Asian snake-eyed skink (Ablepharus pannonicus)
|Synonyms:||Ablepharus brandti, Ablepharus festae, Ablepharus pusillus, Blepharosteres agilis, Riopa rueppelli, Scincus pannonicus|
This species has not yet been classified by the IUCN.
A small and rather secretive skink, the Asian snake-eyed skink has a slender, elongated body, a small head, short, slender limbs, and smooth scales (2) (3) (4) (5). The body is usually brownish or coppery green, often with a white-edged dark stripe along the side (3) (4). Like other snake-eyed skinks, also known as ‘lidless skinks’, the Asian snake-eyed skink lacks moveable eyelids, and instead the lower eyelid is fused with the upper, forming a transparent membrane over the eye (3) (5).
The Asian snake-eyed skink is the most widely distributed member of its genus (5), occurring from the Arabian Peninsula, across Iraq and Syria, north to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, and east to Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwest India (1) (3) (5).
Little information is available on the habitat preferences of this skink, but it is reported to occur in mountain forests in some areas (3) (6) (7).
Little is known about the biology of the Asian snake-eyed skink. However, like many other skinks (2), it is reported to lay eggs rather than give birth to live young (5). Most skinks actively seek out prey, such as insects and other small arthropods, and many species are active during the day. Skinks typically use chemical and visual cues to communicate and, while most are not territorial, some will defend burrows or basking sites, and males may become aggressive during the breeding season (2).
There is no information available on the threats faced by this species. Some of the mountain forests in which it occurs are threatened by clearing for firewood and overgrazing, which can cause soil erosion, as well as by agriculture and building construction (7), but it is not known to what extent these are affecting the Asian snake-eyed skink.
No conservation measures are known to be in place for the Asian snake-eyed skink, and it has yet to be assessed by the IUCN (8). Very little information is available on the species, and so research into its biology, ecology, distribution and threats will be vital before any necessary conservation actions can be taken.
To find out more about the Asian snake-eyed skink and other related species see:
Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
Ananjeva, N.B., Orlov, N.L., Khalikov, R.G., Darevsky, I.S., Ryabov, S.A. and Barabanov, A.V. (2006) The Reptiles of Northern Eurasia. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria.
For more information about reptile conservation see:
International Reptile Conservation Foundation:
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- Arthropods: a very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- Genus: a category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Territorial: an animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.
J. Craig Venter Institute: Reptiles Database (July, 2009)
- Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
- Gray, J.E. (1845) Catalogue of the Specimens of Lizards in the Collection of the British Museum. British Museum, London.
- Ananjeva, N.B., Orlov, N.L., Khalikov, R.G., Darevsky, I.S., Ryabov, S.A. and Barabanov, A.V. (2006) The Reptiles of Northern Eurasia. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria.
- Hornby, R. (1996) A checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the UAE. Tribulus, 6: 9 - 13.
WWF: Gissaro-Alai open woodlands (July, 2009)
IUCN Red List (July, 2009)