Wall lizard
Overview
 
The common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) is a species of lizard
Lizard
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with nearly 3800 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica as well as most oceanic island chains...

 with a large distribution in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and well-established introduced populations in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, where it is also called the European wall lizard. It can grow to about 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in total length.
The common wall lizard is a small, thin lizard whose small scales are highly variable in colour and pattern. Its coloration is generally brownish or greyish, and may occasionally be tinged with green.
Encyclopedia
The common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) is a species of lizard
Lizard
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with nearly 3800 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica as well as most oceanic island chains...

 with a large distribution in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and well-established introduced populations in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, where it is also called the European wall lizard. It can grow to about 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in total length.

Identification

The common wall lizard is a small, thin lizard whose small scales are highly variable in colour and pattern. Its coloration is generally brownish or greyish, and may occasionally be tinged with green. In some individuals the row of spots along their back may form a line, while others may have a reticulated pattern with dark spots on the side and scattered white spots that can be blue in the shoulder region. The tail is brown, grey or rust in colour, and may also have light bars on the sides. The belly region has 6 rows of larger rectangular scales that are generally reddish, pink, or orangish. Common wall lizards may also have dark markings on the throat.

Ecology

The common wall lizard prefers rocky environments, including urban settings where it can scurry between rock, rubble, debris and buildings.

Distribution and status

The natural range spans mainland Europe, including central Spain, southern Belgium, and the Netherlands. It occurs as introduced populations in southern Britain, and also in North America.

North America

Podarcis muralis has been introduced in the United States of America and is spreading in Northern Kentucky
Northern Kentucky
Northern Kentucky is the name often given to the northernmost counties in Kentucky...

/Cincinnati, Ohio. It is commonly observed living in limestone outcrops, rock walls, and rubble along the Ohio River basin and the surrounding seven hills.

It is referred to locally in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area as the "Lazarus lizard", as it was introduced to the area around 1950 by George Rau, a boy who was a member of the family that owned the Lazarus department store chain (now absorbed into Macy's
Macy's
Macy's is a U.S. chain of mid-to-high range department stores. In addition to its flagship Herald Square location in New York City, the company operates over 800 stores in the United States...

). After he returned from a family vacation to Northern Italy, he released about 10 of the reptiles near his Cincinnati home. This prolific lizard has reproduced exponentially, it continues to expand its distribution range annually, and has established itself so well in Southwest Ohio that it is now considered a native (although introduced) species by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and is protected under State law (it is illegal to harm, capture, or possess this animal without a proper licence).

The European wall lizard was also introduced to Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

, British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

in 1970 when a dozen individuals were released into the wild from a small private zoo.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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