Art. XXVIII.—Notes on Occurrence of Regalecus argenteus on the Taranaki Coast.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 13th October, 1897.]
The specimen came ashore at Moturoa Bay, at the first reef to the east of the life-boat shed, on the 28th November, 1895, and, so far as I can learn, is the first recorded occurrence of the fish on the coasts of the North Island, all those hitherto obtained having been incidental to the South Island.
It may not be out of place to state that for a couple of days previous to the stranding of our visitant, and also on the morning the event happened, the neighbouring sea had been frequented by several small whales—evidently of the goose-beak variety, and which were both fighting amongst themselves and were attacked by one or more threshers. In their rampaging below they may have disturbed the ribband fish, and so have been the primary cause of its deviation into shallow water, and so on to the beach.
The finder, Mr. McKay, stated he was sitting quietly amongst the rocks near the margin of the sea (it being dead low-water at the time) when, hearing a gentle splashing, he proceeded to the spot, and discovered the fish, which was not quite dead, but giving the little tremor now and then which led to its detection. He informed me it was perfectly undamaged, except that the two ventral rays were broken off; but I imagine this was done in hauling the fish out of the water, and placing it in the cart on a board, in which fashion it was brought up to town, a distance of about two miles. However, by the time I saw it but one of the rays was left, and it was only on my drawing attention to it, under the fish, that the existence of such appendages appeared to be in his cognisance.
The fish then was not long dead, as a few slight movements or quivering of the muscles occurred. It presented a
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most beautiful and at the same time fragile appearance, looking as if it were made out of brilliant polished silver, the jet-black markings on the shoulders being very much enhanced thereby, as were also the varied scarlet and bright-red tints of the elevated anterior portions of the dorsal fin or crest, whilst the oval and rounded markings on the sides seemed to alternately intensify or diminish in tone. The first and second elevated portions of the dorsal were exactly as described by Professor Parker (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xx., p. 25), the formulæ agreeing, but the rays of the third extended, or lower, portion of the dorsal, as may be seen by my enumeration, are much more numerous. In all other particulars but those hereafter described there was perfect agreement also. The fractured pelvic or ventral ray had the shaft partly split and then broken diagonally, making a perfect joint with the stump left on the fish, verifying that there had been no curtailment in its total length, and I have much delight in fully describing and illustrating its peculiar and so far hitherto undetected development. The bony part of the shaft reminded me very much of such portion of the plume of a peacock, but in consistence was much harder. The total length of the filament when fitted in its position was 3 ft. 1¾ in., and it was supplied, as has been before described, along its rearmost or axillary edge with a membrane. This membrane commenced at the axillæ with a width of about 3/10 in., which width was kept for a little distance, but slightly decreasing, then gradually increasing until, at a point about 2 in. from commencement, it had widened to a rounded shape, with a width about equal to twice the height of the lower central portion of the emargination; thus the membrane continued in emarginations or waves of like spacing and proportions until a point 7·5 in. from the commencement of the spatulate expansion of the extremity was reached; here the membrane terminated, not abruptly, but with a flowing curve from the previous expansion, leaving the now extremely delicate shaft perfectly bare. The regularity of the distances between the summits of the waved outline of the membrane kept pretty constant at the distance (2 in.) noted, but the heights gradually and slightly declined from those near the origin of the shaft of 0·2 in. for the lower and 0·4 in. for the higher portions to near and at the extreme end of the membrane, where the heights were respectively 3/20 in. for the lower and 3/10 in. for the higher emargination. The shaft was quite white at the thicker or basal end, darkening at the thinner or terminal. The colour of the membrane between the more elevated portions was a transparent ruby tint, and at the more elevated portions a bright and opaque scarlet, capped on each summit with an ellipsoidal patch of opaque milk-white. My drawings (Plates XXVIII.–XXX.)
will delineate more fully the size and shape of the membrane, the ray or filament, and its extraordinary spatulate termination, which, as far as I can discover, are now exactly illustrated for the first time.
The appendage at the extremity reminded one more of a petal from an orchidaceous flower than as forming part of the fin of a fish—bizarre enough as fish-fins are in shape and colour. In fact, the view of this beautiful fish in its pristine glory and brilliancy created in me quite an awesome effect, its aspect was so expressive of probable future enlightenments of nature's wonderful and perfect constructions from the deep.
