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mals form an important portion of the Here Dr Knox's quotation stops, lest food of the herring in particular sea- the explanation which follows might sons.
lessen the value of his assumed discoA stomach of a herring, caught in very. But Mr Headrick continues the Frith of Forth this summer (1837), thus :-“ This,” says he, “may be containing this species of food, is on owing to the strong digestive powers, the table, No. 7.
which speedily convert into chyle the Mr Mackenzie further states, that, food received into the stomach. In “in regard to the food of the herring, all the experiments I have heard nar. it has been frequently observed that rated, with a view to ascertain on what the small fry suck their nutrition out the herring feeds, it appeared that a of the marine alga, or from some mat- considerable time was allowed to elapse ter adhering to them.” This obser- between its being killed and cut up. vation is borne out by the fact of many Now, such an experiment is not fair. marine animals depositing their ova In man and other animals the power on the sea-weed, and by the fact of ova of the gastric juice is known to conof fishes, and even those of their own tinue after death, so as not only to lispecies, being found in the stomach of quify the contents of the stomach, but the herring. Mr Mackenzie also men- even to corrode the stomach itself. tions that "it has been ascertained by The only way to know on what a herfishermen that herrings will swallow ring feeds, is to cut it up immediately a clear unbaited hook, such as is used after it has enjoyed a full meal. Both for catching haddocks, when tied to a the salmon and the herring leap at fine line ; a device which has been of. flies and other winged insects. ten successfully adopted when the her- Trans. High. Soc. II. 444, 445. ring fishery is carried on in deep water, In regard to what is stated by Dr in order to discover the arrival of the Walker and Mr Headrick as their own shoals. It seems certain, therefore, opinion, that opinion is corroborative that the herrings take these hooks for of what had been before discovered as such animalcules as they, at least, some- to the food of the herring. As to their times feed upon."—(11. 313, 314.) ignorance of what had been previously
In the same volume is a paper, by observed and recorded upon this subthe Rev. James Headrick, on the fish. ject, I cannot pretend to account. But eries of Scotland, which Dr Knox has their want of knowledge by no means also quoted as proving the food of the proves, in the face of evidence to the herring to be unknown. But, as the contrary, that such knowledge did Doctor has only given a portion of not exist. I am aware that, from the the paragraph on the subject, and interruption of intercourse occasioned founded on it as a distinct proposition, by the wars of the French Revoluit is necessary to give the whole state- tion, there was difficulty in getting ment in connexion. “ With regard books from the Continent; and a great to their mode of feeding,” says Mr degree of ignorance seems to have preHeadrick, “it is, in all probability, vailed in Scotland as to the progress similar in the salmon and the herring of the natural sciences in foreign counI suppose they live chiefly on water, tries, and even in England. But for and on small insects which abound both Dr Knox and Professor Rennie there in the sea and in rivers. I have been is not the same excuse ; and the only told of the fry of smaller fishes found conclusion that can be drawn from in the stomachs of salmon; but such the statements of these gentlemen is, instances never occurred to me, and that when they penned them they I never heard of any animal being were not aware of what had been prefound in the stomach of a herring." viously written.
II.--Food of the Salmon.-(Salmo Salar, Lin.)
I now come to the third point, on of Dr Knox's paper. Dr Knox's aswhich I have to make a few observa- sertions, however, are as confidently tions, tending to show that the food made with regard to his discovery of of the salmon was perfectly well known the food of the salmon, as they were to Naturalists before the publication with regard to the food of the herring, and, as I shall endeavour to show, their spawn at all seasons, and in suf. equally unfounded.
ficient quantity, to feed the family of • The nature of the food of the her. British salmon. There is not a doubt, ring, Coregonus, and salmon" (says that if Dr Knox had examined the stobe),“ was not to be stumbled on by ac. machs of salmon at different periods, cident. I feel happy in having to offer and on different stations, he would not it as a direct result of patient scientific only have found the ova of the starenquiry."-(P. 463.)
fish (for that is the only echinoder“ As a proof of the difficulty of the matous animal stated as supplying enquiry, it being unnecessary to cite the peculiar food), but also the star. more here, I shall content myself with fish itself, the smaller crustacea, and quoting a passage from a very recent the small fishes which abound on the work (1833) on natural history. The coasts which salmon frequent. But of Complete Angler of Izaak Walton- this afterwards. edited by Mr Rennie, Professor of In the years 1824 and 1825, a Com. Zoology, King's College, London, mittee of the House of Commons was In 1653, Walton found nothing in the appointed to investigate the modes of stomach of the lordige trout; and in carrying on the principal salmon fisha note, in the year 1833, Mr Rennie eries in the kingdom, for the purpose adds,“ The same is true of the salmon, of framing an Act of Parliament that which has never any thing besides a should regulate that fishery, for the yellow fluid in his stomach when advantage of the river and coast procaught."-(P. 467.)
