Fam. 39 Ophiocephalidae

Albert Günther ; British Museum

Table of Contents (ToC)

  1. Ophiocephalus
  2. Ophiocephalus punctatus
  3. Ophiocephalus affinis
  4. Ophiocephalus gachua
  5. Ophiocephalus kelaartii
  6. Ophiocephalus rhodotaenia
  7. Ophiocephalus mystax
  8. Ophiocephalus melanosoma
  9. Ophiocephalus melanopterus
  10. Ophiocephalus cyanospilos
  11. Ophiocephalus striatus
  12. Ophiocephalus polylepis
  13. Ophiocephalus bankanensis
  14. Ophiocephalus lucius
  15. Ophiocephalus siamensis
  16. Ophiocephalus obscurus
  17. Ophiocephalus barca
  18. Ophiocephalus nigricans
  19. Ophiocephalus grandinosus
  20. Ophiocephalus marulius
  21. Ophiocephalus pseudomarulius
  22. Ophiocephalus marulioides
  23. Ophiocephalus pleurophthalmus
  24. Ophiocephalus argus
  25. Ophiocephalus maculatus
  26. Ophiocephalus micropeltes
  27. Channa
  28. Channa orientalis
  29. Key to the species (synopsis)

Labyrinthici, part., Cuv. Règne Anim.; Müll. Berl. Abhandl. 1844, p.201

Labyrinthibranchii, part., Owen, Lect. Comp. Anat. i. ; p. 49.

Ophiocephaloidei, Bleek. Enum. Spec. p. xxiv.

Body elongate, anteriorly subcylindrical , covered with scales of moderate size; head depressed, covered with shieldlike scales superiorly; lateral line with an abrupt curve, or subinterrupted. Cleft of the mouth lateral, wide; teeth in the jaws and on the palate. Eye lateral. Gill-opening wide, the gill-membranes of both sides joined below the isthmus; four gills; pseudobranchiae none. A cavity accessory to the gill-cavity, for the purpose of retaining water in it , a superbranchial organ not being developed. An air-bladder. One long dorsal and anal fin without spines ; ventral fins absent or thoracic, and composed of six rays, the outer of which is not branched. Vertebrae in considerable number (52-61); the caudal vertebrae are provided with ribs, the abdominal cavity being continued to below the caudal portion.

Freshwater fishes of the East Indies: able to live and move without the water for a short time. Feeding on small animals.

Every ichthyologist will acknowledge the necessity of separating these fishes from the Labyrinthici, their entire external and internal structure being widely different. The only character by which their position in this Order appears to be justified is the insertion and the structure of the ventral fins; they are composed of six rays, the outer of which is not even a true spine, but articulated towards its extremity.

Ophiocephalus

Ophicephalus, Bloch, Ausl. Fische, viii. p. 137 . 1

Ventral fins present. Pyloric appendages two. Fine teeth in the jaws, on the vomer and the palatine bones, sometimes intermixed with larger ones.

Fresh waters of the East Indies.

Key to the species (synopsis) .

ToC .

Ophiocephalus punctatus

Bl. tab. 358 , Bl. Schn. p. 237; Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 404 . ; Bleek. Verhand. Batav. Genootsch. xxv., Bengal. en Hindost. p. 95 .

karrouvei, Lacép. iii. p.552 ; .

latus, Buch. Ham. Fish. Gang. pp. 63, 637. tab. 34. fig. 18 .

indicus, McClell. Calc. Journ. Nat. Hist. ii. p. 583 .

D. 29-31. A. 20-22. L. lat. 40.L. transv. 4/9.

Three or four large teeth on each side of the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained six times in the total length, the length of the head three times and two-thirds, and that of the caudal fin five times and a half; the width of the head is three-fifths of its length. The width of the interorbital space is more than the extent of the snout, and contained four times and a half in the length of the head. The maxillary does not quite extend to the vertical from the posterior margin of the eye. There are five series of scales between the eye and the angle of the preoperculum. The pectoral extends to the origin of the anal fin, and its length is somewhat more than one-half of that of the head. The length of the ventral is nearly three-fourths of that of the pectoral. Body and tail with two series of alternate transverse blackish spots; a blackish streak from the eye to the scapula: these markings become indistinct with age. The lower half of the body with scattered black dots. Fins black or blackish; the dorsal and anal with longitudinal series of black spots.

