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a family of snakes, closely related to the grass snake, from which they differ by having grooved, poisonous teeth in the anterior upper jaw. All Elapidae are very poisonous. Their poison acts primarily on the nervous system; it is used in medicine. The bite of large snakes of the family Elapidae, such as the cobra, is often fatal to man. There are 41 genera, including 181 species; they are found in Australia, southern Asia, Africa, and South and Central America. They live on the ground or, less frequently, in trees. They feed on Muridae, lizards, other snakes, and frogs. The majority are carnivorous. The best-known genera are the cobra (Naja) in Africa and southern Asia (there is one species in Turkmenia, USSR), the krait (Bungarus) in Asia, the black snake (Pseudechis) in Australia, the mamba (Dendraspis) in Africa, and the coral snake (Micrurus-Elaps) in tropical and subtropical America.
REFERENCETerent’ev, P. V. Gerpetologiia. Moscow, 1961.
P. V. TERENT’EV