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The Infraorder Alethinophidia includes all snakes above the Scolecophidia (including the Infraorder Caenophidia). As such it contains well over 2,000 species. The alethinophidians fall into one of two categories: Basal alethinophidians (small-mouthed, inflexible-jawed, irridescent, smooth-scaled, short-tailed, vertigial limbed, fossorial or semi-fossorial burrowers) and Macrostomatan alethinophidians (large-mouthed, flexible-jawed, often brighly coloured and terrestrial, arboreal or aquatic). The Caenophidia also falls into this second category. Excluding the Caenophidia, the Alethinophidia contains almost 200 species.

Basal Alethinophidia:
1. Aniliidae; 2. Anomochelidae; 3. Cylindrophiidae; 4. Uropeltidae

Macrostomatan Alethinophidia:
5. Boidae; 6. Bolyeridae; 7. Loxocemidae; 8. Pythonidae; 9. Tropidophiidae; 10. Ungaliophiidae; 11. Xenopeltidae; 12. Xenophidiidae [Caenophidia]

Phylogeny of the Basal and Macrostomatan Snakes
(from the diagram in O'Shea 2007 Boas and Pythons of the World)
based on phylogeny by Vidal & Hedges 2002
(click on figure to enlarge and view reference)


Photographic locality. Wherever possible precidence is given to wild specimens from known localitions, wherein the 'photographic locality' relates to the origin of the photographed specimens, rather than the taxon's entire range. The only exceptions are indicated by (captive) or (preserved specimen). These are either specimens photographed in captivity, where the locality given is a general distribution for the taxon, or preserved specimens photographed as biological voucher specimens.

Column D1. Digitized images - the bulk of the library consists of 35mm transparencies (mostly Kodachrome or Velvia) which are gradually being digitized [using Nikon CoolScan 4000 or Plustek OpticFilm 7600i] and stored on hard disc. 'X' indicates that digitized images are available, '[]' indicates that the transparencies of this taxon have yet to be digitized.

Column D2. Digital images - since 2005 digital images have also been taken [using Canon EOS 30D, 40D or 7D]. 'X' indicates that digital images are available in addition to digitized images for this taxon.


The Basal Alethinophidia are small, slender, smooth-scaled snakes with often fused lower jaws and limited mouth-gapes. They are fossorial or semi-fossorial in habit.


The Aniliidae is a monotypic family containing a single species in Amazonia, represented in the photo library.

S.American pipesnakes
AMAZONIAN CORAL PIPESNAKE Anilius scytale scytale
Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Anilius scytale scytale Amazonian coral pipesnake Brazil (Amazonas) X  



The Cylindrophiidae contains a single South and Southeast Asian genus containing ten species, represented by a single Sri Lankan species in the photo library.

Asian pipesnakes
SRI LANKAN PIPESNAKE Cylindrophis maculatus
Colombo, Sri Lanka
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Cylindrophis maculatus Sri Lankan black pipesnake Sri Lanka X  



The Uropeltidae of India and Sri Lanka comprises eight genera and 48 species but only a single species is currently present in the photo library.

Rhinophis homolepis
Gampola, Kandy, Sri Lanka
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Rhinophis homolepis Hemprich's shieldtail Sri Lanka X  



The Macrostomatan Alethinophidia vary greatly in size, from small snakes to the largest the world has ever known. Some are capable of swallowing predigious meals whole, so wide can they open their mouths. There are terrestrial, aquatic and arboreal species.



One of two large families within the Macrostomatans, below the Caenophidia, the Boidae contains two subfamilies: Boinae with seven genera and 38 species, and Erycinae with five genera and 15 species. The photo library contains 23 species (29 taxa), and eight species (9 taxa) from eleven of the twelve genera, respectively.