Fresh waters of the East Indian Continent and of Ceylon.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus affinis

D. 30. A. 22. L. lat. 38. L. transv. 4/8.

Several teeth in the lower jaw larger than the rest; those of the vomer cardiform, in a narrow band; a single series on the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained five times and threefifths in the total length, the length of the head three times and three-fifths. The length of the caudal fin equals the height of the body. The width of the head is three-fifths of its length; the width of the interorbital space is more than the extent of the snout, and contained four times and a quarter in the length of the head. The maxillary extends nearly to the vertical from the posterior margin of the orbit. There are five series of scales between the eye and the angle of the proeoperculum. The pectoral extends to the origin of the anal fin, and its length is more than one-half of that of the head; the length of the ventral is threequarters of that of the pectoral. Body with dark cross-bands, which become irregular and more numerous below the lateral line, where they are edged with silvery; an indistinct dark streak from the eye to the scap-Lila, edged with silvery. Lower parts without black dots. Dorsal fin anteriorly with two, posteriorly with three, anal with four blackish longitudinal lines; caudal with transverse series of brown spots; pectorals immaculate; ventrals white.

Hab. - ?

This species is closely allied to O. punctatus , but has a different coloration.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus gachua

D. 34-37. A. 21-23. L. lat. 45. L. transv. 3/7.

No large teeth in the jaws, several on the vomer slightly enlarged. The height of the body is contained six times in the total length, the length of the head four times and a half, the length of the catidal six times and two-thirds. The width of the interorbital space is much more than the length of the snout, and two-seventbs of that of the head. The maxillary extends to the vertical from the posterior margin of the eye. There are four series of scales between the eye and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not extend to the origin of the anal fin, and its length is twothirds of that of the head. The length of the ventral is less than one-half of that of the pectoral. Brownish (in spirits), with indistinct cross-bars on the back. Dorsal and anal with a very narrow, caudal with a broader whitish margin; pectoral with several transverse series of brown dots, more distinct on the basal portion of the fin than towards the extremity.

Fresh waters of the East Indian Continent and Archipelago.

O. aurantiacus , Buch. Ham., may prove to be a distinct species. Although the author says that it agrees in every respect with O. gachua except in colour, yet the figure represents a fish with considerably larger scales. The typical specimen is not preserved in the Collection presented by Mr. Waterhouse; and, in fact, the drawing is taken from the Hardwicke Collection. The colour is yellowish, with a rosy shade on the back and an oblong rosy blotch on the gill-covers.

Var. basalis . A white transverse streak across the base of the pectoral; several others behind, alternately blackish and whitish. This species is founded upon a single, apparently young specimen.

This species has a black ocellus edged with white on the hindmost part of the dorsal fin when young.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus kelaartii

D. 31-35. A. 22. L. lat. 38. L. transv. 4/8.

Several teeth in the lower jaw and on the vomer are somewhat larger than the others. The maxillary extends to the vertical from the posterior margin of the orbit. The length of the caudal fin is one-fifth of the total.

Ceylon.

Description . - This species is allied to O. gachua , differing from it by its longer caudal fin. The height of the body is contained seven times in the total length, the length of the head four times. The width of the interorbital space is much more than the length of the snout, and two-sevenths of the length of the head. The cleft of the mouth is of moderate width, the maxillary extending to the vertical from the posterior margin of the orbit.

The teeth on the vomer and the palatine bones stand in a single series, and several of the former and of the lower are somewhat larger than the rest. The scales on the upper surface of the head are large, plate-like; there are five series of scales between the eye and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral extends to the origin of the anal fin, and its length equals the distance of the eye from the end of the operculum, and is more than twice the length of the ventral fin. Caudal somewhat pointed. Greenish-olive (in spirits), with very indistinct small darker spots; vertical fins with a whitish margin; pectorals dotted all over with greyish; ventral fins colourless.

