Italian Wall Lizard
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YPM R 19238

Online Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut

Italian Wall Lizard - Podarcis sicula

Description

A small, brown and green lizard with body sizes between 3 and 4 inches (7.6 – 10 cm) and tails of equal or greater length. Undersides are uniform white or cream, but colored patterning on the back is highly variable, sometimes with stripes, spots, or solid colors.

 

Reproduction

Where it is native, females lay eggs in one, or if conditions are favorable, several clutches in early- and mid-summer; juveniles are born 5 to 7 weeks later.  Little is known about the reproductive biology of this species outside its native range.

 

Juveniles

Juveniles closely resemble adults but total length is often less than 1.5 inches  (3 cm). Males will reproduce after 1 year, whereas females may require up to 2 years to reach maturity.

 

Habitat

The Italian Wall Lizard is a habitat generalist and can be found in a wide variety of ecosystems. Generally, it prefers structurally complex habitats with lush grasses and shrubs. It is known for living at high densities in human-dominated landscapes, particularly on walls (the source of its common name) and will often be seen basking on rock walls or wooden fences with nearby hiding spots.

 

Food

 The Italian Wall Lizard eats a wide variety of insects and invertebrates, often focusing on caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles. Some populations are also known to eat plant leaves and flower parts.

 

Range

 The native range of the Italian Wall Lizard is the Mediterranean basin, particularly the Italian Peninsula. It is an able colonizer though, and has been introduced to many cities in North America including Los Angeles and New York City. In Connecticut it has only been observed in Fairfield county, near Greenwich and the New York state line.

 

Status

Non-native.Common where found

 

References

Arnold, E. N. 2002. Reptiles and Amphibians of Europe. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, USA.

 

Donihue, C.M., M.R. Lambert, G.J. Watkins-Colwell. 2014. Podarcis sicula: The first population found in New England. Geographical Distribution Notes: Herpetological Review 45(4) 661-662.

 

Donihue, C.M., M.R. Lambert, and G.J. Watkins-Colwell. In PressPodarcis sicula (Italian wall lizard) habitat invasion of suburban New England. Herpetological Review. 

 

Credits

Text by Colin Donihue.
Photograph (top) © Max Lambert. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Photographs (middle and bottom) © Colin Donihue. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Animals featured in photographs on this page are from Connecticut.