FAMILY: BLENNIDAE

BLENNIUS PALMICORNIS. Cuv. et Val.

Blennius palmicornis. Cuv. et Val., Hist. des Poiss., tom. xi , p. 159.

The Blenny, which I have referred above to the B. palmicornis of Cuvier and Valenciennes, seems somewhat intermediate in its characters between that species and the B. parvicornis of the same authors. This inclines me to suspect that the two species are not really distinct, as those authors themselves seem to have thought possible, though they state that they never received the B. palmicornis, except from the Mediterranean.30

In this specimen the head is one-fifth of the entire length, and the ventrals one-eighth, which is worth noticing, because it is stated that in the B. palmicornis the head is contained nearly five and a-half times, and sometimes nearly six times in the total length; and the ventrals nearly ten times in the same. The filaments above the eyes, however, are similar to those of the species just mentioned; quite as much developed, and each divided nearly to the base into five or six flattened bristles. There are about forty teeth in the upper jaw, and twenty-eight or thirty in the lower: the canine below is very distinct, but above it is almost, if not quite wanting. The fin-ray formula is as follows:

D. 11/21; A. 21; C. 11, etc.; P. 13; V. 2

The length of the specimen is nearly five inches. The anal is marked and coloured exactly described to be the case in the B. palmicornis.

This species was obtained by Mr. Darwin at the Cape Verde Islands.

30 According to Mr. Lowe, however, the B. palmicornis is common at Madeira (see Proc. of Zool. Soc., 1829 , p. 83), and a specimen received from him, undoubtedly belonging to that species, is in the Museum of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.

 

1. BLENNECHIS FASCIATUS. Jen.

PLATE XVII. FIG. 1

B. flvescens, fusco-variatus; maculis tribus infra pinnam dorsalem, et unâ in pinnae ipsius anticam partem, nigris, subocellatis: dentibus maxillaribus supra circiter viginti quatuor, subtus triginta; caninis nullis: tentaculis palpebralibus duobus, parvis, subpalmatis: pinnâ anali haud ultrâ dorsalem extensâ

D. 13/16; A. 20; C. 13, etc.; P. 14; V. 2

Long. unc. 2. lin. 4

Form. Body much compressed behind: the depth one-fifth of the entire length: head rather less one-fourth of the same. Snout blunt and truncated; the profile nearly vertical; the eye placed just within the angle formed by this last with the line of the crown. Diameter of the eye one-fourth the length of the head; distance between the eyes half a diameter; the interocular space very slightly concave, with a double row of mucous pores rather widely separate, but without any lines or sculpture. Similar mucous pores are thinly scattered over the occiput and the front of the snout, as well as beneath each eye. Above each eye is a short slightly palmated filament not exceeding in length the diameter of the eye: also an extremely minute one at each nostril. Mouth reaching to beneath the eyes. Teeth not extending the whole length of the jaws; fine and close-set, with the points of those at the sides, more especially in the lower jaw, reclining backwards; the number above twenty-four, below thirty: no canines. Gill membrane fastened at bottom, the slit at the sides not descending below the pectorals.

The dorsal commences at the nape, and extends nearly to the caudal, with which, however, it is not connected: it is slightly depressed or notched above the twelfth and thirteenth rays, beyond which it is again elevated to the height of the anterior portion. The anal does not approach quite so near the caudal as the dorsal, but the difference is trifling: the last ray in both fins is united by the membrane of the fleshy part of the tail. Caudal rounded, with the greater part of the principal rays slightly divided at the tips. Pectorals broad, and not quite equal to the head in length. Ventrals short, not more than half the length of the head, or a little less than one-eight of the entire length: they appear to consist of only two rays, but on dissection there wil be found three soft rays with a short spine closely adhering to the first of them; the third soft ray is slender, and also adheres to the second.

The anterior portion of the lateral line takes a sweep over the pectoral, and is very distinctly marked by a close series of short elevated mucous tubes between two rows of pores; but the rest of the line is only faintly traced out by nine or ten slender depressed tubes at long intervals, without any accompanying pores.

Colour. (In spirits.) Yellowish ground; the upper half of the sides very much mottled, and clouded with fuscous; three spots darker than the rest, arranged longitudinally beneath the posterior half of the dorsal, and having a subocellated appearance, the last the largest, and also the most distinct of the three: from the median line there are eight or nine descending fasciae, alternating with the same number of oblong lanceolate spots: the throat is marked with three angulated transverse dark fascić: cheeks and gill-covers with small spots. A large black spot on the first three rays of the dorsal fin, which is covered all over with smaller spots, as are also the pectorals and caudal: anal with a dusky edging. In the living state there were probably some bright colours, as in the B. biocellatus of Cuvier and Valenciennes .

D. 13/18; A. 21, etc.

This specimen also differs from the one above in having the teeth in the lower jaw not quite so numerous, and the ventrals longer, equalling one-seventh of the entire length. The colours are on the whole similar, but more of the yellow ground is visible above the median line, and the descending fascić beneath it are not so distinctly traced out.

Habitat, Concepcion, Chile.

