Photo from Indiana DNR
The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian last week:
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages the public to help it track sightings of common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) in southeastern Indiana.
DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife biologists recently observed an estimated 20 to 35 wall lizards living in a rock-lined embankment bordering the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, about 2 miles from the Ohio state line. Since that initial discovery, members of the public and DNR have identified additional wall lizard colonies in Aurora and Rising Sun.
Common wall lizards are not native to North America and are not generally dangerous. However, there is some concern among herpetologists that common wall lizards may outcompete native species like common five-lined skinks for food and shelter, though more research is needed to understand their interactions. Further work is needed to determine the extent of colonization in southeast Indiana and inform the DNR’s management recommendation.
Sightings of common wall lizards, especially those backed by photographs, should be emailed to [email protected]
All currently known sites are located along the Ohio River where the lizards inhabit rocky and vegetated banks of the river and a nearby rock wall. DNR is conducting additional surveys to better understand the situation.
The common wall lizard is a European species that became established in Cincinnati during the early 1950s after several of them were intentionally released. This non-native species has since colonized much of the Cincinnati area, including parts of northern Kentucky, and is currently expanding into nearby areas of southwest Ohio. They have been approaching the Indiana border in recent years.
Common wall lizards are approximately 5½ to 8 inches in length as adults and usually have a brown or gray back with mottling or spotting on the sides. Some of them have a reticulated pattern on their back. This species tends to thrive in urban and suburban areas where they inhabit stone walls, rubble heaps, degraded building infrastructure, rocky hillsides, and shoreline areas like that of the Ohio River.
Find out more about common wall lizards at wildlife.IN.gov/wildlife-resources/animals/wall-lizards/
To view more DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.