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A mola and a snake mackerel


A mola and a snake mackerel

Laerle, Joris Joostensz.

The Moluccan fleet of the Fifth Expedition sailed to the Indonesian archipelago and back to the Netherlands over the course of two years: 1601 to 1603. Along the way, the crew would frequently catch fish from the oceans and seas that the ships traversed. Many of these were drawn in the journal of the Gelderland under the command of admiral Wolphert Harmensz, giving us insights into the great diversity of species the expedition encountered.

These drawings show a snake mackerel and a mola. Joris Joostensz. Laerle, artist on board of the Gelderland, likely drew the quite lifelike depiction of the these fish in the journal of the flagship Gelderland. The text below the mola (Mola Mola), here called ‘bus visken’ in Dutch, on the top left says that the fish was found in the rib of a ‘Aluacan de laijs’ (yellowfin tuna). The text below the snake mackerel (Gempylus serpens) says that the fish was caught in a well and nobody knew its name. It states that its size was as one sees it when yawning. Possibly it means that the fish is depicted in live size in the journal.

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Sources and literature

Morree, Perry, Dodo's en galjoenen: De reis van het schip Gelderland naar Oost-Indië, 1601-1603