Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Reptiles & amphibians

Skyros Wall Lizard (Podarcis gaigeae)

Description

The Skyros wall lizard belongs to the Lacertidae family, which consists of groups of lizards with slim bodies and long tails. The average body length is 8.5 cm, and the tail can reach up to twice of the latter. Males and females are substantially different from each other. Males display a more colourful back, characterised by a vibrant stripe of green on the back and brown sides, meanwhile females are mostly brownish. Both of them have white undersides, with the exception of the neck, which can have up to six variants between orange, yellow and white. These colour variations are believed to be related to signalling and mating, but there is no evidence yet. Some lizards can also display small blue patches on their shoulders, or across their body.

Habitat

The Skyros Wall Lizard tends to prefer shrubby vegetation, rocky shore and rocky areas, such as cliffs and mountain peaks, where they can seek shelter. However, they also populate vast bare areas, as they provide continuous sunlight exposure.

Diet

The Skyros Wall Lizard is an insectivorous, which means that it feeds on insects, mainly on arthropods. In some cases, Skyros wall lizards have been documented approaching birds and falcons’ nests, and feed on their leftovers.

Protection Status

This species is listed as “Vulnerable” by IUCN Red List.

Interesting Fact

The Skyros Wall Lizard its extremely fast, and it relies on this property of it to attack its prey, and also to escape from predators. When captured, this lizard can lose its tail on purpose to free itself. On some small islands, there have been some cases of gigantism.

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