(1. Torpedo, Dumer).

R. Torpedo, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 395. Block, Ichth. pl. 122.? Don. Brit. Fish. vol. iii. pl. 53. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 110. Blainv. Faun. Franc, p. 44. Torpedo vulgaris, Flem. Brit. An. p. 169. Torpedo, Walsh in Phil. Trans. (1774). p. 464. Electric Ray, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 89. pl. 10. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 118. pl. 12.


From two to four feet.


(Form). "Head and body indistinct, and nearly round: greatest breadth two-thirds of the entire length: thickness, in the middle, about one-sixth of the breadth, attenuating to extreme thinness on the edges: mouth small; teeth minute, spicular: eyes small, placed near each other: behind each a round spiracle, with six small cutaneous rags on their inner circumference: branchial openings five in number: skin every-where smooth: two dorsal fins on the trunk of the tail: tail one-third of the entire length, pretty thick and round; the caudal fin broad and abrupt: ventrals below the body, forming on each side a quarter of a circle. {Colours). Cinereous brown above; white beneath." Penn.

First ascertained to be a native of the British seas by Mr. J. Walsh, who obtained specimens from Torbay. According to Pennant, it is not unfrequently taken on that coast; has been also caught off Pembroke, and sometimes near Waterford in Ireland. Donovan mentions the coast of Cornwall; where it has been since noticed by Mr. Couch, though, according to this last gentleman, it is extremely rare. I may add that it occurs also occasionally off Weymouth, where it is called the Numb-Fish. It must be stated, however, that, in the opinion of Risso and Cuvier, several species have been confounded under the name of Raia Torpedo, and the exact one met with in our seas, or whether more than one has occurred, are points not hitherto ascertained *. Fleming thinks that the Risso states that in this species the spiracles are large, and without the tooth-like processes: the electrical apparatus scarcely visible, and giving but very slight shocks.

* It may assist future observers in determining the British species, to state the leading characters of four established by Risso in his "Histoire Naturelle de l'Europe Meridionale".

(1). Torpedo Narke, Riss. Torn

iii. p. 142. T. Corpore supra rubro luteo, maculis quinque ocellatis, in pentagoni figura dispositis.

La Torpille a taches ceillees, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 397. Blainv. Faun. Franc. pl. 10. f. 2.

(2). T. Unimaculata, Riss. Torn

iii. p. 143. pl. 4. f. 8. T. Corpore fulvo, albido punctulato; ocello unico, oblongo, in medio dorso; cauda elongata, gracili.

La Torpille a une tache, Blainv. Faun. Franc, pl. 10. f. 1.

British species belongs to the Torpedo marmorata of Risso. According to Blainville, who regards Risso's species as mere varieties, the T. Gal-vani of that author is the one most commonly met with on the shores of the Mediterranean. This fish, at least the British species, attains to a large size: according to Pennant, it has been known to weigh above eighty pounds. The exact use of the electrical apparatus is not well ascertained. It is generally supposed to serve as a means of defence, or to assist the fish in securing its prey, which is said to consist of other fish. Mr. Couch imagines that it is connected with the functions of digestion *.

(2. Raia, Cuv). * Snout sharp; more or less elongated.