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History of Animals   


all cases have leaders.
Fish penetrate into the Euxine for two reasons, and firstly for
food. For the feeding is more abundant and better in quality owing
to the amount of fresh river-water that discharges into the sea, and
moreover, the large fishes of this inland sea are smaller than the
large fishes of the outer sea. In point of fact, there is no large
fish in the Euxine excepting the dolphin and the porpoise, and the
dolphin is a small variety; but as soon as you get into the outer
sea the big fishes are on the big scale. Furthermore, fish penetrate
into this sea for the purpose of breeding; for there are recesses
there favourable for spawning, and the fresh and exceptionally sweet
water has an invigorating effect upon the spawn. After spawning,
when the young fishes have attained some size, the parent fish swim
out of the Euxine immediately after the rising of the Pleiads. If
winter comes in with a southerly wind, they swim out with more or less
of deliberation; but, if a north wind be blowing, they swim out with
greater rapidity, from the fact that the breeze is favourable to their
own course. And, by the way, the young fish are caught about this time
in the neighbourhood of Byzantium very small in size, as might have
been expected from the shortness of their sojourn in the Euxine. The
shoals in general are visible both as they quit and enter the
Euxine. The trichiae, however, only can be caught during their
entry, but are never visible during their exit; in point of fact, when
a trichia is caught running outwards in the neighbourhood of
Byzantium, the fishermen are particularly careful to cleanse their
nets, as the circumstance is so singular and exceptional. The way of
accounting for this phenomenon is that this fish, and this one only,
swims northwards into the Danube, and then at the point of its
bifurcation swims down southwards into the Adriatic. And, as a proof
that this theory is correct, the very opposite phenomenon presents
itself in the Adriatic; that is to say, they are not caught in that
sea during their entry, but are caught during their exit.
Tunny-fish swim into the Euxine keeping the shore on their
right, and swim out of it with the shore upon their left. It is stated
that they do so as being naturally weak-sighted, and seeing better
with the right eye.
During the daytime shoal-fish continue on their way, but
during the night they rest and feed. But if there be moonlight, they
continue their journey without resting at all. Some people
accustomed to sea-life assert that shoal-fish at the period of the
winter solstice never move at all, but keep perfectly still wherever
they may happen to have been overtaken by the solstice, and this lasts
until the equinox.
The coly-mackerel is caught more frequently on entering than
on quitting the Euxine. And in the Propontis the fish is at its best
before the spawning season. Shoal-fish, as a rule, are caught in
greater quantities as they leave the Euxine, and at that season they
are in the best condition. At the time of their entrance they are
caught in very plump condition close to shore, but those are in
comparatively poor condition that are caught farther out to sea.
Very often, when the coly-mackerel and the mackerel are met by a south
wind in their exit, there are better catches to the southward than
in the neighbourhood of Byzantium. So much then for the phenomenon
of migration of fishes.
Now the same phenomenon is observed in fishes as in
terrestrial animals in regard to hibernation: in other words, during
winter fishes take to concealing themselves in out of the way
places, and quit their places of concealment in the warmer season.
But, by the way, animals go into concealment by way of refuge
against extreme heat, as well as against extreme cold. Sometimes an
entire genus will thus seek concealment; in other cases some species
will do so and others will not. For instance, the shell-fish seek
concealment without exception, as is seen in the case of those
dwelling in the sea, the purple murex, the ceryx, and all such like;

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