ROBERTO GARCÍA ROA

SCIENCE & CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHY

"SOS Pitiüsas"  (© Roberto García-Roa | Spain) 
Podarcis pityusensis is an exceptional Spanish lizard. This reptile is distributed in the Balearic Islands. Despite the small size of these islands, the variation of colors in this species across populations is outstanding. It ranges from brown to green and blue tones, and occur both in males and females. Why/How has this species evolved such array of colors in so small islands? Why do they have blue colours in such brown and yellow environments? Why are there blue individuals in this species but not in another related ones? Addressing these questions will be helpful to not only understand the evolutionary diversification of this species, but also the evolution of animal colouration as a whole. If we want answers, science is the way. Meanwhile, the importation of olive trees from the Iberian Peninsula brought to the islands a previously unknown predator for Podarcis pityusensis.  Snakes have affected the viability of this lizard, and has pushed governments to carry out conservation programs trying to eradicate this unexpected threat. That is not, however, the end. Human actions led also to introduce this species in other islands, such as Mallorca (where P. pityusensis is now well established), and even in remote areas from the north of Spain, as happens in San Juan the Gaztelugatxe, where this lizard has become a plague. Multiple parts of a challenging, but exciting story about the living symbol of the Balearic Islands. 

ALL IMAGES © by Roberto García-Roa | 2021