Aristotle's History of animals. In ten books online

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by common observation, as in the fly and canthans.
S. AU adopt the same methodi the fly, canthans, apon*


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djlaS pbalangium, or any other insect that copulates. All
the phalaagia that spin a web unite in the following manner.
The female draws a hhiment from the middle of the web, and
' then the male draws it back a£;ain, and this ther do a great
many times till thej meet, and are united backwards, for
this idnd of copulation suits them on account of the sixe
of their abdomen. The copulation of animals is accom-
plished in this manner.

Chapteb vin.

1. All animals have their proper season and age for coition ;
the nature of most creatures requires them to have inter-
course with each other when winter is tuminc into summer.
This is the spring; season, in which all animals with wings,
feet, or fins, are mcited to coition. Some copulate and pro-
duce their young in the autumn and winter, as some aquatic
and winged creatures, llankind are ready at all seasons,
and so are many other animals which associate with man ;
this arises from greater warmth, and better food, and is
usual among those which are pregnant only for a short time,
as the hog, dog, and those birds which have freouent
broods. Many animals appear to adapt the season of coi-
tion to that which they consider the oett for the nurture of
their young.

2. Among mankind the male is more disposed for sexual
intercourse in the winter, and the female in the summer.
Birds, as I haye observed, generally jMur in the spring and
summer, except the halcyon. Tliis bird hatches its young
about the time of the winter solstice. Whereupon fine days
occurring at this seaaon are called haloron days, seven before
the solstice and seven l^r it. As oimonides also writes
in his poems, " as when in the winter months Jupiter pre-
pares fourteen days, which mortala call the windless seasoii,
the sacred nurse of the variegated halcyon.**

3. These fine days take place wherever it happens that
the solstice turns to the south, when the pleiades set in tiie
porth. The bird is said to occupy seven days in building
its nest, and the other seven in orinring out and nursing
its young. The halcyon days are not Mways met with in this

> A bsslk living al ths roots of teiMb Otfabsi.


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coontfy at tbe time of the iolstioe, but tbejr always occur in
the Sicilian Sea. Tbe halcyon produces five eggs.

4. The SDthuia and tbe lurus batch their young amcme the
rocks on tiie sea-side, and produce two or three, the krus
•during tbe summer, and the stbuia at tbe beginning of tbe

Sring, immediately after the equinox ; it sets upon its eggs
:e other birds ; neither of these kinds conceal themselves.
The halcvon is tbe rarest of all, for it is only seen at the
season ot tbe setting of tbe pleiades, and at tbe solstice, and
it first appears at seaports, flying as much as round a ship,
and immediately vanishing away. Stesicborus also speaks
of it in the same manner.

6. The nightingale produces her young at the beginning
of summer. She produces five or six eggs. She conceals
herself from the autumn to tbe beginning of spring. Insects
copulate and produce their voun^ during tbe winter when-
ever tbe days are fine, and the wind in the south, at least
such of them as do not conceal themselves, as the fly and
ant. Wild animals produce their young once a year, unless^
like the hare, they breed while they are nursing their young.

Chaptbb DL

1. Pish also generally breed once a year, as the chyti. All
'those which are caught in a net are called chyti ; the thyn*
nus, palamis, cestreus, cbalais. colias, cbromis, psetta, and
such fike, the labrax is an exception, for this alone of them
all breeds twice a year, and tbe secondfry of these are much
weaker. Tbe tricbias* and rock flsh breed twice, tbe trigla is
the only one that breeds three times a year. Iliis is shewn
by the firy, which appear three times at certain places.

2. The scorpius breeds twice, and so does the sargus, in
spring and autumn, the salpa once only in the spring. The
toynnis breeds once, but as some of tbe fry are produced
at first, and others afterwards, it appears to breed twice.
The first firy makes its appearance in the month of Deoenh*
ber, after the solstice, the second in the spring. The male
ihynnis is difierent from the female, for tbe female has a fin
•under the abdomen, called aphareus, which tbe male has not.

8. Among the selachea, the rhino alone breeds twice in
the years at the beginning of tiieautuBm, and at the period


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B. T.] THX miTOBT OV JLKI1L1L0. 109

of the settiDg of the Pleiades. The young are, bowerer, better
in the autumn. At each breeding eeason it prodncet seren or
eight. Some of the galei, as the aaterias, aeem to produee
their ova twice every month. ThiB arises from all the ov»
not being perfected at once.

