Coluber (Dolichophis) caspius
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.
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 | change source]
- Brown tree snake
- Dice snake
- Garter snake
- Rat snake
- Smooth snake
- Water snake
References[change | change source]
- Lawson R. et al 2005. Phylogeny of the Colubroidea (Serpentes): new evidence from mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 581–601. 
- Fry, B.G. et al 2009. Evolution and diversification of the Toxicofera reptile venom system. Journal of Proteomics 72: 127–136.