The total length of the spatulate process was 3·45 in. From the point of its origination on the lower edge of the shaft a fine membrane gradually arises, of a semi-transparent light-red colour. This borders the lower edge of the shaft, rising gradually in height, but with a slightly waved outline, until it reaches the extreme width of 0·3 in.; it then decreases gradually in width, following the shaft, which takes a bold sweep round the lower and posterior margin of the principal fleshy and opaque central portion of the appendage (which is thus strengthened and stiffened), running out to nothing at the termination of the shaft. On the upper edge of the shaft, 0·8 in. posterior to the point of commencement of the lower part, originates another fine membrane, also of a semi-transparent light-red colour, which runs along the upper edge in gradually-widening outline for 0·55 in., where it meets the angle of origination of the principal fleshy central and opaque portion before alluded to, along the margin of which it then runs in rapidly-decreasing width until, at a point about 0·8 in. from such angle of origin, it terminates. The central portion of the appendage is of general pyriform shape, 2·1 in. in extreme length, with a width of 1·15 in.; it is quite thick and fleshy; on the outward surface coloured light purple-grey, flecked towards the upper margin with small blood-coloured gouts or splashes. It reminds one much in its tints and roughly in shape of a highly-coloured bird's egg. The lower surface of the fleshy portion is of a uniform darker purplish-grey.
The drawings show this appendage spread out flat to its fullest extent, the membranes all lying smooth and even. It also had this shape when immersed in water, but in life it is also probably capable of being turned to the shape as shown on the alternate little drawing which shows the whole length of the ray or filament.
From the half-dried or mutilated conditions of the few portions of these pelvic rays which have been previously observed it is easily conjectured that unless the individuals describing had been fully prepared by former acquaintance
with these fish, either by actual contact or. careful bibliographical study, minutiæ now ventilated may have escaped notice hitherto, or have been undistinguishable. Mr. Kingsley's article on the specimen taken in Nelson Harbour (published in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxii., 1889, p. 333) shows two lobes or widened portions of the membrane; probably the rest were destroyed, but, more likely (and as it would have been difficult to notice without soaking and floating out in water), a large portion of the membrane had been partially broken away from the shaft, and thus, coalescing, gave the two-lobed appearance. Another item which may have been existent in other specimens, though it so far remains undescribed, but which existed in this one, was a double row of minute re- and slightly out-curved spines which ran along the summit of the back of the fish on each side of and immediately at the base of the third or low portion of the dorsal fin, each pair being slightly in advance of the origin of each fin-ray. They were more developed towards the caudal extremity. The tubercles along the lower surface of the fish, near the caudal extremity, were very much harder and stronger than in any other part of the body, slightly resembling in that respect the larger size and more indurated condition of the dermal processes along the upper limb of the caudal extremity of Notidanus.
With this paper I forward an exact reproduction of the caudal extremity (Plate XXX.) This I traced from the original. As it shows, the fin-rays of the dorsal were getting very short, so that it was evidently very near the “perfect” end of such fin. The lower margin of the fish, up to within ½ in. of its termination, exhibited its original configuration, and was not scarred or defaced in any manner, the tubercles, as before noted, near termination becoming quite ossified. The upper margin, on the contrary, had a freshly-healed cicatrix, 3·3 in. in length, the healed dermis being of quite a different and distinct nature from the silvery covered epidermis adjoining. It had the aspect of having been cut or bitten off diagonally, and then healed, one and a half of the delicate vertebræ showing at the extreme end of the scar (for a full ½ in.), reminding one of a badly-amputated finger, or of the early stage after the fracture of a lizard's or snake's tail. The sketch delineates what I describe. This part of the caudal extremity was exceedingly delicate, the cross-section thickness being not more than ¼ in. at the thickest part. Like most of the Tæniiform fishes I have had the opportunity of examining, the forehead was not covered with the same kind of tuberculated skin common to the rest of the body. It is there perfectly smooth, and almost agrees in coloration with the rich purple skin on the soft and protractile portions of the mouth.
|Total length of fish with mouth closed||11||1½|
|" " protruded||11||4½|
|Length from chin (mouth protruded) to anal orifice||4||2|
|Greatest depth of fish (with dorsal erect included)||0||11|
|" of body of fish (at vertical between second and third feet of length)||0||9½|
|Depth of body under vertical of fourth foot of length||0||9¼|
|" " fifth "||0||8·8|
|" " sixth "||0||7·8|
|" " seventh "||0||7·2|
|" " eighth "||0||6·5|
|" " ninth "||0||5·5|
|" " tenth "||0||4·5|
|" " eleventh "||0||3|
The above depths are all at the distances noted from the extremity of jaws with mouth protruded. The fish died with the mouth protruded. If the points had been fixed with mouth closed in, variations would have arisen, on account of the considerable “spring” the mouth then had.
