Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/549

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ODD FORMS AMONG FISHES.

namely, that the males receive the eggs into a pouch, in which they carry them till they are hatched?

Who that has studied and heard of only ordinary fishes would ever expect to see such an animal as the sunfish (Orthagoriscus); and who, when he sees one for the first time, would regard it as anything short of a monstrosity? This huge fish (Fig. 15), weighing, in some

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Fig. 15.—Sunfish (Orthagoriscus mola, Schreiber).

cases, five hundred pounds, is so abbreviated behind, that it is scarcely represented behind the dorsal fin, making it one of the most remarkable forms, and one of the most difficult to explain, to be found in the whole class.

The trunk-fishes (Fig. 16) are very remarkable forms. They have an inflexible shield of bony plates, so that the mouth, tail, and fins, are the only movable parts. These small fishes—from three inches to

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Fig. 16.—Trunk-fish (Lactophrys Camelinus, Dekay). Fig. 17.—Puffer (Tetraodon turgidus, Mitchell).

a foot, in length are thus in strong contrast with the ordinary fishes, whose whole bodies are so flexible that there is the greatest freedom of motion throughout nearly the entire structure.

Again, the puffers (Fig. 17) are remarkable forms. Being more or less covered with spines, and having the habit of inflating themselves by swallowing air, thus giving them more or less of a rounded