Of the three species of taipan, Oxyuranus temporalis is the least known, being described only recently from a single juvenile specimen. We redescribe the species based on additional adult specimens from the Great Victoria Desert. Molecular genetic variation between the three localities from which the species is known was low, suggesting a single widespread population or recent radiation. Limited analysis of faecal material and gut contents suggested solely mammalian prey. The additional specimens suggest the possibility of a considerable distribution across sandy deserts of the central and western interior of Australia. Further studies and fieldwork are required to more accurately determine its geographic range, quantify the toxicity of the venom and assess the suitability of available antivenoms.
Natusch, Daniel J. D. and Jessica A. Lyons. 2012. Distribution, ecological attributes and trade of the New Guinea carpet python (Morelia spilota) in Indonesia. Australian Journal of Zoology 59(4) 236-241.
Carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) are medium-sized non-venomous snakes inhabiting most of continental Australia and a small area of New Guinea. They have been relatively well studied in Australia, but little is known about the New Guinea population, even though it is harvested and exported from Indonesia for the international pet trade. In total, 281 locality records were compiled for two distinct populations south of latitude 7°S in Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian province of Papua. Traders in Papua collected 274 carpet pythons (most of which were recently hatched neonates) for the pet trade. Data from a sample of 174 individuals revealed little sexual dimorphism in any traits, although males appear to grow larger than females despite females maturing at greater lengths. Fecundity was high (average 17 eggs) and reproduction was highly seasonal, with hatching in December and January. Harvest quotas for the province of Papua were exceeded in all years between 2000 and 2009 due to 50% of the national quota being allocated to West Papua province where this species is yet to be recorded. The present study provides distribution, trade and ecological information to inform conservation management of this species in Indonesia.
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