John Richardson.

Fauna boreali-americana, or, The zoology of the northern parts of British America : containing descriptions of the objects of natural history collected on the late northern land expeditions, under command of Captain Sir John Franklin, R.N. (Volume 3) online

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Online LibraryJohn RichardsonFauna boreali-americana, or, The zoology of the northern parts of British America : containing descriptions of the objects of natural history collected on the late northern land expeditions, under command of Captain Sir John Franklin, R.N. (Volume 3) → online text (page 24 of 73)
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lobes and a tapering base. The scales are large, thin, very deciduous, and brilliant, reflecting
beautiful green tints on the upper part of the body ; the sides and belly are silvery. The
body is unspotted. The smell of the fish, when recently taken from the water, is like that of
a cucumber.

Fins.— fir. 7—8; P. 14; D. 10 0; F. 8 ; J. 16*; C. 19-1^

* Artedi reckons seventeen anal rays, and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith counted the same number in his Halifax smelt.
In our specimen of the European fish, the last ray is divided to the base, so that there appear to be seventeen on a cursory
examination.



SALMONOIDEiE. 187



[72.] 1. Salmo (IMallotus) villosus. (Cuvier.) The Capelin.

FAMiiv.Salmonoideap. Genus, Salmo. Linn. SmA^ sni/,*, Mallotiis. Cuvieh.

'• Clui'ea villosa. Miii.i., Proi/r , p. 4'-'r)."'

Salrao arctieiis. Fahuicii s. Fauna (Irrrnl., p. 177. No. l'J8.

Capelan. Penn., Jrct. Zoo/., ii., p. 141. No. 175.

Salrao Gioenlandicus. Bi.och, t. 381. Richaruson, Frank. Joum., p. 710,

AngmatJgeuck. Es(JUImaux. Angmagsak, Sennersulik (male). Gkeeni.andeus.

This sub-genus, like the preceding one, contains only a single ascertained
species, which frequents the northern seas. It swarms on the coasts of Norway,
Lapland, Iceland, (jireenland, Newfoundland, the W^elcome, Coronation Gulf, and,
if the Ouiki, or Salmo catervar'ms of Steller be the same, it inhabits the Sea of
Kamtschatka. It has not been mentioned by travellers as existing in the Icy Sea
of Siberia, but is very probably an inhabitant of that sea also, thus completing the
circuit of the arctic coasts. It approaches the shore in dense shoals in the spawn-
ing season, the females preceding the males. The latter, at this period, acquire
elevated bands on the sides, composed of soft, tumid, elongated scales, by which it
is said they adhere together, sometimes to the number of ten or more, and in this
state they are occasionally driven on shore by the wind in immense quantities.
Some males, named sennersuitsut by the Greenlanders, want the indges of enlarged
scales. April, IMay, June, and July are the months in Avhich the Capelin ap-
proaches the Greenland coast. In the beginning of August we observed mul-
titudes of the males congregated on some sandy shoals near the mouth of Back's
River, Avhich falls into Bathurst's Inlet. Many of them leaped into the canoes and
furnished a very acceptable dish of iish for our table, much relished by the whole
party. ]\Ir. Anthony Parkhurst, who is said by Pennant to be the first author who
has noticed this fish, in a letter to Hakluyt written in 1578, after indulging in
some facetious remarks respecting his skill in charming it and the squid or cuttle-
fish to come ashore, observes, that the nature of the squid is to come by night as
well as by day ; but the other, which is like a smelt, and is called by the Spaniards
Anchovas, and by the Portuguese CapeUnas, " commeth also in the night, but
chiefly in the day, being forced by the cod that Avould devoure him, and therefore
for feare comming so neare the shore, is driven drie by the surge of the sea on the
pibble and sands. Of these being as good as a smelt you may take up with a
shove-net as plentifully as you do wheate in a shovell, sufficient in three or four
houres for a whole citie.'"

