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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
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: Elapoidea

Familia: Elapidae
Subfamilia: Hydrophiinae
Genus: Cacophis
Species (4): C. churchilli – C. harriettae – C. krefftii – C. squamulosus

Cacophis Günther, 1863: 361

Type species: Cacophis krefftii Günther, 1863, by monotypy.

Primary references

Günther, A. 1863. Third account of new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Series 3 12(71): 348–365. BHL Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2022. Cacophis . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 21 May 2021.

Vernacular names
English: Dwarf Crowned Snakes

Cacophis is a genus of venomous snakes, commonly known as crowned snakes, in the family Elapidae. The genus is endemic to Australia.

Geographic range

Species of Cacophis are distributed along eastern Australia.[1]

The four species in the genus Cacophis are all venomous, but not dangerous to people.

Snakes of the genus Cacophis inhabit a variety of forest types, from woodland to rainforest.
Behaviour and diet

Cacophis species are generally nocturnal and feed on lizards and reptile eggs.

All species of Cacophis have a distinct "crown" pattern on the head, which gives them their common names.

The following four species are recognized as being valid.[2]

Cacophis churchilli Wells & Wellington, 1985 – northern dwarf crowned snake - ne Queensland
Cacophis harriettae Krefft, 1869 – white-crowned snake - e Queensland and ne NSW
Cacophis krefftii Günther, 1863 – dwarf crowned snake - se Queensland and e NSW
Cacophis squamulosus (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854) – golden-crowned snake - e Queensland, e NSW and ACT

Nota bene: In the above list, a binomial authority in parentheses indicate that the species was originally described in a genus other than Cacophis.

"Genus Cacophis Günther, 1863". Australian Faunal Directory. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2019.

Cacophis at the Reptile Database. Accessed 26 June 2019.

Further reading

Cogger HG (2014). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition. Clayton, Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing. xxx + 1,033 pp. ISBN 978-0643100350.
Günther A (1863). "Third Account of new Species of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum". Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Third Series 12: 348-365 + Plates V & VI. (Cacophis, new genus, p. 361).
Swan, Gerry (1995). A Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Australia. Sydney: New Holland. 144 pp. ISBN 1-85368-585-2.
Wilson, Steve; Swan, Gerry (2013). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Fourth Edition. Sydney: New Holland Publishers. 522 pp. ISBN 978-1921517280.


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