Senses Of Fishes
He also tells us about the senses of fishes, and first of their
hearing:--"Among the marine animals, it is not probable that Oysters
enjoy the sense of hearing, but it is said that immediately a noise is
made, the Solen (razor-sheath) will sink to the bottom; it is for this
reason, too, that silence is observed by persons while fishing at sea.
Fishes have neither organs of hearing, nor yet the exterior orifice. And
it is quite certain that they do hear, for it is a well-known fact,
that in some fish-ponds they are in the habit of being assembled to be
fed by the clapping of the hands. In the fish-ponds, too, that belong to
the Emperor, the fish are in the habit of coming, each kind, as it hears
its name. So, too, it is said the Mullet, the Wolf-fish, the Salpa, and
the Chromis, have a very exquisite sense of hearing, and that it is for
this reason that they frequent shallow water.
"It is quite manifest that fishes have the sense of smell also; for they
are not all to be taken with the same bait, and are seen to smell at it
before they seize it. Some, too, that are concealed in the bottom of
holes are driven out by the fishermen, by the aid of the smell of salted
fish; with this he rubs the entrance of their retreat in the rock,
immediately upon which they take to flight from the spot, just as though
they had recognized the dead carcases of those of their kind. Then,
again, they will rise to the surface at the smell of certain odours,
such, for instance, as roasted sepia and polypus; and hence it is that
these baits are placed in the osier-kipes used for taking fish. They
immediately take to flight upon smelling the bilge-water in a ship's
hold, and more especially upon scenting the blood of fish.
"The Polypus cannot possibly be torn away from the rock to which it
clings; but upon the herb cunila being applied, the instant it smells
it, the fish quits its hold.... All animals have the sense of touch,
those even which have no other sense; for even in the oyster, and, among
land animals, in the worm, this sense is found. I am strongly inclined
to believe, too, that the sense of taste exists in all animals; for why
else should one seek one kind of food, and one another?"