Acanthodactylus schreiberi syriacus (Boettger 1879) Schreiber’s Fringe-Fingered Lizard
Hebrew name: שנונית השפלה, shnunit hashfela
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: CR (A2c) – Critically Endangered
Distribution area: In Israel, small, isolated populations, along the Coastal Plain from Gaza to Rosh HaNiqra, and north into Lebanon. Two specimens of the same subspecies were reported from Syria (Disi & Bohme 1996) but Martens (1997) demonstrated that the likelihood of the specimens actually having been collected in Syria is low. Another subspecies is found in Cyprus.
Historic distribution: In the same region, but over larger and more continuous areas. The species formerly occupied a total area of circa 1200 km2. The Israeli subspecies was once found along the coastal sands and in Lebanon north to Beirut. The destruction of natural sandy areas north of Tyre reduced the distribution area of this subspecies, whose northern limit in Lebanon now only reaches the sands near Tyre (Sadek et al. 1997).
Typical Habitat: Light soils (sand and hamra soil) along the Coastal Plain.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Habitat destruction as a result of development: spreading urbanization, sand quarrying, agriculture.
2. Predation by cats and dogs, and possibly by ravens as well.
Population Size: Unknown.
Fluctuations in Population Size: Unknown.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: The species population, which was once continuous, is now fragmented into many subpopulations.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Preserving sandy areas and light soils along the Coastal Plain and separating them with buffer strips from surrounding settled areas.
2. Reducing raven and stray cat and dog populations.
3. Examining the status of subpopulations and the links between them in order to locate areas vital to the preservation of A. s. syriacus.