PILBARA BLACK-HEADED PYTHON
ASPIDITES MELANOCEPHALUS DAVIEII SUBSP.
HOLOTYPE: A specimen at the Western Australian Museum, number 46170
from Tom Price WA Lat:22° 39 Long:117° 40'.
PARATYPE: A specimen at the Western Australian Museum, number 12268
from near Port Hedland, WA. Lat: 20° 19' Long: 118° 34'.
DIAGNOSIS: Known only from Pilbara region of WA, this population of
Black-headed Pythons appears to be isolated from the population to the
north in the Kimberley Ranges. Some but not all specimens of A. m. davieii
are of a distinctly lighter than usual ground colour. However this is not
a general diagnostic characteristic on it's own. This author has caught
both lighter and more 'normal' coloured specimens in the Goldsworthy/Shay
Gap areas of WA. In the northern part of the Pilbara region, the Black-headed
Pythons seem to be more common in the hillier areas, while the Womas appear
to be found more in the sand-dune habitats. Aspidites melanocephalus
davieii like A. m. adelynensis (see above) is separated from
other Black-headed Pythons by usually having one loreal, no suboculars
and a single pair of large parietals, while most NT and Queensland Black-headed
Pythons have 2-4 loreals, 1-2 suboculars and 2-4 pairs of parietals. A.
m. davieii is separated from A. m. adelynensis by distribution,
being separated by part of the western flank of the Great Sandy Desert
where it meets the WA coast. These same differences were identified by
Barker and Barker (1994a). Analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of A. m.
davieii will further ascertain the differences between this and the
other Black-headed Pythons.
ETYMOLOGY: Named after Neil Davie, founder of the Victorian Association
of Amateur Herpetologists (VAAH) for services to herpetology.
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The above was from the paper - A revision of the Australasian Pythons.
(Originally published in Ophidia Review 1(1) in "Autumn" 2000 - (Publication date: October 2000), pp. 7-27).
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