fish, to the upper and lower indentations. The tail and fins are covered with skin like that on the other parts of the body; but internally they widely differ from it, the body having blubber under the skin, but the tail and fins being a combination of strong cartilages. The skin of the Mysticetus is very smooth, and slightly furrowed, like the water-marks in paper: it varies in colour; being, when young, of a bluish black, but, when the fish is full grown, black. On some, towards the tail, are brown spots on a light ground; some have white round the eyes, and streaks of white on the fins and different parts of the body, whilst others are much and irregularly spotted. The organs of generation are placed near that part of the abdomen, where the body begins to taper suddenly towards the tail; that of the male, is concealed in a longitudinal groove. The teats or nipples are placed on each side of the female organ, and are not capable of protrusion, beyond an inch or two; in a dead fish they are always retracted. The sexual intercourse takes place about the end of summer, and once in two years the fish feels the access of desire. Their fidelity to each other, exceeds even the constancy of birds. Anderson, a celebrated whale-fisher, informs us, that "having struck one of two whales, a male and a female, that were in company together, the wounded fish made a long and terrible resistance: it struck down a boat with three men in it, by a single blow of its tail, and they all went to the bottom. The other remained with its companion, and rendered it every
Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/78
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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.