Length sixty-six lines. ToC .

Ophiocephalus rhodotaenia

Bleeker, Borneo, v. p. 425 . 2

D. 41. A. 24. L. lat. 50.

No large teeth. The height of the body is one-eighth or oneninth of the total length, the length of the head one-fourth, the length of the caudal two-ninths. The maxillary extends to below the eye. The pectorals are much longer than the ventrals. Blackish-brown, with a red band running from the eye to the caudal; fins blackish; dorsal with yellowish streaks posteriorly; ventrals greenish. ( Bleek .)

Rivers of Sambas (Borneo).

This species is founded upon a single, apparently young specimen. ToC .

Ophiocephalus mystax

Bleeker, Natuurk. Tjidschr. Nederl. Ind., 1853, v. p. 188 . 3

Several larger teeth in the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained eight times in the total length, the length of the head four times to four times and a fourth, the length of the caudal five times and a third. The maxillary extends to behind the orbit. The length of the pectoral is two-thirds of that of the head, the length of the ventral two-fifths. Brownish-green: head with yellow spots inferiorly; a brown streak from the jaw to the interoperculum. Fins brownish: anal with red margin; ventrals yellow. (Bl.)

Rivers of Banka. ToC .

Ophiocephalus melanosoma

Ophicephalus melasoma, Bleeker, Borneo, v. p. 424 , and Natuurk. Tijdschr. Nederl. Ind. v. 1853, p. 189

D. 40-42. A. 25-26. L. lat. 54-55. L. transv. 4/11.

Several larger teeth in the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained eight times and a half or nine times in the total length, the length of the head four times or four times and a fourth, the length of the caudal five times and twothirds. There are nine series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The maxillary extends behind the orbit. The pectorals are two-thirds of the length of the head, the ventrals two-thirds of that of the pectoral. Blackish-brown, fins black; the lower parts of the head, the belly, the ventrals, and the base of the anal whitish, with dark-brown spots.

Borneo. Banka. Nias.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus melanopterus

Bleeker, Borneo, ix. p. 420 .

D. 45. A. 30. L. lat. 55.

Several larger teeth on each side of the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained seven times in the total length, the length of the head five times, the length of the caudal fin five times and a half. The maxillary extends behind the orbit. Ventrals half as long as pectorals. Violet-olive, fins darker; the posterior half of the dorsal and the entire anal with oblique blue stripes; the basal half of the caudal blue-dotted. ( Bleek .)

River Kapuas (Borneo). ToC .

Ophiocephalus cyanospilos

Bleeker, Sumatra, ii. p. 256 .

D. 42. A. 25. L. lat. 55.

Several large teeth in the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained eight times in the total length, the length of the -head three times and three-fourths, the length of the caudal fin five times and a half. The maxillary extends to the vertical from the posterior margin of the orbit. The length of the ventral is two-thirds of that of the pectoral. Greenishbrown, the lower parts clouded with darker and dotted with blue; fins blackish, ventrals white. ( Bl .)

Rivers of Telok betong (Sumatra). ToC .

Ophiocephalus striatus

Ophiocephalus striatus, Bl. tab. 359 , Bl. Schn. p. 238; Shaw, Zool. iv. p. 530 ; Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 417. pls. 202 & 206 ; Jerdon, Madr. Journ. xv. p. 146 ; Cant. Catal. p. 92 ; Cuv. Règne Anim. Ill. Poiss. pl. 75. fig. 2; Bleek. Verh. Bat. Gen. xxiii., Labyr. p. 13 .

Ophicephalus wrahl, Lacép. iii. p.552 ; Buch. Ham. Fish. Gang. pp. 60, 367. pl. 31.fig. 17 ; MacClell. Calc. Journ. Nat. Hist . ii. p. 575. [?] . Russell , pl. 162 .

Ophicephalus chena, Buch. Ham. Fish. Gang. pp. 62, 367 .

