Imagens das páginas

as the conclusion would be, from the tylis, cauda articulata subulata apice white of an egg being found in a fissa. Habitat in Oceano Norwagico. single human stomach after breakfast, Harengum cibus gratissimus."- ibid. to conclude that the race lived solely 518. upon eggs.

Here, I take leave to remark, are But to return to the roe-aals. no doubtful conjectures upon a halfThese animals seem to be, if not the digested animal of dubious identity; same, at least very nearly approaching but scientific descriptions of the mi. to the identical food which, according nute or microscopic shrimps upon to Dr Knox, gives the herring its which the herring was known to feed, value, and the Dutch their superiority enabling future observers to identify in curing this fish. In a note to the species. Lacepede's account of the herring, In almost all of the herring stowhich is similar to that of Bloch, his machs, now on the table, fragments ingenious editor adds an explanation of minute crustacea were found in conin regard to what the roe-aal of the siderable abundance. There were evi, fishermen of Norway really are. I dently more than one species. quote the passage.- " These are not Latreille, the most celebrated of worms,” says he, “but minute shrimps, modern entomologists, in his History which are found in the intestines of of Insects, Paris, 1798, records the the herrings fished on the coasts of Gaminarus esca of Fabricus as the food Norway. This species of crustacea, of the herring. The Astacus harendescribed by M. Fabricius under the gum of the same author he refers to a name of Astacus harengum, and which new genus, Mlysis, and states that it has the Norwegians call aal and sil aal, is been found on the coast of France. so multiplied during summer, that In the Dictionnaire des Sciences Na. thousands of these animals are found turelles, and under the head Clupea, in a bucket of sea water. They serve M. Hippolyte Cloquet says of the her. as the food of fishes, and principally ring,“ Il se nourrit d'auts de poissons, of the herrings, which follow them de petits crabes, et de vers." (IX. 428.) wherever they direct their course, And Bosc, in the “ Nouveau Dictionwherever the wind or current drives naire d'Histoire Naturelle,' says, “ Ils them. M. Stroem attributes to the vivent de petits poissons, de petits cruseyes of these shrimps, which contain taces, de vers marins, de mollusques, a deep red fluid, the reddish colour of &c. et ils servent de nourriture à tous the excrements of the herrings, a tint les cétacés, et à tous les poissons vowhich is communicated even to the races qui habitent les mêmes mers belly."--Sonnini's Buffon, vol. lxvii., qu'eux."-(XIV, 198.) p. 15.

In Gmelin's edition of the Systema Lacepede, in the same article, says Naturæ of Linnæus, the translation of that “the food of the herring, to which, by Dr Turton, published in which it owes its rich and agreeable 1802, it was certainly in Dr Kuox's taste, consists generally of ova of power to have consulted, the Astacus fishes, minute crabs, and worms." harengum and Gammarus esca of Ibid.

Fabricius are mentioned as the food of M. Fabricius, the author alluded to the herring—the last species, indeed, in the foregoing extract, published his " as the chief food of herrings."“ Species Insectorum" in 1781. His (III. 761.) And in the “ British Zoocharacter as a naturalist, and that in a logy” of Pennant, not unknown to Dr department peculiarly his own, is of Knox, if we may judge so from his the very first order. The minute referring to this work, that excellent shrimps, which were ascertained to naturalist says, regarding the food of form a chief part of the food of the the herring, “ What their food is near herring on the coasts of Norway, he the Pole, we are not yet informed ; thus describes :

but in our seas they feed much on the “ Astacus harengum, antennis pos- Oniscus marinus, a crustaceous insect, ticis bifidis porrectis, rostro subulato, and sometimes on their own fry. The oculis globosis prominentibus. Habi. herring will rise to a fly. Mr Low of tat in Oceano Norwagico copiosissime, Birsa, in the Orkneys, assures me harengum et gadorum esca."-Vol. I. that he has caught many thousands p. 511.

with a common trout-fly, in a deep " Gammarus esca, manibus adac. hole in a rivulet into which the tide 221.)

flows. He commonly went at the fall he, “the whole of the larger animals of the tide. They were young fish, depend on those minute beings, which, from six to eight inches in length."- until the year 1816, when I first en(Pennant, III. 448-9. Lond. 1812.) tered on the examination of the sea

