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Lacerta viridis. (72)
The Emerald’s Mating Dress.
Lacerta viridis (Laurenti, 1768)
Eastern European Green Lizard
If you take a springtime walk at the edge of the vineyards south of Vienna, you will probably see some strikingly colourful blue and green dots near your path that turn out to be sizeable lizards basking in the sun. The lizards reach a total length of 40 cm. Two thirds go on the tail.
Very quick and alert, these lizards will dash into the shelter of the dense undergrowth of nearby scrubs before you can get any closer. My stalking techniques trained on butterflies used to fail on these lizards whenever I tried a closer approach. That time, when spotting a male proudly presenting its beauty on a white rock from the distance, I finally managed to get as close as 1.5 meters with the sun right behind me. Close enough to be able to do a number of shots, and to count an astonishing number of ticks sticking to the lizard’s flanks.
Young animals are brownish, adult males and females are uniformly brightly green, and - during mating time in April and May - the male’s throat is of a bright and very conspicuous cerulean blue.
The Eastern European green lizard (Lacerta viridis) is distributed from the eastern lowlands of Austria through the Balkan to Greece, to southern Ukraine and northern Turkey. There is also an isolated population in Brandenburg east of Berlin, Germany, that seems to be a relic of medieval times with warm and dry climate centuries ago.
The similar looking but genetically different Lacerta bilineata (Daudin 1802) / Western European Green Lizard / il ramarro / Lagartija verde / le lézard vert is distributed from the northern Iberian peninsula through France into parts of the German Rhine valley, to southern Switzerland and to Italy.
Both species feed on insects, small lizards, and even mice. In springtime the females lay 6 to 20 eggs.
The moment I tried to change my position for a more rewarding frontal approach, the lizard again was wiser than me, and it disappeared at once into the shelter of scrubs. Still well in sight, but out of reach, staying a challenge for another chance to come.
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 72mm tele (equivalent 420mm at full size SLR), F/8, 1/320 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash, 21.04.2007, 13:50.
Photoshop Elements, 50% cropped, downsized to the web, resharpened, levels slightly adjusted.
Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day.
PS: For a full size body view from larger distance, please have a look at:
|Altered Image #1|
|Lacerta viridis (Laurenti 1768)|
European Green Lizard
Always a challenge for a close-up.
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 72mm, F/8, 1/400 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash, 21.04.2007, 13:49.
Photoshop Elements, slightly cropped, downsized to the web, resharpened, levels slightly adjusted.