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BUNGARUS FLAVICEPS, J. Reinhardt. Young.--Head and neck blood-red, with a pointed elongated black mark between the occipitals, and a short black dorsal line on the neck ; the trunk black with steel-blue reflections, at the anterior part of each dorsal hexagonal scale a short longitudinal white streak; near the tail blood-red; each scale of the two lowest lateral series, white with a black spot, placed so as to produce a continued lateral, white zig-zag line; the posterior part of the sides blood-red. Lips and throat blood-red ; abdomen black, posterior part as well as the tail blood-red, with a few black spots. Iris and tongue black.
Scuta abdominalia 209, Scuta sub-caudalia 16 ; Scutella 38.
M. J. Reinhardt has described the adult from an unique specimen in the Royal Museum, Copenhagen. Spirits of wine change the brilliant blood-red to a pale yellow colour. The diagnosis must therefore be altered accordingly. The adult appears to differ from the young, in having none of the black marks of the head and tail, and no lateral white line.
A single young individual, found by Sir William Norris, on the Great
O ft. 0inch.
1 ft. 8} inch. Circumference of the neck 1, of the trunk is, of the root of the tail inch,
The centre of the back forms a ridge, from whence the sides slope ; the abdomen is broad, slightly arched, so that the vertical section of the body becomes broad triangular. The neck is covered by 15, the trunk by 13 longitudinal series of smooth, imbricate, rhomboidal scales. As observed by M. J. Reinhardt, the correspondence of colours, and their distribution, between this species and Elaps bivirgatus is very striking. Besides, the number of series of scales, is another character, approximating this species to the genus Elaps.
BUNGARUS CANDIDUS, (Linné.)
Coluber candidus, Linné.
Bungarus semifasciatus, Schlegel. Above black with steel blue reflections, interrupted by numerous narrow transversal white bands, produced by the white edges of the scales. On each side the bands are bifurcated, and the two or three lowest series of scales, white with black spots. Lips and throat white; abdominal surface yellowish white. Iris black; tongue white.
Scuta 201 to 221; Scuta sub-caudalia 38 to 56. Habit. --Malayan Peninsula.
Java, Tenasserim, Bengal, Assam, Coromandel, Ceylon, Ma
labar. A single young individual, killed by Capt. Congalton near Keddah, was of the following dimensions : Length of the head,
O ft. 1 inch.
2 ft. 9inch. Circumference of the neck 19, of the trunk 2, of the root of the tail
Assam produces also a constant variety (B. lividus, Cantor) of a uniform blue black above ; beneath yellowish white : in some the scuta blackish with white edges. In the very young the head is white with a black line between the occipital shields. It farther differs in having the hexagonal scales smaller, less distinct from the rest, and the tail more robust than the normal individuals.
BUNGARUS FASCIATUS, (Schneider.)
Bungarus annularis, Daudin.
Bungarus annularis, Schlegel. Ground colour bright gamboge; the anterior half of the head, and the cheeks black with steel blue reflections ; from the vertical shield a black longitudinal band, expanding over the neck and sides, and with the former forming a broad arrow mark ; lips and throat gamboge, upper lips edged with black; the rest of the body completely surrounded by a number of broad, alternate gamboge and shining black, rings. Iris black; tongue flesh-coloured.
Scuta 200 to 233, Scuta abdominalia 32 to 36. Habit.—Pinang, Malayan Peninsula.
Java, Tenasserim, Bengal, Coromandel. The neck is covered by 17, the trunk by 15 longitudinal series of smooth scales, which with the exception of the dorsal hexagonal series, are imbricate, rhombic. As noted under Elaps bivirgatus, Var, the larynx is not attached to the scabbard of the tongue. Of three
young individuals from the valley of Pinang and Province Wellesley, the largest was of the following dimensions : Length of the head,
O ft. 1ġ inch.
3 ft. 109 inch. Circumference of the neck 2, of the trunk 3 , of the root of the tail 2, of the apex 1inch.
