But concerning eels, Icesius, in his treatise on Materials, says that eels have a better juice in them than any other fish; and in the quality of being good for the stomach, they are superior to most, for they are very satisfying and very nutritious: though he classes the Macedonian eels among the salt-fish. But Aristotle says that eels are fond of the very purest water; on which account, the people who feed eels pour clean water over them; for they get choked in muddy water. For which reason, those who hunt for them make the water muddy, in order that the eels may be choked; for, having very small gills, their pores are almost immediately stopped up by any mud or disturbance in the water: on which account, also, they are often choked during storms, when the water is disturbed by heavy gales. But they propagate their species being entwined together, and then they discharge a sort of viscous fluid from their bodies, which lies in the mud and generates living creatures. And the people who feed eels say that they feed by night, but that during the day they remain motionless in the mud; and they live about eight years at most. But in other places, Aristotle ells us again, that they are produced without either their progenitors laying eggs or bringing forth living offspring, and also that [p. 468] they are not generated by any copulation, but that they are propagated by the putrefaction which takes place in the mud and slime—as it is said of those things which are called the entrails of the earth. From which circumstance, he says that Homer distinguishes between their nature and that of other fish; and says—
The eels and fish within the briny deep,
Were startled at the blaze.