Extreme length of head (with mouth protruded), 8¾ in.; length of head (with mouth closed), about 6¼ in.; diameter of orbit of eye, 1·42 in. Altitude of head through vertical of centre of eye is almost equal to four diameters of orbit. Diameter of eye (from margin to margin of iris, including same, and across pupil) = width of base of pectoral fin. Pupil of eye is small and horizontally oval: horizontal diameter, 0·45 in.; vertical diameter, 0·33 in.
The forehead is decidedly concave. The eye is much larger in proportion than as shown by Professor Parker's drawing (vol. xvi., plate xxiii.); also, the free limbs of the opercula differ in contour from such drawing; and in the specimen I am describing the front part of the erect pectorals slightly overlaps the posterior margins of gill-covers. The pelvic or ventral rays commence immediately in the vertical with the posterior termination of bases of pectorals. The nostrils are not as large also as shown in Plate XXVIII. The eyes are much closer to the top of head. The drawing referred to shows a space of almost two diameters of the orbit between the top of same and dorsal outline, whilst in my specimen it is a little more than one only. The space between the origin of lateral line also and dorsal outline is in mine but half in proportion as therein shown, being one diameter of the orbit below such outline only, whilst from such more elevated position it falls still more rapidly. The angle at summit of forehead in profile is not as acute as that shown in drawing of Moeraki specimen quoted. From the angle at commencement of opening of gill-covers the outline of margin of same is curved concavely for a distance of 1·55 in.; it then falls obliquely at a generally obtuse angle, but as both intersection marginal boundaries are convex the resultant angle appears more acute than it is
actually. The distance to the next angle is 0·8 in. Here the margin falls downwards, at nearly a right angle to its former course, for a distance of 1·85 in., whence it turns in an oblique and rounded sweep, running thence under the throat to the commissure.
The pectoral fin of the Moturoa specimen differs from that shown in Professor Parker's drawing. In the first place, it is set further forwards (nearer to the gill-covers), leading to the overlap before mentioned; in the second, the first rays are much shorter in proportion, and the last rays much longer, resulting in a much squarer total outline for fin.
The basal portions of membrane of elevated anterior of dorsal were continuous, and ran in due ratio into that of the low portion, when I first examined the specimen; but from its excessive fragility—being much more so than is due to its comparison with the size of the fish—very little handling soon broke it; and the owners, not appreciating the necessity for keeping the delicate rays of the high division of the fin intact, did not take sufficient care of them in the many changes of location the specimen was subjected to in its exhibition, &c., and so they were soon most woefully injured. I luckily spread these and the ventral ray and their delicate membranes fully out at the earliest opportunity, and took tracings from their outlines.
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Classifying the dorsal fin as in three sections of which the bases were continuous, the first had one comparatively stout ray (almost 1/10 in. in diameter at the base) and four very delicate ones, scarcely thicker at bases than fine darning-needles. The second section started with six stoutish rays, the first four having about equal thickness at their bases (not quite 1/10 in., and being less in thickness than the first ray of all), and being very close together at bases. The next two were less stout, and, with the next four (also decreasing in stoutness), were placed further apart from each other. Thus the total of rays in the first two divisions equalled those described by Professor Parker—fourteen. The quality of these, however, is of a much firmer nature than any of those forming the low extended portion of the dorsal. They are decidedly osseous (though so fine), the thicker ones more so; elongated spines may better express their substance. Those supporting the membrane of the low portion of the dorsal may be described as “simple, soft, inarticulated rays.” The membrane of the first division was continuous up to such a height as left a proportion of about a fifth of the total altitude with the rays partially free, or only fringed more correctly with membrane; whilst the first ray, at its extreme tip, had the peculiar anterior fringe about 1½ in. in length. The coloration of the membrane was a semi-transparent ruby-red, dotted in more or less even
transverse rows with dark-scarlet. These dots were more numerous than as described by Professor Parker, but still in single series between each ray. The second division had the membrane continuous at the base only, extending thus continuously for a height ranging from nearly 3 in. at its anterior to a little less than 1 in. at its posterior portion. The remainder of the rays were merely fringed along their posterior surfaces, with membrane scolloped in same fashion and degree almost as that already described as belonging to the ventral (pelvic) ray, except that as they decreased in height and position posteriorly the said scolloping decreased also until it ran out into the continuous basal portion of the membrane before referred to. The extreme tips of each of the rays belonging to this division had what also forms another distinctive feature—viz., the peculiar membranous “tag,” resembling somewhat in shape the head of an assegai. What formed the first ray of the low and extended portion of the dorsal (and is the fifteenth consecutive ray of the total extent of such fin) is slightly higher than the sixteenth consecutive ray, but, as before mentioned, is quite different in quality. The seventeenth ray, again, showed an increase in height, equalling almost half that of the extreme height of the low portion of dorsal. The third or low division of the dorsal contained, up to the point of fracture of what was left of the caudal extremity, 245 rays: making the total for the whole of the dorsal existing 259 rays. This considerably exceeds those of Professor Parker's Moeraki and Otago Harbour specimens (of 1883 and 1887), and of the New Brighton Regalecus (of 1876), which were respectively 205, 189, and 232.