This species is very closely allied to the B. biocellatus of Cuvier and Valenciennes, from the same coasts. It agrees with it in all its essential characters, and in the general disposition of the markings. It appears to differ, however, in having fewer teeth; in the anal reaching hardly so far as, certainly not beyond, the dorsal, as described to be the case in that species; in the fin-ray formula; and slightly in the colours. The B. biocellatus derives its name from two ocellated spots, one beneath the last rays of the dorsal, the other upon the first three rays of that fin. In the B. fasciatus here described, there appear to be three subocellated spots beneath the dorsal, though the last is the most distinct, besides the one upon the fin itself. The B. biocellatus was observed by M. Gay at Valparaiso. The present species was taken by Mr. Darwin at Concepcion. Possibly it may be a mere variety.



2. BLENNECHIS ORNATUS. Jen.

PLATE XVII. FIG. 2.

B. cinereo-griseus; maculis, vel llituris paucis, infrŕ pinnam dorsalem obsoletis, pallidč nigricantibus: dentibus caninis nullis: tentaculis palpebralibus duobus, parvis, subfurcatis: pinnâ anali haud ultrâ dorsalem extensâ

D. 12/17; A. 20; etc.

Long. unc. 2. lin. 2

Form. Closely resembling the last species, but rather deeper in proportion to its length, less compressed in front, with the head more inflated about the throat and gills. Snout, profile, and position of the eye, similar. Superciliary filaments scarcely longer, but rather broader and more conspicuous, and cleft at the extremity. Filaments at the nostrils a little longer, but very slender and delicate. Teeth similar, both in number and form. Fins and lateral line exactly similar. Behind the vent a papilla not present in the last species.

Colour. Different from that of the B. fasciatus, but with traces of the same markings. The ground colour is cinereous grey, which almost every where prevails: there are faint traces of the angulated fasciae beneath the chin, as well as of three dark strains beneath the dorsal, but these last no longer deserve the name of ocellated spots. Fins, cheeks, and gill-covers, dotted in like manner: also some indication of the larger spot on the first three rays of the dorsal: anal with the same dusky edging.

Obs. Of this species there are five specimens in the collection. The next in size to the one described above, measures one inch seven lines in length, and resembles it in every respect, excepting that the superciliary filaments are broader and longer, equalling at least one diameter and a half of the eye. The colours and markings are exactly the same, only the fascić on the throat can hardly be discerned.

No. 3 is exactly similar in size, as well as in all its other characters, to No. 2. Has the superciliary filaments equally developed.

No. 4 resembles Nos. 2 and 3, but is smaller, measuring one inch five lines in length.

No. 5, the smallest of all the specimens, and measuring only one inch three lines, has the dark markings more developed, especially the angulated fascić on the throat, which are almost as distinct as in the B. fasciatus : the spots beneath the dorsal assume the appearance of abbreviated transverse fascić reaching from the base of the fin to the median line; and besides the three faintly indicated in the other specimens, there are two others nearer the head, forming altogether a series of five. In this specimen the superciliary filaments are shorter, not exceeding the diameter of the eye.

Habitat, Coquimbo, Chile.

This species differs but slightly from the last, and both may hereafter prove to be mere varieties of the B. biocellatus; but it is desirable for the present to keep them distinct, as, though all found on the same coast, they are from distinct localities on that coast. Also the above five specimens, though varying in the intensity of the markings, have all a ground colour quite different from that of the B. fasciatus, and a peculiarity of aspect immediately noticeable to the eye. Had they been found mixed with that species, the presence of the anal papilla might lead to the suspicion of their being the other sex; but, under the circumstances, this seems hardly probable. They were all taken at Coquimbo.

 

 

7. SALARIAS ATLANTICUS. Cuv. et Val.

Salarias atlanticus, Cuv. et Val., Hist. des Poiss., tom. xi, p. 238.

Two individuals of this species were obtained by Mr. Darwin at Porto Praya. They accord in all respects with the descriptions in the Histoire des Poissons, excepting as regards the fin-ray formula, in which there is a slight difference observable; and in this respect they are also different from each other.

The larger specimen, measuring three inches seven lines in length, has the fin-ray formula as follows:

D. 13/21; A. 24; C. 13; P. 15; V. 2

The other, two inches eleven lines in length, has one ray less in the spinous portion of the dorsal, and two more in the soft:

D. 12/23; A. 24; etc.

It may be mentioned that in this species, as in some others, the last spinous ray in the dorsal is entirely invested by the membrane, and does not attain to the margin, so that in counting, it may be very easily overlooked.

In Mr. Darwin's notes, it is stated that this species bites very severely, having driven its teeth through the finger of one of the officers in the ship's company. Its two very long sharp canine teeth at the back of the lower jaw are well calculated to inflict such a wound.

 

 

2. SALARIAS QUADRICORNIS. Cuv. et Val.?

Salarias quadricornis, Cuv. et Val., Hist. des Poiss., tom. xi, p. 243, pl. 329.

