Brief Summary


Bolyeriidae is a small family of poorly-known snakes endemic to Mauritius and nearby islets, although one of the two species has become extinct and the other is extirpated from almost all of these islands. They are colloquially called "boas" but in fact they are not closely related to "true boas" (family Boidae). Some have proposed that "splitjaw snakes" is a better name because of the unusual morphology of their upper jaws, which have a hinge partway along their length, an adaptation that may aid them in grasping their hard-bodied lizard prey. Bolyeriids lay eggs, reach 1 to 1.5 meters in length, and are primarily nocturnal. They change color from day to night and also throughout their lives. Captive breeding and reintroduction efforts to an island from which pests have been eradicated have undoubtedly helped the sole remaining species, Casarea dussumieri, which has recovered from a minimum global population size of less than 250 adult individuals in 1996 to over 1,000 today.

  • Bauer A, Günther R, 2004. On a newly identified specimen of the extinct bolyeriid snake Bolyeria multocarinata. Herpetozoa 17:179-181.
  • Cundall D, Irish FJ, 1989. The function of the intramaxillary joint in the Round Island boa, Casarea dussumieri. Journal of Zoology 217:569-598.
  • Frazzetta T, 1971. Notes upon the jaw musculature of the Bolyerine snake, Casarea dussumieri. Journal of Herpetology 5:61-63.
  • Hallermann J, Glaw F, 2005. Evidence for oviparity in the extinct bolyeriid snake Bolyeria multocarinata (Boie, 1827). Herpetozoa 19:82-85.
  • Korsós Z, Trócsányi B, 2002. Herpetofauna of Round Island, Mauritius. Biota 3:77-84.
  • Korsós Z, Trócsányi B, 2006. The enigmatic Round Island burrowing boa (Bolyeria multocarinata): survival in the wild remains unconfirmed. African Herp News 40:2-7.
  • Maisano JA, Rieppel O, 2007. The skull of the Round Island boa, Casarea dussumieri Schlegel, based on high-resolution X-ray computed tomography. Journal of Morphology 268:371-384.
  • McAlpine DF, 1983. Correlated physiological color change and activity patterns in an Indian Ocean Boa (Casarea dussumeri). Journal of Herpetology 17:198-201.
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Common names: Mauritius snakes,[2] Round Island boas, splitjaw snakes.

The Bolyeriidae are a family[2] of snakes native to Mauritius and a few islands around it, especially Round Island. They also used to be found on the island of Mauritius, but were extirpated there due to human influence and foraging pigs in particular.[3] These snakes used to be placed in the Boidae, but are now classed as a separate family. Two monotypic genera are recognized, but only a single species is extant.[2]

Geographic range[edit]

Found in Mauritius.[1]


Genus[2]Taxon author[2]Species[2]Common nameGeographic range[1]
BolyeriaTGray, 18421Round Island burrowing boa[4]Mauritius.
CasareaGray, 18421Round Island ground boa[5]Mauritius.

T) Type genus.[1]

Both of these monotypic gena once inhabited Mauritius and/or a number of islands around it. However, Bolyeria hasn't been reported since 1975 and is believed to be extinct, while Casarae is known to survive only on Round Island.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Bolyeriidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 16 August 2007. 
  3. ^ Bolyeridae at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 3 November 2008.
  4. ^ Species Bolyeria multocarinata at The Reptile Database. Accessed 17 August 2007.
  5. ^ Species Casarea dussumieri at The Reptile Database. Accessed 17 August 2007.

Cited texts[edit]

  • Barker, David G.; Barker, Tracy M. (2003). "Family: Splitjaw snakes". In Murphy, James B.; Murphy, James B.; Schlager, Neil. Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia, Second Edition 7. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. ISBN 0-7876-5783-2. 
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