Viviparous Lizard

Zootoca vivipara


Живородна гуштерица


Zhapi vivipar

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Not evaluated Data deficient Least concern Near threatened Vulnerable ENDANGERED Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Zootoca vivipara


(Lichtenstein, 1823)


Lacerta vivipara Lichtenstein, 1823

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

EN – Endangered, B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii)

Date assessed

November 2019


Sterijovski, B.

Arsovski, D.


Ajtic, R.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Viviparous Lizard can only be found at three locations in North Macedonia (Shara-Korab Massif, Bistra and Osogovski Mt., AOO=88km2) and moreover, only on high-mountain meadows, bogs and streams that are extremely prone to degradation and habitat shifts due to global climate change; due to the ubiquitous nature of these threats in the species’ habitats in North Macedonia, the mountains on which it occurs are treated as locations. South Balkan populations only inhabit high mountain areas, thus each population inhabits its own island (in the broad sense), making them severely fragmented and precluding any regional rescue effects without human intervention. Finally, having in mind that the Viviparous Lizard is at the southern distribution edge of its global distribution, its national populations are assessed as Endangered. Globally and in Europe, this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



In North Macedonia the population size is not accurately determined. Where present, seemingly quite common, but the threats it is facing, particularly habitat degradation are likely causing population reductions. Additionally, Macedonian populations are at the southern edge of the species’ global distribution range, therefore limited to high mountain pastures and severely fragmented, and likely at the edge of their ecological niche spectrum, preventing high population densities.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Occurs above the tree-line on high mountain pastures, usually associated with humid conditions – along streams or peat bogs. Mating takes place in June and females give birth to 3-11 live young between July and August (Agasyan et al. 2010; Speybroeck et al. 2016).

Use and trade

Use and trade

There is no known use of or trade in this species.



Overgrowth of high-mountain pastures (because of abandonment of traditional agricultural practices) could be a threat to the species. Construction of ski-runs and roads could also pose significant threats, as well as global climate change and the habitat alteration that follow. The population on Osogovski Mt. is threatened by mining activities and the road infrastructure that follows, both causing habitat degradation.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

It is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. Nationally, it is not on the list of protected wild species. The Viviparous Lizard’s mountain populations should be the target of phylogeographic and taxonomic studies, because differentiation in species/subspecies status is very likely (e.g. Mayer et al. 2000) and could have potential repercussions on conservation.



Sillero, N., Campos, J., Bonardi, A., Corti, C., Creemers, R., Crochet, P.-A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Denoël, M., Ficetola, G.F., Gonçalves, J., Kuzmin, S., Lymberakis, P., de Pous, P., Rodríguez, A., Sindaco, R., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. 2014. Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe. .p 1-31.

Speybroeck, J., Beukema, W., Bok, B., and van der Woort, J. 2016. Field Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Britain and Europe Bloomsbury London . .p /.

Sterijovski, B., Tomović, L., Ajtić, R. 2014. Contribution to the knowledge of the Reptile fauna and diversity in FYR of Macedonia. .p 83–92.

Uhrin et al. 2016 Distribution updates to amphibian and reptile fauna for the Republic of Macedonia. .p 201-220.

Mayer, W., Böhme, W., Tiedemann, F., Bischoff, W. 2000. On oviparous populations of Zootoca vivipara (JACQUIN, 1787) in south-eastern Central Europe and their phylogenetic relationship to neighbouring viviparous and South-west European oviparous populations (Squamata: Sauria: Lacertidae). .p 59-69.

Melovski, Lj., Markoski, B., Hristovski, S., Jovanovska, D., Anastasovski, V., Klincharov, S., Velevski, M., Velkovski, N., Trendafilov, A., Matevski, V., Kostadinovski, M., Karadelev, M., Levkov, Z., Kolchakovski, D. 2013. Regional division of the Republic of Macedonia for the needs of biological databases . .p 81-111.

Gasc, J-P., Cabela, A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Dolmen, D., Grossenbacher, K., Haffner, P., Lescure, J., Martens, H., Martinez-Rica, J.P., Maurin, H., Oliveira, M.L., Sofianidou, T.S., Veith, M., Zuiderwijk, A. 1997. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe Societas Europaea Herpetologica & Museum Nationall d’ Histoire Naturelle (IEGB/SPN). Paris. .p 496.

Aghasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N.B., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N.L., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Böhme, W., Nettmann, H.K., Joger, U., Cheylan, M., Pérez Mellado, V., Borczyk, B., Sterijovski, B., Westerström, A., Schmidt, B., Terbish, K., Munkhbayar, K., Nazarov, R., Shi, L., Zhao, W. & Bi, J. 2019. Zootoca vivipara. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . .p /.