ContentL. meridionalis <--> L. fredparkeri

Species

Leiopython montanus Schleip, 2014

Common name

Wau White-lipped python

Holotype

BPBM 5452, a juvenile female specimen from near Wau, PNG collected by A. C. Ziegler on 13 June 1967.

Description of the holotype

Total length 635 mm, SVL 540 mm head length 21 mm; 13/13 supralabials, first and second pitted, fifth to seventh entering the orbit; 17/18 infralabials, 814/ 815 pitted in a skin fold; 3/3 loreals (a second smaller one dorsolaterally bordering the large loreal on one side, laterally bordering the prefrontal on the other side, the third loreal posteriorly bordering the first, dorsolaterally the second and anteriorly bordering the preocular); single preocular; single supraocular; 4/4 postoculars; 6/6 anterior temporals; 7/7 posterior temporals; one pair of parietals about twothirds of the length of the elongate prefrontals, separated by two small rhombic interparietals at the median line; parietals not in contact with the postoculars. Whitish postocular spot is absent; stomach contains rat. According to the size and body color of this specimen, it can be assumed that it is only a few months old. Scales smooth with 274 ventrals, anal entire, and 68 subcaudals mostly paired.


Figure 11: Leiopython montanus dorsal view of the head.

Diagnosis

Leiopython montanus is easily distinguishable from all other members of the genus Leiopython by higher loreal scale count and by a second pair of small lateral prefrontals. Furthermore, higher average midbody scale row and postocular scale counts separate this species from L. meridionals, L. huonensis, L. fredparkeri, and L. albertisii. It can also be distinguished from the latter two species in having only one pair of parietals and, additionally, differs from L. albertisii and L. biakensis by the absence of the whitish postocular spot (contra Hoser, 2000).

Etymology

The name montanus derives from the Latin "montanus", which means "on a hill or montain". This species is found around Wau, a place in PNG at an altitude of about 1000m (~3280ft).

Variation

A second pair of prefrontals and higher loreal scale count was found in all specimens examined as well as on a picture of a live specimen from Wau. Three specimens (BPBM 3277, 3890 and CAS 139590) had two pairs of loreal scales. In AMNH R-142857, a small elongate scale borders the posterior loreal and the anterior prefrontal laterally on the right side, whereas the posterior prefrontal scale on the left side is larger. In BPBM 5452 (holotype of L. montanus), three loreal scales were present on each side. A larger anterior loreal scale and two posterior smaller scales border each other laterally.

ContentL. meridionalis <--> L. fredparkeri