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Cuban Giant Trope (Tropidophis melanurus) (8577519420).jpg
Tropidophis melanurus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Tropidophiidae
Genus: Tropidophis
Bibron In
de la Sagra, 1843
  • Tropidophis Bibron In
    de la Sagra, 1843
  • Leionotus Bibron In
    de la Sagra, 1843
  • Ungalia Gray, 1842
  • Erycopsis Fitzinger, 1843
  • Notophis Hallowell, 1856
  • Ungalia Cope, 1868[1]

Tropidophis, common name wood snake or West Indian wood snake,[2] is a genus of dwarf boas[3] endemic to the West Indies and South America. Currently, 17 species are recognized.[3]


Adults grow to between 30 and 60 cm (12 and 24 in) in total length (including tail). They are secretive and predominately terrestrial, found in a variety of natural habitats, including rain forest, swamps, pine woods and scrub, as well as in the vicinity of human habitation. They have a peculiar defensive habit of expelling blood from the mouth, nostrils and eyes when disturbed.[4] Some species also change colour over the course of the day.[4]

Despite their relatively small size and secretive nature, some species may be susceptible to extirpation, mainly due to habitat alteration and introduced feral animals. The Navassa Island dwarf boa, T. bucculentus, has not been seen for 100 years and is believed to be extinct.

Geographic range[edit]

Found in the West Indies, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.[1]


Species[3] Taxon author[3] Subsp.*[3] Common name Geographic range[1]
T. battersbyi Laurent, 1949 0 Ecuadorian dwarf boa Ecuador
T. bucculentus (Cope, 1868) 0 Navassa Island dwarf boa Navassa Island
T. canus (Cope, 1868) 3 Bahamian dwarf boa The Bahamas
T. caymanensis Battersby, 1938 2 Cayman Islands dwarf boa Cayman Islands
T. feicki Schwartz, 1957 0 broad-banded dwarf boa Western Cuba
T. fuscus Hedges & Garrido, 1992 0 Cuban dusky dwarf boa Northeastern Cuba
T. greenwayi Barbour & Shreve, 1936 1 Caicos dwarf boa Caicos Islands
T. haetianus (Cope, 1879) 5 Haitian dwarf boa Eastern Cuba, Hispaniola and adjacent islands, and Jamaica
T. maculatus (Bibron, 1840) 0 spotted red dwarf boa Western Cuba
T. melanurusT (Schlegel, 1837) 2 Cuban giant dwarf boa Cuba and adjacent islands
T. nigriventris Bailey, 1937 0 black-bellied dwarf boa Central Cuba
T. pardalis (Gundlach, 1840) 0 leopard dwarf boa Cuba and adjacent islands
T. paucisquamis (Müller, 1901) 0 Brazilian dwarf boa Brazil in Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo
T. pilsbryi Bailey, 1937 1 Cuban white-necked dwarf boa Central and eastern Cuba
T. semicinctus (Gundlach & W. Peters, 1864) 0 yellow-banded dwarf boa Western and central Cuba
T. taczanowskyi (Steindachner, 1880) 0 Taczanowski's dwarf boa Amazonian Peru and Ecuador
T. wrighti Stull, 1928 0 gracile banded dwarf boa Eastern Cuba

*) Not including the nominate subspecies
T) Type species[1]

The Reptile Database includes some further species:[5]

Species[5] Taxon author[5] Subsp.*[5] Common name Geographic range[5]
T. celiae (Hedges, Estrada & Díaz, 1999) 0 Canasi dwarf boa Cuba and adjacent islands
T. grapiuna Curcio, Sales Nunes, Suzart Argolo, Skuk & Rodrigues, 2012 0 Brazil
T. hardyi Schwartz & Garrido, 1975 0 Cuba
T. hendersoni Hedges & Garrido, 2002 0 Cuban khaki dwarf boa Cuba
T. morenoi Hedges, Garrido & Díaz, 2001 0 zebra dwarf boa Cuba
T. parkeri Grant, 1941 0 Parker's dwarf boa Little Cayman Island
T. preciosus Curcio, Sales Nunes, Suzart Argolo, Skuk & Rodrigues, 2012 0 Brazil
T. schwartzi Thomas, 1963 0 Schwartz' dwarf boa Cayman Islands
T. spiritus Hedges & Garrido, 1999 0 Sancti Spíritus dwarf boa Cuba
T. xanthogaster Domínguez, Moreno & Hedges, 2006 0 Guanahacabibes dwarf boa Cuba

*) Not including the nominate subspecies

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ Parker HW, Grandison AGC. 1977. Snakes — a Natural History. Second Edition. London and Ithaca: British Museum (Natural History) and Cornell University Press. 108 pp. + 16 plates. LCCCN 76-54625. ISBN 0-8014-1095-9 (cloth), ISBN 0-8014-9164-9 (paper).
  3. ^ a b c d e "Tropidophis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Domínguez, Michel; Luis V. Moreno; S. Blair Hedges (August 2006). "A new snake of the genus Tropidophis (Tropidophiidae) from the Guanahacabibes Peninsula of Western Cuba". Amphibia-Reptilia. 27: 427–432. doi:10.1163/156853806778190088. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Tropidophis at the Reptile Database

Further reading[edit]

  • Bibron G. 1843. In: de la Sagra R. 1843. Historia fisica, politica y natural de la isla de Cuba. Segunda parte historia natural. Tomo IV. Reptiles y peces. Paris: Bertrand. 255 pp. + Plates I-V. (Tropidophis, new genus, p. 124). (in Spanish).
  • Boulenger GA. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... Boidæ ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Genus Ungalia [=Tropidophis], p. 110).
  • Freiberg M. 1982. Snakes of South America. Hong Kong: T.F.H. Publications. 189 pp. ISBN 0-87666-912-7. (Genus Tropidophis, pp. 44, 80, 88, 188).
  • Schwartz A, Thomas R. 1975. A Check-list of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 216 pp. (12 species of Tropidophis, pp. 191–196).

External links[edit]