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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/116

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

a cod-roe weighing seven pounds and three quarters, and found the average was one hundred and forty eggs to the grain. This gives 67,200 eggs to the ounce, so that in the whole mass of this one cod-roe, allowing three quarters of a pound for skin, membrane, etc., there were no less than 7,536,400 eggs.

Caviare is the common name for a preparation of the dried spawn or salted roe of fish. The black caviare is made from the roe of sturgeon, and a single large fish will sometimes yield as much as one hundred and twenty pounds of roe. A cheaper and less prized red kind is obtained from the roe of the gray mullet, and some of the carp species, which are common in the rivers and on the shores of the Black Sea. It is of interest to Turkey and the Levant trade only.

Botargo is a preparation made on the coasts of the Mediterranean, of the ovaries full of the mature eggs of the mullet (Mugil cephalus). The eggs are salted, crushed, reduced to a paste, and then dried in the sun. Sometimes spices or other ingredients are added. Botargo is eaten like caviare.

There is also a destruction by mankind of the ova or spawn of the Crustacea—lobsters, crabs, and shrimps—which are carried under their tail. The lobster produces from 25,000 to 40,000 eggs, the crayfish upward of 100,000. As much as six ounces of eggs can be taken off in May from a lobster weighing three to three pounds and a half, and there are about 6,720 eggs in an ounce of lobster spawn. The lobster is never so good as when in the condition of a "berried hen."

The eggs of some insects are eaten in Siam, Egypt, and Mexico, but those most valuable commercially are the eggs of the silk moth.

The trade in silk-worms' eggs from Japan has become an extensive and profitable one. In 1868 £1,000,000 was paid to Japan by the "graineurs" of Europe for silk-worms' eggs. In 1869 two million cards, costing on an average 12s. 6d. each, were sent to Europe. In other years three millions of these cards, packed in cases of about three hundred, thickly studded with these tiny specks, have been shipped from Japan by the various steamers.

In China and Japan the moths are placed to lay their eggs on cardboard or thick paper, which they cover regularly and closely with a secretion which glues them to the spot and acts as a preservative from heat or other accidents. Hence the cards may be transported many thousands of miles safely, in a ship with a properly regulated temperature, so as to prevent their hatching too soon. They should be arranged, and the cards thickly covered, without being overlaid, and having no unpleasant smell. A first glance at one of these cards would lead one to suppose that the eggs were artificially attached to the card, but the regularity is