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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis: Sarcopterygii
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: Natricinae
Genus: Natrix
Species (5): N. astreptophora – N. helvetica – N. mauraN. natrix– N. tessellata


Natrix Laurenti, 1768: 73

Type species: Natrix vulgaris Laurenti, 1768, by subsequent designation by Fleming (1822: 29).
Primary references

Laurenti, J.N. 1768. Specimen medicum, exhibens synopsin reptilium emendatam cum experimentis circa venena et antidota reptilium austracorum, quod authoritate et consensu (In Latin). Joan Thomae: Vienna. 217 pp. BHL Reference page.

Additional references

Rossman, D.A. & Eberle, W.G. 1977. Partition of the genus Natrix, with preliminary observations on evolutionary trends in natricine snakes. Herpetologica 33(1): 34–43. JSTOR Reference page.
Fritz, U., Corti, C. & Päckert, M. 2012. Mitochondrial DNA sequences suggest unexpected phylogenetic position of Corso-Sardinian grass snakes (Natrix cetti) and do not support their species status, with notes on phylogeography and subspecies delineation of grass snakes. Organisms Diversity and Evolution 12(1): 71–80. DOI: 10.1007/s13127-011-0069-8 Reference page.
Kindler, C., Böhme, W., Corti, C., Gvoždík, V., Jablonski, D., Jandzík, D., Metallinou, M., Široký, P. & Fritz, U. 2013. Mitochondrial phylogeography, contact zones and taxonomy of grass snakes (Natrix natrix, N. megalocephala). Zoologica Scripta 42(5): 458–472. DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12018 Paywall Reference page.
Pokrant, F., Kindler, C., Ivanov, M., Cheylan, M., Geniez, P., Böhme, W. & Fritz, U. 2016. Integrative taxonomy provides evidence for the species status of the Ibero-Maghrebian grass snake Natrix astreptophora. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 118(4): 873–888. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12782 Reference page.
Kindler, C., Chèvre, M., Ursenbacher, S., Böhme, W., Hille, A., Jablonski D., Vamberger, M. & Fritz, U. 2017. Hybridization patterns in two contact zones of grass snakes reveal a new Central European snake species. Scientific Reports 7: 7378. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-07847-9 Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2022. Natrix . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 25 January 2019.
Natrix – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
български: Водни змии
Deutsch: Europäische Wassernattern
English: Grass/Water Snakes
ქართული: ანკარა
македонски: Барски змии
Nederlands: Ringslangen
norsk: Vannsnoker
русский: Ужи
українська: Вуж
中文: 水游蛇屬

Natrix is a genus of Old World snakes found across Eurasia (Although Natrix tessellata can be found in Egypt and Natrix natrix can be found in other parts of Northern Africa) in the subfamily Natricinae of the family Colubridae.
Common names

Member species of the genus Natrix are collectively called grass snakes and water snakes, but some other snake species also known commonly as "grass snakes" and "water snakes" are not in the genus.

The genus Natrix contains these species, five of which are recognized as being valid, and one of which is disputed:[1]
Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
BennyTrapp Natrix astreptophora.jpg Natrix astreptophora (Seoane, 1885) Iberian grass snake[2] Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal.)
BennyTrapp Natrix helvetica.jpg Natrix helvetica (Lacépède, 1789) barred grass snake[3] Western Europe including the UK.
Natrix maura (cropped).jpg Natrix maura (Linnaeus, 1758) viperine water snake [4] Portugal, Spain, France, northernwest Italy, and even into Switzerland.
Natrix megalocephala 01.JPG Natrix megalocephala Orlov & B. Tuniyev, 1987 large-headed water snake[5] Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Turkey.
2017.07.17.-17-Tiefer See oder Grubensee-Storkow (Mark)--Ringelnatter.jpg Natrix natrix (Linnaeus, 1758) grass snake [4] mainland Europe, ranging from mid Scandinavia to southern Italy. It is also found in the Middle East and northwestern Africa.
Würfelnatter Natrix tessellata.jpg Natrix tessellata (Laurenti, 1768) dice snake [4] All across Eurasia. The species is also present in Egypt.

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

Natrix is classical Latin for a water snake. The word comes from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning "snake", with cognates in the Celtic and Germanic languages, the latter including the English adder. It was probably influenced through folk etymology by the Latin nare and natare meaning "swim";[6][7] it appears to be a grammatically feminine word for "swimmer".

The refuge of a widely distributed Western European lineage regarding the barred grass snake commonly known as Natrix helvetica was most likely located in southern France and outside the classical refuges in the southern European peninsulas. One genetic lineage of the common grass snake (N. natrix) is also distributed in Scandinavia, Central Europe, and the Balkan Peninsula.[8]

Genus Natrix at The Reptile Database.
de Lazaro, Enrico (February 23, 2016). "Iberian Grass Snake: Cryptic New Species of Snake Identified".
"New snake species identified in the UK". BBC News. 7 August 2017.
"Natrix Laurenti, 1768". Encyclopedia of Life.
Kasparek, Max (7 October 2005). "Taxonomic status of Natrix megalocephala". Strasbourg: Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
"adder, n.1". OED Online. Oxford University Press. March 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
"adder". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 6 May 2019.

Kindler, Carolin; Graciá, Eva; Fritz, Uwe (29 January 2018). "Extra-Mediterranean glacial refuges in barred and common grass snakes (Natrix helvetica , N. natrix)". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 1821. Bibcode:2018NatSR...8.1821K. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-20218-2. PMC 5788984. PMID 29379101.

Further reading

Laurenti JN (1768). Specimen medicum, exhibens synopsin reptilium emendatam cum experimentis circa venena et antidota reptilium austriacorum. Vienna: "Joan. Thom. Nob. de Trattnern". 214 pp. + Plates I-V. (Natrix, new genus, p. 73). (in Latin).


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