Amphibians and Reptiles of Long Island,
Staten Island and Manhattan


Regional Lizards

46. Italian Wall Lizard - Podarcis sicula campestris
Description: 6 - 8 ¼" (15 - 21 cm). Dorsal color green with a black and brown spotted line down center from neck to base of tail. White lateral stripe down each side from neck to base of tail. Ventral surface completely white, except lateral border where there are sporadic black spots. Jaw white. Eyes small. Narrow, slender lizards with small scales. Juveniles have more distinct lines and lack green stripes early on.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This lizard has been introduced to L.I. from Europe. It was first introduced onto L.I. in 1967.   It is abundant locally in specific localities. They thrive in urbanized areas living in and around human debris, rocks and logs. Prefer areas with sunlight, especially fields bordered with low vegetation. Primary found on the ground but will climb. Mates in spring and early summer. Young lack green stripes, and are much duller in color, with distinct stripes down back and are 1.5-3". This species is diurnal.
 

47. Northern Fence Lizard - Sceloporus undulatus
Description: 3 ½ - 7 ¼" (9 - 18.5 cm). Color varies from gray to brown. Distinct dark line running along the rear of the thigh. Males have purple to green/blue sides and throat. Females have wavy lines across their backs and yellow to red at base of tail. Belly white with black flecks. This lizard has a very stout body and many spiny scales.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This species (29 individuals) was introduced to the "Rossville sector" of Staten Island by the famous herpetologist Carl F. Kaufeld in 1942. They were deliberately released in order to provide a local source of food for lizard-eating snakes at the Staten Island Zoo.  The release was successful and the lizards were considered "well-established" in 1959.  I am unaware of any more recent information about this population.  Thus it is only found in a very tiny fraction of our area at most, and is quite rare. They prefer to bask in sunny locations on logs, rocks, trees or fences. Prefers pine forests. Mates April to August. 5-15 eggs are laid June through September. Eggs probably hatch late summer /early fall in our area at 1.5 to 2.5". Young look more like the females but are less colored. This species is diurnal. It is now listed as "Threatened" by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.