Podarcis tauricus - Balkan Wall Lizard

Podarcis tauricus
Male: RO / Histria, 27.05.2013 - Males frequently show yellow undersides.

The Balkan Wall Lizard is the easternmost member of the genus Podarcis: Its distribution area reaches from Hungaria over Romania, Bulgaria and Eastern Greece and along the Black Sea coast to Crimea Peninsula in the east (as the scientific name "tauricus" indicates). Being well-adapted to the eastern European steppe, it lives in grassy habitats and climbs less than other Wall Lizards.

Podarcis tauricus shows a characteristic ventral pattern of broad dark supra-dorsolateral streaks on the back with a green streak in the center (although the green colours may fade during summer).

 

The former subspecies ionicus is now recognized as a separate species, Podarcis ionicus. It differs from Podarcis tauricus by its broad green ventral area.

 

Within its distribution range, Podarcis tauricus could be confused with Podarcis erhardii or Podarcis muralis. Both species have no green colouration and frequently show dark blotches on the labials which lack in Podarcis tauricus.

 

Lacerta agilis chersonensis has no dark supra-dorsolateral streaks but frequently a dark vertebral stripe.

Podarcis tauricus
The (approximate) distribution ranges of Podarcis tauricus and Podarcis ionicus.

Podarcis tauricus
Female: RO / Vadu, 25.05.2013 - Podarcis tauricus usually has unspotted labials.
Podarcis tauricus
Male: RO / Babadag, 25.05.2013 - Note the broad brownish supra-dorsolateral streaks and the narrow green area on the back.
Podarcis tauricus
The ruins of ancient Greek Histria at the Romanian Black Sea coast - Habitat of Podarcis tauricus and Lacerta agilis.