The condition of the Moturoa specimen with regard to the proportions of the dorsal rays as compared with Professor Parker's specimens hardens our facts as to the permanence of his species argenteus, but to me it is obvious that comparisons of head-lengths and body-depths with total existing lengths of, in all cases so far exactly described, mutilated specimens cannot be of any value yet for specific distinctions, any more than can the total number of dorsal rays existing in any of the incomplete specimens; also, the proportion of the fishes ante and post the anal orifice. Granting this, in spite of the considerations of Collett and Lütken (vide Professor Parker's article, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xx., page 23), we have available the ratios of the head-length and body-depth as compared with the distances between tip of snout and anal orifice, and the number of dorsal fin-rays to the vertical from same. The comparison of the body-depth with such space is not, however, infallible, I own, on account of the variations arising therein from sex and condition; but it is better than a comparison with the total length of any fish exhibiting mutila-
tion at the caudal extremity. Personally, I think when we do obtain a Regalecus with a perfect caudal extremity we will find that the caudal-fin is partly placed at a considerable angle with the longitudinal axis of the body, closely resembling that of Trachypterus. Unfortunately, so many of the old illustrations extant of these fish evidence, with what we now know, great artistic license with regard to their extremities.
|Proportion of head with protruded jaws to distance from snout to anal orifice||1 : 5·7|
|Proportion of head with mouth closed to distance from snout to anal orifice||1 : 7·6|
|Greatest depth of body is to same distance||1 : 5·2|
|Total number of dorsal fin-rays to vertical with anal orifice (i.e., 93rd ray of low portion of dorsal.)||107th|
For purposes of comparison, however, as such proportions of other New Zealand specimens have been tabulated, I give those of head and depth to total of existing length, &c.:—
Head with jaws protruded total length : 1 :: 15·5.
Head with jaws closed : total length : 1 : 21.
Greatest depth (with jaws protruded) : total length : 1 :: 14·3.
Greatest depth : total length with jaws retracted : 1 :: 14.
Proportion of pre-anal region to trunk—
Head (with mouth protruded) + trunk is to total length (with mouth protruded) : 1 :: 2·7.
Head (with mouth retracted) + trunk is to total length (with mouth retracted) : 1 :: 2·.
The greatest thickness of the body was barely over 2 in.
|The depth of body at vertical through posterior angle of operculum||0||7¼|
|Height of pectoral fin||0||1·85|
|Width of base of pectoral fin||0||1·1|
|Depth of body at vertical through first foot of length||0||8|
|" " second "||0||9·5|
|" " third "||0||9·3|
|Extreme height of first ray of dorsal||1||9|
|" second "||1||7|
|" third "||1||4|
|" fourth "||1||1|
|" fifth "||1||0|
|" sixth "||2||4|
|" seventh "||2||0|
|" eighth "||1||7|
|" ninth "||1||3|
|" tenth "||0||11|
|" eleventh "||0||8|
|" twelfth "||0||6|
|" thirteenth "||0||3|
|" fourteenth "||0||1½|
|" dorsal rays over first foot line||0||1¾|
|" " third "||0||2¼|
|" " fifth "||0||2·1|
|" " seventh "||0||1¾|
|" " ninth "||0||1½|
|" " eleventh "||0||0·6|
The longitudinal ridges were not so pronounced as I expected to find them when the fish was perfectly fresh, perhaps because of its good condition; but they became more prominent when the fish became partly dry. Nor did they all lose themselves in the lateral line, as has so frequently been described; the two lowest certainly did, but the others approached it and each other at their termination on top of head without merging. There was no appearance of teeth, and the internal economy of the fish I was unable to examine, from a cause referred to later on.
