Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon eBook

J. Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 590 pages of information about Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon.
    maculatus, Kelaart.
    pulchra, Gray.
    balteata, var. Guenth.
    stellata, Kelaart.
    badioflavus, Copr.
    fodiens, Jerd.
    rubrum, Jerd.


    glutinosa, Linn.

NOTE.—­The following species are peculiar to Ceylon (and the genera Ceratophora, Otocryptis, Uropeltis, Aspidura.  Cercaspis, and Haplocercus would appear to be similarly restricted);—­Lygosoma fallax; Trimesurus Ceylonensis, T. nigromarginatus; Megaera Trigonocephala; Trigonocephalus hypnalis; Daboia elegans; Rhinophis punctatus, Rh. homolepis, Rh. planiceps, Rh.  Blythii, Rh. melanogaster; Uropeltis grandis; Silybura Ceylonica; Cylindrophis maculata; Aspidura brachyorrhos; Haplocercus Ceylonensis; Oligodon sublineatus; Cynophis Helena; Cyclophis calamaria; Dipsadomorphus Ceylonensis; Cercaspis carinata; Ixalus variabilis, I. leucorhinus, I. poecilopleurus; Polypedates microtympanum.  P. eques.



Hitherto no branch of the zoology of Ceylon has been so imperfectly investigated as its Ichthyology.  Little has been done in the examination and description of its fishes, especially those which frequent the rivers and inland waters.  Mr. BENNETT, who was for some years employed in the Civil Service, directed his attention to the subject, and published in 1830 some portions of a projected work on the marine fishes of the island[1], but it never proceeded beyond the description of thirty individuals.  The great work of Cuvier and Valenciennes[2] particularises about one hundred species, specimens of which were procured from Ceylon by Reynard, Leschenault and other correspondents; but of these not more than half a dozen belong to fresh water.

[Footnote 1:  A Selection of the most Remarkable and Interesting Fishes found on the Coast of Ceylon. By J.W.  BENNETT, Esp.  London, 1830.]

[Footnote 2:  Histoire Naturelle des Poissons.]

The fishes of the coast, as far as they have been examined, present few that are not in all probability common to the seas of Ceylon and India.  A series of drawings, including upwards of six hundred species and varieties of Ceylon fish, all made from recently-captured specimens, have been submitted to Professor Huxley, and a notice of their general characteristics forms an interesting appendix to the present chapter.[1]

[Footnote 1:  See note B appended to this chapter.]

Of those in ordinary use for the table the finest by far is the Seir-fish[1], a species of Scomberoids, which is called Tora-malu by the natives.  It is in size and form very similar to the salmon, to which the flesh of the female fish, notwithstanding its white colour, bears a very close resemblance both in firmness and flavour.

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