Olivaceous brown, marbled with yellow.

M. Helena, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 425. Bloch, Ichth. pl. 153. Mursena, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 103. tab. G. 1. Roman Mursena, Shaw, Gen. Zool. vol. iv. part i. p. 26. pl. 2. Murene commune, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 252.

Length

Three feet and upwards. Cuv.

Description

{Form). Body, in old fish, compressed at the sides, in young, round: head small: mouth large: jaws armed with sharp pointed teeth, a little distant from each other: palate also armed with teeth: two tubular orifices near the eyes, and two at the extremity of the snout: gill-opening large: dorsal, anal, and caudal, united; forming together a low fleshy fin, invested by the common skin, commencing on the back at a pretty considerable distance from the head, passing round the tail, and terminating underneath the body at the vent: no pectorals or ven-trals. Bloch. {Colours). " Of a dusky greenish brown, pretty thickly variegated on all parts with dull yellow subangular marks or patches, disposed in a somewhat different manner in different individuals, and generally scattered over with smaller.specklings of brown; the whole forming a kind of obscurely reticular pattern." Shaw.

An individual of this species, measuring four feet four inches in length, was caught by a fisherman at Polperro, in Cornwall, in October 1834†. I am not aware that it had been ever taken previously in our seas*. Common in the Mediterranean, and well-known as the Murcena of the Romans. Said to live with equal facility in fresh and salt water, though principally found at sea. Is very voracious.

* Cuvier, I. c.

† This circumstance was communicated by Mr. Couch to Mr. Yarrell, to which latter gentleman I am indebted for the knowledge of it.