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Venomous snakes, such as the rattlesnake shown above, are the most well-known venomous squamates.
Scientific classification

Toxicofera (Greek or Latin for "those who carry toxins"), is a hypothetical clade of living Squamata (lizards and snakes). It includes about 4600 living species. This is all venomous reptile species, plus related non-venomous species.[1]

The clade was identified when research showed that the evolution of venom was very ancient, and that it might have occurred only once.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


The Toxicofera combines the following groups from traditional classification:[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fry B. et al. 2006. "Early evolution of the venom system in lizards and snakes" (PDF). Nature 439 (7076): 584–588. doi:10.1038/nature04328 . PMID 16292255 . 
  2. Fry B. et al. 2003. "Molecular evolution and phylogeny of elapid snake venom three-finger toxins" (PDF). Journal of Molecular Evolution 57 (1): 110–129. doi:10.1007/s00239-003-2461-2 . PMID 12962311 . 
  3. Fry, B. et al. 2003. "Isolation of a neurotoxin (α-colubritoxin) from a nonvenomous colubrid: evidence for early origin of venom in snakes" (PDF). Journal of Molecular Evolution 57 (4): 446–452. doi:10.1007/s00239-003-2497-3 . PMID 14708577 . 
  4. Fry B. and Wüster W. 2004. "Assembling an arsenal: origin and evolution of the snake venom proteome inferred from phylogenetic analysis of toxin sequences" (PDF). Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (5): 870–883. doi:10.1093/molbev/msh091 . PMID 15014162 . 
  5. Vidal, Nicolas, and S. Blair Hedges. "The molecular evolutionary tree of lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians." Comptes rendus biologies 332, no. 2 (2009): 129-139. [1]
  6. Pyron R.A; Burbrink F.T. and Wiens J.J. 2013. A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC evolutionary biology 13, (1) 93.
  7. Wiens, John J. et al 2012. Resolving the phylogeny of lizards and snakes (Squamata) with extensive sampling of genes and species. Biology letters 8, (6) 1043-1046.

[[category:scaled reptiles