The Malloti are very nearly allied to the Osmeri, the principal difference being

2 B 2



188 NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.

in the smallness of their teeth. Their resemblance to each other in the form and
structure of the head is very close : both have^ when fresh, a strong smell of cucum-
bers, and both are said to emit, occasionally, a very noisome stench. Nilsson states
that the stinking smelt, named Nors by the Swedes, is a smaller kind, but differ-
ing only in size from the larger, which is named Slom. The Capelin is much used
in the Newfoundland fishery as a bait for cod, and it is also dried in large quan-
tities and exported to London, where it is sold principally in the oyster shops.
Dried capelin forms so important an article of food in Greenland, that it has been
termed the daily bread of the natives.

Although authors have taken it for granted that there is but one species of
Capelin, we do not know that the fact has been fully established by a comparison
of specimens from different seas. The description quoted below from my notes, of
the appearance of a recent individual taken in the American polar sea, differs from
the Newfoundland fish (of which through the kindness of M. Audubon, I possess a
number of specimens preserved in spirits) in the appearance of the scales on the
back, and in the top of the head being granulated ; but when I recollect the dis-
advantages under which that description was originally drawn up, I cannot venture
to consider it as sufficient to warz'ant me in concluding that it relates to a new
species.

DESCRIPTION
Of a male specimen taken in Bathurst Inlet, lat. 67° N., August 4, 1821.

Form. — Profile of the body linear, the head forming a lanceolate termination on the one
side, and the attachment of the anal fin sloping suddenly up towards the tail on the other.
The back is broad. Head. The eye is large, and the centre of the pupil is eight lines dis-
tant from the obtuse extremity of the upper jaw. The under jaw, acute and longer than the
upper one, is capable of considerable depression. When the mouth opens its sides are formed
by the labials, whose posterior piece is very moveable, as in the Coregoni. The jaws, tongue,
palate, and vomer, are furnished with minute teeth, which are more readily felt than seen.
The branchial arches are set with a single row of bristle-like rakers, which appear to be
smooth under the lens. The gill-openings are very large : the membranes contain nine rays.

Scales. — Instead of scales of the ordinary form, the back is covered with small smooth
grains like shagreen, but soft to the touch, which are continued along the upper surface of the
head to the snout. A prominent obtuse ridge, of nearly equal breadth throughout, extends
along the lateral line from the gill-opening to the caudal fin : it is composed of soft, tumid,
semi-lanceolate, acute, diaphanous processes, or altered scales, minutely spotted with black
and densely tiled, with the points turned towards the tail. There is a similar but less promi-
nent ridge between the pectorals and ventrals, which re-commences behind the latter fins, and
is continued, though less conspicuously, to the anal. These ridges cause the sides to appear



SALMONOIDE^. 189

hollow as if pressed in. They are said by Cuvier to be peculiar to the male in the spawning
season, and to be produced by a modification of the scales. The sides and belly are coveretl
with delicate and very bright silvery scales, which are dotted on the margins with black specks :
they are tiled and adhere firmly.

Fins.— jBr. 9; P. 17; D. 14—0; V.8; A. 22; C.

The pectorals are large, sub-orbicular, and placed near to each other. The first dorsal
commences about midway between the occiput and caudal : it measures three-quarters of an
inch in height, and contains fourteen rays, of which the two anterior ones are short, and the
remainder forked at the tips : the connecting riiembrane is very thin and transparent. The
ventrals, situated opposite to the dorsal, resemble the pectorals in size and form : they contain
eight bifurcated rays, and measure, when expanded, an inch in diameter. The anal is sup-
ported throughout by rays of nearly equal length, but owing to the form of the part to which
it is attached, its margin forms a convex curve : it contains twenty-two rays, the anterior being
the strongest, and having the membrane scolloped between them, the posterior ones are deli-
cate : its attachment exceeds an inch in length, being thrice as long as the space between it
and the caudal. The adipose fin is five lines long and one line and a half high : it is situated
a little anterior to the termination of the anal, and is composed of a thin membrane attached
to a small ridge of the smooth tubercles that cover the back. The caudal is deeply forked.

