Menopoma, a North American tailed batra-chian reptile, one of the series of animals which seem to connect the perennibranchiate amphibians with the salamanders. The genus menopoma was established by Harlan in 1825, though Leuckhardt had formed the genus cryp-tobranchus in 1821. The generic characters are: large and flat head; upper jaw with two concentric series of minute teeth, the inner the less extensive, lower jaw with a single series; a single branchial orifice on each side; branchiae rudimentary and evanescent; extremities four, the anterior with four fingers, the posterior with five, short and palmated: skin loose and folded on the sides of the body. The common menopoma (M. Allerghaniense, Harlan) attains a length of about 15 in., of which the head is 14 and the body 9; the large mouth is provided with thick lips, and the snout is full and rounded; the nostrils anterior and very small, the eyes minute and black; no cutaneous fold at the throat; body stout and thick, the vent a circular fringed orifice; tail large, much compressed laterally, with a rayless cutaneous fin along the upper "border. The color is said by De Kay to be pale slate, mottled with dusky.

It lives in fresh water, and is carnivorous and voracious, feeding on fish, worms, and mollusks; it is found in the Alleghany river and its tributaries, and many of the branches of the Ohio and Mississippi; its most common name is "hellbender." Dr. Holbrook describes another species (M.fuscum), from western South Carolina, brownish above and yellowish white below; both species have the limbs fringed posteriorly. - Van der Hoeven places the gigantic salamander of Japan in the genus cryp-tobranchus, under the name of C. Japonicvs. This animal, the largest of the known naked amphibia, growing to a length of more than 3 ft. and to a weight of nearly 20 lbs., was discovered by Siebold, who had several specimens alive, and kept one for many years in Europe. The form is robust; the tail occupies about one third of the length, and constitutes the principal organ of locomotion, assisted by a loose fold of skin extending from the head along the sides to the origin of the tail; the lips are not very distinct, and the tongue is small; the occiput is separated from the neck by two wide protuberances formed by the muscles' of the jaws; the skin above is covered with numerous rough prominences, which give it a very forbidding appearance; the color is dark brown, with wide blackish spots.

Van der Hoeven maintains that this is not distinguished from menopoma by any generic character; it resembles the latter in form, habits, bones of the skull, number of vertebra) (20 in the trunk and 24 in the tail), sternum, pelvis, ribs, and extremities; the bones present cavities opening externally; there is no gill aperture, and the branchiae disappear early. It is slow in its movements, remaining quiet at the bottom of the water, rising to the surface every five or ten minutes to breathe air both by the nostrils and the mouth, but able to remain half an hour under water without renewing the contents of the lungs; generally inoffensive, it will bite severely when irritated; it is voracious, feeding upon fish, frogs, insects, and even its own species, which it seizes with a sudden movement of the head; after eating, it generally fasts a week or two, and it is less voracious in winter than in summer; it is able to endure extremes of heat and cold, and has a remarkable power of reproducing lost parts; on land its motions are very awkward and slow.

This species is confined to the lakes and streams of the high mountains of Niphon, between lat. 34° and 36° N., and to some other parts of Japan and parts of China; it is employed by the native physicians, in the form of food, as a preservative against contagious diseases and as a remedy in pulmonary complaints. There has been for some years a living specimen in the zoological gardens in London. The remains of the gigantic salamander found in the tertiary fresh-water formations of Oenin-gen, formerly regarded as fossil human bones, the homo diluvii testis of Scheuchzer, are referred to this genus by Van der Hoeven, under the name of G. primigcnius; in size, form, and structure it comes near to the Japanese species, and is one of the most interesting of the antediluvian animals which inhabited the fresh waters of Europe. The famous footprints of llildburghausen, Germany, on which was established the cheirotherium of Dr. Kaup, have also been referred to a similar salaman-droid batrachian. (See Labyrinthodox).

Menopoma Allegkaniense.   1. Head. 2. Mouth.

Menopoma Allegkaniense. - 1. Head. 2. Mouth.