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History of Animals   


in the performance of his parental duties that the fishermen at times,
if the eggs be attached to the roots of water-plants deep in the
water, drag them into as shallow a place as possible; the male fish
will still keep by the young, and, if it so happen, will be caught
by the hook when snapping at the little fish that come by; if,
however, he be sensible by experience of the danger of the hook, he
will still keep by his charge, and with his extremely strong teeth
will bite the hook in pieces.
All fishes, both those that wander about and those that are
stationary, occupy the districts where they were born or very
similar places, for their natural food is found there. Carnivorous
fish wander most; and all fish are carnivorous with the exception of a
few, such as the mullet, the saupe, the red mullet, and the chalcis.
The so-called pholis gives out a mucous discharge, which envelops
the creature in a kind of nest. Of shell-fish, and fish that are
finless, the scallop moves with greatest force and to the greatest
distance, impelled along by some internal energy; the murex or
purple-fish, and others that resemble it, move hardly at all. Out of
the lagoon of Pyrrha all the fishes swim in winter-time, except the
sea-gudgeon; they swim out owing to the cold, for the narrow waters
are colder than the outer sea, and on the return of the early summer
they all swim back again. In the lagoon no scarus is found, nor
thritta, nor any other species of the spiny fish, no spotted
dogfish, no spiny dogfish, no sea-crawfish, no octopus either of the
common or the musky kinds, and certain other fish are also absent; but
of fish that are found in the lagoon the white gudgeon is not a marine
fish. Of fishes the oviparous are in their prime in the early summer
until the spawning time; the viviparous in the autumn, as is also
the case with the mullet, the red mullet, and all such fish. In the
neighbourhood of Lesbos, the fishes of the outer sea, or of the
lagoon, bring forth their eggs or young in the lagoon; sexual union
takes place in the autumn, and parturition in the spring. With
fishes of the cartilaginous kind, the males and females swarm together
in the autumn for the sake of sexual union; in the early summer they
come swimming in, and keep apart until after parturition; the two
sexes are often taken linked together in sexual union.
Of molluscs the sepia is the most cunning, and is the only
species that employs its dark liquid for the sake of concealment as
well as from fear: the octopus and calamary make the discharge
solely from fear. These creatures never discharge the pigment in its
entirety; and after a discharge the pigment accumulates again. The
sepia, as has been said, often uses its colouring pigment for
concealment; it shows itself in front of the pigment and then retreats
back into it; it also hunts with its long tentacles not only little
fishes, but oftentimes even mullets. The octopus is a stupid creature,
for it will approach a man's hand if it be lowered in the water; but
it is neat and thrifty in its habits: that is, it lays up stores in
its nest, and, after eating up all that is eatable, it ejects the
shells and sheaths of crabs and shell-fish, and the skeletons of
little fishes. It seeks its prey by so changing its colour as to
render it like the colour of the stones adjacent to it; it does so
also when alarmed. By some the sepia is said to perform the same
trick; that is, they say it can change its colour so as to make it
resemble the colour of its habitat. The only fish that can do this
is the angelfish, that is, it can change its colour like the
octopus. The octopus as a rule does not live the year out. It has a
natural tendency to run off into liquid; for, if beaten and
squeezed, it keeps losing substance and at last disappears. The female
after parturition is peculiarly subject to this colliquefaction; it
becomes stupid; if tossed about by waves, it submits impassively; a
man, if he dived, could catch it with the hand; it gets covered over
with slime, and makes no effort to catch its wonted prey. The male
becomes leathery and clammy. As a proof that they do not live into a
second year there is the fact that, after the birth of the little

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