The Bone Fish and Sea-feather - Volume II - Catesby Collection


Mark Catesby's description of the
Bone Fish and Sea-feather

MORMYRUS ex cinereo nigricans

The Bone Fish

The back of this Fish was dark-brown, the belly white, the iris of the eye white; on the back was one long spiny fin: behind the gills were two more, and one behind the anus; the tail black and large, making a very wide fork. They are in plenty on the coasts of the Bahama Islands; and, as I remember are called there Bone-fish.

CORALLINA fruticosa elatior ramis quaqua-versum expansis teretibus.

The Sea-feather

The size of these Plants is various, some growing to the heighth of three feet, though usually a foot, and a foot and half; spreading into long, slender, pliant stalks, of an horny, transparent substance, of a light brown colour; but incrusted over with a purple or reddish coralline coat or bark. The horny part divested of the coralline burns, and stinks like common horn. They grow in the sea usually in five, or ten, and fifteen fathom water, and are frequently found on the shores of Virginia, Carolina and sometimes on the Bahama Islands. These Plants do not grown horizontally, but upright as most land-plants do, as doth also the great Sea-Fan; which is usually thought to grow horizontally. This Mistake, I conceive, proceeds from the structure of that Plant, judging it from its flat and close contexture not able to withstand the impetuosity of the waves but in that position.

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