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1 Cuvier says, that this is not the case in general; but that some, more especially those which are viviparous, actually do couple; while, on the other hand, in most, the male does nothing else but besprinkle with the milt the eggs which the female has deposited, as is stated by Pliny a little further on.
2 These belong to the cetacea; which, as Cuvier says, are now universally placed among the mammifera, and not among the fishes. They couple, he says, in the same manner as quadrupeds do in general.
3 As Aristotle says, "from those that are left the fishes are produced."
4 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. vi. c. 12.
5 It has been calculated, Cuvier says, that a female cod, or sturgeon, produces in a year more than one hundred thousand eggs.
6 Cuvier says, that the eggs of the common fishes, of toads, frogs, &, have no shells, but only a membranous tunic; and when they have been once fecundated, they imbibe the surrounding moisture, and increase till they produce the animal.
7 It is probable, Cuvier thinks, that this passage relates more especially to the ray genus, but that there is no very positive knowledge as to the mode in which they do couple. It is probable, he suggests, that they may do it in the manner above mentioned, by the attrition of the belly. As to the turtle genus, he says, it is certain that the male mounts the back of the female; and in some species the sternum of the male is concave, the better to adapt itself to the convex callipash of the female.
8 More properly, the physeter, passage, or orifice.
9 Cuvier remarks, that this account of the coupling of the cephalopodes is taken from Aristotle. He says, that he is not aware whether modern observation has confirmed these statements, and almost doubts whether, considering the organization of these animals, it is not almost more probable that they do not couple at all, and that the male, as in the case of most other fishes, only fecundates the eggs after they have been deposited by the female.
10 Cuvier says, that whatever may be the sense in which the word "mollia" is here taken, the assertion is not correct. The gasteropod molluscs, he says, whether hermaphroditical, or whether of separate sexes, couple side to side. The acephalous molluscs do not couple at all, and each individual fecundates its own eggs. The crustacea couple by attrition of the belly.
11 "Tadpoles." There is both truth and falsehood, Cuvier says, in the statements here made relative to the tadpole. Frogs, he says, produce eggs, from which the tadpole developes itself, with a tail like that of a fish. The feet, however, are not produced by any bifurcation of the tail, but shoot out at the base of the tail, and in the same proportion that they grow, the tail decreases, till at last it entirely disappears.
12 Frogs, Cuvier says, conceal themselves in mud and slime during the winter, but, of course, are not changed into it.
13 "Quæ fuere." Just in the same state, he probably means to say, in which they were when they were melted into slime, and not as they were when in the tadpole state.
14 All that is asserted here, Cuvier says, about the spontaneous operations of nature is totally false. Everything connected with the eggs and the generation of the mussel, the murex, and the scallop is now clearly ascertained.
15 "Acescente humore." Hardouin has suggested that the proper reading may be "arescente humore"—" from moisture dried up;" for, he remarks, Aristotle, in his Hist. Anim. B. v. c. 18, states, that the "empides," gnats formed from the ascarides in the slime of wells, are more frequently produced in the autumn season.
16 The apuæ, or aphyæ, Cuvier says, are nothing else but the fry of fish of a large kind.
17 Cuvier says, that some of the shell-fish deposit their eggs upon stakes and piles, which are driven down into the water among sea-weed, and the bottoms of old ships: but that many of them perish from the solutions formed by those bodies in a state of rottenness, or, at all events, are not produced from their decomposition.
18 "Ostreariis." This was unknown to Aristotle, who, in his work De Gener. Anim. B. iii. c. 11, expressly denies that the oyster secretes any generative or fecundating liquid.
19 Cuvier says, that at the time of the oyster spawning, its body appears swollen in some parts with a milky fluid, which is not improbably the fecundating fluid. During this season the oyster is generally looked upon as unfit for food; among us, from the beginning of May to the end of July.
20 This, Cuvier remarks, is a mere vague hypothesis, as to the reproduction of the eel, without the slightest foundation. Pliny borrows it from Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. vi. c. 9.
21 The squatina and the ray do not interbreed, Cuvier observes, any more than other fish; and the Squatina raia, or rhinobatis, (which was said to be their joint production), is a particular species, more flat in form than the squalus, and longer than the ray.
23 "Lupus." The Perca labrax of Linnæus; see c. 28 of the present Book.
24 The sardine. See c. 20 of the present Book.
25 Sec c. 71 of the present Book.
26 This name, Cuvier says, appears so rarely in the ancient writers, that it is difficult to ascertain its exact signification. The moderns, he says, have pretty generally agreed to give it to the carp, but without any good and sufficient foundation. It was a lake or river fish, which, as Aristotle says, Hist. Anim. B. vi. c. 14, deposited its eggs five or six times in the year, and which had a palate so fleshy, that it might almost be mistaken for a tongue, B. iv. c. 8, characteristics that appear well suited to the carp. But then, on the other hand, Oppian mentions it, Halieut. B. i., as a shore fish, implying apparently that it belonged to the sea; and Pliny himself, in c. 25 of the present Book, does the same, by his words, "hoc et in mari accidere cyprino." The words "in mari," however, he has added, of his own accord, to the account which he has derived from Aristotle.
27 The fish called the sea-scorpion. Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. v. c. 11.
28 "Sola autumno, occasu Vergiliarum." It seems questionable whether the reading should not be "solea:" "the sole in autumn, at the setting of the Vergiliæ."
29 The Pleiades.
30 See c. 40 of the present Book.
31 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. v. c. 11.
33 Philostratus, Hist. B. v. c. 17, says that so full is it of eggs, that after it is dead they will more than fill a vessel far larger than the cavities of its head.
34 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. v, c. 14.
35 Our periwinkles.
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