G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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quantities in the pound-nets along the Vineyard Sound, especially the unstriped species, the habits


of which are better understood than those of the allied species. It feeds upon crabs, shrimps, and
small fishes. '

In Vineyard Sound the Sea-robin spawns during the summer months. A specimen obtained
at Wood's Holl, August 12, 1875, contained eggs nearly ripe. Another, observed at Noank, Con-
necticut, Jnly 11, 1874, was in precisely the same condition. Lyinan states that in 1871 the eggs,
which are bright orange, were thrown up in quantities during the last third of May on the beach
on the inner parts of Waquoit Bay, and the females had well developed spawn in them.

The species just mentioned are found as far north as Cape Cod; the web-fingered Sea-robin,
P. paltnipes, even north of the cape, two or three specimens having been obtained in the vicinity of
Salem and Lynn. These two species apparently do not occur much to the south of Cape Hatteras,
and on our Southern coast they are replaced by others which are smaller and, at present, of no
economic importance. 2 The genus Prionotus does not occur in Europe, the family being there rep-
resented by a very similar form, genus Trigla, which, however, has still smaller wings. Its habits
are much the same. A single specimen of the Red Gurnard of Europe, Trigla cuculus, is said to
have once been taken at New York. Europe has nine species of Trigla, most of which are highly
esteemed for food; some of these species have been known to attain the length of two feet and the
weight of eleven pounds. These fishes are held in high estimation, and ar frequently seen In the

USES. Parnell writes : "The Red Gurnard occurs on the Devonshire coast in great numbers,
and on some occasions thousands of them may be seen exposed for sale daily, especially in those
small towns where the trawl -boat fishing is carried on. The flesh is firm and well-flavored. The
Tub-fish, T. Miranda, is of frequent occurrence on the west coast of Scotland, and is occasionally
brought to the, Edinburgh market. Its flesh is firm and wholesome, and is considered by some to
be superior to the last species, but in general more dry. In the north of Europe it is salted for
keeping. The Gray Gurnard, T. gurnardus, is considered by all fishermen richer and sweeter than
any of the other Gurnards, although in the markets it is less sought after than the Red Gurnard,
which is the drier and worse flavored of the two. It is taken generally with hooks baited with
mussels. These fish are taken in very great numbers in the trawl-nets; they appear to be much
more abundant on the European coast than their cousins, the Sea-robins, with us." 3 Their recom-
mendations are quoted here in order to draw attention to this neglected group of fishes, which are
certainly worthy of greater consideration than they have hitherto received.

Mr. J. Carson Brevoort has given the following testimony regarding the food qualities of the
American species:

" The Gurnard as an edible fish. Among the fish that may be classed as edible, but which
are entirely neglected here, is the Sea-robin. Grunter, or Gurnard. This curious, but rather for-
bidding creature, is, in reality, one of the most delicate morsels that can be laid before an epicure,
the flesh being snow-white, firm, and fully as good as that of the king-fish, or whiting. In fact it
would be hard to distiuguish them when placed on the table.

" In Europe every one of the various kinds of Trigla, or Gurnard family, is sought after eagerly,
and finds a ready sale on the fish-stalls. They have eight or ten kinds of the group there, and we
have but six here; all but one different from the .European kinds, though belonging to the same

'Specimens caught at Wood's Holl, Massachusetts, May 29, 1871, contained shrimp, Crangon vulgaris, and a small
flounder. Another, taken May 29, contained a small beach-flea, Anonyx, sp., and Crangon vulgaris. Others, dredged in
Vineyard Sound in August, contained crabs, Panopeus Sayi, Cancer irroratus, and small fishes. Auothcr, taken at
Noank, Connecticut, in July, 1874, contained sand-fleas, Uncrola irrorata and Ampelisca sp.

3 A single specimen of .S. palmipet was taken by Mr. C. H. Gilbert, at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1882.

3 PARNELL, RICHARD : Fishes of the Firth of Forth, 1838, p. 174.


family. We shall not atti'inpt to Describe all those fish, which resemble each other very much in
all but the color. They all have large heads, sheathed with rough, bouy plates, and armed with
many acute points, and their dorsal flu has also several sharp, thorny rays. These prickles are all
erected by (lie fish when takeu alive, and they inflict a painful, though not, as many say, a poison
ons wound. The broad mouth is furnished with rough, but not sharp, teeth; the pectoral fins in
most of the s]>ecies are very long, and can be expanded like a fan, whence they are sometimes
railed Flying-fish and Butterfly- fish. It is doubtful, however, whether they can actually fly like a
living-fish, but they have been said to skip from wave to wave, a peculiarity often alluded to
by halieutic poets. They also emit a grunting sound, which can be distinctly heard in still weather
while lying at anchor on a shallow, which they frequent. At such a time the sound resembles the
distant lowing of kine. When freshly takeu from the water they grunt quite loudly, whence
i heir popular name of Gruntor, or Cuckoo-fish.