4. Some fish produce ova at all seasons of the year, as the
mursena: for this fish produces many ova, and the fry
rapidly increase in size, as do those also of the hippurus,' for
these, from being very small, rapidly increase to a great
size ; but the munena produces young at all seasons, the
hippurus in the spring. The smyrus differs from the mu*
rrnna, for the munena is throughout variegated and irenk.
The smyrus is of one colour, and strong ; its colour is that
of the pine tree, and it has teeth both internally and ex.
temally. They say that these are the male and the female,
as in others. These creatures go upon the land, and are
often taken.

5. The growth of all fish is rapid, and not the least so in
the coradnuB among small fish. It breeds near the land,
in thick places fuU of seaweed. The orphos also grows
rapidly. The pelamis and thvnnus breed in Pontus, and
nowhere else. The cestreus, chrysophrys, and labraz, breed
near the mouths of rivers. The orcynes and scorpides, and
many other kinds, in the sea.

6. Most fish breed in March, April, and May ; a few
in the autumn, as the salpe, saigus, and all the others of
this kind a little before the autumnal equinox; and the
narce and rhine also. Some breed in the winter and summer,
as I before observed, as the labrax, cestreus, and belona in
the winter ; the thynuis in June, about the summer sol-
stice: it produces, as it were, a bag, containing many
minute ova. The rhyas also breeds in the summer. The
ehelones among the cestrsi begin to breed in the month of
December, and so does the sargus, the myzon, as it is
caUed, and the cephalus. They go with young thirty
days. Some of the cestrei do not originate in coition, but
are produced firom mud and sand.

•7. The greater number of them contain ova in the
spring, but some, as I observed, in the summer, autumn,
and winter. Bnt this does not take place in all alike^
' OofjphoNia hqppws.

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110 THI HI8T0&T or AlTIHALff. [b. T*

nor mnglj, nor in eveiy kind, m it does in most fisb
which produce their young in the spring: nor do they
produce as many ova at other seasons. But it must
not escape our notice, that as different countries make a
great difference in plants and animals, not only in the habit
of their body, but also in the frequency of their sexual^ in*
tercourse and production of young; so different localities
makeacreat difference in fish, not only in their sixe, and
habit of their body, but in their young, and the frequency
or rarity of their sexual intercourse, and of their offspring
in this place or that.

Chapter X.
1. Tus malacia breed in the spring, and first of all the marine
sepia, though this one breeos at all seasons. It produces
its ova in fifteen days. When the ova are extruded, the
male follows, and ejects his ink upon them, when they be-
come hard. They go about in nairs. The male is more
Tsriegated than the female, and olacker on the back. The
■exes of the polypus unite in the winter, the young are nro-
duced in the spnn^, when these creatures conceal tnemselves
lor two months. It produces an ovum like long hair, similar
to the fruit of the white poplar. The fecundity of this animal
is very great, for a great number of young are produced
from its ova. The male differs from the female in having a
longer head, and the part of the tentaculum which the nsh-
ermen call the penis is white. It incubates upon the ova
it pn)duces, so that it becomes out of condition, and is not
sought after at this season.

2. The purpura produce their ova in the spring, the
ceiyx at the end ot the winter; and, on the whote, the
testaoea appear to contain ova in the spring and autumn,
except the eatable echini. These principally produce their
young at the same seasons, but they always contain some
ova, and especially at the full and new moon, and in fine
welder, but those which live in the Euripus of the Pyrrhiei
are better in winter. They are a small kmd but full of ova.
AU the cochlea appear to contain ov» at the same season.

