GADUS, the cod, in natural history, a genus of fishes of the order Jugulares. Generic character : the head smooth ; gill membrane, seven-rayed ; body oblong, covered with deciduous scales ; fins all covered by the common skin ; more than one dorsal fin, of which the rays are un armed ; ventral fins slender and ending in a point. There are twenty-three spe sies, of which we shall notice those which follow : G. morhua, or the common cod, inha bits the northern seas, both of Europe and America, in innumerable shoals, and constitutes an important article of human subsistence. Its general length is from two or three feet, and its common weight from fourteen to thirty pounds. It has oc casionally however been known to weigh upwards of seventy. Its food consists of small fish, worms, crabs, and other testa ceous fishes, and its voracity is extraordi nary. It is prolific in the extreme,'no less than a million of eggs having been count ed in a single roe. Its sound, or air-bLad der, is preserved with salt, and consider ed as a luxury ; it is also converted into a sort of isinglass, in preparing which the inhabitants of Iceland are particularly skilful. Off the coasts of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and New England, and, more especially, on the great sand-bank off Newfoundland, this fish is found in inex haustible abundance ; the neighbourhood of the Polar Seas, where they return to deposit their spawn, and the immense number of worms to be found in these sandy bottoms, being the grand induce ments to their preference of these situa tions. They are abundant also on the southern and western coasts of Iceland, but proceed towards the south only in very diminished numbers, and are rarely se enin that direction beyondthe Straights of Gibraltar. Before the discovery of Newfoundland, in 1496, Iceland was the principal scene for the cod fishery, which was speedily after that event transferred to Newfoundland, where it is conducted to such an extent, merely by the hook, baited with the herring and other small fishes, as to furnish employment for fif teen thousand British seamen, and to a more numerous portion of population at home, occupied on the various articles of manufacture, indispensible for a concern of such vast extent and importance.
C. aeglefinus, or the haddock, is distin guished from every other species by its forked tail, and by having the lower jaw longer than the upper. These fishes abound in the northern seas, and are found at particular seasons on particular coasts, to which they approach in shoals of several miles in length. On the coasts of Yorkshire they are particularly abun dant in the season, which has been known to commence on the same day of the month in two successive years.
Three men will not unfrequently, dur ing the continuance of these fishes on the coast, take three tons of them in a day : and they have been often sold to the poor for the low price of a halfpenny a score.
In stormy weather the haddock shelters itself in the mud at the bottom. Its gene ral length is eighteen inches, and weight two pounds and a half.
G. merlangus, or the whiting, is, gene rally, about twelve inches long, and is ele gantly formed. It abounds in the north ern seas, and is found in some parts of the Mediterranean. In the spring, whitings are caught on the British coasts in im mense abundance, and they are consider ed by many as preferable for the table to every other species of the cod genus. Their favourite food consists of sprats and herrings.
G. pollachius, or the pollack, is found in the Baltic and Northern Seas, and on the coast of England also, in vast shoals, during the summer, at which time these fishes are so prone to catch at any thing on the surEce of the water, that they may be caught only with a hook and feather. In the most boisterous and tempestuous weather they are strong enough to keep their situation, and resist thp impetuosity of the waves. Their general weight is from two to four pounds.
G. merluccius, or the hake, is usually from one to two feet in length. It is found in the Mediterranean and Northern seas, and abounds on the English coast, and still more on that of Ireland ; and to the poor of these countries is a consider able article of thod. Being, however, a coarse fish, if is rarely seen at the tables of the opulent. They feed principally on the mackrel and herring. On the coasts of Brittany an extensive hake fishery is car ried on, and almost always by night. On the coast of Waterford six men-would, in the course of a single night, take a thou sand of these fishes with a rod and line.
G. molva, or the ling (a word implying length) is generally from three to four feet in length, and has, occasionally, been seen of seven. These fishes are found in the depths of the Northern Seas, and con stitute a considerable article of merchan dize in Great Britain itself. Great num bers are salted and preserved for home consumption, as well as for exportation, for the last of which it is required by sta tute, that in order to any persons being entitled to the bounty on sending them abroad, they should measure twenty-two inches exclusively of the head. During their continuance in season, their liver is white and oily, but as they decline, these qualities proportionably diminish, and at length totally disappear.
G. Iota, or the burbot, is to be met with in various parts, both of Europe and Asia, frequenting clear streams and lakes. In the Trent rand Witham rivers, and in the fens of Lincolnshire, it is also highly abun dant. Its food consists of almost all the smaller fishes, and also of worms and frogs. Its general weight is between two and three pounds, and it is regarded as excellent for the table. Its liver is parti cularly celebrated, as furnishing the most luxurious banquet.