Leucistic specimen of Lacerta agilis argus LAURENTI, 1768


In july 2002 we found 22 eggs of Lacerta agilis in a sand pile on a construction site in Srnojedy, near Pardubice, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Next to the sand lizards the other local herpetofauna consist of Natrix natrix, Anguis fragilis, Rana dalmatina, Hyla arborea and Bufo bufo. The eggs were secured and incubated in an incubator at a temperature of 28° C. After 30 days 21 normal colored hatchlings emerged from these eggs, and 1 specimen with a deviating white coloration. This abnormal hatchling did have a homogenous crème white skin color and a dark iris coloration. This kind of phenotype is called leucistic, a condition resulting from defects in pigment cell differentiation and/or migration from the neural crest to the skin during development. The leucistic hatchling did not ingest food, and died after 14 days. One of the normal colored hatchlings also died before reaching adulthood. The dead leucistic hatchling was deposited at the Czech National Museum of Natural History.

Img. 1: Ventral view of the leucistic hatchling.

Img. 2: Portrait of the leucistic hatchling.

Img. 3: Complete lateral view of the leucistic hatchling.

Img. 4: One of the normal colored hatchlings.


Author: Tomáš Mazuch (E-Mail: tomas.mazuch@quick.cz)