Antaresia stimsoni

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Stimson's python
Antaresia stimsoni.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae
Genus: Antaresia
Species: A. stimsoni
Binomial name
Antaresia stimsoni
(L.A. Smith, 1985)
Synonyms
  • Antaresia saxacola - Wells & Wellington, 1985 (Nomen nudum)
  • Liasis stimsoni stimsoni - L.A. Smith, 1985
  • Liasis stimsoni orientalis - L.A. Smith, 1985
  • Morelia stimsoni - Underwood & Stimson, 1990
  • Liasis stimsoni - Cogger, 1992
  • A[ntaresia]. stimsoni - Kluge, 1993[1]

Antaresia stimsoni is a python found in Australia. The snake is named Stimson's python in honor of A. F. Stimson of the British Museum, but is commonly and incorrectly referred to as Stimpson's python (Antaresia stimpsoni). These snakes are sold and kept as pets in some Australian states. The species is also referred as the Large-blotched python for the patterns of its markings, or in reference to its genus as an Inland Children's python.

Description[edit]

A species of the Pythonidae family, non-venomous snakes that trap and asphyxiate prey. It is contained by a group without well developed heat-sensing pits, these are only found at the lips. Small and terrestrial, adults grow up to about 100 cm (39 in) in length. They have 35-49 rows of dorsal scales at midbody, 240-305 ventral scales and 30-45 subcaudal scales. The subcaudals are mostly or entirely divided, while the anal scale is single.

Geographic range[edit]

Found in Australia from the coast of Western Australia through central regions of all states (except Victoria) as far as the Great Dividing Range. Not found in the far north, extreme south or east. The type locality given is "15 km SE of Nullagine, Western Australia, in 21°58'S, 120°12'E" [Australia].[1]

It also is found on Dirk Hartog Island.[2]

Habitat[edit]

Occurs throughout many dry inland areas, mainly in rocky areas, but also Eucalyptus woodlands, arid shrublands and deserts. Occurrence in open or flat areas is unusual.

Behavior[edit]

Generally nocturnal.

The species occupies crevices, hollows, and holes made by other creatures in termite mounds, the latter offering a controlled climate. Antaresia stimsoni is an ambush predator, spending much of its time waiting for prey, trapping and killing by constriction. They are often recorded at rocky hills or other habitat providing good cover.

Feeding[edit]

The diet consists of small lizards, frogs and mammals. Like other snakes, they can go without food for several months.

Reproduction[edit]

Oviparous, with females laying clutches of 7-10 eggs. Females incubate their eggs in typical python fashion.[clarification needed]

Taxonomy[edit]

Four species are currently recognized in the genus Antaresia, which is contained by the family Pythonidae; infraspecific ranks have also been described.[3][4] All Children's pythons were previously place in the genus Liasis, but this was revised by authors in the 1980s. The new genus Antaresia was proposed by Wells and Wellington, but their name for this species, Antaresia saxacola, was withheld from acceptance due to a petition before the ICZN. When this dispute was resolved in 1991, and the genus name already in use, L. A. Smith's epithet 'stimsoni' had appeared in several publications. While the nomenclatural validity of Antaresia stimsoni is questionable, this is the current and accepted name.

A new subspecies, A. s. orientalis was also described by Smith (1985), but not recognized as valid by Barker and Barker (1994).[1] However, the list of taxa maintained by the Western Australian Museum names two subspecies.[5]

The Western Australian subspecies, A. stimsoni stimsoni, occurs in coastal regions and the interior of the state.[2][6][7]

In captivity[edit]

The species is kept as a pet and successfully bred in captivity. It is easily handled and rarely bites, and is listed as an easily maintained, not rare or endangered, and commercially available pet herpetofauna (category 3) in the Western Australian Government's Gazette (2013).[8]

Recently a group of 4 baby Stimson's pythons escaped on board a Qantas airline, resulting in the plane being fumigated.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b Browne-Cooper, Robert; Brian Bush; Brad Maryan; David Robinson (2007). Reptiles and Frogs in the Bush: Southwestern Australia. University of Western Australia Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-920694-74-6. 
  3. ^ "Antaresia". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 
  4. ^ "Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni Smith 1985". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  5. ^ "Western Australian Museum Reptiles Checklist". WA FaunaList. Western Australian Museum. 11 December 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-22. "These checklists contain the scientific names recognised and compiled by taxonomists at the Western Australian Museum." [dead link]
  6. ^ " Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni". FaunaBase. Western Australian Museum. 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-22. "Distribution of Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni (Western Stimson's Python)" [dead link]
  7. ^ Antaresia stimsoni stimsoni ISIS abstract Large-blotched python, Range: Western Australia
  8. ^ Wildlife Conservation (Reptiles and Amphibians) (Pet Herpetofauna) Notice 2003 made per Wildlife Conservation (Reptiles and Amphibians) Regulations 2002
  9. ^ Baby pythons escape during flight in Australia, Associated Press, April 2009 

External links[edit]