The Critically Endangered Martin Garcia threadsnake is a very small snake with dark coloured skin and tiny eyes. This strange and rare species is endemic to the Sierra Martín García in the Dominican Republic and very little is known of its biology.
The Martin Garcia threadsnake’s scientific name, Mitophis asbolepis, translates to the ‘soot-scaled threadsnake’, referring to the uniform dark coloration of this species. 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!
The Martin Garcia threadsnake is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List due to its highly restricted distribution (around 46 km2) and the ongoing threats impacting the habitat across its known distribution. This rare and elusive species is poorly known, but it is under threat from habitat loss due to wood extraction, agricultural activities and charcoal production.
Sadly, there are no current conservation measures in place specifically for this, or any Hispaniolan threadsnakes. The species does occur in the Sierra Martín García National Park, however the park is ineffective in protecting the forest. Further research into the distribution and population trends of the species is vital to understand the conservation status of the species, in combination with effective protected area management.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Leptotyphlopidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: unknown
- Size: 15.6 (?)
The Martin Garcia threadsnake is endemic to the Sierra Martín García, Dominican Republic. It is found from 378 to 809 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology
This fossorial species spends most of its life burrowing underground. It is known from tropical dry forest and was originally discovered under limestone boulders.