"Relaxing in the Sun" | Western Green Lizard | Lacerta Bilineata | Adult Female | Monteggio, Ticino | Switzerland
Photographed in June 2015 in the community of Monteggio
WHOLE SERIES ON MY PHOTO WEBSITE: www.lacerta-bilineata.com/post/lacerta-bilineata-westlich...
ABOUT THIS PHOTO:
This particular lizard lady figures quite prominently in this gallery (she's also the subject in the previous photo), though she looks different every time depending on the angle, the time of day and how her skin reflected the sunlight in the moment when I took the photo.
A few days after I first spotted her as a green dart dashing away to safety from the presumed threat I posed, and after various similar encounters in my garden, she eventually decided I wasn't all that dangerous and simply not worth the trouble and waste of energy of fleeing.
From then on, as long as I approached her very slowly and without any hectic movements, she would usually remain in place, though almost always with very wary eyes. Here I was able to get within a distance of maybe two meters, and unfortunately the quality of this photo is not the best (too much zoom, no tripod - it is, what it is ;-) , but I just adore the peaceful expression on her face as she was relaxing in the sun.
ABOUT LACERTA BILINEATA:
The western green lizard belongs to the family of the Lacertidae. This is the family of the wall lizards, true lizards, or sometimes simply lacertas, which are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The Lacerta bilineata is native to Andorra, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Serbia, Slowenia, Spain, and Switzerland. It was introduced in Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Isles and the United States, and there are also introduced colonies on the south coast of the U.K, notably around Poole Bay in Dorset.
DESCRIPTION: Adult western green lizards reach a length of 30 to 45 centimetres including tail (there may be regional differences regarding the size of the species). Males are generally a bit bigger than females, with a slightly bulkier head and body.
With females of the species colors and color patterns can vary greatly and range from dark green and brown to shining emerald green, turquoise and blue and everything in between, even typical male color patterns.
Adult males tend to look more alike (though there are variations too), with their back usually a striking yellowish to emerald green interspersed with black dots, a yellow or yellow-green belly and blue face, all of which much more pronounced during mating season.
As juveniles the lizards are mostly brown with a yellowish green chest and belly. Within a year, as adolescents and sub-adults, they develop white lines or dots on both flanks often in combination with black spots until their eventual color patterns start to shine through.
The two white lines on the flanks of the juveniles - which with the females often remain visible even in adulthood - are also responsible for the species' Latin name "bilineata" which means "two-lined".