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 26 of 73)
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intemiaxillaries ; maxillaries wide, sharp-edged as in the herring, edges entire ; mandibles
carinate, producing inwardly a triangular pedunculate expansion ; very small conical teeth
inserted in the skin of the lips at the extremity of the jaws : these teeth were sufficiently mani-
fest in a small individual, but not visible in a larger one, a female, which came under my
observation. Rays in the osseous plate of the head tubular, and open at the exterior, some
tending backwards, and others towards the end of the snout. A faint carinate line divides the
top of the head in the dried specimen. Lateral line straight and near the middle ; nostrils
double, close to the end of the snout and articulation of the maxillaries ; scales round, ap-
proximated, easily falling off; the base of the tail is covered with them. Colour ash-blue at
the back, paler and silvery on the rest of the body, with yellow tints on the tail, head and
dorsal ; iris whitish, pupil black. Length ten to twelve inches.

" Fitis.—Br. d; P.]6; D. 12—0 ; F. 12 ; A. 13 ; C. — f."

M. Le Sueur, in comparing our Attihawmeg, or his Coregonus albus, with C. Artedi, says
that it has a less fusiform body, and the back elevated from the nape to the dorsal. " The
C. albus,'' he further states, '■' has more depth of body, a greater elevation of back, and much
stronger proportions in its body, fins, and scales. The adipose tin, which is broad, appears to
consist of delicate rays, much pressed and in pairs." A careful examination of the dried speci-
mens of our C albus from Lake Huron, exhibited no rays whatever, nor any interspinous
bones to support them, but the fin in drying splits in a fibrous manner.

2 D 2



204 NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.



[78.] 4. Salmo (Coregonus) quadrilateralis. (Richardson.) The

Round-fish.

Coregonus quadrilateralis. Richardson, Franklin's Journ., p. 714.
Katheh. Copper Indians. Okeugnak. Esquimaux.

Plate 89, f. 1, A and B, one-half nat. size.

This Coregonus exists in the Polar Sea, off the mouths of the Coppermine and
Mackenzie, and in all the clear rivers and lakes north of the 62nd parallel of lati-
tude, being thus an inhabitant of both salt and fresh water, though we have no
information as to its quitting the one for the other at any stated period *. Our
Esquimaux interpreter, Augustus, informed us that his countrymen who frequent
the shores of the Welcome are well acquainted with it. Though a general inha-
bitant of the northern waters, it is not so plentiful as the Attihawmeg, nor so
gregarious, neither is it equally prized as an article of food. When in the fresh
waters it preys on larvse and soft insects. I have to regret that the stomachs of
those we took at sea were not examined, but it seems to obtain food there well
suited to its wants, as the individuals we caught in Bathurst's Inlet, on the 6th of
August, were larger, fatter, and brighter in colour, than those we obtained inland.
It spawns in September.

From the body of this species being less compressed than that of the Attihaw-
meg, our voyagers named it the Round-fish, and I have given it the specific appel-
lation of quadrilateralu; on account of a flattening of the back, belly, and sides
being superadded to its general sub-fusiform shape. Baron Cuvier made the
following observation on the specimen which I submitted to his inspection : —
" Coregone voisine du Salmo marsena. JVous en avons une tres semhlahle du Lac
Ontario ; elles different du poisson des Lacs de Suisse parce quelles out le museau
un pen plus pointu."

DESCRIPTION

Of a specimen taken in Great Bear Lake, lat. 64|° N.

Scales smaller than those of the Attihawmeg and very regularly disposed, the uncovered

portion of each having a rhomboidal form. A scale taken from the side measures four lines

transversely, and half a line less in the other direction : its outline presents five or six very slight

* A Scottish species of Coregonus which inhabits the Castle Loch of Loehmahen, and is locally known by the name
of Vtndise, has been taken in the Solway Firth, but as the fisherman in whose net it was caught was totally unacquainted
with it, it had perhaps merely strayed accidentally to the sea.



SALMONOIDEiE. 205

angular projections, and its surface is destitute of any radiating furrows, having only the usual
fine concentric striae. The scales on the anterior part of the back have short marginal ridges,
causing them to appear as if finely toothed. The lateral line is straight, equidistant from the
dorsal and ventrals ; the scales composing it are smaller than the adjoining ones and trun-
cated, the uncovered portion being nearly triangular ; they are ninety-six in number, including
six very small ones on the caudal. A vertical line before the dorsal contains twenty-three or
twenty-four scales, of which nine are above the lateral line and eight between it and the ven-
trals. A linear inch on the sides contains six scales or six and a half.

