Podarcis siculus
(Rafinesque-Schmaltz 1810)

pō-dăr-sĭs — sĭk-ū-lĭs

Species in Need of Information

An adult from Shawnee County. Image © Travis W. Taggart

Pattern and coloration are highly variable among individuals depending on their sex, age, and breeding condition. The ground color may be tan, brown or green along the back and often contrasts with the coloration of the side. There are generally two poorly-defined light stripes along each side of the back, and a darker irregular stripe down the back. The back and sides may be profusely mottled with small brown to black blotches. The back scales are small and granular while the belly scales are larger rectangular plates. In the spring males may have a reddish tinge under their jaw, throat, check, and front legs.
Adults normally 140-203 mm (5½-8 inches) in TL; largest specimen from Kansas: male (KU 223462) from Shawnee County with SVL of 76 mm and TL of 212 mm (8 5/8 inches) collected by James Gubanyi in July 1996; maximum length throughout native range: 9 ½ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Kansas populations of this non-native species are well-established in Topeka, Hays, and Lawrence. Reports of isolated populations of this lizard in Oxford await verification. The Italian Wall Lizard is a habitat generalist and can be found in a wide variety of ecosystems. Generally, it prefers structurally complex habitats with lush grasses and shrubs. It is known for living at high densities in human-dominated landscapes, particularly on walls (the source of its common name) and will often be seen basking on rock walls or wooden fences with nearby hiding spots.
The Italian Wall Lizard is native to the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf of Africa and Eurasia. It has been introduced into Topeka, Lawrence, and Hays in Kansas. It has also been successfully introduced in California, Connecticut, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York (Briggler 2015; and references therein)

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 205 Total Records 
  • 17 Museum Vouchers 
  • 188 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Douglas (6); Ellis (75); Shawnee (124);

Natural History:
They persist in urban areas where there are abundant places for them to hide. They are active on warm days from February through November and eat a variety of invertebrate prey.
Females lay eggs in one or more clutches in June and July; juveniles are born 5 to 7 weeks later. Juveniles are approximately 1.5 inches (3cm) in length and resemble adults in form, coloration, and pattern. Males are sexually mature after 1 year, while females may require up to 2 years to reach maturity.
The Italian Wall Lizard feeds on invertebrates, especially caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles. Some populations are also known to eat plant leaves and flower parts.

Occurrence Activity:
Populations of the Italian Wall Lizard and the Western Green Lacerta are the product of an introduction from the former Quivira Specialties biological supply house of Topeka at 21st and Gage Boulevard (Jim Gubanyi, pers. comm.). Subsequently, populations have become established in Hays (since 1998) and Lawrence (north of the Kansas River; since 1999; and around the University of Kansas since 2001). Since its introduction, the Italian Wall Lizard has expanded its range within the city limits of Topeka and can now be expected throughout the SW quarter of the city.
Briggler (2015) reported on the first established colony in Missouri. That population was established in 2001-2002 from escaped animals collected from the Topeka population.

2001 Gubanyi, James E. Notes on reproduction of the Western Green Lacerta (Lacerta bilineata) and the Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis sicula) in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter 126():15
2002 Gubanyi, James E. Notes on the Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis sicula) when maintained in captivity with native Kansas lizards. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (3):14
2003 Gubanyi, James E. Additional notes on reproduction in the Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis sicula) . Journal of Kansas Herpetology (8):22
2006 Dugan, Erin. Observations on native and alien Podarcis. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (19):10
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2007 Taggart, Travis W. The 10th annual running of the lizards. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (24):15
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2015 Briggler, Jeffrey T., Rhonda L. Rimer, and Guntram Deichsel First record of the Northern Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis siculus campestris) in Missouri. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 22(1):43-45
Account Last Updated:
7/7/2018 12:23:03 AM

Travis W. Taggart © 2020 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University