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Python sebae (GMELIN, 1789)

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Higher TaxaPythonidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: African (Rock) Python
G: Felsenpython 
SynonymColuber Sebae GMELIN in LINNAEUS 1789
Coluber Speciosus BONNATERRE 1789: 17
Boa Hieroglyphica SCHNEIDER 1801: 266
Python Houttuyni DAUDIN 1803: 254
Python natalensis SMITH 1840
Python Sebae — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 400
Python Liberiensis HALLOWELL 1845: 249
Python sebae — SCLATER 1862: 310
Python sebae — BOULENGER 1893: 86
Python sebae — FITZSIMONS 1912: 57
Python sebae — SCHMIDT 1923: 53
Python jubalis PITMAN 1936 (nomen nudum fide KLUGE 1993)
Python sebae sebae — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 22
Python sebae — KLUGE 1993
Python sebae — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 180
Helionomus sebae — HOSER 2004
Python sebae — JACKSON et al. 2007
Python sebae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 622
Python sebae — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 380 
DistributionSenegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan (Jumhūriyyat), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon (BLANC & FRETEY 2000), Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Angola, Somalia, Equatorial Guinea

May have been introduced to Florida, USA.

Type locality: see comment.  
TypesHolotype: UUZM (= ZMUU) (Uppsala University), Based on pIate 199 (fig. 2) in Seba (1735), according to Loveridge (1957: 248). Type not in Uppsala fide E. Åhlander, pers. comm., 24 Jan 2020. 
CommentSynonymy after KLUGE 1993. Python sebae natalensis has been elevated to full species status by BROADLEY 1999. This is the largest African snake (total length up to 7.6 m).

Terra typica: “Guaira dans le Bresil” (in error). Guaira may refer to Guayrá in present day Paraguay and under control of Spanish conquitadors in 1550s. Or it may also refer to some place in the former Dutch Brazil. Anyway the snake must have been collected on the way back to Europe, which usually was via a stop at the African West Coast (Angola - Mauritania depending on winds and ocean currents). Type locality is thus in West Africa (E. Åhlander, pers. comm., 24 Jan 2020).

Distribution: map in Broadley 1984. Not listed for Zimbabwe nor Botswana by BROADLEY & BLAYLOCK 2013 (who list P. natalensis). For a map with localities in Equatorial Guinea see SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS et al. 2022. 
EtymologyNamed after the naturalist Albertus Seba (1665-1736) who illustrated the species first in his pre-Linnean “Thesaurus”. 
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  • Ullenbruch, K.; Grell, O.; Böhme, W. 2010. Reptiles from southern Benin, West Africa, with the description of a new Hemidactylus (Gekkonidae), and a country-wide checklist. Bonn Zool. Bull. 57 (1): 31-54 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Zassi-Boulou, Ange Ghislain; Joseph Goma Tchimbakala, Lise Bethy Mavoungou, and Kate Jackson 2020. A Survey of Snakes in the Patte d’Oie Forest Reserve (Brazzaville, Republic of Congo): an Urban Snake Community in Central Africa. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 15 (1): - get paper here
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