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Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Xenophidiidae
Wallach & Günther, 1998
Genus: Xenophidion
Günther & Manthey, 1995

Xenophidion is a genus of snakes first described in 1995, and the only genus of the monotypic family Xenophidiidae.[1] Commonly referred to as Spinejaw snakes, this genus is found in Borneo and peninsular Malaysia.

Morphology and classification[edit]

This genus is taxonomically and phylogenetically challenging to classify, as these snakes possess several morphological traits that distinguish them from all other snake species; head scales with numerous sensory papillae, large prefrontal scales, and an upper jaw which has a spiny palatine process. They also lack any pelvic girdle vestiges, a left lung, or a coronoid bone. [2] In 2004, cytochrome b sequencing suggested a sister relationship of Xenophidion to Bolyeriidae from Mauritius.[3] Similar to Boyleriidae, Spinejaw snakes have a jointed maxilla.

Diet, reproduction, and habitat[edit]

Very little is known about this genus. Specimen dissection has revealed the presence of a partially digested skink and an oviparous mode of reproduction, but male specimens have not yet been identified [4]. They are likely fossorial and may be under severe threat from palm oil agriculture.



  1. ^ Genus Xenophidion at The Reptile Database.
  2. ^ Wallach, V. & R. Günther, 1998. Visceral anatomy of the Malaysian snake genus Xenophidion, including a cladistic analysis and allocation to a new family. Amphibia-Reptilia, 19 (4): 385-404
  3. ^ Lawson, R.; Slowinski, J. B.; Burbrink, F. T. (2004). "A molecular approach to discerning the phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic snake Xenophidion schaeferi among the Alethinophidia". Journal of Zoology. 263: 285–294.
  4. ^ http://snakesarelong.blogspot.com/2016/09/xenophidion-snake-with-mystery-penis.html