Mr. Darwin's collection contains a species of Salarias so closely resembling the S. quadricornis of Cuvier and Valenciennes, that I dare not describe it as distinct. Yet it offers some slight differences as follows:

The profile, instead of being merely vertical, presents a rounded and projecting from between the eyes, advancing further than the mouth (as in the S. gibbifrons, Cuv. et Val.). The filamentous appendages are similar, but the superciliary ones are shorter than the diameter of the eye: the palmated ones at the nostrils consist of six or seven bristles. The occipital crest is hardly so much elevated; its height being not more than one-sixth or one-seventh the height of the head, and only one-third its own length. The height of the dorsal equals at least half the depth of the body; the depth of the notch above the spinous ray is rather more than half its height. The fin-ray formula is:

D. 13/21; A. 25; C. 13, etc.; P. 14; V. 2

The colour, as it appears in spirits, is nearly of a uniform olivaceous brown, with scarce any indication of vertical bands; paler on the abdomen. There are four or five oblique narrow whitish lines on the dorsal, but not very distinct; also two on the anal, more decided: these lines appear to have been bluish, and there are traces of the same colour about the head and gill-covers.

In all other respects it accords exactly with the description in the Histoire des Poissons, where it is added, in reference to colour, that this species is subject to much variation. Mr. Darwin's specimen measures five inches two lines in length. The number attached to it has been lost, so that there is nothing to show where it was taken. It is probably, however, from the Keeling Islands, as there is in the collection, from that locality, another specimen, which I have little doubt of being the female of the one above noticed.

This second specimen wants the nuchal crest, as is stated to be the case in the female of S. quadricornis . It is not full sized, measuring only three inches four lines in length, which may account for the proportions being a little different from those of the adult. The depth is one-sixth of the entire length, or rather less. The filamentous appendages resemble those of the first specimen, but the nasal ones have rather fewer bristles. In the form of the head, fins, and all its other characters, it is exactly similar. The fin-ray formula is a little different:

D. 13/20; A. 23; etc.

The colours, also, as they appear in spirits, are rather different. The general ground of the body is olivaceous grey, but paler than in the male specimen, and inclining to yellowish, with faint indications of vertical bands, and also a few dark spots towards the tail end. Dorsal and anal spotted, the former more so than the latter. Mr. Darwin's notes, taken from the recent fish, merely state ­ ‘with dull red transverse lines.’

The S. quadricornis is stated by Cuvier and Valenciennes to be very common at the Mauritius, whence it may not improbably range as far eastward as the Keeling Islands.

 

3. SALARIAS VOMERINUS. Cuv. et Val.?

Salarias vomerinus? Cuv. et Val., Hist. des Poiss., tom. xi , p. 258

PLATE XVII. FIG. 3.

Form. Elongated and compressed, the thickest part being in the region of the gills. Greatest depth contained about six and a-half times in the entire length: thickness at the pectorals about two-thirds of the depth, or rather more. Length of the head rather exceeding the depth of the body, and exceeding its own depth by about one-fourth. Snout obtuse; broad and rounded when viewed from above. Lips crenated at the sides of the mouth, but not in the middle. Teeth in the jaws moveable, extremely fine and numerous: two long canines at the bottom of the lower jaw, curving backwards, and fitting into two corresponding holes in the palate: also a transverse row of minute teeth on the front of the vomer. Profile nearly vertical; the eyes placed just within the angle formed by it with the line of the crown. Two broad palmated superciliary filaments, not equal in length to the diameter of the eyes: two similar ones at the nostrils, each consisting of six or eight bristles: also two short simple filaments, one on each side of the nape.

The dorsal, which commences a little behind the nuchal filaments, is so deeply notched behind the twelfth ray as almost to appear like two fins. The height of the anterior or spinous portion is about two-fifths of the depth: the posterior is more elevated, equalling three-fourths of the depth: this portion is connected by its membrane with the upper part of the tail, but does not reach to the caudal, leaving an interval just equal to half the depth of the tail at this point. The anal commences opposite the eleventh ray of the dorsal, and does not reach so far as that fin, leaving three times the space between it and the caudal: the first two rays short and soft, the first scarcely connected by membrane with those that follow; the membrane deeply notched between all the rays, excepting the last three, where it is continuous. Caudal slightly rounded at the extremity. Pectorals broad, but a little pointed when the rays are not spread out; longer than the head, the fifth and sixth rays from the bottom being longest. Ventrals short, only half the length of the pectorals, or one-tenth of the entire length, consisting (which is unusual in this genus) of four distinct rays, two shorter and slender ones, besides the two ordinary thick ones.

The lateral lines is faintly indicated by a fine line which sweeps over the pectorals, and then passes off straight along the middle. As far as the pectorals reach, the line is continuous: beyond, it is interrupted, or only marked out by slightly elevated tubal pores at intervals; and it disappears altogether considerably before reaching the caudal.

D. 12/15; A. 18; C. 13, etc.; P. 14; V. 4

Length 3 inches 2 lines

Colour. (In spirits.) The ground appears to have been pale yellowish-brown: sides marked with numerous approximating dark transverse fasciae, twelve or fourteen in number: these fascić are continued on to the caudal, where there are five, narrower than those on the body. Head marked with black dots and undulating lines; especially two undulating lines commencing on the cheeks behind the eyes, and passing upwards to the nape: upper lip and sides of the throat marked with several fine lines. A row of black dots a little below the base of the anterior part of the dorsal. The fascić on the sides extend on to the dorsal, where they take an oblique direction backwards. Anal pale at the base, but with the tips of the rays dusky. Pectorals and ventrals uniformly plain dusky.

