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.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Late 19th century: from modern Latin Colubridae (plural), from Latin coluber ‘snake’.
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