CANNIA AUSTRALIS APLINI SUBSP. NOV.
Western Australian Museum Specimen number R82994 - from Koolan Island, WA, Lat. 123.47 E Long. 16.08 S.
A well-preserved subadult to adult specimen with 53 single subcaudals (anteriorly) followed by 15 divided ones.
Dorsal colour is generally brown, with a reddish sheen, although the anterior of each scale is lighter than the posterior. Ventrally the snake is a creamish white in colour.
On the head is dark pigment along the scale boundaries, giving each scale an etched appearance.
Western Australian Museum Specimen number R103729 - from Koolan Island, WA, Lat. 123.47 E, Long. 16.08 S.
A well-preserved immature specimen which possesses numerous divided subcaudals.
This snake is essentially an even brown all over (dorsally) with a slight reddish tinge, and creamish ventrally.
Refer to the photo of this specimen, printed below on this page, or the paratype specimen itself for further details.
Cannia australis aplini is similar in most respects to the type subspecies. It is separated from the type subspecies (as indicated by the holotype, BMNH 1918.104.22.168, (deemed here as a typical example) from Port Essington, N.T.), through itís usually lower divided subcaudal count and generally smaller adult size.
Cannia australis aplini (including the type specimens listed above) does in common with most typical Cannia australis australis have a horseshoe shaped rostral, which serves to separate the species from Pailsus (v-shaped rostral).
In contrast to the type specimen of Pailsus weigeli, (a species likely to be confused with this subspecies) Cannia australis aplini tends to have distinctively broader parietals, and a generally more thick-set build, particularly around the head and neck.
The latter trait on itís own is usually more than enough to separate the two species (for any person with experience with these taxa).
Other scalation traits for Cannia australis aplini, including ventral, subcaudal and mid body scale rows, and variation within the head shields, fit within the published ranges for the nominate subspecies as described by Smith (1982) and others.
Cannia australis aplini is currently known only from Koolan Island, Western Australia, but may in due course be found to be the subspecies that inhabits other islands in the Bonaparte Archipelago and adjacent mainland areas of the Kimberly district, WA.
It is separated from the subspecies of Cannia australis described above by the traits outlined in those descriptions.
Cannia australis aplini is separated from Cannia australis newmani and Cannia australis burgessi by distribution (all being mutually exclusive).
Cannia australis burgessi is further separated from all other known subspecies including aplini by itís generally more v-shaped rostral.
The line separating each supraocular and frontal is generally more strongly curved in Cannia australis newmani than in typical Cannia australis australis, Cannia australis burgessi or Cannia australis aplini.
Based on the holdings at the Western Australian Museum, this subspecies (Cannia australis aplini) appears to be relatively unusual in that there is a high degree of variability in colour and subcaudal counts within a single population.
Basically unknown, but presumably similar to the type subspecies, australis from northern Australia. As for all Cannia australis, this form is believed to be diurnal by choice, but crepuscular and nocturnal in very warm weather.
Named after Ken Aplin, a curator at the Western Australian Museum. While this author has not agreed with all the taxonomic views expressed by Aplin (e.g. Aplin and Donnelan (1999) versus Hoser (1998a)), Aplinís contribution to herpetology, at all levels should be appropriately recognized. This author is certain that the same view is shared by many "private" herpetologists in Western Australia, who have always found Aplin and other herpetologists at the same institution, ready, willing and able to lend a hand to any worthwhile research endeavor.
The above was from a paper published in mid 2001
"A current assessment of the status of the snakes of the genera Cannia and Pailsus, including descriptions of three new subspecies from the Northern Territory and Western Australia, Australia."
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