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a longer or shorter period being able to take wing NATURAL HISTORY JOTTINGS. with its burden. Sometimes the pellet proved ON WASPS, chiefly.
altogether too large or heavy to be thus carried off,
when the 1. vulgaris would carry it down again into (Continued from p. 17.]
the nest-cavity, possibly to store it in some recess to AUGUST 6th.-In another stone-faced earthen be there found, the entrance to the nest being small 1 dyke there are two wasps' nests, one of which | and direct from the surface, not recessed at all; and belongs to the Vespa sylvestris and the other to the V. once I observed a wasp of this species bring up out rufa. In the former there are males and large females of the cavity a large thin wedge-shaped piece of or queens present, as well as the workers. In the | stone or brick which was too heavy to be borne burning-out of the latter no queen was obtained, and away, and which was also again carried down into only one male ; but both may have been present in the burrow. In the case of the V. rufa, the pellet numbers exceeding one, and been destroyed in the when too large or heavy was deposited on the sides destruction of the nest.
of the rather large recess at the entrance or mouth In a small meadow of barely four acres, the hay of
of the burrow; this nest being only a little distance which has shortly been cut, there are no fewer than underground. The nest of this latter species consix nests of wasps, three of which are built in one of tained many of the large females, or queens, as well the dykes and three in the ground. Of the three as males; and its shell or case was composed of thin, nests in the ground two belong to the Vespa vulgaris fine in texture and moderately tough paper laid on in and one belongs to the V. rufa; and two of them,
large sheets, not in small convex, coarse, brittle, one pertaining to each of the species, are well out shell-like pieces, as was the nest of the former, which into the field, the third being much nearer the hedge. contained neither queens nor males, or drones. Of the three in the north dyke of the field, on its August 9th. This forenoon, as the wind blew a southern side, one pertains to the V. rufa, one to gale from the west, and there were alternations of the V. sylvestris, and one to the V. vulgaris ; the sunshine and cloud and scuds of rain, the nest of the first-mentioned being the westernmost, the second Vespa sylvestris was successfully taken from the within twenty paces of it to the east, whilst the third north dyke of the little meadow. It lay in a cavity will not be much more than the same distance from immediately behind two of the facing stones, and the second nest. On the western side of the first much resembled another of the rounded grey stones, nest, that of the V. rufa, and only nine paces from such as are much used in dyking, the entrance to the it is a small nest of the common humble-bee (Bombus nest-cavity being a small hole between two of the terrestris) situated behind the facing stones of the stones lying in front of it. This nest was of the dyke, as are also the nests of the V. sylvestris and usual form, turnip-shaped ; and it contained three V. vulgaris, that of the V. rufa being at a point tiers of comb, the second of which contained many where there are no stones; and nearly in the middle large cells occupied by the large females, and, of the field, in the level ground, is a nest of the adjoining them, a few smaller ones occupied by orange-tailed humble-bee (B. lapidaria). The males, all of which were about ready for emerging. meadow is a moist one, and is overrun with the water There were also many of these large females or rat or vole (Arvicola amphibius) and the field vole queens, as well as a few males or drones, in the nest (A. agrestis), being in many parts literally riddled when taken. In the comb there were also larvæ of and furrowed with the burrows and runs of the former all sizes from shortly hatched to about full-grown, as quadruped; the abundance of these two species of | well as pupæ or nymphs in all stages of evolution ; vole, not only in this particular meadow, but also but I only observed one ovum. Such was the force in other of the meadows and pastures around, will | of the wind, that, standing on the windward side of probably account for the apparent ease with which the nest, there was little danger of getting stung, as the various colonies of the four species of wasp the wasps could not cope with the gale blowing ; and the two species of humble-bee enumerated have and the occupants of the nest, after it had been been established, and consequently in part for their dislodged and removed out into the open field, were abundance there.
