Podarcis peloponnesiacus - Peloponnese Wall Lizard

Podarcis peloponnesiacus
Subsp. peloponnesiacus, pair: GR / Santameri, 29.05.2017 - Note the striped female which has the same size as the male. The lateral skin fold indicates that it has been ovipositing before.

The Peloponnese is a hotspot for endemism and thus, it may not surprise that it also holds a specific Wall Lizard species: Podarcis peloponnesiacus, a robust lizard with males often showing spectacular orange and blue colours in spring. This species can be found in rocky areas as well as in gardens and olive groves.

 

During mating season, males can be quite territorial and highly agressive. On the other hand, they seem to be able to establish pairbonds with their partners which seem to last significantly longer than mating season - A remarkable behavior for such a small reptile.

Besides of the nominate subspecies, subspecies thais has been described for the Argolis peninsula. It shows whitish instead of orange throats. The Parnon and the Arcadian mountain ranges mark the distribution limit between this and the nominate subspecies.

 

Its closest relatives are Podarcis cretensis and Podarcis levendis.

 

Podarcis peloponnesiacus co-occurs with three other Podarcis species:

  • Podarcis erhardii livadiacus has dark spots on the labials which lack in Podarcis peloponnesiacus. Furthermore, Podarcis peloponnesiacus frequently has a vertebral line, which lacks in Podarcis erhardii.
  • Podarcis muralis has a distinct brown stripe between eyes and ears, which usually lacks in Podarcis peloponnesiacus. Male Podarcis peloponnesiacus differ from Podarcis muralis by the extensive blue spots on the flanks.
  • Podarcis ionicus differs from Podarcis peloponnesiacus by its bright green coloration (in spring).
Podarcis peloponnesiacus
The distribution area of Podarcis peloponnesiacus

Podarcis peloponnesiacus
Subsp. peloponnesiacus, male: GR / Feneos, 08.04.2010 - Males may show stunnning colours in spring.
Podarcis peloponnesiacus
Subsp. peloponnesiacus, male: GR / Erymanthos, 27.05.2017 - Note the extensive blue blotches on the shoulders of this rather pale specimen.
Podarcis peloponnesiacus
Subsp. thais, male: GR / Parnon, 04.04.2010 – This subspecies shows whitish instead of orange throats.
Podarcis peloponnesiacus
Subsp. thais, male: GR / Tolo, 03.04.2010 - Males of this subspecies may have broad blue colours on the flanks.
Podarcis peloponnesiacus
The shores of the artificial Lake Doxa (GR / Feneos) are inhabited by Podarcis peloponnesiacus, Podarcis muralis, Podarcis ionicus and Lacerta trilineata.