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common black lizards!!!

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Herpetofauna Native to the UK
Forum Name: Common Lizard
Forum Description: Forum for all issues concerning Lacerta vivipara
Printed Date: 30 May 2020 at 6:48pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: common black lizards!!!
Posted By: Robs adders
Subject: common black lizards!!!
Date Posted: 15 Mar 2008 at 12:44pm

some Common Lizard pics from 2007pics from 2007

Hi i am a new member


 I have been directed to this forum buy a friend of mine to ask for some opinions and answers to a few questions.

I am a keen (amateur) wildlife photographer  who has been studying a colony of wild adders for the last 5 years but there is one particular area I regularly visit that has some very unusual black lizards!!  On  my first encounter with one I thought I had just found a one off melanistic lizard but over most of 2007 every time I searched this area I found up to 5 different individuals, the most I counted in a day was 9 all in a area of about 3 acres!! Could this be a sub species of or common Lizard??  Or has the melanistic gene just been spread in one area. I have thought that they may be doing better doing better than the ordinary common lizards in this area as there main predators would be the snakes and the black lizards would warm up quicker than the regular ones!! Giving them the edge and the opportunity to escape predation earlier in the day!!

Here are some pics of them I have lots and lots of pics of them if any one is interested I will post more pics.

Regards Rob


Posted By: Robs adders
Date Posted: 15 Mar 2008 at 1:07pm

Another shot of one of the black ones and a normal one!!

Posted By: will
Date Posted: 15 Mar 2008 at 1:17pm
Hello Rob

Here's a pic of a similarly melanistic common lizard (male) from Boscombe in Bournemouth.   Melanistic individuals can be found at high frequencies in populations of lizards and adders, especially in the far north of their range where the benefits to thermoregulation outweigh increased risk of predation due to conspicuousness.   I really like the idea that, if adders (mainly hunting using non-visual cues) are the main predators, speedy black lizards might be at an advantage compared with more cryptic ones, but I suspect birds might then sway the population in favour of the typical forms - so maybe there is a balance between melanistic and typical colours ?



Posted By: Robs adders
Date Posted: 15 Mar 2008 at 2:48pm


Hi will

 thanks for your response cool pic !! It is interesting I wonder what percentage of the UK population are melanistic lizards and how wide spread they are??


Posted By: Robs adders
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2008 at 6:40am


This could be the same area ! as the area i am refering to is on the mendips.

Posted By: Robs adders
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2008 at 5:41pm


May be it isnt the same area there is a pond not to far away but the area i am in has no walls just really long grass that never gets grazed by farm livestock. I would be pleased to talk with anyone working that area.


regards Rob

Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2008 at 8:23pm
Send your records in!

Have you got any counts of the numbers of adders you have seen over the last five years? this may be useful for the Make the Adder Count Survey - please do have a trawl through your notes and photos to try and get dates and numbers

John Baker would be pleased to have any counts -


Report your sightings to the Record Pool" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: Robs adders
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2008 at 3:10pm

This is a shot of them mating in 2004 (22nd April) if you look closely you can see they are joined. I watched them for over 2 hours on this particular day there were several males around one female, some of the males were fighting I have only seen this a few times amazing to watch. As for recording numbers it always varies from each visit but In my area I usual see 6 7 females and similar numbers of males there are several hot spots were I see the same female basking in the sun depends on time of day weather and time of year as to how active they are I always see the females first each year, then they just seem to disappear. I start seeing the odd male and then around 10th April both sexes are about. I will start taking a few notes this year.

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