Italian lizards invade San Pedro


And the lesson of kudzu continues to be unlearned.

“a homeowner brought a few of them back from a trip to Sicily. He released four males and three females into his backyard, and they thrived and multiplied.”

Christ, what an asshole.


I disagree. THAT orifice has a use. The guy who did this, not so much. . .


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They are just preparing their future papacy…

These things are also living in the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island. There’s a native lizard that’s about the same size, but I don’t think anyone has any data about how they’re interacting. Here’s a photo of one I took last summer:

So this exotic invasive species was introduced in the same way as many others. Yeah, he’s an idiot, but this stuff happens all the time.

Some people might wonder why it matters what species of lizard dominate an area. The Western Fence Lizard is widespread throughout California. It is a host of the deer tick, which spreads Lyme Disease. However, the fence lizard’s blood contains a protein which kills the Lyme bacteria. An infected tick which bites a lizard is no longer infected. I don’t know if the Italian Wall Lizard can be a deer tick host, but if the fence lizards are pushed out, Lyme disease may increase.


For population control of the Italian Lizard, the good news is that they don’t need to offer a bounty – the little gold chains provide enough incentive. However, the excessive pomade does make them very slick and difficult to catch.
Edit: I should point out that this is only true for the Guido subspecies whose home range primarily covers the beaches of New Jersey…

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This sounds like a great game. Where can I download it?

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Not to mention that western fence lizards are so commonplace down here that they’re both a significant predator of many insect pest species as well as an important prey species for a number of larger predators (roadrunners, many snakes, etc…). Replacing a brick at the bottom of the ecological wall is not going to be good for the structural integrity of said wall.

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Oh my. I guess we’d better not tell the Californians that the exact same thing is happening elsewhere in the state with the Mediterranean House Gecko and the Carolina Anole?

Won’t somebody think of the poor ecosystem? Specifically the ecosystem of our distinctly unnatural concrete jungle? Blocks! Entire city blocks have been taken over! Do you know how big of a range that is? Like… possibly a dozen square miles! Maybe even more! Can you imagine? The poor Western Fence Lizards are being driven out in droves! Their range has been reduced by anywhere from 1 to 2 hundredths of a percent! That’s up to 2 ten-thousandths! It’s horrifying!


The point is not that destruction of habitat isn’t an enormous problem, or that the effects of other invasive species are insignificant (straw man much?), it’s that intentional (or perhaps idiotic) damage to what is likely a key species in the local ecosystem is not exactly a good thing.

Perhaps a better way to look at this is that with all the other problems facing a relatively common species (habitat destruction, other invasive species etc…), perhaps random dickhats shouldn’t be releasing obviously fertile competitive species, causing further ecological mayhem.

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Not quite- the Vancouver animals are the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), the San Pedro ones are the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus, also known as the ‘ruin lizard’).

P. siculus were also introduced to Long Island in the 1960s, though- they’re apparently still there, in an area with no native lizards.

Oh, interesting! Thanks! The ones in BC apparently came from a defunct roadside zoo in the 70s. Seems the owner just let them go when it shut down.

It’s a city. If the local “ecosystem” is such a concern, then ought we not consider people to be a monstrously invasive species?

Now, if some invasive species were having a significant negative impact on the wilds? Sure, I’m all for worrying about that. But we’re talking an urban environment, where we’ve already paved over the natural ecology and replaced it with burgers joints, bars, and gas stations.

Additionally, we’re talking a monumentally slow “invasion”. It took twenty years for the species to encroach on five city blocks. This is absurd. The entire article is just nonsense - some bored urbanites who spend their time worrying about which species of lizard is in their backyard because they have nothing else worthwhile to do with their time.

Score:5, Insightful

Cincinnati has a population of Podarcis muralis, Beanolini’s link has the backstory of their introduction here.

We’re not exactly awash in a huge pop. of these animals. They prefer to stay close to the areas where they’re dropped off and at least seem harmless. (I always considered them as crow food.) As a creeping menace our town’s bigger threat is gentrification.

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