L. Morrisii, Gmel. Linn. torn. i. part iii. p. 1150. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 88. Mont, in Wern. Mem. vol. n. p. 436. pl. 22. f. 1. Leach, Zool. Misc. vol. iii. p. 10. pl. 126. Flem. Brit. An. p. 200. Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 358. Deere in Loud. Mag. of Nat. Hist. vol. vi. pp. 530, & 531. Ophidium pellucidum, Couch in Loud. Mag. vol. v. pp. 313, & 742. Anglesea Morris, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 158. pl. 25. no. 67. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 212. pl. 28.
From five inches to six inches and a quarter.
(Form). Body ribband-shaped, extremely thin and compressed, semipellucid: greatest depth, which is tolerably uniform throughout, diminishing only near the head and tail, one-twelfth of the entire length: thickness (according to Montagu) not exceeding the sixteenth part of an inch: head small; the profile sloping a little downwards from the line of the back, which is nearly straight: snout short: jaws nearly equal: teeth (according to Montagu) numerous, and all inclining forwards: eyes large: gill-opening, a small transverse aperture before the pectorals: lateral line straight, and nearly in the middle: sides of the body marked with a double series of oblique lines which meet in the lateral line at an acute angle; these lines are parallel to each other in the same series, and the angles formed by their union with those of the other series are directed forwards: dorsal commencing a little beyond one-third of the entire length, low and rather obscure, the rays extremely delicate, and not easily counted: vent about the middle †: anal commencing immediately behind it; in form, similar to the dorsal: both dorsal and anal are carried on to the extremity of the tail, where they unite to form a caudal: pectorals extremely small, scarcely a line in length, but sufficiently obvious, if carefully sought for: ventrals wanting. (Colours). Pale colourless white, with a row of minute black dots along the margins of the back and abdomen: a few similar dots, arranged in a longitudinal series, down the mesial line of each side.
First discovered, in the sea near Holyhead, by the late Mr. William Morris, who communicated it to Pennant. Has been since met with in several instances in our seas. Four specimens taken near Beaumaris, by the Rev. Hugh Davies; one by Mr. Lewis Morris, at Penrhyn Dyfi; two by Mr. Anstice in the river Pervet, near Bridgewater; one by Mr. Deere, at Slapton, near Dartmouth; and four by Mr. Couch, on the coast of Cornwall. Mr. Thompson has also recently recorded the occurrence, at different times, of six specimens on the coast of Ireland. The pectorals are so small, as to have been thought wanting by Pennant, a circumstance which has led to some little confusion amongst naturalists, in their attempts to identify his fish. There can be little doubt, however, that in all the above instances, the same species has been observed. At the same time it may be added, that several others have been detected in warmer latitudes, though I am not aware that their essential and distinguishing characters have been hitherto established.
* A species of Murcena, three feet in length, is figured in Nash's " Collections for the History of Worcestershire" (vol. i. p. lxxxvi)., along with some other fish from the Severn, but nothing positive is stated respecting its capture, or the circumstances which have led to its being introduced into that work. It appears not very dissimilar to the M. Helena described above.
† So it appeared to be in the specimen examined by me. Montagu says, "situated a trifle nearer the head than the tail".