| Podarcis filfolensis maltensis Mertens, 1921 - Mainland race|
| Taxonomical Classification: Animalia / Chordata / Reptilia / Squamata / Lacertidae |
| Maltese Wall Lizard Gremxula komuni ta' Malta|
| Further Information: |
The Maltese Wall Lizard is up to twenty eight centimetres and consists of four subspecies, or technically speaking, races.
The maltensis race is found on the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino, and is generally greenish and often speckled.
The filfolensis is found on Filfla and is blackish with blue or pale blue spots, it is the largest of the four races.
The kieselbachi is only found on Selmunett islands and varies in colour from brown to grey with small black spots and a yellow belly.
The forth race - generalensis is found on Fungus Rock is coloured reddish below with bluish flanks.It differs in the male underneck region (when in breeding colours) in that it is brick red rather than yellow as in the mainland lizards ( i.e the maltensis).
Lizards feed mostly on insects, but also on fruit and vegetable matter. When cornered by a predator, as a last resort they shed their tail. This is possible due to an anatomical arrangement whereas by the use of certain muscles a special bone breaks. Blood vessels are immediately closed by spasms and the tail falls off writhing vigorously for a few minutes. Whilst the predators attention is so occupied the lizard tries to escape. This tactic however is costly in energy requirements since it entails the loss of a store and the necessity of growing a new tail. In rare circumstances the tail is only partially broken off and a new one grows. The end result is a two tailed lizard. This is possible in all the races.
Females and young lack the bright colours of the males, and are generally brownish. The male shows territorial behaviour, claiming a small patch of land and threatening other approaching males. During their threat display, the males puff themselves up, tremble and raise their heads to display the bright colours below the neck. When a female approaches, the male makes similar movements, which now serve to attract the female for eventual mating. This takes place in Spring, soon followed by the laying of 1-2 eggs in the soil or under a stone. Eggs normally hatch between June and Mid - August.
Endemic to Malta and the islands of Linosa and Lampione, where a fifth race occurs. A separate unnamed race may exist on Kemmunett.
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