Leiopython biakensis Schleip, 2008
Biak (Island) White-Lipped Python
A large female specimen at the Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The Netherlands, RMNH 10193, collected at Biak, Schouten Islands, 1952–1953, donated by Fleet Air Arm Royal Netherlands Navy.
Description of the holotype
Total length 1,670 mm, tail 255 mm; supralabials 12/11, first to third pitted, fifth and sixth entering the orbit; infralabials 14/15 with 6–12/7–13 pitted; single loreal and 2/2 preoculars, the upper large, the lower very small triangular shield that is wedged between labials and the large preocular; single loreal and supraocular; two pairs of large parietals both in median contact, a small rhombic interparietal is wedged between anterior and posterior parietals (for parietal structure, see also Brongersma, 1956: fig. 1a), left posterior parietal divided into two scales (see Brongersma, 1956: fig. 1a); whitish spot behind the eye; maximum dorsal scale rows 45, ventrals 272, subcaudals 70 mostly paired (Brongersma, 1956).
This species differs from Leiopython albertisii in having only two labials entering the orbit and in lower ventral scale counts than found in specimens from the western part of Papua (see also Brongersma, 1956). However, ventral scales counts are in the range of specimens from PNG. It differs from Leiopython fredparkeri in the head scale arrangement, with this species having large and wide posterior parietals, whereas Leiopython fredparkeri shows two slender elongate posterior parietal scales (Fig. 2). It further differs from the latter species by the presence of whitish postocular spots, and additionally from Leiopython huonensis and Leiopython meridionalis in having two pairs of parietals. It is also distinguishable from Leiopython montanus in the number of prefrontals and loreals.
This allopatric population shows little, but diagnosable morphological, differences to other species. Brongersma (1956) assumed this population to form an incipient race. Because of the geographic distance to the mainland populations of Leiopython albertisii, it is unlikely that gene flow occurs among these populations. Hence, this population is considered reproductively isolated (sensu Wiens, 2004), and, in accordance with Frost and Hillis (1990) and based on the ESC (sensu Frost and Kluge, 1994), the assignment of specific rank to this population seems justified. Unfortunately, no adequate photograph was available from this species.
The specific name biakensis derives from locality this species is found, the Biak Island, Indonesia.