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Photospot: Peloponnese lizards

The Peloponnese peninsula in Greece is unusual in having two endemic lizard species (found only here). Happily, both can be common in the right habitat and are easily separated in the field.

For the Peloponnese wall lizard, think stripes. For the Greek rock lizard, think spots.

Peloponnese wall lizard Podarcis peloponnesiacus

One of the chunkiest wall lizards (body to 8.5cm) with strong stripes and extensive blue patches on well-marked males. The tail is shorter than the Greek rock lizard (up 15cm). Females are browner, but still striped; juveniles may have blue tails.

Peloponnese wall lizard

Lizards near the coast are likely to be Peloponnese wall lizards, but they are also found in the hills.

Note the strong blue markings on the flank.

blue flanks

Greek rock lizard Lacerta graeca

A flattened body (to 8cm), a long head and very long tail (up to 18cm). It’s dark grey or brown, sometimes bluish in males, and the spots can be blue, too. The tail is plain. The underside is yellow or orange, with some spots. The female is less spotty but, as for the male, is not striped.

Greek rock lizard

These two close-up photos of Greek rock lizard chop off the tail: see right to see the long tail.

Greek rock lizard

They are locally common in higher areas, especially above 400m. They climb well on rocks, trees and walls.

Greek rock lizard
A different, delightfully spotted Greek rock lizard (Morag McGrath).

More nature notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peloponnese

Map of Peloponnese

Peloponnese wall lizard

The blue flanks show on this Peloponnese wall lizard, despite being half-hidden in a rock crevice.

Erhard's wall lizard

Erhard’s wall lizard (photo, above, from Wikipedia) is supposed to occur in northern parts of the Peloponnese, though not in the main Honeyguide holiday area.

Variability in lizards would make separation a challenge, though adult Erhard’s wall lizards are typically smaller, less boldly striped and lack the blue patches.

Greek rock lizard

This view shows the long tail of a Greek rock lizard.

More photos of Greek rock lizards here and of Peloponnese wall lizards here, both on euroherp.com

Other reptiles recorded on Honeyguide Peloponnese holidays

Marginated tortoise
European pond terrapin
Loggerhead turtle (dead!) top
Turkish gecko bottom
Kotschy’s gecko
Greek rock lizard
Peloponnese wall lizard
Snake-eyed skink
Four-lined snake
Aesculapian snake

loggerhead turtle

Turkish gecko

Photographs on this page by Chris Durdin unless noted.

Also see: Peloponnese in January.

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