The labial scales are the scales of snakes and other scaled reptiles that border the mouth opening. These do not include the median scales on the upper and lower jaws (rostral and mental scales). The term labial originates from Labium (Latin for "lip"), which refers to any lip-like structure. In snakes, there are two different types of labial scales: supralabials and sublabials. The numbers of these scales present, and sometimes the shapes and sizes, are some of many characteristics used to differentiate species from one another.
There are two different types of labial scales:
- Supralabials are the scales that form part of the upper lip. Also called upper labials.
- Sublabials are the scales that form part of the lower lip. Also called infralabials or lower labials.
- Rostral scale: median scale on the tip of the snout bordering the mouth opening.
- Mental scale: median scale on the tip of the lower jaw.
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- Wright AH, Wright AA. 1957. Handbook of Snakes. Comstock Publishing Associates (7th printing, 1985). 1105 pp. ISBN 0-8014-0463-0.