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Drawings or Figures of the Barracuda

figure, drawing, fins, valenciennes and cuvier

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DRAWINGS OR FIGURES OF THE BARRACUDA.

The history of the big barracuda has been rather fully given in the course of this paper, and little can be added here. However, it may not be without interest to give some few points about figures of the sphyrzena, both European and American.

Belon seems to have published the first known figure of the Euro pean sphyrxna, but Cuvier and Valenciennes say that it was incorrectly drawn. I have not seen this, nor have I had opportunity to examine Rondelet's original figure published in the Latin edition of his book in 1554. His figure in the French translation of the above work is the earliest examined in the course of this research, but there is no reason to doubt that it is not identical with that in the 1554 folio. The figure is small and not very distinctive. Cuvier and Valenciennes say that the head is too long. This figure was copied by Gesner in the fourth volume of his "Historia Animalium " (1558). Aldrovandi (1613), how ever, had a new drawing made for his book, but our French critics say that it was made from a dried specimen. While in some ways an improvement on the preceding figures, it is not a good drawing, the head especially being poor. These writers also say that Bloch's figure —which I have not examined—is the best made up to that time, but that it is faulty in some respects.

However, of the figures studied, Salviani's (1554) is far and away the best portrayal of the sphyriena, either European or American, made prior to the time of publication of Cuvier and Valenciennes' elegant drawing to be referred to later. Occupying a whole page in Salviani's folio, it is well drawn and well printed. There are some defects. The teeth are not figured absolutely correctly and the ventral and caudal fins are not well done, but the figure as a whole is distinctly good. The eye is fine, the head generally well done, the lower jaw is longer and has a distinct lump at the upturned end. The point of the upper jaw is plainly upturned and slightly hollowed out for the reception of the great tooth at the point of the lower jaw. The fins are well placed,

as is also the lateral line. Most noticeable is the absence of the first dorsal fin and this absence is severely criticized by Cuvier and Valenciennes. However, Salviani distinctly says that there are two dorsal fins, " the first on its middle, the hinder one, however, towards the caudal." In the dead fish, this is always sunk in the sheath, and so it was in the specimen from which Salviani's artist made his draw ing. It is greatly to be regretted that this striking figure was not studied until the present paper was in press. Had it been seen earlier it would have been reproduced herein.

The earliest figure of the American fish which has come to light in the course of this research is Rochefort's drawing of the becune taken from the edition of his book published in 1665. It is a poor figure, giving only in very general outline the form of the fish and the relative position of the fins. The most striking defect consists in the absence of one set of the paired fins, just which it is hard to say. However, historically it is of enough interest to be reproduced herein as figure 15, plate v. There is reason to think that this figure appeared in the first edition of Rochefort's work in 1558, which I have not been able to consult.

The next ancient figure is that in volume II of Sloane's "Voyage to .Jamaica" (1725), table 247, figure 3. This, however, is so poorly drawn as to have nothing about it to distinguish it as a barracuda save the name appended below. For these reasons it is best to omit any reproduction of it here. Almost as bad is Labat's (1742) reproduc tion of Rochefort's figure (1667), since Labat leaves off the lateral line, possibly because Rochefort had drawn it incorrectly.

Next in point of time comes Catesby's drawing of the Bahama form. While this is crudely done it seems worth while from the historical standpoint to reproduce it in this paper as figure 16, plate v.

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