The Vertebrates Pythonomorpha: Colubroidea

Squamata: Pythonomorpha: Colubroidea

Abbreviated Dendrogram
Squamata ├─Iguania └─Scleroglossa │ └─Pythonomorpha ├─Mosasauroidea └─Serpentes ├─Scolecophidia └─Alethinophidia ├─Aniloidea └─Macrostomata ├─Boidae └─Caenophidia ├─Acrochordoidea └─Colubroidea ├─Atractaspididae ├─Elapidae └─┬─Colubridae └─Viperidae ├─Azemiopinae └─┬─Crotalinae └─Viperinae


 Taxa on This Page

  1. Atractaspididae
  2. Azemiopinae
  3. Colubridae
  4. Colubroidea
  5. Crotalinae
  6. Elapidae
  7. Viperidae
  8. Viperinae


Colubroidea: Earliest advanced snakes.

fr Ec.

Caenophidia: Acrochordoidea + *: Atractaspididae + Elapidae + (Colubridae + Viperidae).

Links: Higher Reptile Taxa.


currently Africa & Asia

Colubroidea: Elapidae + (Colubridae + Viperidae) + *.

small to medium-sized snakes; blunt-headed; maxilla is extremely reduced; maxilla with elongated, hollow maxillary fang; maxilla has complex articulation with prefrontal; short tails; fossorial; solenoglyphs; oviparous with clutches of 2-11; feed upon newborn rodents and other fossorial reptiles

Links: Atractaspididae; Atractaspididae


Colubroidea: Atractaspididae + (Colubridae + Viperidae) + *.

Venomous, often marine snakes with hollow, relatively immobile maxillary fangs.

Mangrove snake Boiga dendrophila

Boiga dendrophila, the mangrove snake. From the Virtual Museum of Natural History, by permission.

Colubridae:rat snakes, corn snakes, king snakes, garter snakes, indigo snakes, boomslangs, etc.

All continents except Antarctica (and Australia?), in all but coldest latitudes.

Colubroidea:: Viperidae + *.

20-400 cm; frequently venomous but without anterior fangs or hollow teeth; venom, where present, mostly proteases; most have rows of teeth that are of equal size; teeth on premaxillae lost; maxilla elongate; basipterygoid processes lost; coronoids lost; pupils round; vertebrae generally lack downward-projecting spines; right common artery lost; pelvic girdle absent; large, strap-like scales in single row down the belly; most terrestrial.

Note: Very speciose taxon, with 85-90% of living species. May be a catch-all taxon for advanced snakes of multiple lineages. ATW021012.

Links: Animal Diversity Web: Family Colubridae; Flying snake home page Colubridae: Chrysopelea); Squamata/COLUBRIDAE/colubridae01.html">Reptilia, Squamata, Ophidia, Colubridae, Nattern (German); Colubridae, Italian); Predacao de anuros pela serpente (Portugese); ????????? ?????? (Colubridae). ????: Colubrids. (Russian); Colubridae; I Colubridi, Colubridae (Italian); APUS.RU - Colubridae Russian); SERPENTS also in Russian); Advanced Snakes pictures & lots of references); Colubridae.html pictures). ATW030128.

Agkistrodon contortrix contortrixViperidae: adders, vipers, & copperheads.

from the Early Miocene.

Colubroidea:: Colubridae + *: Azemiopinae + (Crotalinae + Viperinae).

Large, triangular heads & stout bodies; maxilla short, with one tooth; maxillae rotates so that fangs folded during feeding distinguishes from Elapids); venom teeth are closed tubes (solenoglyph) without visible seam; quadrates flared outward and highly mobile skull; venom common. Largely ambush predators of mammals, injecting venom, then following scent trail.

Image:Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus from Viperidae.

Links: Encyclopedia Entry; Viperidae; Animal Diversity Web: Family- Viperidae; Squamata/VIPERIDAE/viperidae01.html">Reptilia, Squamata, Ophidia, Viperidae - Vipern German); Viperidae.html just pictures); Viperidae Familyasi Turkish); I Viperidi, Viperidae Italian: very thorough coverage); Viperidae Mikko). ATW030121.

AzemiopsAzemiopinae: (= Azemophinae):   Azemiops (Fea's viper).

Range: R of China, Tibet, northern parts of SE Asia.

Viperidae: (Crotalinae + Viperinae) + *.

Characters: <82 cm long; head somewhat flattened & slightly triangular; fangs short; venom sacs comparatively small; loreal infra-red sensitive) pit-organs absent; moderately sturdy body, with short tail; no tracheal lung; head with with large plates (colubridlike head scales); head scales orange; smooth body scales, body has widely spaced orange rings on a background of deep blue-gray to black; feeds on small mammals and lizards; vibrates tail against vegetation when threatened; hibernates in winter; oviparous.

Image:Azemiops from Viperidae.

Links: Viperidae; NCBI; ??? - ???? Azemiops feae Chinese). ATW030503.


Viperidae:: Viperinae + *.

Atheris clorechisViperinae:  Adenorhinos, Atheris, Bitis, Cerastes, Daboia, Echis, Macrovipera, Vipera. "Pitless vipers."

Viperidae:: Crotalinae + *.

Links:Viperinae; Viperidae; Viperinae2001; The World Of Atheris; Biochem. J. - Bile acids of Viperinae; Viper's; Snake Basics 2 - Simon's Snake Website. ATW020817.

checked ATW060222