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Python brongersmai

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA PYTHONIDAE

Scientific Name: Python brongersmai
Species Authority: Stull, 1938
Common Name(s):
English Brongersma's Short-tailed Python, Blood Python, Red Short-tailed Python
Synonym(s):
Python curtus subspecies brongersmai Stull, 1938
Taxonomic Notes: This species was long recognized as a subspecies of P. curtus (as P. c. brongersmai), but was elevated to a full species by Keogh et al. (2001) on the basis of its morphological and genetic distinctiveness. Most reports of this species from Viet Nam are unverified, and it is unclear both whether these represent native occurrences, human introductions or erroneous records, and whether these records are conspecific with Malay Peninsula P. brongersmai (Zug et al. 2011). A record from Cambodia (Barker and Barker 1994) is "most likely incorrect" due to the doubtful authenticity of these authors' source, who falsely reported the origin of animals in the pet trade (D. Barker in litt. June 2010, reported by Zug et al. 2011). A recent confirmed record from Viet Nam (T.M. Phung unpubl. data) does, however, come from a site adjacent to the Cambodian border.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-08-29
Assessor(s): Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T.
Reviewer(s): Auliya, M. & Bowles, P.
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern as it is widely distributed, its population is increasing and thriving in modified habitats and it occurs in protected areas. However, the species is heavily harvested in portions of its range and its population should be monitored to ensure sustainable levels of harvest.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species occurs from southern Thailand north to Kanchanaburi Province in Central Thailand (M. Cota in litt. to M. Auliya), Peninsular (West) Malaysia and eastern Sumatra (Indonesia) (Taylor 1965, Keogh et al. 2001). The snake's range throughout this area is disjunct; however, due to extensive national and international transport of these animals within the region, and a policy in Thailand of releasing animals confiscated from wildlife traders in the closest national park, the exact native range of this species within these countries cannot be established with certainty (Zug et al. 2011). Records from elsewhere, including Viet Nam, may represent introductions or a false report of the origin of imported specimens (Zug et al. 2011). Photographs of a juvenile or subadult specimen taken in October 2011 confirm the presence of this snake in Lo Go Xa Mat National Park in southern Viet Nam, close to the Cambodian border (T.M. Phung unpubl. data), and indicate that a breeding population is likely to occur here (M. Auliya pers. comm. October 2011). If this record reflects an extension to the python's known native range, it must be hypothesized that the snake also occurs in intervening areas of southern Myanmar (M. Auliya pers. comm. October 2011). There is a record of this species from Singapore based on a single specimen recorded in 1881, leading subsequent authors to assume the species was historically native to the island (Groombridge and Luxmore 1991). This is, however, unclear, and the species is no longer found in Singapore (M. Auliya pers. comm. March 2012). This species occurs at elevations between sea level and 650 m.
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia (Sumatera); Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Thailand
Present - origin uncertain:
Viet Nam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This snake is generally uncommon throughout its range, though it is more abundant in Peninsular Malaysia than in Thailand (Zug et al. 2011). The species is thought to be increasing in population size due to it benefiting from the establishment of oil-palm plantations, where it is more abundant than in natural forests and where it thrives on human commensal rodents (Shine et al. 1999, Keogh et al. 2001, Auliya 2006). The species is able to tolerate high levels of harvest for the leather trade, but it is uncertain if current levels of exploitation are sustainable in the long-term (Shine et al. 1999).
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The natural habitat of this species in Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand is lowland swampy habitats. In northern Sumatra, the species thrives in human-modified areas, particularly oil palm plantations where it may be more abundant than in natural habitat (Shine et al. 1999, Keogh et al. 2001, Auliya 2006). Diet, growth, and reproductive biology of the species was studied by Shine et al. (1999) based on examination of commercially harvested specimens in Sumatra, Indonesia. Females grow larger than males, mature at larger sizes, and reproduce biennially, producing 12 to 16 eggs (Shine et al. 1999). The species feeds on human commensal rodents in oil palm plantations (Shine et al. 1999).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is harvested for the international leather trade (Shine et al. 1999, Auliya 2006). Groombridge and Luxmoore (1991) estimated that 70,000 to 200,000 individuals (as Python curtus, a taxon that included this species at the time) are harvested annually. Approximately 92% of commercial trade of Short-tailed Pythons in Sumatra are of this species and 8% are of P. curtus (Shine et al. 1999). The commercial exploitation of this species in Peninsular Malaysia is not as heavy as in Sumatra. In 2011, Indonesia could legally export 36,936 skins plus 2,250 specimens for the international pet trade (CITES trade database).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened from possible overexploitation for the leather and international pet trades. Its range and that of P. curtus may be modified due to escapes, as snakes of both species collected for commercial trade are moved long distances in Sumatra to slaughterhouses (Shine et al. 1999, Keogh et al. 2001). In Sumatra, if the legal harvest quota is reached before the end of the year, harvesting continues and skins are stockpiled and smuggled out of the country (M. Auliya pers. comm. September 2011). It remains uncertain whether this additional off-take contributes to a severe decline of local populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed on CITES Appendix II. More studies on harvest levels and biological attributes of this species are needed to determine if harvest levels are sustainable in the long-term (Shine et al. 1999, Keogh et al. 2001). This species occurs in several protected areas in Thailand and Malaysia.

Citation: Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T. 2012. Python brongersmai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 December 2014.
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