The Critically Endangered Haitian border threadsnake is a slender, silvery snake with tiny eyes. This strange and extremely rare species is endemic to the La Selle Massif region of Haiti and, despite significant effort, has not been recorded since 1984 and may now be extinct.
The Haitian border threadsnake’s scientific name, Mitophis leptipiletpus, is derived from the Greek for “extremely thin”, literally meaning “thin upon thin”. The four species of threadsnake which comprise the genus Mitophis diverged from all other living creatures around 30 million years ago, about the time humans last shared a common ancestor with baboons!
The Haitian border threadsnake is listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) by the IUCN Red List due to its highly restricted distribution (around 13 km2) and the ongoing threats impacting the habitat across its known distribution.
This rare and enigmatic species is poorly known, but it is under threat from habitat loss due to wood collection, agricultural activities and charcoal production. The disturbed habitat from which this species was originally described has become even more degraded.
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: decreasing
- Size: 17.4cm (?)
The Haitian border threadsnake is endemic to a small area of La Selle Massif, Haiti.
Habitat and Ecology
This burrowing snake has been found in a rest area along a road under the cover of mango trees.
Nothing more is known of its ecology.