Distribution: Malta Archipelago, Filfla Island (= Filfola), south of Malta, Fungus Island (= General's Island), west of Gozo, Selmunett Island (= San Paul) off the northern coast of Malta, Italy, Pelagian Islands (Linosa and Lampione), Gozo and Kemmuna (= Comino)
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2006Least Concern (LC)
The filfola lizard or Maltese wall lizard (Podarcis filfolensis) is a species of lizard in the Lacertidae family. It is found in Italy and Malta. Its natural habitats are Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, rocky areas, rocky shores, arable land, pastureland, and rural gardens.
The Filfola Lizard in Malta
Podarcis filfolensis ssp. maltensis
Podarcis filfolensis ssp. filfolensis
Podarcis filfolensis ssp. kieselbachi
This subspecies is endemic to Selmunett, otherwise known as St.Paul's Islands. Its colours vary greatly e.g. brown, grey, etc. with an orange belly and small black spots. The population became extinct in 2005.
Podarcis filfolensis ssp. generalensis
A fifth subspecies is thought to exist on the island of Cominotto/Kemunett  and another subspecies, Podarcis filfolensis ssp. laurentimulleri, occurs on the Italian islands of Linosa and Lampione.
Features and behaviour
Unlike the males, who have bright colours, young lizards and females have somewhat dull coloration (brownish).
Males show territorial behaviour. When other males enter its territory, it puffs up and raises its head. A similar behaviour is seen when they attract females. Mating takes place in spring. One or two eggs are laid shortly after, and finally hatch between June and mid-August.
References and sources
Savona-Ventura C. Taxonomical status of the Maltese wall lizard (Podarcis filfolensis BEDRIAGA 1876). Central Mediterranean Naturalist 2001, 3(3):89-95
Savona-Ventura C. The herpetofauna of Comino and satellite islets with a note on the colouration of Podarcis filfolensis. Animalia 1983; 10(1/3):87-93
Savona-Ventura C. The Natural History of St. Paul's Islands - Reptiles and Mammals. Potamon 1983; 11:32-34
Savona-Ventura C. Reptiles and amphibians in Maltese ecology. Potamon 1979; 1(2):14-16
SCIBERRAS, A. (2005) Observation on the endangered population of the Maltese wall lizard of Selmunett island (Podarcis filfolensis kieselbachi).Unpublished work, presented to the chamber of young scientists of Malta at 4- 10 April, winning the contest 1st place and leading to the Belgian Science expo on 26 April to 1 May.
SCIBERRAS, A. (2007) Lizards At Id-Dwejra. Dwejra Heritage Park Gozo pgs.28-33. Dwejra Management Board.
SCIBERRAS, A. & SCHEMBRI,P.J. (2008) Conservation Status of St Paul`s Island Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis kieselbachi).Herpetological Bulletin-Number 105 pgs.28-34.
- Wildlife of the Maltese Islands, BirdLife Malta and Nature Trust, 1995
- Nature in Gozo, BirdLife Malta, 2007