The Critically Endangered Samana threadsnake is a small, pink snake with minute eyes. This strange and rare species is endemic to the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic and has not been recorded since 1981.
The Samana threadsnake’s scientific name, Mitophis calypso, is derived from the Greek verb “to hide” (kalypto, “I hide”), and this species certainly lives up to its name! The species is known only from a small number of individuals collected in 1975 and 1981.
The four species of threadsnake which comprise the genus Mitophis diverged from all other living creatures around 30 million years ago, around the time humans last shared a common ancestor with baboons!
This rare and enigmatic species is poorly known, but it is almost certainly under threat from habitat loss, agricultural activities and tourism development. The Samana threadsnake is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List due to its highly restricted distribution (around 12 km2).
Sadly, there are no current conservation measures in place specifically for this, or any Hispaniolan threadsnakes, and the species does not occur in any protected areas. Further research into the distribution and population trends of the species is vital to understand the conservation status of the species.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Leptotyphlopidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: unknown
- Size: 19cm (?)
The Samana threadsnake is endemic to a tiny region of the Samana Peninsula, Dominican Republic.
Habitat and Ecology
This species is fossorial, spending much of its life burrowing underground. Individuals were found in an area with mixed cultivation, semi-wooded areas and open pastures.