easily knocked down and secured. Standing by two of the nests that are built in the August 18th.—A nest of the Vespa rufa taken at ground, one of which belongs to the Vespa vulgaris, dusk this evening out of a stone-faced earthen dyke, and the cther to the V. rufa, both nests being large on its southern side, contained three tiers of comb, and strong ones, I observed that at both the worker and many of the large females or queens. This wasps were very busily engaged in bringing up out species of wasp is either remarkably mild in disposiof the nest-cavity pellets of earth and small stones, tion, or it is comparatively lethargic, as not one of and flying away out of sight carrying them in their them few at us whilst taking out the nest from a mandibles. These pellets were frequently of the cavity behind the stones, cutting it up and extracting size of a small pea, and then were with difficulty the comb : from prior experience in the taking of borne away, the wasp not seldom striving vainly for the nest of this species, in the bright and hot
sunshine, I am inclined to ascribe to it the latter | PROFESSOR RAY LANKESTER maintains that the characteristic. The roundish hole of entrance and "comma bacillus ” of Dr. Koch is not a bacillus at exit in the case or shell of this nest was on one side all, but merely the segments of a Spirillum, the down towards the bottom of it; in the small nest result of the breaking of a spirillum into little pieces, taken on the 3rd inst., it was immediately in the each piece corresponding to a turn of the spire. centre beneath. In the same dyke, at no great distance from the
The Trunk Telephone Line between London and site of the above nest and each other, are two nests
Brighton was opened the day before Christmas Day, of the V. vulgaris, whilst somewhat farther off is a
and was duly celebrated by a dinner at each end, so third nest. All the three are strong and in full
that the two dinner-parties enjoyed each other's vigour, as are also several other nests of the V.
speeches, songs, &c., through the mediumship of the vulgaris known of. The latter species of wasp is
line. (the V. Germanica, perhaps, excepted) the most agres SIR LYON PLAYFIELD will be the President of the sive and persistent in its attacks upon intruders. If British Association Meeting, which will meet at
disturb it at its nest, you cannot again with Aberdeen on September 9th. safety tamper with, or indeed go very near the nest;
MR. E. B. KNOBEL, Secretary of the Royal Astroand in its attacks upon an aggressor it hurls itself, as
nomical Society, writes from Bocking, Braintree, it were, against him, and sticks to him : it has to be
under date January 6: “Encke's comet readily struck off, and is apparently wholly fearless.
picked up this evening, near computed place; faint, Elswick, Newcasle-upon-Tyne.
with slight condensation of light.”
At a meeting of the Superintendents of National Education, at Washington, Dr. B. Joy Jeffries read
a paper on colour blindness, urging that the three SCIENCE - GOSSIP.
primaries are red, green, and violet ; that blindness
to the latter is so rare that practically colour blindMR. C. H. HINTON, B.A., has written a pleasant ness means blindness to red or green ; urging also and lively, brochure, entitled, “ Scientific Romances : the danger of persons with such deficiency being What is the Fourth Dimension ? "
employed in many occupations, and the necessity of In the “ English Mechanic ” we are pleased to see
an experimental method of finding it out. that Dr. Van Hewick and Dr. Royston Pigott speak COLONEL BERKELEY who has lately returned from in the highest terms of Mr. E. Hinton's “Diatome. the Andaman Islands, fished up, with the assistance scope" as an aid in defining the markings and of sixteen men, a very large bivalve Tridacna striæ on diatoms, &c.
gigantea shell, which weighed 232lbs. The inside We have received No. 2 of “ The Albertian,” a
measurement of one side of the shell is I yard
6 inches, and of the outside 1 yard 8 inches. The magazine got up by the boys of Framlingham College. The ability which we noted in the first member is
inside is of a beautiful delicate white. The mantle
of the fish, when taken out, was a beautiful blue equally evident in the present. The interest displayed in science is very striking.
colour, and the fish made a sufficient meal for the Two of the
sixteen men and their families. The shell is now in papers, “A Scene in Autumn,” and “A Holiday
England. Week in Derbyshire,” show considerable natural history knowledge.
