According to Wikipedia, ophidiophobia is the most commonly reported phobia, with around one third of all adults suffering from it.

To which I would say: I thought a phobia was supposed to be an irrational fear of something. Surely there's nothing irrational about a fear of snakes? Even in the relatively safe island of Great Britain, where we have only three species of snake, how many of us actually know the difference between the harmless grass snake and the poisonous adder (or viper)? I'm surprised that only a third of us prefer to give all snakes a wide berth!

(For the record: an adder has fairly distinctive markings, whereas a grass snake is comparatively plain.)

Ophid is the Greek word for a snake. Snakes belong to what Wikipedia describes as a 'clade' of reptiles called Ophidia, which sits between the order Squamata (snakes and lizards) and the suborder Serpentes (snakes).

If you look up a species of snake (for example, once again, the common European adder or the grass snake – see above), Ophidia are not mentioned in the scientific classification. Wikipedia explains, however, that Ophidia "incorporate other more basal stem–snakes [that are not included in Serpentes], such as the Late Cretaceous Najash rioegrina or the Jurassic Diablophis and Portugalophis. I'm glad they cleared that one up!

(A clade, by the way, is "a group of organisms that are descended from a common ancestor." For example, a genus is a clade, and so is a family.)

© Haydn Thompson 2021