« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
panionship is sometimes the result. This enemy, and was attacking it with all was the case recently near Mevagissey. its force, its tentacles embracing the On a dark autumn night, in a small stern on the one hand, and running for. boat, Mr. Samuel Kelly was fishing on wards to near the middle section on the the high rocks off the Griffin Head other. land, when one of these devil-fish took On thinking over his recent troubles his bait, and with the usual effort was with its neighbor, and the waste of hauled on board. But his difficulty time likely to ensue in a still longer enwas to get the hook to continue his counter with a stronger brute, he dework, for he had been successful in cided not to risk another fight, but to catching several pollack and conger, use the advantage of its violent onand the moment he touched the brute slaught on the boat. Taking his knife some of its clammy tentacles would and watching his opportunity, he embrace his arm, holding him to the finally cut the hook out of the intruder spot, for its other arms were fastened who, on being liberated, soon dropped around the thwart. Soon the beast be- out of sight. came so violent that it really made him The next day I verified most of Mr. fear it. He made a supreme effort to Kelly's statements. The arms of the get his hook, but the creature fastened dead octopus in the boat stretched over its largest suckers on the back of his seven feet, and on the back of Mr. right hand, and in the battle he had Kelly's hand was a very black round to drop his line and with the nails of bruise about half an inch in diameter his left hand to dig the suckers out of corresponding with the inner circle of his flesh, for they seemed to bury one of the largest suckers of the dead themselves there. After this experi- octupus. Since then he has caught ence, there was no more doubt or in- several of these cuttles, and one whose decision in the fight, for seizing a sharp arms stretched over six feet and a half. knife he quickly cut the hook from its In our waters none of these headhold, upon which the cuttle crept away footed mollusks have been known to to another part of the boat. But this take human life, but it is scarcely quesdid not finish Mr. Kelly's night work, tionable, if favorable opportunities for on again throwing out his line he presented themselves, that they would had a still heavier haul, and when it do so." In 1879 one of the attendants came to the water-line he could not get of the Scarborough Aquarium was atit an inch further, although he used all tacked by only a small octopus when his strength, for the line was new and cleaning out a tank. The experience stronger than he could break.
might have ended fatally had be been In this dilemma he had to hold on in the sea with a flood tide. As it was, tight, and on looking over the side by he had to make his exit, leaving his the aid of a fickering light he found boot (by which the creature held him himself glaring into the eyes of an. fast) behind him. But there have been other devil-fish, and a much larger one occasions in other seas when the worst than the first. He further found that has happened, and men have been the creature had taken the boat for its caught in the slimy folds of gigantic
Mr. Samuel Kelly is a man to be relied on. He has a school in Mevagissey, under the Cornwall County Council, for teaching youngsters the art of making knots and splices, sall and net-mending, etc. Beside his evidence, I have many other proofs from other fishermen of the audacity and violence of these creatures.
A fact that should be known by all persons who have anything to do with the sea, is that the octopus is easily mastered by being tightly gripped by the throat. When this is done, its tentacles will instantly relax their hold.
See Wylde's "Royal Natural History," p. 762.
cuttles, which have held them on or beast with its tentacles could not have dragged them to destruction. Sir been less than forty-four feet long.' Grenville Temple tells us how a Sar- Reverting to the British octopus, I dinian captain, while bathing at Jer- may further state that its mimicry is beh, was seized and drowned by an very great. The colors it uses run octopus, his limbs being found bound through deep chocolate, dull red, brown by the arms of the animal, although and gray, and it has the power of so only in four feet of water; while Cap arranging these hues that in the shade tain J. M. Dens, a French navigator of and cover of the dark rocks it is alrepute, states that, when off the coasts most unseen by any eye, which faciliof Africa, three of his men were scrap- tates its easily worrying a stranger, ing the sides of his ship on a fine pouncing upon its food, or hiding from day when they were attacked by one its enemies. Its change from one color of these violent creatures, which drew to another is almost instantaneous, and two of them away under water in spite the body can be mottled with the whole of every effort made to save them, of these tints just as quickly. while the third who was rescued died I once saw a tank cut in the rocks on during the night. In the fight one of the open coast near low water and covthe creature's arms
cut off, ered with many folds of iron netting, twenty-five feet in length, and with in which were kept twenty of these suckers on it as large as pot-lids. cuttles. Around the sides and bottom Should there still remain a residuum grew the dark olive laminarian seaof doubt in any mind respecting the weeds and on the rocks under them existence of gigantic cuttles, this will clung a stunted reddish-brown flexible be dispelled by the following fact re- coral; this they always rested on and corded by the Rev. M. Harvey, of St. imitated; and were always of a redJohn's, Newfoundland. On October 26, dish-brown hue. They lived in seem1873, two fishermen were out in a boat ing harmony and when a violent storm near the eastern end of Conception broke in the cover they did not care to Bay. . Observing a floating object on leave it, but remained there for some the water they rowed towards it and weeks after. Their walking power is struck it; on which it immediately shot also considerable, and on the sea-botout two vast tentacles around the boat, tom no doubt they often approach the as if wrestling with an antagonist. object of their attack in this manner, Fortunately, they had a hatchet on accommodating themselves to the vari. board with which they cut them from ous colors surrounding them as they the creature, which after blackening near the quarry. the sea with its ink, soon made off. The fishermen see much of their One of these magnificent fragments walking and climbing powers and colwas measured by Mr. Alexander Mur- oring faculty, when caught and thrown ray, geologist, and Professor Verrill, of into the boat, for the cuttles often go Yale College, Connecticut, who found it from stem to stern in search of shelter, to be seventeen feet long and three and more than once, while the fisherand a half feet in circumference. This men were busy, I have known them, fragment is now preserved in St. when very valuable for aquarium purJohn's College, Newfoundland. Since poses, quietly slip over the side and then scientists have further considered drop away to the depths, much to the the subject, and concluded that this chagrin of the fishermen.