The wing of a fossil cockroach has been found in PROFESSOR MÖBIUS says that Aying-fish are
the Silurian sandstones of Jurques, Calvados, France. incapable of Aying, for the simple reason that the
MR. W. H. CHARMAN writes to say that on muscles of their pectoral fins are not large enough to Christmas Day last, he found a total of no fewer bear the weight of the body aloft in the air, and that than 90 species of plants in flower (of which he has what has been mistaken for a rapid muscular sent us a list), within a radius of a quarter of a mile movement of the fins is only a vibration of the from Heath End nursery. On the preceding Christelastic membrane.
mas Day he found 75 species in bloom in the same A STATEMENT is made in the “Colonial Mail” to the
locality. effect that insects avoid the ground where tomatoes A PROPOSAL to connect Sicily with the mainland grow. Have any of our readers observed this? If by a submarine railway from Messina to Reggio has it is correct, the information is valuable.
been made by the Engineering Society of Venice. The recent appearances of the sun-glows, at It is a notable sign of the progress which science precisely the same period as last year, is regarded by is making in the public mind to observe that this Professor Landerer as an argument in favour of their | year the Times and other newspapers gave a long cosmical rather than of their volcanic origin.
review of scientific discovery in 1884.
The Royal Society has made arrangements to | tains the following papers—“ Description and Lifeobtain a Photographic Atlas of the stars of the History of a new Fungus (Milowia nivea), illustrated southern hemisphere. It will be under the super by G. Massee " ; Notes on the Structural Character vision of Dr. Gill, Astronomer Royal at the Cape. of the Spines of Echinoidea,” by Professor F. Jeffrey Dr. C. CALLAWAY has shown that the views
Bell; and “On some Photographs of Broken recently published by Professor A. Geikie concerning
Diatom valves, taken by lamplight,” by Dr. Jacob D.
Cox. the extraordinary thrust of old rocks on to newer strata in Sutherlandshire were published by himself as far LANTERN ILLUSTRATIONS. -I fear E. W. will back as the “Geological Magazine " for March 1883.
find some difficulty in obtaining what he requires,
unless he is ready to pay for the oxy-hydrogen light, MR. WM. Tylor has brought out a simple and
and to put up with all its inconveniences. But, as a clean method of using balsam. It is enclosed in
step towards carrying out his desires, I may refer compressible metal tubes, like those containing moist
him to my direct vision camera, as described in colours, so that the smallest quantity can be expelled
the “ Quekett Journal ” for May last, p. 560. This at will.
might be enlarged so as to show imagos fairly well up to 2 feet, according to the object. If E. W. is in London, I shall be happy to see him at the Hackney
Society's meeting on the 4th February, when I shall MICROSCOPY.
be repeating this demonstration.-7. D. Hardy. CLEARING FLUID FOR VEGETABLE TISSUES.When freshly cut, put the tissues in alcohol for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a clearing fluid consist.
ZOOLOGY, ing of absol, alcohol, and eucalyptus oil in equal parts. After remaining in this fuid for ten minutes, place
Helix CONCINNA.—In my list of Maidenhead them in pure eucalyptus oil, to remove the alcohol.
shells in the December number, I forgot to mention Then mount in glycerine jelly.-Dunley Owen, B.Sc.
H. concinna, of which I got one specimen. On
page 19, it is stated that I found H. rotundata v. · STAINING VEGETABLE TISSUES. - It seems from alba at Addington, in Kent, but on looking at my last month's SciENCE-GOSSIP that one of your map I find that Addington is just on the Surrey side correspondents was under the impression that I was of the border between the two counties.-T. D. quoting the method there mentioned as my own. I Cockerell, Bedford Park, Jan. 3. therefore wish to inform him that I had no intention of the sort, but unfortunately omitted to state that it
AMALIA GAGATES.-A few days ago I found some was quoted
slugs at Acton and Bedford Park, in Middlesex, from Messrs. Cole's “ Methods of
which Mr. Roebuck, of Leeds, has identified as A. Microscopical Research,” part xi. for June 1884. It is also mentioned in other papers, and one good
gagates var. plumber. This species is, I believe, quite method which I thought would be of use to querists.
