Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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Family TYPHLOPIDAE Merrem, 1820

Compiler and date details

May 2012 - Paul Horner, Queensland


A family of worm-like burrowing snakes containing about 150 species in two genera; 1 genus and 43 species are currently recognised from Australia.


Excluded Taxa


TYPHLOPIDAE: Anilios polygrammicus (Schlegel, 1839) [replaced in Australia by A. torresianus] — Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829: 1-81 [61]

TYPHLOPIDAE: Typhlops Oppel, 1811 — Wallach, V. 2003. Scolecophidia miscellanea. Hamadryad 27(2): 222-240 (removal of Typhlops exocoeti to Ramphotyphlops Oppel, 1811 removed this name from the Australian list)



Characterised in Australia by: fewer than 40 subequal scales around the middle of the body; eyes vestigial, reduced to pigmented spots below the head scales; tail very short, terminating in a blunt spine; dentititon reduced and lacking venom glands.


General References

Cogger, H.G. 1979. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 608 pp.

Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney : Reed New Holland 6th edition, 808 pp.

Cogger, H.G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO publishing 7th edition, pp. xxx+1033.

Ehmann, H. & Bamford, M.J. 1993. Family Typhlopidae. pp. 280-283 in Glasby, C.J., Ross, G.J.B. & Beesley, P.L. (eds). Fauna of Australia: Amphibia and Reptilia. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 2A vii 439 pp.

Greer, A.E. 1998. The Biology and Evolution of Australian Snakes. Sydney : Surrey Beatty & Sons pp. i-xii, 1-350.

Hahn, D.E. 1980. List der rezenten Amphibien and Reptilien Leptotyphlopidae, Typhlopidae. Das Tierreich 101: i-xii 1-93

Hedges, S.B., Marion, A.B., Lipp, K.M., Marin, J. & Vidal, N. 2014. A taxonomic framework for typhlopid snakes from the Caribbean and other regions (Reptilia, Squamata). Caribbean Herpetology 49: 1–61

Marin, J., Donnellan, S.C., Hedges, S.B., Doughty, P., Hutchinson, M.N., Cruaud, C. & Vidal, N. 2013. Tracing the history and biogeography of the Australian blindsnake radiation. Journal of Biogeography 40(5): 928–937

Marin, J., Donnellan, S.C., Hedges, S.B., Puillandre, N., Aplin, K.P., Doughty, P., Hutchinson, M.N., Couloux, A. & Vidal, N. 2013. Hidden species diversity of Australian burrowing snakes (Ramphotyphlops). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 110(2): 427–441

Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829: 1-81

Robb, J. 1966. The structure and possible function of the cloacal pouches of male Australian typhlopids. Australian Journal of Zoology 14: 27-30 (reproductive structures)

Vidal, N., Marin, J., Morini, M., Donnellan, S.C., Branch, W.R., Thomas, R., Vences, M., Wynn, A., Cruaud, C. & Hedges, S.B. 2010. Blindsnake evolutionary tree reveals long history on Gondwana. Biology Letters 6: 558–561

Waite, E.R. 1818. Review of the Australian blind snakes. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 1: 1-34

Worrell, E. 1970. Reptiles of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson xv 169 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
03-Feb-2023 TYPHLOPIDAE Merrem, 1820 03-Feb-2023 MODIFIED
01-Feb-2017 SERPENTES 28-Nov-2022 MODIFIED
29-Nov-2016 TYPHLOPIDAE 03-Feb-2023 MODIFIED
07-Apr-2016 TYPHLOPIDAE 03-Feb-2023 MODIFIED
01-Feb-2017 03-Feb-2023 MODIFIED
08-Mar-2011 08-Mar-2011 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)