? Ophicephalus planiceps, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 424 .

D. 40-45. A. 26-27. L. lat. 57. L. transv. (5-6)/( 12-13). Vert. 53-55.

Several large teeth on the side of the lower jaw, those of the palatine bones cardiform. The height of the body is contained nearly seven times in the total length, the length of the head three times and three-fourths, the length of the caudal fin six times; the width of the interorbital space is rather more than the extent of the shout, and two-ninths of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth large, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. There are eight or ten series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not extend to the origin of the anal fin, and its length is one-half of that of the head; the length of the ventral is threefourths of that of the pectoral. Brownish-grey (in spirits) on the back and the sides, emitting vertical processes towards the belly, which is white. Dorsal and anal fins sometimes with oblique dark streaks; frequently some white dots on a black ground on the hindmost part of these fins.

Fresh waters of the East Indies.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus polylepis

Bleeker, Sumatra i. p. 578 .

D. 40. A. 30. L. lat. 58.

Large teeth in the jaws, on the vomer and the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained seven times in the total length, the length of the head three times and two-thirds, the length of the caudal fin six times. There are about sixteen scales in a longitudinal series between the eye and the gill-opening. The maxillary does not extend to the vertical from the posterior margin of the eye. The pectorals are half as long as the head, but much longer than the ventral. Greenish, the lower part of the sides with about twelve oblique blackish bands; fins greenish; dorsal and anal with two black longitudinal bands or with two series of black spots; the other fins variegated with blackish. ( Bleek .)

Rivers of Solok (West Sumatra). ToC .

Ophiocephalus bankanensis

Bleeker, Natuurk. Tijdschr. Nederl. Ind. iii. p. 726 , and v. p. 187.

D. 40. A. 29-30. L. lat. 60-65.

Several large teeth in the lower jaw, on the vomer and the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained seven times and a third to eight times in the total length, the length of the head four times to four times and a quarter, the length of the caudal five times and a half to six times and a half. The maxillary extends behind, and in immature specimens to, the vertical from the posterior margin of the eye. The length of the pectoral is contained once and three-fourths to once and five-sixths in that of the head, the length of the ventral twice and a half to twice and three-fourths. Greenish, clouded with darker; immature specimens with a light waving band along the side. Head and lower part of the side with black dots; opercle with a large brownish spot; vertical fins violet, black-dotted; pectorals brownish, with the rays yellow-dotted; hinder half of the ventrals brownish. (Bl.)

Rivers of Banka and Borneo. ToC .

Ophiocephalus lucius

Ophicephalus lucius, (Kuhl & v. Hass.) Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 416 ; Bleek. Verh. Bat. Gen. xxiii., Labyr. p. 13 .

D. 39-40. A. 28-29. L. lat. 65.

Several large teeth in the lower jaw and on the palate. The height of the body is one-sixth or one-seventh of the total length, the length of the head two-sevenths. The upper profile of the snout concave; head with large scales superiorly. The cleft of the mouth extends to below the eye. Brownish above, dotted with black; lighter inferiorly, with about twelve black transverse bands; an interrupted blackish longitudinal band from the operculum to the caudal fin. Two oblique black streaks on the side of the head. Vertical fins brownish, with black spots; pectorals variegated with black.

East Indian Archipelago. ToC .

Ophiocephalus siamensis

D. 42. A. 27. L. lat. 65. L. transv. 5/11. 4

Large teeth in the lower jaw, on the vomer and the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained six times and four-fifths in the total length, the length of the head three times and two-fifths, the length of the caudal six times. The width of the interorbital space is more than the extent of the snout, and two-ninths of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth wide, the maxillary not extending to the vertical from the posterior margin of the eye (in old specimens it probably reaches to below that margin). There are eleven series of scales between the eye and the angle of the praeopercullum; scales on the upper surface of the head of moderate size. The pectoral extends to the origin of the anal fin, and its length is less than one-half of that of the head; the ventral is not much shorter than the pectoral. Greenish-olive, with darker streaks along the series of scales; a light longitudinal band from the eye to the middle of the caudal fin; two series of alternate darker blotches, one above the light band, the other below; side of the head with three oblique brown bands; dorsal and anal fins with oblique blackish stripes; caudal with blackish spots; the lower side of the head blackish, with white spots.