Colour of the back and top of the head dull leek-green, with bright green and yellow
reflexions when moved in the light. The sides and belly are silvery, minutely dotted with
black. The gill-covers and jaws are mostly bluish-black with some bright silvery spots ; the
irides are silvery.

Intestines. — The cesophagus opens into a forked stomach, both parts of which point down-
wards ; one is a blind sac, the other, of equal size, terminates in a delicate gut, which is con-
tinued in a straight line to the anus. Six cceca of unequal length surround the pylorus. The
fceces are of a honey-yellow colour. The melt of the specimen was large and mature.

DiME.NSIONS.

Inches, Lines. Inches. Lines.

Lentjth excluding the caudal ... 6 Length of attachment of anal ... 1 1

„ from tip of snout to anus ..46 „ „ adipose . . 5

„ of longest dorsal rays ... 9 Height of adipose ..... 1^
„ pectorals .... I 2

In my Newfoundland specimens, which are all males, the teeth are small and acute, set in
a single scries on the intermaxillaries, labials, lower jaw, across the front of the vomer, and on
the anterior part of the outer edge of the palate-bones and posterior part of their inner edge.
The tongue has a flat oval surface, which is surrounded by about twenty teeth, there are
two or three minute ones scattered over the central space, and two rows exist on the isthmus
which supports the branchial arches, as in the smelts. A small median ridge extends the
whole length of the upper part of the head ; the lateral ridges, more prominent, rise into
even, acute-edged, bony crests over the orbits. The back is covered with small, round,
thin, flat scales, of a different colour from those on the lower part of the body, and having



190



NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.



no lustre. Were these scales to become tumid they would assume the granulated appear-
ance noticed in the account of the Bathurst Inlet fish. The top of the head is covered
Avith smooth skin on which there are many black specks. The pectorals almost touch below,
and include an acutely elliptical space between their origins and the gill-openings. The anal
is attached to a compressed, acute, and somewhat projecting portion of the tail. In other
respects the description of the Bathurst Inlet fish applies exactly to those from Newfoundland.
The rays vary in different specimens, as may be observed in the following table.
Fins.— .Br. 9—10;

9 — 9;

9 — 9;

9 — 9;

9 — 9;

9 — 8;

8 — 8;

In all, the last ray of the dorsal is divided to the base, and that of the anal nearly so. The
caudal is much forked.



. 14-0


P. 20


, V.8;


14—0


20


; 8;


13-0


19 =


8;


14


18


8;


13


20


9;


13


19


8;


13-0


18,


8;



A. 23 ;


C


1911.


No. 1.


21;




i9n.


2.


21;




19li.


3.


23;




19U.


4.


21;




19H.


5.


22;




i9n-


6.


23;




19H.


7.



Length









DlUENSIONS.






Inches.


Lines.






fl


om tip of snout to tip of caudal


. 6


9


Length


of pectorals




„ tip of central caudal ray .


6


4i




ventrals




„ end of scales


. 6


H




attachment of dorsal




„ anus ....


4


%




its longest ray




„ dorsal


. 3


3




attachment of adipose




„ ventrals


3


2




its height




, edge of gill-cover


. 1


3i




attachment of anal .




„ nape ....





11




its longest ray




„ tip of labials


.


7




lobe of caudal .




„ centre of pupil





H




its longest ray


of intermaxIUaries


.


2a




its shortest ditto


labials ....





5-i


Depth of caudal fork




under jaw


.


8f







Inches.


Lines.





10





9*





8i





9





5|





2


1


2*





6


1


1





9i





4*





4i



[73.] 1. Salmo (Thymallus) siGNiFER. (Richardsou.)

Grayling.



