صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

himself from the increase of the trade, were pointed out in a favorable manner. All the merchants of Lus are of opinion, that the commerce would be considerably enlarged if security were afforded to the trader, and of this there can be little doubt, for cloth and other articles of European manufacture are in great request throughout Beloochistan, and the supply is not at present adequate to the demand.

Formerly the commerce of Lus was much more valuable than it is at present, and a large portion was sent by the Kelat route to the northern provinces of Hindoostan; within the last forty years it has from various causes gradually declined. In 1808 Soonmemy was taken, and plundered by the Joasmy pirates, and for some years the merchants were afraid to send goods there; the port was just beginning to recover from this blow, when the Ameers of Sinde issued strict orders to the merchants of Kurachee to discontinue their practice of importing goods to any of the ports of Lus under the severest penalties, and this measure, which at once took away half the trade of the place, completed what the pirates had begun. In the meantime the trade with the northern provinces had ceased entirely, for they had become so unsettled that the Patan merchants, who are the great carriers in that part of the world, ceased to come to Kelat for goods, and as they afterwards found the route from Upper Sinde much the safest, they resorted to it in preference, and have since obtained the small supply of goods they require from the merchants of that kingdom. Before the trade of Lus had suffered from the causes above mentioned, its value is said to have been five times greater than it is at present, and it was also much more lucrative to the merchant, for at that period goods of European manufacture sold for double the price that is now obtained for them.

1st February, 1838.

Lieutenant, Indian Navy.

ART. III.-On three new species of Musk (Moschus) inhabiting the Hemalayan districts.

To the Editor of the Journal, Asiatic Society.

SIR,-Several years ago I called the attention of Dr. Abel to some remarkable, and apparently permanent distinctions of colour characterising the Musks, or Musk Deer of the Cis and Trans- Hemalayan regions. These I subsequently inserted in my amended catalogue of Mammalia, under the specific names of Leucogaster, Chrysogaster, and Saturatus, but without giving specific characters, owing to my conti

nued inability to establish the species upon a more solid basis than that of distinction of colour. The partial investigations which I have been enabled to make, strongly favour, however, the supposition that the superficial diagnostics are supported by others of more importance in the form of the crania, and in the structure and position of the musk pod. And, though I am still unable distinctly to expound these latter differences, I think it may stimulate curiosity to indicate summarily the three presumed species as marked by their diversities of colour, in the hope that attention may be thence drawn to the structural peculiarities which I believe to exist in the sculls, and in the musk bags.

1st. Species, Moschus chrysogaster, nobis. Bright sepia brown sprinkled with golden red; orbitar region, lining, and base of ears, whole body below, and insides of the limbs, rich golden red or orange; a black-brown patch on the buttocks posteally; limbs below their central flexures fulvescent.

2nd. Species, Leucogaster, nobis. er brown sprinkled with fulvous

Body above, and the limbs deepbelow the head, neck, and belly, together with the insides of the ears, and the orbits, hoary white.

3rd. Species, Saturatus, nobis. Throughout saturate dusky brown, somewhat paler below: chin only, and lining of the ears pale and hoary.

Drawings of the above animals were transmitted to London, through the Society, in May 1836.

I am Sir, your obedient servant,


Nepal, April 15, 1839.

ART. IV.-On Isinglass in Polynemus sele, Buch., a species which is very common in the Estuaries of the Ganges. By J. MCCLELLAND, Assistant Surgeon.

There are nine species of Polynemi, or Paradise fishes, enumerated by authors, and although they are all pretty well described, I am not aware of any more valuable property being known regarding them than their excellence as an article of food, of which we have a familiar instance at this season in the Pol. paradiseus, or Mango-fish, Tupsi Muchi of the Bengalese.

Buchanan has five species in his work on Gangetic Fishes, but three of these are small, and probably varieties only of the Tupsi; two of them however, are of great size, and so common in the estuary of the Hoogly that I have seen numerous hackeries, or bullock carts, conveying them to the Calcutta bazar, during the cold season. They are not

confined to the estuary of the Hoogly, but probably extend to all the estuaries of the Ganges, as Buchanan says they do; and we know that Dr. Russell also describes two large species in his work, long since published, on the fishes of the Madras Coast.

The very valuable production, Isinglass, having been recently found to be yielded by one of the fishes of the Hoogly by a writer in Parbury's Oriental Herald, it became an interesting object to determine the systematic name of the fish affording an article so valuable, and to learn as much as possible regarding its habits. Having procured a specimen of this fish from the bazar, I was surprised to find it to be a Polynemus, or Paradise fish, although the writer alluded to described it as resembling a Shark. My surprise was not that a person unacquainted with fishes should compare it to a Shark, or to any thing else, but that a nearly allied species to the Mango-fish should contain a natatory vessel of such size and value, while that organ is quite absent in the Mango-fish itself, though a general character of nearly all others.

I had come to the determination never to describe single or detached species of fish, but as the object of this paper is to elucidate the commercial side of a question already before the public, I shall not pretend to offer any remarks on the scientific part of the subject, which is indeed beyond my province, as my observations have hitherto been confined to the fresh water species of India.

The species affording the Isinglass is the Polynemus sele, Buch.; Sele, or Sulea, of the Bengalese, described, but not figured, in the Gangetic Fishes; but if Buchanan's drawings had not been placed under a bushel since 1815, probably this useful discovery would have been sooner made, and better understood by the writer in Parbury's Oriental Herald, to whom we are indebted for it.

