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



Previous | Next
                  

History of Animals   


will often leap as high out of the water as a dolphin; in fact, it
sometimes leaps over the bulwarks of a vessel and falls back on the
deck. The tunny delights more than any other fish in the heat of the
sun. It will burrow for warmth in the sand in shallow waters near to
shore, or will, because it is warm, disport itself on the surface of
the sea.
The fry of little fishes escape by being overlooked, for it is
only the larger ones of the small species that fishes of the large
species will pursue. The greater part of the spawn and the fry of
fishes is destroyed by the heat of the sun, for whatever of them the
sun reaches it spoils.
Fishes are caught in greatest abundance before sunrise and after
sunset, or, speaking generally, just about sunset and sunrise.
Fishermen haul up their nets at these times, and speak of the hauls
then made as the 'nick-of-time' hauls. The fact is, that at these
times fishes are particularly weak-sighted; at night they are at rest,
and as the light grows stronger they see comparatively well.
We know of no pestilential malady attacking fishes, such as
those which attack man, and horses and oxen among the quadrupedal
vivipara, and certain species of other genera, domesticated and
wild; but fishes do seem to suffer from sickness; and fishermen
infer this from the fact that at times fishes in poor condition, and
looking as though they were sick, and of altered colour, are caught in
a large haul of well-conditioned fish of their own species. So much
for sea-fishes.
20

River-fish and lake-fish also are exempt from diseases of a
pestilential character, but certain species are subject to special and
peculiar maladies. For instance, the sheat-fish just before the rising
of the Dog-star, owing to its swimming near the surface of the
water, is liable to sunstroke, and is paralysed by a loud peal of
thunder. The carp is subject to the same eventualities but in a
lesser degree. The sheatfish is destroyed in great quantities in
shallow waters by the serpent called the dragon. In the balerus and
tilon a worm is engendered about the rising of the Dog-star, that
sickens these fish and causes them to rise towards the surface,
where they are killed by the excessive heat. The chalcis is subject to
a very violent malady; lice are engendered underneath their gills in
great numbers, and cause destruction among them; but no other
species of fish is subject to any such malady.
If mullein be introduced into water it will kill fish in its
vicinity. It is used extensively for catching fish in rivers and
ponds; by the Phoenicians it is made use of also in the sea.
There are two other methods employed for catch-fish. It is a
known fact that in winter fishes emerge from the deep parts of
rivers and, by the way, at all seasons fresh water is tolerably
cold. A trench accordingly is dug leading into a river, and wattled at
the river end with reeds and stones, an aperture being left in the
wattling through which the river water flows into the trench; when the
frost comes on the fish can be taken out of the trench in weels.
Another method is adopted in summer and winter alike. They run
across a stream a dam composed of brushwood and stones leaving a small
open space, and in this space they insert a weel; they then coop the
fish in towards this place, and draw them up in the weel as they
swim through the open space.
Shell-fish, as a rule, are benefited by rainy weather. The
purple murex is an exception; if it be placed on a shore near to where
a river discharges, it will die within a day after tasting the fresh
water. The murex lives for about fifty days after capture; during this
period they feed off one another, as there grows on the shell a kind
of sea-weed or sea-moss; if any food is thrown to them during this
period, it is said to be done not to keep them alive, but to make them
weigh more.

Previous | Next
Site Search