Abstract: The taxonomic status of the Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) is reassessed and elevated to specific rank again. The population from Sulawesi, Indonesia, is a dwarf form of this giant snake that is redefined as Python bivittatus progschai ssp. n.
On the taxonomy of the Burmese Python, Python molurus bivittatus Kuhl, 1820, specifically on the Sulawesi Population
The Indian python, Python m. molurus (Linnaeus, 1758) and the Burmese Python, P. m. bivittatus Kuhl, 1820 are constantly distinguished by two morphological characters, viz. “supralabials touching eye” versus “complete circumocular ring” and “lanceolate dorsal head pattern indistinct in front of eyes” versus “lanceolate dorsal pattern distinct to tip of snout.” Despite their subspecific status (which requires allopatry or parapatry at least), the latter co-occur as several relict populations within the distribution range of the former (viz., at some sites in North India along the Nepalese border, and in East India in the Bengal region: Barker & Barker 2008), and, despite their close relationship and their ability to crossbreed in captivity (O’Shea 2007), both maintain their phenotypic identities without interbreeding in nature. This argues strongly for selective pressures against hybridization, which is what we regard as typical for incipient speciation. We therefore once more raise the Burmese Python to specific rank.
The Center for North American Herpetology
17 February 2010
BURMESE PYTHON RECOGNIZED AS DISTINCT SPECIES
Zur taxonomie des dunklen tigerpythons, Python molurus bivittatus Kuhl, 1820, speziell
der population von Sulawesi
Hans J. Jacobs, Mark Auliya & Wolfgang Böhme
2009. Sauria 31(3): 5-16