History of Animals
Pontus in autumn along with the young tunnies, and enter Pontus in the
spring as pelamyds. Fishes as a rule take on growth with rapidity, but
this is peculiarly the case with all species of fish found in the
Pontus; the growth, for instance, of the amia-tunny is quite visible
from day to day.
To resume, we must bear in mind that the same fish in the same
localities have not the same season for pairing, for conception, for
parturition, or for favouring weather. The coracine, for instance,
in some places spawns about wheat-harvest. The statements here given
pretend only to give the results of general observation.
The conger also spawns, but the fact is not equally obvious in
all localities, nor is the spawn plainly visible owing to the fat of
the fish; for the spawn is lanky in shape as it is with serpents.
However, if it be put on the fire it shows its nature; for the fat
evaporates and melts, while the eggs dance about and explode with a
crack. Further, if you touch the substances and rub them with your
fingers, the fat feels smooth and the egg rough. Some congers are
provided with fat but not with any spawn, others are unprovided with
fat but have egg-spawn as here described.
We have, then, treated pretty fully of the animals that fly in the
air or swim in the water, and of such of those that walk on dry land
as are oviparous, to wit of their pairing, conception, and the like
phenomena; it now remains to treat of the same phenomena in
connexion with viviparous land animals and with man.
The statements made in regard to the pairing of the sexes
apply partly to the particular kinds of animal and partly to all in
general. It is common to all animals to be most excited by the
desire of one sex for the other and by the pleasure derived from
copulation. The female is most cross-tempered just after
parturition, the male during the time of pairing; for instance,
stallions at this period bite one another, throw their riders, and
chase them. Wild boars, though usually enfeebled at this time as the
result of copulation, are now unusually fierce, and fight with one
another in an extraordinary way, clothing themselves with defensive
armour, or in other words deliberately thickening their hide by
rubbing against trees or by coating themselves repeatedly all over
with mud and then drying themselves in the sun. They drive one another
away from the swine pastures, and fight with such fury that very often
both combatants succumb. The case is similar with bulls, rams, and
he-goats; for, though at ordinary times they herd together, at
breeding time they hold aloof from and quarrel with one another. The
male camel also is cross-tempered at pairing time if either a man or a
camel comes near him; as for a horse, a camel is ready to fight him at
any time. It is the same with wild animals. The bear, the wolf, and
the lion are all at this time ferocious towards such as come in
their way, but the males of these animals are less given to fight with
one another from the fact that they are at no time gregarious. The
she-bear is fierce after cubbing, and the bitch after pupping.
Male elephants get savage about pairing time, and for this
reason it is stated that men who have charge of elephants in India
never allow the males to have intercourse with the females; on the
ground that the males go wild at this time and turn topsy-turvy the
dwellings of their keepers, lightly constructed as they are, and
commit all kinds of havoc. They also state that abundancy of food
has a tendency to tame the males. They further introduce other
elephants amongst the wild ones, and punish and break them in by
setting on the new-comers to chastise the others.
Animals that pair frequently and not at a single specific
season, as for instance animals domesticated by man, such as swine and
dogs, are found to indulge in such freaks to a lesser degree owing
to the frequency of their sexual intercourse.
Of female animals the mare is the most sexually wanton, and next