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The only other genus it will be necessary to glance at under this order, is the xiphias or sword-fish; so denominated from its long sword-like and serrated snout, with which it penetrates and destroys its prey. Its chief species is found in the Mediterranean and other European seas, sometimes not less than twenty feet long; is very active, and, in one instance, has been known to attack an East Indiaman with so prodigious a force, as to drive its sword or snout completely through the bottom of the ship, and must have destroyed it by the leak which would hereby have been occasioned, had not the animal been killed by the violence of its own exertion; in consequence of which, the snout remained imbedded in the ribs of the ship, and no leak of any extent was produced. A fragment of this vessel, with the sword imbedded in it, has been long lodged as a curiosity in the British Museum.
The JUGULAR ORDER of fishes, distinguished by the ventral or belly fins being placed before the pectoral or chest fins, is the next in succession, and contains only six separate kinds; of which the two most familiar to our own country are the gadus or codfish, including, among a variety of other species, the haddock, whiting, and ling; and the blennius or blenny, including several species of the hake. In these the ventral or belly fins are advanced so far forward, as to be immediately under the jole,
of the THIRD or THORACIC ORDER, in which the ventral fins lie somewhat backwarder, and directly under the pectoral or chest fins, I may instance, among those most familiar to us, the zeus or John dorée; the pleuronectes, including the numerous families of plaice, flat-fish, founder, solē, turbot; the eyes of all which are situate on the same side of the head, in some species on the left side, in others on the right, but always on one side alone; the perca or perch, one species of which, perca scandens, has a power, like the eel, of quitting the water, and climbing up trees, which it effects by means of the spines on its gill-covers, and the spinous rays of its other fins; and the gasterosteus or stickle-back. Among the more remarkable or curious kinds, I may mention the echeneis, remora, or sucking-fish, which inhabits the Mediterranean and Pacific seas; and though only from twelve to eighteen inches long, adheres so firmly to the sides of vessels and of larger fishes, by its head, that it is often removed with great difficulty ; and was, by the ancients, supposed to have the power of arresting the motion of the ship to which it adhered. I may also mention the chætodon rostratus, beaked or rostrate chætodon, an inhabitant of the Indian seas, which curiously catches for its food insects that are flying over the surface of the sea, by ejecting water from its tubular snout with so exact an aim as to strike and stun them with the greatest certainty, and hereby to bring them down into its jaws.
The FouRTH ORDER of the Linnæan class of FISHES, is called ABDOMINAL ; in consequence of having the ventral or belly fins placed considerably more backward, and behind the pectoral or chest fins; and here, as in all the preceding, the gills are bony, 'The salmo or salmon, with its numerous families of trout, smelt, char, and grayling; the esox or pike, including the gar-fish; the clupea or herring, which, as a genus, comprises the pilchard, sprat, and anchovy; the cyprinus or carp, including the gold-fish, gudgeon, tench, and a variety of similar species; the mugil or mullet; are among the more familiar kinds of this extensive order.
of these, the herring is one of the most remarkable, from its migratory habits; and the carp, from its great longevity, having in many instances been known to reach more than a hundred years of age, and from its facility of being tamed and made to approach the edge of a fish-pond on the sound of its dinner-bell, and to eat crumbs of bread out of a man's hand,
But amid the most singular of the kinds belonging to this order is the exocatus or flying-fish, which, though occasionally traced in other seas, is chiefly found between the tropics, and has power, by means of its long pectoral fins, of raising itself out of the water and continuing suspended in the air till these fins become dry; by whịch means it effectually avoids the jaws of such predatory fishes as are in pursuit of it. But unhappily it is often seized at the same time by the talons of ospreys, sea-gulls, or some other
rapacious birds that are perpetually hovering over the water to take advantage of its ascent. There are, however, various other fishes that have a similar power of flight or suspension, and from a similar cause, but none in so complete a degree. It is to this curious power Dean Swift makes allusion in the following lines :
“So fishes, rising from the main,
Can soar with moisteu'd wings, on high:
And dip their wings again to fly.”