Habitat, Porto Praya, Cape Verde Islands.

Cuvier and Valenciennes state that they have received but one species of Salarias from the Atlantic Ocean north of the line, the S. atlanticus already noticed. The present is a second found within that range, obtained by Mr. Darwin at Porto Praya. Perhaps it may be a new one; but it is so very nearly allied to the S. vomerinus of the above authors, that I consider it hazardous to describe it as distinct. It agrees especially with that species in having vomerine teeth, and four rays in the ventrals, as well as in the general disposition of the markings; but no mention is made in the Histoire des Poissons of the nuchal filaments, which, however, may have been overlooked, as they are small and simple, and not very obvious. If it be identical with that species, its range in the Atlantic must be considerable, as the S. vomerinus is found on the coast of S. American, near Bahia. Generally speaking the same species are not observed on both sides of that ocean; and perhaps this is an argument for its being distinct: but if so, it is difficult, without the opportunity of a more close comparison, to point out any essential differences by which it may be characterized.

This species appears also to have many points of agreement with the S. textilis brought by MM. Quoy and Gaimard from the Island of Ascension; but the colours do not exactly correspond, neither is there any mention made in the description of this last, of the vomerine teeth and four ventral rays, which so peculiarly characterize the one above noticed.

As I feel some doubts with respect to this species being new or not, I have thought it advisable to have it figured, more especially as there is no figure, either of the S. vomerinus or S. textilis, to both which it is so nearly allied.

 

CLINUS CRINITUS. Jen.

PLATE XVIII. FIG. 1.

C. fuscus, nigro-maculatus: tentaculis palpebralibus e crinibus octo a radicibus separatis formatis, nasalibus et nuchallibus palmatis, omnibus parvis subaequalibus: pinna anali radiis mollibus viginti quatuor

B. 6; D. 26/11; A. 2/24; C. 13; P. 13; V. 3

Long. unc. 6. lin. 6

Form. Depth one-fifth of the entire length. Head about one-fourth of the same, rather large, with the cheeks and gills a little inflated. Profile falling gently from the nape: the crown scarcely at all convex. Gape reaching to beneath the anterior part of the eye. Lips thick and fleshy, and partly reflexed, much resembling those of a Labrus. Lower jaw projecting a little beyond the upper, and inclining upwards to meet it. An outer row of strong conical teeth in each jaw, with a velutine band behind; the band broad above, but very narrow below. A largish triangular patch of velutine teeth on the vomer, and a smaller one on each palatine. Tongue free and fleshy, smooth. Eyes moderately large, their diameter one-fifth the length of the head; high in the cheeks, reaching to, but not interrupting, the line of the profile. The superciliary tentacles consist each of eight short bristles, all separate to the root, but forming together a closely compacted series: two on the nape, of the same length as them, are broad and palmated, the upper half only being divided into eight or ten slender filaments: two on the nostrils are similar to those on the nape, only somewhat smaller.

The dorsal commences at the nape, a little behind the nuchal appendages, and has the spinous portion long, and of nearly uniform height, but no where very high. The spines increase very gradually in length as they advance, the first being the shortest: in the middle of the fin, they equal about one-third the depth of the body, or hardly so much: above each is a short filamentous tag, as in the Labridae. The soft portion is nearly twice the height of the spinous. A small interval between the termination of this fin and the caudal. The anal commences under the twelfth spine of the dorsal: its own two spines are very short, and not half the length of the soft rays, which last are not quite so long as those of the dorsal: the membrane between each of the rays is deeply notched. This fin terminates a a very little before the dorsal. The caudal, when expanded, appears slightly rounded. Pectorals broad and rounded, about one-fifth of the entire length. Insertion of the ventrals directly underneath the commencement of the dorsal, and both in a vertical line with the posterior margin of the preopercle. These last fins are contained nearly nine times in the entire length.

Body covered with moderately small scales; the length and breadth of each scale nearly equal, with the basal portion nearly covered by an irregular fan of strić, eighteen or twenty in number. Head naked, but the crown and upper part of the snout studded with papillć, terminating upwards in pores. There are rows of minute scales between the rays of the dorsal for about one-third of their height; also at the base of the caudal and pectorals, but none on the anal. The lateral line commences behind the upper angle of the opercle at one-fourth of the depth; when opposite the eleventh ray of the dorsal, it begins to bend downwards, and continues falling till opposite the seventeenth ray, when it gets to the middle of the depth; from that point it passes straight to the caudal.

Colour. (In spirits.) Nearly uniform dark brown ground, but with some indications of round black spots, which were probably more conspicuous in the living fish. Eight or nine of these spots appear on the posterior half of the dorsal, forming a longitudinal row; and there is a row more faintly marked out along the base of the anal; these last are smaller than those on the dorsal. Chin, throat, and gill-membrane, thickly covered with small spots: also a black patch extending over a large portion of the eye from above and behind.

Habitat, Coquimbo, Chile.

