« AnteriorContinuar »
hooks. An old Indian of Ega showed me the most effective way of proceeding, which was to stupefy the grub with strong tobacco-juice, causing it to relax its grip in the interior, and then pull it out of the narrow orifice of the tumour by main force.” (“The Naturalist on the Amazons.”) Alexander von Humboldt had already published an account of a fly with similar habits, which he named (Estrus hominis. According to his observations, the larvae of the insect are not rare on the arms, back, and abdomen of the natives, within large tumours, at the top of which is a minute orifice, through which the grub communicates with the outer air. At a fitting period the larva forces its way through this hole, falls to the earth, and there undergoes its final changes. All this is precisely what occurs in the case of the European gadflies. Every resident in the country must have noticed lumps or swellings on the backs of oxen, especially of heifers, which are called by the rustics whorbles (fig.27) or wormuls, no doubt meaning worm-holes. With each of these swellings lies ensconced a grub, the produce of a large brownish fly, which was named by Bracy Clark Hypoderma bovis (fig.28). From August to May the head of the little creature is plunged in a mass of purulent matter, on which it feeds, while the tail, in which the breathing apparatus is situated, is thrust through a minute hole at the apex, in order to come in contact with the outer air. During the month of May the larva manages to enlarge the orifice, through which it drops to the ground and seeks a convenient place of shelter.” This little bit of life-history points to a close analogy between our gadfly and the human parasite of South America. Moreover, a connecting link is found in a narrative given us by Don Ramon Paez in his “Life in the Llanos of Venezuela,” wherein he writes: “Agapito, our host, had an easy time as overseer of this domain, his only occupation being from time to time to scour the savannah in search of young foals which might have been attacked by the ‘gusano. This is the larva of a species of fly deposited in the umbilical cord of the new-born foal, and which, if not promptly removed, will eat into their very vitals.” It will not escape observation that the horse-fly of Venezuela and the human parasite of the neighbouring state of New Granada both pass by the name of Gusano. On the whole, we can scarcely avoid the conclusion that some species of ox-fly not unfrequently leaves its proper pasture-ground, and deposits its
* No great harm follows from the attacks of the gadfly to our herds; but we ate told by Dr. Bernard Altum, in his lately published work, “Forst-Zoologie Säugethiere,” that in Germany the hides of the wild deer are often so riddled by these grubs as to render them unfit for the purposes of the tanner.
| | | |
eggs on the human frame. Certainly Wan der Hoeven (“Handbook of Zoology,” i.) is inclined to think that the injury is due to this cause, or else to some species of Tachina. Other authorities, however, introduce us to a fly whose mode of action bespeaks it a place among the flesh-flies,—a group very far removed from the gadflies. One species infests the valleys of Mexico, both North and South, though not found on the high table-lands. This fly lays its eggs in the nostrils of human beings; the larvae are quickly hatched; and then follow rapidly ulceration, erysipelas, and meningitis. The insect gradually eats its way into the mouth, eyeballs, cheeks, &c., until in a fortnight or three weeks the miserable victim succumbs to his fate. (“Archives médicales Belges,” 1867.) The same or a similar plague is not uncommon farther south. Captain Burton does not appear to have been himself cognisant of any case in Brazil, but he speaks of hearing “many tales told of negroes losing their lives in consequence of the grub being deposited in the nose and other places.” (“Highlands of the Brazils.”) A more detailed account I translate from M. Girard’s work, “Les Métamorphoses des Insectes,” published in 1867. “Since the transportation of prisoners condemned to hard labour to Cayenne has been in vogue, several fatal cases have been traced to the operation of a fly named by Dr. Coquerel Lucilia homini-. vorax (fig. 31). Other convicts have escaped with the loss of their nose; for it is into the nose and cheeks of sleeping men, especially whenina condition of helpless intoxication, that the insect introduces its eggs. The maggot, which is furnished with strong hooked mandibles, establishes itself in the interior of the nostrils, and in the frontal sinus; from thence it passes to the eyeballs, and causes gangrenous wounds in the eyelids; or it enters the mouth, and gnaws away the gums, the palate, and the pharynx, causing intense anguish. The patient experiences at first an itching sensation in the nostrils, accompanied by severe headache and swelling of the nose, which is soon followed by ulceration of the parts affected, during which the larvae force their way through the skin, and make their appearance on the surface. As the evil advances, violent inflammatory action sets in, with all the symptoms of meningitis and erysipelas, until death releases the victim. The grub in question is known in Cayenne as the ver macaque, and was published to the world so long ago as 1735 by M. Arture, physician to the king of Cayenne. It is probable that the ver møyacuil of Mexico, which attacks men and dogs, is an analogous species. “Dr. Coquerel has also made known another fly under the name of Idia bigoti, indigenous in Senegal, which stings the soldiers on duty near the coast. In all likelihood this stinging is the introduction of the animal's ovipositor previous to placing its eggs under the skin. The larva has been met with in tumours in the back, arms, and legs. The negroes are often attacked by this fly, and are skilled in extirpating the larva.” From what has been related, and from the cases of assault quoted by Moquin Tandon in his valuable “Medical Zoology,” I infer that at least two species of fly, belonging to distinct groups of the Dipterous order, are concerned in this kind of parasitism.
