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Ramphotyphlops braminus.jpg
Brahminy blind snake,
Ramphotyphlops braminus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Infraorder: Scolecophidia
Cope, 1864
  • Scolecophidia - Cope, 1864[1]
Common names: blind snakes, thread snakes.[2]

The Scolecophidia are an infraorder[2] of snakes. They range in size from 10 to 100 cm in length. All are fossorial (adapted for burrowing).[3] There are five families and 15 genera recognized,[2][4][5]


Family[2] Authority[2] Genera[2] Common name[2] Geographic range[1]
Anomalepididae Taylor, 1939 4 Primitive blind snakes Southern Central America and South America
Gerrhopilidae Vidal, Wynn, Donnellan and Hedges, 2010[6] 2 Blind snakes India
Leptotyphlopidae Stejneger, 1892 2 Slender blind snakes or threadsnakes Africa, western Asia and the Americas
Typhlopidae Merrem, 1820 6 Long-tailed blind snakes Most tropical and many subtropical regions all over the world
Xenotyphlopidae Vidal, Vences, Branch and Hedges, 2010[6] 1 Blind snakes Madagascar

Biogeographic history[edit]

Scolecophidians are believed to have originated on Gondwana, with anomalepidids and leptotyphlopids evolving in west Gondwana (South America and Africa) and typhlopids, gerrhopilids and xenotyphlopids on east Gondwana, initially on the combined India/Madagascar land mass, during the Mesozoic.[7] Typhlopids then dispersed to Africa and Eurasia. South American typhlopids apparently evolved from African typhlopids that rafted across the Atlantic about 60 million years ago; they in turn dispersed to the Caribbean about 33 million years ago.[7] Similarly, typhlopids apparently reached Australia from Southeast Asia or Indonesia about 28 million years ago.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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 f g "Scolecophidia". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 14 August 2007. 
  3. ^ Scolecophidia at Palaeos. Accessed 21 December 2013.
  4. ^ Marin, Julie; et al. (2013). "Hidden species diversity of Australian burrowing snakes (Ramphotyphlops)" (PDF). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 110 (2): 427–441. doi:10.1111/bij.12132. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Pyron, Robert Alexander; Burbrink, Frank T. and Wiens, John J. (2013). "A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes" (PDF). BMC Evolutionary Biology 13 (1): 93–145. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-93. PMC 3682911. PMID 23627680. 
  6. ^ a b Vidal, Nicolas; et al. (2010). "Blindsnake evolutionary tree reveals long history on Gondwana" (PDF). Biology Letters 6. (4): 558–561, page 560. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0220. 
  7. ^ a b c Vidal, N.; Marin, J.; Morini, M.; Donnellan, S.; Branch, W. R.; Thomas, R.; Vences, M.; Wynn, A.; Cruaud, C.; Hedges, S. B. (2010-03-31). "Blindsnake evolutionary tree reveals long history on Gondwana". Biology Letters 6 (4): 558–561. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0220.