Sunday 21 January 2018

We're spared snakes but lizards still lounge here

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

HE'S only just longer than the average mobile phone and although rarely sighted, Ireland's only remaining reptile can now be found throughout the country.

Measuring just 16cm long, the viviparous lizard is among 31,000 species of animals, flora and fauna, accounted for in the first stocktake of Ireland's biodiversity, which was published yesterday.

The Irish lizard is usually a yellow-brown colour with irregular dark markings along its body. It is widely found in woods, marshes, bogs and sand dunes

The reptile was among the 11,422 types of insects, 3,194 varieties of wasps, bees and ants, 3,313 fly species, and 2,154 beetles in the inventory published by the Heritage Council.

While Ireland is home to more than 31,000 species, a further 7,000 organisms and fungi probably remain undiscovered.

Plants, birds and mammals, with which people are most familiar, account for only 10pc of species in Ireland.

Ireland also has:

  • 1,454 species of butterflies and moths.
  • 563 types of fish.
  • 457 bird varieties.
  • 25 land mammals, including the native Irish hare and feral goats.
  • Nine species of bats.
  • Five amphibians, including frog and newt.
  • 24 marine mammals -- among them whales and dolphins.

Irish Independent

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