« AnteriorContinuar »
vious to any sounds, however loud, which I have pair in the air at the time of swarming, and made for experiment close to the nest.
that a female returns, or is dragged back to the At one time my ants collected all the rubbish nest, by the neuters to lay her eggs. My own obwhich they generally threw into the water, as well servations have never borne out this statement, as a considerable quantity of earth, and piled it to and in this case I know for certain that no female gether just at the very edge of the platform over could have returned to the nest after the swarming. hanging the water. They kept steadily adding to With regard to the nests which I have bad under it, until it hung halfway across the moat, being my notice, my idea has always been that, the two kept together by the moisture sucked up from sexes having fecundated and the eggs being laid, the water below. It really seemed as if they these males and females, there being no further planned bridging over the moat itself; but if such use for them, then leave the nest or are even ejected was the case, their design was frustrated by the from it by the neuters. It is very noticeable how bridge giving way before it reached the other side. carefully the neuters keep the males and females I once cleared it all away, but they forthwith set to from straying away for a certain period, and when work to construct it again as before.
that season has expired relax all their vigilance, I may mention here, that I should advise the and even seem by their eager excitement to enplatform being made quite three inches in width courage and accelerate their departure. During from the glass sides to the edge of the bank. When the year I am speaking of (1872) I never saw a anything unusual occurs to excite the ants they single female, and only one small and young male, come crowding out, and in their eagerness often and I never saw a trace of any swarming at all. slip on the glass and fall down into the trough. The formicary, being situated in a constantly used They were not often drowned, but were apt to room, such an event could have hardly taken place crawl out on the wrong side, and so escape. A unobserved by anybody. This year my formicary wide platform would generally obviate this con has come to an end ; I find that it does not do to stant inconvenience. During last summer, I keep one individual colony too long in confinement.
an extraordinary contest between a large They lose energy from always having their food Daddy-longlegs (Tipula) and my ants. The Tipula found for them and ready at hand, and get listless incautiously alighted upon the nest, and was imme from the absence of need for the constant foraging, diately seized by two or three of his legs by several which forms so considerable a part of the labours of ants. This was the most exciting of the many an ordinary out-door nest. Besides this, when two or battles that I have witnessed in my formicary. three generations have been bred up in confinement, The Tipula whirled round and round, striking with they naturally inherit the kind of artificial habits its legs in its efforts to free itself from its assailants.
adapted to that peculiar mode of life. My ants They pertinaciously grappled afresh as fast as he ceased to repair damages, ceased from keeping their shook them off, until at last he got free from them nest clean and neat, and finally in August I resolved all, with the exception of one, who still maintained to take it carefully to pieces and see what had been its hold. The Tipula then flew away from the for done in the interior of the nest. On doing so I micary; up and down, against the windows and ceil.
found a comparatively inconsiderable number of ing, and tumbling over and over, but without any neuters, and not a single male or female. The effect. The ant kept its hold, and after looking nest was not nearly so universally excavated as I for a long time, I left them to their fate.
bad expected, and there were considerable masses Sometimes my ants sucked greedily at a piece of of it with no burrows at all. The principal pascooked beef, which formerly they used scarcely to sages widened every now and then into small touch, and then I noticed that when they have a caverns, in which the ants were congregated. Right large and tempting morsel, they continued eating all down in the bottom of the nest, in the very centre night without cessation, contrary to their ordinary of the mound of earth, close to the wooden platform habits.
at the bottom, I found a large, low, and irregularly. Gould mentions that he has fixed threads to a shaped cavity, filled with many ants and also conflowerpot in which some ants were confined, reach siderable stores of eggs, larvæ, and pupe. The ing to the ground, which they used as means of eggs were little tiny white globules, semi-transescape. I have often tried the same thing with parent under the microscope, full of granules, my colony, but they took no notice of it.
slightly kidney-shaped, and collected together in A large number of young ones were born into small compact masses.
