Rueppell's Snake-eyed Skink (English), دفان قزم (Arabic)
Small slender lizard, maximum recorded SVL = 41 mm; tail relatively long (longer than SVL). Head small; snout short, round; legs small.Three supralabials anterior to eye; 18 scales around mid-body. Dorsum golden brown; a dark dorsolateral stripe extends from the snout, through the eye, above the limbs onto the side of the tail, edged toward the mid-back with a light golden stripe. Mid-dorsum freckled with fine dark specks. Venter grayish.
Status in Egypt
Scarce and very localized. Highly susceptible to habitat alteration. Loss of old orchards or the clearing of wild vegetation within them could severely reduce the population of this species. In Egypt it is Near Threatened.
Diurnal and ground dwelling.
Ecology and Distribution
Sinai, Israel, and Palestine.
Distribution in Egypt
The holotype collected by Riippell came from Sinai (Schmidtler 1997). Recorded from the high mountains of South Sinai in areas above 500 m. Specifically, animals have been observed and collected from the St. Katherine area, Wadi El Arbein, Wadi El Nasb, and Wadi Feiran, where a half-digested animal was found in the stomach of a Platyceps sinai snake. Barbour (1914) reports two Ablepharus specimens from "Wadi Gharbeh," supposedly in South Sinai. Other obscure localities mentioned in this paper have eventually been shown to be in Jordan (Hoofien 1965). Baha El Din (1992) reported a single specimen from El Quseima. This is the only known record from North Sinai. The population inhabiting the South Sinai mountains represents a relict apparendy isolated from the main range of the species further north and east.
Inhabits densely vegetated microhabitats in oasis and mountain orchards, where it scurries under leaf litter and stones. Shy and rather difficult to detect. In South Sinai found above 500 m, up to 1,600 m but probably higher.
- Ablepharus kitaibelii Mertens and Wermuth, 1960; Marx, 1968; Saleh, 1997 (synonym)
- Ablepharus rueppellii rueppellii Schmidtler, 1997 (synonym)
- Riopa ruppellii Gray, 1839 (synonym)
- Ablepharus rueppellii Schmidtler, 1997 (synonym)