The Reverend George Low, in his water, were not, I believe, known to posthumous work, entitled Natural exist in the Polar seas. And thus we History of Orkney, published by Dr find a dependent chain of existence, Leach in 1813, confirms this state. one of the smaller links of which bement (p. 227); and Dr Macculloch ing destroyed, the whole might necescorroborates these in a paper published sarily perish."-(1. 546.) in Brande's Journal of Science in Dr Macculloch also states the mi1823. “ When they (the herrings) nute medusa to form part of the food first arrive, and for the apparent pur- of the herring, on the coasts of Bripose of spawning, they are not in tain. « Among that food" (says he) shoals. They cannot be taken in nets " we may reckon the meduse, and from their dispersion. But the High- other analogous marine vermes, which landers then fish them with a feather are produced in such abundance in all or a fly, and a rod, and by this very these shallow seas." (Brande's Jouramusing fishery, they take them in nal, XVI., London, 1823.) And in the sufficient quantity to render it a profit. volume of the same Journal for 1829, able occupation; as one man has been he remarks_“ If the stomachs of thus known to take a barrel and a these fishes are widely examined, they half, or about 1200 fish, during the will not be found empty, though we few days this fishery lasts."-(XVI. cannot detect organized forms in

them, as we find entire crabs in the Dr Neill, in a List of the Fishes of stomach of a cod-fish. Nor is this the Forth, published in the Werne- surprising, when we consider how rian Transactions in 1811, states his small and how tender the tribes of having found " in the stomach and marine worms and insects are, and @sophagus of a large female herring how rapid is the digestive power of no fewer than five young herrings fishes."-(Quart. Journal of Science, (not sprats) the lower partly dis. 1829, p. 134.5.) solved, the others entire." And he adds, that is when in Shetland in I now come to the volume of the 1804, I met with people who had oc- Highland Society Transactions for casionally taken herrings when fish- the year 1803, which is referred to by ing for piltocks or coal-fish with lim. Dr Knox in support of his assertion pet bait."-(1, 545.) I myself once that, prior to his assumed discovery found in the stomach of a large her. in 1833, the food of the herring was ring two partially decayed young totally unknown. Before stating what fishes of the same species. And there this volume contains on the subject, is now on the table (No. 6), a sto. although including the opinion of a mach of a herring taken this summer, Professor of Natural History, I must containing a young animal of the take leave to state, that, supposing the same or some allied species.

authors of the papers in this valuable Sir John Barrow, in the article work to have decided that the food of Fisheries, printed in the Supplement the herring was to them totally unto the Encyclopædia Britannica, gives known, yet this dictum, in place of it as the result of his enquiries that proving the fact, would only have the herring « fattens on the swarms proved their ignorance of what had of shrimps and other marine insects" been previously written upon the subwhich abound in the Northern seas ject. After what I have already (IV. 257). . And Mr Wm. Scoresby stated as to the numerous authors states the swarms of minute medusa who have mentioned and described which are found in these seas, and the food of the herring-not even the even colouring the water, as beyond opinion of Dr Knox, nor Professor calculation. " The fin-whales and Rennie of the King's College, Lon. dolphins'' (says he) “ feed principally don, celebrated as they are or may be, on herrings, and other small fishes. can weaken their testimony. They may

These subsist on the smaller cancri, choose to shut their eyes in sunshine meduse, and animalcules." (Arctic and fancy it to be dark. The only Regions, I. 546.) « Thus," continues inference to be drawn from such statements is probative of the ignorance of accounts given to me by these persons those who make them.

agreed in this,--that the substance conHere I cannot help noticing the sists of separate globules of a roundish ignorance of the natural sciences figure, and of the size of a pea, rewhich this volume indicates as pre- sembles blubber, covers the surface vailing even among well-informed men of the sea to a great extent, and makes in other respects. There is more in- it to appearance as if covered with oil ; formation regarding the natural history that the herrings are known to feed of the herring in the work of Neu- upon it; and that it has been observed crantz, published 150 years previously, in great profusion to the north-west of than is to be found in these papers. Shetland, where the herring shoals And it is but justice to my learned existed at the time, but has nowhere friend, Professor Jameson, to say, that else been seen on the coast of Scotit is only since his appointment to the land. If this account, given by perchair of natural history, and the estab. sons of observation and veracity, is ad. lishment of the Edinburgh Museum, mitted, we need be no longer surprised that that taste for the study of nature at the retreat of the herrings to those in this country has been excited, which tracts of the northern sea, nor at their has led to so many spendid additions return from thence in a full-fed and to our knowledge.