new to the London district, the nearest records I can
find being Hastings and Christchurch. With the - W. P.
gagates I found Amalia marginata, type and v. CLOUDY Mounts. — The cloudiness alluded to at nigrescens ; Limax'agrestis, type and vars. tristis and p. 18 arises from a minute quantity of moisture sylvatica, Limax flavus, L. maximus v. subunicolor, remaining in the tissue, which, as soon as mounted, Arion hortensis, and others.—T. D. A. Cockerell, disperses in the form of microscopical bubbles 51, Woodstock Road, Bedford Park. W. through the balsam. If W. H. L. will look at the
Night HERON IN SCOTLAND.-On' the 14th cloudiness under fin. O.G. he will see that it is so.
November last, a fine specimen of the Night Heron, The fault can be corrected by dehydrating the sec
(Nycticorax griseus, L.) was presented in the flesh to tion (see Cole's “Methods of Mounting”), placing it
the Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow. The bird, which first in methylated spirit, then for a few seconds in
was a female in immature plumage, was caught a few pure alcohol, and then in oil of cloves, when it is
days before by Mr. W. Anderson Smith, of Ledaig, at ready to be mounted in the balsam. I next get rid
Loch Creran, in Argyleshire, and was in a somewhat of superfluous oil of cloves by placing the object on a
exhausted condition, having been probably blown out bit of clean note paper for half a minute. Blotting
of its latitude by the severer storms prevalent at the paper (which I have heard recommended) is the
time. The species may be considered rare in Scotland, worst possible for this last purpose, as it goes off its
where, since Jardine's time, there are only seven fibres.-H. W. Lett, M.A.
examples recorded as having been taken, this being The Royal MICROSCOPICAL Society.-The the eighth and the first from the West Highlands of Journal of this Society for December last, besides Scotland. It is a species having a wide distribution, the ably-condensed summary of current researches being found in both the Old and New World : the relating to Zoology, Botany, Microscopy, &c., con- | latter was said to possess a species differing from that
found in Europe, but which has now been proved to be merely a climatal variety of a slightly larger size,
BOTANY, but not differing in colour.-7. M. Campbell.
NEPETA GLECHOMA.—The variegation is caused ROSSIA MACROSOMA (Delle Chiaje).- This interest by an insect which burrows underneath the epiing little squid is of rare occurrence on our shores, dermis, and feeds on the soft cellular tissue of the and has not, as far as I know, been observed in the plant, leaving the epidermis intact, and producing West of Scotland. During last summer a specimen beneath it cavities ; thus giving to those portions was taken in Loch Creran, Argyleshire, by Mr. W. I lighter colour than the rest of the leaf. I do not Anderson Smith, of Ledaig, and by him presented to know of any work on the subject, and can therefore the Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow.-7. M. Campbell. only speak from my own observations. I have seen
it in other plants, but have noticed that it especially DAUBENTON'S BAT IN RENFREWSHIRE. — On affects the Nepeta glechoma.-Dunley Owen, B.Sc. Wednesday evening, 25th August, 1884, Mr. Stewart, George Street, Paisley, when insect hunting at
A “GLASTONBURY Thorn.”—On the 20th of Cragienfeich, near Paisley, caught a bat in an insect- November last, near Ipswich, I gathered a sprig of net out of a flock, which on examination, proved to hawthorn in full bloom giving out its characteristic be Daubenton's bat (Vespertilio Daubentoni). I odour. The same branch bore both flowers and received the bat alive from Mr. Stewart, which I
fruit. Being so near Christmas, I thought this was kept for some time, and the following are observations not an unapt illustration of how the “Glastonbury on its habits. For food it got fragments of raw mice thorn” might have been developed, without the flesh, pieces of tinned salmon (of which it was very aid of any other miracle than those which are taking fond), and Aies. Each fragment of food was seized | place every day around us.-7. E. Taylor. with a sudden jerk, and often with a peculiar file-like
THE BOTANICAL RECORD CLUB has published cry. In masticating it moved its jaws very rapidly- | its Report for 1883, which will be gladly welcomed so much so as to produce an optical illusion. It was