The larvæ were small the colony in 1872. The eggs from which they white annulated maggots, studded with long and sprung must have either been laid before stiff bristles and with large and prominent jaws. the males and females swarmed, or else a female The pupæ looked like small white, and soft, per must have been left behind. In either case fectly motionless ants with larger heads than fecundation must have been effected in the nest. ordinary, and with very prominent eyes. The It is usually stated that the males and females larvæ spin no cocoon. The eggs, larvæ, and pupa
were really piled in this cavern at the bottom of flies do not present us with such difference of the nest, and there were more ants here than in antenna-form as moths, a strict examination will any other part of the colony. They of course began detect a great distinction between the several anxiously to remove and carry about their young families. Those of the Purple Emperor are the when I looked in upon them. It seems to me a longest, and the tapering of the club in this species remarkable fact, there not being any males or is exceedingly graceful. The ringed antennæ of females at all. I have seen no trace of a female since the swarming of August 30th, 1871. I cannot account for the young which I found in the formicary
I have now had ants under my notice in my formicaries for more than three years, and have kept two kinds, Formica nigra and Myrmica ruginodis. Whether I shall next year start a colony of some fresh species, I do not know; but anyhow my ants have afforded me many happy hours. They are a class of insects intensely interesting, and little understood. In recommending the study Fig. 60. Deilephila Galii, showing uncinate antennæ. to others I cannot give a better motto than Huber gives on the title-page of his the Lycenidæ are very pretty objects. Considering “Recherches sur les Fourmis”:
its size, the Swallow-tail—the largest of English “Cherchez, et vous trouverez."
butterflies—has them very short. This is a distinc
tive feature of the Rhodoceridæ and Pieridæ. In EDWARD FENTONE ELWIN. Caius College, Cambridge.
the Hesperidæ, Paviscus, Comma, and Sylvanus have hooked antennæ, a character in British insects
Confined almost exclusively to the Heterocera; but THE ANTENNÆ OF LEPIDOPTERA,
existing in many exotic species of butterflies.' In
some of the older works on entomology this little THE WHE antennæ of insects are of themselves a family was omitted altogether in the Papilionidæ.
study, as Mr. Wonfor has shown, and the Having thus rapidly glanced at the antennæ of closer the observation we give them the more charmed shall we be with their diversity of form and tint. Much has been written as to the part these important organs play in the economy of the insect; but hitherto no definite conclusion has been arrived at. My own opinion is that they are employed as a means of communication. I have frequently seen beetles strike one another with their antennæ, causing sometimes a great ebullition of wrath, at another time a rush together in one direction, or a simultaneous attack on a foe. Though, after all has been said, they may be endued with a
Fig. 51. Macroglossa fuciformis, showing uncinate antennæ. sense altogether unknown to us. But leaving the strictly scientific portion of the subject to abler butterflies, we will proceed to those of moths ; and pens, my desire in the present paper is to draw here, as the scientific name given them by Boisduval attention to the great and varied beauty of these implies, the variety of “horns" we shall meet with adornments of creatures, perhaps the most lovely in will be very great. They may be divided into three the whole kingdom of nature. Quis enim eximiam kinds: the filiform or simple, uncinate or hooked, earum pulchritudinem et varietatem contemplans and the plumed or pennate: they have furthermore mira voluptate non afficiatur?"
been called pectinated, ciliated, serrated, and pubesOne of the characteristics by which the Papilio-cent. The Sphingidæ will furnish us with instances nidæ are to be distinguished from the Heterocera is of uncinate antennæ, those of Atropos being the the antenna, the former, with but few exceptions, most prominent examples ; but the silvery white of having a knobbed extremity, which is wanting in the Ligustri and the delicate pink of Porcellus are the latter, and being incapable of folding them under most beautiful in this group. The Zeuzeridæ and the wings, or of much flexibility. Although butter- Hepialidæ, excepting Esculi and Ligniperda in the
first-named family, are remarkable for the extreme
THE BLUE GUM-TREE. shortness of these organs. Those of the male Leopard-moth are of a pretty globular shape, taper
(Eucalyptus globulus.) ing into a fine hair. The antennæ of Filipendulæ
10 much has been said lately of this tree, and of partake of the shining metallic lustre of the fore. its medicinal qualities, that I have thought wings. The filiform, or simple, is decidedly the a short account of it in SCIENCE-GOSSIP would commonest form, and is to be found both in males perhaps be acceptable. It is a native of Tasmania,
