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Morelia spilota (LACÉPÈDE, 1804)

IUCN Red List - Morelia spilota - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaPythonidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
SubspeciesMorelia spilota cheynei WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Morelia spilota harrisoni HOSER 2000
Morelia spilota imbricata SMITH 1981
Morelia spilota mcdowelli WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Morelia spilota metcalfei WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985
Morelia spilota spilota (LACÉPÈDE, 1804)
Morelia spilota variegata GRAY 1842 
Common NamesE: Carpet python, Diamond Python
imbricata: South-western Carpet Python
cheynei: Jungle Carpet Python; G: Dschungel-Teppichpython
macrospila:
mcdowelli: Coastal Carpet Python, McDowell's Carpet Python
spilota: Diamond Python
variegata: North-western Carpet Python, Torresian Carpet Python, Darwin Carpet Python
metcalfei: Inland Carpet Python, Riverine Carpet Python, Murray-Darling Carpet Python
G: Rautenpython, Teppichpython 
SynonymColuber spilotus LACÉPÈDE 1804: 209
Python punctatus MERREM 1820: 90
Python perronii WAGLER 1828
Morelia variegata GRAY 1842
Morelia argus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 385
Morelia argus fasciolata JAN 1864
Python spilotes — BOULENGER 1893: 82
Morelia spilota macrospila WERNER 1910 (fide LOVERIDGE 1934: 270)
Python spilotus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 26
Python bredli GOW 1981 (fide KLUGE 1993)
Python spilotus imbricatus SMITH 1981
Morelia metcalfei WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985
Montypythonoides riversleighensis SMITH & PLANE 1985 (fide KLUGE 1993)
Morelia spilota — KLUGE 1993
Morelia spilota — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 173
Morelia spilota — COGGER 2000: 614
Morelia mippughae HOSER 2003
Morelia spilota — MENSE 2006
Morelia metcalfei — GREER 2006 (online)
Morelia wellsi HOSER 2012
Morelia argus — PHILIPPEN 2012
Morelia spilota — REYNOLDS et al. 2014
Morelia spilota — WALLACH et al. 2014: 453

Morelia spilota spilota (LACÉPÈDE 1804)
Coluber spilotus LACÉPÈDE 1804
Morelia spilotes spilotes — WORRELL 1961
Morelia argus argus — STIMSON 1969
Python spilotus spilotus — SMITH 1981: 222
Morelia spilota spilota — MENSE 2006

Morelia spilota cheynei WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Morelia cheynei WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Morelia spilota cheynei — FRANZ 2003
Morelia spilota cheynei — MENSE 2006
Morelia spilota cheynei — MATTISON 2007: 210
Morelia cheynei — GREER 2006 (online)
Morelia spilota cheynei — ALCINI 2009
Morelia spilota cheynei — MENSE 2010

Morelia spilota harrisoni HOSER 2000
Morelia harrisoni HOSER 2000
Morelia spilota variegata
Morelia spilota harrisoni — MENSE 2006

Morelia spilota imbricata SMITH 1981
Morelia spilota imbricata — FRANZ 2003
Morelia macburniei HOSER 2003
Morelia spilota imbricata — MENSE 2006
Morelia imbricata — GREER 2006 (online)
Morelia imbricata — BARKER et al. 2015

Morelia spilota mcdowelli WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Morelia mcdowelli WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Morelia spilota mcdowelli — FRANZ 2003
Morelia spilota mcdowelli — MENSE 2006
Morelia mcdowelli — GREER 2006 (online)

Morelia spilotes metcalfei WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985
Morelia spilotes metcalfei — MICHAEL et al. 2011

Morelia spilota variegata GRAY
Morelia variegata GRAY 1842: 43
Morelia variegata — MACLEAY 1877: 34
Morelia variegata — MCCOY 1878: 13
Morelia argus variegata — MITCHELL 1951: 545
Morelia spilotes variegata — MITCHELL 1955
Morelia argus variegata — STIMSON 1969
Python spilotus variegatus — SMITH 1981: 224
Morelia variegata — RICHMAN et al. 1988
Python spilotes variegatus — WOLFF 1989
Morelia spilota variegata — FRANZ 2003
Morelia spilota variegata — MENSE 2006
Morelia variegata — GREER 2006 (online) 
DistributionNew Guinea,
Australia (New South Wales, North Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria except South, N and S West Australia; not in the arid center of Australia)

cheynei: NE Queensland

harrisoni: southern coast of Papua New Guinea to the Indonesian part of West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), in West Papua up to Merauke.

mcdowelli: from N Cape York through Queensland to N New South Wales

metcalfei: from S Queensland, New South Wales and N Victoria to South Australia.

macburniei: Australia (South Australia: St. Francis Island); Type locality: St. Francis Island, South Australia.

mippughae: Australia (South Australia, North Flinders Ranges); Type locality: Moolooloo, North Flinders Ranges, South Australia, Lat: 30°59’ Long: 138°35’.

spilota: coastal New South Wales.

imbricata: S West Australia.

variegata: N Australia.