MEDIAEWAL NATURAL HISTORY AND SPORT.”
HIS is a work to cause a student of mediaeval history almost to break one of the ten commandments, and so far covet his neighbour's goods. It presents itself in all the attraction of excellent paper and clear type, with fifteen full-page chromolithographic prints, and four hundred wood-engravings. The character of the latter may be best
One, an (Estrid, to be ranked with the European Hypoderma, causes swellings and sores on the legs and arms of the person affected. This is probably the Cuterebra novialis of Goudot. The other, a Muscid, nearly related to our Blue-bottle (Calliphora), attacks the face of its victim: it is the Lucilia hominivorax of Coquerel.-W. W. Spicer, Itchin Abbas.
judged of by those which illustrate the present notice, and for which we are indebted to the kindness of the publishers. The work is compiled by one of the best-known students of mediaeval lore, M. Lacroix, better known as “Bibliophile Jacob,” the curator of the Imperial Library of the Arsenal, Paris.
* “Manners, Customs, and Dress during the Middle Ages.” By Paul Lacroix. London: Chapman & Hall.
33, we have an illustration of the mediaeval mode of cultivating fruit, from which the reader will gather that we have not altered the method very greatly. A little change in the dress and position of the figures employed in pruning the trees, and the picture would stand for a scene in a modern nursery-garden. The illustration is taken from a miniature in the library of the arsenal of Paris. As is well known, Western Europe was exceedingly poor in fruits before the Roman conquests. And although we find from certain statutes of Charlemagne that many of the imported fruit-trees were reared in gardens, no extensive or particular attention seems to have been
research. The great merit of M. Lacroix's work is that it does not treat of its interesting subjects in a dry-as-dust manner. It is written for the intelligent public, not for antiquaries merely; and the
paid to them until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Of course, the fable of the “Goose-tree,” which Mr. Southwell has already described in the last volume of SCIENCEGossIF, makes its appearance in M. Lacroix's pages, as we do not see how it could be kept out. The illustration, however, is of a simple character (fig. 34),
£ tholic times, the breeding and '' rearing of fish was an import& ant matter, and all large man
sions and religious houses had their fish-ponds. The illustration is a fac-simile of a woodcut from that storehouse of mediaeval art, the “Cosmographie Universelle” of Munster (A.D. 1549). The net used by the river fishermen (fig. 36) is identical with that employed in pond-fishing, and the eel- basket seen on the edge of the Fig. 38. Dear Trap, trum a 15th century MS. boat is precisely similar to those
since rendered locally extinct, or exceedingly rare For instance, in fig. 38 we are introduced to a beartrap, showing how bears were caught and killed with a dart. The profuse haemorrhage which ensues, shows how effectively the machine has done its work. The illustration is a fac-simile of a miniature in the MS. of Phoebus, in the fifteenth century. The part devoted to bird-fowling is very interesting, as the illustrations prove. Tricks were resorted to that seem to us more of the nature of that infantile fowling operation which consisted in putting a pinch of salt on the tail of the bird, than anything else!
| In figs. 39 and 40 we have two of the methods of | smaring birds in use during the Middle Ages. Fig. 40 shows a man hidden in an improvised bower of leaves, attracting the birds by imitating their notes on a pipe. The other plan is more ingenious. The bird-fowler was covered with clothes of the colour of dead leaves. When he saw a bird he knelt down noiselessly and kept perfectly still. When the bird was not looking towards him he cautiously approached it on his knees, holding th his hands two little sticks covered with red cloth, which he gently waved, so as to divert the bird's attention from himself. In this way he gradually got near enough to pass a noose, which he kept ready at the end of a
| stick, round the bird's neck, so as to capture it.