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The Uropeltidae, or Rough-tailed Burrowing Snakes, are strictly confined to Ceylon and the adjacent parts of Southern India, and would almost alone serve to mark out our second Oriental sub-region. The genera are :—
Rhinophis (7 sp.), Ceylon; Uropeltis (1 sp.), Ceylon; Silybura (8 sp.), Anamally Hills and Neilgherries; Plecturus (3 sp.), Neilgherries and Madras; and Melanophidium (1 sp.), the Wynand.
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The Calamariidae, or Dwarf Ground Snakes, are found in all warm parts of the globe, extending north into the United States as far as British Columbia and Lake Superior; but they are absent from the Palaearctic region, with the exception of a species found in Persia. The species are in a very confused state. The best characterised genera are the following:— .
Calamaria (20 sp.), Persia, India to Java and the Philippine Islands, Celebes, and New Guinea; Rhabdosoma (18 sp.), Mexico and South America, and also the Malay Islands as far east as Amboyna, Timor, and New Guinea; Typhlocalamus (1 sp.), Borneo; Macrocalamus (1 sp.), India; Aspidura (3 sp.), India and Ceylon; Haplocerus (1 sp.), Ceylon; Streptophorus (3 sp.), Central and South America;-with a host of others of less importance or ill-defined.
The Oligodontidae are a small family of Ground Snakes which have been separated from the Calamariidae, and, with the exception of a few species, are confined to the Oriental region. The best characterised genera are:—
Oligodon (12 sp.), India, Ceylon, and Philippines; and, Simotes (24 sp.), India to China and Borneo. In addition to these, Achalinus is founded on a single species from Japan; and Teleolepis consists of three species from North and South America.
The Colubrine Snakes are universally distributed over the globe, and they reach the extreme northern limits of the order. They are, however, almost absent from Australia, being there represented only by a few species of Tropidonotus and Coronella in the northern and eastern districts. This great family consists of four divisions or sub-families: the Coronellinae (20 genera, 100 species), the Colubrinae (16 genera, 70 species), the Dryadinae (7 genera, 50 species), and the Natricinae (7 genera, 50 species). The more important genera of Colubridae are the following:—
Ablabes, Coronella, Ptyas, Coluber, and Tropidonotus—all have a very wide distribution, but the two last are absent from South America, although Tropidonotus reaches Guatemala; Tomodon, Xenodon, Liopis, Stenorhina, Erythrolampus, Elapochrus, Callirhinus, Enophrys, and Dromicus—are confined to the Neotropical region; Hypsirhynchus, Cryptodacus, Jaltris, and Coloragia, are confined to the West Indian Islands; Chilomeniscus, Conophis, Pituophis, and Ischoognathus, to North America, the latter going as far south as Guatemala; Compsosoma, Zamenis, Zaocys, Atretium, Xenochrophys, and Herpetoreas, are peculiarly Oriental, but Zamenis extends into South Europe;
Lytorhynchus, Rhamnophis, Herpetethiops and Grayia, are Ethiopian; Rhinechis is peculiar to Europe; Megablabes to Celebes, and Styporhynchus to Gilolo; Cyclophis, is found in the Oriental region, Japan, and North America; Spilotes, in the Nearctic and Neotropical regions; Xenelaphis in the Oriental, Ethiopian, and Palaearctic regions; Philodryas, Heterodon and Herpetodryas in America and Madagascar, the latter genus being also found in China.
The Homalopsidae, or Fresh-water Snakes, have been separated from the Hydridae by Dr. Günther, and they include somegroups which have been usually classed with the Natricinae. They are especially characteristic of the Oriental region, where considerably more than half the genera and species are found; next comes the Neotropical region which has 6 species; while none of the other regions have more than 4 or 5. It is to be observed that the Ethiopian species occur in West Africa only, and mostly constitute peculiar genera, so that in this family the separation of the Ethiopian and Oriental regions is very well marked. The best characterised genera of the family are the following:—
Cantoria (10 sp.), ranging from Europe to Japan, the Philippines, and Timor, with one species in Guinea; Hypsirhina (6 sp.), Bengal, China, and Borneo; Fordonia (3 sp.), Rangoon to Borneo and Timor; Homalopsis (2 sp.), Cambodja to Java ; Cerberus (2 sp.), Ceylon and Siam, the Malay Islands, New Guinea, and North Australia; Herpeton (1 sp.), Siam ; Ferania (1 sp.), Bengal to Penang; Pythonopsis (1 sp.), Borneo; Myron (2 sp.), India and North Australia; Homalophis (1 sp.), Borneo; Hipistes (1 sp.), Penang; Xenodermus (1 sp.), Java; Neusterophis and Limnophis, with one species each, are peculiar to West Africa; Helicops (2 sp.), North and South America; Farancia and Dimodes, with one species each, are from New Orleans; and a few others imperfectly known from Tropical America.
The Psammophidae, or Desert Snakes, are a small group characteristic of the Ethiopian and Oriental regions, but more abundant in the former. The distribution of the genera is as follows:– - g - Psammophis (16 sp.), ranges from West Africa to Persia and Calcutta; Colopeltis (1 sp.), North and West Africa; Mimophis (1 sp.), Madagascar; Psammodynastes (2 sp.), Sikhim to Cochin China, Borneo and the Philippine Islands; and Dromophis (1 sp.), Tropical Africa.
The Rachiodontidae are a small and very isolated group of snakes of doubtful affinities. The only genus, Dasypeltis (2 sp.), is confined to West and South Africa.
The Dendrophidae, or Tree Snakes, are found in all the Tropical regions, but are most abundant in the Oriental. The genera are distributed as follows:— * , -
Dendrophis ranges from India and Ceylon to the Pelew Islands and North Australia, and has one species in West Africa; Ahatulla is almost equally divided between Tropical Africa and Tropical America; Gonyosoma ranges from Persia to Java and the Philippines; Chrysopelea is found in India, Borneo, the Philippines, Amboyna, and Mysol ; Hapsidrophis and Bucephalus are confined to Tropical Africa; and Ithycyphus (1 sp.), is peculiar to Madagascar.
The Dryiophidae, or Whip Snakes, are a very well characterised family of slender, green-coloured, arboreal serpents, found in the three tropical regions but absent from Australia, although they just enter the Australian region in the island of Celebes. In Africa they are confined to the West Coast and Madagascar. The genera are:–
Dryiophis (4 sp.), Tropical America and West Africa: Tropidococcyx. (1 sp.), Central India; Tragops (4 sp.), Bengal to China, the Philippines, Java, and Celebes; Passerita (2 sp.), Ceylon