Vince Ballay

Meet the robin, a small snake that lives a hidden life, which science has not yet known! The small, shiny, copper-colored glider, about the size of a few cents, is an important link between the Israeli and Omani species of the genus, and a Hungarian specialist was present when it was discovered in Saudi Arabia.

A small burrowing snake with a distinctive color and melanistic shape

– Describes a new type of snake unknown to science Technical material Rhynchocalamus hejazicusR.

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The new species was described by researchers working in the Al-Ula region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Laszlo Batko, a Hungarian nature conservationist working in the area, announced the finding. The brightly colored snake species was found by researchers who conducted field work near one of the overnight camp sites, but it confused everyone, and not just at the site:

We could not find it in any of the specialized books, and even experienced experts could not answer the question of what kind it is.

– wrote Laszlo Batko in English toInKHDrInin office.

Then members of the international research team took photos, collected more individuals in the area, then threw themselves into the laboratory, and during genetic analyzes they came to the conclusion that they had indeed found a species unknown to science. The new species, as written, fills a major gap in the distribution of true gliders in the Middle East Rhynchocalamus Among the species of its genus are native to Israel and the coast of Yemen and Oman, to which it is closely related.

Researchers expect that the habitat of the newly described species may extend to Jordan and other regions of Saudi Arabia. It occurs mainly in mountainous areas with a humid and cold climate, on sandy and rocky soils. The size of the individuals collected (from mouth opening to cloaca) ranges between 16 and 32 cm, so it is not a large species. Researchers also assume that it is R. Hijazikos He also lives in areas disturbed by human civilization, so he believes so

It is not necessary to classify it as an endangered species.

“The discovery of such a rare species with a cryptic lifestyle points out gaps in scientific descriptions, and at the same time alerts that it is necessary to increase observations in hitherto unexplored areas in order to obtain a true picture of the species diversity,” they write in the study summary.

The new species is among several genera of true gliders RhynchocalamusBelongs to. So far, five species have been classified in this genus: A Rhynchocalamus arabicaR, A brownR, A DayaneaeR, A LevitonyTa sadR and A SattoniniR. The genus can now be supplemented with the sixth by László Batko and his colleagues: A R. Hijazikos-string. It gets its name from the place of its discovery, the Hijaz region in the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia.

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As the specialist pointed out, the new species is “only” new to science. The small reptile is naturally known to locals and is simply called “little reptile.”


Laszlo Batko is working on a special, large-scale project in Saudi Arabia, the ultimate goal of which is to restore the habitat of the desert leopard and reintroduce and propagate the extremely rare large carnivore in the region. By the way, part of the project is a comprehensive study of the ecosystem of the region, enumerating animal and plant species (even new ones), and exploring existing relationships between them. The specialist spoke in detail about this work in the following interview:

The Saudis are creating a new habitat for one of the rarest big cats – and a Hungarian specialist is also working on it

Saudi Arabia is ambitiously trying to differentiate its economy, which is primarily based on oil production and sales. Countless large-scale programs have also been launched in this spirit, whether it is building a futuristic mega-city, trading football, or increasing tourist attractions. The latter includes a hitherto unprecedented conservation restoration programme, which would return the apex predator to its ancient habitat.