Roundish oval: eye-side of the body rough; the edges of the scales denticulated: jaws equal: the first dorsal ray not longer than the succeeding ones: ventrals and anal united.

P. hirtus, Mull. Zool. Dan. vol. iii. p. 36. pl. 103. Smear-Dab, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. pl. 41. no. 106. (No description annexed). Top-Knot, Hanmer in Penn. Brit. Zool. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 322. pl. 51. Whiff, Couch in Linn. Trans, vol. xiv. p. 78.

Length

Seven inches nine lines.

Description

(Form). In general appearance very similar to the last species, but differing in the following particulars: profile without the notch before the commencement of the dorsal fin: mouth rather smaller, and more oblique; when closed, the maxillaries assuming nearly a vertical position: jaws more nearly equal: eyes not so prominent, nor so close together; the lower one rather more in advance with respect to the upper, a tangent to the posterior part of the orbit of the former nearly bisecting the latter into two equal parts: the space between more flattened, or with very little of a projecting ridge: basal and posterior margins of the preopercle meeting at a less angle, the former being more nearly parallel to the axis of the body: upper side of the body less rough; the lower one perfectly smooth: scales on the upper side smaller, with more numerous and shorter denticles; the two middle denticles, however, longer than the others; the scales on the lower side without any denticles: dorsal fin almost in close contact with the mouth; the first ray not longer than the succeeding ones: ventrals united, at their posterior margins, to the anal, from which, at first sight, they are scarcely to be distinguished; the vent placed between them: fleshy portion of the tail not so long, or not so much projecting from the oval of the body; the dorsal and anal fins approaching one another more closely on its under surface:

D.96; A. 73; C. 16; P. 12; V. 6.

{Colours). For the most part similar to those of the P. punctatus: the dark spots and markings are however better defined; more particularly a black, slightly angulated, band, passing across the head through the eyes, and a large spot beyond the extremity of the pectoral, upon the lateral line.

Muller is the only author, so far as I am aware, who has distinguished this from the last species. It appears to have been more often met with in our seas than the P. punctatus. Pennant has evidently figured it under the name of Smear-Dab, though the corresponding description belongs to the Platessa microcephala of this work. A better representation of it is given in the last edition of the " British Zoology," from a specimen obtained by Mr. Hanmer from the coast near Plymouth. More recently it has been noticed on the Cornish coast by Mr. Couch, and on the coast of Berwickshire by Dr. Johnston. It has also occurred near the mouth of the Medway. Mr. Couch observes that it keeps in rocky ground, and rarely, if ever, takes a bait.