Reptile Database

The Reptile Database is a scientific database that collects taxonomic information on all living reptile species (i.e. no fossil species such as dinosaurs). The database focuses on species (as opposed to higher ranks such as families) and has entries for all currently recognized ~13,000 species[1] and their subspecies, although there is usually a lag time of up to a few months before newly described species become available online. The database collects scientific and common names, synonyms, literature references, distribution information, type information, etymology, and other taxonomically relevant information.


The database was founded in 1995 as EMBL Reptile Database[2] when the founder, Peter Uetz, was a graduate student at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Thure Etzold had developed the first web interface for the EMBL DNA sequence database which was also used as interface for the Reptile Database. In 2006 the database moved to The Institute of Genomic Research (TIGR) and briefly operated as TIGR Reptile Database[3] until TIGR was merged into the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) where Uetz was an Associate Professor until 2010. Since 2010 the database has been maintained on servers in the Czech Republic under the supervision of Peter Uetz and Jirí Hošek, a Czech programmer.[4]


Number of reptile genera with a given number of species
Number of reptile genera with a given number of species. Most genera have only one or a few species but a few may have hundreds. Based on data from the Reptile Database (as of May 2015).

As of March 2018, the Reptile Database lists about 10,700 species (including another ~2,800 subspecies) in about 1180 genera (see figure), and has about 45,000 literature references and about 11,000 photos. The database has constantly grown since its inception with an average of ~120 new species described per year over the preceding decade.[5]

Relationship to other databases

The Reptile Database has been a member of the Species 2000 project that has produced the Catalogue of Life (CoL), a meta-database of more than 150 species databases that catalog all living species on the planet.[6] The CoL provides taxonomic information to the Encyclopedia of Life (EoL). The Reptile Database also collaborates with the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the citizen science project iNaturalist,[7] and has links to the IUCN Redlist database. The NCBI taxonomy database links out to the Reptile Database.


  1. ^ Uetz, Peter; Stylianou, Alexandrea (2018). "The original descriptions of reptiles and their subspecies". Zootaxa. 4375: 257–264.
  2. ^ Uetz, P. & Etzold, T. (1996). "The EMBL/EBI Reptile Database". Herpetological Review. 27 (4): 174–175.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Uetz, P., J. Goll & J. Hallermann (2007). "Die TIGR-Reptiliendatenbank". Elaphe. 15 (3): 22–25.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Abraham, S.A. (Jan 9, 2015). "VCU professor manages comprehensive database to map reptilian lineage". Across the Spectrum. Virginia Commonwealth University.
  5. ^ Uetz, P. (2010). "The original descriptions of reptiles" (PDF). Zootaxa (2334): 59–68.
  6. ^ Catalogue of Life Source databases, accessed Aug 2015
  7. ^

External links


Acanthophis is a genus of elapid snakes. Commonly called death adders, they are native to Australia, New Guinea and nearby islands, and are among the most venomous snakes in the world. The name of the genus derives from the Ancient Greek akanthos/ἄκανθος ('spine') and ophis/ὄφις ('snake'), referring to the spine on the death adder's tail.

Seven species are listed by ITIS, though it remains unclear how many species this genus includes, with figures ranging from 4 to 15 species being quoted.


Common names: dwarf pipe snakes.The Anomochilidae, or anomochilids, are a monotypic family of snakes, created for the genus Anomochilus, which currently contains three species.


Apalone is a genus of turtles in the family Trionychidae. Species of Apalone are native to North America.


The Atractaspidinae are a subfamily of snakes found in Africa and the Middle East, commonly called mole vipers, stiletto snakes, or burrowing asps. Currently, 12 genera are recognized.


The Colubrinae are a subfamily of the family Colubridae of snakes. It includes numerous genera, and although taxonomic sources often disagree on the exact number, The Reptile Database lists 711 species in 94 genera as of April 2019. It is the second largest subfamily of colubrids, after Dipsadinae. Many of the most commonly known snakes are members of this subfamily, including rat snakes, king snakes, milk snakes, vine snakes, and indigo snakes.Colubrine snakes are distributed worldwide, with the highest diversity in North America, Asia, northern Africa, and the Middle East. There are relatively few species of colubrine snakes in Europe, South America, Australia, and southern Africa, and none in Madagascar, the Caribbean, or the Pacific Islands.Colubrine snakes are extremely morphologically and ecologically diverse. Many are terrestrial, and there are specialized fossorial (e.g. Tantilla) and arboreal (e.g. Oxybelis) groups, but no truly aquatic groups. Some of the most powerful constrictors (e.g. Pantherophis, Pituophis, Lampropeltis) are members of this group, as are a few snakes that have strong enough venom to kill humans (i.e. boomslangs [Dispholidus] and twigsnakes [Thelotornis]).Within Colubrinae, genera and species seem to make up five distinct radiations that are to varying degrees broadly similar in terms of ecology and geographic distribution, although increased sampling is needed to determine whether all species currently placed in Colubrinae fit into one of these groups. These correspond roughly to the historically recognized tribe names Sonorini, Colubrini, Boigini/Lycodontini, Dispholidini, and Lampropeltini.

