Currently, most sources state that the saltwater crocodile does not have subspecies. However, based largely on morphological variability, some have claimed that not only are there subspecies but that C. porosus actually houses a species complex. In 1844, S. MÃ¼ller and H. Schlegel attempted to describe crocodiles from Java and Borneo as a new species which they named C. raninus, subsequently given the informal common names of the Indonesian crocodile or Bornean crocodile. According to Ross (1992), specimens of C. raninus can reliably be distinguished both from Siamese crocodiles and true saltwater crocodiles on the basis of the number ventral scales and on the presence of four postoccipital scutes which are often absent in true saltwater crocodiles. Another attempt to derive a species came from Australia, Wells & Wellington (1985), and was based upon large-bodied, relatively large-headed and short-tailed crocodiles from Australia. The type specimen reported for this so-called species was a crocodile nicknamed "Sweetheart" that was inadvertently killed in 1979 (drowned after being overly-anesthetized in an attempt to relocate it after it had taken to attacking boats). However, this "species", C. pethericki, has later been largely considered as a misinterpretation of the physiological changes undergone by very large male crocodiles. However, Wells and Wellington's assertion that the Australian saltwater crocodiles may at least be distinctive enough from northern Asian saltwater crocodiles to warrant subspecies status, as could raninus from other Asian saltwater crocodiles, has been considered to possibly bear validity.
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