No. 694.— April, 1899.
ZOOLOGICAL NOTES FROM NATAL.
A Monstrous Ray or Devil-fish.—In April, 1898, a crowd was seen on the sea-shore at Durban, drawn together by the interesting object represented in the accompanying Plate (I.), a reproduction of a photograph taken by Mr. Burn, of the Natal Drug Company. Some Indians were fishing with their net on the sea-coast when they discovered that something unusually large had come within their grasp, whereupon these men, with great excitement, quickly drew the net shorewards, and, as the waves receded, an enormous Eagle Ray, with its single young, was disclosed to view. The captors smartly fastened ropes to their prize, and anchored it to the shore, gradually drawing it out of the water, but with considerable difficulty.
The measurements taken of this fish were 14 ft. 6 in. across the disc, 6 ft. from head to root of tail, and with a tail 6 ft. in length. In order to turn this enormous creature to be photographed on its reverse side, no fewer than twenty natives were required, thus giving some idea as to its weight, which was roughly estimated at about 15 cwt.
Although several of these monsters have been observed disporting themselves about Durban, this is, I believe, the largest, if not the only specimen of its kind that has been landed on our shores, and it is now preserved and contained in the Durban Museum.
Zool. 4th ser. vol. III., April, 1899.