In the Malayan countries the species of Bungarus are not numerous, but B. candidus, and fasciatus are of no uncommon occurrence in Bengal and on the Coromandel Coast, where, however, it should be observed, a class of the natives (“serpent-charmers,”) earn a livelihood by capturing and exhibiting serpents, but this craft is unknown among the Malays. The preceding three species, like the rest of the venomous serpents, are very ferocious when attacked, but unprovokedly they are not known to attack man : on the contrary, when met in the jungle, they attempt to escape. When trod upon, or struck, their rage is instantly excited, in self-defence they will even turn from their retreat, and then their habitual sluggishness is roused to furious activity. Preparing to attack, the head is, by a short curve of the neck, brought closely to the body, and drawn far backwards, when suddenly darting the anterior part of the body obliquely upwards, they bite. The height of the place where the wound is inflicted, of course depends on the length of the serpent, which is capable of darting nearly the anterior half of the body. Notwithstanding the circular pupil, they appear to shun the light, hiding the head under the folds of the body, and they are singularly uncertain in their movements, often suddenly jerking the head or tail without any apparent object. Like all serpents of tropical Asia, they seldom expose themselves to the sun : when during the day they leave their hiding places, they select the shade. The genus Bungarus is terrestrial, feeding on rats, mice, serpents, (Col. mucosus, Lin.) and toads. Like other venomous serpents, when the venom has been inflicted on their prey, they disengage it from the fangs, sheathe and place them as horizontally as possible, in order that they may offer no resistance to the introduction into the mouth of the lifeless
which is now seized head foremost. The innocuous serpents bite or strangle their
prey, which when life is extinct is either swallowed at once, or if it happens to have been killed in a position, likely to render the deglution difficult, is often disengaged from between the teeth, and seized a second time, by the head. In captivity these serpents refuse food, but greedily lap up, and swallow water.
A fowl four minutes after it had been bitten on the innerside of the thigh, by a Bungarus fasciatus, fell on the wounded side, and was shortly after seized with slight purging. The eyes were half closed, the pupils alternately dilated and contracted, immobile. In 17 minutes slight spasms occurred, under which the bird expired 43 minutes after it had been wounded.
Another fowl wounded in the same place as the former, by the same serpent, but after an interval of seven hours, expired under similar symptoms, only more violent spasms, in the course of 28 minutes.
Venom taken from another serpent, the fangs of which had been extracted, was inoculated by a lancet-incision in the right thigh; four minutes after the fowl was seized with trembling, fell, and remained lying on the wounded side, with the eyes closed, but it gradually recovered, and rose apparently recovered, 30 minutes after the inoculation of the venom.
Other fowls were killed by different serpents of this species, in 20 to 31 minutes.
Fowls bitten by Bungarus candidus expired under similar symptoms, within 30 to 45 minutes; dogs from within 1 hour 10 minutes, to 2 hours, under symptoms noted in Russell's experiments (Russell I, page 53.)
SUB-FAM. NAJINA, Bonaparte.
IIAMADRYAS, Cantor. Ilead broad, sub-ovate, depressed, with a pair of very large postoccipital shields, and a short, blunt muzzle ; cheeks tumid; eyes large, prominent, pupil circular; nostrils wide, between two shields; behind the fangs a few maxillary teeth ; neck dilatable ; trunk thick, cylindrical ; tail short, with Scuta and Scutella.
HAMADRYAS OPHIOPHAGUS, Cantor.
Naja elaps, Schlegel, (Young.)
above; the shields of the head, the scales of the neck, posterior part of the body, and of the tail edged with black; the trunk with a number of distant, oblique, alternate black and white bands, converging towards the head; the throat and anterior part of abdomen impure gamboge, the rest of the scuta and scutella bluish grey, marbled with black, or pale yellowish green, with a narrow sub-marginal brown line. Iris golden, spotted with black; tongue bluish black.
Scuta 215 to 256, Scuta sub-caudalia 13 to 32 ; Scutella sub.caudalia 63 to 96.
Habit.- Pinang, Singapore, Malayan Peninsula.
Java, Sumatra,* Bengal, Assam,+ Coromandel. Of two individuals, from the summit of the Great Hill of Pinang, and from Province Wellesley, the larger was of the following dimensions :
* Sir Stamford Raffles' specimen in the Museum of the Zoological Society, London. † Specimen in the collection of II. Walker, Esq. Surgeon G. G.