispanicus, Psammodromus algirus, Psammodromus edwarsianus and Timon nevadensis