Catalogue of Malayan Fishes

Theodore Cantor

[Localities printed in Italics signify those from whence the fishe were obtained; in ordinary type those previously given by authors. The descriptions are drawn up from recently taken specimens]

Subclass Telestoi. Ordo Acanthopteri

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Gen. Ophiocephalus, Bloch-Schneider, 1801.

With labyrinth-form superbranchial organ; fins without spines, the ventrals commencing with a divided or undivided, jointed ray; dorsal occupying nearly the whole length of the back; caudal rounded; lateral line uninterrupted; head depressed, covered with polygonal scales; both jaws, vomer and palatal bones with velvety, or card-like teeth, among which generally some longer than the rest; body elongated, almost cylindrical. Branchiostegous rays five.

Ophiocephalus striatus, Bloch

Head above and back greenish olive with indistinct clouded black spots; cheeks, opercles and sides to a little beneath the lateral line lighter with metallic lustre; throat, abdomen and lower part of the head and sides white; from the angle of the mouth a short metallic olive oblique line, and on the throat a few distant dark spots; lower part of sides with a number of backwards directed oblique, blackish lines, the intervals between which pale salmon-coloured; dorsal membrane minutely dotted with brown so as to produce oblique brownish lines, between which, at the base, appear some rounded whitish spots; caudal pale brownish with indistinct light concentric lines; upper half of anal white with oblique brown lines; lower half blackish brown; ventrals white with indistinct blackish spots; pectorals transparent whitish, minutely dotted with brown along the margins of the rays. Iris amber-coloured, orange or reddish golden round the pupil, the rest golden olive, clouded with black.

D 41, 42 or 43, C 14 1/1 , A 25, 26 or 27, V 6, P 16 or 17, Br. V.
Habit. Freshwater and estuaries, Malayan Peninsula and Islands , Manilla, Celebes, Tenasserim, Rangoon, Irawaddy, Ganges, Bengal, BarrampootrGoalparab,Coromandel, Malabar, Hindostan.
Total length: 2 feet.
The length of the head is from 3 1/2 to 3 2/3 in the total; (it is 1/3 of the distance from the muzzle to the last dorsal ray ;) the height at the occiput is 2 1/3 in the length. The horizontal diameter of the eyes slightly exceeds 1/8 of the length of the head; their distance across the forehead equals two such diameters. The vertical diameter at the first dorsal ray is 1/2 of the length of the head. The anterior part of the lateral line gradually descends towards the commencement of the second third of the dorsal, from whence it proceeds straight to the root of the caudal. The line is marked on each scale by a short central tube, which bifurcates. The number of component scales vary from 60 to 62. An oblique series from the anus consists of 18 to 20 scales. In these and other characters the Malayan individuals exactly correspond to O. striatus, Bloch, as described by M. M. Cuvier and Valenciennes . Individuals of O. wrahl? apud Buchanan Hamilton, (Sol,) taken in the vicinity of Calcutta, differ but slightly in colours, and in presenting from 43 to 46 dorsal, and from 26 to 28 anal rays. O. chena, Buch. Ham. offers the same number of ravs as the latter, and appears but to be another variety, probably as Buchanan suggests, the identical one which Russell figured No. CLXII, Muttah . In the Malayan countries, the fish is as numerous as in Bengal, and it is also there eaten by the natives.

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Acknowledgement and Source(s)

This passage was originally published under the above title in: Journal of the Asiatic Society , vol 18, part II (July to December 1849), pp. 983-1426, published in the year 1850.

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