Back's



Familx, Salmonoides. Genus, Salmo. Linn. S«J-(/enKS, Thymallus. Cuvier.
Coregonus signifer. Rich., /=V. /ojirre., pi. 26, p. 711. Cmmn, Rig. An. (sub. TAymal/o.)
Hewlook-powak. Esquimaux. Poisson bleu. Canadian Voyagers.

Plate 88.

This very beautiful fish abounds in the rocky streams that flow through the
ju-imitive country lying north of the 62nd parallel of latitude, between Mackenzie's



SALMONOIDE^. 191

River and the Welcome. Its highly-appropriate Esquimaux name,, denolinii;
" wing-like fin," alludes to its magnificent dorsal, and it was in reference to the
same feature that I bestowed upon it the specific appellation of Signifer, or the
" standard-bearer," intending also to advert to the rank of my companion. Captain
Back, then a midshipman, who took the first specimen that we saw with the arti-
ficial fly. It is found only in clear waters, and seems to delight in the most rapid
parts of the mountain streams. In the autumn of 1820 we obtained many by
angling in a rapid of Winter River, opposite to Fort Enterprise. The sport was
excellent, for this grayling generally springs entirely out of the water when first
struck with the hook, and tugs strongly at the line, requiring as much dexterity to
land it safely as would secure a trout of six times the size. The stomachs of the
individuals that we then took were filled with a black earthy-looking matter, mixed
with what appeared, on a cursory examination, to be gravel, but which was perhaps,
in reality, fragments of the shells that abound in the waters it inhabits. The roes
of individuals caught towards the end of August were considerably developed, but
neither the spawning places, nor the precise period of spawning, were ascertained
by us. The Indians say that it spawns in the spring, and that its winter residence
is in the lakes.

The characters by which the Graylings are distinguished from the trouts in the
Regne Animal, are the smallness of the mouth, the fineness of the teeth, the great
size of the dorsal fin, and the largeness of the scales. The stomach is a very thick
sac, the gill-rays are seven or eight in number.

The plate which is given of Back's Grayling in the narrative of Sir John Frank-
lin's First Journey, was executed from an individual taken in Winter Lake, and
carefully skinned and dried. I much regret that that specimen having gone to
decay, I cannot compare it with the one brought by the last expedition from Great
Bear Lake, of which the figure in the present work is an exact representation,
drawn on a scale of half the natural size. The two figures differ in the relative
size of the head, depth of the body, and some other particulars. The dorsal fin in
the first plate is incorrect, not from any fault of the skilful artist who drew it, but
owing to a part of the fin, which was broken off in the carriage, having been sup-
plied by guess. The individuals taken in Great Bear Lake were much duller in
their tints of colour than those we obtained in Winter River, probably because the
latter being nearly in a spawning condition, were more brilliant than at other
seasons.



192 NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.

DESCRIPTION
Of a specimen from Great Bear Lake, latitude 65° N.

Colour. — Back dark ; sides of a hue intermediate between lavender-purple and bluish-
<^rev ; helly blackish- grey with several irregular whitish blotches. There are five or six
quadrangular spots of Prussian-blue on the anterior part of the body, each tingeing the margin
of four adjoining scales. The head is hair-brown above, the cheeks and gill-covers the same,
combined with purplish tints, and there is a blue mark on each side of the lower jaw. The
dorsal Jin has a blackish-grey colour, with some lighter blotches, and is crossed by rows of
beautiful Berlin-blue spots ; it is edged with light lake-red. The ventrals are streaked with
reddish and whitish lines in the direction of their rays.