This species, obtained by Mr. Darwin at Coquimbo, is nearly allied to several other Chilean species, described by Cuvier and Valenciennes, but differs from all of them in having more rays in the anal fin, independently of other respects. It seems to approach most closely the C. variolosus; but this latter is represented as having the superciliary tentacles palmated, composed of from twelve to fifteen bristles, and the nuchal ones papilliform and so small as to be hardly visible. In the present species, the superciliary tentacles consist, as above stated, of eight bristles separate quite to the root, while those on the nape are equally as large and much developed, and strictly, as well as very distinctly, palmated. The crown also is scarcely convex, as represented to be the case in that species: to which it may be added, that the spots on the dorsal fin are more numerous, and their relative size compared with those on the anal different.

The C. microcirrhis is said to want superciliary tentacles altogether, otherwise there are several points of resemblance between that species and the one here described.



GENUS: ACANTHOCLINUS. Jen.

Corpus elongatum, compressum, squamis minutissimis obtectum. Caput nudum, tentaculis nullis. Dentes maxillares seriebus dispositi, velutini; multis, hic illic sparsis, fortioribus, subconicis vel aculeiformibus: vomerini et palatini velutini omnes. Linguae linea longitudinalis media dentibus minutissimis aspera. Membrana branchiatis undique libera, subter gulam continua et profundč emarginata, sex-radiata. Pinnae dorsalis et analis spinis plurimis, ad apices laciniis membranaceis investitis. Lineae laterales tres distinctae.

Mr. Darwin has brought home several specimens of a small fish from New Zealand, which appears to me to form the type of a new genus in the family of Blennies. It is most nearly allied to Clinus , to which group it may perhaps be subordinate in point of value; but it offers several differences which I shall proceed to point out. In the first place the number of anal spines is much greater, a character of considerable importance in this family, in which they hardly ever amount to more than two, whilst in some instances all the rays of this fin appear to be articulated. Secondly, in addition to the bands of vomerine and palatine teeth, which are found in Clinus, this genus has a narrow line of very minute teeth running longitudinally down the middle of the tongue, communicating a sensible roughness to the touch. Thirdly, the ventrals are more backward, their point of insertion being only a very little in advance of that of the pectorals. Lastly, it is remarkably characterized by having three, or one might almost say four, distinct lateral lines. The uppermost of these lines commences at the posterior angle of the opercle, whence it turns abruptly upwards and runs immediately beneath the base of the dorsal: the second runs along the median line of the body, but does not commence till a little beyond the base of the pectoral: the third commences a little above the insertion of the ventrals, and answers to the upper one, taking its course a little above the anal: there is also part of a fourth, which originates between the ventrals, and joins the third at the commencement of the anal. All these lines are marked by larger and differently formed scales from those on the body (which last are very minute), with an elevated tube on each, the tubal pore, however, being most distinct on the middle or second line. In its general form, and in the large number of dorsal spines, this genus resembles Clinus: the form of the head and mouth are for the most part similar; also all the parts of the gill-cover; as well as the branchial membrane, which is six-rayed and fee all round. The tags at the tips of the dorsal and anal spines are very conspicuous, and give those fins somewhat of a labriform appearance.

It is not improbable that the Clinus littoreus of Cuvier and Valenciennes, which they have characterized from a drawing and description in the Banksian Library, and which is said to possess twenty-five spines in the anal fin, may belong to this new genus. It is observed by those authors, in reference to its peculiarity in this respect, that such a circumstance, if correct, would be unexampled, and would tend to separate it from the genus in which they have placed it. It is also worth remarking that the C. littoreus comes from New Zealand, the same country as that whence Mr. Darwin obtained the above.

In the circumstance of having three lateral lines, this new genus seems to have some affinity with Chirus of Steller; but the scales are not ciliated as they are said to be in this last, neither are the ventrals five-rayed.

 

ACANTHOCLINUS FUSCUS. Jen .

PLATE XVIII. FIG. 2

Form. Body elongated and compressed; the depth, which varies but little, one-sixth of the entire length; thickness in the region of the pectorals rather more than half the depth. Head contained very little more than four times in the length. Profile sloping but very little. Snout rather short: mouth protractile, and rather wide: lips somewhat fleshy and reflexed. Gape reaching to beneath the anterior part of the orbit, but the maxillary, which is dilated at its posterior extremity, and cut nearly square, reaching to beyond the middle. Lower jaw a little the longest, and ascending to meet the upper. Several rows of sharp velutine teeth in each jaw, with some here and there stronger and more hooked than the others, those below almost fine card: a band on the vomer and on each palatine. Tongue of a triangular form, free and pointed at the tip, with a ridge of asperities down the median line. Eyes high, but hardly interrupting the line of the profile; their diameter one-fifth the length of the head; distant one diameter from the end of the snout. No filamentous appendages of any kind on any part of the head; but an irregular circle of pores nearly surrounding the orbit; also a few very distinct pores beneath the lower jaw. Preopercle rounded, with distant pores along the margin. Opercle terminating posteriorly in a sharp salient angle with the basal margin ascending; beneath which the subopercle and interopercle are both very distinct. Branchial membrane free and open all round, not adhering to the isthmus underneath, but deeply notched in the middle.