prietors and the public. A valuable “ The true salmon prefers a pecu. body of evidence was thus procured liar kind of food, the ova of the Echi- regarding the habits of the salmon ; nodermata, and takes with great reluc- the period of its ascending the differtance any other."
ent rivers for the purpose of spawn. " When the salmon first takes to ing ; the deposition of the ova in the the estuary and to the river, whether spawning beds; the descent of the beyond or within the influence of the young to the sea; and the food of this tide, he does not feed, unless the es. fish both in the sea and in rivers, &c. tuary should happen to contain this But though this enquiry was made with peculiar kind of food."-(P. 468.) great ability on the part of the com
" I have opened the stomach of a. mittee, and although the witnesses fish killed by the poacher in the month examined included practical fishermen, of October, nearly 100 miles from the tacksmen of fisheries, river and shore ocean, with the peculiar food, and none proprietors, and scientific men of the else, in the intestines."-(P. 470.) first eminence, Dr Knox, upon what
This, peculiar food-on reading the principle it is difficult to conceive, first part of his paper, Dr Knox re- characterises the results of the whole stricted to the ova of the ECHINODER- minutes of evidence as « below critiMATA, and nothing else.
cism"-(P. 500);—“ the persons ofThe genera of the first order of this fering the testimony and evidence, class are ASTERIAS, Encrinus, Echi. without any exception, incompetent to NUS of Linnæus, and HOLOTHURIA. the task, the greater part being the But only one species of the first genus, evidence of individuals, to whom it Asterius glacialis, is particularly men. would be impossible even to explain tioned as affording this food; and we the care and precision and extent of are not informed how the ova of this direct evidence, requisite to arrive at genus, when separated from the ani. a correct scientific conclusion"-(P. mal, is to be distinguished from that of 500); and “none was found, throughthe other genera of the order. It would out their most extended inquiry, who be information, indeed, to learn that could offer a rational conjecture Encrini were so abundant on (founded on facts) personally known coasts, that their spawn afforded the and understood (the result of posisalmon its peculiar food. On read- tive research, by a competent naturaling the second portion, he added an- ist and physiologist), as to the food of other article to the salmon's bill of the salmon, its habitat while in the fare in “ some of the crustacea." But ocean, and its feeding ground.”—(P. in the abstract drawn up by himself, 496.)– The whole, in short, is “ an the food is limited to the Echinoder. inextricable mass of confusion and ermata, as if these animals deposited ror."--(P, 463.)
Among the witnesses whose evi. found nothing in the stomach of the dence is thus characterised, are Sir salmon but a “yellow fluid;" and Dr Humphry Davy, Sir Henry Fane, Knox asserts that this opinion must be Viscount Forbes, Mr Spring Rice “ quite peculiar to Professor Rennie, Sir George Rose, Mr Home Drum- as he knew of no author in which such mond, George Hogarth, jun., William a fact is mentioned.” But this fact is Stephen, George Little, John Halli. not peculiar to the learned professor, day, Murdoch Mackenzie,-and our notwithstanding Dr Knox's assertion most respectable and learned asso- that it is so ; for it is repeatedly men. ciates, the Rev. Dr Fleming, and tioned in Sir Humphry Davy's work, James Jardine ; besides numerous entitled Salmonia, published a year other educated and respectable men, before Professor Rennie's Walton apmany of whom had spent the best part peared. And stranger still, this book of their lives in the daily observation is quoted, and a passage from the very of the fisheries of salmon, in different page in which the "yellow fluid” is parts of the United Kingdom.- The mentioned, animadverted on by Dr Dames of these individuals were war- Knox. The following is the pasrant to the public that they were com- sage :-* The stomach of the salmon, petent to form a rational conjecture; you perceive, contains nothing but a their sources of information, that they little yellow fluid; and though the sal. were capable of giving direct evidence; mon is twice as large, does not ex. and their education and rank in life ceed much in size that of the trout."were warrant for their possessing at (P. 129.–And again, in the following least some knowledge of the nature of page_“ I have opened ten or twelve, testimony. And when, on the other and never found any thing in their stohand, it is considered that what is machs but tape-worms, bred there, and termed the natural history of the sal. some yellow fluid ; but I believe this mon in this memoir, is rested on a is generally owing to their being caught single experiment, made in a hurried at the time of their migration, when visit to a salmon river-and the nature they are travelling from the sea upof the food at all seasons and in all wards, and do not willingly load them. places peremptorily determined, from selves with food. Their digestion apcutting up one or two stomachs at one pears to be very quick.”—(Salmonia, period of the year, and at one station, p. 130.) In corroboration of Sir it would not be difficult for the least Humphry Davy's remark as to less versant in the nature of testimony to food being found in the stomach of say on which side the incompetency the salmon at the period of its annual was likely to be found.
