The Bonnal's lizard is endemic to the alpine stage of the central-western part of the Pyrenees (Spain / France). Its range extends from west to east, from the Pic du Midi d'Ossau massif (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) to the Encantats massif (province of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain). It is, by far, the most widely distributed of the three Pyrenean Iberolacerta.
In France, the species occurs in 3 departments: Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Aquitaine region), Hautes-Pyrénées and Haute-Garonne (Midi-Pyrénées region). The Hautes-Pyrénées is home to by far the largest number. It lives between 1,700 metres and 3,000 metres above sea level.
It is a small lizard whose size and morphology are quite similar to those of the wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). The body alone measures approximately, in adults, 5 cm to 6 cm, the tail measuring double. The total size is therefore about 15 cm. Its dorsal colour is greyish-brown, sometimes finely flecked with dark markings but without significant striping. The flanks are dark, sometimes with slight pale flecking. The underparts are white, greyish or greenish.
It is easily observable in the high massifs of the Hautes-Pyrénées, up to that of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the north. A naturalistic pilgrimage is required on the northern slope of this massif, to the magnificent Lac Bleu de Bigorre, a landscaped jewel on the banks of which the Bigourdan Pyreneist Jean-Louis Bonnal discovered the species in 1922. It was here that the fantastic scientific epic of the Lizards of the Pyrenees began!
It mates as soon as the snow melts, females lay eggs in early summer and eggs hatch in late summer. It feeds on various invertebrates (insects and their larvae, arachnids, worms ...).
Like all endemic species of the Pyrenees whose biology is adapted to the climatic regime of the middle and high mountains (and associated ecosystems), the Bonnal's lizard is threatened by global warming and is assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being "near threatened". This is because, although the population seems to be stable and the lizard is present in a number of national parks and protected areas, it is vulnerable to disturbance to its habitat from skiing developments, the building of tracks, and the overgrazing of cattle. It may also be affected in the future by climate change.