common wall lizard or Podarcis muralis

 The common wall lizard

This is an small lizard found in Central and South Europe that lives in crackels in walls, rocks and boulders. They live from insects ( mostly flies, gnats, midgets, moths) and slower food , like caterpillars and woodlice and spiders.  For larger prey the lizard  will thrashes its prey to death on the nearest rock and swallows them headfirst. (5)They can easely be seen, on  wall, rock face, any stonework, piles of wood where it can bask in the sun. There sharp nails make is possible to climb every wall.

common wall lizard, sun basking

The common wall lizard in usa and britain

Due to climate change , but also with help of humans they have spread into great Britain  and the USA, were  it is technically a non-native species, having been introduced or escaped into the wild.In Britain they can be found in a number of sites in Southern England , especially  along the cliffs of Dorset, and as far north as Sheffield.

In the Usa  there are populations around  Cincinnati  using railroad lines as spontaneous expanding corridors. . There origin has started in Italy , and are by  released by member(s) of the Lazarus family, a family well-known in Cincinnati somwere between the 1940s or 1950s. These are   the “famous Lazarus lizards”. (4)

European Lizards (3)

1   the European green lizard or Lacerta viridis 
2  the Sand Lizard or  Lacerta agilis, 
the Wall lizard or  Podarcis  muralis 
the Common lizard or Lacerta vivipara 
the slowworm or Anguis fragilis

The wall lizard shows a great diversity in appearance or , as it is called in biology, phenotype. On this old illustration (2) five morphs or forms or variatiobs are depicted:

  1 var. lilfordi                                                                                                                                              2 var. serpa,  near Capri                                                                                                                    3 var. brueggemanni,  near Genua                                                                                              4 var. quadrilimeata, on Sardinia                                                                                                5 var. bedriago,    on Corsica

different morphs and wall lizard 

There are  six morphs of the wall lizard that can be easely distinguished from each other.  The morphs not only differ in phenotype (appearance) but also in seize,  and other features like :  The chemical communication between the plays a key role in morph recognition and mate choice. Every morph  uses a different  amount of compounds (especially tocopherols and furanones) . This makes it possible to find a partner of the desired gender, age and morphs. (3)

Polymorphisme and the wall lizard

Polymorphisme is an adaptation to different niches (locations ) were the wall lizard lives.  G. Evelyn Hutchinson, a founder of niche research, commented “It is very likely from an ecological point of view that all species, or at least all common species, consist of populations adapted to more than one niche”.

Wall lizard as a pet

The wall lizard is a popular pet that needs a large terrarium. If can be feed easely  with mealworms, buffalo worms, and crickets. During summertime I’ll feed them with locally catched locust and other insects. But it is much easier to feed them a fruit fly automat. Remember that a wall-lizard never stops eating.  They are quite shy and easy to keep but do not tolerate other lizards:

Wall lizard and the common  and  Italian lizard

The common wall lizard is agressive to the much larger common and Italian lizards. The Italian lizard occupies the same habitat: cracks in walls, but starts living in the grass when confronted with the wall lizard. The common lizard is driven away by the wall lizard.





(1)   1903, “Brockhaus’ Lexikon”.

(2)  Bulletin de la Société zoologique de France (Pl. IX) (6198087164)

(3Chemical polymorphism in male femoral gland secretions matches polymorphic coloration in common wall lizards (Podarcis muralisChemoecologyVolume 24, Issue 2pp 67–78
(4On the Origin of the Common Wall Lizards Podarcis muralis (Reptilia: Lacertidae) in Cincinnati, Ohio GUNTRAM DEICHSEL

(5) Guardian