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Schreiber’s green lizard – going blue in the face!

Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi)
Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi)

Schreiber’s green lizard (latin name Lacerta schreiberi) is only found in the northwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula: that is in both central/northern Portugal and northwest Spain.  There are also some isolated populations in southern Portugal and Spain which might be refugia (isolated outposts) from a more widespread distribution in the past.  These particular lizards like quite humid areas and so are often found close to steams, but they can occur from sea level up to and above 2000m.  I came across this individual on a sheltered rock, protected by a shrubby gorse habitat, near to the coast at Cabo de Bares in Galicia, NW Spain.  The males have lovely blue throats which are attractive to the females of the species during the breeding season.  The males with the brightest and most intense blue throats (as well as the greatest amount of reflected ultraviolet light) are the most successful in terms of attracting and keeping mates!  The females must really like blue!  But the intensity of the blue colour is a fairly good indication of the health and well-being (e.g. freedom from parasites) of the males (confirming the theory proposed by the late great zoologist, William D. Hamilton), so it is a good way of selecting the best partner to mate with!  How blue is your throat my dear?!

Schreiber's Green Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi)
Schreiber’s Green Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi)

Egid Schreiber was a German herpetologist who wrote a book published in 1912 called: Herpetologia europaea

K Bajer, O Molnár, J Török, G Herczeg (2010). Female European green lizards (Lacerta viridis) prefer males with high ultraviolet throat reflectance. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 64, 2007-2014

rcannon992 View All

I am a retired entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.

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