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Gray, Ann. Mag. N. H., 1842, Ser. 1, Vol. X, p. 263; 1867, Ser. 3, Vol. XX, p. 284 ;-Blyth, J. A. S. B. XXIV, p. 477;
477 ; XXVIII, p. 276; XLIV, Pt. 2. Extra number, p. 36;-Beavan, P. Z. S. 1866, p. 428.
This is certainly the most variable of the Burmese squirrels. The back varies in colour from dark speckled grey, with scarcely a tinge of fulvous, to grizzled rufous tawny, the head being in the former case the same colour as the back, or slightly rufescent, in the latter distinctly ferruginous, the ears being usually even deeper rufous than the forehead. Occasionally the whole back from the nape to the insertion of the tail, is black; more monly there is a black patch from between the shoulders to the rump, but frequently the area of black is shorter and narrower, and occasionally, especially in the more rufous specimens, not a trace remains. The whiskers are sometimes entirely white, sometimes all black, occasionally mixed white and black. The tail is normally grey like the sides, with more or less distinct transverse bands, due to the hairs being ringed greyish white and black, but in some specimens all the hairs are black except at their extreme tip, and in others, they are entirely pale rufous, save at the extreme base, and even this amount of dark colouration disappears towards the tip of the tail. The lower surface, including the breast, abdomen and inside of the limbs is normally rich bay, but sometimes chesnut, pale ferruginous or even pale rufescent, in the dark rufous form the red sometimes extends to the throat, in other cases the lower neck is grey, or the whole central portion is pale rufous, and only the lateral parts bay, especially on the breast. I have two specimens also in which the middle of the breast and abdomen is grizzled like the sides and throat, the lateral portions of the lower parts alone being bay. This shews a complete passage into S. gordoni* : it is true that in the latter, so far as I know, there is no black on the back, but as this peculiarity is not constant is true S. atridorsalis, the distinction is evidently insufficient. The paler under parts may possibly be due to immaturity ; with this exception however I cannot find that the variations I have mentioned are due to either sex or age. All specimens from Myawadi appear to have black whiskers, and all from Moulmain white, but from Kaukaryit, on the Houngdarau river, south of Myawadi, I have both forms. I am indebted to Mr. Hume for a superb series of this species and of S. caniceps, and I have also a considerable number of both from the collections made by Mr. Limborg. These two are in fact the commonest squirrels of Tenasserim.
The following are measurements by Mr. Davison :
* Anderson, P. Z. S., 1871, p. 140.
Length of fore foot (without claws), 0.82 1.15 1.18 1.2 1.2 1.19
hind foot and tarsus (do.), 1:55 1.85 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.8 Height of ear outside,..
0.5 0.55 0.4 0.5 0:55 inside from orifice, 0.55 0.65 0.71 0.9 0.92 0.68 Some measurements of spirit specimens differ but little from the above,
I have only seen 8. atridorsalis from the northern portion of the Tenasserim provinces, the species has not yet, so far as I am aware, been recorded from Mergui or Tavoy, nor is it known to occur west of the Salween river. It abounds around Moulmain and Amherst, and in the valleys of the Houngdarau and Attaran rivers.*
S. phayrei. Blyth, J. A. S. B., XXIV, 1855, p. 476 ; XLIV, Pt. 2, Extra number, p. 36 ;--Peters, P. Z. S. 1866, p. 429,-Gray, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. Ser. 3, XX, p. 277.
S. hyperythrus, Blyth, J. A. S. B., XXIV, p. 474.
This species, as noticed by Blyth, is only known to occur west of the Salween. It is not, so far as I am aware, found west of the Sitoung; in the Irawadi valley in Pegu, it appears to be replaced by S. pygerythrus, whilst further north, around Ava, it is represented by the closely allied s. blanfordi, into which it doubtless passes. 8. phayrei, Mr. Davison tells me, is found north as far as Pab-Khyoung at the southern extremity of Kareni ; (the country of the Red Karens). The following are dimensions of a female from Thatone :
in. Length from nose to anus,...
9.6 of tail from anus,
8.8 of hairs at end of tail,
* Error is proverbially immortal, and consequently, attention cannot be too frequently called to the circiimstance that the localities assigned to this species and to many other Asiatic squirrels in Dr. Gray's lists are incorrect.
S. chrysonotus, Blyth, J. A. S. B., XVI, p. 873; XXIV, p. 474.
Although there is nothing like the variation in colouring in this species that there is in S. atridorsalis, still a wide difference is found between different specimens, especially in the colouration of the upper parts, as Blyth and Gray have noticed; some having the back pale ferruginous, whilst others have the whole upper surface dull olivaceous grey, minutely punctulated with scarcely a trace of rufous. The most rufous specimens I have seen are froin the Houngdarau valley, east of Moulmain, in these the crown of the head, the back from the nape to the commencement of the tail and the sides are pale rusty red with scarcely a trace of punctulation. Moulmain specimens, as a rule, are punctulated and merely washed with rufous, especially on the anterior part of the back, or the rufous tinge is very faint, and sometimes wanting. Blyth has noticed* that the least rufous specimen he had seen came from Mergui. Southern Tenasserim specimens, judging from one skin collected by Mr. Davison in Tavoy, and several from Bánkasún, want the ferruginous tinge entirely. To the Bánkasún specimens I will refer further presently.
