The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Systematics of blindsnakes



Quick facts

Project title: 
Comparative osteology and phylogenetic systematics of the blind snake family Leptotyphlopidae (Squamata: Serpentes: Scolecophidia)
ZFMK Project lead: 
Object of research: 
Snakes, Leptotyphlopidae, Scolecophidia, Blindsnakes


Although blindsnakes include many superlatives, such as the world’s smallest and most widespread living snake species they have largely been neglected in vertebrate research. Nonetheless, they tell a very interesting evolutionary story and – being of Gondwana origin - their relationships track plate tectonics better than those of any other vertebrate group.

With the help of micro-computer-tomography (µCT) and geometric morphometric analyses we aim to understand the evolution of several morphological characters (e.g. skull, cervical vertebrae, pelvic girdle). This in combination with other external morphological characters and a large phylogenetic sampling of DNA sequences may help us to fill knowledge gaps and shed light into the phylogeny, distributional ranges, and intraspecific variation of this very complicated vertebrate group. Monophyly of the genera and species will be tested and if advisable, new genera and species will be described and identification keys will be provided to facilitate and promote further research on this group.


Contact person

Curator of Herpetology Section
Radiation Protection Officer
Micro-CT Management
+49 228 9122-234
+49 228 9122-212
c.koch [at]