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ELAPS INTESTINALIS,* (Laurenti,) VAR. Syn.-Maticora lineata, Gray: Ill. Ind. Zool.
Elaps furcatus, Schneider, Var. apud Schlegel, Cantor. Young and Adult.-Ilead above light chestnut; lips and throat yellowish white, upper lips spotted with black; from the hindhead to the tip of the tail a vermilion line, on each side of which a narrow, serrated, black line. On the nearest two longitudinal series of scales the ground colour appears as a reddish light grey longitudinal line, beneath bordered by an equally broad black line, under which a narrow buff-coloured line, bordered by a black serrated line, the teeth of which are directed downwards, wedged in between the lateral margins of the scuta and scutella. Scuta alternately pale citrine and iridescent black, the latter colour occupying three to four scuta together, while the former rarely appears on more than two. Tail above with two or three distant black transversal bands; beneath vermilion, with a continuation of the superior transversal bands, Iris black, pupil circular ; tongue black.
Scuta 223 to 238; Scutella 24 to 26.
Sumatra. Excepting the colours, this variety otherwise perfectly agrees with E. intestinalis. The neck is covered by 15, the rest of the trunk by 13 longitudinal series of smooth, not imbricate rhombic scales. It is of no uncommon occurrence in the hills of Pinang, at Malacca, and at Singapore. The largest individual was of the following dimensions : Length of the head,
O ft. 03 inch.
1 ft. 114 inch.
Circumference of the trunk li inch.
* Syn. Seba II, Pl. 2, Fig. 7.- Aspis intestinalis, Laurenti.-Coluber intestinalis, Gmelin.-Russell II, Pl. 19.-Elaps furcatus, Schneider.-Coluber intestinalis, Shaw,Vipera furcata, Daudin.- Elups furcatus, Schneider, apud Wagler, Schlegel.
Habit.-Java, Malwah, (Central India.)
A collection of Reptiles, which Mr. J. W. Grant obtained from Saugor, Malwah, contained a single specimen,
ELAPS NIGROMACULATUS, Cantor. (See Plate XL, Fig. 7.)
Syn.-Calliophis gracilis, Gray: Ill. Ind. Zool. (Young.)
“Probablement nouvelle espece d'Elaps,” Schlegel : Essay, p. 451. (1.) Elaps nigromaculatus, Cantor: Spicil.
Head above yellowish brown, each shield with a pale black spot in the middle ; lips and throat yellowish white, spotted with pale black. Ground colour of the trunk and tail reddish light grey, longitudinally divided by a central black line with small round, black, white-edged spots about an inch apart; on each side two parallel black lines, the lower of which bordering the two lowest series of scales of the sides, which are white edged with black, so as to appear longitudinally intersected by two black lines. All the lateral black and white lines are on each side intersected by a series of large rounded (the anterior pair elongated), black spots with white edges, placed in pairs, opposite each other, but in quincunx order with the smaller black spots of the dorsal line. Beneath alternately yellowish white or pale citrine, and iridescent black, both colours nearly equally divided. Tail at the root, and near the apex with a broad transversal black band, edged with white, both continued on the vermilion lower surface, and there, between them, a third similar band. Iris black, pupil round ; tongue bluish grey.
Young.–Marked like the adult, but the ground colour of the back and tail inclines to light reddish brown.
Scuta 238 to 311; Scutella 21 to 28. HABIT.—Pinang, Singapore.
In general appearance this species very closely resembles Elaps intestinalis, from which it is distinguished by the following characters.* The two pairs of frontal shields are remarkably disproportionate, the frontals (proper) being much the larger : next to the occipitals they are the largest of the crown-shields. The nearly equilateral, hexagonal vertical, and the supra-orbitals are remarkably small : more so than in any other species of this genus. The occipitals are very narrow elongated ; their external margin bordered by two pairs of shields of which the anterior, the larger, covers the temples, and is beneath bounded by
* The (magnified ?) representation of the head of “ Calliophis gracilis," Fig. 2. I. Ind. Zool, is in every particular incorrect.
the fifth and sixth upper labials. The eye is sunk, excessively minute,
O ft. 09 inch.
2 ft. 34 inch.
Circumference of the trunk, 1 inch.
ELAPS BIVIRGATUS,* Kuhl, VAR.
Syn.-Elaps flaviceps, Cantor, Spicil.
Elaps flaviceps, apud J. Reinhardt: Beskrivelse, &c.
