Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable as Liasis olivaceus barroni
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gq) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened reptiles. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.6 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011m) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Morelia olivacea barroni.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Liasis olivaceus barroni.
 
Non-government
    Documents and Websites
Priority Threat Management of Pilbara Species of Conservation Significance (Carwardine, J., S. Nicol, S. Van Leeuwen, B. Walters, J. Firn, A. Reeson, T.G. Martin & I. Chades, 2014).
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list) as Liasis olivaceus barroni
Scientific name Liasis olivaceus barroni [66699]
Family Boidae:Squamata:Reptilia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Gray, 1842
Infraspecies author (Smith, 1981)
Reference  
Other names Morelia olivacea barroni [66672]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images
http://www.starwon.com.au/~mlt/pythons/pythons.html ;
http://www.liasis.net/modules/imagegallery/thumbnails.php?album=6

The current conservation status of the Pilbara Olive Python, Liasis olivaceus barroni, under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: Listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1995.

Western Australia: Listed as Rare or Likely to become Extinct under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Scientific Name: Liasis olivaceus barroni

Synonym: Morelia olivacea barroni

Common Name: Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)

The Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) is a dull olive-brown to pale fawn or rich brown python with a white/cream belly, pale lips finely dotted with pale grey or brown, pitted anterial scales bordering the lips and smooth scales in 55–80 rows at mid-body. The Pilbara Olive Python can grow to 4 m, but has an average size of 2.5 m (Cogger 2000). Females are slightly longer than males (Shine & Slip 1990).

The Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) is restricted to ranges within the Pilbara region, north-western Western Australia, such as the Hamersley Range, and islands of the Dampier Archipelago. It is known to occur at 17 locations within the Pilbara (Pearson 1993). Four populations occur at Pannawonica, Millstream, Tom Price and Burrup Peninsula (Pearson 2003). More recently, a sub-adult python was recorded on the site of the proposed Pardoo iron ore shipping facility, in the Pilbara, approximately 70 km east of Port Hedland (Enesar Consulting 2007).

Pilbara Olive Pythons were thought to occurr on Dolphin Island, north of the Burrup Peninsula. A search of the island in 2001 found no Pilbara Olive Pythons (Tutt et al. 2002).

The species is considered stable and in sizable numbers at some known sites (Pearson 2003).

A large portion of the Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) habitat is conserved in Karijini National Park (Pearson 1993).

The Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) prefers escarpments, gorges and water holes in the ranges of the Pilbara region (Pearson 1993; Wilson & Swan 2003). The python recorded at the site of the proposed Pardoo iron ore shipping facility was on a vehicle track adjacent to outcropping rock and nearby gullies (Enesar Consulting 2007). Radio-telemetry has shown that individuals are usually in close proximity to water and rock outcrops that attract suitable sized prey species (Pearson 2003). The Burrup Penninsula population was found to prefer granophyre rock-piles, though occasionally were found in neighbouring spinifex grasslands. These individuals, especially males, travelled large distances, suggesting the species has a large home range (Tutt et al 2002).

Microhabitat preferences of the Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) are under rock piles, on top of rocks or under spinifex (Tutt et al. 2004). Individuals at Pannawonica sheltered in overburden heaps and railway embankments of an iron ore mine, and utilised caves. Individuals at Tom Price utilise man-made water sources, such as sewerage treatment ponds and recreational lakes (Pearson 2003).

The breeding season occurs from June to August, with males moving long distances (up to 4 km) in search of females, who may emit a pheromone to attract males (Pearson 2003; Tutt et al. 2002). Males and females often move into shelter, such as a cave, and remain together for up to three weeks. Eggs are layed in October and hatch in approximately January. Little is known about incubation or the average number of young (Pearson 2003). Young disperse from the place of birth, searching for food (Pearson 2003).

The Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) is adept at swimming, utilising water holes to hunt. Prey is captured by ambush on animal trails or by striking from a submerged position in water holes. The species will also wait in ambush along tracks.The diet includes rock wallabies, euros, fruit bats, ducks, corellas, spinifex pigeons and coucals (Pearson 2003). Reptiles and frogs are also probably taken by smaller Olive Pythons (Pilbara subspecies) (Pearson 2003).

