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Anilius



The Aniliidae are a monotypic family created for the monotypic genus Anilius that contains the single species A. scytale. Common names include American pipe snake and false coral snake. It is found in South America. This snake possesses a vestigial pelvic girdle that is visible as a pair of cloacal spurs. It is ovoviviparous. It is non-venomous, and its diet consists mainly of amphibians and other reptiles. Currently, two subspecies are recognized, including the typical form described here.

Description



This species is found in the Amazon rainforest of South America, the Guianas, and Trinidad and Tobago. It is a moderate-sized snake attaining a size of about 70 cm in length. It is reported to be ovoviviparous and feeds on beetles, caecilians (burrowing amphibians), amphisbaenids (legless lizards), small fossorial snakes, fish, and frogs. It has a cylindrical body of uniform diameter and a very short tail; it is brightly banded in red and black (but without yellow bands); reduced eyes lie beneath large head scales. It is considered to be the snake that most resembles the original and ancestral snake condition, such as a lizard-like skull.

Geographic range

They are found in the tropics of northern South America from southern and eastern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana south through the Amazon Basin of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. The type locality given is "Indiis".

Subspecies

Taxonomy

Modern classifications restrict the family to the South American red pipe snake or false coral snake Anilius scytale, with the previously included Asian genus Cylindrophis raised to a separate family, Cylindrophiidae. Anilius is not closely related to Asian pipesnakes. Instead, its closest relatives appear to be the Neotropical Tropidophiidae.