Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae
Genus: Leiopython
Hubrecht, 1879
  • Leiopython - Hubrecht, 1879

  • Liasis Albertisii - Peters & Doria, 1878
  • Leiopython gracilis - Hubrecht, 1879
  • Liasis albertisii - Boulenger, 1893
  • Liasis fuscus albertisii - Stull, 1935
  • Liasis fuscus albertisi - Capocaccia, 1961
  • Liasis fuscus albertisii - Stimson, 1969
  • Liasis albertisi - Switak, 1973
  • Liasis albertisii - McDowell, 1975
  • Bothrochilus albertisii - Cogger, Cameron & Cogger, 1983
  • Lisalia albertisi - Wells & Wellington, 1984
  • Morelia albertisii - Underwood & Stimson, 1990
  • L[eiopython]. albertisii - Kluge, 1993
  • Leiopython albertisi - O'Shea, 1996
  • Leiopython albertisii - O'Shea, 1996 [1]
Common names: white-lipped python, D'Albertis' python,[2] D'Albert's water python.[3]

Leiopython, formerly a monotypic genus, now comprises six species,[4] created for the non-venomous python species, L. albertisii, found in New Guinea. No subspecies are currently recognized.[5] It was first described as an intermediate genus between Liasis and Nardoa.[6] The species was named in honor of Luigi D'Albertis.[7]



Female Adults of the Northern White-Lipped Python (Leiopython albertisii) grow to an average of about 213 cm in length (6–7 ft), whereas the Southern White-Lipped Python (Leiopython hoserae) can reach up to 300 cm (10 ft) in length. They are patternless, except that the Northern White-Lipped Python has some light markings on their postoculars[3] absent in the Southern White-Lipped Python.[4] The snout is triangular and the head is distinct from the neck. The dorsum of the head is shiny black, the upper and lower labial scales are white with black markings on the anterior edge of the scales. Body color is either brownish-violet fading to yellowish ventrally (Leiopython albertisii) or blackish-blue fading to gray (Leiopython hoserae). These pythons also regurgitate fur balls, also known as "Casting." This behavior is rarely seen, but 2–3 days after feeding the results are seen. When it is witnessed owners of White lipped pythons often think their snake is regurgitating its food.

Geographic range

Found in most of New Guinea (below 1200 m), including the islands of Salawati and Biak, Normanby, Mussau and Emirau,[4] as well as a few islands in the Torres Strait. The type locality given is "Kapaor in Nova Guinea boreali occidentali ... et prope Andai..." also stated "... un esemplare a Kapaor fra i Papua Onin..." and "... un secondo esamplare ad Andai presso Dorei..." (Kapoar, Onin Peninsula and Andai, near Dorei, Irian Jaya, Indonesia).[1]

Some doubt can be cast on its occurrence on Normanby, as McDowell (1975)[8] had erroneously assigned Bara Bara to this Island, rather than to the mainland of Papua New Guinea[4] in Milne Bay Province as stated by Boulenger (1898)[9] and Koopman (1982).[10]


Associated with rain forests, cutover clearings and swamps. Usually found near water, into which they may quickly retreat if disturbed. Often hide under dead leaves on forest floor.[3]


The diet includes a range of birds and mammals that are small to medium in size.[3] Neonates and young semi-adults often feed on lizards.


Oviparous, with females laying about a dozen eggs. The eggs stick together in a compact pile and the females coils around them. The hatchlings emerge after about two months of incubation and are about 38 cm (15 inches) in length.[3]


A new species L. hoserae, and two new subspecies L. albertisii barkeri and L. a. bennetti, were described in Hoser (2000),[11][12] but these descriptions are considered vague and questionable.[13][14] In 2008, Schleip[4] redescribed and provided proper descriptions and diagnoses for two of Hoser's (2000) taxa, Leiopython hoserae, from the southern lowlands of Papua New Guinea and neighbouring Indonesia, and L. benettorum, from the highlands of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. A third, Leiopython albertisii barkeri was considered a nomen nudum due to Hoser not having provided a description that includes characters to differentiate this taxon from others.[4] Three new species were also described:[4] L. biakensis from the island of Biak (part of the Indonesian Province of Papua, L. fredparkeri from the Karimui Basin, Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea, and L. huonensis from the Huon Peninsula, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.

The taxonomy of the Pythonidae family is fluid, however, an arrangement of the genus may be summarised as:


  • Antaresia
  • Apodora
  • Aspidites
  • Bothrochilus
  • Leiopython
    • Leiopython albertisii, D'Albert's water python
    • Leiopython bennettorum, Bennett's white-lipped python
    • Leiopython biakensis, Biak white-lipped python
    • Leiopython fredparkeri, Parker's white-lipped python
    • Leiopython hoserae, Southern white-lipped python
    • Leiopython huonensis, Huon white-lipped python
  • Liasis
  • Morelia
  • Python

See also


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ Barker DG, Barker TM. 1994. Pythons of the World Vol. 1, Australia. Advanced Vivarium Systems Inc. Lakeside, California. 171 pp. ISBN 1882770277.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Schleip, W. D. 2008. Revision of the Genus Leiopython Hubrecht 1879 (Serpentes:Pythonidae) with the Redescription of Taxa Recently Described by Hoser (2000) and the Description of New Species. Journal of Herpetology 42(4): 645–667.
  5. ^ "Leiopython". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=634409. Retrieved 9 September 2007. 
  6. ^ Hubrecht AAW. 1879. Notes III on a new genus and species of Pythonidae from Salawatti. Notes from the Leyden Museum 1: 14-15.
  7. ^ Peters W and G Doria. 1878. Catalogo dei retilli e dei batraci raccolti da O. Beccari, L. M. D'Alberts e A. A. Bruijn. nella sotto-regione Austro-Malese. Annali del Museo Civico de Storia Naturale di Genova. ser. 1(13):401-403, plate III, Fig. 2.
  8. ^ McDowell SB 1975. A catalogue of the snakes of New Guinea and the Solomon’s, with special Reference to Those in the Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Part II (24.02.1975). Journal of Herpetology 9(1):1-79.
  9. ^ Boulenger GA. 1898. An account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Dr. L. Loria in British New Guinea. Annali del Museo Civico de Storia Naturale di Genova (2) 18:694-710
  10. ^ Koopman KF 1982. Results of the Archibold Expedition No. 109. Bats from Eastern Papua and the East Papua Islands. American Museum Novitatis 2747:1-34
  11. ^ Hoser R. 2000. A Revision of the Australasian pythons. HTML at C-View Media. Accessed 10 September 2007.
  12. ^ Hoser R. 2000. A Revision of the Australasian pythons. HTML at Smuggled.com. Accessed 10 September 2007.
  13. ^ Leiopython albertisii at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 9 September 2007.
  14. ^ Wüster W, Bush B, Keogh JS, O'Shea M, Shine R. 2001. Taxonomic contributions in the "amateur" literature: comments on recent descriptions of new genera and species by Raymond Hoser. Litteratura Serpentium 21:67-91. PDF at Wolfgang Wüster. Accessed 10 September 2007.

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