Apodora papuana (PETERS & DORIA, 1878)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Apodora papuana?
|Higher Taxa||Pythonidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Papuan (olive) python|
G: Papua-Olivpython, Papuapython
|Synonym||Liasis papuanus PETERS & DORIA 1878: 400|
Liasis papuanus — BOULENGER 1893: 80
Liasis Tornieri WERNER 1897: 261
Liasis tornieri — DE ROOIJ 1917: 18
Liasis papuanus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 19
Liasis maximus WERNER 1936
Liasis olivaceus papuanus — STIMSON 1969: 26
Apodora papuana — KLUGE 1993
Morelia papuana — WELCH 1994
Apodora papuana — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 164
Apodora papuana — WARLINGS et al. 2008
Apodora papuana — SCHLEIP & O’SHEA 2010
Liasis papuana — REYNOLDS et al. 2014
Apodora papuana — WALLACH et al. 2014: 49
Apodora papuana — BARKER et al. 2015
Apodora papuana — ESQUERRÉ et al. 2020
|Distribution||Papua New Guinea,|
Indonesia (Misool and Irian Jaya)
Type locality: Soron (Costa N. O. della N. Guinea)” [Sorong, Irian Jaya, Indonesia] = “Romoi, near Soron” fide KLUGE (1993).
|Types||Holotype: MSNG 29988 (fide CAPOCACCIA 1961, Kluge 1993)|
|Diagnosis||Description. Kluge 1993 did not diagnose Apodora, but Barker et al. 2015 provide the following characterization: “Apodora papuana in life is starkly different from any of the other species in Liasis. Though there are general overall similarities between Apodora papuana and Liasis olivaceus (i.e. both are large brown elongated snakes with similarly high counts of ventral scales), perceivable similarities end there. We have extensive experience with living specimens of Apodora, and also with all taxa of Liasis (fuscus, dunni, mackloti, savuensis, olivaceus) excepting L. olivaceus barroni. We have observed that A. papuana has the remarkable ability to change the colour of its head, eyes, and body, each independent of the other; this is not observed (or reported) in Liasis. Furthermore, Apodora has a low neural spine on the vertebrae of the neck and body relative to Liasis, a primitive condition (Scanlon & Mackness, 2002). Apodora has darkly pigmented skin, including the lining of the mouth and cloaca, and has an extremely long and deeply forked tongue. According to Parker (1982), Apodora appears to easily slough skin; this has not been observed by us and has not been reported in Liasis. Apodora has thermoreceptive pits in the rostral while Liasis species generally do not (individual specimens of L. mackloti may show shallow rostral pits, (Barker and Barker, pers. obs.; McDowell, 1975). When corrected for size (SVL), the eggs of Apodora are relatively larger than those of any of the four Liasis species with whose eggs which we have experience (Barker and Barker, unpubl. data).”|
|Comment||Synonymy mostly after Stimson 1969 and Kluge 1993. Apodora was synonymized with Liasis by Reynolds et al. 2014.|
Type species: Liasis papuanus PETERS & DORIA 1878: 400 is the type species of the genus Apodora KLUGE 1993. Kluge did not diagnose the genus (he only provided diagnoses for genus groups as the relationship to other genera was unknown and only got resolved by Esquerré et al. 2020).
Apodora “looks and feels different from Liasis. Liasis are "tight bodied" muscular with relatively long heads. Apodora are different in appearance, they have looser skin (name!), which can tear and scare easily, almost autotomising, and very distinct black interstitial skin that almost etches around each scute. They have chunky heads, not long heads like the three Liasis.” (Mark O’Shea, pers. comm., 2 Feb 2015).
|Etymology||Apodora, from Greek feminine meaning "a peeling of the skin” (Brown, 1956:716), which emphasises the peculiar nature of this species' relatively thin and fragile integument (Kluge 1993).|
The species was named after its distribution in Papua New Guinea.