Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

of France to its highest pitch. His real knowledge of philosophy and ancient history was undoubtedly inconsiderable; and when he speaks of religion, he shows a more gross ignorance, and a more abject credulity, than have ever disgraced the followers of the lowest superstition. Every thing ridiculous was admitted into his writings, if he thought it aimed a blow against revelation.

ART. VI.-Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. The Natural History of Fishes. By C. La Cépède. Vol. III. 4to.

Our author's language was somewhat equivocal; for we supposed, and we suspect, that he, at the time, intended to convey the idea, that the third volume would be the last. We now find, however, that two others will foliow; but the impression of the fourth is very nearly complete, and the fifth is seemingly in forwardness. The great number of new species is one cause of this extended bulk; for, in the present volume, of 298 species described, 100 were hitherto unknown. The genera are forty-eight, of which thirty-four are new. Of the 610 species described in these three volumes, 154 are new, but some of these are probably varieties alone. The number of plates in this volume, on account of the additional extent of the work, is not so great as was promised; we find thirty-four only.

The descriptions are preceded by a discourse on the influence of art on the nature of fishes; and its object is to show the different contrivances which human industry has executed, to obtain the greatest quantity of fishes for the use of man. M. La Cépède, at first, engages in the details of fishery; but is by no means acquainted with the subject, in its full extent, and all its varieties, for it would furnish a large and interesting volume. He next offers the means of multiplying the reproduction of fishes. The statesman,' says he should consider fisheries as a second riculture. The country gentleman should adopt them as a new source of riches and pleasure.' He shows methods of carrying and accustoming fishes to new situations, multiplying and improving them. The method of crossing the breeds succeeds as well with fishes as with other animals. The other means of improving them are, abundant and suitable nourishment, security, repose, and the proper choice of the parent stocks. Fishes, we find, are sometimes subject to epidemics, which can only be conveyed to them by deleterious miasmata in an aèrial form. We must, however, repeat the observation, that citizen La Cépède is scarcely acquainted with any fishes beyond those in a glass vase or a pond.

After the essay in this volume, we find a continuation of the table of the nineteenth order of the class of fishes, or the third order of the first division of osseous fishes. We shall pursue the genus scomber, which was left unfinished in the second vo. lume, as we noticed in the article respecting it in our 32d volume, New Arr. p. 562. The scomber germen is a new species, known to Commerson, and described in his MSS. It has been noticed by various navigators, and called by some long ear,' but never been distinguished in any publication. The S. thazard is also new, from the same collection : this species has been applied indiscriminately to many of the scombri, but is now properly limited. The S. bonite is the S. pelamis or pelamide of Linnæus and other naturalists. The S. Sinensis is described, in general terms, from a Chinese drawing. The scomber scombrus, the mackarel, is well known, and our author gives a good account of their migrations. They appear, from the observations of vice-admiral Pleville de Peley, to remain in a torpid state in the shallows, covered with snow, in the winter, and to recover their senses and sight very slowly. The κολιας of Aristotle, the S. colias of Linnæus, our author supposes to have been the mackarel. The scomber described by Sloane is added, with the trivial name of albacoras, which is thus limited to a single species, though this is not the first time that the term has been confined.

The next genus is a new one, the scomberoides; and the three species, the S. Noel, Commersonianus, and saltator, are in a great measure new. The last was indeed known to Plumier.

The sixty-second genus is the caranx, usually confounded with the scomber, but properly separated from it

