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AQUATIC. GEN, ACROCHORDUS, apud Schlegel. (Acrochordus, Hornstedt, 1787.--Chersydrus, Cuvier, 1817.) Acrochordus, llornstedt. Nostrils vertical, eyes encircled by a ring of minute scales; trunk compressed, attenuated towards both extremities; tail tapering, compressed ; all the scales small, trifid, strongly keeled.
ACROCHORDUS JAVANICUS, Hornstedt.
Acrochordus javensis, Lacép. apud Cuvier.
“ U'lar károng, or sápi, or lembu” of the Malays.* Young. Above dull greyish-brown; sides and lower parts pale yellow, or dirty ochre ; back with 3 longitudinal, undulating, frequently interrupted black bands; sides and abdomen with rows of rounded spots, marbled and dotted with black.
Adult. Of similar, but less distinct colours. Iris brown, pupil elliptic, vertically contracted by the light; tongue whitish. Habit.—Pinang, Singapore.
O ft. 14 inch.
54 inch Greatest circumference one foot.
Notwithstanding the sharply compressed abdomen, the serpent moved without difficulty, but sluggishly on the ground, and preferred quiet. When touched she attempted to bite, but the pupil being contracted by the glare, she missed her aim. Shortly after being brought, while the rest of the body remained motionless, the posterior ribs were observed moving, and the serpent successively, in the course of about 25 minutes, brought forth twenty-seven young ones.
Each birth was
* U'lar signifies a serpent, károng a sac; súpi and lembu a cow or ox. These expressive vernacular names refer to the loose skin, and the bulk of the animal.
followed by some sanguinolent serum. With two exceptions the fætus appeared with the head foremost. They were very active, bit fiercely, and their teeth were fully developed. Shortly after birth the integuments came off in large pieces, which is also the case with the fætus of several species of Ilomalopsis. The present ones were placed in water, which however appeared to distress them, as they all attempted to escape on dry ground. Nearly all were of the following dimensions : Length of the head,
O ft. 0.9 inch.
The Malays of Pinang assert that this species is of very rare occurrence. During a residence of 20 years at Singapore, Dr. Montgomerie observed it but in a solitary instance. The physiognomy of this species bears a striking resemblance to that of a thorough-bred Bulldog, which in a somewhat less degree also may be said of the following.
Sub-Gen. Chersydrus,* Cuvier. Head and body uniformly covered small scales.
ACROCHORDUS GRANULATUS, (Schneider.)
Angvis granulatus, Schneider.
U'lar limpa,” or Uʻlar laut” of the Malays.
Young. Blackish-brown or liver-coloured; the head with a few scattered yellowish-white spots, the rest of the body with numerous rings of the latter colour, some interrupted on the back, others on the abdomen.
* This Sub-Gen. was founded upon the erroneous supposition that Acrochordus fascia tus, Shaw, possessed venomous organs.
A Limpa, i. e. liver, liver-coloured.
Adult. The dark colours fade to a dull greyish black, uniform on the back, and the sides and abdomen present alternate dark and whitish vertical bands. Iris black, pupil vertically contracted ; tongue whitish.
HABIT.—Rivers and sea-coast of the Malayan Peninsula and Islands.
Bay of Manilla, New-Guinea, Timor, Java, Sumatra, Coro
This species appears not to exceed about 3 ft. in length. The body is less bulky and the skin less loose than in A. javanicus. But the form is more compressed, particularly the sword, or oar-like tail, and like that of the pelagic venomous serpent, appears exclusively calculated to aquatic habits. The scales also resemble those of the latter, and are generally smaller than in A. javanicus. Those of the back, the largest, are rounded rhombic, each with a minute tubercle in the centre. The skin in the interstices is finely wrinkled. On the abdomen the scales are mucronate, with a sharp, reclining central point. In both species the medial line is raised by 2 or 3 quincunx rows of scales with their points overlapping each other. The orbit is surrounded by a ring of scales a little larger than the rest. The nostrils, pierced high up on the muzzle, are almost vertical, slightly more so than they are in A. javanicus. In both they are tubular, larger in the present species, sinuous, and provided with a deeply seated membranous fold, which can hermetically close the passage. The mouth is secured in a similar manner by a central arched notch and two lateral protuberances, which correspond to a protuberance and two lateral cavities in the lower jaw. This contrivance also occurs in Hydrus, and to a certain extent in Homalopsis. With the exception of the dentition and the absence of venomous organs, in anatomical details both species of Acrochordus closely resemble Hydrus. As observed by M. Schlegel, the most striking feature is the great development of the lung, which occupies nearly three-fourths of the extent of the abdominal cavity.