There is also some variation in the colouration of the abdomen. Some specimens are almost white below, others more or less cinerous and more or less punctulated. In some the colour of the lower parts is olivaceous grey, scarcely paler than the sides. In very many specimens there is a dark mesial line more or less developed, but it is not constant. These differences of colouration in the under surface are apparently quite independent of the degree to which the upper parts are washed with rufous, and none of the differences, so far as I can judge, are due to age or sex.
The specimens from Bánkasún in the extreme south of the Tenasserim provinces are decidedly darker, both above and below, than any I have examined from farther north, much darker even than the Tavoy specimen. The Bánkasún skins are almost olive green above, distinctly punctulated, and scarcely paler but rather greyer below. In two specimens out of three there is a darker mesial line beneath. The only difference between these skins and S. concolor of Blyth from Malacca, of which' species I have examined the type in the Indian Museum, consists in the latter having a slight rufous wash on the upper surface. I have no doubt that the Bánkasún squirrel passes into the Malaccan S. concolor. These dark olivaceous forms may perhaps be sufficiently distinct to constitute a local race, for which Blyth's name may be retained, but they are not, I think, really separable from S. caniceps.
* J. A. S, B., 1855, XXIV, p. 475.
The following dimensions in the flesh of two adult females, are taken from Mr. Davison's tickets; both specimens are from Kaukaryit in the Houngdarau valley. I also add (3 and 4) the measurements of two spirit specimens from Mr. Limborg's collection.
4 Length from nose to anus,
8.2 8.7 9.25 8.75 of tail from anus,
.98 7.75 9.25 of hairs at end of tail,
S. caniceps ranges throughout the Tenasserim provinces from Moulmain to the banks of the Pakchoung. I have also one specimen labelled from Thatone, which is to the west of the Salween, but the skin so precisely resembles the peculiarly dark olive specimens from Bánkasún that I am inclined to suspect the label must have been changed by accident.
Gray, P. Z. S., 1861, p. 137.
S. berdmorei, Gray, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. Ser. 3, XX, p. 279. (? an S. berdmorei oerus Blyth.)
Several skins were procured by Mr. Davison, and a specimen in spirit was collected by Mr. Limborg, of a species of striped squirrel differing somewhat from the Museum specimens of S. berdmorei, but agreeing very well with Gray's description of S. mouhoti from Camboja.* The museum specimens of S. berdmorei, said by Blytht to have been collected by himself in Martaban I, have three broad black stripes along the back, whereas in the specimens before me there are no black stripes and no distinct darker band in the middle of the back, although there is a slight indication of darkening in one specimen. In the original description of s. berda morei, * it was said to have an obscure pale central dorsal streak, flanked by a blackish band, but in a subsequent descriptiont of an example sent from Moulmain the three black bands of the back were especially noticed. Subsequently S. mouhoti was described by Gray and then identified by the describer with S. berdmorei, an identification adopted by Blyth. $ It is possible that the two forms pass into each other, but they look very different, and for the present I prefer retaining Gray's name for the variety before me, of which the following is a description.
* Especially with the second description quoted above from the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History. In the original description the interspace between the pale lateral lines was said to be black, in tho second account blackish, which accords better with Mr. Davison's specimens. The remark appended to the original description of s. Mouhoti, that it differs from most squirrels of the same size by having the three streaks on the upper part of the back, I understand to refer to the lateral bands, a dark one between two pale stripes, on the upper part of the side, not on the lower as in S. vittatus and its allies.
t Cat. Mam. Mus. As. Soc. p. 106. [ J. A. S. B., 1862, XXXI, p. 333.
The upper surface is yellowish brown, puncticulated, the hairs being black with two buff rings. The fine woolly under-fur is dark slate-coloured at the base with buff tips. On each side of the back there are two longitudinal pale lines extending from the shoulder to the thigh, the upper narrow and well defined, the lower broader and less marked. Between the two and above the upper pale line, the fur is darker in some specimens, but apparently this is not constant. The sides below the lower pale lateral bands are greyish brown puncticulated. The lower parts throughout are white, sometimes tinged with buff. The tail hairs are light brown at the base, then black, then brown again, then black to near the tips, which are whitish. Whiskers black. The ears are rounded with very short hairs outside.
The bare planta on the bind feet extends further towards the heel than in the more typically arboreal squirrels, S. caniceps, S. atridorsalis and s. phayrei, in which the bare portion ends about to of an inch from the proximal extremity of the tarsus, whereas in $. mouhoti it extends to the joint. The claws too in S. mounoti are rather less curved, and the pads on the feet appear more raised.
The following are measurements in inches taken by Mr. Davison, before skinning, on two females, the first from Kaukaryit, the second from Myawadi, both east of Moulmain, and of the male preserved by Mr. Limborg in spirit.
Length from nose to anus,
of tail from anus,
* J. A. S. B., 1849, XVIII, Pt. 1, p. 603.