History and origin
The Italian wall lizard was first described by Rafinesque-Schmaltz in 1810, the scientific name of this species is Podarcis sicula, Podarcis from Greek meaning 'agile' and 'feet'. Sicula from Latin meaning 'from Sicily'.
Italian Wall lizard, Podarcis sicula campestris - © Jan van der Voort
Italian Wall lizard, Podarcis sicula campestris - © Wouter Beukema
Italian Wall lizard, Podarcis sicula cetti - © Jan van der Voort
They are possibly the most robust of the Podarcis family present in France. They are quite easily identified thanks to their usual green dorsal colouring.
The eggs measure 10 x 5 to 12 x 6 mm at first, but they swell to get to around 14 x 11 to 15 x 12 mm. They measure up to 30 to 35 mm long, they can grow up to be around 65 mm long, their tail being up to twice the body length making a total adult size of around 180 to 200 mm long.
They have a very long, slender body with a large, deep head, their limbs are very muscular and hind limbs are very strong. Their tail is up to twice the body size.
=Patterns & colours=
They are green, yellowish-olive green, light brown, the males usually have a more vivid pattern then the females who are also smaller and have smaller heads. Specimens often change colour as the grow, with markings increasing. Their tail is usually brown with usually darker freckles. Their belly is white, light gray or sometimes even light yellow. This sub-species has a more striped pattern.
They are found throughout Italy, on Corsica, Sardinia, they can be found in a multitude of small isolated populations on major ports in Spain and France. They are also found along the western coast of the Balkan peninsula.
- campestris - Found in the northern half of Corsica and in Italy.
- cetti - Found in southern Corsica and Sardinia
- sicula - Found in southern Italy and Sicily.
- hieroglyphica - Found on Crete.
Males are larger then females.
They feed on insects, vegetable and sometimes, its own newly hatched young.
They flee at the first sight of danger.
Breeding occurs when they wake up from hibernation in spring. They usually lay between 2 to 12 eggs laid in dense vegetation, in holes in the ground, under stones, they develop for around 5 to 7 weeks. The eggs usually hatch out in July. The females may lay up to 4 clutches.
Sexual maturity, life span
The average life span for Podarcis sicula is about 10 years. They reach their sexual maturity at one year for males and two for females.
They are active by day. They are found very close to people which they tolerate well. They hunt on the ground and can run fast and for long periods to hunt down a prey or dash into shelter from a predator. They are very common in correct habitat, sometimes found at densities of between 10000 to 16000 per hectare. They appear to be quite territorial as the males often attack other green lizards of another species.
They are found up to 800 meters in altitude. They inhabit grassy areas, wood edges, gardens, overgrown fields... They are more common on the east coast of Corsica.
They are eaten by birds, large insects, small mammals, snakes...