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No less wonderful, too, are the particulars which we find stated relative to the sea-hare.1 Taken with the food or drink, it is a poison to some persons; while to others, again, the very sight of it is venomous.2 Indeed, if a woman in a state of pregnancy so much as looks upon one of these fishes, she is immediately seized with nausea and vomiting—a proof that the injury has reached the stomach—and abortion is the ultimate result. The proper preservative against these baneful effects is the male fish, which is kept dried for the purpose in salt, and worn in a bracelet upon the arm. And yet this same fish, while in the sea, is not injurious, by its contact even. The only animal that eats it without fatal consequences, is the mullet;3 the sole perceptible result being that its flesh is rendered more tender thereby, but deteriorated in flavour, and consequently not so highly esteemed.

Persons when poisoned4 by the sea-hare smell strongly of the fish—the first sign, indeed, by which the fact of their having been so poisoned is detected. Death also ensues at the end of as many days as the fish has lived: hence it is that, as Licinius Macer informs us, this is one of those poisons which have no definite time for their operation. In India,5 we are assured, the sea-hare is never taken alive; and, we are told that, in those parts of the world, man, in his turn, acts as a poison upon the fish, which dies instantly in the sea, if it is only touched with the human finger. There, like the rest of the animals, it attains a much larger size than it does with us.

1 See B. ix. c. 72, and the Note.

2 A fabulous story, Ajasson remarks, but one that was commonly believed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gessner, however, a conscientious enquirer into the mysteries of Nature, asserts (de Aquatilibus, p. 563) that, to his own knowledge, the sight of this fish was productive of the symptoms here mentioned. Beckmann reckons the Aplysia depilans (with which the Sea-hare of the ancients is identified) in the number of the animal poisons, and remarks that (as we find stated by Cœlius Rhodiginus, B. xxvi. c. 30) the Emperor Titus was dispatched by the agency of this poison, administered to him by the direction of his brother Domitian. Hist. Inv. vol. I. p. 51. Bohn's Ed.

3 Athenæus says, B. viii., that the Scarus pursues it and devours it.

4 "Quibus impactus est." A curious expression; if indeed it is the correct reading.

5 See B. ix. c. 72.

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