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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: Lycophidion
Species (20): L. acutirostre – L. albomaculatum – L. capense – L. depressirostre – L. hellmichi – L. irroratum – L. laterale – L. meleagre – L. multimaculatum – L. namibianum – L. nanum – L. nigromaculatum – L. ornatum – L. pembanum – L. pygmaeum – L. semiannule – L. semicinctum – L. taylori – L. uzungwense – L. variegatum

Lycophidion Fitzinger, 1843: 27

Type species: Lycodon horstockii Schlegel, 1837, 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. Lycophidion . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 13 February 2020.
Lycophidion – Taxon details on Interim Register of Marine and Non-marine Genera (IRMNG).
Lycophidion – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Wolfslange
Deutsch: Wolfsnattern
English: African Wolf Snakes

Lycophidion is a genus of nonvenomous lamprophiid snakes commonly referred to as the wolf snakes.
Lycophidion capense, cape wolf snake, Waterberg, Limpopo.

As of 2015 there are 20 recognized species in the genus.[1]

Description and behavior

Wolf snakes are small snakes which forage at night for sleeping lizards.[2] They have flat heads and large recurved teeth that are assumed to aid them in their extraction of lizards from their lairs.[3]

All species in the genus Lycophidion are oviparous and lay between 3 and 10 eggs.[3]

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

Lycophidion acutirostre Günther, 1868
Lycophidion albomaculatum Steindachner, 1870
Lycophidion capense (A. Smith, 1831)
Lycophidion depressirostre Laurent, 1968
Lycophidion helmichi Laurent, 1964
Lycophidion irroratum (Leach, 1819)
Lycophidion laterale Hallowell, 1857
Lycophidion meleagre Boulenger, 1893
Lycophidion multimaculatum Boettger, 1888
Lycophidion namibianum Broadley, 1991
Lycophidion nanum (Broadley, 1958)
Lycophidion nigromaculatum (W. Peters, 1863)
Lycophidion ornatum Parker, 1936
Lycophidion pembanum Laurent,1968
Lycophidion pygmaeum Broadley, 1996
Lycophidion semiannule W. Peters, 1854
Lycophidion semicinctum A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854
Lycophidion taylori Broadley & Hughes, 1993
Lycophidion uzungwense Loveridge, 1932
Lycophidion variegatum Broadley, 1969

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

Uetz, Peter. "Search results - Lycophidion ". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
Marais, Johan (2004). A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa (New ed.). Cape Town: Struik. ISBN 978-1868729326.

Alexander, Graham; Marais, Johan (2007). A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa (3. impression. ed.). Cape Town: Struik. p. 94. ISBN 9781770073869. Retrieved 21 September 2015.

Further reading

Branch, Bill (2004). Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Revised edition, Second impression. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 399 pp. ISBN 0-88359-042-5. (Genus Lycophidion, p. 76).
Fitzinger L (1843). Systema Reptilium, Fasciculus Primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller & Seidel. 106 pp. + indices. (Lycophidion, new genus, p. 27). (in Latin).


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