• Lacerta Bilineata

Lagartija Roquera - Podarcis Muralis

Common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) often share the same habitat with western green lizards (Lacerta bilineata), and although my blog and website are dedicated to the latter, I will always include other fauna from the green lizard kingdom, and the commons - which are actually not all that common - will always be represented here whenever I'm able to shoot some usable photos of them. It's true that the Podarcis muralis occurs much more frequently and has a wider distribution than Lacerta bilineata, and the species is decidedly less "flamboyant" regarding its colors, but these are still very beautiful lizards, particularly during mating season.

What's fascinating also ist that they occur in at least six different morphs, which is not all that common among the same species, let alone within the same habitat. So if you've ever observed dark green individuals with orange bellies and brown ones with nearly white undersides and grey ones that are ornamented with blue "saphires" on their sides, and came to the conclusion those must be the differences between subadults, males and females, the correct answer is in all likelihood nope (there's actually not all that much sexual dismorphism with these lizards). They may all well be around the same age and of the same sex and defintely of the same species; it's just that these lizards apparently have evolved into six different "looks" (which also come with certain other distinctions regarding for example their immune sytems; you can read about all that on Wikipedia).

In addition to that, there's also regional differences, so I guess it's fair to say that common wall lizards don't like to be all that common and have a knack for colorful variations :-) All of the individuals below I photographed in May 2021 in my garden or its immediate surroundings. In case you were wondering how they get along with their much bigger cousins, the bilineatas, the answer is: it's complicated. Smaller individuals of Podarcis muralis run like hell if they happen to get close to a grown western green lizard (because they rightly fear they might get eaten), and even the bigger common wall lizards seem to at least avoid their green neighbors. But it's not uncommon at all to see the commons bask in the sun right next to Lacerta bilineata or even climb over them without any signs of fear, so it might depend on the specific habitat they share, how abundant food is for both species and if it's even possible for them to avoid each other.