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proud of, and proper credit should be given to the right man. It has been well said that he is a public benefactor
who " makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before." How much more is he a public benefactor who
fills a river with food-fishes where there were none before. A letter from Mr, Shriver, written in 1860, is republished
in support of the claim for him in this matter, in which he says:

"The enterprise or experiment was contemplated by me long before the completion of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad to the Ohio River at Wheeling, but no satisfactory mode of transportation presented itself until the
completion of that great work (in, I believe, the year 1853), and in the following year I made ray first trip, although
I made several afterwards in the same year, carrying with me my first lot of fish, in a large tin bucket, perforated,
and which I had made to fit the opening in the water tank attached to the locomotive, which was supplied with
fresh water at the regular water stations along the line of the road, and thereby succeeded well in keeping the fish
(which were yonng and small, having been selected for the purpose) alive, fresh, and sound."

Mr. Shriver made several other similar excursions, and on each occasion put the young fish into the basin of the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, at Cumberland, Maryland, where they had free egress and ingress into the Potomac
River and its tributaries. The stock originally transferred, some seventeen years ago, has increased prodigiously,
and to-day they abound in the Potomac and all its tributaries. They are of good size, frequently being caught to
weigh as much as from throe to four and a half or five pounds. lialtimore Sun, April 28, 1871.



TOE HABITS OF THE ROCK BASS. 405

Rock Bass spawn about the same time as Black Bass. They keep much about sunken logs,
roots, etc.

THE MUD BASS ACANTHAROHUS POMOTIS.

This species is found only in the coastwise streams of the lowlands from New Jersey to North
Carolina. Its habits are similar to those of the Warmoutb, but it is smaller in size, and has little
value as a food-fish.

THE SACRAMENTO PERCH ARCHOPLITES INTERRUPTUS.

This species is known only by the nainu of "Perch," a name applied in the San Francisco
markets to many very different fishes. It has been thus far found only in the Sacramento and
San Joaquin Rivers and tributaries. It is abundant in the lower parts of these rivers, large
numbers being shipped to the market in San Francisco. It is there bought and consumed mainly
by the Chinese, who value it highly, paying for it more than for any other fish which they consume.
Although it is an excellent pan-fish, very similar to the Black Bass, we have never seen any of
tin-in bought by Americans. It reaches a weight of little more than one pound. Nothing distinct-
ive is known of its habits.

THE WARMOUTH CH-asNOBRYTTus GULOSUS.

This species is known throughout the South by the name of "Warmonth." The names
"Perch," "Sun-fish," "Goggle-eye," and "Red-eye" it shares with others of its relatives. It is
found in all the lowland streams from Virginia to Texas, in all the Southern States, and is gener-
ally abundant. In habits, food, size, and value it agrees closely with the Rock Bass.

THE BLACK WARMOUTH CH^NOBRYTTUS ANTISTIUS.

This species, known as " Warmouth," "Big-mouth," "Sun-fish," "Goggle-eye," etc., abounds
in the tributaries of the Upper Mississippi, and is often taken in Lake Michigan. In Illinois it is
an important food fish. In size, habits, and value it is sufficiently similar to the Rock Bass.

COMMON SUN-FISH LEPOMIS GIBBOSUS.

This is the common "Sun -fish," "Pumpkin-seed," or "Sunny" of the brooks of New York and
New England. It is everywhere abundant in the Great Lake region and in the coastwise streams
from Maine to Georgia. It is never found iu the Mississippi Valley except in its northernmost part,
its distribution being precisely like that of the Perch. It reaches, in the Lakes, a weight of about
one and a half pounds, and as usually taken is of not over a pound weight. Its flesh is of good
quality, similar to that of other Sun-fish of the same size, and is graded as superior to that of the
Perch, but inferior to the Black Bass and White Bass. It takes the hook freely, and to the small
boy is the perfection of a game-fish. Its breeding habits are thus described by Dr. Eirtland:

"This fish prefers still and clear waters. In the spring of the year the female prepares herself
a circular nest by removing all reeds or other dead aquatic plants from a chosen spot of a foot or
more in diameter, so as to leave bare the clean gravel or sand ; this she excavates to the depth of
three or four inches and then deposits her spawn, which she watches with the greatest vigilance;
and it is curious to see how carefully she guards this nest against all intruders; in every fish, even
those of her own species, she sees only an enemy, and is restless and uneasy until she has driven
it away from her nursery. We often find groups of these nests placed near each other along the
margin of the pond or river that the fish inhabits, but always in very shallow water; hence they
are liable to be left dry in times of great drought. These curious nests are most frequently encir-



406 NATURAL HISTORY OP AQUATIC ANIMALS.

cled by aquatic plants, forming a curtain around them, but a large space is invariably left open
for the admission of light." '

So far as known, the breeding habits of the other species of Sun-fishes agree with those of
Lepomis gibbosus.