fat condition. The substance here inThe Rev. Dr Walker, in a paper timated is probably a small species of on the natural history of the herring, the medusa, or some similar marine in vol. ii. of the work referred to, and animal, which is as yet not known to whom Dr Knox characterises as a naturalists."-(II. 275, 276.) “ strictly correct, scientific, and candid Dr Walker seems perfectly right in person, observes that he had examin- his conjecture ; for Mr Scoresby and ed the stomachs of herrings at different Dr Macculloch, as has been already seasons of the year without finding in remarked, positively mention species them any sort of palpable aliment."- of medusa as the food of the herring. (P.274.) “On their first appearance off The former states their incalculable the Lewis, in the month of July, when numbers in the Northern seas, tinging they were full grown, and very fat, the water for miles, and gives figures nothing appeared in their stomach but of several species; and the latter states a little slime."-(P. 275.) “ During that he has seen large tracts of the the residence of the herrings on the Cornish coast, where the “ whole sea coast of Scotland, we know of no food was almost a mass of life, from the they use, and it is probable they require presence of these and other marine little or none, except some attenuated animals."-(Jour.of Science for 1830, alimentary matter which the sea-water p. 135.) may afford them.”—(P. 275.) « We In the same volume is a paper, by think it not altogether improbable that Mr John Mackenzie, on the fisheries of they may live on a small species of me. Scotland, which tends to corroborate dusa, or some similar marine animal, the fact of some minute species of which is not as yet known to natural- medusæ forming the food of the herists."-(P.276.)

ring in certain situations. “ Another Here Dr Knox confines himself, in article of their food” (says he) “ is an the quotations he gives from Dr Wal- oozy substance at the bottom of the ker's paper, to extracting such sen- sca, adapted, it would appear, by the tences as imply the food of the herring Author of Nature for that purpose. to be totally unknown. But this is not This sometimes appears in calm wea. the way, were the matter at all doubt ther floating on the surface, in the form ful, to arrive at a just conclusion. I of small globules, at which fishermen shall give the sequel of the passage in have observed herrings to spring as Dr Walker's words :

trouts do at flies."-(P. 314.) These « In the ocean, to the north-west, floating globules were, there is little and at a considerable distance from the doubt, some small species of medusa, most northern extremity of the British or kindred animal, such as referred to islands, a vast profusion of a singular by Dr Walker, and mentioned as the substance has been often seen floating food of the herring by Mr Scoresby on the surface, and that by skilful ma. and Dr Macculloch; and goes to prove, riners, who were also conversant with in addition to what is stated by these the herring-fishery. The different writers, that minute molluscous ani, mals form an important portion of the Here Dr Knox's quotation stops, lest food of the herring in particular sea- the explanation which follows might sons.

lessen the value of his assumed discoA stomach of a herring, caught in very. But Mr Headrick continues the Frith of Forth this summer (1837), thus:-“ This,” says he, « may be containing this species of food, is on owing to the strong digestive powers, the table, No. 7.

which speedily convert into chyle the Mr Mackenzie further states, that, food received into the stomach. In « in regard to the food of the herring, all the experiments I have heard nar. it has been frequently observed that rated, with a view to ascertain on what the small fry suck their nutrition out the herring feeds, it appeared that a of the marine alga, or from some mat. considerable time was allowed to elapse ter adhering to them." This obser, between its being killed and cut up. vation is borne out by the fact of many Now, such an experiment is not fair. marine animals depositing their ova In man and other animals the power on the sea-weed, and by the fact of ova of the gastric juice is known to conof fishes, and even those of their own tinue after death, so as not only to lispecies, being found in the stomach of quify the contents of the stomach, but the herring. Mr Mackenzie also men- even to corrode the stomach itself. tions that “it has been ascertained by The only way to know on what a herfishermen that herrings will swallow ring feeds, is to cut it up immediately a clear unbaited hook, such as is used after it has enjoyed a full meal. Both for catching haddocks, when tied to a the salmon and the herring leap at fine line ; a device which has been of. flies and other winged insects." ten successfully adopted when the her. Trans. High. Soc. II. 444, 445. ring fishery is carried on in deep water, In regard to what is stated by Dr in order to discover the arrival of the Walker and Mr Headrick as their own shoals. It seems certain, therefore, opinion, that opinion is corroborative that the herrings take these hooks for of what had been before discovered as such animalcules as they, at least, some to the food of the herring. As to their times feed upon."-(11. 313, 314.) ignorance of what had been previously

In the same volume is a paper, by observed and recorded upon this subthe Rev. James Headrick, on the fish- ject, I cannot pretend to account. But eries of Scotland, which Dr Knox has their want of knowledge by no means also quoted as proving the food of the proves, in the face of evidence to the herring to be unknown. But, as the contrary, that such knowledge did Doctor has only given a portion of not exist. I am aware that, from the the paragraph on the subject, and interruption of intercourse occasioned founded on it as a distinct proposition, by the wars of the French Revoluit is necessary to give the whole state. tion, there was difficulty in getting ment in connexion. “ With regard books from the Continent; and a great to their mode of feeding,” says Mr degree of ignorance seems to have preHeadrick, « it is, in all probability, vailed in Scotland as to the progress similar in the salmon and the herring. of the natural sciences in foreign counI suppose they live chiefly on water, tries, and even in England. But for and on small insects which abound both Dr Knox and Professor Rennie there in the sea and in rivers. I have been is not the same excuse; and the only told of the fry of smaller fishes found conclusion that can be drawn from in the stomachs of salmon; but such the statements of these gentlemen is, instances never occurred to me, and that when they penned them they I never heard of any animal being were not aware of what had been prefound in the stomach of a herring." viously written.