Scales covered with a thickish epidermis and consequently having little lustre; they are
semi-oval, their exterior edges being a segment of a circle, and appearing under a lens finely
but irregularly toothed or serrated : their bases are truncated, and show three lobes or teeth
corresponding with four deep grooves that converge in the middle of the scale : the fine con-
centric lines of structure are waved. The scales are smaller on the forepart of the back
and bellv : on the sides they measure four lines transversely, and rather less from their
exterior edge to the base. There are 87 on the lateral line, including three or four small
ones on the base of the caudal, and 27 in a vertical row anterior to the ventrals, of which nine
are above the lateral line- The scales do not end on the caudal as in the trouts, lavarets.
Sec, but extend farthest on the lobes, having the same forked termination with the fin itself.
In this respect, and in the roughness of the scales, the Graylings have an analogy with the
PercoidecB and other rough-scaled fishes. The lateral line is straight, and the scales com-
posing it, though of equal size with the others, show only half as much surface when in their
place.

Form. — Body compressed with an elliptical profile, the head, when the mouth is shut,
ending acutely, but when viewed from above, or in front, the snout is obtuse. The greatest
depth of the body is scarcely one-fifth of the total length, caudal included. Head small,
being one-sixth of the total length, excluding the caudal, or one-seventh including it. In the
dried specimen there is a slightly-elevated sagittal ridge, the occiput is radiated, and the
tubular lateral ridges extend conspicuously from the nostrils to the upper angle of the gill-
cover. A line of tubes also passes along the middle of the infra-orbitar bones, another down
tlie upper limb of the preoperculum, and there are three diverging tubes on the lower limb of
that bone. Orbit large, distant half its own diameter from the tip of the snout, and two dia-
meters from the edge of the gill-cover. Nostrils midway between the orbit and tip of the
snout. The infra-orbitar bones consist of four distinct radiated ones behind the eye, a narrow
tubular ridge beneath the orbit, and a small thick plate with diverging tubular lines before
the eye. Mouth not cloven as far back as the edge of the orbit. Intermaxillaries narrower
and longer than in the coregoni, but overlapping the articular ends of the labials less than in
the truttce. Labials thin elliptical plates, the posterior piece lanceolate and as broad as the
anterior one. Under jaw tolerably strong and rounded at the tip, which, when depressed,
projects about four lines beyond the snout.



SAOIONOIDEiE. 193

Teeth small, subulate, pointed, and slightly curved, standing in a single crowded series on
the intcrmaxillarios, labials, and under jaw ; in two rows on the acutely projecting edge of the
palate-bones; and in a cluster of six or seven on the anterior extremity of the vomer; the
latter bone is flat and smooth posteriorly. The tongue is also smooth, but the pharyngeal
bones and the cartilaginous rakers of the upper branchial arch are rough : the rakers of the
other arches are smaller and softer.

Gill-covers. — Preopercuhim having the form of a moderately-curved and rather wide
crescent. Suboperculum more than half the height of the operculum, and not exceeding it in
length. Interoperculum small and acute-angled. Eight yill-rays on the left side and nine
on the right.

Fim.—Br. 9—8; D. 23—0; P. 1.5; F. 9; vl. 13; C. 19f

The dorsal contains 23 rays, which increase in succession from the first minute one : the
three last and longest ones exceed in height the greatest depth of the body : the commence-
ment of the dorsal is far forwards, or about half way between the gill-openings and ventrals,
and its attachment is equal to the distance between its first ray and the centre of the eye, or
between its last ray and the adipose fin. The adipose fin is partly behind the anal. The
ventrals oricnnate a little anterior to the middle between the snout and the base of the caudal,
or under the eighteenth dorsal ray. Their scale-like appendages are long, thin, and pointed.
jinal rather small and rounded anteriorly. Caudal deeply forked.

Intestikes. — The alimentary canal, having its lining disposed in five large longitudinal
folds, descends from the gullet for two inches and a half, when it dilates considerably, bends
upwards upon itself, and terminates in a narrow pylorus : the dilated part resembles the
stomach of the coregonus albus, or attihawmeg, in its structure, but its coats are thinner. The
intestine, having very thin coats, runs in a straight line from the pylorus to the anus, being
exactly equal to the abdominal cavity in length. It gives origin, within three-quarters of an
inch of the pylorus, to eighteen cajca, and between two and three inches of its inferior part
are furnished with internal circular folds, or valvules conniventes. The liver is small, without
lobes, and there is a large spleen attached to the curvature of the stomach. The air-bladder
is large and communicates with the oesophagus. The feeces were black.