See Henry Lee's "Sea Monsters Unmasked," p. 44. This work gives & mass of facts respecting
LIVIN AGE. VOL. VIII. 433
large cuttles. Also see Knight's "Pictorial Mu. seum of Animated Nature," p. 173.
I shall now notice the
to watch the fætus until its final de
velopment. Nevertheless, although I LOLIGO VULGARIS.
examined the family for years, I made In the summer months these crea
no further progress except in finding tures are found in vast numbers on the that when these forms touched a cold southern and western coasts of Great surface a muscular action took place; Britain, following the mackerel, pil- and what appeared to be the young chard and sprat, when they approach cuttle was flung clean out of the sac the shore, into every nook and corner which enveloped it. of the coast; and are reliable bait used In the meantime a friend had set by all the long-shore fishermen some up for microscopic purposes; and throughout the autumn, when engaged beautiful objects they were, for the in catching conger and pollack, etc. whole creature seems bound up so com
At times they are a great pest to the pactly and securely. At a later date I drift fishermen, watching their nets sent a few specimens to Mr. Thomas and biting the fish there, and, when Bolton, of Birmingham, a microscopist nearly satiated, eating out their eyes, of repute, and he asserted that they far they seldom devour wholly one fish, were not young cuttles but the sperbut rather prefer à tit-bit from the matozoa of the male. Presuming this back, between the head and dorsal fin. statement true, to be of this order they
They are caught in turn by the fish- were massive forms indeed, as each of erman putting a large tough bait on a them ran from twelve to fifteen lines fine line, and, when it is covered by in length and less than a line in the arms of the cuttle for the purpose breadth, and was of needle form. In of drawing it to its beak, pulling it as situ they are held in a bag containing gently as possible to the surface; then several thousands, about two-thirds with a rod, at the end of which are down the body, with a duct running fastened several hooks, he gaffs the from it into the open near the neck, creature. They seldom leave the coasts when congress is near. This canal con. until after spawning, which seems to tains many of these forms ready for be performed in the quiet hours be- exit; but there seems no possibility of tween the storms in November and De- their reaching the female excepting by cember.
the assistance of the long tentacles beThese duties are carried out close to longing to the creature, which possibly the shore, so near indeed that I have might take hold of them and pass them many times seen scores left on the to their final destination. beach by the ebbing tide. The males On examining the female a mass of
aways present and much gelatinous matter was found at the exlarger than the females. Their mode treme end of the mantle having the apof reproduction seems to be of a very pearance of eggs about the size of com. peculiar nature. Mr. Couch in his mon peas, fused in a lump; but how Journal stated that from reliable evi- they could be separated and the sperdence, which he gave, the loligo cuttle matozoa deposited in each is the diffi. seems to produce its young alive. I culty. With our present slight knowl. also thought the same and sent what edge it is impossible to say what might appeared to be young cuttles, cut from be done by these two creatures work the parent to the late Mr. Frank Buck- ing in harmony, each using the longest land, Dr. Day, of Cheltenham, and oth- arms. ers, who seemed to have no doubt on The largest loligo I have seen meas. the subject, and urged me to continue ured three feet eight inches without at
tempting to stretch its tentacles. Like seen coming to the front. There was the fishes, they seem to sleep with one no doubt or hesitation about its pureye closed at a time, as I have seen pose, for it was seen that it desired to them resting on the sea-bottom for this swallow the lot, as it was quietly gopurpose; and when the bait fell near ing forward all the time, but taking the sleeping side it was unobserved, a side view as the opportunity best but when dropped on the other it was offered. When about five feet from its gripped at once.
quarry, there was a violent rush on it, Their enemies are all the carnivorous with jaws wide open, but there was fishes, which they often evade, either just as quick action on the other side, by evolution, fight or mimicry; for all for the contents of the ink bag were as of which devices they have some spe- quickly shot into the open mouth. In cial adaptations.