THE LONG-EARED SUN-FISH LEPOMIS AURITUS.

This species, like its relatives, receives the general name of " Sun-fish," "Brim" (Bream], and
"Pearch" (Perch). It is found in all the coastwise streams from Maine to Louisiana, but does not
penetrate far into the interior. It seldom reaches a weight of much over a pound, but from its
abundance becomes in the rivers of the South a food-fish of some importance. Like the others, it
feeds on worms, Crustacea, and small fishes, and spawns in early summer.

THE BLUE SUN-FISH LEPOMIS PALLIDUS.

This fish is known as the "Blue Bream," "Blue Sun-fish," "Copper-nosed Bream," etc., and in
Kentucky sometimes as the " Dollardee." This is the most widely distributed of our Sun-fish,
ranging from New Jersey and the Great Lakes to Florida and Mexico. It reaches a weight of one
and one half to two pounds, and forms an important market fish in some places. Its habits adapt
it especially for cultivation in ponda.

LEPOMIS CYANELLUS Raf., L. MEGALOTIS Raf., L. MINIATUS Jordan, L. PUNCTATUS (Cuv. & Val.)
Jor., L. NOTATUS (Ag.) Cope, AND L. HOLBROOKII (C. & V.) McKay.

The small Sun-fishes, and several others of similar size, abound in the fresh waters of the
Mississippi Valley, and are known as "Sun-fish," "Bream," and "Perch." L. cyanellus and
L. megalotis are universally abundant both North and South; the others are chiefly Southern.
All take the hook readily and are good pan-fish, but from their small size they have no economic
importance, and are valued chiefly by urchins and negroes.

CENTRARCHUS MACROPTERUS Jor.

We have never heard for this species any name more distinctive than "Sun-fish" or "Perch."
It is found throughout the lowland streams of the South, from North Carolina to Florida, Southern
niiuois, and Texas, preferring generally rather deep, clear waters. It is rarely seen in upland
ptreams. It is a fish of good quality, but small, rarely weighing more than half a pound. Little
distinctive is known of its habits.

THE CALICO BASS POMOXYS SPAROIDES.

This species is known by a variety of names, some of the principal of which are the following:
In Lake Erie, and in Ohio generally, it is the "Strawberry Bass," or "Grass Bass." The names
< Bitter Head" and "Lamplighter" are also ascribed to it by Mr. Klippart, and "Bank Lick Bass"
by Dr. Kirtland. In Lake Michigan, the name " Bar-fish" is in general use, giving place in Illinois
to the name "Calico Bass." The latter is the most appropriate of these designations, having allu-
sion to the variegated coloration. In the South, like Ambloplites rupestris, it becomes a "Goggle-
eye" or "Goggle-eyed Perch." The Calico Bass is found in abundance in all the lakes and ponds
of the Great Lake region and the Upper Mississippi. It is also diffused throughout the Missis-
sippi Valley, and appears in the streams of the Carolinas and Georgia east of the mountains. Its
preference is for quiet, clear waters, with a bottom covered with grass; and in the muddy sloughs
and bayous, where the Crappie is abundant, it is rarely seen. It is an excellent pan-fish, reaching



HABITS OF THE CALICO BASS. 407

soim-timcs a weight of two pounds, although not usually weighing more than one pound. It is,
like its relatives, gamy, but it is not so voracious as most of them. The following notes on its
habits and value are from tin- pen of Professor Kirtland:

"The 'Grass Bass' has not hitherto been deemed worthy of consideration by fish-culturists;
vet, I'M HI i a long ami intimate acquaintance with its merits, I hesitate not to pronounce it the fish
for the million. It is a native of our Western rivers and lakes, where it usually resorts to deep
and sluggish waters; yet in several instances, where it has found its way into cold and rapid
streams, ami even small sized brooks, by* means of the constructing of canals or by the hand of
man, it has adapted itself to the change,' and in two or three years stocked to overflowing these
new locations. As a pan fish, for the table, it is surpassed by few other fresh-water species. For
endurance and rapidity of increase it is unequaled. . . . The Grass Bass is perfectly adapted
to stocking ponds. It wil! thrive without care in very small ponds of sufficient depth. ... It
will in nowise interfere with the cultivation of any number of species, large or small, in the same
waters. It will live harmoniously with all others, and while its structure and disposition restrain
it from attacking any other but very small fry, its formidable armature of spiuous rays in the
dorsal and abdominal fins will guard it against attacks of even the voracious pike." '

THE CEAPPIE POMOXYS ANNULABIS.