True boas
Sand boas
Boa constrictor constrictor
Dona Barbara, Los Llanos, Venezuela
Gongylophis conicus
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
click on images to enlarge
Boinae True boas Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Acrantophis dumerili Dumeril's boa Madagascar (captive) X  
Boa constrictor constrictor Common boa Brazil (Roraima, Amazonas, Pará), Venezuela (Apure) X  
Boa constrictor amarali Bolivian red-tailed boa Brazil (Sao Paulo) X  
Boa constrictor melanogaster Black-bellied boa Ecuador (captive) X  
Boa constrictor occidentalis Argentine boa Argentina (captive) X  
Boa imperator Central American boa Honduras (Gracios a Dios), Costa Rica X  
Candoia aspera aspera Bismarck ground boa PNG (New Ireland) X  
Candoia aspera schmidti New Guinea ground boa PNG (Madang, Central, West New Britain) X  
Candoia bibroni South Pacific tree boa Solomon Islands (captive) X  
Candoia carinata carinata New Guinea tree boa PNG (Madang, Central) X  
Candoia paulsoni paulsoni Solomons ground boa Solomon Islands (captive) X  
Candoia paulsoni mcdowelli McDowell's ground boa PNG (Central, Milne Bay, Oro) X  
Candoia paulsoni vindumi Bougainville ground boa PNG (N.Solomons) X  
Corallus caninus Emerald tree boa Brazil (Amazonas) X  
Corallus cropani Cropani's boa Brazil (Sao Paulo) (pres.spec.) X  
Corallus hortulanus Amazonian tree boa Brazil (Roraima, Amazonas), Guyana X  
Corallus ruschenbergerii Caribbean coastal tree boa Trinidad X  
Epicrates angulifer Cuban boa Cuba (captive) X  
Epicrates alverezi Argentine rainbow boa Argentina (captive) X  
Epicrates cenchria Amazonian rainbow boa Brazil (Roraima, Amazonas), Peru (Loreto) X  
Epicrates crassus Paraguayan rainbow boa Brazil (Mato Grosso) X  
Epicrates fordii fordii Ford's boa Hispaniola (captive) X  
Epicrates maurus Brown rainbow boa Brazil (Pará) X  
Epicrates striatus striatus Haitian boa Hispaniola (captive) X  
Epicrates subflavus Jamaican boa Jamaica (captive) X  
Eunectes deschauenseei De Schauensee's anaconda Brazil (Pará) X  
Eunectes murinus Green anaconda Brazil (Roraima, Pará), Venezuela (Apure), Guyana, Peru (Lorto) X  
Eunectes notaeus Yellow anaconda Paraguay (captive) X  
Sanzinia madagascariensis Madagascan tree boa Madagascar (captive) X  
Erycinae Sand boas      
Calabaria reinhardtii Calabar ground boa Cameroon (Southwest) X  
Eryx jaculus Javelin sand boa Middle East (captive) X  
Eryx jayakari Arabian sand boa UAE (Sharjah) X X
Eryx johni John's red sand boa India (Orissa) X  
Eryx miliaris Dwarf desert sand boa Middle East (captive) X  
Gongylophis colubrinus colubrinus Egyptian sand boa N.Africa (captive) X  
Gongylophis colubrinus loveridgei Kenyan sand boa E.Africa (captive) X  
Gongylophis conicus Rough-scaled Indian sand boa India (Orissa, Karnataka) X  
Lichanura trivirgata trivirgata Mexican rosy boa Mexico (Baja California Sur) X  



The Pythonidae is the other large macrostomatan group, containing 41 species in eight genera. The photo library contains 29 species (33 taxa) representing all the genera.

Python reticulatus
Southeast Asia
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Antaresia childreni Children's python Australia (captive) X  
Antaresia maculosa Spotted dwarf python PNG (Western) X  
Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni Western Stimson's python Australia (WA) X  
Apodora papuana Papuan olive python PNG (Western, Central, Madang, Morobe, Milne Bay) X  
Aspidites melanocephalus Black-headed python Australia (WA) X  
Bothrochilus boa Bismarck ringed python PNG (New Ireland) X  
Leiopython albertisi Northern white-lipped python PNG (Madang) X  
Leiopython hoserae Southern white-lipped python PNG (Central, Western) X  
Liasis fuscus Brown water python PNG (Western) (pres. spec.) X  
Liasis mackloti mackloti Macklot's water python Timor-Leste X X
Liasis mackloti dunni Wetar water python Indonesia (captive) X  
Liasis olivaceus olivaceus Northern Australia olive python Australia (WA) X  
Morelia amethistina New Guinea amethystine python PNG (Madang, Western, Central, Milne Bay, West New Britain) X X
Morelia azurea Northern green tree python

PNG (Madang)

Morelia boeleni Boelen's python PNG (Central, Southern Highlands) X  
Morelia bredli Centralian python Australia (captive) X  
Morelia carinata Rough-scaled python Australia (WA) X  
Morelia clastolepis Southern Moluccan amethystine python Indonesia (captive) X  
Morelia spilota spilota Diamond python Australia (NSW) X  
Morelia spilota harrisoni Papuan carpet python PNG (Western, Central) X  
Morelia spilota variegata Northwestern carpet python Australia (captive) X  
Morelia viridis Southern green tree python

PNG (Central, Western, Oro)

Python anchietae Angolan python Angola (captive) X  
Python breitensteini Borneo blood python Borneo (Sabah) X X
Python brongersmai Malayan blood python Malaysia (captive) X  
Python bivittatus Burmese rock python Nepal, India (Orissa, W.Bengal) X  
Python molurus molurus Indian rock python India (Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Rajesthan) X  
Python molurus pimbura Sri Lankan rock python Sri Lanka X  
Python natalensis Southern African rock python S.Africa (KwaZulu-Natal), Namibia X X
Python regius Royal python W.Africa (captive) X  
Python reticulatus reticulatus Reticulated python Borneo (Sarawak) Philippines (Batanes), Thailand, Timor-Leste X X
Python sebae Central African rock python Mauritania X  
Python timoriensis Flores python Indonesia (captive) X  



The Tropidophiidae contains 22 species in two genera, only a single species represented in the photo library.

W.Indian dwarf boas
Tropidophis melanurus
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Tropidophis melanurus Cuban woodsnake Cuba (captive) X  


The Ungalophiidae contains two genera and three species but only a single species is present in the photo library.

C.American dwarf boas
NORTHERN BROMELIAD BOA Ungaliophis continentalis
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Ungaliophis continentalis Northern bromeliad boa C.America (captive) X  


The Xenopeltidae contains a single genus containing two species, one of which is present in the photo library.

Sunbeam snakes
Xenopeltis unicolor

Southeast Asia
click on image to enlarge 
    Photographed specimen: D1. D2.
Xenopeltis unicolor Sunbeam snake Southeast Asia (captive) X