The intense black markings stopped short of the 3 ft. vertical line; they were confined wholly to the upper part of the fish in such limit with the exception of two, one of which was situated about intermediate in such length, and was of considerable length, almost touching the lateral line; the other, a short one, almost at the limit, and lower down on the side, about midway between the top of back and the lateral line. As the fish gradually dried, in two or three days' time, numerous transverse markings developed themselves, more especially along the whole of the post-anal division, and the round and oval greyish markings became more apparent.
The membrane of the long low portion of dorsal was from the first, and continued, immaculate. The rays thereof also had no colour.
The lateral line ran generally along the sides at a distance of about one-third the depth from and parallel with the lower margin until the third foot vertical line from the snout was reached, when its contour gradually rose. On reaching near the first foot vertical it inclined upwards more rapidly still, just clearing the upper angle of gill-opening, from whence it continued, ending over and close to the top of eye.
I endeavoured to obtain the specimen for the Wellington Museum and afterwards for New Plymouth, but the price required was much too high. When decomposition had far advanced, and the specimen had been much injured, from the rough handling before referred to, the owners desired to sell, but it was useless for scientific purposes then. Unfortunately for science, the “shillings” came in too rapidly on its exhibition, though I am afraid, from the good advertising I gave it, I was much to blame. I happily took copious notes, measurements, and sketches when I first examined the fish, and, when I discovered satisfactory negotiations would fail in obtaining it for dissection and preservation in part, Mr. Gordon, of our department, very kindly took a couple of photographs of it with a half-plate camera. This was on the second day, when the fragile dorsal had so severely suffered. The intended fulllength “shot” failed, as it cut off the fore part of the head, but the second exposure was taken close to the fish, taking
in the head and about a foot of the trunk only. Mr. McKay thereafter would not allow us, either for love or money, to take any more photographs, drawings, or measurements, or do anything further with the fish until it was practically rotten and worthless, which was a pity. The remaining pelvic ray was soon lost; for this latter I was very sorry, as I should have taken steps to obtain it at the first, it being a perfect specimen, as before mentioned.
My drawings comprise an outline tracing from my large drawing of the whole fish (Plate XXVIII.); drawing to scale of part of the scolloped margin of the pelvic (ventral) ray; of the spatulate tip; and of the whole length of the ray (Plate XXIX.); enlarged sketch of the little outcurved spines at the bases of the low dorsal rays; and drawing to scale of the caudal termination of the fish (Plate XXX.).
In terminating my notes I cannot fail to observe how favoured we have been on the coasts of our adopted country in the comparatively numerous occurrences of these fishes. Writing in 1880, Professor Günther, in his “Study of Fishes,” notes the scarcity of the capture of very closely resembling species on the British coasts, not more than sixteen being recorded between the years 1759 and 1878; whilst in New Zealand, since record of the first occurrence of a Regalecus in 1860 to the present date, ten have been publicly recorded to my knowledge, a recapitulation of which may not be amiss:—
No. 1. At Nelson, in October, 1860. Described by Mr. W. T. L. Travers in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. iii., p. 307.
No. 2. Found on beach at Hominy Cove, near Jackson's Bay, Westland South, by Mr. James Teer, in February, 1874 (as noted by me in the Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xiii., p. 196). Length, 14 ft. Part of the vertebræ and cranial cartilage deposited by me, on behalf of Mr. Teer, in Hokitika Museum.
No. 3. At New Brighton, Canterbury, 7th May, 1876. Described by the late Sir Julius von Haast and Dr. Powell (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. x., p. 246, and vol. xi., p. 269). 12 ft. 5 in. in length. Preserved in Canterbury Museum.
No. 4. At Little Waimangaroa Beach, Karamea, Nelson District, in July, 1877. Picked up by Mr. Alexander McDonald (noted in Westport Times, July, 1877, and referred to in preceding article in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. x., p. 250). Length, 14 ft. 4 in.
No. 5. At Cape Farewell Sandspit, Nelson District, circa November, 1877. Noted by Sir James Hector to the Wellington Philosophical Institute, 1st December, 1877 (vide Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. x., p. 533). 13 ft. in length. Ventral ray in Wellington Museum.
No. 6. Near Moeraki, Otago District, 1881. Noted by Professor Parker (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xvi., p. 285).
