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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Colubrinae
Genus: Rhamnophis
Species: R. aethiopissa – R. batesii

Rhamnophis (Günther, 1862)
Vernacular names
English: Dagger-toothed Tree Snakes

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Rhamnophis aethiopissa.jpg
Rhamnophis aethiopissa, illustration by G.H. Ford (1862) for Günthers original description.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Rhamnophis
Günther, 1862

Rhamnophis is a genus of arboreal venomous snakes, commonly known as dagger-tooth tree snakes or large-eyed tree snakes, in the family Colubridae. The genus is endemic to equatorial sub-Saharan Africa. There are two recognized species.


The status of the genus Rhamnophis has long been subject to debate, and has been treated as a synonym of Thrasops by some authors. Both genera belong to the tribe Dispholidini, and are closely related to the genera Dispholidus, Thelotornis, and Xyelodontophis.[citation needed]

The following two species are recognized as being valid.[1]

Rhamnophis aethiopissa Günther, 1862 – large-eyed green tree snake, splendid dagger-tooth tree snake
Rhamnophis batesii (Boulenger, 1908) – spotted dagger-tooth tree snake


Rhamnophis are rear-fanged colubrids; that is to say, they have venom, which they may be able to inoculate by biting. Due to very little being known about them and their venom, it is necessary to be very cautious when working with these snakes. These species have an almost identical defense mechanism as the boomslang (Dispholidus typus) and twig snakes (genusThelotornis) in that they will inflate their throat to make themselves look bigger. It is thought that these species are evolutionary in between the boomslang and the species of the genus Thrasops in terms of their fangs and means of envenomation.

Genus Rhamnophis at The Reptile Database www.reptile-database.org.

Further reading

Boulenger GA (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ) ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I- XXV. (Genus Rhamnophis, p. 632).
Boulenger GA (1908). "Descriptions of Three new Snakes from Africa". Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Eighth Series 2: 93–94. (Thrasops batesii, new species, p. 93).
Günther A (1862). "On new Species of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum". Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Third Series 9: 124–132. (Rhamnophis, new genus, p. 129; R. aethiopissa, new species, p. 129 + Plate X).


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