more particularly of the shores of d'Entrecasteaux channel, and of Tasman's Peninsula, preferring the damp slopes of the valleys which face the south, to those which have a northern aspect, and which are exposed in summer to the dry scorching winds from Australia. It is one of the most valuable timber
trees in the world, and is admirably adapted for Fig. 52. Philophora plumigera, showing plumed antennæ. ship-building, for bridges, and all works requiring
strength and durability. It is very rapid in its and females, whilst plumed antenne are peculiar, growth, so much so in fact, that any man in twenty without exception, to males alone. Nearly all the years' time could find himself, if he chose, surrounded Noctuas have them simple; but in some of the
by a forest of bis own planting. I have myself cut males they are slightly pectinated. The simple down a large grove, which I planted sixteen years form seems to be the rule too with the Geometers. previously, the individuals of which averaged Of course of all the various kinds none are so 72 feet in height and 6 in girth. It attains at matubeautiful as the plamed or feathery. We will take rity enormous dimensions, probably excelling those from the several genera a few of the most striking. of any other tree in the world. The Blue Gum has
been known to attain the height of 350 feet, measuring 100 feet in circumference. Planks have been cut of 160 feet in length, 20 inches broad by 6 inches in thickness. In dense, forests it rarely sends out a branch below 100 feet. It yields a highly astringent gum, which has been extensively used and found to answer as a "kino,” and its leaves, by distillation, were found by Dr. (now Sir Robert) Officer, to yield
an essential oil, having the same properties as caje. Fig. 53. Thyatira butis, showing simple antennæ.
From analogy it might be thought that the EucaThe male Monacha, with its pure white shafts, is a
lyptus globulus would flourish where the Myrtle does pretty example. Potatoria has the rays so closely
in the warm sheltered valleys of South Devon, and placed together as to appear almost united. Those
if it could be nailed to a wall, as proposed by a of Carpini are of a very elegant leaf-like shape. a writer in the Times, no doubt this would prove to Amongst the Geometers we have Pennaria—the
be true; but from what I have said above it must be Feathered Thorn, with the handsomest antennæ in
manifest that in the course of a few years the wall the entire group. Roboraria is a type of strongly
would give way from lateral pressure, and that pectinated antenne tapering gradually to a point. both would perish together. I have no doubt that Fagi, in the Cuspidates, is another instance of the it would be an invaluable tree to plant in the pestitapering form. But to my mind few are comparable
ferous swampy regions of the West Coast of Africa, to those of Plumigera, wbich resemble in miniature
provided that the roots were not affected by salt a lovely and delicate fern. Tenebrosa, Valligera, and
water. No drains would be half so effectual as the Segetun are about the only examples in the Noctuas,
pumping power exerted by the far spreading roots and though serrated, they can scarcely be called of this gigantic tree. It grows well in all parts of plumed. The illustrations are taken from insects
Italy, and at the Cape of Good Hope, and it has in my own cabinet, that of Galii from a bred speci also beer introduced into different parts of Victoria men.
JOSEPH ANDERSON, Jun. and of South Australia, and I have often wondered Alresford, Hants.
why it has not been established in Spain, Asia Minor,
and Palestine, when we should once more see the “We never collected a flowering plant, insect, or hills of Judæa covered with forest. egg, without feeling that if there were any other In its early stages the foliage is quite different from way of getting at the knowledge we sought, we should prefer it. , Lise, bowever or wherever repre
that which it assumes when about five years old, sented, is a sacred thing to the true naturalist.”. being of bluish glaucous hue, with a very strong Half-Hours in the Green Lanes.
and pungent odour. When in blossom, the young
trees have a beautiful appearance, and their large emphasis) is in the shape of double strings of clear, white globe-shaped myrtle blooms are the resort of transparent jelly or gluten, in which are distributed innumerable parroquets, especially of the hairy- indiscrimiuately the jet-black, bead-like eggs of the tongued Trichoglossi and of Lathamus discolor, which toad, about the size of ordinary shot. These strings feed on the nectar extracted from the flowers. of ova were wound round the weeds and about the Gould has taken as much as a teaspoonful of honey stones at the bottom of the pool in the most sinfrom the mouth of a bird, shot by him whilst it was gular and fantastic way. feeding.
