Lower jaw without barbules.

O. imberbe, Mont, in Wern. Mem. vol. i. p. 95. pl. 4. f. 2. Flem. Brit. An. p. 201. Beardless Ophidium, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. App. p. 398. and vol. iv. pl. 93.? Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 208. pl. 29.

Length

About three inches. Mont.

Description

{Form). Body ensiform, considerably compressed towards the tail, and in shape not unlike Cepola rubescens: depth about one-twelfth of the entire length: head very obtuse, rounded in front: mouth, when closed, inclining obliquely upwards; lips marginated: eyes large, placed forward, and lateral: gill-membranes inflated beneath: lateral line nearly in the middle, arising at the angle of the gill-cover, but rather obscure: vent nearly in the middle: pectorals rounded: dorsal commencing immediately above the base of the pectoral, at first not so broad, and usually not so erect, as the other part: anal commencing at the vent, and, together with the dorsal, uniting with the caudal fin, which is cuneiform, but obtusely pointed:

D. about 77; A. 44; C. 18 or 20; P. 11.

{Colours). Purplish brown, disposed in minute speckles; along the base of the anal fin about ten small bluish white spots, regularly placed, but scarcely discernible without a lens, and possibly peculiar to young specimens: all the fins of the same colour as the body, except the pectoral and caudal; the first of which is pale, the last yellowish: irides dark, with a circle of silver round the pupil. Mont.

The above fish was obtained on the south coast of Devon by Montagu, who considered it as the Ophidium imberbe of Linnaeus. Cuvier, however, appears to have entertained some doubts as to its identity with that species †. Whether it be the same as the Beardless Ophidium of Pennant, which was sent to that naturalist from Weymouth by the late Dowager Dutchess of Portland, and which also was referred to the Linnsean species, is likewise uncertain; Pennant having published no description of his fish, and his figure being very unlike that given by Montagu. Montagu's specimen was taken among rocks at low water.

* Cuvier says "eight or ten inches at the most," but Bloch, "from twelve to fourteen inches." † See Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 359. note (2).