No. 7. At Moeraki, Otago District, 14th June, 1883. Fully described by Professor Parker (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol xvi., p. 284). Length, 12½ ft. Skeleton in British Museum.
No. 8. At Portobello, Otago District, 3rd June, 1887. Found by Mr. Harwood, and presented by him to the Otago Museum. Described by Professor Parker (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xx., p. 20). Length, 11 ft. Skeleton and skin now in Otago Museum.
No. 9. At Nelson Harbour, 23rd September, 1889; by Mr. Aske, fisherman. Described by Mr. R. J. Kingsley (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxii., p. 333). Length, about 13 ft.
No. 10. At Moturoa Bay, near New Plymouth, Taranaki District, on 28th November, 1895. Noted by me in Taranaki Daily News, 30th November, 1895. The subject of the present notes.
Since writing the above I saw by telegram that another specimen of Regalecus had been obtained near Dunedin, which appears also to have fallen into the hands of Professor Parker, by whom (so it stated) it was credited with being the most perfect specimen so far obtained.
Further Notes on the Occurrence of Regalecus on the Taranaki Coast.
I find that an amendment must be made to my former notes on the occurrence of Regalecus on the New Zealand coasts, inasmuch as I omitted mention of the specimen described by H. O. Forbes; Esq., F.Z.S. (vol. xxiv. of the Transactions, p. 192), which was caught at Okain's Bay, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, on the 26th May, 1891. This should stand as tenth on the list, making the Moturoa specimen the eleventh. The Okain's Bay fish, from its expressedly dried condition as defined by the description thereof, must have lost much of the prominence of the smaller tubercles covering the spaces between the ridges of the larger sized. All are purely epidermal, and decrease much in size and height on the sides of the fish the nearer they approach the caudal extremity, almost disappearing as the skin dries. The blackness of the so-called longitudinal bars and the dark colour along the post-anal ventral edge was also, I think, due to such condition.
The five specimens of Regalecus now more carefully described and measured allows contrast of the ratios as between head-length and body-depth with that of the pre-anal division as proposed by me. Following the example set by Professor Parker and Mr. Forbes for further ready re-
ference in connection with any future specimens, I repeat their tabulations of measurements, adding thereto the proportion for the above bases—from their data—for their fish, placing my equivalents for comparison in a further column. As you will note, the results are remarkably close in some of them, identical in others.
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|—||New Brighton (South Island).||Moeraki (South Island).||Otago Harbour (South Island).||Okain's Bay (South Island).||Moturoa (North Island).|
|Greatest height of body||0||13·5||0||15·25||0||12·1||0||14·5||0||9·5|
|Length of head (jaws retracted)||0||7·75||0||9·0||0||9·5||0||8·125||0||6·25|
|Distance between snout and anus||4||11||5||6||4||9·5||5||4·125||3||11·5|
|Proportion of height to length||1::11||1::10||1::11||1::15·6||1::14|
|Proportion of length of head to total length||1::19||1::17||1::14||1::27·35||1::21|
|Proportion of pre-anal region to total length||1::2·5||1::2·27||1::2·29||1::3·36||1::2·8|
|Proportion of head to pre-anal region||1::7·6||1::7·3||1::6||1::7·9||1::7·6|
|Proportion of greatest height to pre-anal region||1::4·37||1::4·32||1::4·75||1::4·42||1::5·2|
|Total number of dorsal fin-rays (to mutilated termination of tail)||232||205||189(?)||422(?)||259|
|(9 (?)+223)||(14+191)||(14+175)||14(?) 17(?)||14+245|
It is a pity no drawing or copy of Mr. Forbes's photograph was given showing the caudal extremity of the Okain's Bay specimen.
Since the occurrence of Regalecus in Victoria, referred to in Mr. Forbes's article on the Okain's Bay fish (and which Victorian specimen was described by Professor McCoy, “Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria,” decade xv.), another is reported as having been found by the Cape Everard lighthousekeeper, for which vide issue of the Melbourne Leader of the 1st August, 1896, page 7, in which paper is also reproduced the illustration—a very rough one—and which, if correct in its details as far as they go, differs considerably from what we recognise as argenteus—for instance, the longitudinal lateral bands or ridges, counting the thin one shown nearest the dorsal margin, number seven; the transverse irregular bands extend over more than half the total length, and in some case right across the body; whilst the higher portion of the dorsal rays are shown as all connected with a common membrane, with the anterior rays the highest, gradually decreasing rearwards without any division.