This species is commonly called "Grapple" in the valley of the Mississippi. Other names
are " Bachelor" in the Ohio Valley, "New Light" and " Campbellite " in Kentucky and Indiana,
"Sac a-lait" and "Chinquapin Perch" in the Lower Mississippi. It is also often confounded with
the preceding species, and some of the names of the two are interchangeable. This species is not
often seen in the Great Lake region, but throughout the Lower Mississippi and its tributaries it
is very abundant. Its young swarm in all the muddy bayous along the rivers, and great numbers
of them are destroyed in the fall when these bodies of water dry up. With the exception of its
predilection for muddy waters, we know little in its habits distinctive from those of the Calico
Bass, and like the latter it is said to be an excellent fish for ponds. Both take the hook, feed
upon small fishes, crustaceans, etc., and both spawn in spring.

136. THE SEA BASS SERRANUS ATRARIUS.

The members of the Sea Bass family Serranidas, are similar in form and habits to the Perches,
from which they are distinguished by certain anatomical characters, scarcely tangible to persons
not experts in ichthyology. The family contains a very large number of species, some of which
are to be found in every part of the tropical and temperate seas. On our Atlantic coast there
are some twenty species, while in California there are four at least which are of economic
importance. Certain European members of this family are hermaphrodite, but there is as yet no
evidence that any American species is thus peculiar.

The Sea Bass, Serranus atrarius, known south of Cape Hatteras as the "Blackflsh," is the
most important species on our coast. In the Middle States the Sea Bass is called "Black Will,"
"Black Harry," and "Hannahills"; about Newport and New Bedford, "Blueflsh," and at New
Bedford also "Rock Bass." Curiously enough, the Southern name, "Blackfish," is also in use
at Oak Bluff, Martha's Vineyard, and, it is said, also in New Jersey. In Gill's "Catalogue of the
Fishes of the East Coast" it is stated that the name "Black Bass" is also used for the fish, but
this usage has not yet fallen under my observation.

Storer, in his "Fishes of Massachusetts," makes the statement that it is known as the "Black

'American Sportsman, February 28, 1674, quoted by Klippart, Report Ohio Fish Coium. for 1075-76, p. 78.



408 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

Bass" and "Black Fish." If this was true at the time of Storer's writing, the usage has since then
undergone a very considerable change. The species should be carefully distinguished from the
Black-fish of Long Island Sound, which is the tautog, a member of a very different family.

It is claimed by some writers that the Black-fish of the South is distinct from the Sea Bass of
the North. This seems improbable, but is worthy of investigation. The chief advocate of this
idea was Holbrook, in whose "Ichthyology of South Carolina" may be found a statement of the
supposed differences. 1

The geographical range of the Sea Bass, as at present understood, is as follows: It is at home
in all the waters between the Vineyard Sound and the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. Stearns
writes that it is rather abundant at a few places on the Gulf coast of Florida, where there are
rocks and rocky bottoms. In Pensacola Bay they are seen round the piles of stone ballast that
lie in shoal water, and also at sea on the fishing grounds near the entrance. They occur in some
places in Saint Andrew's, Saint Joseph's, and Apalachicola Bay. South of these places there is
more or less rocky bottom, showing either in reefs or in channel-beds, on which Sea Bass are found
in abundance. In the vicinity of Saint Mark's, Cedar Keys, and Saint Martin's Reef are some of
the best localities. " It is rarely or never," says Jordan, " seen on the sandy coast of Texas."
This species has already been recently discovered north of Cape Cod. Previous to 1878 there
were on record only four instances of its occurrence east of Monomoy, but in the summer of
1878 several were taken in the Milk Island weir, off Gloucester. There is reason to believe
that fifty years ago the Sea Bass was much less abundant in Southern New England than it is
now. In Linsley's catalogue of the fishes of Connecticut, published in 1842, the species is described
as a great novelty. It is curious, however, that some time between 1830 and 1840 there were,
according to Storer, fifty or sixty vessels fishing for Sea Bass in the Vineyard Sound.

