Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (7): 23126.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023126

• Data Papers • Previous Articles    

A dataset of the morphological, life-history, and ecological traits of snakes in China

Jiang Wang1, Yifan Zhao1, Yanfu Qu1, Caiwen Zhang2, Liang Zhang3, Chuanwu Chen1, Yanping Wang1,*()   

  1. 1. College of Life Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023
    2. College of Life Sciences, Anhui University, Hefei 230601
    3. Institute of Zoology, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510260
  • Received:2023-04-19 Accepted:2023-06-05 Online:2023-07-20 Published:2023-07-12
  • Contact: *E-mail:


As of January 2023, China has a total of 312 snake species, establishing itself as one of the most diverse countries in terms of snake biodiversity worldwide. The characteristics exhibited by snakes hold significant sway over their survival within their respective environments, making them an important role in the study of their evolutionary biology, ecology, and conservation biology. However, a comprehensive dataset encompassing the morphological, life-history, and ecological traits of Chinese snakes has yet to be established. Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive dataset comprising the various traits exhibited by Chinese snakes. To accomplish this goal, we conducted a systematic collection of data from a range of sources, including published snake books, the peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed literatures, as well as the Reptile Database ( Our data compilation encompasses 41 distinctive traits, which were classified into three main types: morphological traits (25 traits such as scales and teeth), life-history traits (11 traits such as body length, diet, foraging mode, reproductive modes, clutch size, egg size, activity time, and venomousness), and ecological traits (5 traits such as Chinese/island endemism, adult habitat, geographical and elevational distributions). Among all these 41 traits, apart from geographical distribution, mental and rostral scales, which are 100% complete, the data on other traits were incomplete to varying degrees, ranging from 7.72% to 99.70%. This dataset is the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection of Chinese snake traits available to date. It provides a unique and invaluable resource for exploring the evolution, biogeography, ecology, and conservation biology of Chinese snakes.

Key words: Chinese snakes, morphological traits, life-history traits, ecological traits, geographic distribution