Type locality: "Nouvelle-Hollande" [= Australia] Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproductionoviparous. KIVIT & W 
TypesHolotype: MNHN 3272, presumed lost, according to Stimson (1969:28).
Holotype: "RIB General No. 4414 (Type No. 2496)." MR HN 2496, listed as syntype by Lang, 1990 [macrospila]
Holotype: South Australian Museum (SAM), Adelaide, SA, Specimen number: R1665 [mippughae]
Holotype: SAMA R13994 [macburniei] 
CommentType species: Coluber spilotus LACÉPÈDE 1804 is the type species of the genus Morelia GRAY 1842: 43. Cogger 1983: 205 erroneously designated M. variegata as type species.

Synonymy partly after KLUGE 1993. Quite variable species (brown/red, green, yellow, and blue forms are known!). The name Python spilotes macropsila was proposed for this population by Werner (1909), type locality of "Australia", but unfortunately the holotype was lost. This subspecies was recognized by Hoser (1989). If the holotype eventually is found, M. s. macropsila may replace M. s. mcdowelli as the subspecific name for the Eastern Carpet Python [KEND 2000]. Morelia antiqua (SMITH & PLANE 1985) is a synonym of the extinct species Morelia riversleighensis (SMITH & PLANE 1985). Kaiser et al. 2013 rejected the (sub-) generic names Jackypython Hoser 2009, Lenhoserus Hoser 2000 invalid and rejected their use instead of Morelia.

Type species: Morelia variegata GRAY 1842 is the type species of the genus Morelia GRAY 1842 (designated by MCDOWELL 1975).

Morelia mippughae is a nomen dubium fide SCHLEIP & O’SHEA 2010.

DIAGNOSIS: A medium to large python similar in most respects to the others in the genus Morelia. It is separated from one of its closest relatives Morelia macburniei sp. nov. (see below) by a suite of characteristics including a lower incidence of scale anomalies particularly with regards to ventral scales in the from of longitudinally split ventrals, half ventrals, transversely divided ventrals or incompletely transversely divided ventrals, remnant or partially inserted ventrals or incompletely formed ventrals (such as in two halves).

This species is differentiated from Morelia macburniei sp. nov. from St. Francis Island by having more rhomboidal-shaped dorsal scales as opposed to having lanceolate-shaped dorsal scales. Morelia mippughae sp. nov. is separated from the closely related Morelia metcalfei (the Murray/Darling form), (which it would have previously keyed out as using existing (pre 2002 taxonomy)) by a suite of characteristics including it’s dorsal colour pattern. Morelia mippughae sp. nov. is pale reddish brown dorsally, with broad transverse black-edged patches on the top of the back and a wide pale lateral zone for about a third of its length.

Morelia mippughae sp. nov. is restricted to the Flinders and Middleback Ranges areas of South Australia. No other Morelia occurs here. Numbers of this species have declined sharply since European settlement, (Ian Renton and Ted Mertens personal communications). This author hereby calls for specimens of Morelia mippughae sp. nov. to be taken into captivity and bred in numbers in order to secure the survival of this taxa.

Morelia mippughae sp. nov. is separated from all other Morelia by colouration and patterns as seen from a comparison of specimens, comparative DNA properties and distribution. [from HOSER 2003] 
Etymology“Named in honour of Mrs Mip Pugh of Breakwater, Victoria for her long term contributions to herpetology. She is part of the husband and wife team, the other half being Mick Pugh (whom this species is not named in honour). Mip has over the last few decades given free of charge many hundreds of hours of useful advice and guidance to reptile keepers in Victoria, especially in relation to her favorite reptiles, which are lizard species such as Bearded Dragons (Pogona spp.) and other commonly kept species. Her house has often been a defacto hotel suite for countless other herpetologists who have enjoyed her hospitality.” [from HOSER 2003] 
References
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