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Banded pygmy or spotted?

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by Holy_jessus, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Holy_jessus

    Holy_jessus New Member

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    Hi I was recently sold two spotted pythons , the person had had them since they where hatchlings, they are now 3 years old. They have a big size difference, female on the left of photo, male on right, the males to me looks more like my banded then the spotted though? Any thoughts?

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  2. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    I can see what you're seeing, and there's a sort of superficial resemblance, but neither of them looks at all like it is actually a Pygmy Banded.
     
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  3. nick_75

    nick_75 Active Member

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    The head shape of the Pygmy Banded is very different to spotted pythons. As Sdaji stated, the resemblance you are seeing is based on patterning and colouration.

    This is an image of a Pygmy Banded, notice the overall shorter snout length compared the spotted python images above.
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  4. Holy_jessus

    Holy_jessus New Member

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    Possibly a cross breed? Its the size im also inserted in, he is tiny compared to my other spotteds, and I know the person who breed him was pulled up by fauna for not doing things by the books? This is also a photo of one of my actual banded pygmys, and the patterning is just so similar? (She's in shed at the moment)

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  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    The pattern doesn't look like it either. I can see the superficial resemblance but it doesn't look like the pattern of a Pygmy Banded in a diagnostic way, just a superficial way.

    You can speculate about hybrids (hybrids are not the same thing as crossbreeds by the way, and since there is so far no such thing as a reptile breed, there can't be a cross bred reptile... yet) all day long, hey, it could be, and hybrids can come out looking like anything. Without knowing the history of an Antaresia you can't be 100% sure that it's pure, but I can tell you 100% that those are either pure Spotteds or Spotted hybrids, certainly not pure anything other than Spotteds, and there's nothing to indicate they are crossed with anything else.

    It's difficult to articulate in words all the clear differences between your male and a Pygmy Banded, but an obvious different you will be able to see is that the pattern of your male has jagged edges. This is not unusual for Spotteds but doesn't occur in Pygmy Bandeds. You'll also see a tendency for pale lateral stripes with clean edges on Pygmy Bandeds (as with most Antaresia) but this never occurs in pure Spotteds. Yours won't have it. Hybrids not including Spotted blood rarely have it and I've never seen it in F1 Spotted hybrids. The overall morphology is different as Nick_75 says, but most of the morphology is difficult to put into words.

    Your pair there look like locality mixed but 'pure' Spotteds (maculosa), but it's impossible to be 100% sure without their history. All we can say for sure is that they're at least partially maculosa.
     
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  6. Holy_jessus

    Holy_jessus New Member

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    Thanks for the reply really appreciated the feed back, have a few banded pygmys now, and just had a odd feeling, but glad to know he is what I purchased:)
     
  7. nick_75

    nick_75 Active Member

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    The next time you have either species out have a good look at the head of each animal, in particular the scales just behind the nasal scale. The image below shows the loreal scales of each species. Spotted pythons (image on left) have a lower loreal scale count than the banded pygmy python (image on right). Spotted python loreal scales being larger than the smaller, more tightly clustered banded pygmy python. The images also display the general morphology differences in head shape.
    upload_2020-7-1_13-49-51.png
     
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  8. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    This is really cool stuff. Keep in mind though that this only works on pure animals, and hybrids can look like either parental species and these diagnostics don't mean anything to animals of unknown origin.
     
  9. nick_75

    nick_75 Active Member

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    Yes, I see your point. If you did a scale count for every part of the body (ventrals, sub-cuadals, etc) and found that the count was around the mean count of most of the areas of that species, could you be sure of classification?

    Have you had the chance to examine many know hybrids? It would be interesting research looking at scale counts of the hybrid compared to the count ranges of the parent species, to gauge the genetic influence of each parent. Having the numbers of hybrids to get mean scale counts would be difficult and I don't think the findings would have much use overall.

    DNA testing would be the only sure way of determining the species of individuals of unknown origin.
     
  10. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    No.

    Hundreds of them.

    Having said that, I've never bothered to do scale counts beyond a very quick glance at a few of them. Just in overall appearance (not specifically talking about scalation, which I think in some cases is overrated), F1 hybrids are relatively consistent. F2 and higher hybrids are a complete mixed bag. You can get F2 or higher hybrids which look very much like one species or the other, or in some cases you can get mixtures popping out some oddballs. An unknown origin Antaresia owned by a friend which looks like a childreni/stimsoni hybrid was crossed to a pure Stimsoni a couple of years ago, the large resulting clutch included some which looked vaguely stimmy, most which looked more or less childreni, and one surprising one which could pass as a pure mid coast maculosa (very unusual to get that appearance from that pairing). If you did a genetic the exhaustive and extremely expensive genetic testing it would probably come up as being no more like a maculosa than its siblings which look like standard childreni or vaguely like stimsoni, but in pattern and morphology it looks passable as a mac. I'd guess that if you did scale counts on it they'd be more similar to a mac than the others; for whatever reason, hybrids tend to have correlating traits. I've seen the same with hybrid Death Adders, of which I've also seen many hundreds. For example, crossing hill form (smaller) and floodplain (larger) Death Adders then making F2 hybrids, producing huge variation in phenotypes, then examining the babies, shows that babies with traits such as more pronounced supraoculars (typical of hill form) and head shape, etc, also stay smaller than the ones which have the morphology of floodplains, which grow much larger than their siblings, with intermediate ones being intermediate in all ways.

    To do this properly would require a huge amount of work, far more than anyone has so far done with any python species complex. It's one thing to take some samples of pure animals from known populations and compare their DNA, but to do it thoroughly enough to be able to get meaningful data from hybrids and apply it to anything is a lot more work than that. If you have a handful of wheat flour and a handful of corn flour and a handful or rice flour and handful of tapioca flour and a handful of fine dust, it's easy enough to find some differences between them, and you can probably work out what's what by tasting a tiny amount. But if you get a random mixture of two or more of these things and try to work out what it is, especially if you want to work out relative amounts, suddenly you have a far, far more challenging task. Without a crazy amount of work, the best you can reasonably hope for is to be able to identify the presence of some of those things if they're there, but not the relative percentage and usually not guarantee the complete absence of any, with the exception of dust.
     

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