"The Gurnards live on crabs and delicate fresh food, taking all such baits readily, on a clean
bottom, and they sometimes annoy fishermen hugely by their voracity. They play well on the
hook, and a large one tugging at a rod is often supposed to be n game fish and a prize, till the
ugly Sea-robin, with his spiky helmet, shows himself at the surface.

"The Gurnards of our coasts do not reach a large size, at least we have but rarely seen any that
\\cighed over a pound, while in Europe some of the species, such as the Tub-fish, Trigla hirundo,
have been found weighing eleven pounds, and those of seven or eight are common. The Red Gur-
nard, or Rotchet, T. CMCM/IM, and the Piper, T. lyra. reach three or four pounds, averaging about
two, while the other European kinds resemble ours as to size.

" Small as our species are, they are not the less delicate when cooked, and we have often veri-
fied this fact. They are sold in England by the number, and not by weight, for their large heads
an- inedible, while they add, perhaps, one-quarter to their weight. The English fishermen take
them almost everywhere along the coast in large trawl-nets, constructed for their capture, though
other bottom fish may find their way into the net. These trawls are generally twelve or sixteen
feet wide at the month, with a bag proportioned to their beam, which has one or two labyrinths
like a fyke-net Inside. The trawl is managed from a large sail-boat, with a block and tackle, and
is hauled in water as deep as eight or ten fathoms. We do not recommend this special fishery to
our coast fishermen, as our Gurnards are small, but wish only to call attention to the edible qual-
ities of this generally despised fish.

" Piscator (the anonymous author of the 'Practical Angler'), in his excellent little treatise
entitled 'Fish; How to Choose and How to Dress,' published in 1843, says of the Gurnard that
their flesh is 'white, excellent, exceedingly firm, and shells out into snowy flakes, and is of a
remarkably agreeable flavor,' and that 'they keep well.' He recommends them to be boiled that
i>. the large ones ; while the small ones may be split and fried.

" We have no popular names for the species that are found in our waters. All are called
Sea-robins, Flying-fish, 'Grnnters, &c.

" Having drawn attention to this first as one that deserves a place on our tables, we leave his
fate hereafter to the tender care of a good cook and a discerning paJate."

Another member of this family is the Pcriatedium miniatum Goode, a brilliant red species recently
diseovered by the Fish Commission in the deep waters on the coast of Southern New England.

THE AOONUS FAMILY. Another family closely related to the family Triylidw is the family

Ayonida;, the members of which are remarkable on account of their angular bodies encased in

spinons, bony plates; it is represented on our east coast by one species. The

17 r


monopterygius tbe " Greenlander," as it has been christened by the seamen on the Fish Commission
steamer has been observed as far south as Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and is quite abundant in
deep water north to the polar regions, having been frequently observed on the coast of Greenland.
This fish attains a length of seven or eight inches, and, although it is not much thicker or softer
than an iron spike, is sometimes found in the stomachs of codfish and halibut.

" On the Pacific coast," writes Professor Jordan, " the Agonidse are represented by numerous
species inhabiting deep waters from Santa Barbara northward. They have no economic importance,
being brought into market only by accident. These species are Leptagonua rerrucosus (Locking-
ton), J. & G. ; Lepta-gonus xyoxterntm, J. & G. ; Podothecus acipenserinus (Pallas), J. & G. ; Podothecm
vutsitSf J. & G.; Odontopyxis trispinosus Lockiugton; Bothragonws Swani (Steind.), Gill, and Aspi-
dophoroides inermis Gthr. The Triglidai are represented by Prionotus stephanophrys Lockington;
rarely seen at San Francisco."


SCULPINS OF THE ATLANTIC COAST. On our Atlantic coast are found several species of
this family, generally known by the name " Sculpin," and also by such titles as "Grubby,"
"Puffing- grubby," " Daddy Sculpin," " Bullhead," " Sea-robin," " Sea-toad," and " Pig-fish." Their
economic value is little or nothing, but they are important as scavengers, and are used for lobster
bait. They are often a source of great annoyance to the fishermen by cumbering their hooks and
by stealing their bait. The most abundant species is the Eighteen-spined Sculpin, Coitus octo-
decim*pino8u*, which frequents shallow and moderately deep waters from Labrador to New York.
It is usually associated with a much smaller species, Coitus (eneus, which maybe called the "Pigmy
Sculpin," and which ranges from the Bay of Fundy to New York.

