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History of Animals   


to the spring-time. As a proof that these fish occasionally come out
of the ground we have the fact that in cold weather they are not
caught, and that they are caught in warm weather, obviously coming
up out of the ground to catch the heat; also, when the fishermen use
dredges and the ground is scraped up fairly often, the fishes appear
in larger numbers and of superior quality. All other small fry are
inferior in quality owing to rapidity of growth. The fry are found
in sheltered and marshy districts, when after a spell of fine
weather the ground is getting warmer, as, for instance, in the
neighbourhood of Athens, at Salamis and near the tomb of
Themistocles and at Marathon; for in these districts the froth is
found. It appears, then, in such districts and during such weather,
and occasionally appears after a heavy fall of rain in the froth
that is thrown up by the falling rain, from which circumstance the
substance derives its specific name. Foam is occasionally brought in
on the surface of the sea in fair weather. (And in this, where it
has formed on the surface, the so-called froth collects, as grubs
swarm in manure; for which-reason this fry is often brought in from
the open sea. The fish is at its best in quality and quantity in moist
warm weather.)
The ordinary fry is the normal issue of parent fishes: the
so-called gudgeon-fry of small insignificant gudgeon-like fish that
burrow under the ground. From the Phaleric fry comes the membras, from
the membras the trichis, from the trichis the trichias, and from one
particular sort of fry, to wit from that found in the harbour of
Athens, comes what is called the encrasicholus, or anchovy. There is
another fry, derived from the maenis and the mullet.
The unfertile fry is watery and keeps only a short time, as
has been stated, for at last only head and eyes are left. However, the
fishermen of late have hit upon a method of transporting it to a
distance, as when salted it keeps for a considerable time.
16

Eels are not the issue of pairing, neither are they oviparous; nor
was an eel ever found supplied with either milt or spawn, nor are they
when cut open found to have within them passages for spawn or for
eggs. In point of fact, this entire species of blooded animals
proceeds neither from pair nor from the egg.
There can be no doubt that the case is so. For in some standing
pools, after the water has been drained off and the mud has been
dredged away, the eels appear again after a fall of rain. In time of
drought they do not appear even in stagnant ponds, for the simple
reason that their existence and sustenance is derived from rain-water.
There is no doubt, then, that they proceed neither from
pairing nor from an egg. Some writers, however, are of opinion that
they generate their kind, because in some eels little worms are found,
from which they suppose that eels are derived. But this opinion is not
founded on fact. Eels are derived from the so-called 'earth's guts'
that grow spontaneously in mud and in humid ground; in fact, eels have
at times been seen to emerge out of such earthworms, and on other
occasions have been rendered visible when the earthworms were laid
open by either scraping or cutting. Such earthworms are found both
in the sea and in rivers, especially where there is decayed matter: in
the sea in places where sea-weed abounds, and in rivers and marshes
near to the edge; for it is near to the water's edge that sun-heat has
its chief power and produces putrefaction. So much for the
generation of the eel.
17

Fish do not all bring forth their young at the same season nor all
in like manner, neither is the period of gestation for all of the same
duration.
Before pairing the males and females gather together in
shoals; at the time for copulation and parturition they pair off. With

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