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CATALOGUE OF REPTILES
Collected or observed by Theodore CANtor, Esq. M. D., Bengal Medical Service.
[Localities printed in Italics signify those from whence the animals of the Catalogue were obtained; in ordinary type those previously given by authors. The descriptions are in most cases taken from life; in the few in which it is expressly noted, shortly after death, in none from specimens preserved in spirits of wine.]
CHELONIA. FAM. ELODIDAE, OR MARSH-TORTOISES, Dum. and Bohr. SUB-FAM. CRYPTodERINAE, Dum. and Bibr. GEN. GeoBMYDA, Gray. Head covered with thin continued skin; chin not bearded. Legs strong, not fringed behind. Toes 5-4, strong, short, free, covered above by a series of shields; claws short. Tail tapering; shell depressed, three-keeled; hinder edge strongly toothed. Sternum solid, broad truncated before, notched behind ; gular plate linear, band-like, small; axillary and inguinal plates small. GeoEMYDA spinos A, (Bell.)
Shell oblong, subquadrate, keeled, flattened above, chestnut coloured, front and hinder edge strongly serrated ; vertebral plates broad, first suburceolate; costal plates with a posterior, subsuperior areola, with a slight subcomic tubercle; beneath yellow, brown rayed; young depress
No. VII. NEw SERIEs. 4 k
ed, pale brown, bluntly keeled, with a distinct spine in the areola of each discal plate.
HABIt.—Pinang Hills. Sumatra. Two individuals were observed by the Hon'ble Sir William Norris, late Recorder of H. M. Court of Judicature in the Straits of Malacca, on the Great Hill at Pinang, at a distance from water. The colour of the shell is a dirty brownish ochre, here and there with sooty rays, which numerously intersect the concave sternum. The keel, the marginal spines, and the costal tubercles are nearly obliterated, and the shell presents frequent marks of corrosion. The larger individual is of the following dimensions:— Length of the head, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1; inch. Ditto ditto neck, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1; Ditto ditto shell, . . . . . . . . . . ...... 8 Ditto ditto tail,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A large tick was firmly adhering to the throat of one of these tortoises, the presence of which however does not indicate an exclusively terrestrial life, as one species at least of the Ricinia (Ixodes ophiophilus, Müller 2) occurs on aquatic as well as terrestrial serpents. The following are the characters of Irodes geoemydoe. The short sucker is depressed, slightly widening towards the bifid apex, and encased by the palpi. Above, and at a short distance from the latter, are two minute rounded fossae. The cephalic, tetragonal plate is of a reddish brown colour, with a yellow spot at the posterior angle. The oval body is dark pearl-coloured. On each side close to the articulation of the posterior leg appears a small rounded horny plate. The legs are reddish brown with a yellow spot at each of the joints, except the last. Swollen, as the tick appeared, it measured six-eights of an inch in length; half an inch in breadth. GEN. EMYs, Broyniart. Head moderate, covered with a thin hard skin ; chin not bearded. Feet short, covered with scales; toes 5-4, strong, shielded above, webbed to the claws. Tail moderate. Shell depressed. Sternum solid, broad, truncated before, notched behind, affixed to the thorax by a bomy symphysis, covered by the ends of the pectoral and abdominal plates; axillary and inguinal plates moderate, distinct.
A.—Pertebral plates lozenge-shaped.—Gray. EMYs crassicollis, Bell, MSS. apud Gray. SYN.—Emys crassicollis, Bell, apud Dum. and Bibr. Emys spengleri, War, Schlegel. Shell ovate, oblong, rather convex, revolute on the sides and deeply toothed behind, black, slightly three-keeled; keels close; first vertebral plate elongate, six-sided; sternum flat, pale, and keeled on the sides; head and neck thick, black.
HABIT.-Malayan Peninsula, Pinang. Sumatra, Java. In Malayan individuals, numerously inhabiting rivulets and ponds in the valleys, the throat is whitish, and a small white spot appears on each side of the occiput. The vertebral keels and the lateral spines become obliterated with age. The largest individual observed was of the following dimensions:–
Length of the head, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1; inch.
