Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 096.djvu/15

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5
and mechanical Action of the Muscles of Fishes.

produced an evident tendency to turn round, and the pectoral fins were kept constantly extended to obviate that motion.

From a fourth fish, the pectoral and abdominal fins were cut off on one side, and it immediately lost the power of keeping the back upwards. The single fins were expanded, but the fish swam obliquely on its side with the remaining pectoral and abdominal fins downwards.

From a fifth fish, all the fins were removed. Its back was kept in a vertical position, whilst at rest, by the expansion of the tail, but it rolled half round at every attempt to move.

From a sixth fish, the tail was cut off close to the body. Its progressive motion was considerably impeded, and the flexions of the spine were much increased during the endeavour to advance: but neither the pectoral nor abdominal fins seemed to be more actively employed.

From a seventh fish, all the fins and the tail were removed. It remained almost without motion, floating near the surface of the water, with its belly upward.

These experiments were repeated on the roach,[1] the gudgeon,[2] and the minnow[3], with similar results.

The muscles of fishes differ materially in their texture from those of other animals: they are apparently more homogeneous, their fibres are not so much fasciculated, but run more parallel to each other, and are always comparatively shorter. They become corrugated at the temperature of 156° of {{sc|Fahrenheit]], when their tendinous and ligamentous attachments are dissolved, and their serous juices coagulated. Under those circumstances the muscles lose their transparency, and the lateral cohesion of their fibres is lessened.

  1. Cyprinus rutilus.
  2. Cyprinus gobio.
  3. Cyprinus phoxinus.