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THE OFFICINAL AND EIGHT-ARMED CUTTLE-FISH.
and arms are furnished with strong circular cups or suckers. The inouth of these animals is hard, strong, and horny, resembling, both in texture and substance, the beak of a parrot.
In the back under the skin, there is a kind of bone, composed of thin parallel plates, one above another, and separated by little columns, arranged in quincunx order. This bone is oval, thick toward the middle, and thin at the edge. It is extremely light, generally elastic, and, in the living animal, is transparent, like glass: the surface, in some species, is marked with longitudinal furrows.
THE OFFICINAL AND EIGHT-ARMED CUTTLE-FISH.
By means of the numerous circular cups or suckers with which the
arms of both these species are furnished,
by the pressure of the external air. Their adhesive power is so great, that it is generally more easy to tear off the arms, than separate them from the substance to which they are fixed. If the arms happen to be broken off, they are soon afterwards re-produced.
The beak of these animals is so strong and powerful, that they are enabled, by means of it, to break in pieces the shells of limpets, and of other marine testaceous animals, on which they feed.
In the belly not only of these, but of all other species of Cuttle-fish, there is a vessel that contains a quantity of dark or inky fluid, which the animal emits, on contraction, when alarmed. This not only tinges the water so as to conceal its retreat, but is at the same time so bitter, as immediately to drive off its enemies.
Swammerdam was of opinion, that Indian ink was this black fluid in an inspissated state, with the addition of perfumes. If Indian ink be, in any considerable quantity, dissolved in water, it acquires, in a few days, a very high degree of putridity, clearly indicating its being formed of some animal substance; and no other seems so well calculated to compose it as this.
The Officinal Cuttle-fish bas in its body a bone, which, when Iried and pulverized, is employed by silversmiths for moulds, in which they cast their small work, such as spoons, rings, &c. It is also converted into that useful article of stationery, called pounce. This bone, on account of its lightness, is sometimes called sea-foam, or sea-biscuit.
This species was held in great esteem by the ancients as food, and
THE COMMON, OR FIVE-RAYED STAR-FISH.
it is even yet used as such by the Italians, and the inhabitants of other countries on the shores of the Mediterranean.
The Eight-armed Cuttle-fish, in hot climates, sometimes becomes of such size, as to measure twelve feet across its centre, and to have each of its arrns between forty and fifty feet long. When the Indians go out in their canoes, in places frequented by these animals, they are always in dread of their flinging their arms over and sinking them; on which account they are careful to take with them an axe, to cut them off.
OF THE ASTERIAS, OR STAR-FISH TRIBE.
TIESE are inhabitants of the sea, and are usually found on the sand, or among the rocks on the sea-shore, consider ably below high-water mark. Their covering is a coriaceous crust, which defends them from the attacks of the smaller animals; and they have five or more rays proceeding from a centre, in which their mouth is situated. Every ray is furnished with a prodigious number of tentacula, or short, soft, and fleshy tubes, which appear to be of use not only in taking prey, and in aiding the motion of the animal, but also in enabling it to adhere to rocks and other substances, by which it withstands the force of the waves. In a single animal the tentacula have been found several hundred in number; and, when the Star fish are thrown on their backs, these are frequently pushed out and withdrawn, in the same manner as snails do their horns. The progressive motion of the Star-fish, which is performed by the undulation of their rays, is very slow. They possess considerable powers of reproduction; for, if a ray happens to be broken off
, a new one, in the course of a short time, will appear. The mouth is armed with bony teeth, that are used in seizing and breaking the shells on which the animals feed; and from the mouth a canal extends to each of the rays, runs through the whole length, and becomes gradually narrower as it approaches the ex. tremity.
If a Star-fish be drowned in brandy or spirits of wine, and the rays be kept flat and expanded, it is easy afterwards to extract, by a pair of forceps, the stomach and intestines through the mouth. This infor. mation may be of use to persons who wish to preserve specimens of these animals.
TIE COMMON, OR FIVE-RAYED STAR-FISII.
