Morelia amethistina

Morelia amethistina
Morelia amethistina
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae
Genus: Morelia
Species: M. amethistina
Binomial name
Morelia amethistina
(Schneider, 1801)
  • [Boa] Amethistina - Schneider, 1801
  • Python amethystinus - Daudin, 1803
  • [Constrictor] amethystina - Wagler, 1830
  • Boa amethystina - Wagler, 1830
  • Python amethystinus - Schlegel, 1837
  • [Boa Python] amethystinus - Schlegel, 1837
  • Liasis amethystinus - Gray, 1842
  • Liasis amethystinus - A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron
  • Liasis (Simalia) amethystinus - Gray, 1849
  • Aspidopython Jakati - Meyer, 1874
  • Liasis amethystinus - Peters & Doria, 1878
  • Liasis duceboracensis - Günther, 1879
  • Hypaspistes dipsadides - Ogilby, 1891
  • Python amethystinus - Boulenger, 1893
  • Liasis clarki - Barbour, 1914
  • Liasis a[methistinus]. amethistinus - Stull, 1933
  • Liasis amethistinus kinghorni - Stull, 1933
  • Liasis amethistinus - Brongersma, 1953
  • Liasis amethystinus kinghorni - Kinghorn, 1956
  • Liasis amethystinus amethystinus - Kinghorn, 1956
  • Liasis amethistinus - Stimson, 1969
  • Python amethistinus - McDowell, 1975
  • Morelia amethistina - Cogger, Cameron & Cogger, 1983
  • Australiasis amethistinus - Wells & Wellington, 1984
  • Australiasis kinghorni - Wells & Wellington, 1984
  • Morelia amethistina - Underwood & Stimson, 1990
  • M[orelia]. amethistina - Kluge, 1993
  • Morelia amethystina - Barker & Barker, 1994
  • Morelia amethistina amethistina - O'Shae, 1996
  • Morelia amethistina kinghorni - O'Shae, 1996[1]

Morelia amethistina is a non-venomous species of snake, known as the amethystine or scrub python, found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Popular among reptile enthusiasts, and noted for its coloration and size, it is the largest Australian snake. No subspecies are currently recognized.[2]



Specimens have been measured at more than 8.5 m in length, but this is quite exceptional, as 5.5 m specimens are already considered large. The body is relatively slim, unlike many other large members of this family. The specific name, amethistina, is an allusion to the milky iridescent sheen on its scales, which gives it an amethyst-like color.

Geographic range

Found in Indonesia (Maluku Islands, Timorlaut Islands, Banda, Kai Islands, Aru Islands, Misool, Selawati, most of Western New Guinea, many islands in Geelvink Bay), Papua New Guinea (including Umboi Island, Bismarck Archipelago, Trobriand Islands, the d'Entrecasteaux Islands to Rossel Island, Louisiade Archipelago), and Australia (on some islands in the Torres Strait, the northern Cape York Peninsula south including the Atherton Tableland and the eastern foothills of the Great Dividing Range). The type locality is unknown.[1]


Occurs in both bushland and suburbia. In Indonesia and northern tropical Queensland, Australia, it is found mostly in rainforests. Warm, humid habitats with good water sources are preferred.


Largely nocturnal. Younger individuals are mainly arboreal, while large adults spend more time on the ground. Male amethystine pythons are aggressive towards one another during the mating season and at such times will engage in combat.


The diet generally consists of birds, fruit bats, rats, possums, and other small animals. Larger Australian specimens will catch and eat wallabies, waiting by creek and river banks for prey seeking drinking water.


According to McDiarmid et al. (1999), all cases in which the specific name was spelled with a y follow Daudin's (1803) Python amethystinus and are therefore unjustified emendations.[1]


See also


  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. ^ "Morelia amethistina". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 September 2007. 

External links

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