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Revision of the genus Leiopython
Schleip's revision of the genus Leiopython which was primarily based on the analysis of morphological and ecological characteristics. Until today, this appears to be the most comprehensive analysis of the genus. However, the work also included the results of mtDNA from the so-called northern and southern forms of White-lipped pythons which support the separation of both forms as proposed by McDowell (1975). The genetic difference between both was up to 9.3% (for details see Schleip (2008):
Figure 4: ML cladogram supporting the separation of the northern and southern White-lipped pythons. Numbers above the branches represent bootstrap proportions > 50%.
The morphological characters used by Schleip (2008) were the following:
- Number of dorsal midbody rows
- Number of ventrals
- Number of subcaudals
- Number of supralabials
- Number of infralabials
- Number of postoculars
- Number of supralabials entering the eye
- Presence of suboculars
- Number of loreals
- Number of prefrontals
- Number of parietal scale pairs
- Parietal scales that border the frontal in contact at the median
- Whitish spot on the postoculars
Figure 5: Scatter plot of the Principle Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) of the morphological characters.
Based on these finding, Schleip (2008) introduced further three species to the genus Leiopython, namely Leiopython biakensis from the Biak Island, Indonesia, Leiopython huonensis from the Huon peninsula, PNG, and Leiopython fredparkeri from the highlands of Karimui, Shimbu Province, PNG.
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