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History of Animals   


facts it is quite obvious that fishes can hear; and indeed some
people, from living near the sea and frequently witnessing such
phenomena, affirm that of all living creatures the fish is the
quickest of hearing. And, by the way, of all fishes the quickest of
hearing are the cestreus or mullet, the chremps, the labrax or
basse, the salpe or saupe, the chromis or sciaena, and such like.
Other fishes are less quick of hearing, and, as might be expected, are
more apt to be found living at the bottom of the sea.
The case is similar in regard to the sense of smell. Thus, as a
rule, fishes will not touch a bait that is not fresh, neither are they
all caught by one and the same bait, but they are severally caught
by baits suited to their several likings, and these baits they
distinguish by their sense of smell; and, by the way, some fishes
are attracted by malodorous baits, as the saupe, for instance, is
attracted by excrement. Again, a number of fishes live in caves; and
accordingly fishermen, when they want to entice them out, smear the
mouth of a cave with strong-smelling pickles, and the fish are Soon
attracted to the smell. And the eel is caught in a similar way; for
the fisherman lays down an earthen pot that has held pickles, after
inserting a 'weel' in the neck thereof. As a general rule, fishes
are especially attracted by savoury smells. For this reason, fishermen
roast the fleshy parts of the cuttle-fish and use it as bait on
account of its smell, for fish are peculiarly attracted by it; they
also bake the octopus and bait their fish-baskets or weels with it,
entirely, as they say, on account of its smell. Furthermore,
gregarious fishes, if fish washings or bilge-water be thrown
overboard, are observed to scud off to a distance, from apparent
dislike of the smell. And it is asserted that they can at once
detect by smell the presence of their own blood; and this faculty is
manifested by their hurrying off to a great distance whenever
fish-blood is spilt in the sea. And, as a general rule, if you bait
your weel with a stinking bait, the fish refuse to enter the weel or
even to draw near; but if you bait the weel with a fresh and savoury
bait, they come at once from long distances and swim into it. And
all this is particularly manifest in the dolphin; for, as was
stated, it has no visible organ of hearing, and yet it is captured
when stupefied with noise; and so, while it has no visible organ for
smell, it has the sense of smell remarkably keen. It is manifest,
then, that the animals above mentioned are in possession of all the
five senses.
All other animals may, with very few exceptions, be comprehended
within four genera: to wit, molluscs, crustaceans, testaceans, and
insects. Of these four genera, the mollusc, the crustacean, and the
insect have all the senses: at all events, they have sight, smell, and
taste. As for insects, both winged and wingless, they can detect the
presence of scented objects afar off, as for instance bees and
snipes detect the presence of honey at a distance; and do so
recognizing it by smell. Many insects are killed by the smell of
brimstone; ants, if the apertures to their dwellings be smeared with
powdered origanum and brimstone, quit their nests; and most insects
may be banished with burnt hart's horn, or better still by the burning
of the gum styrax. The cuttle-fish, the octopus, and the crawfish
may be caught by bait. The octopus, in fact, clings so tightly to
the rocks that it cannot be pulled off, but remains attached even when
the knife is employed to sever it; and yet, if you apply fleabane to
the creature, it drops off at the very smell of it. The facts are
similar in regard to taste. For the food that insects go in quest of
is of diverse kinds, and they do not all delight in the same flavours:
for instance, the bee never settles on a withered or wilted flower,
but on fresh and sweet ones; and the conops or gnat settles only on
acrid substances and not on sweet. The sense of touch, by the way,
as has been remarked, is common to all animals. Testaceans have the
senses of smell and taste. With regard to their possession of the
sense of smell, that is proved by the use of baits, e.g. in the case

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