migration, I may mention, that more
than one naturalist has noticed the Having made these preliminary re- fact, that as the generative organs inmarks, I now proceed to show, from crease much, there seems less disposithese much abused « Minutes of Evi- tion in fishes to feed, and that their sto. dence," and other sources, that the mach in such cases is generally found claims of the author of the memoir as
empty, or nearly so. John Monipennie, a discoverer, rest merely on his own also, in his description of Scotland, assertions; and that the main points published in 1612, mentions what I upon which he claims merit were just have no doubt was a fluid of the same as well known before the appearance nature, though he does not mention its of his memoir as since that period. colour ; for, says he, “ Finally, there In this case, however, I shall not de- is no man that knoweth readily wheretain the society with many quotations on this fish liveth, for never was any from writers on natural history as to thing yet found in their bellies, other the food of the salmon, either when in than a thick slimy humour.”' the sea or when found in rivers. The According to Bloch, (v. 245), “ the evidence taken before the Committee salmon feeds on little fishes, insects, of the House of Commons narrows and worms." According to Lacepede, the enquiry as to this point ; and I shall it “ lives on insects, worms, and the therefore avail myself of this evidence fry of fishes." (Hist. Nat. des Poisto corroborate what had been previous- sons, xii. 135.) According to Bosc, ly stated on the subject.
“ it is upon insects, worms, and small Professor Rennie, of the King's fishes, that it feeds.” (Nouv. Dict. College, London, it has been stated, XXX. 251.) Hyppolyte Cloquet states that it feeds upon worms, insects, the friths, where sand-eels are used as and small fishes ; and in Turton's tran- a bait. A line is attached to a buoy, slation of Gmelin's edition of the Sys- or bladder, and allowed to float with tema Naturæ, the salmon is said to the tide up the narrow estuaries. The “ feed on fishes, worms, and insects." salmon are also said to be occasionally “ It is evident," says Pennaut, “ that taken at the lines set for haddocks, at times their food is both fish and baited with sand-eels. At the mouths worms; for the angler uses both with of rivers they will rise freely at the good success; as well as a large gaudy artificial fly within fifty yards of the artificial fly, which probably the fish sea ; and the common earth-worm is a mistakes for a gay Libellula, or dra. deadly bait for the clean salmon. All gon-fly." (Brit. Zool. iii. 387); the other marine salmon are known to and Dr Fleming states that “ their fa- be very voracious; and there is novourite food in the sea is the sand-eel." thing in the structure of the mouth or (Brit. Animals, 179.) Dr Fleming's strong teeth of the common salmon means of knowledge I may, in passingto warrant us to suppose that there is remark, were a residence of, I believe, any material difference in their food.'” fifteen years within sight of extensive (Vol. ii., p. 19.) 66 Several obsalmon-fisheries on the Frith of Tay, servers," adds Mr Yarrell, “ have and an extensive and minute acquaint- borne testimony to the partiality of ance with all the branches of British the salmon to the sand-launce as food, Zoology. And it may be a sufficient and I have a record, by an angler, of answer to the contemptuous allusions salmon caught in the Wye by a minby Dr Knox to that deservedly eminent now."-(P. 19.) individual, to say that his writings are
So much for the statements of sysreferred to as authoritative by almost tematic writers as to the food of the every author who treats of the subjects salmon. I shall now give some exwhich have been illustrated by his pen. tracts from the papers in the second
It is necessary again to mention, volume of the Highland Society that by insects, in these passages, is Transactions, regarding the salmon meant the class of animals included fisheries of Scotland, as to the food of under that name by Linnæus, which the salmon. In fresh water, accord. extended to all annulose animals; and ing to Dr Walker, “ little is found in the whole modern class Crustacea, in the stomach except slime, or some cluding minute crabs, shrimps, &c., half-digested, and some half-entire in. as well as the divisions of Enchinoder- sects."—". It is probable that they remata and Entomostraca. By worms ceive, in the sea, a more copious food, is also meant the class Vermes of Lin- and of a different kind; but the prenæus, which included not only the cise nature of this food is unknown," naked but testaceous Mollusca ; and i. e. to Dr Walker. (P. 364 ) it is in reference to these extended Mr John Mackenzie says, “ It is classes that the terms used by the probable they live on the fry, or young writers of the period are to be under- of other fishes. It is well known that stood.
