Madeiran wall lizard facts for kids

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Madeira wall lizard
Teira dugesii in the São Jorge Island, Azores
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Lacertidae
Genus: Teira
Species: T. dugesii
Binomial name
Teira dugesii
(Milne-Edwards, 1829)
Synonyms
  • Lacerta dugesii Milne-Edwards, 1829
  • Lacerta dugesii mauli Mertens, 1938
  • Podarcis dugesii jogeri Bischoff, Osenegg & Mayer, 1989
  • Podarcis dugesii selvagensis Bischoff, Osenegg & Mayer, 1989

The Madeira wall lizard (Teira dugesii) or Madeira lizard is a species of lizard in the Lacertidae family, and the only member of the genus Teira.

Distribution

This Madeira wall lizard is endemic to the Madeira Islands, Portugal, where it is abundant. In the Azores, this lizard is found after involuntary introduction during the 19th century by ship trade between the two archipelagos, but the lizards have never reached the population numbers as in their territory of origin. There is also a small population in the port area of Lisbon, probably accidentally transported in ships carrying bananas, and first found in 1992; a study of 2001 found that the population has remained stable in size since its discovery.

Taxonomy

The species was named after the French zoologist Louis Antoine Dugès (1797–1838).

The subspecies Teira dugesii mauli (Mertens, 1938) from the Desertas Islands now is a synonym of Teira dugesii dugesii. Atlantolacerta andreanskyi (Andreansky's lizard) from Morocco, and Scelarcis perspicillata (Menorca wall lizard) from Morocco, Algeria and Minorca, were in the genus Teira but now are in other genera.

The species Teira dugessii presents three subspecies:

  • Teira dugesii dugesii (Milne-Edwards, 1829) - of the Madeira island and of the Desertas Islands (Deserta Grande, Ilhéu Chão e Bugio). The population introduced in Azores and Lisbon are of this subspecie.
  • Teira dugesii jogeri (Bischoff, Osenegg & Mayer, 1989) - of the Porto Santo island.
  • Teira dugesii selvagensis (Bischoff, Osenegg & Mayer, 1989) of the Selvagens islands.

Characteristics

These lizards can reach 20 cm (7.9 in) in length, although adults have usually between 10 and 15 cm (3.9 and 5.9 in). Their color can vary from light brown to dark gray, but with some of them (usually males) may show other colors, like green, blue and violet. Males can be easily distinguished from females due to the presence of a yellow fold at the bottom of the hind legs.

The females lay two to three groups of eggs annually. And some individuals could live to 16 years or more.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Funchal - 2012-10-26 (21)
Two Madeira lizards in Funchal.

Food

Despite being essentially an insectivorous species, ripe fruits and berries (especially blackberries) are also part of their diet.

Habitat

This species is generally found in arid areas where the vegetation is not dense. It may also occur in open woodland, areas with rocks and where crops are grown.


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