Head, lips and throat vermilion; trunk above brilliant iridescent, intense black, most of the scales partially edged with azure, not however sufficiently to produce regular network; the two lowest series of scales on each side azure, forming a continued lateral band, longitudinally divided by a white zig-zag line, produced by the scales being partially edged with white. Beneath vermilion ; each scutum with two lateral, square, black spots, forming a continued black band bordering the azure.
Tail above with a narrow black dorsal line ; sides and scutella vermilion. Iris and tongue black.
Scuta 248 to 277 ; Scutella 38 to 45.
Syn.- Erpetologie de Java. Pl. 44.- Elaps bivirgatus, apud Schlegel.
Habit.- Pinang, Malayan Peninsula.
In colours the young ones resemble the adult. The neck is covered by 15, the trunk by 13 longitudinal series of smooth rhomboidal scales. The anterior part of larynx, instead of adhering to the upper part of the membranous sheath enclosing the tongue, presents the peculiarity of being free and projecting in the mouth like a small tube.
Of four individuals observed, the three were from the hills of Pinang.
O ft. 05 inch.
2 ft. 115 inch.
Circumference of the trunk, 19 inch.
Elaps intestinalis, l'ar, E. nigromaculatus, and bivirgatus, Var, appear at Pinang exclusively to inhabit the hills at a considerable elevation, but on the Malayan Peninsula, and at Singapore they occur in the valleys. Although not numerous, they cannot be said to be of rare occurrence. They are strictly terrestrial, and have their hiding places under the roots of trees, and in the crevices of rocks. They are sluggish, awkwardly dragging their long slender bodies, and they are generally observed lying motionless, with the body thrown in many irregular folds, but not coiled. Although they are diurnal, their sight from the minuteness of the pupil, appears to be as defective as their sense of hearing, and they may be closely approached, without apparently their being aware of danger. If touched with a stick, they make a few strenuous efforts to slide away, but they soon stop, and if further pursued, they make some irregular spasmodic-like movements, but they have not been observed to bite. An adult Elaps bivirgatus, Var, was on a single occasion seen to raise the head vertically about two inches from the ground. In captivity they refuse food and water, and die in a short time from inanition. Of a number examined, only one of the latter species had in the stomach the remains of a small serpent, the genus of which could not be determined. M. Schlegel has observed Calamariæ in the stomach of Elaps intestinalis. In the peculiar dis
tribution of colours, in diminutive size, and in habits they resemble the genus Calamaria. It is solely the smallness of the mouth which renders the preceding species of Elaps harmless to man, as from the following it will be perceived, that their venom is as virulent as that of other venomous serpents.
From the diminutive size of the venomous glands, the quantity of fluid secreted is small : scarcely more than a drop from each. It is a pellucid, colourless fluid, slightly reddening
After several unsuccessful attempts to make an adult Elaps nigromaculatus spontaneously bite a fowl, the jaws were forcibly closed over a protracted fold of the skin on the inner side of the left thigh of the bird. On account of the small gape, some difficulty was experienced in making the jaws close over the fold of the skin, and, as it appeared doubt. ful if the fangs had penetrated, the serpent was in a quarter of an hour compelled again to wound the fowl in the skin below the right eye. Twenty minutes after the first wound the fowl became purged, and manifested symptoms of pain in the left thigh, which was continually drawn up towards the body, although the wounds inflicted there, and below the eye, were, from the smallness of the fangs, barely visible. Twenty eight minutes after the first wound the bird commenced drooping, occasionally attempting to raise itself, and in 10 minutes more soporism occurred, interrupted by spasms of the neck, flow of saliva, and pecking the earth with the beak, while the pupil was spasmodically contracted, and alternately dilated. The latter symptoms continued during thirty minutes, when death occurred in an hour after the first wound had been inflicted. Fowls wounded by Elaps furcatus, Var, and Elaps bivirgatus, Var, expired under similar symptoms, from within an our and twenty minutes, to upwards of three hours. The serpents which all had forcibly to be made to inflict the wounds, shortly afterwards expired, apparently from the violence to which they had been subjected.
Gen. BUNGARUS, Daudin.
Body elongated, slightly cylindrical; tail short; head oval, trunk and tail with a dorsal series of large hexagonal scales ; the tail beneath with scuta, in the middle sometimes with scutella ; behind the fangs some simple maxillary teeth.