family of reptiles

A colubrid (from Latin coluber, snake) is a snake that is a member of the Colubridae family. Colubridae is the largest snake family, and includes about two-thirds of all known living snake species. However, colubrids are certainly not a natural group, and many are more closely related to other groups, such as elapids, than to each other. This family has classically been a dumping ground for snakes that do not fit anywhere else. There is on-going mitochondrial DNA research which will sort out the familial relations within this group.[1][2]

Caspian whipsnake
Coluber (Dolichophis) caspius
Scientific classification
A boomslang

A colubrid's body is almost completely covered in scales. Most colubrids are not venomous and are normally harmless. A few groups, such as genus Boiga, can produce medically significant bites. In addition, the Boomslang and African twig snake have both caused human fatalities. The venom-injecting fangs associated with venomous colubrids are almost always in the back of the mouth, in contrast to vipers and elapids.

Selected species change

References change

  1. Lawson R. et al 2005. Phylogeny of the Colubroidea (Serpentes): new evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 581–601. [1]
  2. Fry, B.G. et al 2009. Evolution and diversification of the Toxicofera reptile venom system. Journal of Proteomics 72: 127–136. [2]