an instant, with the impetus of the In the first instance, they have two rush, the Dorée was in a cloud of thick tough flexible fins or wings, high on darkness which the cuttle had also put the back, which enable them to swim between them, when he slunk away out forwards or backwards without turn- of sight. ing, which is an accommodation of The Dorée also soon made its apgreat utility in either attack or retreat. pearance out of the muddle in a dread
Then, their eyes are so situated as ful state; its eyes rolled as if in terror, almost to command a circle; this also and its beautiful olive skin had turned in a fight is invaluable, for they can deadly pale, while its coughing and see all their enemies and know their fuming was something to be remempower, and can advance or retire as bered, black matter being again and the occasion may require. Then be- again expectorated from gills and sides their ink bag they have a very mouth. It was really thought that the muscular siphon enabling them to creature was about to die, and the gate shoot their enemies, in the air some was got ready to take it on board, for ten feet, and in the sea some three or it had floated up within four feet of four feet away.
the boat, but noting her outline it Not long ago a friend of mine saw a gently sank into the depths below. skirmish between a loligo and its Their shooting out of water is generenemy in which the cuttle came off the ally directed against the fisherman victor. He was fishing in the clear when gaffing them for bait, his face water of Mevagissey Bay, and, wish- being always their target, unless he has ing to catch a John Dorée, he tied the anything about him of a white color, end of his line to the tail of a live young when this arrests their attention. sea bream and threw it into the sea. I once remember having a noted Now a Dorée is very fond of living London doctor out at sea for a little food, and likes to swallow it head fore- amateur fishing. He would like to see most. This suits the fisherman, as a loligo cuttle caught, he said. I when devoured in this form the spines warned him of what was likely to hapof the bream act as books to the fish- pen when gaffing was on, but he did erman's line, and are sure to bring all not care. "Surely," he said, "I can on board.
dodge such guess-work as this must The bream had not got far down in be, for so short a time." I felt dubi. the sea before a cuttle saw it, and ous as to the result, seeing his white quickly fastened on to the back of its shirt was a prominent object through neck; and before any steps were taken his having such an open vest. Finally to scare it away, a large Dorée was a cuttle took the bait, and as I drew
it towards us the doctor lost all their dark grape-like eggs thought of bimself and his adornments found in bunches attached to stones in his admiration of the movements and sea-weeds, not far from land. They and the beautiful eyes of the creature, seem fond of a mixed diet, as when in when in an instant, as I gaffed it, the the surface of the sea they will often whole ink charge struck him in the pursue the fishes living there, and will throat and sadly blackened his white sometimes feed ravenously on mackerel babiliments.
when meshed in the fishermen's nets; As to the mimicry of these creatures. while their powerful jaws point to the In the summer months, when really probability of their being used, like settled on the coasts, they may be others of the family, in crushing up found by night on any colored sea-bot- and feeding on crabs of a considerable tom if the water is pure; and with the size when living on the sea bottom. necessary appliances they may be
Their eyes are splendid objects to caught at such times on rocks and look at: the pupils are large and of a piers jutting into the sea. But with dark blue color, each having a beautithe daylight, if possible, they make for ful nictitating membrane which comes cover or places with a dark bottom, down from above, having gentle especially where the large olive lamin- curves, on its lower edge and tinged as arian sea-weeds grow, for here they if with burnished silver, seeming to are safe, because the color of the one act as a reflector of light. Evidently can be so easily and instantly this membrane is a magnificent armimicked by the other. On a dark, un- rangement in connection with these decided · colored bottom they can also creatures' habits which require large manage to assimilate themselves to its
pupils to their eyes for collect. hues, and, if necessity compels them ing the scattered rays of light, so to rest on the brown sands, although as to see objects in the deep water of unable to color brown, they can as- their winter home, though they must sume a kind of dead flesh color which needs use the same organs when living harmonizes extremely well with their in the great light of our summer seas. surroundings.
Their mechanical arrangement is not My last case will be the
so quick as the winking process in
birds and sharks; but is so slow that BEPIA OFFICINALIS.
it can be adjusted so as to take in only These creatures are plentiful on the necessary light. southern coasts of England and Ire- Their ink bag is very large; and in land; they have not the persistent hiding from their enemies they can fill skulking and pouncing proclivities of a larger space of water with their ink the octopus, but often fight the battle than any of the cuttles. It was from of life in the open sea, and when hard these that the old artists extracted pressed dodge in the shade, or around their dark coloring matter for painting the corners of the rocks, and even their pictures. cover themselves with sand, as the oc- They also possess the true cuttle casion suits, when hiding from their bone, situated along the back, which enemies, or for the capture of food. keeps the creature in form. It is comThey seem to be rather susceptible to posed mostly of carbonate of lime; and cold, and leave the shore in the early by a peculiar arrangement of the autumn, returning again to it with the plates in its formation it always floats early summer.
in the sea. By this means an intima. Evidently they breed on the coasts, tion is always given above, to those