Colour of the back and sides intermediate between honey-yellow and wood-brown, with a
narrow blackish-grey border to each scale : the tints are paler on the sides, and the belly is
pearly-white. The scales are bright. The cheeks, gill-covers, and irides have a yellow colour
with metallic lustre, and the fins are also mostly yellowish.

Form elegant. Profile lanceolate tapering evenly into the tail : the belly rather less curved
than the back, which is moderately arched. The body is four-sided with the angles rounded otl':
the depth one-fifth of the total length, excluding the caudal, and the thickness two-thirds of the
depth. Head small, being only one-sixth of the length from the tip of the snout to the end
of the scales on the caudal : it is of considerable breadth at the nape, and becomes one-fourth
narrower between the anterior edges of the orbits, where it rounds off suddenly into a thin
snout, which droops in profile. In the dried specimen there is a short sagittal crest between
the orbits, and also lateral tubular ridges as in the Attihawmeg, but the former does not end
in a furrow. The orbit is exactly its own diameter from the end of the snout, and two dia-
meters and a half from the edge of the gill-cover. The nostrils are nearer to the orbit than
to the tip of the snout. The mouth is remarkably small, and its orifice is quadrangular, the
end of the lower jaw being truncated to the same width with the horizontal edge of the small
intermaxillaries. The labials are very small, particularly their appophysis ; their tips fall
short of the orbit. The under jaw, even when depressed to the utmost, does not reach so far
forward as the tip of the snout. The suboperculum is widest anteriorly, and the operculum is
heart-shaped. No Teeth whatever can be perceived, even with a lens, in the dried specimen :
the branchial rakers are small and soft.

Fins.— £r. 7 * ; D. 15—0; jP. 15; T. 11 ; ^. 13; C. 19f

The dorsal is farther forward than in the Attihawmeg, the distance from the end of the
snout to its first ray, when carried backwards, scarcely reaching the adipose fin, while in the
latter species it passes it. The centre between the tip of the snout and end of the scales on
the caudal is under the penultimate dorsal ray. The adipose is partly posterior to the anal.
The caudal is forked.

Intestines. — Stomach like that of the TuUibee, the pylorus very narrow. Ctsca eighty-
seven, crowded under the pylorus where they surround the gut, and also occupying one-third
of its length in three or four rows. The lower third of the intestine is furnished with vahulce
conniventes, half an inch of it at the anus being smooth. Faces black.

* This seems to be the prevalent nnmber of gill-rays, but some of the individuals taken in the Arctic Sea had eight.



206



NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.









Dimensions.












Inches.


Liaes.




Inches.


Lines


engt


h from tip of snout to tip of caudal


. 18


9


Length


o! attachment of dorsal


2


1


J)


„ end of central rays .


18





))


its longest rays . . ,


2


1


SI


„ end of scales


17








its last ray ....





8


)J


„ anus ....


12


9


i>


pectorals ....


2


2


»


„ ventrals .


S


2





ventrals ....


1


10


ii


„ doisal ....


7





»


attachment of anal


1


3


>l


„ edge of gill-cover


2


9i


»


its longest rays


1


7


JJ


„ nape ....


1


11


»


lobes of caudal


2


6


»)


„ orbit





7


}t


its central rays beyond the scales





11


It


„ nostrils ....





5


Depth of caudal fork ....





8


)>


of intermaxillaries, Vertically .





2i


Breadth


of snout between the articulations of






tt


labials ....





H


the labials .....





2


)J


lower jaw . . . .





10





nape


1


3


JJ


lateral line from gill-opening t(


)




Depth of body


3


6


end of scales


14


3











[79.]



Salmo (Coregonus) Labradoricus. (Richardson.)
Musquaw River Coregonus.



Mr. Cumming did me the favour of preparing a specimen of this Coregonus,
which inhabits Musquaw River, that falls into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, near the
Mingan Islands. The colours and exact form of the body cannot be determined
from the dried specimen, but in the shape of the scales and opercular pieces it
resembles the Attihawmeg, though its labials, and consequently the orifice of its
mouth, are much smaller.



DESCRIPTION.



