|Solenoglyphous fangs of a Gaboon Viper|
|Cross-sections of fangs:|
F is an aglyphous tooth.
G is an opisthoglyphous fang.
H is a proteroglyphous fang.
I is a hollow solenoglyphous fang.
From Bauchot (2006)
|Folding of solenoglyphous fangs.|
Fang is in red, maxilla green,
prefrontal orange, pterygoid yellow,
ectopterygoid purple. Vipers lack
premaxillary and palatine teeth.
From Bauchot (2006)
|Modified solenoglyphous fang of|
African Burrowing Asp (Atractaspis engaddensis)
|Proteroglyphous fangs of an Eastern Green Mamba|
(Dendroaspis angusticeps). Don't try this.
From Bauchot (2006)
Unlike solenoglyphs, some proteroglyphs have other teeth on the maxilla behind the fang. However, the fang is always separated from the other teeth by a gap, called a diastema. Some elapids have more than one functional fang on each side. In both vipers and elapids, there are usually at least two fangs on each maxilla at any one time, one that is in use and one that is a reserve fang. Both fangs are draped in a layer of connective tissue and skin called the fang sheath. Some proteroglyphs have partially movable fangs, including many of the most dangerous species such as mambas, taipans, and death adders. A few, such as spitting cobras, have modified exit orifices to their fangs that are smaller and rounder than in other cobras, a modification that increases the velocity with which venom is ejected. Modifications to the muscles and the fang sheath also facilitate spitting in these cobras. A few elapids, such as sea snakes that eat only fish eggs, have lost their fangs and their venom glands, which suggests that the primary role of venom, at least among elapids, is in feeding rather than in defense.
|Opisthoglyphous fang of Eastern Hog-nosed Snake|
|Opisthoglyphous fangs of Boomslang (Dispholidus typus)|
Don't do this either.
|A: python, B: viper, C: rear-fanged colubroid, D: cobra|
The f marks the portion of the maxilla where the fang develops.
E shows the elongation of the posterior part of the
maxilla pushing forward the developing fang of a
night adder (d.a.o. = days after oviposition)
From Vonk et al. 2008
|Relative size of the venom gland (VG) in|
A: rear-fanged colubrid (Helicops leopardinus),
B: boomslang, C: homalopsid,
D: cornsnake, E: African egg-eater
SG = supralabial salivary gland
From Fry et al. 2008
|Both boas and pythons have only|
aglyphous teeth, which is about
the only thing this film got right.
There are very few dangerous species of aglyphs, but one, Rhabdophis tigrinus, is becoming well-known as one of the only snakes capable of sequestering toxins from its prey for use in its own defense. This species has enlarged posterior maxillary teeth that lack grooves, so they are by definition aglyphous. However, it has relatively potent venom and has caused the deaths of several people. Among colubroids, the distinction between opisthoglyphs and aglyphs has never been entirely clear, but I'm distinguishing between them here because they are two of the four traditionally recognized types of snake teeth. Although the four types of snake teeth in this article are commonly discussed, a more accurate classification for snake teeth might be to divide them into tubular (the fangs of viperids, elapids, and atractaspidines), grooved (the rear fangs of non-front-fanged colubroids), and ungrooved (all other snake teeth).
|Aglyphous (ungrooved) teeth and rear fangs of|
From Mittleman & Goris 1974
Thanks to Daniel Rosenberg (boomslang fang) and Nick Kiriazis (hognose fang) for use of their photographs.
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Life is Short, but Snakes are Long by Andrew M. Durso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.