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Carpet pythons & relatives
Morelia - Gray, 1842

Pronunciation: more-AY-lee-ah
Etymology: unknown, but possibly after the town in Mexico.

Taxonomic notes:

Previously, most Australian pythons were placed in this genus.

Notes: This genus features Australia's best-known python species, the carpet python (Morelia spilota), as well as two of Australia's most arcane and enigmatic snake species: the rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata) and the Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis). It also features one of the pythons most desired in the pet trade, the green python (Morelia viridis), as well as Australia's longest snake, the scrub python (Morelia kinghorni).
Statistics: Reproductive modes:
Oviparous - 5 out of 5 Australian species

Size range:
Smallest Australian species: green python (Morelia viridis) at 120 cm
 Longest Australian species: scrub python (Morelia kinghorni) at up to 500 cm
Number of Australian species: 5

rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata)
Prince Regent region, Western Australia
Photo © Ruchira Somaweera
rough-scaled python (Morelia carinata) distribution range map Morelia carinata
Rough-scaled python
Year described
(Smith 1981)
Keeled dorsal scales. Brown with a paler mesh-like pattern above.

scrub python (Morelia kinghorni)
Wooroonooran National Park, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
scrub python (Morelia kinghorni) distribution range map Morelia kinghorni
Scrub python
Year described
(Stull 1933)
Very large and slender. Pale yellow/brown with many darker blotches, some coalescing into a mesh-like pattern. Iridescent sheen.

Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis)
Arnhem Escarpment, Northern Territory
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
Oenpelli python (Morelia oenpelliensis) distribution range map Morelia oenpelliensis
Oenpelli python
Year described
(Gow 1977)
Light brown to fawn on top, paler on sides, with irregular darker blotches.

carpet python (Morelia spilota)
Mount Glorious, Queensland
Photo © Stewart Macdonald
carpet python (Morelia spilota) distribution range map Morelia spilota
Carpet python
Year described
(Lacépède 1804)
The subspecies all have distinct patterns.

green python (Morelia viridis)
Iron range National Park, Queensland
Photo © Nick Stock
green python (Morelia viridis) distribution range map Morelia viridis
Green python
Year described
(Schlegel 1872)
Brilliant green as adults, but hatchlings are yellow until they reach about 55cm in length at about 1 year of age.1

  1. Wilson, D.; Heinsohn, R.; & Wood, J. (2006). Life-history traits and ontogenetic colour change in an arboreal tropical python, Morelia viridis. Journal of Zoology, 270(3):399-407.
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