. Our readers may recognise it, when we remark that its principal species is called on the coast the horse-mackarel. We think we have remarked that the poisonous fishes are peculiarly distinguished by a disgusting appearance; and we know none of this kind which would not repel by such appearance any desire to taste it. The horse-mackarel is of this kind : its colour and shape, though approaching the pleasing form of the mackarel, is however yellow and frightful; nor is it without suspicion of being occasi• onally deleterious. The species are divided, as distinguished by many isolated points between the dorsal fins, or without them. The C. trachurus is the scomber trachurus of Linnæus, and the generic name is affixed from the peculiar projection of the fore part of the head. The C. amia, chrysurus, glaucus, and albus, are arranged by Linnæus under the genus scomber, with the same trivial names. The C. erithurus is the scomber hippos of Linnæus; the C. filamentosus is described by Mungo Parke in the Linnæan Transactions; the C. Daubentonii was deScribed in the MSS. of Phumier. The C. speciosus (very beautiful) was described by Limæus ; and the C. carangua is described from the drawings of Plumier. The C. ferdau, goess, sansun, and korab, were known to Linnæus : the second had the trivial name of fulvo-guttatus, and the last that of ignobilis. These are all inhabitants of the Red Sea, and form the second section of the genus.'

The sixty-third genus is also taken from the scombri, and styled trachinotus. The only species is the T. falcatus, the scomber falcatus of Linnæus.

The sixty-fourth is the caranxomorus. The scomber pelagicus of Linnæus, and a new species from Plumier, with his own trivial name.

The sixty-fifth genus is entitled cæsio; and in this genus our author has included the coerulaureus described by Commerson, and the equulus, placed by Forskall in the middle of the scombri, and by Gmelin among the centrogasteri.

The cæsiomorus is a new genus, containing two new species; one denominated from Baillon, the other from Block. The coris is also a new genus; and for its two species, the C. aygula and angulatus, we are apparently indebted to Commerson. The two species of the genus gomphosis, the G. cæruleus and varius, are derived from the same collection.

The chætodon unicornis of Linnæus, with a new discovered species by Commerson, form, in our author's hands, a new genus under the name of naso; and the two species are N. fronticornis and tuberosus. A new genus is formed also under the name of kyphosus; of which there is only one species, the bigibbus, from its two protuberances.

The goramy-we mean the Chinese goramy, for the name has been given also to a species of trichopodes--is arranged under a new genus, the osphronemus, which contains only one other species, the O. gallus. The goramy, brought from China, has greatly multiplied in Bengal, and become one of the most deli, cate, and, froin its size, one of the most valuable of the fresh, water fishes. The O. gailus is arranged by Linnæus under the genus labrus. The genus trichopodus contains two species-the

T. mentum, which has not yet been included in any system, and is called by navigators the goramy, and the T. tricopterus, labrus tricopterus of Linnæus. The next is a new species and a new genus from Commerson, the monodactylus falciformis, That which follows is also new, the plectorinchus chåtodontoides; the generic name derived from the singular folds of the muzzle. The pogonias fasciatus is a new individual, constituting a new genus from the singular beard on the lower jaw. In the bostrichus, another new genus, the whiskers are on the upper jaw; and two species are described, the B. Sinensis and maculatus: the former taken from Chinese drawings. The bostrychoides oculatus is from the same source.

The echeneis is a Linnæan genus; and the E. remora, or the sucking-fish, is known from its sticking in numbers to the keels of ships, and retarding—described somewhat too poetically in the volume before us-their course. The E. naucrates occurs also in Gmelin's edition, and the E. lineata is described in the Linnæan Transactions.

The macrourus is a genus formed by Block; and the M. berglex of La Cépède is the M. rupestris of Block, the coryphæna rupestris of Linnæus. The trivial name is of northern erigin, from its resemblance to a species of salmon, with a similar appellation.

The dolphin coryphæna is a very extensive genus, whose ranks have however been thinned by later naturalists. The C. hippurus, aurata (equiselis L.), undulata (fasciolata L.), pompilus, cærulea, Plumieri, novacula, psittacus, sima, lineata, acuta, and viridus, were known to the latest editor of the Linnæan system. The C. chrysurus and scombroides are from Commerson : the C. Sinensis from some Chinese drawings.

The hæmipteronotus is very properly made a distinct genus : it contains the coryphæna pentadactyla, under the trivial name of quinquemaculatus, and the C. hemiptera Linn. with the specific appellation of Gmelini. The form of the branchial apertures has induced our author to separate the coryphæna branchiostega under a new genus, with the very improper title of coryphænoides. The specific distinction is from Hottuyn.

