最近在fb看到研究彈塗魚的 Gianluca Polgar 引述18世紀瑞典神職人員兼博物學家 Pehr Osbeck (彼得．奧斯貝克) 於1751-53年在中國廣州的旅行誌 "A voyage to China and East Indies" 中提及彈塗魚的早期描述. 翻查wiki, 原來香港大學圖書館已掃描了該書(兩卷)的電子版:
Osbeck, Pehr (1771). A voyage to China and East Indies, Vol. I. London: Benjamin White. [digitized by University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, "China Through Western Eyes." ]
Osbeck, Pehr (1771). A voyage to China and East Indies, Vol. II. London: Benjamin White. [digitized by University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, "China Through Western Eyes." ]
原著為德文, 經由 John Reinhold Forster 翻譯成英文並於1771年出版. 在第一卷第 199-202頁有奧斯貝克於1751年 (清亁隆16年) 在廣州附近觀察彈塗魚的珍貴而有趣的記載:
“... THE Chinese here catch fish, by putting up mats along the shore, while the tide is in, which hinder the fry from returning with the ebb. As soon as the water was fallen, many people were seen wading up to the knees in the blue clayey ground mixed with sand, after the little fry, which jumped about in the mud like lizards; but when they saw no means of saving themselves, they crept a foot deep into the oozy ground, not without the knowledge of the Chinese, who took care to observe them, and pulled them out with their hands; these fish, fryed in oil, are the principal food of the poor, besides rice; and are of two species, as will appear from the following descriptions.
1. Fay-ye, or (Gobius petinirostris Linn.) The membrana branchiostega has four very small rays; the dorsal fins are ash-coloured, with blue transversal lines, and black spots at the bottom: the first dorsal fin is higher, reaches from opposite the breast, to the middle of the back, and has six rays; the second has twenty-six very short rays, and reaches from the middle of the back, to over-against the anus; the pectoral fins have eighteen rays; the single ventral fin is infundibuliform, fits close to the head, and has ten rays; the anal fin has twenty-six parallel rays: all the fins but the dorsal ones are brownish; the head is narrow, smooth, and of the fame breadth with the middle of the Body; the mouth is large and oblong; the fore-head flat; the tongue lacerated and truncated; the teeth are little, pointed, strait, unequal in the upper jaw; they stand only in one row, in the middle are few, in the lower jaw they fill up the whole margin; the tips are short, and do not cover the teeth: I have not discovered that they have any nostrils; the eyes are elevated, very prominent, oblong, and stand near one another on the head; the pupilla is blue; the irides of a golden colour; the back grey, with red and blue dirty spots; the belly whitish; the whole body oblong, as long as a man's hand, and as it were compressed.
2. Tan-noao (Gobius niger Linn.) The membrana branchiostega has four rays; the first dorsal fin is almost quadrangular in the middle of the back, and has eleven rays; the second is longer, and Iess, opposite the anus, has ten rays, is transparent on both sides, with transversal black lines; the single ventral fin forms a funnel, and has twelve rays; the anal fin has thirteen rays; the space between the second dorsal fin and the tail, and that between the anal fin and the tail, is equal to the breadth of one's little finger; the tail ends in a point, and has eighteen rays, of which the outermost are the shortest; the body is the same as that of the preceding fish, except its having more white and dirty black grey; the head is large, and has very small white dots; the mouth is much less, and almost round: I saw here, a net drawn by two Chinese up to their chins in water. ...”
“... 這裡的中國人於潮漲時在岸邊鋪上草蓆捉魚, 阻止魚兒跟隨潮水退去. 當水退時, 看到很多人涉水及膝的在暗藍汙泥混合沙粒的地上追逐像蜥蝪般蹦跳的小魚, 眼看逃不掉的小魚爬進尺深的軟泥裡, 中國人並非不了解它們的習性, 也仔細的觀察著, 小心地用手把它們拉出來. 這些魚用油炸熟, 是窮人米飯以外的主食. 它們有兩種, 以下作出描述.
1.“花魚” (Fay-ye) 或者 (Gobius pectinirostris Linn.) 鰓蓋膜具四非常細鰓蓋條; 背鰭灰色, 有藍色橫線紋, 底部具黑點: 第一背鰭較高, 自胸部對上起至背部中位, 具六鰭條; 第二背鰭具二十六非常短鰭條, 自背部至相對肛門; 胸鰭具十八鰭條; 單一腹鰭為傘狀, 位置近頭部, 具十鰭條; 除背鰭外所有鰭褐色; 頭部狹窄, 平滑, 而與身體中部同寬; 口大而橢圓形; 前額平直; 舌頭撕裂狀而截平; 齒小型, 尖, 直, 在上頜大小不一; 只呈單行, 在中部稀疏, 滿佈整個下頜邊緣; 兩唇短而不蓋住牙齒: 我並無發現它們有任何鼻孔; 雙眼升高, 非常大, 橢圓形, 於頭頂互相靠近; 瞳孔藍色; 彩虹呈金色; 背部灰色, 具紅色及藍色斑駁斑點; 腹部白色; 全體延長, 有一巴掌長, 而身體為側扁.
2.“彈塗” (Tan-noao) (Gobius niger Linn.) 鰓蓋膜具四鰓蓋條; 第一背鰭幾乎呈四方型位於背部中間, 具十一鰭條; 第二背鰭較長而矮, 相對於肛門具十鰭條, 兩邊透明而具黑色橫線紋; 單個腹鰭形成漏斗, 具十二鰭條; 臀鰭具十三鰭條; 第二背鰭與尾鰭的空間, 與及臀鰭至尾鰭的空間, 等於小指的寬度; 尾鰭末端尖, 具十八鰭條, 最外的為最短; 身體與前述魚相同, 除具更多白色及喑黑灰色; 頭大, 具非常細小白色點; 口部遠較細小, 而幾乎圓形: 我在此看到由兩個中國人在水深及下巴處拉開的網.
瑞典神職人員奧斯貝克 (Pehr Osbeck, 1723-1805) 是林奈的門生, 博物學上以植物研究著名. 他的遊記顯示遠自1751年 (清乾隆十六年) 在廣州已有”花魚”及”彈塗”的稱呼, 廣州民眾亦捕捉它們加以油炸來吃. 奧斯貝克應該作出了對兩種彈塗魚最早的博物學描述, 當時根據林奈的學名為 Gobius pectinirostris 和 Gobius niger, 推斷就是現在的 Boleophthalmus pectinirostris 和 Periophthalmus modestus (Gianluca Polgar 意見).