Siam.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus obscurus

D. 42. A. 26. L. lat. 70. L. transv. 7/14.

Several large teeth in the lower jaw; those on the vomer and the palatine bones cardiform, in narrow bands. The maxillary extends behind the orbit. Blackish; a series of large round black blotches along the side.

Hab . - ?

Description . - The height of the body is nearly one-eighth of the total length, the length of the head nearly one-fourth; the width of the interorbital space is more than the extent of the snout, and onefourth of the length of the head. The cleft of the mouth is wide, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. The scales on the upper surface of the head are of moderate size, those on the neck small; there are thirteen series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not extend on to the origin of the anal, and its length is one-half of that of the head; the length of the ventral is three-quarters of that of the pectoral. Caudal rounded, its length being six times and a third in the total. Blackish, lighter below, with dark streaks along the series of scales; a series of black blotches along the side; head with two indistinct oblique dark stripes on the side; vertical fins blackish, the dorsal with oblique black spots along its base. Pectoral and ventral variegated with blackish. Chin black, with white spots.

Length seventy-seven lines. ToC .

Ophiocephalus barca

Buch. Ham. Fishes of the Ganges, p. 67. pl. 35. fig. 20 , cop. in Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 436 .

D. 50-52. A. 35-36. L. lat. 62. L. transv. 5/11.

A row of large teeth in the lower jaw, on the vomer and the palatine bones. The height of the body is one-seventh of the total length, the length of the head one-fourth, that of the caudal one-fifth. The width of the interorbital space is much more than the extent of the snout, and two-sevenths of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth large, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. There are nine series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not quite extend to the origin of the anal fin, its length being more than one-half of that of the head; the length of the ventral is two-fifths of that of the pectoral. Dark violet (in spirits), dotted all over with black; the dorsal and anal fins with numerous short cross-stripes on the membrane between the rays; pectoral black-dotted, ventral violet.

Fresh waters of Bengal.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus nigricans

Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 431 .

D. 50. A. 34.

Large teeth in the lower jaw, on the vomer and the palatine bones. The height of the body is one-ninth of the total length, the length of the head two-ninths. Cleft of the mouth large. Brownish-black, with some indistinct darker cross-bands on the back; dorsal and caudal black, pectoral and anal with numerous transparent dots; ventrals greyish. ( Val .)

East Indies. ToC .

Ophiocephalus grandinosus

Ophicephalus grandinosus, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 434. pl. 203 .

- puticola, Richards. Ichth. Chin. p. 252 .

D. 53. A. 35.

Large teeth on each side of the lower jaw. The height of the body is one-eighth of the total length. Cleft of the mouth wide. Ventrals well developed. Brown, with indistinct darker cross-bands; vertical fins blackish, with white dots; similar dots on the sides of the body. ( Val .)

Fresh waters of China. River Maissour. ToC .

Ophiocephalus marulius

Buch. Ham. Fishes of the Ganges, p. 65. pl. 17. fig. 19 ; Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 432 ; Taylor in Brewster's Edinb. Journ. Sc. 1831, v. p. 36 [ ? ];

D. 49-55. A. 31-36. L. lat. 60. L. transv. (4-5)/(12-13)

Several large teeth on the side of the lower jaw. The height of the body is one-seventh of the total length, the length of the head one-fourth, that of the caudal fin one-sixth. The width of the interorbital space is more than the extent of the snout, and one-fourth of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth large, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. There are ten series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not quite extend to the origin of the anal fin, its length being rather more than one-half of that of the head; the length of the ventral is twothirds of that of the pectoral. Brownish-olive (in spirits), with four or five dark blotches below the lateral line; a black ocellus edged with white superiorly on the base of the caudal fin; vertical fins irregularly spotted with white. Young individuals with a white band, running from the orbit to the upper part of the caudal fin, terminating in the ocellus mentioned. In very young specimens, the white band terminates in a white spot without black in the centre.

