Colubridae

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Colubridae
Temporal range: Oligocene to Recent
Coluber caspius.jpg
Caspian whipsnake, Coluber caspius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Oppel, 1811

The Colubridae (from Latin coluber, snake) are a family of snakes. With 304 genera and 1,938 species,[citation needed] Colubridae is the largest snake family, and includes about two-thirds of all current snake species. The earliest species of the family date back to the Oligocene epoch. Colubrid species are found on every continent except Antarctica.[1]

Description[edit]

While most colubrids are nonvenomous (or have venom that is not known to be harmful to humans) and are mostly harmless, a few groups, such as genus Boiga, can produce medically significant bites, while the boomslang, the twig snakes and the Asian genus Rhabdophis have caused human fatalities.[1][2]

Some of the colubrids are described as opisthoglyphous, meaning they have elongated, grooved teeth located in the back of the upper jaw. The opisthoglyphous dentition appears at least twice in the history of snakes.[2] These are unlike those of vipers and elapids, which are located in the front.[1][2]

Classification[edit]

The Colubridae are not a natural group, as many are more closely related to other groups, such as elapids, than to each other.[3] This family has classically been a garbage bin taxon for snakes that do not fit elsewhere.[4] It is hoped that ongoing research will sort out the relations within this group.

Subfamily Boodontinae (sometimes moved to family Lamprophiidae as subfamily Lamprophiinae)

Subfamily Calamariinae

Subfamily Colubrinae - nearly 100 genera

Subfamily Dipsadinae

Subfamily Homalopsinae - about 10 genera

Subfamily Natricinae - about 30 genera

Subfamily Pareatinae - three genera

Subfamily Psammophiinae

Subfamily Pseudoxenodontinae

Subfamily Pseudoxyrhophiinae - about 20 genera

Subfamily Xenodermatinae

Subfamily Xenodontinae - some 55-60 genera

incertae sedis

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bauer, Aaron M. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 188–195. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  2. ^ a b c Bruna Azara, C. 1995. Animales venenosos. Vertebrados terrestres venenosos peligrosos para el ser humano en España. Bol. SEA, 11: 32-40
  3. ^ Lawson, R; Slowinski, J.B.; Crother, B.I.; Burbrink, F.T. (2005). "Phylogeny of the Colubroidea (Serpentes): New evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear genes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 581–601. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.016. PMID 16172004. 
  4. ^ Fry, B.G.; Vidal, N.; van der Weerd, L.; Kochva, E.; Renjifo, C. (2009). "Evolution and diversification of the Toxicofera reptile venom system". Journal of Proteomics 72: 127–136. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2009.01.009. 

External links[edit]