Tropidophiids or "dwarf boas" are a family of small snakes. Despite their name, they are not closely related to true boas (family Boidae). They are found in South America and the West Indies, and reach their highest diversity on Cuba. Most species are 1-2 feet long, drab-colored, nocturnal, and give birth to live young. Many change color from day to night. They either completely lack a left lung or have a greatly reduced one, but possess a "tracheal lung" on the dorsal wall of the trachea. When threatened, these snakes coil up into tight balls and spontaneously bleed from their nose and mouth. There are two genera: 32 species of Tropidophis and two species of Trachyboa. Tropidophiids eat mostly frogs and lizards, and they constrict their prey in the same way as true boas, but recent molecular analyses have shown that they are most closely related to the single species of Red Pipesnake (Anilius scytale, family Aniliidae). This family used to contain two other genera, Exiliboa and Ungaliophis, which we now know to be more closely related to true boas. Because most species live on islands, tropidophiids are faced with numerous threats, including the almost complete destruction of native ecosystems and predation from non-native mongeese.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:4
Specimens with Barcodes:3
Species With Barcodes:2
The Tropidophiidae, common name dwarf boas, are a family of nonvenomous snakes found from Mexico and the West Indies south to southeastern Brazil. These are small to medium-sized fossorial snakes, some with beautiful and striking color patterns. Currently, four living genera, containing 22 species, and one extinct genus, with one species, are recognized.
This family is confined to the neotropics, mainly in Hispaniola, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands, with the greatest diversity being in Cuba, where new species are being discovered. These snakes are very small, averaging to about 30–60 cm (12–24 in) in total length (including tail).
The dwarf boas can change color from light (when they are active at night) to dark (inactive in the day). This color change is brought about by the movement of dark pigment granules.
When threatened, tropidophiids coil up into a tight ball. A more peculiar defensive behavior is their ability to bleed voluntarily from the eyes, mouth, and nostrils.
They are found from southern Mexico and Central America, south to northwestern South America in Colombia, (Amazonian) Ecuador, and Peru, as well as in northwestern and southeastern Brazil, and also in the West Indies.
|Genus||Taxon author||Species||Common name||Geographic range|
|Trachyboa||W. Peters, 1860||2||Panama, Pacific Colombia and Ecuador.|
|TropidophisT||Bibron, 1840||17||The West Indies, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.|
- List of tropidophiid species and subspecies
- Tropidophiidae by common name
- Tropidophiidae by taxonomic synonyms
- List of snakes, overview of all snake genera.
- McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
- "Tropidophiidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
List of tropidophiid species and subspecies
This is a list of all genera, species and subspecies of the family Tropidophiidae, otherwise referred to as dwarf boas or tropidophiids. It follows the taxonomy currently provided by ITIS, which is based on the continuing work of Dr. Roy McDiarmid.
- Exiliboa, Oaxacan dwarf boa
- Exiliboa placata, Oaxacan dwarf boa
- Trachyboa, Eyelash boas
- Tropidophis, Wood snakes
- Tropidophis battersbyi, Ecuadorian dwarf boa
- Tropidophis bucculentus, Navassa Island dwarf boa
- Tropidophis canus, Bahamian dwarf boa
- Tropidophis caymanensis, Cayman Islands dwarf boa
- Tropidophis feicki, Broad-banded dwarf boa
- Tropidophis fuscus, Cuban dusky dwarf boa
- Tropidophis greenwayi, Caicos dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus, Haitian dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus haetianus, Haitian dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus hemerus, East Hispaniola dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus jamaicensis, Southern Jamaican dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus stejnegeri, Northern Jamaican eyespot dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus stullae, Portland Ridge dwarf boa
- Tropidophis haetianus tiburonensis, Tiburon dwarf boa
- Tropidophis maculatus, Spotted red dwarf boa
- Tropidophis melanurus, Cuban giant dwarf boa
- Tropidophis nigriventris, Black-bellied dwarf boa
- Tropidophis pardalis, Leopard dwarf boa
- Tropidophis paucisquamis, Brazilian dwarf boa
- Tropidophis pilsbryi, Cuban White-necked dwarf boa
- Tropidophis semicinctus, Yellow-banded dwarf boa
- Tropidophis taczanowskyi, Taczanowski's dwarf boa
- Tropidophis wrighti, Gracile banded
- Ungaliophis, Bromeliad boas
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