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Green lizards in central Europe: status, threats and ... - VipersGarden

Green lizards in central Europe: status, threats and ... - VipersGarden

Green lizards in central Europe: status, threats and ... -

BOHMB, W., BISCHOFF, W. & T. ZlEGLER (eds.): HERPETOLOGIA BONNENSIS, 1997: 105-113 Green lizards in central Europe: status, threats and research necessary for conservation KERSTIN ELBING, HANS-KONRAD NETTMANN & SIIJCE RYKENA Introduction Green lizards (genus Lacerta s.str.) form a real clade rather distinct from other lacertid groups (MAYER & BENYR 1994). Mainly the L. lepida IL. princeps species group, which is commonly lumped with green lizards (e.g. in the most common field guide of ARNOLD & BURTON 1978), is forming quite a different, not closely related clade (Lurz & MAYER 1984, RYKENA & NETTMANN 1986, MAYER & BENYR 1994), recently designated as separate genus Timon (MAYER & BISCHOFF 1996). Species number in green lizards has increased within the last 15 years. Currently eight species are recognized, L. schreiberi, L. strigata, L. pamphylica, L. trilineata, L. media, L. bilineata, L. viridis, L. agilis, the last five of them are polytypic. Taxonomic status Beside of the sand lizard, L. agilis, which is not subject of this paper, the green lizards are represented in Central Europe by two forms, formerly known as L. viridis. BOKER (1990) demonstrated marked differences in thermal requirements and activity pattern, comparing his own ecological observations from populations at the Rhine with PETERS (1970) data from Brandenburg. This as well as arguments given by NETTMANN & RYKENA (1984) supported the hypothesis of B6HME (1978) about two ecologically different adapted forms, representing different glacial refugia. Based on results from hybridization studies RYKENA (1991) had stated, that the former I. viridis consists at least of two distinct species. That means, the former western subspecies is genetically isolated enough to be recognized as a distinct species Lacerta bilineata DAU- DIN. Recently AMANN (1995) supported this specific differentiation of the two forms, based on electrophoretic data. His results, together with further hybridization data will be published soon (AMANN et al. in press.). L. bilineata is present in Western Germany, Switzerland, France, Northern Spain and Northern Italy. The systematic status of the green lizards in the Italian peninsula is still not known sufficiently (NETTMANN & RYKENA 1984). But, based on preliminary observations about coloration of hatchlings and adults, we prefer to list all green lizards from Italy with sometimes unclear subspecific status tentatively as belonging to L. bilineata. Likewise the animals from the Balkan Peninsula and from Northern Anatolia, described as different subspecies, belong to L. viridis (fig. 1). 105