Anomochilidae comprises a single genus (Anomochilus) and two species. Anomochilus is known from the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, central Sumatra, and southwestern Borneo. Anomochilids are probably fossorial, but their natural habitat remains conjecture.

Anomochilids are small snakes, with museum specimens measuring 17-36cm in total length. The eyes are reduced, and there are no teeth on the premaxiila, pterygoid, or palatine. A tracheal lung is absent. Anomochilids retain some pelvic elements, indicated externally by cloacal spurs. The tails are relatively short. Females have two well developed oviducts. Anomochilids have white or yellow patterns against a darker reddish background.

Cranial and dentary morphology suggests that anomochilids probably eat small invertebrates.

One of the museum specimens of Anomochilus was found to contain four eggs, suggesting oviparity, but nothing else is known of anomochilid reproduction or behavior.

Phylogenetic analysis suggests that Anomochilus is morphologically intermediate between Scolecophidia (blindsnakes) and Alethinophidia (true snakes), and is sister to all other alethinophidians. Anomochilus has in the past been placed in Aniliidae, Cylindrophiidae, or Uropeltidae.

In 1993, only six specimens were known from museum collections, making these snakes probably the least known of all extant snakes.

Cundall, D. and D. A. Rossman. 1993. Cephalic anatomy of the rare Indonesian snake Anomochilus weberi. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 109: 235-273.

Cundall, D., V. Wallach, and D. A. Rossman. 1993. The systematic relationships of the snake genus Anomochilus. Zool. J. Linnean. Soc. 109: 275-299.

Greene, H. 1997. Snakes: The evolution of mystery in nature. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Zug, G. 1993. Herpetology: An introductory biology of amphibians and reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego.


Jennifer C. Ast (author).