Eirenis modestus Martin, 1838
Common names: Ring-Headed Dwarf Snake, Anatolian Dwarf Racer [En], Couleuvre naine d'Asie Mineure [Fr], Kopfbinden-Zwergnatter [De], Θαμνόφιδο [Gr], Uysal Yılan [Tu]
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Datça peninsula, MUĞLA ● Turkey
Description: Medium-sized colubrid snake up to 70 cm, with a slender body.
Pupils round; usually 1 rarely 2 preoculars; 2 postoculars, rarely 1 or 3; 7 supralabials, rarely 8. Usually 17, rarely 19 rows of dorsal scales at mid-body. Ventrals and subcaudals between 143-189 and 51-81, respectively.
The dorsum is yellowish-brown; black blotches on the head and nape distinct in young, not so or completely lacking in mature and old specimens. The dorsum usually immaculate, but in some with more or less dun-coloured markings. The venter is yellowish-white, without maculations.
Biology: It is active mainly at twilight but also at daytime on shady areas. It hides under stones or in crevices, sometimes in small groups. It feeds mainly on arthropods, but also on small lizards. It mates early at spring. The female lays between three and eight eggs in a clutch. Hatchling snakes are not longer than 12cm. A very calm snake and completely harmless.
Habitat: This species occurs in a wide variety of dry, rocky areas with sparse vegetation. It can be also be found in woodland, fallow agricultural land and cultivated areas. Up to 2000 m.
Distribution: This species is found on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Alzonisi, Kalymnos, Leros, Symi and Megisti (= Kastelorizo) of eastern Greece, through most of Turkey (on the mainland and small rocky islands), eastwards into the Caucasus Mountains of south Russia, eastern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Records from Iran (Central Province and Zanjhan Province) and Iraq should be verified. It is not present on Cyprus. It ranges up to 2,500m asl (in Anatolia). The subspecies found in Greece is E. m. semimaculatus Böttger, 1876.
Atatür M. K & Göçmen B., 2001. Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus (1st Edition), Ege Üniversitesi, Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 170, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 63 pp.
Lymberakis P., Tok V., Ugurtas I.H., Sevinç M., Crochet P.-A., Nilson G., Anderson S., Andrén C., 2009. Eirenis modestus. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
AdaMerOs Herptil Türkiye
Herpetofauna of Greece