(1. Centrolophus, Lacep).
Centrolophus Morio, Cuv. et Vol. Poiss. torn. ix. p. 254. C. niger, Lacep. Hist. Nat. des Poiss. torn. iv. pp. 441, & 442. pl. 10. f. 2. Perca nigra, Gmel. Linn. torn. i. part iii. p. 1321. Black-Fish, Borl. Nat. Hist, of Cornw. p. 271. pi. 26. f. 8. Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 158. Black Ruffe, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 260. Black Perch, Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. in. p. 351.
" Smooth, with very small thin scales; fifteen inches long, three-quarters of an inch (three or four inches?) broad besides the fin; head and nose like a Peal or Trout; little mouth; very small teeth; a full and bright eye; only one fin on the back, beginning from the nose four inches and three-quarters, near six inches long; a forked tail; a large double nostril." Borl.
"Fifteen inches long: (a second specimen measured two feet eight inches in length, and weighed nearly fourteen pounds:) blunt and rounded over the snout, flattened on the crown; mouth small; tongue rather large; teeth in the jaws fine; nostrils double, that nearest the eye large and open; eye prominent and bright; five gill-rays; though soft, the membrane of the preopercle had a free edge, somewhat incised: body compressed, about three inches deep; a thin elevated ridge, which makes it appear deeper on the back, on which the dorsal fin is seated: this fin begins at four and a half inches from the snout, and reaches to the distance of twelve inches from it; the rays fleshy at the base, many of them obsolete; vent six and a half inches from the lower jaw; pectoral fins pointed; ventral fins bound down by a membrane; tail forked: lateral line somewhat crooked at its commencement: body covered with minute scales, which when dry appear curiously striated. Colour of the whole black, the fins intensely so, very little lighter on the belly; somewhat bronzed at the origin of the lateral line. While employed in drawing a figure, the side on which it lay changed to a fine blue." Couch, as quoted by Yarr.
We have as yet but an imperfect knowledge of this species, which was originally described by Borlase from the papers of Mr. Jago, who obtained two specimens at Looe, May 26, 1721. Cuvier seems to entertain no doubt of Jago's fish being the same as the Centrolophus niger of Lac6pede, which last he thinks may prove to be the adult state of his C. Pompilus, the Pompilus of Rondeletius. This idea receives confirmation from a statement of Mr. Couch, who has lately rediscovered this species in the Cornish seas, and, apparently without knowledge of Cuvier's work, gives it as his opinion that it is the Pompilus of Gesner and Ray *. For the present, however, Cuvier considers these two species as distinct, and if he be right in so doing, it is just possible that they may both occur in our seas, and that Jago may have seen one, and Mr. Couch the other. For this reason I have annexed the descriptions given by both these authors. Mr. Couch's specimens were obtained in 1830 and 1831. His notice of them, in the work just referred to, is accompanied by a remark, that there is "an error in Borlase's original description, of three-fourths of an inch, instead of three or four inches," and that this " has chiefly led to the continued mistake respecting this fish." Some further particulars respecting this species, from Mr. Couch, will be found in Yarrells " British Fishes," 1. c, to which the reader is referred.
* Loud. Map. of Nat. Hist. vol. v. p. 315.