Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals

Previous | Next

History of Animals   

is blowing, they will pair off and manage pretty comfortably; but if a
southerly wind prevail they are greatly distressed owing to the
difficulties in the way of flight, for a southerly wind is wet and
violent. For this reason bird-catchers are never on the alert for
these birds during fine weather, but only during the prevalence of
southerly winds, when the bird from the violence of the wind is unable
to fly. And, by the way, it is owing to the distress occasioned by the
bulkiness of its body that the bird always screams while flying: for
the labour is severe. When the quails come from abroad they have no
leaders, but when they migrate hence, the glottis flits along with
them, as does also the landrail, and the eared owl, and the corncrake.
The corncrake calls them in the night, and when the birdcatchers
hear the croak of the bird in the nighttime they know that the
quails are on the move. The landrail is like a marsh bird, and the
glottis has a tongue that can project far out of its beak. The eared
owl is like an ordinary owl, only that it has feathers about its ears;
by some it is called the night-raven. It is a great rogue of a bird,
and is a capital mimic; a bird-catcher will dance before it and, while
the bird is mimicking his gestures, the accomplice comes behind and
catches it. The common owl is caught by a similar trick.
As a general rule all birds with crooked talons are
short-necked, flat-tongued, and disposed to mimicry. The Indian
bird, the parrot, which is said to have a man's tongue, answers to
this description; and, by the way, after drinking wine, the parrot
becomes more saucy than ever.
Of birds, the following are migratory-the crane, the swan, the
pelican, and the lesser goose.

Of fishes, some, as has been observed, migrate from the outer seas
in towards shore, and from the shore towards the outer seas, to
avoid the extremes of cold and heat.
Fish living near to the shore are better eating than deep-sea
fish. The fact is they have more abundant and better feeding, for
wherever the sun's heat can reach vegetation is more abundant,
better in quality, and more delicate, as is seen in any ordinary
garden. Further, the black shore-weed grows near to shore; the other
shore-weed is like wild weed. Besides, the parts of the sea near to
shore are subjected to a more equable temperature; and consequently
the flesh of shallow-water fishes is firm and consistent, whereas
the flesh of deep-water fishes is flaccid and watery.
The following fishes are found near into the shore-the
synodon, the black bream, the merou, the gilthead, the mullet, the red
mullet, the wrasse, the weaver, the callionymus, the goby, and
rock-fishes of all kinds. The following are deep-sea fishes--the
trygon, the cartilaginous fishes, the white conger, the serranus,
the erythrinus, and the glaucus. The braize, the sea-scorpion, the
black conger, the muraena, and the piper or sea-cuckoo are found alike
in shallow and deep waters. These fishes, however, vary for various
localities; for instance, the goby and all rock-fish are fat off the
coast of Crete. Again, the tunny is out of season in summer, when it
is being preyed on by its own peculiar louse-parasite, but after the
rising of Arcturus, when the parasite has left it, it comes into
season again. A number of fish also are found in sea-estuaries; such
as the saupe, the gilthead, the red mullet, and, in point of fact, the
greater part of the gregarious fishes. The bonito also is found in
such waters, as, for instance, off the coast of Alopeconnesus; and
most species of fishes are found in Lake Bistonis. The coly-mackerel
as a rule does not enter the Euxine, but passes the summer in the
Propontis, where it spawns, and winters in the Aegean. The tunny
proper, the pelamys, and the bonito penetrate into the Euxine in
summer and pass the summer there; as do also the greater part of
such fish as swim in shoals with the currents, or congregate in shoals
together. And most fish congregate in shoals, and shoal-fishes in

Previous | Next
Site Search