A rather short, thick snake; largest Egyptian specimen has a total length of 838 mm. Tail relatively short; average tail / total length = 0.08; tail terminating with a blunt rounded scale. Head covered with relatively large scales, 5-9 scales across the interorbital region, 7-14 scales around the eyes, 10-14 supralabials. Dorsals smooth throughout the length of the body; 40-51 scales around mid-body; 165-200 ventrals; anal and subcaudals 15-34, entire. Dorsum sandy with irregularly shaped, brown-gray transverse bands, dark bands between the posterior of the eye to the corner of the mouth; venter plain, whitish.
Distribution in Egypt
The western Mediterranean coastal plain; margins of the Delta and lower Nile Valley; and parts of North Sinai. In the western Mediterranean coastal plain it is restricted to a narrow band, where fairly mesic conditions prevail. In the Delta and Lower Nile Valley it is found in marginal lands and on the desert outskirts, as well as in isolated sandy pockets within the Delta, as indicated by the record of Stein and Helmy (1994) from Temaii El Andid, Daqahliya Governorate. Occurrence in Sinai is marginal. Neither Schmidt and Marx (1956), nor Werner (1982) reported the species from the Peninsula. However, Flower (1933) reports several specimens between Rafah and Gaza (some might have come from Egyptian territory). Saleh (1997) depicts a locality record from northeast Sinai without providing any details.
Southeast Europe, North Africa from eastern Morocco to Egypt, east through the Near East to Iran.
Distribution: jaculus: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Syria, east to the Suez Canal. turcicus: SE Europe including Mediterranean islands (Corfu = Corfou etc., Asia Minor, Caucasus, east to Iran and Iraq; Jordan, N Saudi Arabia; Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece (incl. Limnos, Paros, Antiparos, Kalymnos, Corfu = Corfou, Lesbos, Chios, Samos), Soviet Union, Asia Minor, S Russia, S Armenia, E Georgia, Azerbaijan.
Type locality: near Baku, Azerbaijan (“Egypt” fide STIMSON 1969)
A species of loose sandy and alluvial soils, inhabiting semi-desert and marginal agricultural lands, under Mediterranean influence. In Egypt it is found in and adjacent to the Delta alluvial plain. Also in coastal scrubland on the Mediterranean coastal plain.
Life History and Behavior
A nocturnal or crepuscular snake; partly fossorial, capable of moving below soil surface and waits concealed for its prey. Moves in a distinct serpentine motion above the surface.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Eryx jaculus
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Status in Egypt
Rare and localized. Declining due to habitat destruction and over-collection by commercial animal col lectors. Much of the species' marginal habitats on the fringes of the Delta have been reclaimed. Mediterranean coastal habitats are also disappearing and are degrading rapidly. One of the most popular reptiles in the pet trade in Egypt, which is under severe collection pressure. In Egypt it is Critically Endangered.
Eryx jaculus is found in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Africa. In September 2014 the snake has been rediscovered in Romania near the Danube after being extinct in Romania since 1937 when the last specimen was seen near Cochirleni.
The javelin sand boa may grow to 80 cm (31½ inches) in total length (including tail). Coloring varies greatly. Dorsally, it may be grayish, tan, brownish, or reddish, with darker blotches or bars in an irregular network. It usually has a dark streak from the eye to the corner of the mouth. Ventrally it is whitish or yellowish. It is heavy-bodied and has a short blunt tail. The ventrals are very narrow, less than ⅓ of the width of the body. The rostral is large and broad with an angular horizontal edge. The eye is separated from the labials by one or two rows of small scales. There are 10-14 upper labials. The dorsal scales are in 40-50 rows, smooth anteriorly, but weakly keeled posteriorly. There are 165-200 ventrals, and 15-34 subcaudals.
- The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
- "Eryx". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
- McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré TA. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp.
- Javelin Sand Boa believed to be extinct since 1937 rediscovered in Romania
- Arnold EN, Burton JA. 1978. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. London: Collins. 272 pp. + Plates 1-40. ISBN 0-00-219318-3. (Eryx jaculus, p. 189 + Plate 34, Figures 2a & 2b).
- Boulenger GA. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... Boidæ .... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Eryx jaculus, pp. 125-126).
- Linnaeus C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. Stockholm: L. Salvius. 824 pp. (Anguis jaculus, p. 228). (in Latin).
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