The FIFTH ORDER OF FISHES is denominated BRANCHIOSTEGOUS, in conse. quence of its gills being destitute of bony rays; by which it is peculiarly distinguished from all the preceding orders, and obtains a mark which has been laid hold of by Linnæus as constituting its ordinal character. It consists, for the most part, of a group of sea-monsters, or natural deformities, if the term might be allowed; as the ostraceon or trunk-fish, the diodon and tretradon, sun-fish, and lump-fish, many of which are so completely truncated at either end as to resemble the middle part of any common large fish with its head and tail lopped off; the syngnathus, pipe or needle-fish; and the lophius or frog-fish. In one of the species of this last kind we meet with a sin. gular decoy for entrapping smaller fishes as its prey. This species, l. pisca. torius, which is about seven feet long, and inhabits most European seas, lurks behind sand-hills or heaps of stone, and throwing over them the slender appendages on his head, which have the appearance of worms, entices the smaller fishes to advance and play around them till they come within his reach, when he instantly darts forward and secures them as his spoil.
The SIXTH and last ORDER OF FISHES is denominated CHONDROPTERYGIOUS, as having the gills wholly cartilaginous, which constitutes its ordinal character. It includes, among other kinds, the acipenser or sturgeon, squalus or shark, raia or ray, petromyzon or lamprey, and gastrobranchus or hag-fish. Of these, one of the most useful is the sturgeon : its different species may be ranked among the large fishes; they are inhabitants of the sea, but ascend rivers annually. The flesh of all of them is most delicious; from the roe is procured the sauce called caviare, and from the sounds and muscular part is made isinglass. They feed on worms and other fishes, and the females are larger than the males.
This order, in the shark, contains the most dreadful of all the monsters of the main. The squalus Carcharias or white shark, which often extends to thirty feet in length, and four thousand pounds in weight, follows ships with a view of devouring every thing that comes in his way, and has occasionally been known to swallow a man whole at a mouthful. But in order to guard us in some degree against the perils of their presence, a peculiar stream of light issues in the dark from their tapering, subcompressed bodies, which cannot well be mistaken; and as some compensation for their rapacity, we obtain from their liver a large quantity of useful oil, and find in their skin a very valuable, material for carriage-traces in some countries, and for polish. ing wood, ivory, and other hard substances, in all countries.
The next class to that of fishes in an ascending direction is named AMPHIBIA ; which, for the sake of brevity, and having no English synonym to meet it, i shall take leave now, as I have on former occasions, to render AMPHIBIALS, The term, indeed, whether regarded as Greek or English, is not very strictly precise in its present application ; for it intimates an intention to include in this class all animals capable of existing in the two elements of air and water. We have already observed, however, that there are various fishes, as the eel-tribe generally, one species of the perch, and two or three of the exocetus or flying-fish, to which many more might be added, that are capable of existing in air as well as in water; while the insect kinds offer us å still greater number that are similarly endowed, and the worms a still more numerous train. It has been said, indeed, that the animals of this class have a peculiar agreement in the structure of their 'organs of respiration, which
makes an approach to that of birds and quadrupeds, and differs very essentially from that of fishes, insects, and worms. Upon the whole, however, there is no class that offers so great a diversity in the make of its respiratory oro ans as the class before us, of which I had occasion to take notice in the progress of our last series of study. In the tortoise and others among the more perfect of the amphibious tribes, the remark of their approximation to the respiratory organs of the higher classes will unquestionably hold; but it will by no means hold in various cases of the lizards; while the proper place for the siren, which is possessed of both lungs and gills, remains doubtful to this moment: it is sometimes grouped among the fishes, sometimes in the order of amphibious reptiles ; while Linnæus, after having in the earlier edi• tions of his system fixed it in this last situation, appears to have intended, had his life been spared long enough to have formed a new order of amphibials for the express purpose of receiving it, which he proposed to denominate MEANTES.
As the Linnæan class of amphibials at present stands, it consists of not more than two orders, REPTILES, or amphibious animals possessing feet; and SERPENTS, or amphibious animals without feet. The different kinds under each are but few: the reptiles containing only five; the testudo, draco, lacerta, rana, and siren; or, in plain English, the tortoise, flying dragon, lizard, frog or toad, and siren. The serpents comprise only seven genera: the crotalus, or rattlesnake; boa; coluber, or viper; anguis, harmless snake, or blind worm ; amphisbæna; cæcilia ; and achrochordus.
Among the REPTILES, the most extensive and important kind is the lacerta or lizard; for it includes, among other species, the alligator, crocodile, proper lizard, chameleon, salamander, newt, and est.