Coluber is the type genus of both Colubrinae and Colubridae and the basis for the name Colubroidea, and it is one of only three snake genera named by Linnaeus still in use for a snake today.


The Crotaphytidae, or collared lizards, are a family of desert-dwelling reptiles native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Alternatively they are recognized as a subfamily, Crotaphytinae. They are very fast-moving animals, with long limbs and tails, and are carnivorous, feeding mainly on insects and smaller lizards.

The two genera contain 12 species.


Cyclanorbinae, also known as the flapshell turtles, is a subfamily of softshell turtles in the family Trionychidae. The subfamily is native to Africa and Asia.


Cyrtodactylus (Greek κυρτος kurtos "curved", from κυπτω kuptō "to stoop"; δακτυλος daktulos "finger, toe") is a diverse genus of Asian geckos, commonly known as bent-toed geckos or bow-fingered geckos. It has at least 250 described species at present, which makes it the largest of all gecko genera.


Dibamidae or blind skinks is a family of lizards characterized by their elongated cylindrical body and an apparent lack of limbs. Female dibamids are entirely limbless and the males retain small flap-like hind limbs, which they use to grip their partner during mating. They have a rigidly fused skull, lack pterygoid teeth and external ears. Their eyes are greatly reduced, and covered with a scale.Blind skinks are native to Mexico, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippine Islands, and western New Guinea. They are small insectivorous lizards, with long, slender bodies, adapted for burrowing into the soil. They usually lay one egg with a hard, calcified shell, rather than the leathery shells typical of many other reptile groups.The family Dibamidae has two genera, Dibamus with 23 species and the monotypic Anelytropsis. Recent phylogenetic analysis places the dibamids as the sister clade to all the other lizards and snakes.


Gekko is a genus of colorful and diverse Southeast Asian geckos commonly known as true geckos or calling geckos. Although species such as Gekko gecko (the tokay gecko) are very widespread and common, some species in the same genus have a very small range and are considered rare or endangered. Fossils, including Yantarogekko, date back to the Eocene.


Gekkonidae is the largest family of geckos, containing over 950 described species in 61 genera. Many common geckos are member of this family, including house geckos (Hemidactylus), true geckos (Gekko), day geckos (Phelsuma), and web-toed geckos (Gehyra). Gekkonid geckos occur globally and are particularly species-rich in tropical areas.


The Lamprophiidae are a family of snakes found mostly in Africa, but also in parts of southern Europe and western Asia. A few species reach southeastern Asia. There are 322 species as of April 2019.


Manouria is a genus of tortoises in the family Testudinidae.

Monitor lizard

The monitor lizards are large lizards in the genus Varanus. They are native to Africa, Asia, and Oceania, but are now found also in the Americas as an invasive species. Currently, 79 species are recognized.

Monitor lizards have long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs. The adult length of extant species ranges from 20 cm (7.9 in) in some species, to over 3 m (10 ft) in the case of the Komodo dragon, though the extinct varanid known as Megalania (Varanus priscus) may have been capable of reaching lengths more than 7 m (23 ft). Most monitor species are terrestrial, but arboreal and semiaquatic monitors are also known. While most monitor lizards are carnivorous, eating eggs, smaller reptiles, fish, birds, and small mammals, some also eat fruit and vegetation, depending on where they live.


Pachydactylus is a genus of insectivorous geckos, lizards in the family Gekkonidae. The genus is endemic to Africa, and member species are commonly known as thick-toed geckos.


Pelochelys is a genus of turtles in the family Trionychidae.

Pungwe flat lizard

The Pungwe flat lizard (Platysaurus pungweensis) is a species of lizard in the Cordylidae family.

Smooth snake

The smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is a species of non-venomous snake in the family Colubridae. The species is found in northern and central Europe, but also as far east as northern Iran. The Reptile Database recognizes two subspecies as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies described here.


Staurotypus is a genus of aquatic turtles, commonly known as giant musk turtles, Mexican musk turtles, or three-keeled musk turtles, in the family Kinosternidae. The genus contains two recognized species, which are endemic to Mexico and Central America.


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