by all practical botanists, and prove invaluable to all very fond of drinking, either water or milk, which,
practical botanists. It contains, in a compact and from a teaspoon, it lapped with its tongue like a cat,
tabulated form, all the most recent “finds” in but rather quicker. It generally suspended itself in
phanerogamic and cryptogamic botany. its cage by the hind feet, and the head downwards ; and in that position dressed its wings with its tongue,
“THE SAGACITY AND MORALITY OF PLANTS.”— and with one of its hind feet combed its fur. After I am not alone in holding this view, or in advocating the bat was kept in the cage for some days, it was it ; nor is the subject so far-fetched as some at first set at liberty in the house. It often crept on the floor thought suppose. Thus at a recent meeting of the on "all fours," moving amazingly quickly from place Linnean Society, Mr. Alfred Tylor read a paper to place with an odd hobbling motion. From the “On the Growth of Trees and Protoplasmic Confloor it often arose to wing with graceful ease. Its tinuity,” his chief object being to show the principles flight was but moderately quick. During the evening that underlie the individuality of plants, and to prove and forepart of the night, it spent much of its time that plants have a certain sort of intelligence, and on wing, hunting house flies. It was a noble hunter, are not merely an aggregation of tissues responsive to only killing the flies when they were on wing. When the direct influence of light. Not only this, but that it found the flies resting on anything, it set them to the tree as a whole knows more than its branches, flight by bringing its wings close and suddenly past just as the species knows more than the individual, them. At first this method set the flies to flight; but | and the community than the unit. The result of latterly they were less willing to rise, as if they knew Mr. Tylor's experiments, which have extended over their fate. On the evening of the 27th August it many years, has been to show that many plants and took a large fly, and alighted on my shoulder, where trees can adapt themselves to unfamiliar circumit ate it all save the wings. It was seldom observed stances, such as avoiding obstacles artificially placed to eat the wings of flies. I would recommend the use in their way, by bending aside before touching, or by of this bat sor keeping down house flies, but it has altering the leaf arrangement so that, at least, as somewhat of a disagreeable smell. Once or twice it much voluntary power must be accorded to such hid about the top of my bed, and its whereabouts plants as to certain lowly-organised animals. Finally, were unknown; but on the return of night it came Mr. Tylor contends that a connecting system, by out on wing. When thus hidden, it came forth about means of which combined movements take place, is 3 P.M., on the ist September, when it was nearly to be found in the threads of protoplasm which unite dark, on the approach of a heavy thunder rain. On the various cells, and that this connecting system is the 28th August its weight was 2*125 drams, avoird. found even in the new wood of trees. He has On the 7th September it was found dead, hanging in observed that most new wood points upwards, but its cage by the hind feet, after being eighteen days in year after year it changes its position, showing great captivity.— Taylor, Sub-curator, Museum, Paisley. mobility even in old wood.-7. E. Taylor.
BOTANICAL INGRATITUDE.- Mr. J. M. Macfar- | the river, all difficulties having been surmounted lane, of Edinburgh, has just given in “ Nature " the with entire success. The pre-glacial valley of the result of his study of the pitcher plant (Nepenthes Mersey is now, therefore, an admitted fact. The bicalcarała). Its flowers are diccious, so that the discovery affords a very complete proof of the truth of services of insects are necessary to carry the pollen Mr. Reade's theory, submitted over twelve years ago. from one flower to the other. Mr. Macfarlane says
The LIVERPOOL GEOLOGICAL Society.—The that the same structures which by their secretions attract insects for aiding in fertilisation, also lure
Proceedings of this Society for the last session them to the fatal “ pitcher," so that their dead bodies
contain the following highly interesting papers :
“On a Section across the Trias recently exposed by a may help in the nutrition of the plant.