Among the seven genera of SERPENTS, the first three, rattlesnake, boa, and viper, or rather coluber, are more or less poisonous: the rattlesnake in all its species, which are six or seven; the boa, in five, out of about seventeen; and the coluber or viper, in about thirty, out of about a hundred and thirty: the two most fatal of which last are, c. Cerastes, or horned serpent; and c. Naja, hooded serpent, or cobra de capello. In both Asia and Africa we meet with whole tribes of barbarians who are capable of handling the most poisonous of these amphibials, and of eating them up alive from head to tail, without the smallest injury: even the bite itself producing no mischief. These barbarians, some of whom were known to the Greeks and Romans, and are particularly alluded to by Celsus and Lucan, were formerly called Psylli. The power they affect has been laughed at by M. Denon, but without any kind of reason for derision. It is a curious subject, however, and connected with others of equal singularity; and must, therefore, be reserved for a future study.t
The poisonous serpents differ from each other in their respective kinds, by having their bodies more or less covered with scuta or plates, instead of with mere scales; excepting that the rattlesnake is chiefly distinguished by the rattle at his tail. The four harmless genera are characterized by having their bodies covered altogether with simple scales, and never with plates, or as being ringed, wrinkled, or tubercled.
This class is not much disturbed by M. Cuvier's later arrangement; but he has separated the tortoises from the lizards, denominating the first, as an order, CHELONIA ; and the second, SAURIA ; and has removed the frogs, salamanders, and siren, into a fourth order, to which he has given the name of BATRACHIA, characterizing them by the possession of a naked skin; feet; with branchiæ in the young.
But we must hasten in our rapid career to the BIRD CLASS, distinguished by having the body covered with feathers and down; protracted and naked jaws; two wings, formed for flight; and biped. This class consists of six orders:
Gmelin and Camper introduced it into the class of fishes; and in Turton it occurs in the class Mama, malis, order Bruta, as a variety of the trichechus manati, or'lamantin.
t See Lecture ri. of this series.
accipitres ; picæ; anseres; grallæ; gallinæ ; passeres. In English synonyms, birds of prey ; pies; web-footed birds; waders; gallinaceous birds ; and the mixed class of thrushes, sparrows, and finches. These orders are ehiefly distinguished from each other by the peculiar make of the bill, and of the feet. Under M. Cuvier's classification, the divisions, and even the names, are the same, with the exception that for picæ or pies, he has given the better appellation of scansores or climbers. Every one of them, or rather every distinct kind under every one of them, might agreeably occupy us through an entire lecture; so curious, so attractive, so interesting, are their structures, their powers, their habits, their instincts. But all these must be reserved for subsequent studies. * Our only concern at present is to give a glance at the manner in which they are grouped under the Linnæan system. It is the mere alphabet of the science to which we must at present confine ourselves.
The ACCIPITRES, or predacious birds, constituting the FIRST ORDER, with a bill somewhat hooked downward, and four claws hooked and sharp-pointed. It consists of not more than four genera, the vulture, including the coudur (v. Gryphus), as one of its species; the falco, including the numerous families of the eagle, falcon, hawk, osprey, buzzard, and kite, together with various others; the owl and the lanius or shrike, of which the butcher-bird (1. Collurio) is one of the chief species.
The PICÆ Or PIES, form the SECOND and most numerous order. The bill is here compressed and convex, which constitutes the ordinal character. A secondary distinction, taken from the feet, divides them into tribes formed for perching, formed for climbing, or formed for walking. To this order belongs the trochilus or humming-bird, the minutest animal of the bird tribes; and which seems to connect the bird with the insect-class. In one of its species, trochilus minimus, or least humming-bird, it sometimes does not weigh more than twenty grains, nor measure much more than an inch; it is, consequently, less than several of the bee-tribes, and, like the bee, feeds on the nectar of flowers, which it hovers about and extracts while on the wing with a delighted hum.
To this order, also, from similarity of bill and foot, belong the very numerous families of the psittacus or parrot kind, including the proper parrot, maccaw, parrakeet, cockatoo, and lory; equally celebrated for their imitative powers, their longevity, and the splendid variety of their colours; the para. disea or bird of Paradise, chiefly a native of New-Guinea, and distinguished by the long and taper elegance of its bending feathers; the monstrous rham. phastos or toucan, whose bill is, in some species, larger than its body, and whose tongue is quaintly tipped with a bundle of feathers, probably answer. ing the purpose of an organ of taste.
