Lacerta agilis

Range & Status

Ranges across northern and central Europe into Asia. Listed as a strictly protected species (Annex II) under the Bern Convention 1982. In Britain restricted to fragmented heaths in Dorset and Surrey and dunes in Merseyside. Recent reintroductions include Hampshire, west Sussex and Devon.

Regional Distribution

Introduced to a secret location in north Cornwall in 1995, following a decision by specialists that it must have occupied Cornish dune systems in the past. Between 1996 and 2007 small numbers of Sand Lizards \endash including juveniles \endash have been regularly reported from the site, although it will be some time before the long-term success of the introduction can be assessed. Prior to 1995, there were many claims of Sand Lizard sightings in Cornwall, but no positive proof; every claimed sighting which has been backed up by a photograph or specimen has proved to be false. Confusion arises because males of both Common and Sand Lizard can be bright green.

Habitat & Ecology

Favours tangled Marram Ammophila arenaria phase of frontal dune ridges and of exposed high inland dune (also dry heaths, though not in Cornwall). The eggs are laid in bare sand.

Threats

Disturbance by visitor pressure.

Conservation

The introduction site is managed partly for the Sand Lizard; the use of existing paths by visitors should be encouraged. Listed (short list, with action plan) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).