Taxonomy of Class Reptilia

(to family level)

Prepared by Donald L. Blanchard

A slight variant on this article was originally published in The Cold Blooded News, the newsletter of the Colorado Herpetological Society, Vol 26, #2, February, 1999.

| Turtles | Tuatara | Lizards | Snakes |
| Amphisbaenians | Crocodilians |

This listing is provided as a supplement to the article "The ABC's of Animal Taxonomy." It is intended as an illustration of the modern use of traditional, or Linnaean, taxonomy, and is NOT guaranteed to be totally accurate. (In point of fact, NO taxonomy can ever be guaranteed to be totally accurate. Taxonomy involves many judgement calls, and it is highly unlikely that any two authorities on a particular subject will ever agree on all the details of any taxonomic scheme.) The scheme presented was prepared by Peter Uetz, originally with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, and now with the University of Washington. Some modifications were made by dlb.

I do not intend to present an equivalent cladistic taxonomy of Class Reptilia, for two reasons. First, I don't know where one can be obtained, or even if the information necessary to create one has yet been acquired for the whole class; and, second, this newsletter isn't big enough to hold one if it does exist!

-- dlb

Subclass Anapsida (Note 1)
  Order Testudines (turtles)
    Suborder Cryptodira
      Superfamily Testudinoidea
        Family Chelydridae (Snapping Turtles)
        Family Emydidae (Pond Turtles/Box and Water Turtles)
        Family Testudinidae (Tortoises)
      Superfamily Trionychoidea
        Family Dermatemydidae (River Turtles)
        Family Kinosternidae (Mud and Musk Turtles)
        Family Carettochelyidae (Pig-nose Turtles)
        Family Trionychidae (Softshell Turtles)
      Superfamily Chelonioidea
        Family Cheloniidae (Sea Turtles)
        Family Dermochelyidae (Leatherback Turtles)
    Suborder Pleurodira
      Family Pelomedusidae (Afro-American Sideneck Turtles)
      Family Chelidae (Austro-American Sideneck Turtles)
Subclass Lepidosauria
  Order Rhynchocephalia
    Suborder Sphenodontida
      Family Sphenodontidae (Tuataras)
  Order Squamata ("scaled reptiles")
    Suborder Sauria (lizards)
      Infraorder Iguania
        Family Agamidae (Agamas)
        Family Chamaeleonidae (Chameleons)
        Family Iguanidae (Iguanas and Spinytail Iguanas)
        Family Corytophanidae (Casquehead Lizards)
        Family Crotaphytidae (Collared and Leopard Lizards)
        Family Hoplocercidae
        Family Opluridae (Madagascar iguanids)
        Family Phrynosomatidae (Earless, Spiny, Tree, Side-blotched and Horned Lizards)
        Family Polychrotidae (Anoles)
        Family Tropiduridae (Neotropical Ground Lizards)
      Infraorder Gekkota
        Family Gekkonidae (Geckoes)
        Family Eublepharidae (Eyelid Geckoes)
        Family Pygopodidae (Legless Lizards)
        Family Dibamidae (Blind Lizards)
      Infraorder Scincomorpha
        Family Cordylidae (Spinytail Lizards)
        Family Gerrhosauridae
        Family Gymnophthalmidae (Spectacled Lizards)
        Family Teiidae (Whiptails and Tegus)
        Family Lacertidae (Wall Lizards)
        Family Scincidae (Skinks)
        Family Xantusiidae (Night Lizards)
      Infraorder Diploglossa
        Family Anguidae (Glass Lizards and Alligator Lizards; Lateral Fold Lizards)
        Family Anniellidae (American Legless lizards)
        Family Xenosauridae (Knob-scaled Lizards)
      Infraorder Platynota (Varanoidea)
        Family Helodermatidae (Gila Monsters)
        Family Lanthanotidae (Earless Monitor lizards)
        Family Varanidae (Monitor Lizards)
    Suborder Serpentes (snakes)
      Superfamily Typhlopoidea (Scolecophidia)
        Family Anomalepidae (Dawn Blind Snakes)
        Family Typhlopidae (Blind Snakes)
        Family Leptotyphlopidae/Glauconiidae (Slender Blind Snakes)
      Superfamily Henophidia (Boidea)
        Family Aniliidae/Ilysiidae (Pipe Snakes)
        Family Anomochilidae (Dwarf Pipe Snakes)
        Family Boidae (Boas and Pythons)
        Family Bolyeridae (Round Island Boas)
        Family Cylindrophiidae (Asian Pipe Snakes)
        Family Loxocemidae (Mexican Burrowing Pythons)
        Family Tropidophiidae (Woodsnakes, Round Island "Boas ")
        Family Uropeltidae (Short-tail Snakes)
        Family Xenopeltidae (Sunbeam Snakes)
      Superfamily Xenophidia (Colubroidea = Caenophidia)
        Family Acrochordidae (File Snakes)
        Family Atractaspididae (Mole Vipers)
        Family Colubridae (Colubrids)
        Family Elapidae (Cobras, Kraits, Coral Snakes)
        Family Hydrophiidae (Sea Snakes)
        Family Viperidae (Vipers and Pit Vipers)
    Suborder Amphisbaenia (amphisbaenians)
      Family Amphisbaenidae (Worm Lizards)
      Family Trogonophidae (Shorthead Worm Lizards)
      Family Bipedidae (Two-legged Worm Lizards)
Subclass Archosauria
  Order Crocodylia
    Suborder Eusuchia
      Family Crocodylidae (Crocodiles)

Note 1:   The taxonomic position of turtles is quite controversial at the present time. This classification represents the traditional, conservative view.   (Return)

Source:   Modified from The EMBL Reptile Database, EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), Heidelberg, Germany. (Maintained by Peter Uetz, University of Washington. Modified by dlb) Taken off the Web, at <>.
This file last updated December 19, 1999.