All thus far glanced at are exotics. Among the kinds a few of whose species are inhabitants of our own country, I may mention the social and clamorous corvus or crow-tribe, including the rook, raven, jay, jack-daw, and various others; the picus or woodpecker, that drives into the stoutest and toughest timber-trees of the forest its hard and wedge-like bill, and often with a force and echoing sound like the stroke of the woodman; and whose bony and pointed tongue transfixes the various insects upon which it feeds, and in this state not unfrequently draws them out from a considerable depth in the bark of trees into which they have crept for protection. The alcedo, or kingfisher, is another genus of this order, whose species haunt streams and rivers for the little fishes on which they feed, and are most dexterous anglers in catching them. To these we may add the cuculus or cuckoo, that, with the same want of natural affection which marks the ostrich, builds no nests for its eggs, except under particular circumstances, but avails itself of that of the hedge-sparrow, or some other bird, and abandons to foster-parents the care of
The THIRD ORDER of birds is denominated ANSERES, and in English WEB
• See Lectures iv. v. viil. ix. of this serius.
COOTED: they are ordinarily characterized by having the bill covered with skin, broad or gibbous at the tip, and a palmate or web-foot, formed for swimming: the tongue is uniformly fleshy, and the bill, in many instances, denticulate or toothed. It includes only thirteen kinds, of which I may take, as examples, the anas, comprehending the very numerous families of duck, goose, swan, wild-duek, teal, and shoveler: the mergus or merganser; alca or awk; aptenodytes or penguin; pelecanus or pelican; colymbus, comprising the grebes, guillemots, and divers; and procellaria or petrel. The petrels have an extraordinary habit of spouting from their bills a considerable quantity of oil upon any object that offends them. The procellaria pelegica, or
stormy petrel, is the most daring of all birds during a tempest, though not · more than six inches long. The moment he beholds the black clouds col. lecting, he quits his rocky retreat and enjoys the magnificent and growing spectacle ; he darts exultingly athwart the concave, and skins with triunphant temerity the loftiest peaks and deepest valleys of the most tremendous
The appearance of this bird is, to the sailor, a sure presage of an approaching storm.
The GRALLÆ, or WADERS, form the FOURTH order of birds in the Linnæan system. They are characterized by possessing a roundish or subcylindric bill, a fleshy tongue, and legs naked above the knees. The ardea, or genus that includes the herons, cranes, and bitterns, is the most numerous. The scolopax, which includes the curlew, snipe, and woodcock; the tringa, which includes the sandpiper, the ruff, and reeve, and the lap-wing or pewit; the fulica, which includes the gallinule, coot, and moor-hen; and the charadrius or plover; are among those that are most familiar to us. To this order also belongs the tantalus or ibis, so celebrated for the divine honours paid to it for many ages throughout Egypt; and, at least, a most valuable bird from its clearing the land of those numerous reptiles and insects, which are left upon its surface after the exundations of the Nile. It is the abu-hannes of Bruce, which, however, M. Cuvier regards as not properly a tantalus; and has, consequently, made a distinct genus for receiving it, to which he has given the name of neumenius; and hence, under his classification, it is a Neumenius Ibis, instead of a Tantalus Ibis.
The FIFTH ORDER embraces the GALLINÆ OG GALLINACEOUS BIRDS ; those which strictly come under the denomination of poultry. They are chiefly characterized by having a convex bill, with the upper mandible arched. They are the least numerous of all the orders next to the ACCIPITRES, and extend to not more than ten kinds or genera; many of which, however, are very extensive in their species. The kinds most familiar to us are the phasianus or pheasant, including all the families, and their numerous varieties of common cock and hen; the tetrao or partridge, including all the families and their numerous varieties of grouse, red-game, black-game, ptarmigan, and quail ; the pavo or peacock; and meleagris or turkey. To this order also belong the numidia, pintado or guinea-hen, the otis or bustard, the didus or dodo, and the struthio, including those large and stately birds, the emeu, cassiowary, and ostrich: the last of which, though incapable of flying, derives from its wings a fleetness of running, that is unrivalled by any animal whatever. This bird is capable of being tamed, and may be conveniently rode ; and Adanson asserts, that, when mounted, it will surpass the speed of the most rapid courser. He tells us, that while he was at the factory at Podore, he was in posssesion of two tame ostriches, the oldest of which, though young, would carry two negroes upon its back, with a rapidity superior to what has ever been exhibited by the fleetest racer upon the Newmarket turf.
The LAST ORDER of the bird class is entitled PASSERES, for which, in the sense here intended, we have no exact English synonym; but it is designed to include various kinds and families, which, for the most part, may be denomi. nated small birds and singing birds. They are characterized by having the bill conic and sharp-pointed, and the nostrils naked. To this order belong the alauda or lark kind; the columba, pigeon, and dove kind; the emberiza or bunting, including the yellow-hammer; the fringilla or finch, with all its