II.- FooD OF THE SALMON.-(Salmo Salar, Lin.)

I now come to the third point, on of Dr Knox's paper. Dr Knox's aswhich I have to make a few observa. sertions, however, are as confidently tions, tending to show that the food made with regard to his discovery of of the salmon was perfectly well known the food of the salmon, as they were to Naturalists before the publication with regard to the food of the herring, and, as I shall endeavour to show, their spawn at all seasons, and in sufequally unfounded.

ficient quantity, to feed the family of - The nature of the food of the her. British salmon. There is not a donbt, ring, Coregonus, and salmon” (says that if Dr Knox had examined the stohe),“ was not to be stumbled on by ac- machs of salmon at different períods, cident. I feel happy in having to offer and on different stations, he would not it as a direct result of patient scientific only have found the ova of the starenquiry."-(P. 463.)

fish (for that is the only echinoder“ As a proof of the difficulty of the matous animal stated as supplying enquiry, it being unnecessary to cite the peculiar food), but also the star. more here, I shall content myself with fish itself, the smaller crustacea, and quoting a passage from a very recent the small fishes which abound on the work (1833) on natural history. The coasts which salmon frequent. But of Complete Angler of Izaak Walton this afterwards. edited by Mr Rennie, Professor of In the years 1824 and 1825, a ComZoology, King's College, London. mittee of the House of Commons was In 1653, Walton found nothing in the appointed to investigate the modes of stomach of the Fordige trout, and in carrying on the principal salmon fisha note, in the year 1833, Mr Rennie eries in the kingdom, for the purpose adds,“ The same is true of the salmon, of framing an Act of Parliament that which has never any thing besides a "should regulate that fishery, for the yellow fluid in his stomach when advantage of the river and coast procaught."-(P. 467.)

prietors and the public. A valuable "The true salmon prefers a pecu. body of evidence was thus procured liar kind of food, the ova of the Echi regarding the habits of the salmon ; nodermata, and takes with great reluc. the period of its ascending the differtance any other."

ent rivers for the purpose of spawn. " When the salmon first takes to ing; the deposition of the ova in the the estuary and to the river, whether spawning beds; the descent of the beyond or within the influence of the young to the sea; and the food of this tide, he does not feed, unless the es. fish both in the sea and in rivers, &c. tuary should happen to contain this But though this enquiry was made with peculiar kind of food."-(P. 468.) great ability on the part of the com

"I havo opened the stomach of a mittee, and although the witnesses fish killed by the poacher in the month examined included practical fishermen, of October, nearly 100 miles from the tacksmen of fisheries, river and shore ocean, with the peculiar food, and none proprietors, and scientific men of the else, in the intestines."-(P. 470.) first eminence, Dr Knox, upon what

This peculiar food-on reading the principle it is difficult to conceive, first part of his paper, Dr Knox re. characterises the results of the whole stricted to the ova of the ECHINODER- minutes of evidence as “ below criti. MATA, and nothing else.

cism"-(P. 500);" the persons of. The genera of the first order of this fering the testimony and evidence, class are ASTERIAS, ENCRINUS, ECHI. without any exception, incompetent to NUS of Linnæus, and HOLOTHURIA. the task, the greater part being the But only one species of the first genus, evidence of individuals, to whom it Asterias glacialis, is particularly men would be impossible even to explain tioned as affording this food; and we the care and precision and extent of are not informed how the ova of this direct evidence, requisite to arrive at genus, when separated from the ani. a correct scientific conclusion"-(P. mal, is to be distinguished from that of 500); and "none was found, through. the other genera of the order. It would out their most extended inquiry, who be information, indeed, to learn that could offer a rational conjecture Encrini were so abundant on our (founded on facts) personally known coasts, that their spawn afforded the and understood (the result of posi. salmon its peculiar food. On read. tive research, by a competent naturaling the second portion, he added an- ist and physiologist), as to the food of other article to the salmon's bill of the salmon, its habitat while in the fare in “ some of the crustacea." But ocean, and its feeding ground."--(P. in the abstract drawn up by himself, 496.) _The whole, in short, is « an the food is limited to the Echinoder. inextricable mass of confusion and ermata, as if these animals deposited ror."-(P. 463.)

« AnteriorContinuar »