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Bothrochilus meridionalis (SCHLEIP, 2014)

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Higher TaxaPythonidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesSouthern whitelip python 
SynonymLeiopython hoserae HOSER 2000
Leiopython hoserae — SCHLEIP 2008
Bothrochilus hoserae — REYNOLDS et al. 2014
Leiopython meridionalis SCHLEIP 2014 (nom. nov.)
Bothrochilus meridionalis — REYNOLDS et al. 2014 (by implication)
Leiopython hoserae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 366
Leiopython meridionalis — BARKER et al. 2015 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Western Province)

Type locality: Wipim, Western Province, Papua New Guinea  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: AMNH R-107150 
CommentDiagnosis. Leiopython hoserae can be distinguished from Leiopython fredparkeri, Leiopython albertisii, and Leiopython biakensis by the presence of only one pair of parietals followed by a characteristic scale pattern of two small scales separated from the median line by an elongate scale that gets wider posteriorly (see Fig. 2B, 6C in SCHLEIP 2008). It further differs from the former species in a lower average number of dorsal midbody rows (KW-test: x21 = 5.68, P = 0.05), and from the latter two species by the absence of the whitish postocular spot. Furthermore, Leiopython hoserae exceeds Leiopython albertisii and Leiopython biakensis in adult and hatchling body size and is darker in color (Parker, 1982; Barker and Barker, 1994; O’Shea, 1996). Molecular evidence also supports the separation of Leiopython hoserae from Leiopython albertisii (genetic distance of up to 9.3%). It differs from Leiopython bennettorum in the number of loreals and prefrontals as well as in lower midbody scale row counts (KW-test: x21 = 8.92, P = 0.01) and in the average number of postoculars (KW-test: x21 = 7.19, P = 0.01). Leiopython hoserae can be distinguished from Leiopython huonensis by the absence of the whitish postocular spot, the characteristic scale arrangement in the parietal region (Leiopython huonensis has one pair of parietals followed by small, irregular scales) and in higher ventral scale counts (KW-test: x21 = 6.62, P = 0.05). Leiopython hoserae also occurs in drier and hotter climate conditions than other taxa of the genus (detailed in SCHLEIP 2008). 
References
  • Barker, D. G., Barker, T. M., Davis, M. A. and Schuett, G. W. 2015. A review of the systematics and taxonomy of Pythonidae: an ancient serpent lineage. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 175 (1): 1-19; doi: 10.1111/zoj.12267 - get paper here
  • Hoser, Raymond 2000. A Revision of the Australasian pythons. Ophidia Review 1: 7-27
  • Reynolds, R. Graham; Matthew L. Niemiller, Liam J. Revell 2014. Toward a Tree-of-Life for the boas and pythons: Multilocus species-level phylogeny with unprecedented taxon sampling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 201–213 [published online in 2013] - get paper here
  • Schleip, Wulf D 2008. Revision of the Genus Leiopython Hubrecht 1879 (Serpentes: Pythonidae) with the Redescription of Taxa Recently Described by Hoser (2000) and the Description of New Species. Journal of Herpetology 42 (4): 645 - get paper here
  • Schleip, Wulf D. 2014. Two New Species of Leiopython Hubecht, 1879 (Pythonidae: Serpentes): Non-Compliance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature Leads to Unavailable Names in Zoological Nomenclature. Journal of Herpetology Jun 2014, Vol. 48, No. 2: 272-275. - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Werning, H. 2009. Das Serpentarium des Snakeparadise in Eschlikon in der Schweiz. Reptilia (Münster) 14 (79): 76-82 - get paper here
 
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