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Those fish, also, which are known by the name of sea-mice,1 as well as the polyp2 and the murænæ,3 are in the habit of coming ashore—Besides which, there is in the rivers of India4 one kind that does this, and then leaps back again into the water—for they are found to pass over into standing waters and streams. Most fishes have an evident instinct, which teaches them where to spawn in safety; as in such places there are no enemies found to devour their young, while at the same time the waves are much less violent. It will be still more a matter of surprise, to find that they thus have an appreciation of cause and effect, and understand the regular recurrence of periods, when we reflect how few persons there are that know that the most favourable time for taking fish is while the sun is passing through the sign of Pisces.5

1 "Marini mures." Cuvier says, that according to Oppian, Halieut. B. v. c. 174, et seq., the sea-mice, small as they are, attack other fish, and offer resistance even to man himself. Their skin, he says, is very solid, and their teeth very strong. Theophrastus names them along with seals and birds, as feeding both on land and at sea. Cuvier is somewhat at a loss whether to pronounce them, with Dalechamps, to be a kind of turtle. If so, he considers that this would be the little turtle, Testudo coriacea of Linnæus, which is by no means uncommon in the Mediterranean. He suggests, however, that there are equal grounds for taking it to be the Flasco psaro, or Tetrodon lineatus of Linnæus.

2 The Sepia octopodia of Linnæus.

3 The Muræna helena of Linnæus. This animal, Cuvier says, like the eel, is able to live out of water, in consequence of the minute size of the branchial orifices, as Theophrastus very accurately explains. It is a common opinion that they come out of the water in search of others of their kind; but Spallanzani was informed by the fishermen of Comacchio, that this hardly ever is the case, and that they will only leave the water when compelled. The polypus also crawls very briskly on the shore when it has been thrown up by the tide, and moves with considerable swiftness.

4 This is also stated by the author of the treatise, De Mirab. Auscult. c. 72; and Theophrastus, in his work on the "Fishes that can live on land," says, that these Indian fishes resemble the mullet. Cuvier says, that these fish are those known as the various species of the genus Ophicephalus of Bloch, which bear a strong resemblance to the mullet in the head and body. Mr. Hamilton Buchanan, in his "History of the Fishes of Bengal," says, that these fish crawl on the grass to so great a distance from their rivers, that the people absolutely believe that they must have fallen from heaven.

5 Or the "Fishes." As if, indeed, Hardouin says, the resemblance of name given to the constellation could have any effect upon the fish!

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