T. J. E. On my next visit (July 13th) the pool was peopled
with hundreds of black tadpoles, frisking, wriggling,
and twirling about in all directions, and "enjoying A COLONY OF NATTERJACKS.
life” as only tadpoles can. Some of them, how
ever, had assumed hind-legs, others sported four ON NE day in June, 1871, with my curious instinct
and a tail to boot, and a few were toads in reality in "full swing," I happened to be strolling on
furnished with tails. a small heath a few miles from Kingston, Abingdon,
Then squatting in depressions of the sand near and made a somewhat noteworthy discovery. In a the edge of the water, were dozens of little patter. quarry on this heath are several small pools, which jacks, crowded together, tiny fellows, whom the at the proper season absolutely swarm with aquatic
most spider-hating of spinsters could not call anycreatures. On the above day, after spending some
thing but “ dear little things.” These tiny toads had time in exploring these pools, I was about re
the vertebral stripe quite plain, and were active little tracing my steps to the high-road when a very creatures. Others were issuing from the pools. dandy of a toad ran across the path. He was lighter They appeared in sight from the dark part of the and more active than ordinary toads, and sported water, sat for a time in the shallows, and at length a bright yellow stripe down the back. This was my
crawled out of the water, which they did not care first introduction to the curious Natterjack (Bufo about entering afterwards. On August 1st I went calamita). He did not seem to be greatly prepos again, and found the little toads appearing very sessed with my appearance, however, and scrambled
fast from the water. On September 14th, but few away in the most surprising fashion; so that to get tadpoles and fewer toads were to be seen, and on at all a correct idea of his appearance I was com
October 12th every vestige of toad-life had dispelled to gently detain him with my stick. Com
appeared. pared with the bloated garden-toad, I had no hesi
A gentleman who resides within a short distance tation in pronouncing my new acquaintance to be
of this "colony of Natterjacks," informs me that, a decidedly handsome fellow. What he thought having taken several specimens of these toads from of me I know not.
the pools and placed them on bis lawn, he found Being anxious to witness his aquatic gyrations, I
them to be great travellers, as they wandered away used a little persuasion with my stick and induced
in all directions. He also says he has often beard him to take to the water, where, after splashing and
the evening choruses of the "colony" when nearly frolicking about with the agility of a frog, he
three-quarters of a mile away. attempted land, but being kept in awe by the afore
W. H. WARNER. said stick, he sat upright in the shallows and stared at me with a most doleful expression of countenance.
ZOOLOGY. Presently a hoarse croak rose in the air ; my
EMBRYOLOGY acquaintance started, and so did I. We soon found
BRACHIOPODS. — Professor out the cause, for on the opposite side of the pool,
Morse has recently shown that the embryo of the and perched on a clod of earth, was Natterjack Brachiopods commences life as a little worm of No. 2, croaking as if his dear little head would
four segments. After enjoying itself in swimming break. Discarding my first acquaintance, I stepped freely about the water for a time, it attaches itself across to welcome No. 2 ; but he suddenly ceased
to the sea-bed by its last segment, and thus settles his song, and took a desperate “header” into
permanently. The middle segment then protrudes the pool.
on each side of the head segment and gradually enIn June of the following year I learned a little
closes it, thus producing the dorsal and ventral
shells so characteristic of the entire class. more about "natterjackery," or, in other words, I became more conversant with the internal arrange HABITS OF SILUROID FISHES.-Mr. F. Day has ments of the Natterjack's household. One day, just made a communication to the Zoological while peeping about the pools, I saw the eggs or Society. When fishing at Cassegode he found that, ova of the Bufoidæ ; but how to distinguish between after having caught a large number of specimens of the spawn of calamita and that of oulgaris I know various species of Arius and Osteogeniosus, there not. This beautiful spawn (I say beautiful with were several siluroid eggs at the bottom of the
ooats, and in the fish-baskets. These eggs were, them, no one, except perhaps Gunnerus himself, on an average, half an inch in diameter; and on seems to have recognized their importance in the looking into the mouths of several of the males of economy of the fish. The late Sir Andrew Smith, both genera, from fifteen to twenty eggs were seen however, describes the occurrence of a similar in each ; those in the boats and baskets having evi structure in his Rhinodon typicus ("the largest of dently dropped out from a similar situation. The living animals,” according to Dr. Percival Wright, eggs were in different stages of development, some the north whale excepted"), a near ally of our advanced so far as to be just hatched. They filled Basking Shark, which inhabits the Indian Ocean. the mouth, extending as far back as the branchiæ. Low states that the stomach of a specimen examined No food was found in the alimentary canal, though by him “was full of a red stuff, like bruised crabs, in the females it was full of nutriment.
