Burmese Python Recogized As Distinct Species

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.

Summary (part):
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
Lawrence, Kansas
17 February 2010


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


About Candace M Hansen

Wildlife advocate, conservationist and environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Snakes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s