Podarcis vaucheri - Vaucher's Wall Lizard

Podarcis vaucheri
Male with green back: E / Los Alcornocales (Cádiz), 17.03.2012

Podarcis vaucheri is widespread in Northern Africa and Andalucia and frequently it is the only Wall Lizard in this area. Anyhow, sometimes it may be a confusing species: In literature, it is often described as a lizard with green backs and grey heads. But this seems to apply only for some populations. Actually, this species is quite variable in pattern. In particular in eastern Andalucia there are populations with no green colours at all. These lizards just don't care what they are expected to be.


As a generalist, this well climbing lizard populates a wide range of habitats. It occurs from sea level (Cádiz) to over 2000 m (Sierra Nevada Ski Ressort).

Podarcis vaucheri is a robust big-headed Iberian Wall Lizard with pointed snouts which makes the head shape appear "triangular". It frequently shows a broad dark lateral stripe but no vertebral line. It has contact zones with the following species:

  • Podarcis hispanicus is smaller and has a distinct stripe pattern with a clear vertebral line.
  • Podarcis carbonelli is smaller and has shorter snouts.
  • In the poorly known contact zone of Podarcis virescens and Podarcis vaucheri, identification may be challenging but Podarcis vaucheri's triangular head shape and the dark lateral stripe could help.
  • At the northern slopes of Sierra Nevada, Podarcis liolepis and Podarcis vaucheri (and also Podarcis hispanicus) seem to have a contact zone. Identification may be tricky there and interbreeding cannot be excluded.
Podarcis vaucheri
Distribution area of Podarcis vaucheri and its neighbouring species.

Podarcis vaucheri
Male: E / Sierra Mágina (Jaén), 31.10.2017 - Note the greenish back and the dark flanks.
Podarcis vaucheri
Male: E / Sierra Nevada Ski Center (Granada), 17.11.2016 - In Sierra Nevada, these lizards occur in altitudes over 2000 m.
Podarcis vaucheri
Sierra Mágina (Jaén): In this isolated mountain range, Podarcis vaucheri occurs at altitudes up to 2000 m.