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The sea-swallow,1 being able to fly, bears a strong resemblance to the bird of that name; the sea-kite2 too, flies as well.

(27.) There is a fish that comes up to the surface of the sea, known, from the following circumstance, as the lantern-fish:3 thrusting from its mouth a tongue that shines like fire, it emits a most brilliant light on calm nights. Another fish, which, from its horns, has received its name,4 raises them nearly a foot and a half above the surface of the water. The seadragon,5 again, if caught and thrown on the sand, works out a hole for itself with its muzzle, with the most wonderful celerity.

1 This name, Cuvier observes, is still common on the coasts of the Mediterranean, to two kinds of flying fish, the Dactylopterus, or Trigla volitans of Linnæus, and the Exocœtus volitans of Linnæus. It is to the first, he thinks, that the ancients more especially gave the name of swallow, although Salvianus and Belon are of the contrary opinion. Oppian, Halieut. B. ii. 11. 457–461, ranks the sea-swallow with the scorpion, the dragon, and other fish the spines of which produce mortal wounds, and Ælian, B. ii. c. 5, states to the same effect. But the exocœtus has no spines, while the dactylopterus has terrible ones on its præopercules. Speusippus also, as quoted in Athenæus, B. vii., gives no less decisive testimony, in saying that the sea-cuckoo, the trigla, and the sea-swallow, have a strong resemblance to each other; the fact being that the dactylopterus is of the same genus as the sea-cuckoo, the Trigla cuculus of Linnæus.

2 Ovid, Halieut. 1. 96, speaks of this fish as having a black back. Cuvier therefore suggests that it may possibly be the perlon, the Trigla hirundo of Linnæns, the back of which is of a dark brown, and the great size of the pectoral fins of which may have given rise to the notion of its being able to fly. It is also very possible, he says, that it may have been the exocœtus, the back of which is of a blue colour.

3 Lucerna. Probably, as Cuvier says, one of those numerous molluscs, or zoophytes, which give out a brilliant light, and perhaps the Pyrosoma of Péron. No period being found in the MSS. after the word "milvus" —"kite," it was long thought that this passage applied to the sea-kite; and it is owing to this circumstance that we find the ichthyologists enumerating a Trigla lucerna. The correction, however, is approved of by Cuvier, who says that he has found none of the genus triglæ to give forth a light; except, indeed, when, like other fish, it begins to be putrid.

4 Probably the "cornuta," mentioned in the Note on the sea-ox in c. 40; see p. 411. Cuvier says that it was long supposed that the fish here alluded to might be the Malarmat of the Mediterranean, the Trigla cataphracta of Linnæus, the muzzle of which is divided into two horns; but then they are only half an inch long, instead of a foot and a half. He is of opinion, therefore, that it is the great horned ray, now known as the cephalopterus, which, being often fifteen feet and more in diameter, answers much better to the description of its size implied by Pliny from the length of its horns. It is also mentioned under the name of cornuta in B. xxxii. c. 53, in company with the saw-fish, the sword-fish, the dog-fish, and other large fishes.

5 Cuvier is of opinion, that Rondelet is correct in his suggestion that this is the sea-spider, called the "vive" in France, the viver or weever with us, and the Trachinus draco of Linnæus, which fish is still called δράκαινα by the modern Greeks. Pliny, in c. 48 of the present Book, charges the sea-spider with doing much mischief, by means of the spines or stickles on its back. Now Ælian, B. ii. c. 50, and Oppian, Halieut. 1. 458, say the same of the sea-dragon; and this is a well-known property of the modern vive, the Trachinus draco of Linnæus. Pliny speaks more especially, in B. xxxii. c. 53, of the wounds which it makes with the spines or stickles of its opercules, which the vive is also able to inflict; and in addition to this, it has the power of burrowing into the sand in a most incredibly short space of time.

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