|Ocellated lizard |
Lacerta lepida Daudin, 1802
Timon lepidus is one of the largest members of its family. The adult is 30 to 60 cm (0.98 to 1.97 ft) long and may reach up to 90 cm (3.0 ft), weighing more than 0.5 kg (1.1 lb). About two-thirds of its length is tail. Newly hatched young are 4 to 5 cm (1.5 to 2 in) long, excluding tail.
This is a robust lizard with a serrated collar. The male has a characteristic broad head. It has thick, strong legs, with long, curved claws. The dorsal background colour is usually green, but sometimes grey or brownish, especially on the head and tail. This is overlaid with black stippling that may form a bold pattern of interconnected rosettes. The underside is yellowish or greenish with both the male and female sporting bright blue spots along the flanks, though the male is typically brighter in colour than the female. Young are green, grey, or brown, with yellowish or white, often black-edged, spots all over.
Timon lepidus is native to southwestern Europe. It is found throughout the Iberian peninsula (Spain, Portugal), and is patchily distributed in southern France and extreme northwestern Italy. The range for each subspecies is:
- Timon lepidus ibericus - northwestern Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal)
- Timon lepidus lepidus
- Timon lepidus oteroi
This reptile is found in various wild and cultivated habitats from sea level up to 2100 m in southern Spain. It is rare at higher altitudes. It prefers dry, bushy areas, such as open woodland and scrub, old olive groves and vineyards, and is sometimes found on more open, rocky or sandy areas. It can occasionally be seen basking on roadsides. The lizard usually stays on the ground, but climbs well on rocks and in trees. It can dig holes and sometimes uses abandoned rabbit burrows.
This lizard feeds mainly on large insects, especially beetles, and also robs birds’ nests and occasionally takes reptiles, frogs, and small mammals. It also eats fruit and other plant matter, especially in dry areas.
Breeding occurs in late spring or early summer. Males are territorial in spring and fight in the breeding season. The female lays up to 22 eggs in June and July about three months after mating, hiding them under stones and logs or in leaf litter or in loose damp soil. It tends to lay fewer, larger eggs in dry areas. The eggs hatch in eight to 14 weeks. The lizard is sexually mature at two years of age.
The ocellated lizard was part of the traditional cuisine of Extremadura, Spain. In this region, the lizard was usually prepared in guisado, made by frying slices of lizard in olive oil, after which they were stewed over a slow fire.
- Juan M. Pleguezuelos; Paulo Sá-Sousa; Valentin Pérez-Mellado; Rafael Marquez; Marc Cheylan; Claudia Corti; Iñigo Martínez-Solano (2009). "Timon lepidus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2009: e.T61583A12498949. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T61583A12498949.en. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- Real Decreto 139/2011, de 4 de febrero, para el desarrollo del Listado de Especies Silvestres en Régimen de Protección Especial y del Catálogo Español de Especies Amenazadas
- Gastronomía extremeña Archived 2015-02-19 at the Wayback Machine.
- Lorenzo Díaz, (2001), Los sabores perdidos, Ed. Edaf. pag. 178 Gastronomia extremeña
- Gastronomía tradicional extremeña Archived 2014-07-26 at the Wayback Machine.
- Los hábitos culinarios en el pasado extremeño
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Timon lepidus.|