- Lacerta vivipara von Jacquin, 1787
Common Lizard, Viviparous Lizard
IUCN: LC; Be (II); EUHD (IV); CarpRL: DD
Value of species
This species is placed in the genus Zootoca, rather than Lacerta, following Mayer and Bischoff (1996). The species contains a number of different lineages, some of which might constitute separate species (see Bea et al. (1990), Surget-Groba et al. (2001, 2002), Mayer and Böhme (2000), and Mayer et al. (2000) for further details).
This extremely widespread species ranges from much of northern, western, central and eastern Europe, across most of northern Asia to China and Japan (Hokkaido Island). In Europe it occurs as scattered populations throughout Britain and Ireland, and through most of Scandinavia, the southern limit of its main distribution running through central France, southeastern Austria, northern Italy, along the Dinaric Alps (in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and northern Albania), western Hungary , southern and central Romania, northern Moldova, and central Ukraine. Isolated populations occur in northern Spain and southwestern France, and also in Serbia, western Bulgaria and extreme northeastern and northwestern Macedonia. It can be found from sea level up to 2,900 m asl (Bulgaria).
This can be a locally abundant species. Populations have locally declined in parts of its range (e.g., in the Netherlands) (Council of Europe 2003). The lowland populations in Italy (Po plain) are almost extinct.
This species has been recorded from a wide variety of habitats including grassland, meadows, humid scrubland, hedgerows, open woodland, woodland edges, peat bogs, stream edges, coastal areas (sea cliffs and sand dunes) and rural gardens.
In most areas the female gives birth to between three and 11 fully formed young. In northern Spain, adjacent France, Austria, Italy and Slovenia, the female lays between one and 13 eggs in a single clutch. In the northern portion of the range and at high altitude it is viviparous, in the southern portion it is oviparous.