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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Atractaspididae
Subfamily: Aparallactinae
Genus: Xenocalamus
Günther, 1868
Common name: quill-snouted snakes.

Xenocalamus is a genus of rear-fanged venomous snakes endemic to Africa. Five species are recognized.[1]

Description (diagnosis) of genus[edit]

Maxillary very short, with five teeth gradually increasing in size and followed, after an interspace, by two large grooved fangs situated below the eye. Anterior mandibular teeth slightly larger than the posterior ones. Palate toothless.

Head small, not distinct from neck. Snout pointed, very prominent, very flattened. Rostral very large with obtuse horizontal edge, flat below. Eye minute, with round pupil. Nostril between two nasals, the posterior nasal very large. No loreal. Prefrontals absent (fused with the frontal). No anterior temporal.

Body cylindrical; tail very short, obtuse.

Dorsal scales smooth, without apical pits, arranged in 17 rows. Ventrals rounded; subcaudals in two rows.[2]


Genus Xenocalamus -- 5 species
Species[1] Taxon author[1] Subspecies*[1] Common name[3] Geographic range[3]
X. bicolor Günther, 1868 australis
slender quill-snouted snake Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Botswana, Republic of South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe.
X. mechowii Peters, 1881 inornatus elongate quill-snouted snake Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo,
X. michelli L. Müller, 1911 ———— Michell's quill-snouted snake southern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
X. sabiensis Broadley, 1971 ———— Sabi quill-snouted snake Zimbabwe to Mozambique.
X. transvaalensis Methuen, 1919 ———— Transvaal quill-snouted snake North Transvaal and Zululand in Republic of South Africa, southern Mozambique, Botswana.

*) Not including the nominate subspecies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Xenocalamus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  2. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ), Amblycephalidæ, and Viperidæ. Trustees of the British Museum. London. pp. 247-248.
  3. ^ a b Xenocalamus at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 12 May 2009.