Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

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Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby John Sullivan » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:01 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm an American herper who recently had a few opportunities to spot some European animals while on a family vacation. I posted an account at http://fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=16614. At a small restaurant in Krka National Park in Sibenik, Croatia, I saw some wall lizards that I assumed were all the same species, but a couple of European herpers suggested that two species might be involved. They also suggested that I come to this forum to ask the experts.

Several of these green wall lizards were basking on rocks in a small, raised, human-created rock garden at the front of the restaurant. My best guess is that these are Podarcis sicula:

Image


Around the back of the restaurant, I saw this brown-but-maybe-with-a-hint-of-green wall lizard foraging in gravel and vegetation on the ground. I had assumed that it was a juvenile or female of the same species as the green lizards out front, but the Europeans on fieldherpforum.com think that it looks more like P. melissellensis:

Image


Normally I wouldn't expect two such similar species to occur so close to each other. But perhaps the "human-created rock garden" niche is sufficiently different from the "gravel and weeds on the ground" niche that it supports the two closely related species? Can anyone comment on this, and confirm the IDs for these lizards?

Thanks very much for any help,

John
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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby Mario Schweiger » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:45 pm

You are right.
There are two Podarcis species there and you have got both.
The upper one is Podarcis siculus campestris and the second one is Podarcis melisellensis.
campestris is the stronger one and in most cases it displaces melisellensis to suboptimal habitats.

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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:57 pm

Yep, that's both of them. Nice report. Krka is such a great place although I'd prefer herping California any time.
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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby Martti Niskanen » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:52 pm

Good to see you on this forum, John and glad you got the correct IDs.
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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby John Sullivan » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:13 pm

Thanks for the confirmations! I only got a small taste of European herping, but it left me wanting to come back and spend more time someday.

Does anyone know which is "more correct" between "Podarcis sicula" and "Podarcis siculus"? "sicula" seems to be used somewhat more commonly, but "siculus" is quite common also. The Arnold & Ovenden field guide uses "sicula" but explicitly mentions "siculus" as another name for this species, which seems odd to me.

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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby Mario Schweiger » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:45 pm

The gender of Podarcis is masculine without doubts.
Therefore: siculus, tauricus, peloponnesiacus, etc. but tiliguerta, because last one a subject name (noun - old Sardinian language) and can not change gender.
For more details see:
http://www.vipersgarden.at/PDF_files/PDF-649.pdf
and
http://www.vipersgarden.at/PDF_files/PDF-2085.pdf

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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby John Sullivan » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:02 pm

Mario, thanks very much for the links. That's exactly the kind of info I was hoping for.

John
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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:29 pm

Mario Schweiger wrote:The gender of Podarcis is masculine without doubts.

Well... That's phrased rather boldly, but I agree with the reasoning of treating Podarcis as being of male gender (or best treated as such). The 2002 Arnold field guide was outdated on numerous matters of nomenclature and taxonomy at its very date of publication, btw.
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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby John Sullivan » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:14 pm

Is there a general European herp field guide that's considered to be more correct than Arnold & Ovenden?

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Re: Two nearby Podarcis species in Krka National Park?

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:55 am

John Sullivan wrote:Is there a general European herp field guide that's considered to be more correct than Arnold & Ovenden?

Not really. Not in English.
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