Photo: Savvas Zotos

Snake-eyed lizard

Ophisops elegans

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family:  Lacertidae



Small-sized lizard with a body that does not exceed 6cm in length and a tail usually twice as long as the body. Light to dark brown body color on the dorsal surface of which four pale longwise white strikes are visible. The ventral surface of the body is white to pale white while the neck appears yellow-green shade. During the breeding season, those colors are more intense while blue coloration can also be occur on males. The eyes of the species are not covered by eyelids like other lizards but by transparent flake like snakes, while the scales of the neck do not form the characteristic collar found in other species of this family.

Basic biology:


It can be found in a wide variety of habitats with rich sunlight such as scrublands, dry arid lands, cultivation areas, gardens and residential areas. It feeds mainly on small arthropods such as spiders, beetles, orthoptera and hymenoptera. Reproduction starts during spring and can continue until autumn. The females can lay more than two times in one season, ovipositing 1-5 eggs each time.

Distribution at Cyprus:

From the coast to an altitude of 1.700 meters.

Global distribution:

North Africa, the Balkans, the Aegean islands, Turkey, Cyprus, Middle East to Pakistan.



Protection status:


Map of confirmed presence:

Download the distribution of the species (kml format, Google Earth)