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History of Animals   


The octopus pairs in winter and breeds in spring, lying hidden
for about two months. Its spawn is shaped like a vine-tendril, and
resembles the fruit of the white poplar; the creature is
extraordinarily prolific, for the number of individuals that come from
the spawn is something incalculable. The male differs from the
female in the fact that its head is longer, and that the organ
called by the fishermen its penis, in the tentacle, is white. The
female, after laying her eggs, broods over them, and in consequence
gets out of condition, by reason of not going in quest of food
during the hatching period.
The purple murex breeds about springtime, and the ceryx at the
close of the winter. And, as a general rule, the testaceans are
found to be furnished with their so-called eggs in spring-time and
in autumn, with the exception of the edible urchin; for this animal
has the so-called eggs in most abundance in these seasons, but at no
season is unfurnished with them; and it is furnished with them in
especial abundance in warm weather or when a full moon is in the
sky. Only, by the way, these remarks do not apply to the sea-urchin
found in the Pyrrhaean Straits, for this urchin is at its best for
table purposes in the winter; and these urchins are small but full
of eggs.
Snails are found by observations to become in all cases
impregnated about the same season.
13

(Of birds the wild species, as has been stated, as a general
rule pair and breed only once a year. The swallow, however, and the
blackbird breed twice. With regard to the blackbird, however, its
first brood is killed by inclemency of weather (for it is the earliest
of all birds to breed), but the second brood it usually succeeds in
rearing.
Birds that are domesticated or that are capable of domestication
breed frequently, just as the common pigeon breeds all through the
summer, and as is seen in the barn-door hen; for the barn-door cock
and hen have intercourse, and the hen breeds, at all seasons alike:
excepting by the way, during the days about the winter solstice.
Of the pigeon family there are many diversities; for the peristera
or common pigeon is not identical with the peleias or rock-pigeon.
In other words, the rock-pigeon is smaller than the common pigeon, and
is less easily domesticated; it is also black, and small, red-footed
and rough-footed; and in consequence of these peculiarities it is
neglected by the pigeon-fancier. The largest of all the pigeon species
is the phatta or ring-dove; and the next in size is the oenas or
stock-dove; and the stock-dove is a little larger than the common
pigeon. The smallest of all the species is the turtle-dove. Pigeons
breed and hatch at all seasons, if they are furnished with a sunny
place and all requisites; unless they are so furnished, they breed
only in the summer. The spring brood is the best, or the autumn brood.
At all events, without doubt, the produce of the hot season, the
summer brood, is the poorest of the three.)
14

Further, animals differ from one another in regard to the time
of life that is best adapted for sexual intercourse.
To begin with, in most animals the secretion of the seminal
fluid and its generative capacity are not phenomena simultaneously
manifested, but manifested successively. Thus, in all animals, the
earliest secretion of sperm is unfruitful, or if it be fruitful the
issue is comparatively poor and small. And this phenomenon is
especially observable in man, in viviparous quadrupeds, and in
birds; for in the case of man and the quadruped the offspring is
smaller, and in the case of the bird, the egg.
For animals that copulate, of one and the same species, the
age for maturity is in most species tolerably uniform, unless it

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