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Aspidites melanocephalus (KREFFT, 1864)

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Higher TaxaPythonidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Black-headed Python
G: Schwarzkopfpython 
SynonymAspidiotes melanocephalus KREFFT 1864: 225
Aspidites [melanocephalus] PETERS 1876 (nomen novum pro Aspidiotes)
Aspidites melanocephalus — BOULENGER 1893: 91
Aspidites melanocephalus — STIMSON 1969
Aspidites melanocephalus — KLUGE 1993
Aspidites melanocephalus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 164
Aspidites melanocephalus — COGGER 2000: 601
Aspidites melanocephalus adelynensis HOSER 2001
Aspidites melanocephalus davieii HOSER 2001
Aspidites melanocephalus rickjonesii HOSER 2009
Aspidites melanocephalus — SCHLEIP & O’SHEA 2010
Aspidites melanocephalus — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Aspidites melanocephalus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 57 
DistributionAustralia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)

Type locality: Bowen (for Port Denison), Queensland, Australia

adelynensis: Australia (Western Australia); Type locality: Wyndham, Western Australia.

davieii: Australia (Western Australia). Type locality: Tom Price, Western Australia.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.8.2, (formerly, presented G. Krefft. Krefft (1869) gives the collector as J. Rainbird.
Holotype: WAM R51208 [adelynensis]
Holotype: WAM R46170 [davieii] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Premaxillary teeth absent. Majority of subcaudals single. Also distinguished from Liasis and Python by absence of sensory pits on labials and rostra!. Description (genus): Head shields symmetrical. Nasal entire. Parietals fragmented but discern- xxx ible, usually two symmetrical lobate fragments, sometimes in contact but usually separated by small scales. Ventrals 273-359. Subcaudals 43-69. Anal scale entire. Midbody scale rows 43-63. Dorsal scales smooth, moderately imbricate, apically rounded. Juveniles strongly banded and compressed. (Smith 1981) 
CommentType species: Aspidiotes melanocephalus KREFFT 1864 is the type species of the genus Aspidites PETERS 1876 [1877]: 533, 914. Aspidiotes is preoccupied by Aspidiotes BOUCHÉ 1844 (Hemiptera) and Aspidiotes SCHOENHERR 1847 (Coleoptera).

Phylogenetics: Reynolds et al. 2014 did not find support for the distinction of the Aspidites and Leiopython/Bothrochilus clades. This supports the findingfs of Rawlings et al. (2008) who recommended subsuming the genus Leiopython Hubrecht 1879 into Bothrochilus Fitzinger 1843 (resurrected by Kluge, 1993)

Synonymy: note that KAISER et al. rejected the names coined by HOSER.

Subspecies: Hoser’s subspecies should be treated as questionable as they are not well diagnosed, partly only based on distribution. Hoser’s subspecies are often named after friends, relatives or other popular figures. Hoser (2000) provided the same erroneous accession number for the holotype as was already provided by Smith (1985) in his original description; WAM R51208 is the number for a skink, Eremiascincus isolepis (fide Mecke et al. 2009). Hoser (2009) had also designated the same holotype and paratypes for rickjonesii as for A. m. davieii. The former name is thus not available. 
EtymologyThe genus name melanocephalus is derived from the Greek words melano meaning black and cephalus meaning head, thus the black-headed species.  
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