when in fresh water, they feed on ani. Later writers confirm the observa- malcules, flies, small trouts, &c." (P. tions of the older authors as to the 384.) food of the salmon. Thus Mr Yarrell, Mr Alexander Morrison says, “I in his History of British Fishes, pub- have taken salmon within flood-mark, lished in 1835, has the following pas- some of which had two, and others three sage relative to the food of this fish- full-sized herrings in their stomach. “ Faber, in his Natural History of the When salmon enter rivers, where but Fishes of Iceland, remarks, the com- a small quantity of the fry of fish (on mon salmon feeds on small fishes and which they usually feed) is to be found, various small marine animals.' Dr Fle. they evidently become worse in the ming says, “ Their favourite food in course of twenty-four hours. From the sea is the sand.eel ;' and I myself,” this it may be inferred, that salmon not says Mr Yarrell, “ have taken the re- only require a considerable quantity of mains of sand-launce from the stomach. food, but that their stomachs dissolve Sir William Jardine says," continues it in a very short period.” (P. 392.) Mr Yarrell, “ • In the north of Suther- Mr Archibald Drummond, after land a mode of fishing for salmon is stating that when in the river they eat sometimes successfully practised in every thing with voracity, notices the common saying of the fishermen, that the salmon's food. But Mr Moir is nothing is ever found in their stomach. not singular in his opinion ; for the
In these papers there is only one Rev. Dr Fleming asserts the same fact fact stated, on the personal knowledge from his own knowledge ; and on the of one of the writers, Mr Morrison, evidence of these two gentlemen alone, who has himself taken from their sto. the fact of the salmon feeding much on machs full-sized herrings. The others sand-eels might at once be admitted. only state their conjectures, or opi- Dr Knox is equally virulent against nions. None of them refer to pre- another person, whom he does not vious writers, either British or foreign, name, for asserting what was consison the natural history of the salmon. tent with his own knowledge, that he
I now turn to the minutes of evi. had seen small fishes in the stomachs dence before the Committee of the of the thousands of salmon opened in House of Commons, for facts upon the the boiling-house. He alludes, I presubject of the food of the salmon. In sume, to Mr Halliday, in these terms. the Report of 1824, John Halliday _“ One practical fisher and tacksgives his evidence as to their food in man of salmon fisheries of vast extent, these words :-“ I have had thousands was so ignorant of every fact in naof them dissected, when I have seen tural history, that he mistook the tapesmall fish in their stomachs.* I have seen` worm (a parasite infesting certain thousands of fish opened in the boiling parts of the intestinal tube of the salhouse, and I have seen small things like mon) for the food of the salmon.” (P. a worm, and skeddens, in the stomach 499.) The inference Dr Knox wishes of the salmon, or a small fish like a to be drawn from this circumstance minnow."-(P. 90.) “ I have ob- (granting, for the sake of argument, served more of this worm and small that it is as he states it), is, that Mr sea-fish in those fish we get from parti. Halliday's evidence as to food is good cular parts of the sea-shore."-Ib. for nothing, because he saw, without
Mr Moir states the chief food of the knowing it was so, a tape-worm salmon to be sand-eels. “ As all the amongst the small fishes in the stofish were cut up," says he, “for the pur- machs of the salmon opened. But pose of being preserved in a fresh this is neither fair to Mr Halliday nor state, I had an opportunity of examin- right in itself. There can be no doubt ing their stomachs. I never could de- of the fact of fishes, and a worm, being tect food of any kind in the stomachs found in the stomachs alluded to, for of salmon taken in the upper river- it is a common occurrence; and Mr fishings; whereas those taken in the Halliday may be quite right as to the sea were frequently gorged with food, plain matter of fact, when he states which was principally sandeels." " I what he had seen, while his opinion strongly suspect that the salmon fre- as to this fact or the nature of the subquent the flat sands between the Don stances, may be disregarded. But no and Ythan for the purpose of feeding;" one can mistake Mr Halliday's desand "a very successful stake-net fish- cription of the worm alluded to, who ery is carried on, on the sands at Mus- had ever seen one. He describes it selburgh, and another at Aberlady. as like a “crimped straw.” If this These sands abound with sand-eels. rule were applied generally to Dr The one station is thirty, the other Knox's own paper, there would be forty miles from a spawning river.”- found, I am afraid, evidence of deficient (Report, 1825, p. 171, 172.)
information sufficient to discredit the This last gentleman is, I conceive whole of his statements. (for Dr Knox very prudently does not In ordinary cases, where an obsermention his name), the person whom ver states a fact as coming under his he accuses of making the statement I own observation, any opinion he may have read, “ in open defiance of truth form upon that fact is a separate thing and daily observation, when he from the fact itself, and does not averred, on his own knowledge, that necessarily detract from its truth. the sand-eel formed a principal part of Others, better informed, may draw a
The specimen, No. 3, now on the table, contains the vertebral remains of some small fishes. The same specimen contains in its intestinal canal the tape-worm which is usually found there. VOL, XLIV, NO. CCLXXIV,