Railway Excavation in Liverpool,” by G. H. Morton ; ABNORMITY OF PLANTS.-In my garden last “Experiments on the Circulation of Water in Sandsummer a few peculiar " freaks of nature" occurred. | stone,” by T. H. Reade, “ On Indented Pebbles in In a plant of the new tall French poppy the two the Bunter-sandstone, near Prescot," by Dr. Charles peduncles, or flower stems on one plant, being united Recketts; and the Address of the President (Mr. D. together at the top for about a foot, the stems being Mackintosh) on “The Time which has elapsed since separate at the bottom for a few inches, the two | the close of the Glacial Period.” flowers were perfect blooms, and the plant was a free
OBITUARY.—It is with deep regret we liave to growing one, unstaked or tied up in any way. The
chronicle the death of one of the most active contrisame kind of abnormality occurred to many plants in
butors to field geology of modern times, Mr. S. V. a bed of Limnanthes douglasii, one plant in particular
Wood, of Martlesham, near Woodbridge. Mr. having the peduncles united together so as to become
Wood's name is associated more particularly with an inch and a quarter in width, while of the usual
Pliocene and Pleistocene geology, and only in our thickness. This feature was also to be seen in the
last number we recorded his new discovery of beds of Canterbury bell. Can this be due in any way to the
crag age in Cornwall. In spite of his wonderful dry summer ?–7. C. S., Penrith.
intellectual activity, Mr. Wood has for years been a great sufferer. Another geologist of note who has recently died is Mr. Alfred Tylor, brother of the distinguished ethnological writer and discoverer.
A BURIED VALLEY.-In connection with the Mersey Tunnel, now so rapidly approaching completion, a discovery has been recently announced of NOTES AND QUERIES, considerable importance to geologists. It was expected that during the progress of the works evidence
Food of TORTOISES.-In reply to an inquiry in would be afforded on the question of the pre-glacial
your issue of Science-Gossip for November, from
K. H. J. respecting the food of a land tortoise, I river valley which, it was predicted by Mr. T. have found one thrive well on dandelions, grass, and Mellard Reade, F.G.S., so long ago as in 1872, buttercups, and even a few rose leaves. It sometimes would be found to exist below the level of the present
took a little milk, but preferred water. Little food valley of the Mersey. Mr. Reade's deductions were
is required in winter.-A. U. based upon certain borings at Widnes, and the LATE SWALLOWS.-It may be interesting to note upper reaches of the Mersey, revealing an unexpected
that on the afternoon of the 14th November, while
walking in a lane near Exmouth, I saw about a dozen gorge deep below the “drift," on which the town of
swallows (house martins). The day was fine and Widnes stands, and connecting the rocky bed above clear, and they were flying high above the tree-tops, Runcorn Gap with that below it by a regular gradient. evidently hawking for insects. On the 21st I again The course of the pre-glacial river was presumed to
saw several swallows early in the day, not far from
the same place. On this occasion some friends living be, in the main, identical with that of the existing
near also observed them.-E. S., Exmouth. river Mersey. It now appears that, at about 300 yards from the Liverpool side, the upper part of the
MOUNTING INSECTS, &c.--I shall be glad of any
and all information which will enable me to mount tunnel intersects for a distance of about 100 yards a
for the microscope the head of a spider and similar gorge filled with boulder clay, containing erratics.
objects as an opaque preparation for reflected light The clay is hard, and of the usual type of lower preserving, without contraction, the natural colours boulder clay elsewhere found resting on the triassic
and appearance of the head and eyes. Also, to
know where the pure tin cells with caps or covers (of sandstone. Well-rounded boulders of granite,
which I remember to have heard or read) can be felstone, and greenstone were taken out of the clay. procured.-7. R. Brokenshire, The rock through which the tunnel is cut belongs to
A HYBERNATING CUCK00.-One of the strangest the pebble beds division of the bunter sandstone, and
| tales about a cuckoo was recently related to me that was found to be remarkably free from faults. The | I ever heard, and had it not been told me by a friend tunnel is now, we believe, completely arched in under in whose veracity I have the most unlimited faith,