“Notice of a Double Fish”


The annexed drawing represents a pair of cat-fish, (a species of Silurus? L.) which were taken alive in a shrimp net, at the mouth of Cape Fear river, near Fort Johnston, N.C., in August, 1833, and presented to Professor Silliman. One of them is three and a half, the other two and a half, inches long, including the tail,–the smallest, emaciated and of sickly appearance. They are connected in the manner of the Siamese twins, by the skin at the breast, which is marked by a dark streak, at the line of union. The texture and color otherwise, of this skin is the same as that of the belly. The mouth, viscera, &c., were entire and perfect in each fish …

When these fish came into existence it is probable they were of almost equal size and strength, but one ‘born to better fortune,’ or exercising more ingenuity and industry, than the other, gained a trifling ascendency, which he improved to increase the disparity, and by pushing his extended mouth in advance of the other, seized the choicest and most of the food for himself. Yet though he probably hated the incumbrance of his companion, and wished the ‘marriage tie cut asunder,’ he afforded protection to his ‘weaker half,’ and could not eat it without swallowing himself.

American Journal of Science and Arts, July 1834