Form. — Body apparently much like that of the Round-fish : its depth is one-fifth of the
length, excluding the caudal. Head small, constituting only a sixth part of the distance be-
tween the tip of the snout and end of the scales on the caudal. The orhit is exactly twice as
far from the edge of the gill-cover as from the tip of the snout. Cranial ridges nearly as in
the Round-fish. The labials are a little longer than in that fish, and their posterior pieces are
of a different shape, being ovate, whereas they are acutely elliptical in the other. The
under jaw measures a very little more than one-half the length of the upper surface of the head,
and when the mouth is distended its tip is exactly even with the end of the snout. Jaws and
palate toothless : four longitudinal rows of teeth on the tongue.

ScAiiES orbicular, thin, flexible, and deciduous, seventy- eight on the lateral line, correspond-
ing with an equal number of rows on the back and belly. The middle, between the tip of the
snout and end of the scales, is at the thirty-second scale of the lateral line, and opposite to the
third ventral ray, or tenth dorsal one. A linear inch, measured on the sides, includes seven
scales. There are eight scales between the dorsal and lateral line, and as many between the
latter and the ventrals.



SALMONOIDEjE.



207



Fins.— 5/. 8—9; D. 15—0; P. 15; V. 12—11 ; J. 15; C. 1%.

The three anterior rays of the dorsal are short, as are also the two first anal ones. ITie
first ray of the ventral is opposite to the space between the eighth and ninth dorsal ray. The
adipose corresponds with the end of the anal, and the attachment of the latter equals the space
between its last ray and the outermost of the nineteen longer caudal rays.



Len^h from tip of snout to tip of caudal
„ central rays .
,, „ end of scales
„ „ anus .
„ „ ventrals
„ „ dorsal .
„ ,, edge of gill-cdvf r
„ „ nape .
„ „ centre of pupil .
„ „ edge of orbit .

„ of lateral line
„ intermaxillaries, vertically

,, labials



Inches.
. 14
13
. 12

9
. 5

5
. 2

1
.


. 10


.



Dimensions.

Lines.

Length of lower jaw

., attachment uf dorsal

•4 „ its longest ray

3 „ ])ectorals

11 „ ventrals .

fi ,, attachment of anal

,, its longest ray

5 „ lobes of caudal
8^ ,. its longest rays

6 „ central rays .
8 Depth of caudal fork

3 „ body

5 Spread of caudal



Inches.



Lines.

5




4




5




H

3







U


8





10


2


5


2


C



[80.] 6. Salmo (Coregonus) lucidus. (Richardson.)

Herring- Salmon.



Bear Lake



Plate 90, f. 1, A and B, one-half nat. size.

Baron Cuvier's remark on our specimen of this fish was, " Coregone, encore plus-
semblahle an Salmo maraena que le Round-fish : Mais les ecailles du Salmo marcBna
smit plus grandes que celles de le Herring-Salmon." We have not had an oppor-
tunity of comparing the American species with the marana, but the lucidus and
quadrilateralis differ much from each other in the form of the body, w


....





10





H





attachment of dorsal . . . .


1


4





8f


M


its longest rays


. • • •


2





1


6


»


caudal lobes










1


9


»


central caudal rays ....











5



The Coregonus fera (Jurine) resembles our Attihawmeg, or C. albus, in the shape of the
head, cranial ridges and depressions, and opercular bones, but its body is much more com-
pressed, having more nearly the form of our Herring-Salmon. The under jaw, when depressed,
reaches beyond the snout. There are no visible teeth on the labials or roof of the mouth,
some minute ones exist on the intermaxillaries, and the conical tongue is covered with teeth,
which, though very slender, can be readily seen. There are about seventy scales on the
lateral line. The ventrals are under the eighth or ninth dorsal rays, and their appendages are
short and three-edged. The stomach of my specimen contained a quantity of sand and the
remains of two fish, one a percoid fish, the other apparently a coregonus, with scales as large
as those of the fera itself The following are the lengths of the parts of the alimentary canal.



Distance between gullet and bend of stomach
Length of thick part of stomach .
Distance between pylorus and last csecum
„ last caecum and anus

Length of whole canal . .



Inches.
1 3


Lines.



Inches.
Distance between last caecum and valvule


Linei,


. 1

2
. 4


2

3

7


conniventes ...... 2

Length of gut occupied by ditto , . 2
,, smooth gat at anus . . .0


2
2
3



u



Length of gut below caeca



The Vendace of Lochmaben (Coregonus vandesius) has a much larger eye than the Fera.
Its lower jaw projects beyond the upper one, even when the mouth is shut. There are
seventy-three scales on the lateral Une. A male taken in the Solway Firth, with the melt
about one-third of the full size, had some small pieces of the stems of grass and a few grains
of quartzose sand in its stomach, apparently fragments of the case of the cod-bait. Mr. Yar-
rell has found shells in the stomachs of individuals taken in the Castle Loch, while Dr. Knox
ascertained that those he examined had been feeding upon minute malacostraca.



