Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/91

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HOW TO COLLECT FISHES.
HOW TO COLLECT FISHES.
By President DAVID STARR JORDAN,
LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY.

IN the collection of fishes, three things are vitally necessary a keen eye, some skill in adapting means to ends, and some willingness to take pains in the preservation of material.

In coming into a new district the collector should try to preserve the first specimen of every species he sees. It may not come up again. He should watch carefully for specimens which look just a little different from their fellows, especially for those which are duller, less striking or with lower fins. Many species have remained unnoticed through generations of collectors who have chosen the handsomest or most ornate specimens. In some groups, with striking peculiarities, as the Trunk-fishes and Porcupine-fishes, practically all the species were known to the predecessors of Linnæus. No collector could pass them by. On the other hand, new gobies or blennies can be picked up almost every day in the lesser known parts of the world. For these overlooked forms, herrings, anchovies, sculpins, blennies, gobies, scorpion-fishes, the competent collector should be always on the watch. If any specimen looks different from the rest, take it at once and find out the reason why.

In most regions, the chief dependence of the collector is on the markets, and these should be watched most critically. By paying a little more for unusual, neglected or useless fish, the supply of these will rise to the demand. The word passed along among the people of Onomichi, in Japan, that 'Ebisu the fish-god was in the village' and would pay more for Okose (poison Scorpion-fishes) and Umiuma (Seahorses) than real fishes were worth soon brought (in 1900) all sorts of Okose and Umiuma into the market when they were formerly left neglected on the beach. Thus with a little ingenuity the markets in any country can be greatly extended.

The collector can, if he thinks best, use all kinds of fishing tackle for himself, hooks, flies, bait, seines, traps, anything that will catch fishes. In Japan he can use the 'dabonawa' long lines, and secure the fishes which were otherwise dredged by the Challenger and Albatross. If dredges or trawls are at his hand he can hire them and use them for scientific purposes. He should neglect no kind of bottom, no conditions of fish life which he can reach. Especially important is the