Fresh waters of Bengal, Hindostan, and Ceylon.

I observe that all the young, banded specimens have the largest number of dorsal rays (54-55), whilst the old ones without light band have only 49 or 50. This may be an accidental circumstance, which, however, deserves further investigation. ToC .

Ophiocephalus pseudomarulius

D. 48. A. 33. L. lat. 64. L. transv. 6/14.

Several large teeth on the side of the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained five times and four-fifths in the total length, the length of the head three times and four-fifths. The width of the interorbital space is more than the extent of the snout, and onefourth of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth large, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. There are ten series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not quite extend to the origin of the anal fin, its length being one-half of that of the head; the length of the ventral is nearly three-fourths of that of the pectoral. A black, white-edged ocellus superiorly on the basal portion of the caudal fin. No dark blotches are visible on the side of the single dried specimen.

East Indian continent.

This species is allied to O. marulius , from which it may be readily distinguished by six longitudinal series of scales between the lateral line and the anterior portion of the dorsal fin. 5 ToC .

Ophiocephalus marulioides

Bleeker, Borneo, v. p. 424 .

D. 45. A. 30. L. lat. 55.

Several larger teeth in the lower jaw. The height of the body is contained seven times and a half in the total length, the length of the head four times, the length of the caudal fin nearly five times. The maxillary extends scarcely behind the orbit. The pectorals are much longer than the ventrals. Blackish-green, ventrals whitish; a black ocellus edged with red superiorly on the base of the caudal fin. ( Bleek .)

Rivers of Sambas (Borneo). ToC .

Ophiocephalus pleurophthalmus

Ophiocephalus pleurophthalmus, Bleek. Natuurk. Tijdschr. Nederl. Ind. i. p. 270 , and Act. Soc. Se. Indo-Nederl. iii., Sumatra, p. 37.

- urophthalmus, Bleek. Sumatra, i. p. 578 .

D. 40-42. A. 29-30.L. lat. 55-57.

Large teeth in the lower jaw, on the vomer and on the palatine bones; two smaller ones on each side of the upper jaw. The height of the body is contained five or six times in the total length, the length of the head three times and a half to nearly four times, the length of the caudal fin five times and three-fifths. The maxillary extends to, or somewhat behind, the vertical from the posterior margin of the orbit. The length of the ventral is four-fifths of that of the pectoral. Olive, with five black ocelli edged with whitish along the sides, the last on the middle of the base of the caudal fin; head with two oblique brownish bands running from the eye to the interoperculum; inferior parts of the sides spotted with brown, each, spot with small ocelli; dorsal and anal fins with small violet ocelli at the base.

Rivers of Bandjermassing (Borneo) and of Palembang (Sumatra).

ToC .

Ophiocephalus argus

Cant. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 1842, ix. p. 484 .

D. 49-50. A. 33. L. lat. 62. L. transv. (7-8)/17

A row of large teeth in the lower jaw, on the vomer and the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained six times in the total length, the length of the head three times and a half, the length of the caudal six times and a half. In young specimens the body is somewhat lower. The width of the interorbital space is nearly equal to the extent of the snout, and one-sixth of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth very large, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. Shields on the upper surface of the head small. There are thirteen series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not extend to the origin of the anal fin, its length being two-fifths of that of the head; the length of the ventral fin is two-thirds of that of the pectoral. Greyish-olive (in spirits), with two series of large round brown spots edged with silvery. Similar ocellated spots on the upper surface of the head; a brown band edged with silvery from the eye to th c humeral region; another, which is interrupted, from the eye to the base of the pectoral.

Fresh waters of China and Chusan.

ToC .

Ophiocephalus maculatus

Bostrychus maculatus, Lacép . iii. pp. 140, 143 .

Ophicephalus maculatus, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 437 ; Richards. lchth. Chin. p. 251 .

