Pseudopus apodus (Pallas, 1775) ssp. thracius (Obst, 1978)
Pseudopus Palasii: Skorpil, 1897: 21; Ophisaurus apus Pall.: Kovatscheff, 1903: 172; 1912: 19; Ophisaurus apodus Pallas: Buresch & Zonkov, 1933: 167; Ophisaurus apodus apodus Pallas: Beskov & Beron, 1964: 18.
Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Vulnerable VU [E], BDA-III; International: BeC-II, HD-IV.
General distribution. The Adriatic coast of the Balkan peninsula and the large islands, Greece (including the Ioinian islands, Euboea island, Tassos and the large islands along the Asia Minor coast), Southeastern Macedonia, Bulgaria, SW and Central Asia in the east to Northern Afganistan, in the north to Southern Kazakhstan, Southern Russia (the Black Sea coast and Dagestan) and the Ukraine (the southern coastal zone of the Crimean peninsula). In Bulgaria the subspecies Pseudopus apodus thracius is found (Obst, 1978), described from the Bulgarian Southern Black Sea coast .
Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. Mainly the southeastern parts of the country: the Eastern Rhodopes, Sakar in the north to Sveti Iliyski hills, Derventski hills, Strandzha, in the north to cape Shabla, in a narrow strip (about 5 km) along the Black Sea coast and an isolated habitat in the valley of the river Malki Lom (Ruse region) [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. The habitats from the valley of the river Struma were not confirmed from 1912, to 2003, when one individual was found near the village of Kalimantsi. Known from the valley of the Rusenski Lom are a total of 5 individuals, 4 of them caught in the 1960s, and one young individuals caught in 1984 . In Strandzha, the Derventski hills, Bakadzhitsite, Sakar, Sveti Iliyski hills and the Eastern Rhodopes at places it has large numbers, established up to 15 individuals on a three-hour route, for the 1996-2006 period.
Habitats. It inhabits terrains with altitudes of up to 800 m, overgrown with dry-loving grasses and bushes, thinned deciduous forests. In the summer hot periods it enters wet ravines, forests, marshy places, etc.
Biology. It mainly feeds on large invertebrate animals and insects, less frequently on lizards, small snakes, birds (mainly nesting on the ground) and small mammals. It lays 5-10 eggs sized 30 x 16 mm. When hatching, the young ones have a length of about 11 cm. They are beige-gray, spotted with transverse brown, curly stripes on the back and lateral spots.
Similar species. In Bulgaria none.
Negative factors. Direct killing by man; burning down the territories inhabited by the species; death by cars on the roads; building along the Black Sea coast and the accompanying destruction of habitats; felling deciduous forests and their substitution with coniferous ones. Gathering by Bulgarian and foreign collectors.
Conservation measures taken. Included in the Bulgarian Red Data Book, 1985, in the category vulnerable. The species is found in many of the protected territories (the Rusenski Lom natural park, Strandzha, the Golden Sands, the reserves Kaliakra, Kamchiya, Ropotamo, etc.). Most of the habitats are within the Natura 2000 network of protected territories. A poster was published for the protection of reptiles (1998).
Conservation measures needed. Popularization of the nature conservation status of the species among the population. Obligatory reporting the presence of the species when creating new protected territories. Strict control over the activities of local and foreign poachers.
References. 1. Obst, 1978; 2. Kovachev, 1912; 3. Buresch & Zonkov, 1933; 4. Beshkov, 1985; 5. Stoev, 2000; 6. Undjian, 2000; 7. Petrov, Stoev, Beshkov, 2001.
Author: Nikolai Tzankov