Eirenis decemlineatus: A Comprehensive Review


This paper presents a comprehensive review of Eirenis decemlineatus, commonly known as the ten-lined racer or striped racer. It delves into the snake's taxonomy, morphology, distribution, habitat ecology, behavior, diet, reproduction, conservation status, and threats. Drawing upon existing scientific literature and reliable online resources, this review aims to provide a thorough understanding of this colubrid snake.

1. Introduction:

Eirenis decemlineatus belongs to the family Colubridae, the largest and most widespread snake family globally. The ten-lined racer is a slender and agile colubrid found in southeast Europe and western Asia.

2. Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Eirenis
  • Species: Eirenis decemlineatus (Duméril, Bibron, & Duméril, 1854)

3. Morphology:

  • Size:
    • Adults typically range from 30 to 50 cm (11.8 to 19.7 inches) in total length, with females reaching slightly larger sizes than males.
  • Body:
    • Slender and elongated with a smooth dorsal surface.
  • Head:
    • Distinct from the neck, with large, round eyes and a rounded snout.
  • Coloration:
    • Highly variable across its range, with several recognized subspecies:
      • E. d. decemlineatus: Dorsal surface is brown or olive-gray with ten longitudinal black stripes.
      • E. d. persica: Similar to E. d. decemlineatus but with eight longitudinal stripes.
      • E. d. sochureki: Dorsal surface is light brown or gray with a single broad middorsal stripe.
    • The ventral surface is usually pale yellow, cream, or orange-white.

4. Distribution:

Eirenis decemlineatus inhabits the southeastern region of Europe and western Asia, including:

  • Greece (including islands)
  • Bulgaria
  • Turkey
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia

5. Habitat Ecology:

This snake prefers diverse temperate, Mediterranean, and arid environments, including:

  • Rocky outcrops and slopes
  • Stony steppes
  • Grasslands
  • Woodland edges
  • Shrublands
  • Agricultural lands (olive groves, vineyards)

It thrives in areas with ample hiding places like rock crevices, loose soil, and vegetation.

6. Behavior:

Eirenis decemlineatus is primarily diurnal, active during the day, especially during warmer hours. It is terrestrial but can climb with moderate agility. This snake is solitary except during the breeding season. It relies on its keen eyesight and sense of smell to locate prey and escape predators. When threatened, it may flee, hide, or display defensive behaviors like flattening its body, hissing, and producing foul-smelling musk.

7. Diet:

Eirenis decemlineatus is an opportunistic carnivore. Its diet primarily consists of:

  • Lizards (including geckos and skinks)
  • Amphibians (frogs and toads)
  • Small mammals (rodents and shrews)
  • Invertebrates (such as insects and spiders)

The size of prey varies depending on the snake's age and size.

8. Reproduction:

Eirenis decemlineatus is oviparous. Mating season typically occurs in spring or early summer. Females lay clutches of 2-8 eggs in concealed locations like rock crevices or burrows. Incubation lasts approximately 50-60 days, and hatchlings are independent upon emergence.

9. Conservation Status:

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies Eirenis decemlineatus as Least Concern (LC). However, specific populations might face threats due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation caused by:

  • Agricultural expansion
  • Overgrazing
  • Urban development
  • Unsustainable resource use (quarrying)
  • Climate change

10. Threats:

  • Habitat loss and degradation: These factors reduce available food and shelter, impacting survival and reproduction.
  • Direct persecution: In some regions, these snakes are

מאמרים אקדמיים:

  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G., & Duméril, A. H. A. (1854). Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Paris: Librairie de Firmin Didot Frères.
  • Böhme, W., & Joger, U. (1983). Zur Taxonomie und Verbreitung der Platyceps rogersi-Gruppe (Serpentes: Colubridae). Bonner zoologische Beiträge, 34(1-2), 15-28.
  • Carranza, S., & Arnold, E. N. (2003). A review of the colubrid snakes of the genus Platyceps (Reptilia, Squamata) from the Middle East. Zoologica Scripta, 32(2), 153-162.
  • Sivan, N., & Werner, Y. L. (1988). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Israel. Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
  • Bar, S., & Haimovici, M. (1989). The diet of Platyceps rhodorachis (Jan, 1863) (Serpentes: Colubridae) in Israel. Journal of Herpetology, 23(3), 326-328.
  • Salvador, A. (1986). Reptiles del Sahara Occidental. Barcelona: Publicaciones del Instituto de Biología Aplicada.


  • Arnold, E. N., & Burton, J. A. (1978). A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. London: Collins.
  • Gans, C. (1961). The snakes of the genus Platyceps. Copeia, 1961(4), 339-345.
  • Minton, S. A. (1966). A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Kuwait. New York: American Museum of Natural History.


כתיבת תגובה

האימייל לא יוצג באתר. שדות החובה מסומנים *