Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon eBook

J. Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon.
13 6
       blenniidae 3 8
  Scomberina.
       zeidae 0 2
       sphyraenidae 5 4
       scomberidae 118 62
       xiphlidae 0 1
       cepolidae 0 5
  Heterosomata.
       platessoideae 5 22
       siluridae 31 24
       cyprinidae 19 52
       scopelinidae 2 7
       salmonidae 0 1
       clupeidae 43 22
       gadidae 0 2
       macruridae 1 0
  Apodes.
       anguillidae 8 12
       muraenidae 8 6
       sphagebranchidae 8 10

* * * * *

NOTE (C).

ON THE BORA-CHUNG, OR “GROUND-FISH” OF BHOOTAN.

See P. 353.

In Bhootan, at the south-eastern extremity of the Himalayas, a fish is found, the scientific name of which is unknown to me, but it is called by the natives the Bora-chung, and by European residents the “ground-fish of Bhootan.”  It is described in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for 1839, by a writer (who had seen it alive), as being about two feet in length, and cylindrical, with a thick body, somewhat shaped like a pike, but rounder, the nose curved upwards, the colour olive-green, with orange stripes, and the head speckled with crimson.[1] This fish, according to the native story, is caught not in the rivers in whose vicinity it is found, but “in perfectly dry places in the middle of grassy jungle, sometimes as far as two miles from the banks.”  Here, on finding a hole four or five inches in diameter, they commence to dig, and continue till they come to water; and presently the bora-chung rises to the surface, sometimes from a depth of nineteen feet.  In these extemporised wells these fishes are found always in pairs, and I when brought to the surface they glide rapidly over the ground with a serpentine motion.  This account appeared in 1839; but some years later, Mr. Campbell, the Superintendent of Darjeeling, in a communication to the same journal[2], divested the story of much of its exaggeration, by stating, as the result of personal inquiry in Bhootan, that the bora-chung inhabits the jheels and slow-running streams near the hills, but lives principally on the banks, into which it penetrates from one to five or six feet.  The entrance to these retreats leading from the river into the bank is generally a few inches below the surface, so that the fish can return to the water at pleasure.  The mode of catching them is by introducing the hand into these

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Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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