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The Iberian Emerald Lizard lives in Spain and Portugal but is a "Near Threatened" species of reptile

Updated on May 27, 2015

Schreiber's Green Lizard

Male Iberian Emerald Lizard
Male Iberian Emerald Lizard | Source

Iberian Emerald Lizard

The Iberian emerald lizard (Lacerta schreiberi) is a pretty species of lizard found, as its name suggests, in Spain and Portugal (Iberia). It is also known as Schreiber's green lizard. In Spanish it is called "Lagarto Verdinegro".

It has a pretty vivid green colouration on its back in adult males, hence its name. This basic green colour is marked all over with black dots and markings, and the heads and throats of these male lizards is bright blue. The females are a greenish-brown with brown heads. The males are yellowish underneath with more black spots. Juvenile lizards are coloured more like the females and with lighter brown sides

Iberian Emerald Lizard

Iberian emerald lizard spotted on farmland.
Iberian emerald lizard spotted on farmland. | Source

Description and habitats of the Iberian Emerald Lizard

The Iberian emerald lizard has a long tail which is over twice the length of the main body, and this can mean that a large specimen of this reptile can reach as much as 38 cm in length, including the tail.

The Iberian emerald lizard is found in scrub-land, in clearings in woods, on farmlands, along fences and on banks, by rivers and streams, and in the valleys of mountain areas, where it can be found as high as 2,100 metres above sea level. It is mainly distributed throughout the north-western mountains of Spain and Portugal but has populations in coastal parts too. It is quite happy with a damp and humid environment.

This lizard is active by day and can swim well. The Iberian emerald lizard will also climb in bushes and on rocks and walls to sun itself and seeking prey.

The Iberian emerald lizard feeds mainly on insects but will also take smaller reptiles, such as other smaller lizards, and will eat some fruit. It is also reported to eat baby birds.

The Iberian emerald lizard mates in April and May and the females lay single clutches of 11 to 18 eggs in June.

Male Iberian emerald lizards do not defend territories but they will fight with rival males. This species of lizard can also hiss like a snake when alarmed and wanting to defend itself.

The Iberian emerald lizard's Conservation Status is "Near Threatened" on the IUCN Red List. It is declining in numbers mainly due to habitat loss. It does not adapt well to changes in the environment brought about by human developments and by forest fires, for example.

It is eaten by carnivorous mammals, birds of prey and snakes.

Iberian emerald lizard

European Green Lizard

The Iberian emerald lizard looks quite similar in many ways to the much commoner European green lizard (L. viridis), and the Western green lizard (L. bilineata). These closely related species have similar colouration to the Iberian emerald lizard.

There is an ongoing debate about whether these two aforementioned lizards are actually two distinct species but in either case they are not regarded as threatened like the Iberian emerald lizard is.

The European green lizard is found across Europe as far east as the coasts of Turkey and the Ukraine. It has been introduced into the state of Kansas in America and because of its wide distribution its Conservation Status is of "Least Concern."

Western green lizards coupling



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      Ivan 8 months ago

      We have a male & female living in our garden. I have actually caught the male eating the dogs food. The male will also let me watch him from a short distance, but not the female. By the way I live on the Algarve.

    • Green Bard profile image

      Steve Andrews 2 years ago from Tenerife

      Thanks for owning up and sharing your experience, Lee!

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      Fantastic hub, unfortunately i killed one a few years back whilst in southern Spain, i was changing the baby's nappy and I just seen it running up the wall and I got a freight and went for it, I put it in a plastic bag and took it to reception, the lady behind reception went ballistic, I thought she was going to call the civil guard, she showed me a website on her computer about how they are protected and endangered, I've felt guilty ever since especially every time I see one, I keep a ceramic one in the kitchen as a daily reminder not to go into combat mode when one pops up, thanks for sharing, Lee

    • Green Bard profile image

      Steve Andrews 2 years ago from Tenerife

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, as usual, habitat loss due to humans is causing big problems for animal species!

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      Nice Hub about this beautiful creature. It's a pity they're close to extinction.