M.La Cépède has separated from the cotti those fishes covered with hard scales resembling rings, and formed a new genus entitled aspidophorus. The first is A. armatus, the cottus, calaphractus of Linnæus; the second the A. lisiza, C. Japonicus L. The C. monopterygius L. is, we think improperly, separated from the aspidophori, under the exceptionable title of aspidophoroides Tranquebar. The cottus is a well known genus, and the C. grunniens, scorpius, quadricornis, scaber, insidiator, and gobio, are the same with the Linnæan species. The cottus Australis is from New South Wales; the C. Madegascar and Niger from Commerson.

The genus scorpæna is also not greatly changed from the Linnæan system. We find the S. horrida, Africana (Capensis L.), spinosa, Massiliensis (referred by L. to the genus cottus which it greatly resembles), rascassa (porcus L.), scrofa, didactyla, and volitans of former authors. There are also several new ones, viz. the $. aculeata, from the Museum of Natural History, the bicirrata and mahe from Commerson; the barbata from Gronovius ; Plumieri from the MSS. of that naturalist; and Americana from Du Hamel.

A fish found on the shores of Martinico by Plumier was referred by him to the scombri ; but, from the drawing preserved in the Museum, it appears to be a different fish, and is inserted in this volume under the generic name of scombromorus. The gasterosteus contains the three Linnæan species, aculeatus, pungilius, and spinachia. The centropus rhombeus from Forskâl is one of the species of centrogaster; and under the genus centrogaster we find the two Linnæan species, fuscescens and argentatus. The three following genera, the centronotus, the lepisacanthus, and the cephalacanthus, are separated from the numerous genus of gasterosteus, from circumstances apparently too minute and refined, but perhaps, on the whole, with suf. ficient propriety. They are of little importance, and contain no great number of individuals, if we except the pilot-fishes.

The flying-fishes are separated from the extensive genus of trigla, and divided into two genera—the dactylopterus, or those whose wings are attached to the fingers; and the prionotus, from the spines on the back. The triglæ are still sufficiently numerous. We find the T. lyra, Asiatica, Carolina, lastoviza (Adriatica L.), hirundo, gurnardus, milvus (lucerna, L.), and minuta of former authors. The T. punctata and pini from Block, and the cavilone from Rondelet.' The T. cataphracta L. is separated under another genus, by our author, on account of the bony plates with which the upper part of the body is covered, under the name of peristedion, with the trivial name of marmalat; and another species, the P. chabrontera, from Os beck, is added.

The flying sword-fish is under the genus istiophorus, with the specific name of gladifer. It is sometimes called the seawoodcock. The gymnetrus hawken of Block also forms & separate genus, though admitted as such with some hesitation.

The mullus is an extensive genus, and one of the few articles of food in which modern luxury agrees with the ancient,

The species are numerous, and many of them new. The mullus ruber (barbatus L.), surmuletus, aurifiamma, Japonicus, vittatus, and maculatus (surmuletus var. B. L.), were known to former authors. From the manuscripts of Commerson our author has added M. bifasciatus, cyclostomus, trifasciatus, ma. cronemus, barberinus, rubescens, cryserydros, and flavo lineatus. The absence of the whiskers fully justifies M. La Cépède in separating the mullus imberbis. He has formed a new genus for it, under the name of apogon: it contains only one species, The lonchurus is a new genus also from Block ; viz. the long. tailed, from the length of the filament, which terminates each thoracic fin. Another new genus is proposed for a beautiful fish known only from Chinese drawings, and it is entitled macropodus viridi-auratus. . Though our article might be extended farther, and comprehend the remainder of the volume, yet we shall now stop, The seventeen genera which follow form one vast family of more than 200 species, which differ by almost imperceptible gradations, so as to mock the attempts of the ablest systematic

« ElőzőTovább »