Chaptu XI.
1. Turn imdomesticated birds, as it was observed, generally •
pair and breed once i^year. The swallows and cottyphus '


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B. T.] THB niSTOKr 07 ▲KIMAL8. Ill

breed twice, but the fint brood of the cottyphus is killed
bjthe cold, for it is the earliest breeder of all birds. It
is able, however, to bring up the other brood. ^ Bat the
domestic birds, and those capable of domestication, breed
£n9quentlj, as pigeons during the whole summer, and do-
mestic fowls. f*or these bur& have sexual intercourse,^ and
produce eggs all the year round, except at the winter

2. There are many kinds of piseons, for the peleias and
peristera are different The pdeias is the smaller, but
the peristera is more readily Umed. The peleias is black
and small, and has red and rough feet, for which reason
it is never domesticated. The phatta is the largest of
the tribe, the next is the oonas, which is a little larger than
the peristera, the trygon is the least of alL If the peristera
is supplied with a warm place and appropriate food, it will
breea and brine up its ^oung at any season of the year. If
it is not properiy supplied, it will only breed in the summer.
Its younff ones are best during the spring and autumn,
those produced in the hot weather in summer are the worst


1. AvniALS also differ in the age at which sexual inter-
course commences. For in the first place the period at
which the spermatic fluid begins to be secreted, and the age
of pubertv is not the same, but different ; for the young of
all animals are barren, or if they do possess the power of
reproduction, their offsprinff are weak and smalL This is
yenr conspicuous in mankind, and in viviparous quadrupeds
and birds, for in the one the ofispring, in the other the
c^gs, are small. The age of puberty is neariy the same iu
the individuals of each kind, unless anj alteration takes
place, either as ominous, or from an injury done to their

2. In men this period of life is shown by the dianfle of
voice, and not only by the size but by the form c? the
pudendum and of the breasts in women, but espedallr by
the growth of hair on the nubes. The secretioii oc the
spermatic fluid commences about the age of fo u rteen, the
power of reproduction at twenty-one. Other animals have
no hair on the pnbei^ £ir some have no bar at all, and


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112 Tm HISTOBT or AKnULLS.. [b.t.

oihen have none npon their under side, or leas than on
their upper side, hut the change of the voice is conspicooua
in some of them. And in others different parts of the body
signif J the period of the formation of the semen, and of the
power of reproduction.

8. In almost all animals the voice of the female and of
the young is more acute than that of the male and the older
animals, for even the stags have a deeper voice than their
females. The males utter their ciy at the season of copula-
tion, the females when they are alarmed. The voice ol tiie
female is short, that of the male longer. And the barking of
old dogs is also deeper than of young ones, and the voice of
the horse also varies. The females utter a little small cry
as soon as thov are bom, and the males do the same, but
their voice is deeper than that of the female, and as they
grow older, it still increases. When they are two years
old, and reach puberty, the male utters a great deep voice,
that of the female is greater and clearer than it was at first ;
this continues till they are twenty years old at the outside,
and after that the voice, both of the male and female, be-
comes weaker.

4. For the most part, then, as we observed, the voice of
the male differs from that of the female in depth, in those
animals which utter a lengthened sound. There are, how-
ever, some exceotions, as oxen ; for in these animals the
voice of the female is deeper than that of the male, and the
voice of the calf than that of the full-cfown animal ; where*
fore also in toe castrated animals, the voice chances the
other way, for it becomes more like that of the female.

6. The following are the aces at which animahi acquire
the power of reproduction. The sheep and goat arrive at
puberty within a year after they are oom, and especialh'
the goat, and the males as well as the females, but the off«
sprinff of these males and of the others is different^
Por l^e males are better the secvud year than when tiiey
become older. In hogs, the male and female unite at eight
months old, and the female produoes her young when she ia
s year old, for this agrees with the period of gestation.
Tib male reaches pub«rt|' at eight months old, but his ofE^
^ring are useless till he is a year old. But tbeee periods,
•a we have said, are not always the same, for swine will.


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Bometlmes copulate when the/ are four months old, to at to
haye young and nune them at six months old, and boars
Sometimes reach pubertjr at ten months old, and continue
good to three years old.

6. The bitch reaches pubertj within a year after birth,
and so does the dog, and sometimes this takes place at
the end of eight months, but more frequently in the
male than in the female. The period of gestation is
sixty dajs, or one or two, or perhaps three days more, but
never less than sixty days, or if they produce young in a
less time, it never comes to perfection. The bitch is ready
for sexual intercourse aga)n m six months, but never sooner.
The horse reaches puberty in both sexes at two years old,
and is capable of reproduction, but its offspring at that ago
are small and weakly. Por the most part, sexual inter-
course begins at three years of age, and the colts continue to
improve from that period till they are twenty years old.
The male is useful till he is thirty years old, so that he can
beget during almost the whole of his life, for the horse
ffenerally lives five*and-thirtv years, and the mare more than
forty, and a horse has been known to live seventy-five years.