In a large animal of this species, which I kept by me for some time alive, there were more than four thousand tentacula on the under sides of the rays. These the creature frequently retracted, and again pushed out, as a snail does its horns; and by means of them, it was enabled firmly to adhere to the dish of salt-water in which it was kept. Whenever I touched the tentacula with my finger, all those of that
ray or limb were gradually withdrawn, but those of the other rays were not in the least affected by it. It is stated, that these animals, which are extremely common in
some seas, feed on oysters, and are consequently very destructive to them. This, however, if it relate to full-grown oysters, must be incorrect, as, when alive, the Star-fish are so soft and tender, that an oyster, in closing upon them, would either cut off their limb, or, at least, would injure it to such a degree, that when it next opened its shell, the animal would be glad to make its escape. Be.
sides, the mouth of the Star-fish being in the centre of the under part of its body, I know not in what manner this could possibly come in contact with food defended by two such large and powerful shells as those with which the oyster is furnished. It has been said, that the tentacula are of use in taking this prey; but this, from their nature, must be entirely fabulous.
THE ARBORESCENT STAR-FISH.
USDU8A, OR ARBORESCENT STAR-FI8A. a. UNDER SURPACE. 6. SIDE
This extremely singular species is occasionally found in most seas,
but never in great numbers. It has five equi-distant, thickly-jointed processes, which proceed from its centre, each divided into two small ones, and each of these into two others still smaller; and this regular subdivision is continued to a vast extent, and, in the most beautiful
gradation of minuteness, till at length the number of extreme ramifications sometimes amounts to several thousands. One specimen, that measured three feet across, had five hundred and twelve extremities to each ray; so that the whole number was two thousand five hundred and sixty. By this most curious structure, the Arborescent Star-fish becomes as it were a living net, and by the sudden contraction of its innumerable ramifi. cations, it is capable of catching such creatures as are destined for its prey; and the unfortunate object of attack is secured by these, beyond all possibility of escape.
When it is alive, or but just dead, the color of the Arborescent Star-fish is reddish or deep carnation ; but, on being dried, it becomes somewhat gray. It should be dried in the shade, in some open place, where the wind has free access to it: for in the sun it is apt to dissolve, and if placed to much in the shade it will become putrid.
THE COMMON, OR EATABLE ECHINUS.
OF THE ECHINUS, OR SEA-URCHIN TRIBE.
THE Sea-urchins are generally round, and shaped like a somewhat Alattened ball. Their exterior is a bony crust, usually furnished with movable spines, by which they are defended from injury, and by means of which they have their progressive motion: these are often very numerous, amounting, in some species, to upwards of two thou. sand. The mouth is placed beneath, and, in most of the species, has five valves. They are all inhabitants of the sea.
THE COMMON, OR EATABLE ECHINUS.
The spines with which the shell of this animal is covered, are the instruments by which it conveys itself at pleasure from one place to another; and by means of these it is enabled to move at the bottom of the water with great swiftness. It generally employs those about the mouth for this purpose, keeping that opening downward; but it is also asserted to have the power of moving forward, by turning on itself like a wheel. When any thing alarms these animals, they immediately move all their spines toward the object, and wait an attack, as an army of pikemen would with their weapons. The number of muscles, fibres, and other apparatus necessary to the proper management of these, are very great, and exceedingly wonderful. So tenacious are the Sea-urchins of the vital principle, that, on opening one of them, it is no uncommon circumstance to observe the several parts of the broken shell move off in different directions. The Ancients, according to Oppian, gave credence to a circumstance much more wonderful than this.
In Marseilles, and some other towns on the conti. nent of Europe, this species of Echinus is exposed for sale in the markets, as oysters are with us, and is eaten boiled like an egg. "It forms an article of food among the lower class of people who reside in the neighborhood of the sea-coasts of many parts of France, but does not seem to have made its way to the tables of the opulent. The Romans adopted it as food, and dressed it with vinegar, mead, parsley, and mint.
TESTACEOUS WORMS, OR SHELL-FISH. The Linnean order Testacea, comprises all those Molluscous Wornis which are covered with calcareous shells.
OF THE LEPAS, OR BERNACLE TRIBE.
The shells are fixed at the base by a long and flexible kind of
neck, and consist of more than two unequal and erect valves. The ani. mal that inhabits them is similar to one which in. habits submarine rocks, and which Linnæus has placed among the Mollusca under the name of Trilon.
THE GOOSE-BEARING BERNACLE.
There was formerly a strange notion prevalent concerning these
shells, that from them was bred a species of goose, common in some parts of England, called the Ber nacle Goose.
To the bottoms of ships, and to pieces of floating timber, these Bernacles are sometimes seen adhering in countless numbers. Colonel Montagu observed a piece of fir timber, more than twenty feet long, which was drifted on thic coast of Devonshire, and which, from end to end, was completely covered with them. They appear particularly to attach themselves to wood, where they cluster toge. ther of all sizes, the smaller adhering, by short pedicles, to the larger oues.
The animals contained in these
shalls as well as in those of all