European green lizard

(Lacerta viridis)
It is found in dense vegetation, often near the water. It usually tends to sunbathe in the morning and in the afternoon.
Sophia Siggiridou_Kostas Vidakis, MSc

Distribution of the species

Common species in Paggaio. The local population is smaller than the 2% of the national population. The conservation status of the local population, which is not isolated within its wider distribution range, is considered good. In the study area, it is mainly found in habitats with sparse trees and rich undergrowth, in the open habitats of the alpine zone and in the agroforestry areas of the lower altitudes.


Description of the species (biological and ecological features)

Typical lizard with well differentiated head, neck and limbs. Total length 45 cm, body length without tail 13 cm. The long tail is used for movement and reproduction. The coloration varies by gender and age. Males are green with a usually bright blue neck, often also blue on the head. Females are smaller, with a basic coloration like males, but often also brown, with small black spots on the back, and yellowish or white, rarely blue, neck. During the autotomy of the tail, that is its intentional amputation, which is achieved by the contraction of the muscles surrounding the vertebrae at the point where mechanical pressure is exerted by the attack of a predator, the cut part is divided into several parts, like a broken glass, causing confusion to the predator. Then the tail is regenerated.

It is found in dense vegetation, often near the water. It usually tends to sunbathe in the morning and in the afternoon. In sparse forests with dense undergrowth, at forest edges, hedgerows, vineyards, even at high altitudes. Ground-dwelling, but also a capable climber, can be observed in shrubs and hedgerows. It hibernates. Spawn. Oviparous. It uses its forked tongue, taking it out many times, to perceive its environment and to assess the possibility of danger or finding prey. It feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates, sometimes consuming fruits, bird eggs and chicks, small lizards and mice.

There are no significant threats for the species in Paggaio. However, in its wide distribution range, it is locally threatened with habitat loss due to open habitat afforestation and predation by domestic cats. The use of pesticides can reduce food availability in agricultural areas.

Conservation status

Least Concern.

Conservation state

Protected under the 92/43/EEC Directive (Annex ΙV) and the Bern Convention (Appendix ΙΙ). Listed as Least Concern in Greece and in Europe, by the Greek Red Data Book and the IUCN correspondingly.