The dorsal commences in a line with the posterior point of the gill-cover, and is very similar to that of Clinus. Spinous portion long, and, excepting the first two rays, of nearly uniform height, equalling nearly half the depth; the membrane deeply notched between the spines, the tips of which are invested with filamentous tags. Soft portion of the dorsal more elevated than the spinous, and with only four rays. Between the end of this fin and the caudal is a small space equalling nearly two-thirds of the depth beneath. The anal commences under the twelfth dorsal spine, and exactly corresponds to the posterior half of that fin, reaching also to the same point. The spines in both fins are sharp and moderately strong; the soft rays articulated and branched, and terminating rather in a point behind. Caudal rounded, with fourteen branched rays, and a few shorter simpler ones. Pectorals one-seventh of the entire length, rounded when spread open, with all the rays except the last branched. Ventrals narrow and pointed, about the same length as the pectorals, and inserted but very little in advance of those fins: the spine well developed, and half the length of the soft rays: first soft ray long, and deeply divided so as to appear like two; the second tray slender and shorter.

Body covered with very minute scales; but none on the head or on any of the fins. Three very distinct lateral lines, with a portion of a fourth, as already stated above.

B. 6; D. 20/4; A. 9/4; C. 16, etc.; P. 17; V. 1/2

Length 3 inc. 8 lin.

Colour. Not noticed in the recent state. In spirits it appears of a nearly uniform bister brown, with the fins and some portion of the head darker than the rest, especially a blackish spot on the opercle.

Habitat, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

There are four specimens of this new fish in the collection, all similar except in size. The above is the largest. The others measure in length from one inch and three quarters, to not quite three inches. The two largest are from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. The other two have lost their labels: I only presume therefore that they are from the same locality.

 

TRIPTERYGION CAPITO. Jen.

PLATE XIX. FIG. 1

T. fusco-griseum, pinnis concoloribus: tentaculis palpebralibus duobus parvis gracilibus e crinibus duobus vel tribus formatis; nasalibus minutis simplicibus: dorsali primâ humili sex-radiatâ, radiis subaequalibus; secundâ duplo altiore; tertiâ parum altissimâ: lineâ laterali abbreviatâ, vix ultrâ pectorales extensâ

B. 6; D. 6-20-14; A. 25; C. 14, etc.; P. 16; V. 2

Long. unc. 2. lin. 5

Form. Depth at the pectorals one-sixth of the length: thickness at the same part about two-thirds of the depth. Head rather large, thicker than the body, contained four and a half times in the entire length. Snout short, the profile falling very abruptly from between the eyes. These last large, one-third the length of the head, high in the cheeks, reaching to, but hardly interrupting, the line of the profile. Above each a short slender compound tentacle: that on the right side consists of two filaments, one simple, the other forked, so as to appear like three; that on the left appears undivided. Also a minute filament at each nostril. The maxillary reaches to beneath the middle of the orbit. Jaws equal: in each a row of small conical sharp-pointed teeth, with a broad velutine band behind, the band, however, only in front. A transverse band of velutine teeth on the vomer, extending a little on to the palatines. Opercle and preopercle rounded. Branchial membrane free all round, with a shallow notch in the middle underneath.

The first dorsal commences in a vertical line with the insertions of the ventrals; the rays are six in number, and so nearly equal in length as to cause the fin to appear quite even; its height is scarcely more than one-third of the depth. The second dorsal begins a little behind the origin of the pectorals: it is also nearly even, but twice the height of the first. The third closely follows the second: this fin is uneven, but its most elevated point is somewhat higher still than the second. The rays of the first and second of these fins are spinous: those of the third soft and articulated, but all simple. The anal, which has also simple rays, commences beneath the middle of the second dorsal, and terminates in the same vertical line with the end of the third, between which last and the caudal is a small space. Caudal square, with twelve of the principal rays branched. Pectorals a little less than one-fourth of the entire length; the ninth and tenth rays longest; the six lowermost rather stouter than the others, and, as well as the three uppermost, which are very slender, simple; the fourth to the tenth, both inclusive, branched. Ventrals contained about six and a half times in the entire length; consisting of only two slender filamentous rays.

Scales minute, their free edges finely ciliated; the concealed portion of each scale marked with twelve or fourteen strić. The lateral line rises at the upper angle of the opercle, and is well marked by a row of tubular scales till it reaches a little beyond the extremity of the reclined pectoral, where it abruptly terminates, and all further trace of it is lost.

Colour. (In spirits.) Of a nearly uniform dark brown, inclining to griseous, with some appearance of darker clouds or spots between the second dorsal and the lateral line; this last also is indicated by a darker streak than the ground colour. Fins dark brown: there is, however, some trace of a white edging to the anterior half of the anal, which may have been more conspicuous in the living state.

A second specimen slightly differs from the above, but is evidently referable to the same species. It is smaller; and the profile falls more gradually. The caudal has only eight branched rays, with two lateral simple ones. The pectorals have the tenth and eleventh rays longest, with the seven lowermost (instead of six) stouter than the others and simple. The fin-ray formula is also different:

D. 6-19-13; A. 25; C. 10, etc.; P. 17; V. 2

Length 2 inc. 1 line

The colours are paler, and more decidedly grey, with the darker mottlings more distinct. The dorsals and caudal are pale, minutely dotted with brown. Tips of all the anal rays white.

