Podarcis levendis - Pori Wall Lizard

Podarcis levendis
Male: GR / Pori, 29.05.2011 - Note the blue spots on shoulder and the whitish throat.

The discorvery of a new vertebrate species in our thoroughly explored European area may seem impossible - but it still can happen in the 21st century: The Greek island of Pori is so remote that the existence of lizards on this uninhabited rock was first noticed in 1994. Subsequently, it turned out that they were different from all other known lizards. In 2008, they were described as a separate species: Podarcis levendis, which occurs on the barren Pori island and close-by Lagouvardos (Poreti) rock.

It appears noteworthy that the scientific name "levendis" means "brave" which is explained by the authors of the species' description as follows: We consider that this relict species, which survived for at least 5 My on two small islets isolated from any similar taxon, qualifies as brave.* - We definitely agree!

 

As Podarcis levendis is the only Lacertid lizard on Pori and Lagouvardos, it cannot be mistaken with other species. Its closest relatives are Podarcis peloponnesiacus and Podarcis cretensis.

 

Podarcis levendis is a rather big Wall Lizard. The males resemble to pale coloured Podarcis peloponnesiacus thais: back greenish to brown, white throat, undersite white to orange, blue outer ventral scales and blue spots on shoulders. It shows some dark dorsal pattern but no dark reticulation on flanks.

Podarcis levendis
The distribution area of Podarcis levendis is limited to the uninhabited islets of Pori and Lagouvardos.

Podarcis levendis
Male: GR / Pori, 29.05.2011 - These lizards show some dark blotches on the back but not on the flanks.
Podarcis levendis
Male: GR / Pori, 29.05.2011 - The backs may be greenish in some specimen.
Podarcis levendis
Female: GR / Pori, 29.05.2011 - This species resemble to a "pale" Podarcis peloponnesiacus.
Podarcis levendis
The rocky and barren Pori island as seen from a boat.

* LYMBERAKIS, P. & POULAKAKIS, N. & KALIONTZOPOULOU, A. & VALAKOS, E. & MYLONAS, M. (2008) - Two new species of Podarcis (Squamata; Lacertidae) from Greece. - Systematics and Biodiversity, 6 (3): 307–318.