In 1787, if Schoepf is to be believed, they were rarely seen in the New York market. A
diligent search through the works of the early writers on the fisheries of New England fails to bring
to light any allusion to them. It would be interesting to know whether there has actually been
an increase in their abundance, or whether this increase has been, as it seems to have been in the
case of the Spanish mackerel, due to the introduction of new modes of fishing or the discovery of
new fishing grounds. Sea Bass live among the rocky ledges and " spots of ground " which
abound along the entire outer coast from Cape Cod to Cape Florida, and in the North it is also
found in the large bays and sounds, like Long Island Sound. In the North the best bass grounds
are in seven to twelve fathoms of water; off Charleston they are at a depth of twenty to forty
fathoms, though throughout this whole region the fish are found also close to shore, and at all
intermediate depths where suitable feeding grounds occur. In the Gulf of Mexico, on the other
hand, they are found, for the most part, in shoal water; indeed all along the Southern coast the
young fish are found close in to the shore, and I have seen a great many taken with hook and line
from the sea wall at Saint Augustine. The temperature of the water affected by this species and
by the red snapper corresponds very closely, and in most instances is probably not less than 50,
though in the case of the banks of Connecticut and New York it may be slightly lower.

The Sea Bass is a bottom-feeding and a bottom-loving fish, and rarely comes to the surface. 2
Whether or not those occurring in northern waters migrate southward in winter, or merely go into
deeper water, is not yet ascertained. According to Captain Edwards and Captain Spindle, they

1 HOLBROOK : Ichthyology of South Carolina, page 49.

'An exception to this has been recorded by Mr. Charles Hallock, who writes: "Although the Sea Bass is a bottom
Ash, yet once on an outward-bound voyage to the southward of the Gull Stream we made fast to a ship's lower mast,
found drifting on the surface, which was covered with clams and barnacles and surrounded with Sea Bass. We
caught all that we wanted and cut loose. They weighed from five to twelve pounds each, and were all male fish."



MOVEMENTS OF THE SEA BASS. 409

make their appearance in the Vinc\ard Sound from the 1st to tbe 20th of Ma\ up to the 10th of
.June. Captain Spindle states that no stragglers are c\cr seen in April. Captain Edwaids
declares, on tin- other hand, that they an- I'oiind in that region in the winter. A careful study of
tlicir habits would t'orm an important ronti ihiition to /.oolo^x.

Mass arc somewhat sluggish in their habits The temperature of the body is low, being very
nearly that of the surrounding water and the digestion is slow. Although very voracious at times,
i hey seem very much less fat than bliiefish of the same size, and their growth is less rapid.
They seldom leave the bottom, and there is as yet no evidence that cold weather drives them far
from their summer haunts. They retreat, in all probability, into water of greater depth, where
ihe\ pass the winter in a somewhat torpid state. Like the tautog, they appear to have a habit
of lying under loose stones and in cavities among the rocks. I have observed this habit in the
tanks of the Ne\v York Aquarium. The food of this species, as of its associates upon the same
grounds, consists of crabs, shrimps, squids, and small fish. It is stated that the intestines of
mackerel and the stomach of menhaden are considered the best bait about Wood's lloll, Massa-
chusetts, while farther south shrimps and pieces of the flesh of fishes, such as small sharks, are
frequently used. They are vor.ieious feeders and easily taken on the hook, and their mouths are
ton^h and leathery, so that when once taken they are not easily lost.

Scott states that their feeding time Is during the lull of the waters between the turn of the
tides, when they are easily taken by the angler. In the North the Sea Bass occupies its feeding
grounds in company with the scuppaug or porgy, the flounder, and the tautog, while in the South
its associates are the red snapper and the various species of grunt, and on the inshore grounds,
among the rocks, it occurs in company with the sheepshead and the king-fish.

The breeding-time is believed to occur in July and August. Mr. Dyer, of Naushou, states
that the Sea Bass, when they come into the pounds in the spring, are full of spawn, ready to
shoot. Young fish, one or two inches long, are abundant among the eel-grass along the shores of
Southern New England. "In the Gulf of Mexico," according to Stearns, "they spawn in early
summer, and the young are caught in July and August."

