Abstract

Twenty-four extant species of snakes, usually referred to as pythonines (sensu Underwood, 1976), are compared in terms of 121 behavioural and external and internal morphological characters. A cladistic analysis of 194 synapomorphies confirms the monophyly of the group, and provides a partially resolved, well-corroborated hierarchy of lineage relationships. That hypothesis obtains without regard to assumptions of additivity or nonadditivity, and only those synapomorphies which delimit clades unambiguously are used to diagnose taxa. Aspidites is demonstrated to be the sister lineage of all other pythonines, and the remaining Australia-New Guinea taxa constitute a paraphyletic assemblage. The South-east Asia-Africa Python forms a highly derived clade. The following binominal monophyletic taxonomy is proposed: Antaresia childreni, A. maculosus, A. perthensis, A. stimsoni, Apodora papuana (n.gen.), Aspidites melanocephalus, A. ramsayi, Bothrochilus boa, Leiopython albertisii, Liasis mackloti, L. olivaceus, Morelia amethistina, M. boeleni, M. carinata, M. oenpelliensis, M. spilota, M. viridis, Python anchietae, P. curtus, P. molurus, P. regius, P. reticulatus, P. sebae, P. timoriensis. The extinct Miocene Morelia antiqua and Montypythonoides riversleighensis from Australia are referred to the synonymy of extant Liasis olivaceus and Morelia spilota, respectively.

 
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Bibliographic Data

Short Form
Kluge, 1993, Rec. Aust. Mus., Suppl. 19: 1–77
Author
A. G. Kluge
Year
1993
Title
Aspidites and the phylogeny of pythonine snakes
Serial Title
Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement
Volume
19
Start Page
1
End Page
77
DOI
10.3853/j.0812-7387.19.1993.52
Language
English
Date Published
01 December 1993
Cover Date
01 December 1993
ISBN
ISBN 0-7310-1164-3
ISSN
0812-7387
CODEN
RAMSEZ
Publisher
The Australian Museum
Place Published
Sydney, Australia
Subjects
REPTILIA; EVOLUTION
Digitized
03 August 2009
Reference Number
52
EndNote
/Uploads/Journals/16847/52.enw
Title Page
/Uploads/Journals/16847/52.pdf
File size: 263kB
Complete Work
/Uploads/Journals/16847/52_complete.pdf
File size: 11079kB