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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: Elapoidea

Familia: Lamprophiidae
Genus: Lycodonomorphus
Species (9): L. bicolor – L. inornatus – L. laevissimus – L. leleupi – L. mlanjensis – L. obscuriventris – L. rufulus – L. subtaeniatus – L. whytii

Lycodonomorphus Fitzinger, 1843: 27

Type species: Coronella rufula Schlegel, 1837 in error [=Coluber rufulus Lichtenstein, 1823], by original designation.

Primary references

Fitzinger, L. 1843. Systema Reptilium. Fasciculus primus. Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel: Wien. vi + 106 pp. BHL Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2021. Lycodonomorphus . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 13 February 2020.
Lycodonomorphus – Taxon details on Interim Register of Marine and Non-marine Genera (IRMNG).
Lycodonomorphus – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Südafrikanische Sumpfnattern
English: Southern African Water Snakes

Lycodonomorphus is a genus of snakes commonly referred to as African water snakes. They are small, nonvenomous snakes, with all members being endemic to Africa, especially Tanzania.[2]


The following nine species are recognized as being valid.[3]

Lycodonomorphus bicolor (Günther, 1893)
Lycodonomorphus inornatus (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)[4]
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus (Günther, 1862)
Lycodonomorphus leleupi (Laurent, 1950)
Lycodonomorphus mlanjensis Loveridge, 1953
Lycodonomorphus obscuriventris V. FitzSimons, 1963
Lycodonomorphus rufulus (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Lycodonomorphus subtaeniatus Laurent, 1954
Lycodonomorphus whytii (Boulenger, 1897)[5]

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Lycodonomorphus.

The specific name, whytii, is in honor of British naturalist Alexander Whyte (1834–1908), who worked in Nyasaland (now Malawi) from 1891 to 1897.[6]
References (Retrieved Mar. 22, 2010) (Retrieved Mar. 22, 2010)
"Lycodonomorphus ". The Reptile Database.
Kelly CMR, Branch WR, Broadley DG, Barker NP, Villet MH (2010). "Molecular systematics of the African snake family Lamprophiidae, Fitzinger, 1843 (Serpentes: Elapoidea), with particular focus on the genera Lamprophis, Fitzinger 1843 and Mehelya Csiki 1903". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58 (3): 415-426. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.11.010 (Retrieved Mar. 22, 2010)

Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Lycodonomorphus whytii, p. 285).

External links

Scale counts of Lycodonomorphus members.
"Lycodonomorphus ". NCBI Taxonomy Browser. [1]

Further reading

Auerbach RD (1987). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Botswana: Mokwepa Consultants. 295 pp.
Boulenger GA (1893). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I. London: Trustees of the British Museum. (Taylor and Francis, printers). 448 pp.
Boycott RC (1992). An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland, 1992; online at
Broadley DG (1967). "A review of the genus Lycodonomorphus Fitzinger (Serpentes: Colubridae) in southeastern Africa, with a key to the genus". Arnoldia 3 (16): 1-9.
Broadley DG, Cotterill FPD (2004). "The reptiles of southeast Katanga, an overlooked 'hot spot' ". African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 35-61.
Fitzinger L (1843). Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller et Seidel. 106 pp. (in Latin).
Fitzinger L (1826). Neue Classification der Reptilien nach ihren natürlichen Verwandtschaften nebst einer Verwandschafts-Tafel und einem Verzeichnisse der Reptilien-Sammlung des K. K. Zoologischen Museums zu Wien. Vienna: J. G. Heubner. 66 pp. (in German and Latin).
Haagner GV (1992). "Life History Notes - Lycodonomorphus rufulus ". Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa (41): 42.
Lichtenstein MHC (1823). Verzeichniss der Doubletten des zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin nebst Beschreibung vieler bisher unbekannter Arten von Säugethieren, Vögeln, Amphibien und Fischen. Berlin: Königl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss./ T. Trautwein. x + 118 pp. (in German).
Marais J (2004). A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa, Second Edition. Struik Publishers. 312 pp.
Raw LRG (1973). "A review of the dusky-bellied water snake, Lycodonomorphus laevissimus (Günther), with descriptions of two new subspecies". Annals of the Natal Museum 21 (3): 713-718. (Lycodonomorphus laevissimus fitzsimonsi nov. subsp., Lycodonomorphus laevissimus laevissimus nov. subsp., Lycodonomorphus laevissimus natalensis nov. subsp.)


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