This species approaches very closely the T. nigripenne of Cuvier and Valenciennes, of which it may possibly be a variety; but the description in the Histoire des Poissons , as regards the form, is limited to a very few words. If the figure given by those authors be correct, the T. nigripenne differs decidedly in the first dorsal being more elevated, with the rays more unequal, and in the lateral line extending the whole length of the fish. In the present species the first dorsal is low and even, with the rays all equal, and the lateral line cannot be traced much beyond the pectoral; and these characters are found in both specimens. There are also six rays in the first dorsal. According to the description, the T. nigripenne has but five, though six are represented in the figure.

From the T. varium, this species differs not only in its fin-ray formula, but in its markings: and the same characters serve to separate it still more widely from T. forsteri and T. fenestratum.

This species was obtained by Mr. Darwin on tidal rocks in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Three out of the only four extra-European species described by Cuvier and Valenciennes come from the same locality.



 

FAMILY: GOBIDAE

1. GOBIUS LINEATUS. Jen.

PLATE XIX. FIG. 2.

G. nigro-griseus, lineis circiter decem longitudinalibus nigris: capite lato, subdepreso; genis inflatis: maxillis aequalibus: dentibus velutinis, externis fortioribus aculeiformibus; caninis nullis: oculis amplis, intervallo vix plus quam semidiametrum ćquante: pinnis dorsalibus contiguis, altitudine subćqualibus; pectoralibus radiis supernis setaceis, liberis; caudali rotundatâ: squamis mediocribus, levissimč ciliatis

B. 5; D. 6-1/9; A. 1/8; C. 13, etc.; P. 7 et 16; V. 1/5

Long. unc. 4. lin. 8

Form. Head large, sub-depressed, and much inflated about the gills: body compressed towards the tail. Depth at the pectorals contained about five and a half times in the length: thickness at the same point about three-fourths of the depth. Head about four and a half times in the length: its breadth nearly equal to its own length. Profile nearly horizontal. Eyes moderately large, with a diameter nearly one-fourth that of the head: the intermediate space a little hollowed out, and scarcely more than half a diameter in breadth. Some appearance of a shallow groove on the nape reaching to the first dorsal. Gape reaching to beneath the anterior angle of the eye. Jaw equal: each with a broad band of velutine teeth, the outer row stronger than the others, and slightly hooked; of these stronger ones there are twenty-six in the upper jaw; below they are fewer, smaller, and more irregular: no canines: no vomerine or palatine teeth.

Pectorals about one-fifth of the entire length, oval; the first six or seven rays nearly free to their base, and setaceous, like those of G. niger ; the sixteen that follow connected by membrane as usual, and much branched. Ventrals united in the usual manner, and a little shorter than the pectorals. The first dorsal commencing a very little behind the point of attachment of the pectorals, and reaching to the extremity of those fins when laid back: the anterior spines rather exceeding in length half the depth of the body; the last three gradually decreasing, with the membrane terminating at the foot of the second dorsal. This last fin with the first ray simple, and of the same height with the anterior rays of the first dorsal; those which follow, to the number of nine, nearly of the same height, and branched; from the root of the ninth springs a simple ray which might be reckoned as distinct, and if so, the entire number would be ten. Anal commencing a little more backward, and terminating a little sooner than the second dorsal, to which in other respects it answers; the last ray double as before: both these fins terminate in a point behind. Space between the anal and the caudal rather more than one-fifth of the entire length, and equalling twice the depth immediately beneath. Caudal rounded, about one-sixth of the entire length; the division between the principal and accessory rays (which last are numerous, especially above), not well marked; the former much branched. The usual papilla behind the vent.

No visible lateral line. Scales rather large; about thirty-seven in a longitudinal line, and eleven in a vertical; ciliated, the concealed portion of each scale with an irregular fan of very numerous strić, amounting to twenty-five or more. Skin of the suborbital marked with four longitudinal lines of salient dots, the third from the top forking posteriorly into two: a similar line at the upper part of the opercle at the boundary of the scales, whence another passes vertically across the branchial membrane; behind this is a third shorter one, taking an oblique direction backwards.

Colour. (In spirits.) Dusky grey, with about ten, rather indistinct longitudinal dark lines on the body, extending from the pectorals to the caudal. Fins dusky, with some indication of small irregular whitish spots scattered here and there. A dark spot on the upper half of the eye.

Habitat, Galapagos Archipelago.

This is undoubtedly a new species. It belongs to the same section as the G. niger of the European seas, which in form it very much resembles, especially in its large inflated head, and in having the uppermost rays of the pectorals free and setaceous. It differs, however, in having fewer rays in the dorsal and anal fins, and consequently a larger interval between the anal and the caudal; also, in the number and arrangement of the dotted lines on the cheeks. The colours are likewise different; and, in the living fish, in which they were not noticed, probably the dark longitudinal lines, alluded to in the description above, are much more conspicuous than they are at present.

This species was taken by Mr. Darwin off Chatham Island, in the Galapagos Archipelago.

 

2. GOBIUS OPHICEPHALUS. Jen.

PLATE XIX. FIG. 3.