Cottus scorpius, of Europe, is represented on our coasts by C. georpiua subsp. gramlandicun.
which is abundant everywhere from New York to Greenland and Labrador. This subspecies
has been found on the coast of Ireland, 1 and the typical Cottus scorpius has been shown by
Dr. Bean to occur in Maine. There is also, in addition to several insignificant species seldom
seen except by naturalists, a large, brilliantly colored form, known as the "Sea-raven," "Rock
Toad-fish," or "Deep-water Sculpin,'' which is found as far south as the entrance to Chesapeake
Bay, is abundant throughout New England, and has been discovered oft' the coast of Nova Scotia.
This fish, Hemitripterus hispidua, or H. americanm, attains the length of two feet, and is conspicuous
by reason of its russet-orange or brick-red colors, its harlequin-like markings, its warted body,
its grotesquely elongated fins, and, above all, by its peculiar liabit of swallowing air until its belly
is inflated like a balloon.

These fishes feed upon all bottom animals, mollusks, crustaceans, sea-urchins, and worms,
and may also be found in the harbors devouring any refuse substances which may be lying upon
the bottom. They breed, for the most part, in summer, and certain species, like the Sea-raven
and the Greenland Sculpin, at that time assume very brilliant colors. They are not eaten by our
people, although the Sea-raven is decidedly palatable. Those species which occur in Greenland
are said to be eaten by the natives. As has been remarked, they are a source of annoyance to
ti.shermen, whose bait they steal and whose hooks, especially the hooks of their trawl-lines, they
encumber. Boys delight to catch them and fix a piece of light wood between their teeth; they
are theu unable to swim and struggle vigorously at the top of the water.

About the fish-curing stations they are very abundant, and exceedingly useful as scavengers,

1 Annals of Natural History, 1641, p. 402.


gorging theinsehes \\itli refuse thrown kick into the sea; they can- little for the presence of man,
ami can hanlK lie driven a\\a\, even when roughly punched with a Ixmt-hook.

In tin- lakes and streams of the Northern States are numerous species of (franidea and allied
genera, known in sonic localities liy the English name of " Miller's Thumb," also culled "Bull-heads,"
"GoMiiis." r,lo!>s," and Muffle-jaws." They are small and of no importance except as the food
of larger species.

ScruTOS OK THE PACIFIC COAST. The Cottidu>, according to Jordan, are represented on
i lie I'acilic coast Ity about eighteen separate species, known by such names as "Sculpin," "Drum-
mer." Salpa," "Johnny," " Biggy-head," and "Cabezon." Only one of these species, Scorpa-n-
ii'lithijx nmrmoratu*, has any sort of economic importance; the others maybe considered collect-
ively. The names applied to them may be briefly considered. The name Sculpin, of course, is
derived from that in use for the Atlantic species of Cottus. " Drummer" comes from the quivering
noise made by many species when taken alive out of the water. "Salpa" is a Spanish word for
toad, and applied also to species of Batrachidie. "Johnny" is applied only to very little Sculpins
along the shore, notably Oligocottwi maculomut. The same name is given in the Ohio Valley to
fishes of precisely similar habits, the Ethewtomatina: "Biggy-head" and its Spanish cognate
"Cabezou" are used by the Italians and Spanish about Monterey, Santa Barbara, and elsewhere,
for different Cottidse.

Most of the Cottidie feed upon small fishes, and especially Crustacea; one species, Enophryx
liixon, being a vegetable feeder. All take the hook readily. The flesh is poor, tough, and dry, aud
the waste by the removal of the head, viscera, and skin is so great that even the poorest people
do not use them as food. Various sorts (notably Leptocottim armatus) are dried by the Chinese,
who consider them the poorest of all dried fishes.