On comparing the American specimen with a fine English grayling, for which I am
indebted to Mr. Yarrell, the following were the most obvious ditferences. The English fish is
much lighter in colour, with more lustre, and exhibits about sixteen faint longitudinal bands
passing through the centres of the same number of rows of scales. Its body is thicker, its head
larger, and the distance between the orbit and end of the snout measures double to what it
does in Back's grayling. The tubular ridges on its head are less conspicuous, and its mouth
is wider; but its under jaw does not not project so far as in the latter. It also presents a
remarkable difference in the want of palatine-teeth, these bones being quite smooth and
rounded on the edge. The teeth on the mandibles are smaller than in the American gray-
ling, and those on the vomer are perceptible only by the aid of a lens. Both have teeth on
the pharyngeal bones and rakers. There are 81 scales on the lateral line of the Entrlish

2c



194



NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.



grayling, the scales are more nearly smooth on the edge tahn in the American fish, and the
teeth of their bases are smaller and more numerous, being four or more.



Dimensions.





Back's


English




Grayliug.


Grayling.




In. lin.


In. lin.


Length from tip of snout * to tip of caudal


17 6


17 6


„ „ end of caudal rays of ditto .




16 6


16 3


„ ,, end of scales on central rays




15 6


15 6


„ „ anus ....




11


11 3


„ „ ventrals






7 3A


7 6


„ „ dorsal






4 11'


5 5


„ „ edge of gill-cover






2 5


2 9


„ „ nape






1 10


2 2


„ „ edge of orbit






4J


8


„ „ nostrils .






3


7


Breadth between articulations of labials






8i


8


„ of occiput ....






1 2


1 2


Leugth of labials .....






8|


9|


„ lower jaw ....






2 4


2 4


„ attachment of dorsal .






3 11


3 11


„ its penultimate or longest ray .






4


2 4


„ adipose fin ... .






9i


8


„ pectorals ....






2 6


2 3


„ ventrals






2 2


2 3


„ ventral appendages






7


7


„ attachment of anal






1 4


1 5


„ its longest rays






1 8


1 8


„ lobes of caudal ....






2 8i


2 7


,, its central rays beyond the scales






1


9


Depth of caudal fork




10


1 2



[74.] 2. Salmo (Thymallus) thymalloides. (Richardson.) Lesser

Grayling.

Coregonus thymalloides f. Richardson, Frankl. J own., p. 714.

A much smaller grayling was taken in Winter River along with Back's gray-
ling, from which it diflfered in its tints of colour, brighter scales, and in the shape
and size of its dorsal fin. At the time, I thought these variations sufficient to
characterise it as a distinct species, but having since ascertained that the dorsal fin
varies greatly in size, and even in shape, in the European graylings of different



* Or articulation of labials, and not including the intermaxillaries, which project beyond the snout when the mouth
opens.

f ThymaUoides is objectionable as a specific name in the sub-genus Thymallus, but I did not consider necessary to alter
it, as the species is a doubtful one.



SALMONOIDEiE. 195

ages, I think it probable that it may have been the young of the Thymallus aig-
nifer. The subjoined imperfect description is all that I have to guide me in
forming a judgment on this matter now, as I neglected to prepare a specimen in
the autumn, when this small fish was plentiful, and none were seen in the spring.



Online LibraryJohn RichardsonFauna boreali-americana, or, The zoology of the northern parts of British America : containing descriptions of the objects of natural history collected on the late northern land expeditions, under command of Captain Sir John Franklin, R.N. (Volume 3) → online text (page 24 of 73)