A somewhat similar arrangement also occurs in Homalopsis. All the maxillary teeth (inter-maxillary none) are strong, pointed, inwardly reclining and disposed in double or treble rows. The 3 anterior teeth are the shortest : the upper jaw has on each side upwards of 20 teeth, the lower 3 or 4 less. The palatal teeth number 12 on each side, the pterygoid 9, and are shorter than the rest. Acrochorlus granulatus is of no rare
occurrence in the sea of the Malayan coasts, although, according to Raffles, it is rarely seen on the coasts of Sumatra. At Pinang they are found among the fishes, taken in the stakes some 3 or 4 miles distant from the coast. M. Schlegel is mistaken in stating that this species never inhabits the sea,* and in censuring M. Eschscholtz for his stating that the fishermen often take it in the Bay of Manilla. A female of the following dimensions had six eggs :-Length of the head,
0.9 inch, Ditto ditto trunk,
2 7' Ditto ditto tail,
119 inch. Greatest circumference, 4 inches.
The egg is cylindrical, soft, coriaceous, whitish, about li inch in length. In each egg was coiled up a living young one of the following dimensions :
Length of the head,
101 inch. Greatest circumference, 1 inch. In food and general habits this species resembles the pelagic, venomous, serpents; in its element, it is active, but on dry, blinded by the daylight, it is sluggish and of uncertain movements.
FAM. COLUBRIDÆ, BONAPARTE.
GEN. CALAMARIA, II. Boie. Body diminutive, elongated, obtuse at both extremities, throughout of equal diameter, cylindrical ; eyes very small with round pupil ; frontals one pair, laterally extending to the labials; frenals none; nostrils lateral, opening in a small shield between the frontal, rostral and anterior labial; one præ-orbital, one post-orbital, four mental shields ; dorsal scales rhombic, polished, smooth ; tail very short.
CALAMARIA LUMBRICOIDEA, Schlegel, Var.
* Essai, &c. p. 492.
Strongly iridescent, brownish-black, lighter on the head, scales with whitish edges; cheeks, lips and throat citrine ; the lowest row of scales and abdominal surface yellowish white; sub caudal scutella faintly marked with brown ; eyes and tongue black.
Scuta 169; Scutella 26.
Celebes, Java. This variety differs in nothing but colours from the species described by M. Schlegel. Of three individuals observed, two were taken by Sir W. Norris and W. T. Lewis, Esq. in the hills of Pinang, the third by Dr. Montgomerie at Singapore. The largest was of the following dimensions : Length of the head,
3 inch. Ditto ditto trunk,
116 Ditto ditto tail,
1 ft. 14 inch. Circumference inch.
The livery bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Calamaria alba (Linné), (C. brachyorrhos, Schlegel,) from which it however differs in the absence of the anterior frontal shields, and in having 13 instead of 17 longitudinal series of scales.
CALAMARIA LINNEI, H. Boie, Var. Schlegel.
Syn.--Calamaria reticulata, Boie, MS. ?
Changulia albiventer, Gray : Ill. Ind. Zool. Pl.--Fig. 64-9.*
Adult. Head brown, minutely dotted with black, lips and cheeks pale gamboge; trunk reddish brown, on each side with two vermillion longitudinal bands with black serrated edges; beneath carmine with a black serrated line on each side ; subcaudal scutella with a central black, zig-zag line; all the colours strongly iridescent; eyes black, tongue vermilion.
Young. Like the adult, but with a broad black nuchal band, edged
Referred by M. Schlegel to C, lumbricoidea, but the characteristic distribution of the colours is that of the present Var. The figure however is not good, and not colour-' ed from life.