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Xenophidion acanthognathus GÜNTHER & MANTHEY, 1995

IUCN Red List - Xenophidion acanthognathus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaXenophidiidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Bornean spine-jawed snake
G: Borneo-Stachelkiefer 
SynonymXenophidion acanthognathus GÜNTHER & MANTHEY 1995
Xenophidion acanthognathus — LAWSON et al. 2004
Xenophidion acanthognathus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 803 
DistributionMalaysia (Borneo: Sabah, Sarawak)

Type Locality: Sipitang Dist., Mendolong, Sabah (Borneo).  
TypesHolotype: FMNH 235170 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): members of the genus Xenophidion have a combination of character states (Günther & Manthey 1995) including the absence of premaxillary teeth; the presence of small, numerous, approximately equal-sized, aglyphous, weakly recurved palatine, pterygoid, and maxillary teeth; maxillae bearing a long, tapering palatine processes (Processus praefrontales), and a broad, long and thin ectopterygoid processes (Processus pterygoideus); ectopterygoids extending nearly to the middle of the maxillae and almost completely adhering to them; dentary with a bent anterior end and significantly enlarged caniniform tooth; undivided nasals extending ventrally from the midline of the rostrum to near the opening of the mouth; internasals absent, probably fused with prefrontals or nasals; prefrontals greatly enlarged, forming the largest scales on the top of the head; all dorsal head shields extending to the three bordering the prefrontals posteriorly approximately the same modest size, the three bordering the prefrontals are enlarged and possibly fused with the preoculars and the frontal (or parts of it); numerous sensory papillae located on most head shields and especially on the labial scales; loreals absent; suboculars absent; dorsal scales keeled with rounded tips; ventrals narrow; anal plate single; and subcaudals undivided. (Quah et al. 2018). 
CommentAbundance: only known from 2 specimens.

Phylogenetics: LAWSON et al. (2004) placed Xenophidion in the family Xenophiidae based primarily on cyt b sequences which suggest a possible sister taxon relationship between Xenophidion and the Bolyeridae. Moreover, strong statistical support also indicates that Xenophiidae is a member of a clade that contains Pythonidae, Loxocemidae, Uropeltidae, Xenopeltidae and Bolyeriidae. Otherwise, available data produced little phylogenetic information valuable to understanding the relationship of Xenophiidae among the Alethinophidia.

Wallach & Günther (1998) proposed to establish a new family, Xenophidiidae, for this genus, based on visceral anatomy. The Xenophidiidae are a sister family of the Bolyeriidae (Pyron et al. 2013).

Type species: Xenophidion acanthognathus GÜNTHER & MANTHEY 1995 is the type species of the genus Xenophidion GÜNTHER & MANTHEY 1995. 
EtymologyThe Greek word acantha means spine or thorn, the likewise Greek gnathos means jaw. The combination of the two words refers to the long, spiny palatine process on the anterior end of the maxilla, which is a distinguishing characteristic not only of this species, but of the new genus Xenophidion in its entirety. 
  • Fukuyama, Ibuki; Mohamad Yazid Hossman & Kanto Nishikawa 2020. Second specimen of the rare Bornean snake Xenophidion acanthognathus (Xenophidiidae, Serpentes, Reptilia) and confirmation as a distinct species from X. schaeferi. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY 68: 214–219 - get paper here
  • Günther,R. & Manthey,U. 1995. Xenophidion, a new genus with two new species of snakes from Malaysia (Serpentes, Colubridae). Amphibia-Reptilia 16: 229-240 - get paper here
  • Lawson, Robin; Joseph B. Slowinski and Frank T. Burbrink 2004. A molecular approach to discerning the phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic snake Xenophidion schaeferi among the Alethinophidia. Journal of Zoology 263: 285-294 - get paper here
  • Pyron, R. Alexander; H.K. Dushantha Kandambi, Catriona R. Hendry, Vishan Pushpamal, Frank T. Burbrink, Ruchira Somaweera 2013. Genus-level phylogeny of snakes reveals the origins of species richness in Sri Lanka. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66 (3): 969-978 - get paper here
  • QUAH, EVAN S.H.; L. LEE GRISMER, THOM JETTEN, PERRY L. WOOD, Jr., AURÉLIEN MIRALLES, SHAHRUL ANUAR MOHD SAH, KURT H.P. GUEK & MATTHEW L. BRADY 2018. The rediscovery of Schaefer’s Spine-jawed Snake (Xenophidion schaeferi Günther & Manthey, 1995) (Serpentes, Xenophidiidae) from Peninsular Malaysia with notes on its variation and the first record of the genus from Sumatra, Indonesia. Zootaxa 4441 (2): 366–378 - get paper here
  • Rowntree, Neil, Griffiths, Jillian and Rowntree, Paul 2017. Geographic Distribution: Xenophidion acanthognathus (Bornean Spine-jawed Snake). Herpetological Review 48 (1): 132-133 - get paper here
  • Stuebing, R.B., Inger, R.F. & Lardner, B. 2014. A field guide to the snakes of Borneo, second edition. Natural history Publications (Borneo)
  • Wallach, V. & R. Günther, 1998. Visceral anatomy of the Malaysian snake genus Xenophidion, including a cladistic analysis and allocation to a new family. Amphibia-Reptilia, 19 (4): 385-404 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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