image catesbyrs vol260
Image number: RS.18805
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Scarlet snake

Date

1731

Creator

Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Library reference

18894

Material

Technique

Subject

Content object

nature
   > animal
      > snake

Description

Zoological study of a scarlet snake, Cemophora coccinea, referred to here as Anguis niger, maculis rubris, shown in right profile, alongside the flowers of a sweet potatoe Ipomoea batatas plant. The scarlet snake is native to the Southeastern United States.

Signed and inscribed below: 'Convolvulus &c Anguis &c'

Written in associated description: 'They live mostly under Ground, and are seldom seen above, but are frequently found and dug up with Potatoes, at the Time those Roots are taken out of the Ground, which is in September and October.'

Plate 60 from volume II of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731).

Mark Catesby (1683-1749), British naturalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733. Travelling under the auspices of the Royal Society, Catesby recorded the earliest western scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the ‘New World’. He was the first naturalist to use folio-sized colour plates in a natural history book, and etched the copper plates himself before hand-colouring each individual print with watercolours.

Associated place

<The World>
   > North America
      > United States
<The World>
   > North America
      > Bahamas