D. 44-45. A. 28-29. L. lat. 56. L. transv. (5-6)/14. Vert. 52.

A row of large teeth in the lower jaw and on the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained six times in the total length, the length of the head three times and three-quarters, the length of the caudal six times and a half. The width of the interorbital space is equal to the extent of the snout, and nearly one-sixth of the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth very large, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. Scales on the upper surface of the head small. There are twelve series of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The pectoral does not extend on to the origin of the anal fin, its length being two-fifths of that of the head; the length of the ventral fin is two-thirds of that of the pectoral. Greyish-olive (in spirits), with two series of largo round brown spots incompletely edged with silvery. Irregular spots on the upper surface of the head; a brown band from the eye, continued into the upper series of spots; another, which is interrupted, from the eye to the base of the pectoral.

Fresh waters of China.

This species is closely allied to O. argus , but maybe readily distinguished by the larger scales and smaller number of fin-rays.

The stomach is an oblong caecal cavity; there are two pyloric appendages, the length of each being two-fifths of that of the intestines; the latter make an inferior and superior curve, and are half as long as the fish. The liver has two notches, the left lobe being somewhat prolonged downwards. Gall-bladder free. The air-bladder is simple, exceedingly long, extending on between the muscles of the tail to the end of the anal fin.

Skeleton . - The skull has some resemblance to that of a Mugil; its upper surface is flat and smooth, the interorbital space broad; there is no occipital crest, and scarcely any on the sides. The principal frontal bones extend on to the anterior part of the orbit, where they are continued by the turbinal bones, which are well ossified and form oblique sutures with the frontals. The postfrontals are narrow, situated at the side of the principal frontals, and form a ridge projecting over the tympanic groove. Praefrontals small; a narrow portion of the ethmoid is visible between the turbinal bones. The bones of the jaws are strong, elongate; the maxillary slightly dilated posteriorly; processes of the intermaxillaries short. The head of the vomer is semicircular; palatines long; infraorbital ring complete, of moderate width; tympanic groove very large, with the bones well ossified; the limbs of the praeoperculum. meet at a right angle, and are of equal length. The epitympanic has a broad vertical lamella interiorly, which forms a part of the cavity accessory to the gill-cavity; the upper and lower pharyngeals are covered with cardi-form teeth, and do not show any peculiarity in their form.

The system of muciferous channels is well developed, and received into the interior of the bones; very distinct pores indicate their course. One of the channels commences on the turbinal bone, and is divided into two portions, one of which runs along the infraorbital ring, the other along the frontals; a transverse branch unites the frontal portion with that of the other side. The infraorbital and frontal portions are confluent into one branch behind the orbit, running along the postfrontal and parietal to the upper end of the praeoperculum. The second channel commences at the symphysis of the lower jaw, passes the tympanic, and running along the praeopercular limbs meets the first channel. The united stem of both passes over the suprascapula into the muciferous system of the tr Link, after having emitted a short branch towards the supraoccipital.

The scapula is longer than the suprascapula; ulna with a small ovate foramen; the radius does not extend downwards to the symphysis of the humeri, and is quite flat, so that the cavity for the pectoral muscles is very shallow; there is a broad slit between radius, and humerus; carpal bones very small; the upper portion of the coracoid broad, the lower short, thin, and narrow. The pubic bones are elongate, triangular, and suspended from the symphysis of the humeri. The vertebral column is composed of fifty-two short vertebrae. We cannot distinguish a caudal portion, as the abdominal cavity is continued on to nearly the end of the tail. Nearly all the vertebrae have ribs suspended from long parapophyses, and the interhaemals are not in immediate connexion with the skeleton; neurals strongly inclined backwards, rather feeble; one interneural always corresponds to one neural. ToC .

Ophiocephalus micropeltes

Ophicephalus micropeltes, (Kuhl & v. Hass.) Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 427 ; Bleek. Verh. Bat. Gen. xxiii., Labyr. p. 12 .

- serpentinus, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 429 ; Griff. Anim Kingd . x. pl. 52. fig. 3.

