Locality : Wamena

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Wamena is the capital town of the Jayawijaya Regency of Indonesia. It is the largest town in Indonesian Papua's highlands, in the Baliem Valley and had a population of 31,724 at the 2010 Census. Wamena is the urban center of a rural area housing West Papua’s highest concentration of population, with over 300,000 people inhabiting the Baliem Valley and surrounding areas (Wikipedia). This area also supports a large airport that is the main type of transport getting into and out of the region.

Morelia Viridis

As far as Green Tree Pythons are concerned the “Wamena” locality type is one of the most controversial locality types. There are MANY schools of thought on this topic and depending on which one you subscribe to, it can be quite confusing. The most likely accepted theory is that there truly are no green tree pythons that actually live or originate from the Wamena region, but in fact come from the surrounding regions. The animals are labeled simply “Wamena” because they are exported through Wamena due to the airport within the area. The author believes this to be the case but since has never actually visited the area to search for chondros in Wamena, so can neither deny nor confirm this theory. Animals are believed to be collected from the surrounding mountain ranges including the Jayawijaya district, Bokidini, Karubaga, and Bailem Valley then funneled through Wamena.

Morelia Viridis

With this great variability in collection sites, the phenotype of this this locale is also very variable. In the US market the Wamena locality type is generally represented by the animals brought in through Bushmaster Reptiles many years ago. The animals are a deep emerald to light green with a thin vertebral stripe that fades over time with yellow lateral diamonds which to can also be muted over time. In some individuals there is a rich blue tone underlying the overall green coloration, making this a very sought after locale type. Neonates can vary between both red or yellow phases.

Morelia Viridis

No matter what you believe, the presumed Wamena green tree pythons are truly beautiful animals and highly desirable. “Pure” locality pairings have produced some amazing specimens over the years. They also are a popular locality type to outcross designer morphs. The resulting offspring often enhance desirable phenotypic traits of their paired designer color morph. Despite its controversy, the Wamena green tree pythons are incredible animals that hopefully stays around in the hobby for a long time.

Credits text and photos : Tres Clarke