214 NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.

In the paucity of our information i-especting the fish of New Caledonia, the fol-
lowing notices, collected from the Journal of Mr. D. W. Harmon, a partner of the
North West Company, are valuable. This gentleman resided for several years at
a fur-post on Stuart's Lake, which lies in the 55th parallel of latitude, and 125th
degree of longitude, and which discharges its waters by a stream, named also
Stuart, into Fi-azer's River, that falls into the Strait of Juan da Fuca. As his
remarks upon fish relate chiefly to the Salmon tribe, this appears to be the most
appropriate place for their insertion.

" 1811. May 11. Stuart's Lake. The ice in the lake broke up this after-
noon. 22. We now take trout in the lake, with set lines and hooks, in consider-
able numbers, but they are not of a good kind. It is perhaps a little remarkable,
that pike or pickarel have never been found in any of the lakes and rivers on the
west side of the Rocky Mountains.

" August 2. It is impossible at this season to take fish out of this lake or river.
Unless the salmon from the sea soon make their appearance our condition will be
deplorable. 10. Sent all our people to a small lake about twelve miles off, out of
which the natives take small fish, much resembling salmon in shape and flavour,
but not more than six inches long. They are said to be very palatable. 22. One
of the natives has caught a salmon, which is joyful intelligence to us all, for we
hope and expect in a few days to have abundance. These fish visit, to a greater
or less extent, all the rivers in this region, and form the principal dependence of
the inhabitants as the means of subsistence. The natives always make a feast to
express their joy at the arrival of the salmon. The person who sees the first one
in the river exclaims, Td-loe naslay ! td-loe naslay ! Salmon have arrived ! salmon
have arrived ! — ^The exclamation is caught up with joy, and repeated with animation
by every body in the village.

" September 2. We have now the Common salmon in abundance. They weigh
from five to seven pounds. There are also a few of a larger kind, which will
weigh sixty or seventy pounds. Both of them are very good when just taken out
of the water. But when dried, as they are by the Indians here by the heat of the
sun, or in the smoke of a fire, they are not very palatable. When salted they are
excellent. As soon as the salmon come into Stuart's Lake they go in search of
the rivers and brooks that fall into it, and these streams they ascend so far as there
is water to enable them to swim ; and when they can proceed no farther up, they
remain there and die. None were ever seen to descend these streams. They are
found dead in such numbers, in some places, as to infect the atmosphere with a
terrible stench, for a considerable distance round. But even when they are in a



SALMONOIDEi*;. 2JSi

putrid state the natives frequently gather them up and eat them, apparently with
the same relish as it" they were fresh.

" October 21. '\^''e have now in our store twenty-five thousand salmon. Four
in a day are allo^^'e(l to each man. I have sent sonu^ ol" our })eople to take white
fish (Attihawmeg) .

" November IG. Our fishermen have returned to the fort, and inform me that
they have taken seven thousand white fish. They weigh from three to four pounds,
and were taken in nine nets of sixty fathoms each. 17. The lake froze over in
the night

" 1812. January 30. I have returned from visiting five villages of the Nateo-
tains, built on a lake of that name, which gives origin to a river that falls into
Gardner's Inlet. They contain about two thousand inhabitants, who subsist prin-
cipally on salmon and other small fish, and are all well made and robust. Tlie
.salmon of Lake Nateotain have small scales, while those of Stuart's Lake have
none.

" May 23. Stuart's Lake. This morning the natives caught a sturgeon that
would weigh about two hundred and fifty pounds. We frequently see much larger
ones, which we cannot take for want of nets sufficiently strong to hold them.

" August 15. Salmon begin to come uj) the river. Few salmon came uj)
Stuart's River this fall, but we procured a sufficient quantity at Frazer's Lake and
Stillas. These lakes discharge their waters into Frazer's River, which is about
fifty rods wide, and has a pi*etty strong current. The natives pass the greater part
of the summer on a chain of small lakes, where they ])rocure excellent white fish,
trout, and carp ; but towards the latter part of August they return to the banks of
the river, in order to take and dry salmon for their subsistence during the succeed-
ing winter.