7. The ass reaches puberty in both sexes at the age of
thirty months; they rarely, however, produce young till
they are three years, or three years and six months old.
But it has been known to be pregnant and bring up its
young within the year. The cow also has been known to
produce young and rear it within the year after birth, which
grew to the ordinary size, and no more.^

8. These are the periods of puberfy in these animals.
The seventieth year in man, and the fiftieth in woman,
is the latest period of reproduction, and this happens
rarely, for only a few have had children at this time of life.
Sixty*five is generally the boundary in one sex, and forty*
five in the other. The sheep producea young till it is .eight
years old, and, if irdl treated, until it is eleven, though the
act of copulation is ccmtinued in both sexes during the
whole period of life.

9. rat goats are rarely productive, wherefore they com*
psie barren vines irith barren goats, but tbsy are pro*

* Hiit probsblv iDMiM ** to siuh a dst Si soiifhl bs si ip sst s d ftesi
Ibt 0siiy ags of ths ptrsai.**



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ductiTe when thej are lean. The rams copulate with the
old sheep first, but the/ do not follow afler the younger;
and the younger, as I before observed, produce a smaller
offspring than the older.

10. A wild boar will beget till he is three years old,
but the progeny of older animals is inferior ; for he has
not the same power or strength. He generall^r goes to the
femide when Aill of food, and without having been to
another female, or, if not, the act of coition is of shorter
duration, and the progeny smaller. The sow produces the
smallest number of pigs at her first litter, but at the second
they are more flounsning. She also produces young when
old, but the act of coition is longer. At fifteen years old,

' she no longer produces younc, but becomes fierce.

11. If well-fed, she will be more ready for sexual in-
tercourse, whether young oft old ; and, if rapidlpr fattened
when pregnant, she has less milk after partuntion. As
re^rds the age of the parent, the young of those in the
prime of their age are the best, and those that are bom at
the beginning of winter. The worst are those bom in the
summer, for they are small, and thin, and weak. If the
male is well fed, he is ready for sexual intercourse at all
seasons, by day as well as by night ; but LP not well fed, he
is most rcHsdy in the morning, and as he ctows old, he be-
comes less disposed for it, as was said before. And it fre-
quently happens that those which are impotent, through
age or weakness, and cannot copulate readily, will approach
the female as she lies down tir^ with long standing. The
BOW generally becomes pregnant when she hangs down
her ears in h^ heats; if she is not pregnant, she Deeomea
heated again.

12. Bitches do not copulate during the whole of their
Ufe, but only to a certain period. Their coition and preff-
nancT generally taket place till ther are twelve years dd,
but both males and romales have Deen known to perform
the act of coition at eighteen and even twenty years of
age ; but old ago takes away from both sexes the power of
reproduction, as in other animals.

18. The camel is rctroningent, and performs the aet of the manner already described; the period of
iCi ooition in Arabia is in the month of SeptemW; the


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female goes with young twelre montbt, and prodooea one
foal, for the animal is one <^ those which produee but
one. Both the male and female arriTe at pubertj at the
age of three years, and the female is ready for the male
again at the end of a year after parturition.

14. The elephant arriTes at pubertr, the earliest at ten
years of age, the latest at fifteen, and tiie male at Hie or six
years old. The season for the intercourse of the sexes is ■

in the sprinff : and the male is ready again at the end of
three years, out he nerer touches again a female whom be
has once impregnated. Her period of gestaticm is two years^
and then she produces one wf, for tto elephant belongs to
the dass of animals which have but one young one at a
time. The youn^ one is as large as a calf of two or three
months old. Hiis, then, is the nature of the sexual inter*
course of those animals which perform this function.

