Ophiomorus latastii (Boulenger 1887) Latast’s Snake Skink
Hebrew name: חומט נקוד, homet nakod
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: CR (B) – Critically Endangered
Distribution area: The subspecies is endemic to Israel and Jordan (Disi & Amir 1998). Its populations (at least those found in Israel) are localized, isolated and far apart. The species was originally described from Mt. Hermon, but never caught there since. There are 14 known populations in the southern Golan Heights, Lower Galilee, Gilboa, Carmel, Jordan Valley, Inner Lowlands and the Lahav area.
Historic distribution: Unknown, except for the fact that it has not been found on Mt. Hermon since it was described from there in the 19th century (Sivan & Werner 1992).
Typical Habitat: Rendzina soils and sometimes, heavy soils in areas with herbaceous vegetation and large rocks.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Habitat loss resulting from settlement and agriculture spread.
2. Collection by reptile fans.
Population Size: Unknown.
Fluctuations in Population Size: Unknown.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: The populations are isolated and there is apparently no passage of skinks between them due to habitat disjunction.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Preserving natural habitats in the isolated localities inhabited by O. latastii.
2. Intensifying supervision and enforcement of collection regulations.
3. Basic research on the life history of O. latastii in nature in order to determine additional disturbance factors and necessary conservation steps.