The specio arc: I'xychrolutes paradoxus Gthr., found from the Straits of Fuca northward;
Affclii-htlti/x rluxloriiH Jor. and <; ilk. also chiefly northward; Cottu* polyacanthocephalu* Pallas, one
of the largest species, from Cape Flattery northward; Artediu* luteralis Grd., found among the
rocks from Montcrc\ northward; Artedius notoxpilottm Grd., in the kelp, etc., from Santa Barbara
to San Francisco: Artcdiiix /> next rails Jor. aud Gilb., about Vancouver's Inland; Artediwt quadri-
xa-liiiux Lockington and Artetllua megacephalus Lockingtou, taken in deep water oft' San Francisco;
Artediux /KII/I ttmxix Steind., in deep water from Puget Sound northward; Hemilepidotux npinonun
A vies, found chiefly about San Francisco and Monterey, and the large Hemilepidotus trachuruit
(Tilesius), ranging from San Francisco to Alaska ; Enophrys bi#on Grd., a large species, the sole
member of the group feeding exclusively on plants, ranging from San Francisco to Alaska, and
exceedingly abundant in Puget Sound; Scorpmrichthys marmoratus Grd., noticed below; Leptocottun
rmutiiii Grd., the commonest of all the species, abundant iu every bay; Liocottus hirundo Grd., and
Oligocottux tinalix Grtl., two species ranging chiefly southward ; Oligocottus globicep^, Grd., and Oligo-
rtittux Hini-itloxiix (Inl.. small and active inhabitants of the rock pools northward; and, finally, the
curious i;ici>xi(ix eirrhoxux (Pallas) Gthr., yuntivhthyn ocvlofaseiatwi Grd., and Khti mphocottus Rich-
<inlxoni Gthr., Alaskan fishes straggling southward to San Francisco. In the fresh waters ami
often running into the sea are I'ntnidea aspera (Rich.) J. and G., aud Uranidia guloaa (Grd.) J. and
<!.. found in all the streams north of the San Joaquin. Only one of this numerous series merits
especial consideration, namely the "Cabezon." Xmrpa nii-hthyx marmoratun (Ayrew) Grd. The name-
"Cabe/on," "Sculpin," "Scori>ion," "Salpa,'' and "Biggy-head" arc applied to this species. The
latter is heard chiefly among the Italians, who have about Monterey and elsewhere adopted the
Spanish Cabezon," which appears to be the most distinctive term. The names "Sculpin," "Scor-
pion," aud "Salpa" are applied to various other species, and are rather collective than specific names.


This species reaches a length of more than two feet, and a weight of more than ten pounds,
being by far the largest member of its family on the Pacific coast. It is found from San Diego to
Victoria, but is more abundant about Monterey and San Francisco than either northward or south-
ward. It inhabits moderate depths, and is taken in considerable numbers with gill-nets and hooks.
It feeds upon Crustacea and small fish. Its value is very small, the flesh being tough and flavorless,
and it is rarely sent to the market when good fish are abundant.


Although upon the west coast of North America the fishes of the family (Scorpwnida;) are among
the most important, there are only four species on the Atlantic coast of North America ; of these,
two have been discovered within the past year, and the others, though well known and very widely
distributed, are not of great importance. The Rose-fish, Sebastes marinus, is conspicuous and unique
among cold-water fishes by its brilliant scarlet color; it is also known as "Red Perch," 1 " Norway
Haddock," "Heuidurgan," and "Snapper," as "Bream" in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and called
" John Dory" in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is found also in Northern Europe, where it has been
recorded as far south as Newcastle, in Northern England, latitude 55, 2 and it has also been
found in Aberdeen and Berwick, and in Zetland, where it is called "Bergylt" and "Norway

On the eastern side of the North Sea the species has not been seen south of Gothenborg, lati-
tude 58, but is said to be abundant along the entire western coast of Norway to the North Cape
and Varenger Fjord in East Finmark, while Malingren records it from Baren Island, and Scoresby
found it at Spitzbergen, latitude 80. lu Iceland it is abundant, and in Davis' Straits, at least as
far north as Disco, where it is found associated with the halibut, and is said to constitute a liberal
share of its food. In Eastern Labrador, about Newfoundland, and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence,
it is abundant, and also along the shores of Nova Scotia and in the Bay of Fundy. In these
uorthern regions the Rose-fish prefers shallow water, and may be taken in the greatest abundance
in the bays and around the wharves in company with the sculpins and the cunner or blue perch.
On the coast of the United States, south of the Bay of Fundy, they are rarely seen near the shore,
but have been found in deep water in all parts of the Gulf of Maine and Massachusetts Bay,
and also abundantly south of Cape Cod. In the fall of 1880 the United States Fish Commission
obtained great quantities of them, young and old. DeKay included this fish in his New York list,
stating, however, that it was very rare in those waters. He remarks that " the coast of New York
is probably its extreme southern limit."