In a study of 13 species of Australian pythons, the Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus) was found to have preyed upon dragons, skinks, a snake species, birds and mammals. The subspecies L. olivaceus barroni was not directly identified in the study of specimens (Shine & Slip 1990).

Radiotelemetry of individuals has found that they occupy a distinct home range, with males travelling long distances (up to 4 km) to locate and mate with females (Pearson 2003; Tutt et al. 2002).

The species is slow moving, resulting in many deaths on roads (Pearson 2003).

Whilst the home ranges of the Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) have not been extensively studied, a radio-tracking study by Tutt and colleagues (2004) indicates they have large home ranges, from 87.76 to 449.26 ha. Males have larger home ranges than females.

Threats to the habitat include major fire events, foxes and further development of mining infrastructure.

In areas such as the Burrup Peninsula, mining developments may directly affect the habitat of the Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies), alter prey availability to the species and increase deaths through road impacts (Pearson 2003).

With a limited range, and restricted habitat, the subspecies may be vulnerable to disturbance through increasing numbers of tourists using the water holes (Pearson 1993). Some individuals have been deliberately killed on roads, near houses and water holes when mistaken for venomous snakes (Pearson 1993).

Predation of juveniles by foxes and cats is suspected to be a problem for populations in the coastal Pilbara region. Foxes and cats also prey on the food sources of the Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) (Pearson 2003).

Additional water bodies such as dams and sewage ponds, associated with mining or development, appear to benefit the subspecies (Pearson 2003).

The limiting of free water at mining sites and increased road signage around roads with increased usage at development areas has been recommended to limit negative interactions between the Olive Pythons (Pilbara subspecies), their prey and humans (Tutt et al 2002).

The Conservation Advice for the Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies) outlines priority research and actions to assist in the protection of this species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2008gq).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:Direct exploitation by humans including hunting Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gq) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Liasis olivaceus barroni in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nh) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gq) [Conservation Advice].
Energy Production and Mining:Oil and Gas Drilling:Habitat modification due to oil/gas/petroleum activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gq) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox, Fox) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gq) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Liasis olivaceus barroni in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nh) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Liasis olivaceus barroni in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006nh) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Vehicle related mortality Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008gq) [Conservation Advice].

Cogger, H.G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia - 6th edition. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) (2011m). Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened reptiles. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.6 . [Online]. Canberra, ACT: DSEWPaC. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/threatened-reptiles.html.

Enesar Consulting Pty Ltd (2007). Pardoo Direct Shipping Ore Project: Environmental and social impact assessment. Enesar Consulting Pty Ltd, Burswood, Western Australia. Report for Atlas Iron Limited (Australia).

Pearson, D. (2003). Giant Pythons of the Pilbara. Landscope. 19(1).

Pearson, D.J. (1993). Distribution, status and conservation of pythons in Western Australia. In: Lunney, D. & D. Ayers, eds. Herpetology in Australia: a Diverse Discipline. Page(s) 383-395. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Sydney.

Shine, R. & D. Slip (1990). Biological aspects of the adaptive radiation of Australasian pythons (Serpentes: Boidae). Herpetologica. 46(3):283-290.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008gq). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Liasis olivaceus barroni (Olive Python (Pilbara subspecies)). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/66699-conservation-advice.pdf.

Tutt, M., S. Fekete, S. Mitchell, P. Brace & D. Pearson (2004). Unravelling the mysteries of Pilbara Olive Python ecology. Threatened Species Network Community Grants Final Report- Project WA11/101. Karratha: Nickol Bay Naturalists' Club/WA CaLM.

Tutt,M. S. Mitchell, P. Brace & D. Pearson (2002). Conserving Pilbara olive pythons on the Burrup. Threatened Species Network community grants annual report, Project WA04/100. Karratha: Nickol Bay Naturalists' Club/WA CaLM.

Wilson, S. & G. Swan (2003). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Page(s) 480. Sydney: Reed New Holland.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Liasis olivaceus barroni in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Wed, 24 Sep 2014 03:29:44 +1000.