Rhynchocalamus melanocephalus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae

Scientific Name: Rhynchocalamus melanocephalus (Jan, 1862)
Common Name(s):
English Black-Headed Rhynchocalamus, Black-headed Snake
Contia satunini Nikolsky, 1899
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies are known in Turkey, R. m. staunini and R. m. melanocephalus, and these might represent distinct species (Baran and Atatür 1998). Only the subspecies R. m. satunini is present within the Caucasus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-02-06
Assessor(s): Amr, Z.S.S., Egan, D.M., Nilson, G., Kumlutaş, Y., Baha El Din, S., Sadek, R., Lymberakis, P., Ugurtas, I.H., Werner, Y.L., Tok, V., Sevinç, M., Hraoui-Bloquet, S., Crochet, P.-A., Kaska, Y. & Avci, A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Bowles, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Cox, N.A.
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species ranges discontinuously from eastern Turkey, southwards to western Syria, Lebanon, Israel and western and central Jordan, possibly extreme north Saudi Arabia (Egan 2007) and eastwards to Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq and western Iran (Central Province and Khuzistan Province). It also occurs as an isolated population at Santa Katarina on the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). Records from Serbia and Montenegro are misidentifications. It is present up to 1,600 m asl (Sinai). The range of this species remains poorly known.
Countries occurrence:
Armenia; Azerbaijan; Egypt; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Jordan; Lebanon; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is a largely subterranean and difficult to collect species with few records. Populations appear to be small and fragmented although little is known about its population status. It is considered to be a rare species in the south of its range, and uncommon in Turkey. It is rare and localized on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in humid areas of garrigue scrub habitat with rocks and stones, and can also occur in open pine forest and high-elevation scrubland. It can be found in ruins, olive groves and other rural areas. It can be found under stones mainly in May until the end of June. The rest of the year it has fossorial behavior, inhabiting the upper layer of soil.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species does not appear to be collected.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There appear to be no major threats to this species as a whole. It is locally threatened in parts of its range, such as Israel, by fragmentation of populations through habitat loss. On Sinai it is threatened by overgrazing, collection of firewood, off-road vehicle use and roads.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It has been recorded from Zay Wildlife Reserve in Jordan, and Saint Katherine's protected area in Egypt. In Turkey, there are a few protected areas within its range. It is protected by national legislation in Israel. There is a need to develop national legislation to protect the species in Egypt. As a rare species threatened by habitat destruction (category 3), it is included into the Red Data Book of USSR (1984) and Armenia (1987). More research is needed to understand the taxonomy and ecology of this rarely seen species.

Citation: Amr, Z.S.S., Egan, D.M., Nilson, G., Kumlutaş, Y., Baha El Din, S., Sadek, R., Lymberakis, P., Ugurtas, I.H., Werner, Y.L., Tok, V., Sevinç, M., Hraoui-Bloquet, S., Crochet, P.-A., Kaska, Y. & Avci, A. 2012. Rhynchocalamus melanocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T164637A1062839. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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