One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A snake of a very large family ("Colubridae" ) which includes the majority of harmless species, such as grass snakes and garter snakes. The few venomous species have grooved fangs in the rear of the upper jaw.
- ‘Among the more than 2,500 living species of snakes, mandibular transport mechanisms are known elsewhere only in a small number of cochleophagous (snail-eating) colubrids of the subfamilies Dipsadinae and Pareatinae.’
- ‘It is usually assumed that albinism would be detrimental for a wild snake, but documented instances of albinism in natricines, and other colubrids, make this unclear.’
- ‘The other snake I saw was a colubrid which I think was Coluber ventromaculatus.’
- ‘This leaves open the possibility that vipers and elapids plus ‘colubrids’ may have evolved venom independently.’
- ‘Red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) are small nonvenomous colubrid snakes, a northeastern subspecies of a taxon (the common garter snake) that is widely distributed through North America.’
Late 19th century: from modern Latin Colubridae (plural), from Latin coluber ‘snake’.
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