Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/170

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

notion, which, in the main, is correct, the spawning-season of the oyster embraces those months which have no r in their spelling, namely, May, June, July, and August, the four warm months of the year. The fact is, that oysters generally do their spawning during these four months; but a few are liable to spawn whenever the water is warm enough, and large numbers pass through the year without spawning; and these, were it not for the difficulty of assorting them, would be available for food at any time. But the prejudice is universal against

PSM V06 D170 Groups of european oysters.jpg
Fiq. 1.—Groups of European Oysters, of Different Ages, on a Stick of Wood.

their use during the r-less months. That they are not in as good condition then as during the cooler months, is reasonable to suppose; but that they are all necessarily unwholesome in the warm months, is far from being proved. In business phrase, oysters in spawning-time are said to be "milky." This means the presence of an opaline fluid in considerable abundance, and which has to do with the wants of its