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CHAP. 86. (60.)—SEA-STARS.

In addition to what I have already stated, I find that authors, distinguished for their wisdom, express surprise at finding a star in the sea-for such, in fact, is the form of the animal, which has but very little flesh1 within, and nothing but a hard skin without. It is said that in this fish there is such a fiery heat, that it scorches everything it meets with in the sea, and instantaneously digests its food. By what experiments2 all this came to be known, I cannot so easily say; but I am about to make mention of one fact which is more remarkable still, and which we have the opportunity of testing by every day's experience.

1 Cuvier says, that the star-fish, the Asterias of Linnæus, is covered with a callous shell without, and has within only the viscera and the ovaria, apparently without any muscles. Aristotle reckons it among the fishes which he calls ὀστρακοδέρματα, or hard-shelled fish; while, on the other hand, Ælian, Hist. Anim. B. xi. c. 22, reckons it among the μαλακόστρακα, or soft-shelled fish.

2 Cuvier says, that Pliny has good reason to say that he does not know upon what authority this power has been attributed to the star-fish; as it is altogether fabulous.

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