Boa (genus)

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Boa constrictor (2).jpg
Boa constrictor, B. constrictor
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae
Genus: Boa
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Constrictor Laurenti, 1768
  • Pelophilus A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844

Boa is a genus of non-venomous boas found in Mexico, Central and South America. One species is currently recognized.[1] Common names include: boa[1] and boa constrictor.[2]


Boa is a monotypic genus, represented by the species Boa constrictor. This snake has been reported to grow to a maximum of 14 feet (4.3 m) in length.[3] Numerous subspecies are currently recognised.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Northern Mexico through Central America (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama) to South America north of 35°S (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. Also in the Lesser Antilles (Dominica and St. Lucia), on San Andrés, Providencia and many other islands along the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America.[4]


Kluge (1991) moved the genera Sanzinia and Acrantophis into Boa, based on a phylogeny derived from morphological characters.[5] However, it has since been shown that the Malagasy boids and Boa constrictor do not form a monophyletic group, and the lumping of Sanzinia, Acrantophis and Boa was, therefore, an error. These snakes are therefore correctly represented in their own genera: Sanzinia and Acrantophis.[2][6][7]

To add further to the naming confusion, many species of snake in the family Boidae are known colloquially as "boas" and all are constrictors. Also, more than a few subspecies of B. constrictor are recognized, several of which have distinct common names.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Boa". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Noonan, Brice; Chippindale, P. (2006). "Dispersal and vicariance: The complex evolutionary history of boid snakes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 40 (2): 347–358. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.03.010. PMID 16624591. 
  3. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  5. ^ Kluge AG. 1991. Boine Snake Phylogeny and Research Cycles. Misc. Pub. Museum of Zoology, Univ. of Michigan No. 178. 58 pp.
  6. ^ Vences, Miguel; Glaw, F.; Kosuch, J.; Boehme, W.; Veith, M. (2001). "Phylogeny of South American and Malagasy boine snakes: Molecular evidence for the validity of Sanzinia and Acrantophis and biogeographic implications". Copeia. 2001 (4): 1151–1154. doi:10.1643/0045-8511(2001)001[1151:posaam];2. 
  7. ^ Reynolds, R.G.; Niemiller, M.L.; Revell, L.J. (2014). "Toward a Tree-of-Life for the boas and pythons: Multilocus species-level phylogeny with unprecedented taxon sampling". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 71: 201–213. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.11.011. PMID 24315866. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kluge AG. 1991. Boine Snake Phylogeny and Research Cycles. Misc. Pub. Museum of Zoology, Univ. of Michigan No. 178. 58 pp. PDF at University of Michigan Library. Accessed 11 July 2008.
  • Vences M, Glaw F, Kosuch J, Böhme W, Veith M. 2001. Phylogeny of South American and Malagasy Boine Snakes: Molecular Evidence for the Validity of Sanzinia and Acrantophis and Biogeographic Implications. Copeia No 4. p. 1151-1154. PDF at Miguel Vences. Accessed 29 August 2008.
  • Vences M, Glaw F. 2003. Phylogeography, systematics and conservation status of boid snakes from Madagascar (Sanzinia and Acrantophis). Salamandra, Reinbach, 39(3/4): p. 181-206. PDF at Miguel Vences. Accessed 29 August 2008.

External links[edit]