Chaptu xin.
1. Wx must now treat of the mode of reproduction, both of
those animals which use sexual intercourse, and those which
do not ; and, first of all, we will speak o[ the testaoea, for
this is the only entire dass which is not reproduced by
sexual intercourse. The purpune collect together in tlie
spring, and produce what is called their nidamental CMsulee
(melicera), for it is like honey-comb, though not so deeply
cut, but, as it were, made up of the white pods of Tetches.
These capsules haTC neither openinc nor perforation, nor are
the purpur» produced from them ; but both vh?.e and other
testacea are produced firom mud and putrefaction. But
this substance is an excrementitioua matter both in the pur*
pura and the ceryx, for these last aJao produce similar cap*

2. The testacea which produce these capsules are gene-
rated in the same way as the rest of their class, but more
readily when there are homogeneous particles pre-existing
among them ; for, when they deposit their nidamental cap*
sules, they emit a clammy mucus, from which the scales of
the capsules are formed. When all these haye been depo*
aited, they emit upon the ground a sort of diyle, and email
purpura spring up upon the same spot and adhere to the
iar|^ purpursp though some of these can hardly be die*



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116 na SI8T0BT or akimals. [b. t.

tingmBhed by their fomu But if the^ are taken before
the breeding season, they will sometimes breed in the
baskets, not indeed anywhere, but they collect together
like they do in the sea, and the narrow limits of their place
of captiyity make them hang together like bunches of iruit*

8. lliere are many kinds of purpune, some of which are
larse, as those which are found near Sigeum and Lectum ;
and others are small, as those in the Euripus and on the
Carian coast. Those found in gulfs are lar&;e and rough.
Most of them contain ablack pigment; in others it is x^sd,
and the quantity of it small. Some of the largest Weigh
as much as a mina. Near the shore and on the coast thej
are small, and the pigment is red. Hiose which are natives
of the north contain a black pigment ; in those of the south
it is red, generally speaking.

4. They are taken in the spring, about the time that they
deposit their capsules, but they are never taken during the
d(M[*days, for then they do not feed, but conceal themselyes
and get out of the way. The pigment is contained between
the mecon and the neck. The imion of these parts is thick,
and the colour is like a white membrane $ this is taken
away. When this is bruised, the pigment wets and stains
the hand. Something resembling a vein passes through it,
and this appears to be the pigment ; the nature of the rest
resembles alum.^ The pigment is the worst at the period of
depositing their nidamental capsules.

6. The small ones are pounded up, shells and all, for
it is not easy to separate them ; but they separate the
larger kinds from tne shells, and then extract the nig-
ment. For this purpose the mecon is divided from
the neck, for the piment lies above the part called the
stomach, and when tnis is taken away, they are divided
asunder. They are careful to bruise them while alive, for
if they die before they are cut up, they vomit- up the pig-
ment ; for this reason they keep them in the baskets tul
a sufficient number is coUe&ed, and there is time to procure
the pigment.

6. The ancients did not let down or fksten anybasket^iet
to their baits, so that it often happened that the purpura
fell off as they were drawn up ; but at the presoit time they
> SMmHj a ooRii^ reidiiif.


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. use basket-nets, in order tliat if tbe purpura should &I1 off,
it maj not be lost. The^ are most likely to fall off when
fblly but when empty it is difficult to draw them from
the bait. These are the peculiarities of the purpura. The
nature of the ceryx is the same as that of the purpurai and
so are their seasons.

7. They both hare opercula, and so have all turbinated
aheU-fishy from the period of their birth. Thej feed by foro-
ing out their tongue, as it is called, beneath tne operculum^ :
the purpura has a tongue larger than a finger, with which it
feeds upon and pierces the conchy lia, and eren the shells of
its own species. Both the purpura and the ceryx are long-
lived, for the purpura lives six years, and its annual increase
is seen in the divisions on the nelix of its shelL

8. The mya also deposits nidamental capsules; Ihose
which are called limnostrea are the first to originaie in
muddy places, but the conchn, chems, solens, and peetens
find their subsistence in sandy shores ; the pinn» grow up
from their byssus both in sandy and muddy shores. The
pinns always contain a pinnophylax, either like a small caria
or cancer, and soon die when this is extracted. On the whole,
all the testacea are produced spontaneously in mud, different
kinds originating in different sorts of mud; the ostreft la
found in mud, the concho and others that have been men-
tioned in sand. The tethya, balanus, and others which live

Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 12 of 39)