The annexed figure from Buchanan's unpublished collection at the Botanic Garden, conveys an excellent representation, about half size, of a specimen from which I obtained 66 grains of Isinglass: but as the writer in Parbury's Oriental Herald states that from half a pound to three quarters of a pound is obtained from each fish, we may suppose either that P.sele attains a much greater size than 24 pounds, the limit given to it by Buchanan, or, that the Isinglass is also afforded by a far larger species, namely Polynemus teria, Buch. or Teria bhangan of the Bengalese, Maga jellee of Russell, which Buchanan was informed sometimes equals three hundred and twenty pounds avoirdupois, and which I frequently have seen of an uniform size, that must have been from fifty to an hundred pounds at least, loading whole cavalcades of hackeries at once on their way to the Calcutta bazar, as I have already stated, during the cold season, when they would consequently seem to be very common.

Although the sound, or natatory vessel is the part of the fish that would afford the principal inducement to form fisheries, one of the obligations that speculators should be obliged to enter into with the Government is, to cure all parts of such fishes as might be taken for their sound. Considering the scarcity of fish in many parts of India, and the great, I may say unlimited demand for it in some parts of the country even when badly preserved, as well as the excellence of the flesh of all the Polynemi, the curing of these fishes might prove no less profitable to the parties themselves, than it would unquestionably be to the country. I was happy to find the attention of the Royal Asiatic Society directed to the subject of curing fishes in India by Dr. Cantor, (vide Proceedings, 21st April, 1838) but a something was then wanting to be known in order to give a direct inducement to the undertaking.* I therefore regard the discovery of the Ichthyocolla of commerce in one of the larger Polynemi of India as a circumstance eminently calculated to direct attention to a promising and almost unlooked for source of enterprise. We first of all require to know whether more Polynemi than one afford it, and to be fully acquainted with the habits and the methods already employed for taking such as do. Polynemus sele, Buch. is the species I examined and found to contain it; but this species is supposed to be a variety only of Polynemus lineatus, which is very common on all the shores to the eastward; it therefore becomes a question of some importance to determine whether P. lineatus yields the same valuable article, and if it

Should Dr. Cantor still be in London, I would recommend those who may be interested in the important question of Isinglass to consult him, as no one is so competent to afford information regarding the fish by which that article is yielded in India. He will, I am confident, on a re-examination of his notes regarding the Polynemi, readily distinguish those with large sounds, and be able to afford more valuable information regarding their habits, and the quantities in which they are procurable, than could be expected from any one who had not devoted his thoughts to the subject, during a survey of the place in which these fishes occur, I am not sure that the species of Polynemus Dr. Cantor particularly refers to in his paper as the Salliah, or Saccolih, is not the very fish that affords Isinglass; if so, it appears to be considered by Dr. Cantor as a new species, and his notes will probably afford all that it is essential to know regarding its habits. Thus, as Sir J. E. Smith somewhere observed, "the naturalist who describes a new species, however trifling it may seem, knows not what benefit that species may yet confer on mankind."

In an interesting account of Kurachee by Lieut. Carloss, read at the last anniversary Meeting of the Bombay Geographical Society, cod sounds and shark's fins are mentioned among the exports from that place, and fishing is said to be carried on to a considerable extent along the coast of Sinde. As however the Cod, Morrhua vulgaris, Cuv., is quite unknown in the Indian Seas, the species from which the sounds alluded to by Lieut. Carloss are taken are no doubt Polynemi, the larger species of which are sometimes called by the English, Rock-Cod. It will be curious to learn if the Chinese have monopolised this trade on the coast of Sinde as well as in the Hoogly.

be really common to the eastward; if so, it seems strange that the Chine should send for it to the Hoogly. Next, do the Pol. Emoi and P plebeius, supposed by Buchanan to correspond with his Sele, contain t same valuable substance? and do either of Russell's species, namely, t Maga booshee and Maga jellee, (Indian Fishes, 183, 184,) yield it? The are questions easily determined along our coasts by merely opening su fish as correspond with the one here figured, and ascertaining wheth they contain an air vessel or not, and whether that vessel if present large or small. Mergui, Batavia, Singapore, Tranquebar, Madras, ar Bombay are points at which observations might be made. This questio may be so easily ascertained, that it is hardly worth forming a conjectu about it; but if any of the species common to the coasts of the Easter seas possessed so valuable a property, the chances are that it wou have been long since discovered. It is therefore probable that t large gelatine sound will be found to be peculiar to Pol. sele, and pe haps Pol. teria,* Buch. both of which seem to resort chiefly to th Gangetic estuaries at certain seasons, particularly during the Nort east monsoon, when it is easy to imagine that the shelter afforded i those estuaries at that season, might account for many peculiaritie which their ichthyology appears to present, compared with that of ope coasts. It is during the cold season that the two gigantic fishes abov mentioned appear to be caught in most abundance, a circumstance tl more favourable to any improved operations that might be resorte to with a view to convert them to useful purposes. Whether both co tain the same valuable substance, I am unable to say, having as y only examined P. sele.


Two fins on the back, with long filaments attached to the sides in fro of the pectoral fins. Opercula covered with scales; preoperculu serrated behind. Example. The common Mango-fish of Bengal.


P. Sele, Buch. Plate

Sele, or Sulea of the Bengalese.

Five filaments, the first reaching from the front of the pectorals t midway between those fins and the anal, the other filaments progres sively shorter; no streaks on the sides, lateral line deflected on the lowe lobe of the caudal fin. The fin rays are as follows;-first dorsal seven second dorsal fourteen, pectorals thirteen in each, ventrals each six anal twelve or thirteen, caudal twenty (?) The teeth are very fine, con tinuous below round the edes of the jaws, but interrupted at th

* P. quadrifilis, Cuv. P. tetradoctylus, &c. and probably refer to the same.

« السابقةمتابعة »