or the roe of the sea-urchin,” but he could find nó New CLASSIFICATION OF BIRDS.-At a recent fragments of fish in it. It is very curious to find meeting of the Zoological Society, Mr. A. H. Garrod these monsters of the deep depending for their subreada paper in which he proposed a new classification
sistence on creatures whose minuteness presents of birds, founded mainly on the disposition of their
such an absolute contrast to their own gigantic
bulk. muscles and other soft parts. The five muscles which he had observed to vary most were the DISAPPEARANCE OF Colias EDUSA.-Though I ambiens, the femoro-caudal, the accessory femoro have been frequently about this autumn (1873) in a caudal, the semi-tendinosus and the accessory semi district of North Kent, where this butterfly is a welltendinosus. After stating which of these are pre known frequenter of the clover-fields, I have not sent or absent in the different families of birds, he seen a single individual. Irregularity in the apshowed that the presence or absence of the ambiens pearance of the species is no new phenomenon, open muscle is so intimately correlated with other cha as it is to various explanations. Having seen racters, that a division of the whole class into Ho. Edusa on the wing for several successive seasons, I malogorati and Anomalogonati, depending on that have doubts as to the feasibility of the notion of a peculiarity, would stand the test of much criticism. periodical disappearance. There is one circumstance The Homalogonatous birds were divided into the that occurs to me that I have not as yet seen pointed Galliformes, the Anseriformes, the Ciconiiformes out, viz., that as the larva feeds in clover-fields, the and the Charadriiformes; the Anomalogonatous customary plan of the rotation of crops is highly into the Passeriformes, the Piciformes, and the against its increase. Thus, between Gravesend and Cypseliformes. Among the most important changes Cobham are some extensive fields, a few years since proposed or substantiated were the placing Serpen covered with clover, where Edusa abounded; these tarius and Cariama with the Otididæ, the Cypselidæ are now cropped with cereals or potatoes, and the with the Trochilidæ, and the Musophagidæ among change was made just at the season when the larvæ, the Galliformes.
if batched in the autumn, would be in a state of THE BASKING SHARK.-An interesting ichthyo.
hyberpation, and therefore, in such an event, likely logical discovery has lately been made by Professor
to be destroyed. No doubt, occasionally at least,
the species follows the habit of J. rhamni, and the Steenstrup, of Copenhagen. He finds that certain comblike bodies, which have been supposed to be
eggs are not laid till the spring ; but I am not in
clined to the belief that this is the invariable appendages of the skin of certain sharks, are really sifting organs appended to the interior of the gill practice, as some entomologists suppose. Were it apertures of the Basking Shark ; and he infers that
so, we should more frequently meet with C. Edusa this fish, the largest shark of the northern regions,
in the spring months ; whereas, in fact, it is hardly which attains a length of thirty-five feet or more,
ever seen then. There can hardly be any difference lives, like the still more gigantic whales, upon the
of opinion regarding the change the English climate
has undergone during the last thirty or forty years, bodies of small marine animals strained from the water by these peculiar fringes. The very fine rays
it baving become, on the whole, decidedly milder ;
and it is an interesting subject of inquiry, in concomposing the fringes are five or six inches long, and were some years ago shown by Professor Han.
nection with the economy of our Lepidoptera, and
indeed of insects generally, how far this alteration pover to consist of dentine, so that each of thein may be regarded as, to a certain extent, the analogue
has affected, and will affect, their periodical times of a tooth. It is remarkable that Bishop Gunnerus,
of passing through their transformations.-J.R.S.C. who originally described the Basking Shark (Selachus LONGEVITY OF BIRDS.--At a recent meeting of maximus), and regarded it as the fish that swallowed the Dublin Zoological Society it was announced the prophet Jonah, had noticed the existence of that a pelican, which had been living in the gardens these branchial sieves more than a century ago; of the Society for forty-two years, had just died. but although some subsequent writers (such as Low, He was believed to have been eight years old when Pennant, Mitcbell, and Foulis) have mentioned ' he was brought to Dublin. How thoroughly he had