Skip to content

Bocage’s Wall Lizard

Bocage's Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei)
Bocage’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei)

Bocage’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei) is only found in the NW corner of the Iberian Peninsula, including Galicia, Spain. It is a small lizard which is often seen on wooden broad-walks, where it pops up to bask in the sunshine. They quickly disappear beneath the planks when heavy footed humans get near!

Bocage's Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei) on a wooden broadwalk
Bocage’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei) on a wooden broadwalk

The sexes are differently coloured: the mature males have a green upper (dorsal) surface, whilst the females have a brown one, usually! As well as a green back, the males also have brown flanks (as shown below). These little lizards only live for about four years. The males quickly turn green once they have reached sexual maturity, and have only 2-3 years as an adult (1).

Bocage's Wall Lizard, Podarcis bocagei (male)
Bocage’s Wall Lizard, Podarcis bocagei (male)

Many animals, from butterflies to lizards, are faced with conflicting demands in terms of their biology. Whilst they need to remain hidden – inconspicuous and cryptically coloured – to avoid predation, they also need to be bright and conspicuous in order to signal their sexual prowess, or fitness. Males are usually, but not always, the sex which signals their overall genetic fitness in terms of bright colouration and showy displays. The females choose who they want to mate with, based on these colours or displays.

I took these photo (top and below) of nice bright green male Bocage’s Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei) in May (top) and June (below). The breeding season runs from April to July. They usually let me get quite close; they do not want to move out of their warm, sunny spot unless they have to!

Breeding males also turn a bright yellow colour on their under (ventral) sides, during the reproductive period. Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to catch this one and turn it over! It is difficult enough to get sufficiently close to get a good photograph.

Bocage's Wall Lizard, Podarcis bocagei (male) 4i
Bocage’s Wall Lizard 

Somewhat confusingly, a small proportion (less than 10%) of female lizards of this species turn green after mating, particularly in coastal areas (2). I blogged about this phenomenon before. So it’s possible he is a she! And the one above does look quite fat, as though it was gravid (pregnant). Some things I guess we will never know!

Photographs taken near Morouzos beach, Ortigueira, Galicia, Spain.


  1. Galán, P. (2008). Ontogenetic and sexual variation in the coloration of the lacertid lizards Iberolacerta monticola and Podarcis bocagei. Do the females prefer the greener males?. Animal Biology, 58(2), 173-198.
  2. Galán, P. (2000). Females that imitate males: dorsal coloration varies with reproductive stage in female Podarcis bocagei (Lacertidae). Copeia, 2000(3), 819-825.

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.

One thought on “Bocage’s Wall Lizard Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

walter sanford's photoblog

Showcasing some of my digital photography and videography.


Science, skepticism and dragonflies

Paths Unwritten

Lost Cities. Forgotten Spaces. Curious Places.


Alex Markovich: author, visual storyteller, theater director

Q13 FOX News

Seattle and Western Washington's source for breaking news, weather, and sports. Home of Washington’s Most Wanted and the Seattle Seahawks.

Spanish Linguist

a linguist writes about Spanish

Ray Cannon's nature notes

Every picture tells a story

Too Lazy To Weed

The not so ordinary wildlife of an ordinary (but scruffy) garden

Nature etc.

Books, birds and tales from the wild

Juha Lappalainen photography

The way I see the world around me...

Wandering with Butterflies

and other Lepidoptera

Andrew Szopa-Comley

Exploring the natural world.

Ewa Ludwiczak

Watercolour Painting and Illustration


A fine site

Mia Elizabeth Croft

Ecology, Conservation & Insects

Blogs from the Natural History Museum

Inspiring a love of the natural world

%d bloggers like this: