Lower jaw covered with very small scales.
P. Gigas, Gmel. Linn. torn. i. part iii. p. 1315. P. robusta, Couch in Loud. Mag. of Nat. Hist. vol. v. p. 21. fig. 7. Serranus Gigas, Cuv. et Val. Poiss. torn. ii. p. 201. pl. 33. Dusky Serranus, Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 15. Dusky Perch, Couch, I. c. Merou brun. Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 140.
Three feet. Couch.
(Form). "Depth, exclusive of the fins (in a specimen measuring three feet in length), seven inches: body thick and solid: under jaw longest; both jaws, as well as the palate, with numerous slender incurved teeth; in front of the under one a bed of them: lips like those of the Cod-Fish: two large open nasal orifices, and a large hole under the projection of the nasal bone: first plate of the gill-covers serrate, the second with a broad flat spine projecting through the skin, and pointing backward; the fleshy covering of the gill-cover elongated posteriorly; seven rays in the gill-membrane: body and head covered with large scales: lateral line gently curved: dorsal fin single, long, expanding towards its termination, with eleven spinous rays, the first short, and seventeen soft rays, the last two from one origin: pectorals round, with nineteen rays: ventrals fastened down by a membrane through part of their course, with six rays: vent an inch and a half from the origin of the anal fin, which last has two spinous and nine soft rays, the last two from one origin: caudal roundish, with sixteen rays." Couch. According to Cuvier and Valenciennes, the number of fin-rays stands thus:
D. 11/15 or 16; A. 3/8; C. 15; P. 17; V. 1/5.
(Colours). " Back reddish brown, lighter on the belly: two slightly marked lines on the gill-covers running obliquely downward, one on each plate." Couch.
* Or rather that part of the face between the forehead and the nostrils termed by the French chanfrein, for which we have no adequate term in the English language.
A single individual of this species, which is found in the Mediterranean, has been obtained by Mr. Couch from the coast of Cornwall. Cuvier states that nothing is known of its habits, excepting that at Nice it approaches the shores in the months of May and April. Usual weight from ten to twenty pounds.
Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 12. Stone-Basse, Couch in Linn. Trans, vol. xiv. p. 81.
This fish, which has been observed by Mr. Couch on the Cornish coast, accompanying floating timber covered with barnacles, remains yet to be identified with certainty. It was considered by that gentleman, in his paper in the Linnean Transactions, as the Pagrus totus argenteus of Sloane*, a species, however, to which it evidently bears no affinity. Mr. Yarrell, who has received an original drawing of the fish from Mr. Couch, regards it as a new species of Serrarms, and accordingly names it after its first discoverer. No description of it has been yet published.
(4. Acerina, Cuv).