The Hog-fish and Shad - Volume II - Catesby Collection


Mark Catesby's description of the Hog-fish and Shad


The Hog-Fish

The largest size of this Fish that I have observed was as big again as this figure. The whole Fish including the eyes and fins of a yellowish red: the head resembles that of a hog, being sharp snouted. The end of the upper mandible is armed with large sharp teeth, opposite to which in the under jaw are two of the like size; the rest of the teeth are small, sharp, and thick set: the upper mandible is cartilaginous, and so disjointed from the head that it can dilate it and contract it at pleasure. On the back was one long spiny fin; two more were placed behind the gills, one under the abdomen, and one behind the anus, guarded before by three sharp bones; the tail of an oblong square, except that the edges terminate in two points.

TURDUS cinereus peltatus

The Shad

The colour of this Fish is light grey, with some of its scales tinctured with purple; the eyes large and yellow; the fore-part of the head growing narrow towards the nose; the mouth small and without teeth: but what is most singular in this Fish, is, that the fore-part of its head was of a cartilaginous substance, the back-part strong and bony; which seems designed for a shield to secure the defenceless part, which he contracts under it when danger approaches: a long spiny fin covered the greater part of its back, ending almost at his tail; the lower part of which was covered with a double skin the whole length; behind the gills were two more, and one under the abdomen, with a fifth behind the anus; the tail wide and forked. This is esteemed a good Fish.

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