, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 185–236 | Cite as

Evolution of karyotypes in snakes

  • L. Singh


Karyotype analysis and morphometric measurement of the chromosomes of 17 species of snakes have been done. Chromosomes of different species so far worked out in each family have been compared using quantitative methods to derive chromosomal affinities between species of different taxonomic categories. The following conclusions have been drawn: (i) It is suggested that the retention of Xenopeltidae as a separate family is unnecessary and the only species Xenopeltis unicolor referred to in that group should be included in the family Boidae. (ii) The subfamilies, Boinae and Pythoninae cannot be distinguished chromosomally. (iii) On the basis of chromosomal similarities, the cytologically known species of Colubridae. have been put into 13 different groupings which do not always correspond to the views of the present day colubrid taxonomists. (iv) In Hydrophiidae, speciation seems to have occurred through changes in the 4th pair of autosomes and sex chromosomes in general and the W chromosome in particular. Evidences are presented to show that fission and inversion have played an important role in bringing about the structural rearrangements in this group. (v) Family Viperidae according to taxonomists is divided into two subfamilies. Both the subfamilies are chromosomally very similar.


Developmental Biology Quantitative Method Taxonomic Category Structural Rearrangement Karyotype Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Singh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Cytogenetics Laboratory, Department of ZoologyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasi
  2. 2.Genetics Research Unit Department of ZoologyCalcutta UniversityCalcuttaIndia

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