D. 44. A. 27. L. lat. 95. L. transv. 6/15. Vert. 53.

A series of large teeth in the lower jaw and on the palatine bones. The height of the body is contained six times in the total length, the length of the head nearly four times. The width of the interorbital space is much more than the extent of the snout, and contained three times and three-fourths in the length of the head. Cleft of the mouth large, extending behind the orbit. The scales on the upper surface of the head are small, and there are about seventeen series, of scales between the orbit and the angle of the praeoperculum. The ventral is not much shorter than the pectoral. Back and sides brown: two series of alternate round light spots along the side; the spots are sometimes confluent, forming a zigzag band. Young brown, with lighter longitudinal stripes.

Fresh waters of Siam and of the East Indian Archipelago.

Dr. v. Bleeker distinguishes another species from the present one, which he calls O. stevensii ( Borneo, vii. p. 444 ), and which is said to have the body rather more elongate, its depth being one-seventh of the total length. There appears also to be a difference in the colo ration of the dorsal fin, which he describes as having a broad brown longitudinal band in O. micropeltes, whilst it is violet in O. stevensii with several broad oblique lighter bands. ToC .

Channa

Ventral fins none. Pyloric appendages none. Fine, teeth in the jaws, on the vomer and the palatine bones, intermixed with larger ones in the lower jaw.

Fresh waters of Ceylon.

This genus, known to Gronow and Schneider, has not been recognized by recent authors. The typical specimen is not preserved in Gronow's Collection. ToC .

Channa orientalis

D. 34. A. 22. L. lat. 41. L. transv. 3/8.

The height of the body is contained eight times in the total length, the length of the head four times and a third, the length of the caudal five times. The interorbital space is very slightly convex, and its width is contained thrice and two-fifths in the length of the head. Snout rather obtuse; cleft of the mouth wide, the maxillary extending behind the orbit. Several teeth in the lower jaw larger than the rest; those of the vomer and the palatine bones in a single series. The length of the pectoral equals the distance of the end of the operculum from the orbit. Dark greenish-olive, indistinctly spotted with blackish. Fins with blackish spots.

Ceylon.

The accessory respiratory organ is very little complicated: it is a cavity, the opening of which is partly closed by a fold of the mucous membrane of the upper pharyngeal bone, by another of the upper portion of the first branchial arch, and finally by a lamelliform process of the epitympanic. ToC .

Synopsis of species

Follow the links starting with I., II., III. to use this key to the species. [snakeheads.org]

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Footnotes

1 Sowara, Russ . pl. 163. - Ophicephalus sowara, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 426 . - Vizagapatam. Bostrichoides ocellatus, Lacép. iii. pp. 144, 145 , ii. pl. 14. fig. 3 . - Ophicephalus ocellatus, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 434 . - China. Ophicephalus miliaris, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 439 . - China. Ophicephalus iris, Cuv. & Val. vii. p. 439 . - China. Ophicephalus jovis, . Richards. lchth. Chin. p. 252 - China. Ophicephalus theophrasti, Val. in Jacq. Voy. Ind. Poiss. pl. 13. fig. 1 . Ophicephalus leucopunctatus, Sykes in Trans. Zool. Soc. ii. p. 352. tab. 60 fig. 3 . - Dekkan. Philypnoides surakartensis, Bleek. Blenn. en Gob. p. 19 , is, according to a communication from Dr. v. Bleeker, the young of some species of Ophiocephalus . Back

2 O. rhodotaenia is Bleeker's own redescription of his O. pleurophthalma . [snakeheads.org] Back

3 O. mystax is Bleeker's own redescription of his O. mela(no)soma . [snakeheads.org] Back

4 O. siamensis was lately recognized as a young C. lucia by P. Musikasinthorn: Channa siamensis (Günther, 1861), a junior synonym of Channa lucius (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1831). Ichthyological Research (2001). vol. 48. pp. 319-324. . [snakeheads.org] Back

5 Today, O. pseudomarulia is considered to be a nominal form of Channa marulia. [snakeheads.org] Back

Acknowledgement and Source(s)

This chapter was originally published under the above title in: Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum . Vol. 3, 1861. pp. 468 - 483.

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