Taxonomy

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Originally described in 1801 by Joann Gottlob Schneider as part of a larger works entitled “Historia Amphibiorum naturalis et literariae”. This 2 part masterpiece contains hundreds of animal descriptions from the humble frog up to the regal reticulated python. Many of which are still cited today. Re-printed in 1968 by A. Asher and Co, it is today a rarity in book collections throughout the world.

For the next 19 years there were various names assigned to the species as confusion arose from differences in locations.

In 1826 however the original species name was restored by Leopold Joseph Fitzinger, under a new genus - “Python”. As the orientation of the genus name had changed so to did the species name. As such Boa reticulata became Python reticulatus, as we know it today.

Under this classification it stayed for over 150 years, until 1988 when K. R. G. Welch published “Snakes of the Orient, a Checklist” through R.E. Krieger Publishing Co.

Not content with this new classification the scientific community produced a further 3 publications in the following 10 years, each one reverting back to the 1826 classification of Python reticulatus.

In the first works to attempt further classification of this species Mark Auliya (et al) produced a paper in 2002 entitled “Review of the reticulated python (Python reticulatus Schneider, 1801) with the description of new subspecies from Indonesia” This paper described the 3 subspecies and is generally accepted today, although it has not been accepted by ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System).

As part of a wider works, in 2004 Raymond Hoser attempted to again divide the species further. This work was widely discredited by his peers and as such, not accepted/adopted by either professional or amateur bodies at the time of publication.
The 2008 publication by Rawlings et al has not been widely adopted. However, in the future, with further investigation (and perhaps deviation from Hoser influence) the science will win through. At this stage, CITES still lists the genus as Python.

 

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