Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/564

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animals of Cuba was begun in 1851, in a series of papers entitled "Memorias sobre la Historia Natural de la Isla de Cuba." These papers were issued at intervals from 1851 to 1860, and together form two octavo volumes of about 450 pages each. The first volume contains chiefly descriptions of mollusks and insects. The second volume is devoted mainly to the fishes.

As is natural in the exploration of a new field, these volumes are largely occupied with the description of new species. They give some evidence of the disadvantages arising from solitary work, without the aid of the association and criticism of others, and without the broader knowledge of the relations of groups which comes from the study of more than one fauna. On the other hand. Professor Poey enjoyed the great advantage of having an almost exhaustless supply of material, for there are few ports where fishes are brought in in such quantities, or in such profusion of variety, as in the markets of Havana.

The "Memorias" were at once recognized as the most important work on the fishes of Cuba, and, as was said long ago by Professor Cope, this work is a sine qua non in the study of the ichthyology of tropical America.

The nomenclature and grouping of the species in the "Conspectus Piscium Cubensium," contained in the "Memorias," was in 1862 the subject of a critical paper by Dr. Theodore Gill.[1] This article, and subsequent ones by the same author, exerted much influence on Poey's work. He was always ready to profit by the suggestions and advice of other writers, especially of those more favorably situated than he in regard to libraries and museums, and from Professor Gill's papers he drew clearer views of the relations of forms, and of the connection of the Cuban fauna with that of other regions. On the other hand, he was led to adopt, against his own judgment in many instances, that minute subdivision of genera which has been a fashion in American ichthyology, and which has been in some quarters a reproach to American science.

In 1868 the results of the revision of his classification were embodied in a second catalogue of the Cuban fishes, entitled "Synopsis Piscium Cubensium." This forms the concluding chapter of a series of papers, entitled "Repertorio Físico-natural de la Isla de Cuba," which embody the results of a general scientific survey of the island. Of this survey Professor Poey was director. In 1875 the entire list of species was again revised, and the third and best catalogue of Cuban fishes was published under the title of "Enumeratio Piscium Cubensium." Besides these larger works, many shorter papers by Poey occur in the "Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences" of Philadelphia, the "Annals of the New York Lyceum," and the "Anales de la Sociedad de Historia Natural de Madrid." He is also the author

  1. "Remarks on the Genera and other Groups of Cuban Fishes," "Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences," Philadelphia, 1862, pp. 286, et seq.