Reptilian Species, broken down by Order


Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, cold-blooded (ectothermic) vertebrates which are covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods (have four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors). Modern reptiles inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Reptiles originated around 320-310 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptile-like amphibians that became increasingly adapted to life on dry land. There are four living Orders of reptiles that are typically recognized:

  1. Testudines (turtles, terrapins and tortoises): over 300 species
  2. Crocodilia (crocodiles, gavials, caimans, and alligators): 23 species
  3. Sphenodontia (tuataras from New Zealand): 2 species
  4. Squamata (lizards, snakes, and worm lizards): approximately 9,150 species

When naming reptiles (just like the birds) there is a fair bit of biology that goes into how a particular reptile gets classified. Reptiles get broken in one of the four main Orders, then into Sub-Orders, and then into Families. If you have any familiarity with Biology who will know a great many of our classification system for animals follow a similar (and even more elaborate) system.

Order Testudines - Turtles

  1. Suborder Cryptodira
    • Family Chelydridae - Common Snapping Turtles and Alligator Snapping Turtle
    • Family Emydidae - Pond Turtles and Box Turtles
    • Family Testudinidae - Tortoises
    • Family Geoemydidae - Asian River Turtles and Allies
    • Family Carettochelyidae - Pignose Turtles
    • Family Trionychidae - Softshell Turtles
    • Family Dermatemydidae - River Turtles
    • Family Kinosternidae - Mud Turtles
    • Family Cheloniidae - Sea Turtles
    • Family Dermochelyidae - Leatherback Turtles
  2. Suborder Pleurodira
    • Family Chelidae - Austro-American Sideneck Turtles
    • Family Pelomedusidae - Afro-American Sideneck Turtles
    • Family Podocnemididae - Madagascan Big-headed Turtles and American Sideneck River Turtles

Order Crocodylia - crocodilians

  1. Suborder Eusuchia
    • Family Crocodylidae - crocodiles
    • Family Alligatoridae - alligators
    • Family Gavialidae - gavials

Order Sphenodontia - Tuataras

    • Family Sphenodontidae

Order Squamata - Scaled Reptiles

    • Family Agamidae - Agamas
    • Family Chamaeleonidae - Chameleons
    • Family Iguanidae
      • Subfamily Corytophaninae - Casquehead Lizard
      • Subfamily Crotaphytinae - Collared and Leopard Lizards
      • Subfamily Hoplocercinae - Wood lizards
      • Subfamily Iguaninae - Iguanas
      • Subfamily Leiocephalinae
      • Subfamily Leiosaurinae
      • Subfamily Liolaeminae
      • Subfamily Oplurinae - Madagascar iguanids
      • Subfamily Phrynosomatinae - Horned Lizards
      • Subfamily Polychrotinae - Anoles
      • Subfamily Tropidurinae - Neotropical Ground Lizards
    • Family Gekkonidae - Geckoes
    • Family Pygopodidae - Legless lizards
    • Family Dibamidae - Blind Lizards
    • Family Cordylidae - Spinytail Lizards
    • Family Gerrhosauridae - Plated Lizards
    • Family Gymnophthalmidae - Spectacled Lizards
    • Family Teiidae - Whiptails and Tegus
    • Family Lacertidae - Lacertids
    • Family Scincidae - Skinks
    • Family Xantusiidae - Night Lizards
    • Family Anguidae - Glass Lizards
    • Family Anniellidae - American legless lizards
    • Family Xenosauridae - Knob-scaled Lizards
    • Family Helodermatidae - Gila Monsters
    • Family Lanthanotidae - Earless Monitor lizards
    • Family Varanidae - Monitor lizards
  1. Suborder Amphisbaenia
    • Family Amphisbaenidae - Worm Lizards
    • Family Trogonophidae - Shorthead Worm Lizards
    • Family Bipedidae - Two-legged Worm Lizards
  2. Suborder Serpentes (Snakes)
    • Family Acrochordidae - Wart snakes
    • Family Aniliidae - False coral snakes
    • Family Anomochilidae - Dwarf pipe snakes
    • Family Atractaspididae - African burrowing asps, stiletto snakes
    • Family Boidae - boas
      • Subfamily Boinae
      • Subfamily Erycinae - Old World sand boas
    • Family Bolyeriidae - Mauritius snakes
    • Family Colubridae - Colubrids, typical snakes
      • Subfamily Xenodermatinae
      • Subfamily Homalopsinae
      • Subfamily Boodontinae
      • Subfamily Pseudoxyrhophiinae
      • Subfamily Colubrinae
      • Subfamily Psammophiinae
      • Subfamily Natricinae
      • Subfamily Pseudoxenodontinae
      • Subfamily Dipsadinae
      • Subfamily Xenodontinae
    • Family Cylindrophiidae - Asian pipe snakes
    • Family Elapidae - Cobras, coral snakes, mambas, sea snakes
    • Family Loxocemidae - Mexican pythons
    • Family Pythonidae - Pythons
    • Family Tropidophiidae - Dwarf boas
    • Family Uropeltidae - Pipe snakes, shield-tailed snakes
    • Family Viperidae - Vipers, pitvipers
      • Subfamily Azemiopinae - Fae's viper
      • Subfamily Causinae - Night adders
      • Subfamily Crotalinae - Pitvipers, rattlesnakes
      • Subfamily Viperinae - True vipers
    • Family Xenopeltidae - Sunbeam snakes
    • Infraorder Scolecophidia - Blind snakes
      • Family Anomalepididae - Primitive blind snakes
      • Family Leptotyphlopidae - Slender blind snakes, thread snakes
      • Family Typhlopidae - typical blind snakes