Viviparous Lizard

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Viviparous Lizard

 

(Lacerta viviparta), a reptile of the family Lacertidae. Body length, 15 to 18 cm; tail length, 10 to 11 cm. Its dorsal coloration is brown with black spots. The males have an orange abdomen; females have green or yellow abdomens. The viviparous lizard, distributed throughout Europe (except in the southeast) and northern Asia, is found on mountains up to 3,000 m in elevation. It lives primarily in hummocky swamps with shrubs and in coniferous and deciduous forests and feeds on insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.

The fertilized eggs remain in the oviducts, where their development takes approximately three months. The young usually emerge from the mother still in the eggshells, hatching within several minutes (this method of reproduction is called ovoviviparity). The young measure up to 4 cm long and are black. The litter of older females consists of eight to 12 off-spring; young females bear two to five. Viviparous lizards winter in burrows, under tree roots, or under bark. Ovoviviparity developed in this species as a result of the cold continental climate. In the Pyrenees Mountains, however, the viviparous lizard is an egg-layer.

References in periodicals archive ?
2003: Evolutionary maintenance of sexual dimorphism in head size in the lizard Zootoca vivipara: a test of two hypotheses.
Host-parasite relationships of Zootoca vivipara (Sauria: Lacertidae) in the Pyrenees (North Spain).
common European adder (Vipera berus), viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) or Alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris).