Digitale Ausgabe

TEI-XML (Ansicht)
Text (Ansicht)
Text normalisiert (Ansicht)
Originalzeilenfall ein/aus
Zeichen original/normiert

Alexander von Humboldt: „Memoir on the Eremophilus and Astroblepus, two new Genera of the Order of Apodes“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <> [abgerufen am 31.01.2023].

URL und Versionierung
Die Versionsgeschichte zu diesem Text finden Sie auf github.
Titel Memoir on the Eremophilus and Astroblepus, two new Genera of the Order of Apodes
Jahr 1806
Ort London
in: The Philosophical Magazine 24:96 (Februar–Mai 1806), S. 329–332, Tafel.
Entsprechungen in Buchwerken
als „Mémoire sur l’eremophilus et l’astroblepus, deux nouveaux genres de l’ordre des apodes“, in: Alexander von Humboldt, Recueil d’observations de zoologie et d’anatomie comparée, faites dans l’Océan Atlantique, dans l’intérieur du Nouveau Continent et dans la Mer du Sud pendant les années 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802 et 1803, 2 Bände, Paris: F. Schoell / G. el Dufour 1811 [1812], J. Smith / Gide [1813–] 1833, Band 1, S. 17–20.
Sprache Englisch
Schriftart Antiqua
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.45
Dateiname: 1806-Memoir_on_the-1
Seitenanzahl: 4
Zeichenanzahl: 8661


Memoir on the Eremophilus and Astroblepus, two newGenera of the Order of Apodes. By M. De Humboldt *.

When we ascend the chain of the Andes to the heightof 2600 toises (16661\( \frac{2}{3} \) English feet) and upwards, greatlevel plains and lakes of a considerable extent are seen. Itis singular to observe, that, while the soil is still coveredwith a beautiful vegetation, the woods filled with quadru-peds, and the air with a great variety of birds, the wateralone, the lakes and the rivers, are so little inhabited. Thecause of this phænomenon relates, without doubt, to geo-logical facts; it pertains to the grand mystery of the originand migration of species. The considerable lakes which surround the city of Mex-ico, at the height of 1160 toises , nourish but two speciesof fish, of which one, the axalotl, belongs rather to thegenera sirenus and proteus. M. Cuvier, to whom we broughtthis extraordinarily organized animal, unknown in Europe,is engaged with its anatomy, which he will shortly publish.In the kingdom of New Granada, in the beautiful valley ofBogota, about 1347 toises high, there also exist but twospecies, which the inhabitants of that country call capitan and guapucha. The one is an atherine, and the other a newgenus of apodes, that I am about to describe in this memoir.The form of its tail and its anal fin distinguish it sufficientlyfrom the genus trichiurus, which is also found in the freshwaters of South America. I have designed this non-descriptfish at the place; and Messrs. Lacepede and Cuvier, whohave willingly examined my descriptions, like me, considerit a new genus well characterized. I have named it eremo-philus on accout of the solitude in which it lives at so great
* From Recueil d’Observations de Zoologie et d’Anatomie comparé, 1re livraison.Communicated by a correspondent. The French toise is about six feet four inches nine-tenths English.
|330| an elevation, and in waters which are inhabited by almostno other living being. The naturalists, who fear that newspecies of the same genus may be discovered in very differentsituations, may change the name of eremophilus into that of thrichomycterus, taken from the barbillons or whiskers at-tached to the nose of this fish.

EREMOPHILUS. (See Plate VIII.) Apod. Character Genericus Essentialis.

  • Corpus elongatum. Cirri maxillares 4, nasales semitubu-losi 2. Pinna dorsalis et analis. Membrana branchio-stega radiis 1—2.
E. Mutisii.
  • Corpore elongato, plumbeo, cærulescenti, maculis dædaleisolivaceis variegato; operculi branchiostegi; duplicaturaspinuloso-serrata.
The body of the captain of Bogota is long, and has someanalogy with that of the eel. It is compressed, of a blueishgray colour, and spotted with olive green. These spots,the outline of which forms very striking sinuosities, assumein some individuals a yellowish tint. The head is little andflat. The mouth, situated at the extremity of the nose, isstraight. The upper jaw projects over the under one: thefirst, very long and double, is furnished with six fleshy bar-billons or whiskers, of which the two exterior are the long-est. Two other barbillons, shorter and semi-tubulous, areplaced on the nostrils. It has very little eyes, which areveiled by a semi-transparent membrane, like the gymnotesand lampreys. The extremity of its lips is furnished withlittle teeth resembling hairs. The tongue is very fleshy,but short. The operculum or uvula forms a very narrowbranchial opening, and it is very difficult to distinguish itsfolds (lames). In the most part of the individuals which Ihave examined, it appears to me that the captain, similar tothe cyclopterus dentex and a few other fishes, has but tworadii or furrows, which are as if soldered the one on theother. The edge of the operculum or uvula is indented.The dorsal fin has eight radii, the pectoral six, that of theanus six, and that of the tail, which is round, twelve radii: |331| it has no swim or air-bladder. The length of this fish isfrom 10 to 11 inches, and its body is covered with a mucuscommon to the greater part of the apodes. It inhabits thelittle river of Bogota, that forms the famous cataract of Te-quendama. The captain is a very agreeable aliment, and somuch the more precious, that without it the inhabitants ofthe capital of Santa Fé, in the time of Lent, would be re-duced to the use of only salted sea-fish brought from a greatdistance. I have given this species the trivial name Mutisii in houour of the celebrated naturalist, whose rich collec-tions are preserved in the great valley of Bogota. The little river of Palacé, near Popayan, nourishes anotherfish, which, by its mucosity and the position of its fins, hassome relation with the eremophilus, but which ought also toconstitute a new genus of apodes. The breadth of its headis greater than that of the body; its eyes placed on theupper part of the head, and turned so that the pupils aredirected, like as in the uranoscopus mus, towards the surfaceof the water; the indenting of the first radii of the fins, thebranchial membrane of four radii; the tongue; the want ofbarbillons or whiskers on the nostrils; and the dorsal fin,which approaches more to the head than the tail; suffi-ciently distinguish the pescado negro (black fish) of Popayanfrom the capitan of Santa Fé. I have given the name of astroblepus to this genus, in allusion to the extraordinarysituation of its eyes.

ASTROBLEPUS. (See Plate VIII.) Apod. Character Genericus Essentialis.

Corpus plagioplateum. Membrana branchiostega radiis 4. Oculi verticales. Cirri 2 maxillares, nasales nulli. A. Grixalvii. Corpore ex olivaceo nigrescenti, capite subtruncato, radiispinnarum exterioribus serratis. Corpus plagioplateum, oblongum, nudum, olivaceo-nigres-cens, caudam versus angustatum, subcompressum. Caputobtusum, magnum, subtruncatum. Cirri 2, apice recurviet sublati, ricto in labio superiori adnati. Maxilla labiata,labio superiori majori plicatili. Lingua nulla. Nares 2 |332| magnæ, margine membranaceo. Oculi verticales, minuti.Operculum simplex, convexum, nudum. Membrana bran-chiostega radiis 4, ossiculo anteriori subserrato. Pinua pec-toralis radiis 10. Pinna analis radiis 7. Pinna caudalisintegra radiis 12; radiis duobus exterioribus (ut omniumpinnarum) extrorsum serratis. Longitudo 14 pollicaris. I have given this fish the specific name Grixalvii * toperpetuate the memory of a respectable philosopher, Don Mariano Grixalva, who has disseminated at Popayan a tastefor the physical sciences, which he himself cultivated withsuccess. The pescado negro, so much eaten at Popayan, is foundbut in that part of the river Cauca which is most contiguousto the city. The physical cause of this phænomenon is suf-ficiently striking. From the volcano of Purasé descends arivulet impregnated with sulphuric acid, that the inhabitantscall Rio Vinagre (Vinegar River); it is known by the beau-tiful cascade which it forms at the foot of the volcano. Fromthe point where the waters of Vinegar River unite with thoseof Cauca until four leagues lower down the latter is withoutfish, although in the upper part they are plentiful enough.The small quantities of acid that might escape our chemicalanalysis are often sufficiently great to injure the organiza-tion of fishes.

* Mutisii and Grixalvii are doubtless very scientific names. Linnæus, togratify his puerile vanity, introduced the custom of giving arbitrary unmean-ing names of men to plants: Werner embraced the same unphilosophicalsystem of pitiable ambition in baptizing minerals (some wits have asserted,indeed, that such is his attachment to water, that he actually performed theceremony of sprinkling certain stones, giving them at the same time the fa-vourite name of some of his followers): and M. Humboldt now transfersmen’s names to the very opposite abodes of fire and water, in his volcanicfish! All the labours of these men have done much less to disseminate a tastefor the natural sciences, than the introduction of such an absurd practice haseffected in obstructing the advancement of real knowledge and true philoso-phy. Posterity, so far from venerating such names, will execrate the being,who, to conceal his real ignorance by the assumption of universal knowledge,could thus deliberately bury true science and much accurate knowledge underthe ruins of a Babylonish jargon! Peace to the manes of Lavoisier: althoughhe himself made no real discoveries, yet the philosophical use which he madeof those of the English and other philosophers will not speedily be forgottenby succeeding generations.—Translator.