" 1813. August 12. Salmon have arrived.

" 1814. August 5. Salmon begin to come up the river. They are generally
taken in considerable numbers until the latter part of September. For a month
they come up in nmltitudes, and we can take any number we please.

" September 20. ^Ve have had l)ut few salmon this year. It is only every
second season that they are numerous, the reason of which I am unable to assign.

" 1815. August 13. Frazer's Lake. Salmon begin to come up the river,
which lights up joy in the countenances both of ourselves and of the natives, for
we had all become nearly destitute of provisions of any kind.

" 1816. September 9. Salmon begin to come up this river.

" 1817. August 6. Stuart's Lake. Salmon arrived. In the month of June



216 NORTHERN ZOOLOGY.

we took out of this lake twenty-one sturgeon, that were from eight to twelve feet
in length. One of them measured twelve feet two inches from its extreme points,
four feet eleven inches round the middle, and would weigh from five hundred and
fifty to six hundred pounds. All the sturgeon that we have caught, on this side of
the mountain, are far superior in flavour to any I ever saw in any other part of the
world.

" The Carrier Indians reside a part of the year in villages, built at convenient
places for taking and drying salmon, as they come up the rivers. These fish they
take in abundance with little labour; and they constitute their principal food
during the whole year. They are not very unpalatable when eaten alone, and with
vegetables they are very pleasant food. Towards the middle of April, and some-
times sooner, the natives leave their villages, to go and pass about two months at
the small lakes, from which, at that season, they take white fish, trout, carp, &c.,
in considerable numbers. But when these begin to fail, they return to their vil-
lages and subsist on the small fish which they dried at the lakes, or on salmon,
should they have been so provident as to have kept any until that late season ; or
they eat herbs, the inner bark or sap of the cypress tree (pinus Banksiana) , ber-
ries, &c. At this season few fish of any kind are to be taken out of the lakes or
rivers of New Caledonia. In this manner the natives barely subsist, until about
the middle of August, when salmon again begin to make their appearance in all
the rivers of any considerable magnitude ; and they have them at most of their
villages in plenty until the latter end of September, or the beginning of October.
For about a month they come up in crowds, and the noses of some of them are
either worn or rotted off, and the eyes of others have perished in their heads ; yet
in this maimed condition they are surprisingly alei-t in coming up rapids. These
maimed fishes are generally at the head of large bands, on account of which the
natives call them mee-oo-tees, or chiefs. The Indians say that they have suffered
these disasters by falling back among the stones when coming up difficult places
in the rapids which they pass. The Carriei's take salmon in the following manner.
All the Indians of the village assist in making a dam across the river, in which
they occasionally leave places to insert their baskets or nets of wicker-work. These
baskets are generally from fifteen to eighteen feet in length, and from twelve to
fifteen feet in circumference. The end at which the salmon enter is made with
twigs in the form of the entrance of a wire mouse-trap. When four or five hun-
dred salmon have entered this basket, they either take it to the shore to empty out
the fish, or they take them out at a door in the top, and transport them to the shore
in their large wooden canoes, which are convenient for this purpose. When the



SALMONOIDEiE. 217

salmon are thrown upon the beacli, the women take out their entrails and hang
them by the tails on poles in the open air. After they have remained in this situa-
tion a day or two, they take them down and cut them tliinner, and then leave them
to hang for about a month in the open air, when they will liave become entirely
dry. They are then put into store-houses, which are built on four posts, about ten
feet from the ground, to prevent animals from destroying them, and, provided they
are preserved dry, they will remain good for sevei'al years." — Harmon's Travels
in North Atnerica. 1820.



Captain Dixon, who visited the North-west coast of America in the years 1786
and 1787, on a trading expedition, in company with Captain Portlock, mentions
that they took great numbers of tine salmon with the seine in Cook's River, or
Inlet (lat. 60°), in the month of July, and that in the end of June, in the following
season, they saw large quantities hung up to dry by the natives of Norfolk Sound,
a harbour formed by the Island of Sitka, Avhere the Russian Fur Company's esta-
blishment of New Archangel has been since erected. Eschscholtz speaks of only
one sort of salmon as frequenting that Sound, and remarks that it is well-flavoured,
but Captain Dixon thought it inferior to the kind which he obtained in Cook's
River.



After the preceding pages had gone to the press, I received a letter from Dr.
Gairdner, of Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, of which the following is an
extract. " JMy duties at Vancouver prevent me from collecting many Columbia



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 26 of 73)