Of late years none have been taken south of the locality already mentioned, which was in
water from one to three hundred fathoms in depth, at the inner edge of the Gulf Stream, from fifty
to one hundred miles southwest of Newport, and about the same distance east of Sandy Hook.
A hundred or two hundred miles farther south it is replaced by a fish resembling it somewhat in
form and color, Scorpcena dactyloptera De la Roche, discovered by the Fish Commission during
the past year, and by Scorpcena Stearnsi, detected at Pensacola by Silas Stearns, and at Charles-
ton by C. H. Gilbert.

It may fairly be said that the Roae-fish, as a shore species, is not known south of parallel 4^,
which is 13 south of its transatlantic limit. When the deep waters of Southern Europe have
.been as carefully explored as those of the United States, it is probable that the range of this fish
will be extended considerably farther to the south.

'In distinction from the "bine perch" or "cunner" (Ctenolabru adspertut), which it resembles in form, but uot
iu color.

(Ji'Miir.i;: Cat. Fbheg Brit. Mus. 2, p. 96.


The temperature range of the Uose-lish corresponds closely to tliut of the halibut, and its
limits will, on more careful study, probably he found included between 32 and 50. It is found
everywhere on the shallow ott'-shore banks north of (Jape Cod, where it attains its greatest size.
A specimen, brought in by one of the Gloucester halibut schooners, was about two feet in length
and weighed alxmt fourteen pounds. Along the Maine coast they are much smaller than this,
rarely exceed in - ciiiht or ten inches and the weight of twelve ounces, but occasionally growing to
tin' weight of one and a half pounds.

In Scandinavia there have been recognized two species: one, a large, orange-colored form,
inhabiting deep water, known to the Norwegians as the "Red-fish" (Rod-fisk), and considered to
be 8. marinug (8. noricegicim) ; the other, a smaller species of much deeper color, called the
"Lysanger," and described by Kroyer under the name "8. viviparm," and by Ekstrom as "&
,;,iiiliix.~ l After the most careful study of all the specimens in the National Museum, we have
been unable to recognize more than one species on our coast, and recent Norwegian ichthyologists,
among them especially Mr. Robert Collet, believe that the two Norwegian forms are not actually
distinct species, but that the smaller one is simply a pigmy race which is especially .adapted
to life in the long, shallow fiords of that region. Dr. Liitken, always conservative, is inclined to
believe the two forms distinct, regarding the large fish of the deep water as the primitive type
from which the smaller littoral form has been derived by development. According to the last-
mentioned authority, the two forms have very different geographical distribution, 8. virijutrua
inhabiting the shallows in the vicinity of the Faroe Islands, Southern Sweden, Norway, and New
England, but unknown to Great Britain, Denmark, Finmark, Iceland, and Greenland; while N.
itHtrinuii is found in Greenland and Iceland and all the length of the Norwegian coast, in Spitsber-
gen, Biiren Island, on the coasts of Denmark, and occasionally in the north of England and
Ireland. Possibly, he suggests, it inhabits the deep waters at a distance from shore, off the Faroe
Islands and North America, but that is not yet certainly known. S. viriparus, then, he declares,
is a form less arctic as well as more littoral. 1

This subject is here referred to in the hope that additional observations may be drawn out
tending to settle the question whether or not there are two forms of Sebustes on the American
coast. It seems, however, improbable, since the physical conditions are so different from those
under which they occur on the other side of the Atlantic.

The food of the Rose-fish consists, like that of its cousins, the Sculpins, of small fish, crusta-
ceans, and, to some extent,- of mollusks, although its teeth are not formed for crushing the thick-
shell species. In Greenland they are said to feed upon the pole-flounder. A specimen taken off
Kastern Point, Gloucester, in July, 1878, had its throat full of shrimp-like crustaceans (Mynis sp.),.
and others, taken at Eastport, were feeding extensively on a larger crustacean (Thynanopoda sp.),
which is also a favorite food of the mackerel. They may be caught with almost any kind ot bait,
but are not, like their associates, the cunners, given to feeding upon refuse substances, and, being
also more shy and watchful, cannot be captured in bag-nets. They breed in summer, from June
to September, in deep holes in Massachusetts Bay and off' the coast of Southern New England,
where it has not been uncommon for the Fish Commission to obtain thousands of young one,
two, and three inches long, at one set of the trawl-net, and also adults full of spawn. The young
are lighter in color than the adults, and are conspicuously banded with reddish-brown upon a
grayish ground. The young constitute a favorite food of the codfish, while, at all ages, they are
preyed upon by the halibut and other large predaceous nshes of the cold-water districts.

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 46 of 146)