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Eunectes murinus2.jpg
Green anaconda, E. murinus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae
Genus: Eunectes
Wagler, 1830[1]
Type species
Eunectes murinus
(Linnaeus, 1758)[1]

Boa Linnaeus, 1758
Draco Oken, 1816

Common names: anacondas.

Eunectes is a genus of boas found in tropical South America. They are an aquatic group of snakes and include one of the largest snakes in the world, E. murinus, the green anaconda. The name Eunectes is derived from the Greek word Eυνήκτης, which means "good swimmer". Four species are currently recognized.[2][3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Found in tropical South America from Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela south to Argentina.[1]


All four species are aquatic snakes that prey on other aquatic animals, including fish, river fowl, caiman, and capybaras. Some accounts exist of anacondas preying on domestic animals such as goats[4] that venture too close to the water.

Relationship with humans[edit]

While encounters between people and anacondas may be dangerous, they do not regularly hunt humans. Nevertheless, threat from anacondas is a familiar trope in comics, movies and adventure stories set in the Amazon jungle. Anacondas have also figured prominently in South American folklore, where they are sometimes depicted as shapeshifting mythical creatures called encantados. Local communities and some European explorers have given accounts of giant anacondas, legendary snakes of much greater proportion than any confirmed specimen.

Although charismatic, there is little known on the biology of wild anacondas. Most of our knowledge comes from the work of Dr. Jesus Rivas and his team working in the Venezuelan llanos.[5]


The green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, has been used for many commercially successful films, as a deadly creature.
Bolivian anaconda
Species Taxon author Subspecies

other than nominate[2]

Common name Geographic range
E. beniensis Dirksen, 2002[6] 0 Bolivian anaconda South America in the Departments of Beni and Pando in Bolivia.
E. deschauenseei Dunn and Conant, 1936[2] 0 Dark-spotted anaconda South America in northeastern Brazil and coastal French Guiana.[1]
E. murinus (Linnaeus, 1758)[2] 1 Green anaconda South America in countries east of the Andes, including Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and on the island of Trinidad.[1]
E. notaeus Cope, 1862[2] 0 Yellow anaconda South America in eastern Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.[1]
E. stirtoni Hoffstetter and Rage, 1977[7] 0 This species is extinct; their fossils have been found in the La Venta fauna (Miocene) in Colombia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f 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).
  2. ^ a b c d e "Eunectes". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Eunectes beniensis at the Reptile Database. Accessed 12 December 2008.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Jesus Rivas. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Life history and conservation of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus)". Jesus Rivas. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Dirksen, L. (2002). Anakondas (in German). Münster: Natur und Tier Verlag. 
  7. ^ Hoffstetter, R.; J. C. Rage (1977). "Le gisement de vertébrés miocènes de La Venta (Colombie) et sa faune de serpents". Annales de Paléontologie (Vertébrés). 63: 161–190. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Eunectes at the Reptile Database. Accessed 18 July 2008.
  • Dirksen L.; and Böhme W. (2005). "Studies on anacondas III. A reappraisal of Eunectes beniensis Dirksen, 2002, from Bolivia, and a key to the species of the genus Eunectes Wagler, 1830 (Serpentes: Boidae)". Russian Journal of Herpetology. 12 (3): 223–229. 
  • Wagler, J. G. (1830). Natürliches System der Amphibien, mit vorangehender Classification der Säugetiere und Vögel. Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Zoologie (in German). München, Stuttgart, and Tübingen: Cotta. 

Rivas, Jesus (2007). Natural History of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) in the Venezuelan llanos (PDF). USA: Eagle Mountain. pp. 129–138. 

External links[edit]