Scincus scincus scincus (Linnaeus 1758) Sandfish
Hebrew name: חומט רפואי, homet refu’i
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: VU (B) – Vulnerable
Distribution area: From North Africa east to Arabia and Iraq. The subspecies found in Israel exists in northeastern Libya, Egypt and Sinai as well (Schleich et al. 1996). In Israel S. s. scincus is found exclusively in the western Negev sands. The eastern and northern distribution limits of the subspecies are in Israel.
Historic distribution: Unknown.
Typical Habitat: Dunes and unstable sand areas.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Habitat destruction by agricultural development, sand quarrying and reservoir construction.
2. Off-road all-terrain vehicle traffic. Most of the species distribution area is found in Israel Defense Forces training areas.
3. Recreational collecting.
Population Size: Unknown.
Fluctuations in Population Size: Unknown. The species distribution area in Israel decreases with every action that deleteriously affects sandy areas in the western Negev.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: Unknown.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Protecting sandy habitats from agricultural encroachment, quarrying and reservoir construction.
2. Completing the declaration process of the Agur and Shunra nature reserves.
3. Enforcing the ban on off-road vehicular traffic in protected sandy areas. Reaching an understanding with the Israel Defense Forces to reduce off-road traffic in military training areas.
4. Intensifying supervision and enforcement of collection regulations.
5. Postponing ostrich reintroduction to sandy areas in the western Negev until their future impact on S. s. scincus habitat and populations is studied.
6. Basic research on the life history of S. s. scincus in nature in order to determine additional disturbance factors and necessary conservation measures.