Lacerta LINNAEUS,1758

Species (10):

Lacerta agilis  LINNAEUS, 1758

Lacerta bilineata  DAUDIN, 1802

Lacerta citrovittata  WERNER, 1938

Lacerta diplochondrodes   WETTSTEIN, 1952

Lacerta media  LANTZ & CYRÉN, 1920

Lacerta pamphylica  SCHMIDTLER, 1975

Lacerta schreiberi  BEDRIAGA, 1878

Lacerta strigata  EICHWALD, 1831

Lacerta trilineata  BEDRIAGA, 1886

Lacerta viridis  (LAURENTI, 1768)

Uncertain (1):

Lacerta mostoufii  BALOUTCH, 1976

Species Typica:

Lacerta agilis  LINNAEUS, 1758

Taxonomic notes:

Lacerta mostoufii is not really assigned to the group of green lizards. The species is listed here solely because it was described in a time when everything still was Lacerta. Even the existence of Lacerta mostoufii is still unclear.

The current structure within the group of green lizards (subgenus Lacerta s. str.) has evolved in recent decades. The concept founded in 1962 by PETERS devided the group of lizards into five species (Lacerta agilis, Lacerta viridis, Lacerta schreiberi, Lacerta strigata, Lacerta trilineata).
Due to the splitting of Lacerta viridis into Lacerta viridis and Lacerta bilineata (RYKENA 1991, AMANN et al. 1997) and the subdivision of Lacerta trilineata into Lacerta trilineata, Lacerta pamphylica and Lacerta media (PETERS 1964, SHMIDTLER 1975, 1986), Lacerta citrovittata and Lacerta diplochondrodes (KORNILIOS et al. 2019) there are now ten species representing this group. These ten species are again divided in three sister groups (Lacerta agilis group, Lacerta viridis group, and Lacerta trilineata group.)

The Lacerta agilis group (sand lizards) count eleven subspecies, divided into a western subspecies group ( L. a. agilis, L. a. argus, L. a. bosnica, L. a. chersonensis ) and an eastern subspecies group ( L. a. exigua, L. a. boemica, L. a. grusinica, L. a. brevicaudata, L. a. ioriensis, L. a. mzymtensis, L. a. tauridica ).

Assigned to the Lacerta viridis group are; the Eastern Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis ) with the subspecies L. v. viridis, L. v. guentherpetersi, L. v. infrapunctata, L. v. meridionalis, L. v. paphlagonica , the Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata ) with the subspecies L. b. bilineata L. b. chloronota, L. b. chlorosecunda, L. b. fejervaryi, the Iberian Green Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi) and the Striped Green Lizard (Lacerta strigata ).

The Lacerta trilineata group includes the European Giant Green Lizard (Lacerta trilineata), the Cyclades Giant Green Lizard (Lacerta citrovittata), the East-Aegean Giant Emerald Lizard (Lacerta diplochondrodes), the Pamphylian Green Lizard (Lacerta pamphylica ) and the Eastern Giant Green Lizard (Lacerta media ).
Lacerta trilineata is divided into four subspecies (L. t. trilineata, L. t. hansschweizeri, L. t. major, L. t. polylepidota). The East-Aegean Giant Emerald (Lacerta diplochondrodes) also includes four subspecies (L. d. diplochondrodes, L. d. cariensis, L. d. dobrogica, L. d. galatiensis). Lizard From the Eastern Giant Green Lizard (Lacerta media) five subspecies are described; (L. m. media, L. m. ciliciensis, L. m. isaurica, L. m. israelica, L. m. wolterstorffi).

In recent years genetic methods have become increasingly important, and triggered many discussions. Some of these results are partly in contradiction to the traditional taxonomy. For example Lacerta pamphylica (in contrary to all expectations) is almost identical to Lacerta trilineata citrovittata (MAYER, W. 2012 pers. com.). It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the current structure will be changed.


Relevant taxonomic literature:

  • Linnaeus, C. (1758) -  Description of Lacerta agilis and Lacerta algira (= Psammodromus algirus).  -  In: Systema naturae pr regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae, 10th Edition. pp. 203.   

  • Arnold, E.N. & Arribas, O. & Carranza, S. (2007) -  Systematics of the Palaearctic and Oriental lizard tribe Lacertini (Squamata: Lacertidae: Lacertinae), with descriptions of eight new genera. -  Zootaxa, 1430: 1-86.