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Poisonous animals
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Venomous fish
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North America
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Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Australia and the Pacific Islands



Various African and Arabian Elapids of minor medical importance


  • 1. Aspidelaps lubricus
  • 2. Aspidelaps scutatus
  • 3. Elapsoidea boulengeri
  • 4. Elapsoidea broadleyi
  • 5. Elapsoidea chelazziorum
  • 6. Elapsoidea guentherii
  • 7. Elapsoidea laticincta
  • 8. Elapsoidea loveridgei
  • 9. Elapsoidea nigra
  • 10. Elapsoidea semiannulata
  • 11. Elapsoidea sundevallii
  • 12. Elapsoidea trapei
  • 13. Hormoroselaps dorsalis
  • 14. Hormoroselaps lacteus
  • 15. Pseudohaje goldii
  • 16. Pseudohaje nigra
  • 17. Walterinnesia aegyptia
  • 18. Walterinnesia morgani


  • The former genus Boulengerina is now assigned to the genus Naja (N. annulata and N. christyi, Wüster et al. 2007).
  • Former Paranaja multifasciata is now assigned to group of true cobras: Naja multifasciata (Wüster et al. 2007).
  • Hormoroselaps spp. = formerly Elaps spp. The taxonomic status of Hormoroselaps spp. is unclear. Some authors classify them as Aparallactinae, a subfamily of the Colubridae


Serpentes; Elapidae; Elapinae

Common names

-Aspidelaps spp.: Shield nose snakes, African coral snakes, Schildnasenkobras
-Boulengerina spp. (now Naja sp.): Water cobras, Wasserkobras

-Elapsoidea spp.: Garter snakes 
-Homoroselaps spp.: Harlequin snakes 
-Paranaja multifasciata (now Naja multifasciata): Burrowing cobra 
-Pseudohaje spp.: Tree cobras, Waldkobras
-Walterinnesia spp.: Desert black snakes, Wüstenkobra


See link "Distribution" at the top of the page for detailed information.


-Aspidelaps spp.: Southern Africa  
-Boiulengerina spp. (now Naja sp.): Central Africa
-Elapsoidea spp.: Southern Africa, West, Central and East Africa  
-Homoroselaps spp.: South Africa
-Paranaja multifasciata (now Naja multifasciata): Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Republic of the Congo and The Republic of Cameroon  
-Pseudohaje spp.: West, Central and East Africa  
-Walterinnesia spp.: Desert areas of Egypt, across the Arabian Peninsula to Iran



  Map 31  

Boulengerina spp. (now Naja sp.)

Paranaja multifasciata (now Naja multifasciata)
Hormoroselaps spp.
Aspidelaps spp.




  Map 32
Elapsoidea spp.
Walterinnesia spp.


  1. Aspidelaps spp.: Active at twilight and at night, burrowing species. Live in arid zones such as savannas and semi-deserts. Length up to 80 cm. Short head, wide, shovel-like snout with an enlarged rostral scale (see Morphological key). Markings consist of bands or spots. When threatened they raise their upper body and spread their neck slightly.
  2. Boulengerina spp (now Naja sp.).: Semi-aquatic snakes, in or close to still water and rivers. Length up to 2.4 m. In appearance like cobras, when threatened they spread their necks as cobras do (see Fig.4.57, Naja sp.). Considered harmless.
  3. Elapsoidea spp.: Nocturnal. Live in arid areas. Length up to 1 m. Frequently banded markings.
  4. Hormoroselaps spp.: Conspicuously coloured snakes that mainly live underground. Often in termite mounds. Length 30–60 cm. Very unwilling to bite.
  5. Paranaja multifasciata (now Naja multifasciata): Rare, burrowing species, with relatively long venom fangs. Stout body, length up to 60 cm.
  6. Pseudohaje spp.: Forest-dwelling, arboreal snakes. May also live on the ground or in water. Short head with conspicuously large eyes. Length up to 2 m or more.
  7. Walterinnesia spp.: Nocturnal, native to desert areas. Often found there in oases and gardens. Length up to more than 1 m. Colouring dark or shiny black. During the day they are not at all aggressive when threatened, and try to hide their head under the coils of their own body.

Literature (biological)

Bogert 1942, Broadley 1983, 1998, Broadley and Cock 1989, Disi 1990, Jakobsen 1997, Kochva 1990, Mane 1999, Minton 1992, Nilson and Rastegar-Pouyani 2007, Pitman 1974, Villiers 1975, Visser and Chapman 1978, Wüster et al. 1999, Wüster et al. 2007