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History of Animals   


this is a membrane that envelops the egg and the young fish. When
the milt has mingled with the eggs, the resulting product becomes very
sticky or viscous, and adheres to the roots of trees or wherever it
may have been laid. The male keeps on guard at the principal
spawning-place, and the female after spawning goes away.
In the case of the sheat-fish the growth from the egg is
exceptionally slow, and, in consequence, the male has to keep watch
for forty or fifty days to prevent the-spawn being devoured by such
little fishes as chance to come by. Next in point of slowness is the
generation of the carp. As with fishes in general, so even with these,
the spawn thus protected disappears and gets lost rapidly.
In the case of some of the smaller fishes when they are only
three days old young fishes are generated. Eggs touched by the male
sperm take on increase both the same day and also later. The egg of
the sheat-fish is as big as a vetch-seed; the egg of the carp and of
the carp-species as big as a millet-seed.
These fishes then spawn and generate in the way here
described. The chalcis, however, spawns in deep water in dense
shoals of fish; and the so-called tilon spawns near to beaches in
sheltered spots in shoals likewise. The carp, the baleros, and
fishes in general push eagerly into the shallows for the purpose of
spawning, and very often thirteen or fourteen males are seen following
a single female. When the female deposits her spawn and departs, the
males follow on and shed the milt. The greater portion of the spawn
gets wasted; because, owing to the fact that the female moves about
while spawning, the spawn scatters, or so much of it as is caught in
the stream and does not get entangled with some rubbish. For, with the
exception of the sheatfish, no fish keeps on guard; unless, by the
way, it be the carp, which is said to remain on guard, if it so happen
that its spawn lies in a solid mass.
All male fishes are supplied with milt, excepting the eel: with
the eel, the male is devoid of milt, and the female of spawn. The
mullet goes up from the sea to marshes and rivers; the eels, on the
contrary, make their way down from the marshes and rivers to the sea.
15

The great majority of fish, then, as has been stated, proceed from
eggs. However, there are some fish that proceed from mud and sand,
even of those kinds that proceed also from pairing and the egg. This
occurs in ponds here and there, and especially in a pond in the
neighbourhood of Cnidos. This pond, it is said, at one time ran dry
about the rising of the Dogstar, and the mud had all dried up; at
the first fall of the rains there was a show of water in the pond, and
on the first appearance of the water shoals of tiny fish were found in
the pond. The fish in question was a kind of mullet, one which does
not proceed from normal pairing, about the size of a small sprat,
and not one of these fishes was provided with either spawn or milt.
There are found also in Asia Minor, in rivers not communicating with
the sea, little fishes like whitebait, differing from the small fry
found near Cnidos but found under similar circumstances. Some
writers actually aver that mullet all grow spontaneously. In this
assertion they are mistaken, for the female of the fish is found
provided with spawn, and the male with milt. However, there is a
species of mullet that grows spontaneously out of mud and sand.
From the facts above enumerated it is quite proved that certain
fishes come spontaneously into existence, not being derived from
eggs or from copulation. Such fish as are neither oviparous nor
viviparous arise all from one of two sources, from mud, or from sand
and from decayed matter that rises thence as a scum; for instance, the
so-called froth of the small fry comes out of sandy ground. This fry
is incapable of growth and of propagating its kind; after living for a
while it dies away and another creature takes its place, and so,
with short intervals excepted, it may be said to last the whole year
through. At all events, it lasts from the autumn rising of Arcturus up

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