It feeds upon frogs and also upon shell-fish and animal offal. Old Malay women, who may be seen after every heavy fall of rain, spending hours, rod in hand, over the overflowing ditches, out of which their huts rise, are often ludicrously disappointed on perceiving this tortoise on the hook.
B.—Pertebral plates broad, six-sided. Gray.
SYN.—“ Kátong” of the Malays of the Peninsula.
Shell ovate, convex, yellow dotted, with the centre of the back quite flat, as if truncated ; shields striated, nucleus central; vertebral shields broader than long, six-sided, 5th keeled ; the front and hinder margin strongly toothed; sternum flat, truncated before ; and slightly notched behind ; tail moderate, tapering.
HABIT.-Malayan Peninsula, Pinany. Sumatra. Mr. Gray's description refers to the young animal, of which the length of the shell is given in Proceed. Zoolog. Soc. 1834. P. 54, as 9 inches. The representation of Emys platynotha in Illust. Ind. Zool. from its size, and the strongly toothed flat front and hind margins of the shell, also appears to be a young animal. The penultimate, the fourth, vertebral shield is represented as divided in two pieces, which if so in the original, must be accidental, as normally the fourth vertebral shield is six-sided, and in size nearly equalling the preceding. The nuclei of the costal shields are more central than represented in the plate.
In the living adult animal the head, neck, shell, tail and feet are of a dirty yellowish, or greenish brown, which becomes paler on the sternum. The nuclei of the vertebral shields are slightly raised. The costal shields are depressed, their sides sloping towards the nuclei, thus forming as it were very shallow hexagonal basins. The front and hind margins are broadly revolute, their toothed appearance worm off. The sternum is slightly concave in the centre. The largest individual was of the following dimensions:
Length of the head, . . . . . . . . . . 0 feet 3 inch.
It lived in my garden at Pinang upwards of a twelvemonth, apparently without food, and it was never observed to enter a tank. The shell bears deep white marks of corrosion, in appearance like that observed in Testacea inhabiting stagnant water. The animal suffered itself to be touched with impunity, never offering to scratch or bite. This tortoise inhabits the valleys, but is apparently not numerous.
EMYs TRIvitTATA, Duméril and Bibron.
Shell smooth, entire, subcordiform, arched, yellowish green, and with
three broad longitudinal black bands; jaws toothed.
HABIt.—Malayan Peninsula, Pinang.
It inhabits rivers and ponds on the Malayan Peninsula, but appears not to be numerous. In the Malayan adult animal there is a large black spot situated at the anterior, lower angle of the marginal shields, there is no trace of a keel in the centre of the vertebral shields, and the very minute nuchal shield is triangular, with the apex towards the vertebral shields. The shield is rather oval than subcordiform. The sternum is slightly arched, of a pale whitish yellow. The largest individual was of the following dimensions:
Length of the head, ......... 0 feet 3 inch.
Ditto ditto neck, . . . . . . . . . . () 24
GEN. Cistu Do, Fleming.
Head moderate, covered with a thin hard continued skin, Toes 5-4, webbed to the claws, web thick, with a small intermediate lobe between the claws. Tail short. Shell convex, ovate, or hemispherical. Sternum broad, rounded before and behind, completely closing the cavity of the thorax, affixed to it by a ligamentous, symphysis, and divided by a cross suture between the pectoral and abdominal plates. Sternal shields twelve. Inguinal and axillary plates very small, but distinct. Marginal plates 23-27. Nuchal plate small or wanting.
Cistu Do AM BoIN ENsis, (Daudin.)
SYN.—Testudo amboinensis, Daudin.
- Emys amboinensis, and couro, Schweigger.
HABIt.—Malayan Peninsula, Singapore. Java, Amboina, Philippine Islands, Tenasserim provinces. Shell hemispherical, slightly three-keeled, blackish, margin broad expanded, muchal shield linear; sternum black and yellow-varied; animal blackish, varied with yellow, head dark with two broad yellow streaks on each side. The dorsal keels become obsolete with age, and the margin of the shell, particularly the posterior part, becomes revolute. This species appears to be numerous in the valleys, in ponds, rivulets and paddy fields. It is very timid, withdrawing its head and limbs when handled, though it neither bites nor scratches. The largest individual observed was of the following dimensions, Length of the head, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 inch.
Ditto ditto neck, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2.