Zoophylacium Gronovianum, exhibens animalia quadrupeda, amphibia, pisces,insecta, vermes, mollusca, testacea, et zoophytaa, qua in museo, suo, adservavit, examini subjecit, systematice disposuit atque descripsit.

Theodorus Laurens Gronovius

Introduction to the reader: the role of Gronovius for snakeheads

Although Gronovius published his Zoophylaceum in 1763 and was thus nominally postLinnaean , his work is not accepted as it does not use the binomial system. Nevertheless, his work, like that of Arteiii, is of tremendous scientific value. It was in fact he that first originated the name Channa , describing this as well as other wellknown genera such as Erythrinus, Anostomus, Charax (all characins), and Mastacembelus, to mention but a few. Gronovius' work was in fact accepted for a long time, and genera such as Charax Gronovius, 1763 remained valid until thrown out by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) (Opinion 261). The Zoophylaceum (and other works by Gronovius) do not conform to the rules of Linnaeus' binomial system. Happily, however, many of his names do survive, thanks to Giovanni Antonio Scopoli (which goes to show that plagiarism has its uses!). Opinion 329 of the ICZN (1955) declares that Scopoli published Gronovius names in binomial form in 1777 , and they are thus valid. The word of the ICZN is law in such matters.

- Heiko Bleheri in Channidae . A full overview on natural history and that of Channa, please consult Cuvier's overview of the ichthyology .


Corpus oblongum, teres, cathetoplatheum. versus caput quadratum & sere plagioplateum. Dorsum & Abdomen recta. Linea Lateralis in mediis lateribus recta. Anus in medio corpore.

Caput plagioplateum, inerme, omnino squamosum. Opercula convexy, inermia, squamosa. Os dentibus minimis consusaneis. Membrana Branchiostega officulis quinque utrinque suffulta, ab operculis tecta. Pinnae inermes quique. In Dorso una per totum dorsum extensa. Ventrales nullae.
Gronovius drawing of his ChannaTable 9, fig. 1: This is the very first drawing of a channa (in the year 1762). We wonder why Scopoli is the one which is chosen to be the creator of the name channa, though his description is neither detailed nor does the book contain a drawing. We guess that because of the rarity of the book nobody has rediscovered this drawing.

408 Channa

Caput breve, plagiopletum subdepressum, superne planum, declive versus anteriora: subtus rotundato - planum, untrinque convexum, a ngustum, antrorsum conctractius obtusim; omnino aquamosum, inerme. Os in apice capitis, latissimum. Maxilla Inferior multo longior superiore circinnata; superiore subtruncatâ. Dentes minimi consusanei, areolatim in utrisque maxillis siti, acutissimi, in palato anteriore majores. Lingua subcartilaginea, fere libera, acuminato-rotundata, laevis. Nares in summo rostro inter oculos sitae, non ante eos, sed prope ad mox ante maxillam locatae, foraminulis distantibus duobus pertusae. Oculi magni in anticis capitis lateribus siti, orbitis osseis inclusi integerrimis. Opercula convexa, squamosa, inermia, contegentia Membranam Branchiostegam , qua utrinque ossiculis quinque arcuatis suffulta est. Aperturae Branchiarum apertissimae subtus & in lateribus.

Truncus mox post caput quadratus, versus caudam catheroplateus, squamosus, pentapteryius. Dorsum capite parum elevatius, rectum, planum, prope ad caput latissimum, prope ad caudam angustissimum, monopterygium. Latera plana, ubique ejusdem latidudinis. Abdomen planum, rectum. Linea Lateralis in exortu dorso proxima, recta, ubi pervenit ad ani regionem declinat oblique versus media latera, dein percurrit usque ad caudam. Anus in medio ferme corpore, capiti tamen parum propior.

Pinnae quinque omnino muticae; scilicet unica Dorsalis, binae Pectorales, unica Analis & unica Caudalis. Dorsalis Pinna unica in extremo dorso orta; linearis, integerrima, ossiculis viginti novem simplicibus muticis membranam superantibus suffulta, ad caudam ferme usque procurrens.

Pinna Pectoralis utrinque unica, mox post aperturas branchiarum sita, oblongiusscula, rotundata, ossiculis novemdecim versus apices ramosis instructa.

Pinna Ventrales nullae.

Pinna Ani mox post anum orta ad caudam usque procurrens, ossiculis suffulta octodecim aequalibus simplibus setaceis muticis.

Cauda rotundata, brevis, ossiculis octodecim, intermediis ramosis.

Color castaneusm in dorso intensior.

Habitat in India Orientali.

Acknowledgement and Source(s)

This passage was originally published with the above title in Leiden 1763. This book is very rare and very valuable! Thankyou library of the University of Basel (Switzerland) for your kind support!

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