Evolution and Systematics
The jaws of pythons allow the snakes to swallow huge prey because of their multibar linkages.
"We mammals make no great use of multibar linkages, but a lot of other vertebrates depend on them. The most famous are snakes that can swallow items of prey whose diameters and cross sections exceed those of themselves. How pythons (genus Python) manage was carefully analyzed by Frazzetta (1966), who regarded their skull and jaws as linkages with no fewer than eight bars. Such snakes use two such linkages, one on each side of the head, with a lot of flexibility in between. The setup permits the mouth to gape sufficiently to accommodate huge prey, which then get digested at leisure." (Vogel 2003:400-401)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Frazetta, TH. 1966. Studies on the morphology and function of the skull in the Boidae (Serpentes). Part II: morphology and function of the jaw apparatus in Python sebae and Python molurus. Journal of Morphology. 118: 217-295.
- Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:32
Specimens with Barcodes:21
Species With Barcodes:7
Python, from the Greek word (πύθων/πύθωνας), is a genus of nonvenomous pythons found in Africa and Asia. Currently, 12 species are recognised. A member of this genus, P. reticulatus, is among the longest snake species and extant reptiles in the world.
Found in Africa in the tropics south of the Sahara, but not in the extreme south-western tip of southern Africa (Western Cape), or in Madagascar. In Asia, it is found from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, including the Nicobar Islands, through Myanmar, east to Indochina, southern China, Hong Kong and Hainan, as well as in the Malayan region of Indonesia and the Philippines.
Some suggest that P. molurus and P. sebae have the potential to be problematic invasive species in South Florida. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that only Python molurus bivittatus is an invasive species in the United States. More recent data suggests that these pythons would not withstand winter climates north of Florida, contradicting previous research suggesting a more significant geographic potential range.
|Species||IUCN Status||Taxon author||Subsp.*||Common name||Geographic range|
|P. anchietae||LC||(Bocage, 1887)||0||Angolan python||Africa in southern Angola and northern Namibia.|
|P. bivittatus||VU||(Kuhl, 1820)||1||Burmese python||S Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, S China (S Yunnan east to Fujian, incl. Hainan and Hong Kong; Sichuan, Guangxi, Guangdong), Indonesia (Java, Bali)|
|P. brongersmai||LC||(Stull, 1938)||0||Brongersma's short-tailed python/ Blood python||Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Bangka Island, Lingga islands, Riau islands, and Pinang|
|P. breitensteini||LC||(Steindachner, 1881)||0||Bornean python/ Bornean short-tailed python||Borneo, including Sarawak|
|P. curtus||NE||(Schlegel, 1872)||0||Sumatran short-tailed python||Southeast Asia in southern Thailand, Malaysia (Peninsular and Sarawak) (including Pinang) and Indonesia (Sumatra, Riau Archipelago, Lingga Islands, Bangka Islands, Mentawai Islands and Kalimantan).|
|P. kyaiktiyo ||VU||(Zug, Gotte & Jacobs, 2011)||0||Myanmar short-tailed python||West of the Tenghyo Range, Myanmar |
|P. molurusT||LR/nt||(Linnaeus, 1758)||0||Indian python/ Black tailed Python||Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar.|
|P. natalensis||NE||(Smith, 1840 )||0||Southern African rock python||Southern Africa such as Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa.|
|P. regius||LC||(Shaw, 1802)||0||Ball python/ Royal python||Africa from Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Niger and Nigeria through Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic to Sudan and Uganda.|
|P. reticulatus||NE||(Schneider, 1801)||0||Reticulated python||Southeast Asia from the Nicobar Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, east through Indonesia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago (Sumatra, Mentawai Islands, Natuna Islands, Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor, Maluku, Tanimbar Islands) and the Philippines (Basilan, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Polillo, Samar, Tawi-Tawi).|
|P. sebae||NE||(Gmelin, 1788)||0||Northern African rock python||Africa south of the Sahara from Senegal east to Ethiopia and Somalia, including Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Ghana, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.|
|P. timoriensis||NE||(Peters, 1876)||0||Timor python||Indonesia on the Lesser Sunda Islands (Flores, Lombien and Timor Islands).|
|P. europaeus†||EX||(Syzndlar & Rage, 2003)||0||-||Remains found in present day France.|
Python skin is used to make clothing such as vests, belts, boots, shoes or fashion accessories such as handbags. It may also be used to cover the sound board of some string musical instruments, such as the banhu, sanxian or the sanshin.
Many species of pythons, such as P. regius, P. brongersmai, and P. reticulatus are popular to keep as pets due to their ease of care and many color mutations, which have been sold for thousands of dollars. Despite controversy that has arisen from media reports, pet pythons are relatively safe to own when proper safety procedure is practiced and deaths associated with pet pythons are very isolated when compared to other domestic animals such as dogs and horses.
- 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).
- "Python". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
- Python Snakes, An Invasive Species In Florida, Could Spread To One Third Of US at ScienceDaily. Accessed 18 October 2008.
- Invasive Species: Animals. Invasivespeciesinfo.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- Avery, M. L., Engeman, R. M., Keacher, K. L., Humphrey, J. S., Bruce, W. E., Mathies, T. C., & Mauldin, R. E. (2010). Cold weather and the potential range of invasive Burmese pythons. Biological invasions, 12(11), 3649-3652.http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/animals/main.shtml
- Python Snakes, An Invasive Species In Florida, Could Spread To One Third Of US
- "Annotated checklist of the recent and extinct pythons".
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