G. pallenti-plumbeus, fusco-reticulatus: corpore elongato, gracili, undique alepidoto: capite lato, depresso, genis tumidis; his et rostro punctis valde salientibus, creberrimis, lineis undantibus dispositis: maxillis aequalibus: dentibus velutinis; externis, praesertim lateralibus, fortioribus, aculeiformibus; caninis nullis: oculis parvis, prominulis, intervallo plus quam diametrum aequante: pinnis dorsalibus subcontiguis, altitudine subaequalibus; pectoralibus radiis omnibus membranâ inclusis; caudali rotundatâ, radiis clausis, subacutâ

D. 8-1/16; A. 1/13; C. 17, etc.; P. 21; V. 1/5

Long. unc. 2. lin. 11

Form. Body considerably elongated, and compressed posteriorly: the greatest depth beneath the first dorsal, equalling rather less than one-eighth of the entire length: thickness at that point rather less than the depth. Head broader than the body, very much flattened in the crown behind the eyes, with the cheeks tumid, and, on the whole, snake-like in appearance: its length one-fifth of the entire length; its breadth two-thirds of its own length. Eyes small, but rather prominent, high in the cheeks, with a diameter scarcely exceeding a line in length, or about one-sixth that of the head; the space between a little hollowed out, and nearly a diameter and a half across. Snout short and obtuse: jaws equal; the gape not quite reaching to beneath the middle of the orbit. The teeth form a broad velutine band in each jaw, with those in the outer row strong and slightly hooked: of these last there are about twenty in the upper, the lateral ones being stronger than those in front; in the lower they are not so numerous, and more irregular: none that can be strictly called canines: likewise no vomerine or palatine teeth.

Pectorals one-sixth of the entire length, oval, with the middle rays longest; all the rays included in the membrane. Ventrals united; about two-thirds the length of the pectorals. First dorsal extending beyond the extremities of the pectorals; the rays very gradually decreasing in length, the membrane beyond the last also sloping very gradually down till it nearly reaches the second dorsal, which it does not quite touch. Rays of the second dorsal of nearly uniform height, about equalling the longest of those in the first, also equalling the depth of the body beneath. The last ray in both these fins is double, as in the last species. The anal commences beneath the fourth ray of the second dorsal, and terminates a little sooner than that fin. The caudal, when the rays are spread, appears rounded; but whenclosed, somewhat pointed: it is contained not quite six and-a-half times in the entire length. The space between the anal and the caudal is one-eighth of the same, and one and a half times the depth of the tail at that part. The usual papilla appears behind the vent.

Skin apparently quite naked everywhere, and without any scales that are visible, even in the dried state, under a lens. The lateral line runs straight along the middle, and is marked by a series of glandular dots placed in threes or fours together vertically at moderate intervals. Several lines of dots about the head, but the dots are here closer together, and in some places so salient as to appear like short filamentous processes: on the cheeks, about the eyes, and on the front of the snout, these lines undulate in an irregular manner: there are also two or three short lines of dots on the gill-cover, and a double row on each side of the lower jaw, passing obliquely upwards posteriorly, as a boundary to the cheek.

Colour. ‘Pale lead-colour, coarsely reticulated with brown.’ - D. This is nearly as it appears also in spirits. The reticulations are finer on the head, where they are also most distinct: they are likewise very visible at the base of the pectorals.

Habitat, Chonos Archipelago, South of Chiloe.

Cuvier and Valenciennes seem to have doubted31 whether there were really any species in this genus absolutely without scales, though they have established a section, in which the scales are very minute, and as it were lost in the skin. The present one, however, appears to be thus characterized: at least there are no scales which can be detected, even with the assistance of a lens, and when the skin is suffered to become dry, in which state they are generally visible, if really present. In fact, the skin is as smooth and naked as in any of the true Blennies. This character, combined with others, clearly indicates it to be a new species; neither will it assimilate with any of the sections in the Histoire des Poissons; but requires to be placed in one by itself, in which the absence of scales is coupled with an elongated body, and a caudal, not strictly pointed, but approaching to that form, when the rays are close.

This species was obtained by Mr. Darwin in the Chonos Archipelago, in Lowe's Harbour, S. of Chiloe. It appears to be the first of this genus brought from the West Coast of America; at least, there are none, amongst the very numerous species described by Cuvier and Valenciennes, which are mentioned as belonging to those shores.

31 See Hist. des Poiss., tom. xii, p. 72, under the species Gobius boscii.

 

 

ELEOTRIS GOBIOIDES. Cuv. et Val.

Eleotris gobioides, Cuv. et Val., Hist. des Poiss., tom. xii, p. 186.

This species was taken by Mr. Darwin in fresh-water, in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. It so well accords with the description of the E. gobioides in the Histoire des Poissons, that I conceive there can be no doubt of their identity.

The profile slopes very gently. The lower jaw is longest, ascending to meet the upper. There are three or four longitudinal lines on the sides of the head, especially a very well marked one (not particularly noticed by Valenciennes) extending backwards from the posterior angle of the eye to the upper angle of the gill-opening. No appearance of any lateral line. This specimen has a ray more in the anal than Valenciennes gives. The fin-ray formula is as follows:

B. 6; D. 6-1/10, the last double; A. 1/10, the last double; C. 16, etc.; P. 18; V. 1/5

Length 4 inches 1 line

This species, except in respect of its separate ventrals, has very much the habit and general appearance of the Gobius niger of the European seas.