Adder-like and viper-like

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Adder-like and viper-like
Grass snake (Natrix natrix)

Grass snake ( Natrix natrix )

without rank: Sauropsida
Superordinate : Scale lizards (Lepidosauria)
Order : Scale reptiles (Squamata)
without rank: Toxicofera
Subordination : Snakes (serpentes)
Superfamily : Adder-like and viper-like
Scientific name
Oppel , 1811

About 80% of the approximately 3000 species of snake belong to the snake-like and viper-like (Colubroidea) . The group includes all snakes native to Central Europe, such as the grass snake and the adder . Within the group, the production of snake venom to paralyze or kill prey is widespread.


Their monophyly is evidenced by the skull anatomy, specially shaped costal cartilage and features of the body segmentation.

Hussam Zaher and colleagues give a total of eight synapomorphies for the taxon which they call Colubroides. These include the loss of the right carotid artery , the connection of the intercostal arteries with the dorsal aorta (back aorta) at a distance of several body segments, specialized, enlarged costal cartilage, some special muscles, including the spinal muscle and a spiked hemipenis .


The following is a current system of the Colubroidea with seven families. The new family Lamprophiidae includes African taxa, originally attributed to the snakes, which are more closely related to the poisonous snakes (Elapidae) than to the snakes. Together with their closest relatives, the warthog snakes (Acrochordidae), the Colubroidea form the taxon Caenophidia .

Colubroid cladogram

 Adders  (Colubridae)




 Poison Snakes  (Elapidae)


 Water snakes (Homalopsidae)


 Vipers  (Viperidae)






 Wart snakes  (Acrochordidae)


  1. N. Vidal, AS Delmas, P. David, C. Cruaud, A. Couloux, SB Hedges: The phylogeny and classification of caenophidian snakes inferred from seven nuclear protein-coding genes. In: Comptes Rendus Biologies. 330, 2007, pp. 182-187 ( PDF; 170 kB ).
  2. Wilfried Westheide / Reinhard Rieger: Special Zoology Part 2: Vertebrae and Skull Animals. 1st edition. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag Heidelberg, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-8274-0307-3 .
  3. Hussam Zaher, Felipe Gobbi Grazziotin, John E. Cadle, Robert W. Murphy, Julio Cesar de Moura-Leite, Sandro L. Bonatto: Molecular phylogeny of advanced snakes (Serpentes, Caenophidia) with an emphasis on South American Xenodontines: a revised classification and descriptions of new taxa. Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo) vol. 49 no.11 São Paulo, 2009, doi : 10.1590 / S0031-10492009001100001 PDF
  4. ^ RA Pyron, et al .: The phylogeny of advanced snakes (Colubroidea), with discovery of a new subfamily and comparison of support methods for likelihood trees. In: Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 2010, doi : 10.1016 / j.ympev.2010.11.006 .
  5. The REPTILE DATABASE: Suborder Ophidia (Serpentes) - Snakes

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