A SECOND CASE OF BICEPHALISM IN QUEENSLAND CARPET SNAKES (MORELIA SPILOTA MCDOWELLI) (SERPENTES: PYTHONIDAE)
Raymond Hoser 1 and Paul Harris 2
1488 Park Road, Park Orchards, Victoria, 3134. Email: (see end of webpage).
2Whiteleaf, Roundabout Lane, West Chiltington, West Sussex, RH20 2RL, U.K. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bicephalism has been recorded in the following Australian snakes: Acanthophis wellsi x Acanthophis pyrrhus/Acanthophis wellsi hybrid (Maryan, 2001), Pseudonaja affinis (Maryan, 2001) and Morelia spilota mcdowelli (Hoser & Gibbons, 2003). This note reports a second case involving captive-bred Morelia spilota mcdowelli, bred by the second author.
Each of the heads in this animal were separated from one another by a section of neck, which fused some distance down to join a single body (Fig. 1). One head appeared to be normal. The second head was deformed. There was a kink in the neck and only one eye. The snake survived some weeks after birth. All other snakes in the litter were normal.
This case of bicephalism was similar to that previously reported for this species (Hoser & Brown, 2003). However, both cases differed markedly from the bicephalism reported in Acanthophis (Maryan, 2001). It is not clear whether this is significant.
Bicephalism has been reported frequently in reptiles outside Australia (Hoser & Gibbons, 2003) and is probably more common in Australian species than the limited published records suggest.
Hoser, R.T. & Gibbons, D. 2003. A bicephalic coastal Queensland Carpet Snake, Morelia spilota mcdowelli (Serpentes: Pythonidae). Herpetofauna 33: 111.
Maryan, B. 2001. A note on a bicephalic Death Adder. Herpetofauna
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