The average size of the fish in New England is about one and one-half pounds. A Sea Bnss
nine inches long weighs about five ounces; ten inches long, seven to ten ounces; eleven inches
long, nine to twelve ounces; twelve inches long, ten to sixteen ounces; while the length of a
three-pound fish varies from eighteen to twenty inches. They occasionally attain the weight of
four or five pounds, but this is unusual, lu the South they are, as a rule, much smaller than
in the North. This is especially the case in the, Gulf of Mexico. In these waters, and along the
southern part of the South Atlantic coast, they rarely exceed a pound in weight. Large male fish
are remarkable on account of the presence of a large hump upon the top of the head. This is
particularly prominent during the breeding season, and at this time the colors of the whole body
are much brighter. The colored plate of this species, drawn by Mr. Kilburu for Scribner's "Game
Fishes of the United States," represents a large male at the breeding season, the only picture of
this kind that has ever yet been made.

The Sea Bass is of interest to fish-culturists as being the first marine fish upon which the
experiment of artificial propagation was tried in this country. This was in June, 1.S74, when
Mr. Mather fertilized a number of eggs at the station of the United States Fish Commission, at
Noank, Connecticut. These eggs were placed in shad boxes and were watched for several days
as the\ passed through the early stages of segmentation. A storm interfered with the completion
of the experiment

The Sea Bass is considered one of our most available food-fishes, being especially excellent



410 NATURAL HISTOKY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

for use iu chowders ; in this respect i rival of the haddock, its flesh being very sweet, flaky, and
linn. By reason of the hardness of its flesh it is especially adapted to packing and shipment in
ice, and in summer is probably one of the most desirable fishes to be obtained in the city markets.
The principal commercial fisheries are located in the Vineyard and Fisher's Island Sound and the
vicinity, carried on by Noank and New London smacks oft' the mouth of the Delaware Bay, and
ofl' Charleston, South Carolina. As has already been stated, its distribution is very wide all along
the coast, and it is probable that its importance as a food-fish will increase in years to come.

There is a. small species (Serranm trifurcits) resembling the Sea Bass which has been found
only in the vicinity of Charleston, fcouth Carolina, and Pensacola, Florida, where it is called the
"Eock Black-fish"; it occasionally finds its way to the Charleston markets.

THE SQUIRREL-FISH SERRANUS FASCICULARIS.

The Squirrel-fish is usually to be seen in the markets of Charleston, north of which it has
never been discovered. The following paragraph from Holbrook's "Ichthyology of South Caro-
lina" contains all that has been observed regarding its habits:

" Little can be said of the habits of this fish. It however appears in our waters in May and
June and remains until November. It is occasionally taken with the hook on the black-fish
grounds, but is never abundant. Southward it ranges at least to Brazil."

137. THE GROUPERS.
THE RED GROUPER EPINEPHELTJS MORIO.

Next in importance to the Sea Bass are the various species of Grouper, members of the genus
Epinephelm. The " Red Grouper," as it is called iu Florida, and in New York markets Epinephe-
lun morio, is a large species, sometimes attaining the weight of forty or fifty pounds. There is no
certain record of its having been captured north of Florida, where it is called the "Brown Snap-
per," or "Red-bellied Snapper." DeKay, writing iu 1842, stated that it was not unusual in the
New York market in June and July, where it was called by the fishermen 'Groper,' or 'Red Groper';
that it is a Southern species and is brought from the reefs of Florida, but that he had been
informed by Indian fishermen that it is occasionally, but very rarely, taken off the coast of New
York; he added that Dr. Holbrook informed him that it was brought into the Charleston markets
from Florida in the months of January, February, and March.

Ilolbrook wrote: "The Grouper is so seldom seen on our coast that nothing can at this time
be said of its habits; but in confinement, as it is brought to us from Key West, it appears very
voracious and bold, taking food even from the hand wheu offered, and always injuring such other
species of fish' as 'may be its fellow-captives."

It is very abundant in the Gulf of Mexico and about the Florida Keys, and is said also to be
abundant along the whole coast of East Florida, and is often taken on the Saint John's bar. Mr.
8. C. Clarke writes that it occurs in the vicinity of New Smyrna, Florida, where it spawns in bays
and inlets in the months of May and June, as does also the Black Grouper. The only reliable
study of its habits which has been made we owe to Mr. Silas Stearns, whose biographical sketch of
this species may here be quoted in full :

"The Red Grouper is extremely abundant in the Gulf of Mexico iu company with the red
snapper. It is most abundant on the South Florida coast, and is found throughout the year on the



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 70 of 146)