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diameter. One of the tallest of these branches, which reached to a height of about eight feet, was apparently broken and lying on the other branches as if it was cut or broken off in a mischievous way. I was on the point of questioning the gardener about it, when I observed the leaves of another branch quite withered, and, on taking hold of it to bend it towards me, it snapped in a curiously brittle manner. Looking at where it was broken, I found the stem to be completely severed with a clean division, and that it was only kept together by the thin outer layer of the bark. Examining another branch, I found it snapped in an equally mysterious way, but in doing so a small black insect fell out of the broken part; it was too rapid in its movements, and I lost it. On further examination of the broken parts, and putting them into position again, I found a small circular opening, about the size of the hole in the gall-nut, and concluded that the insect I saw had eaten its way into the stem, and by devouring the wood completely round, and not along its long axis, accounted for the fracture in this particular locality. Since then I have been on the watch to discover the insect, and have succeeded in securing two specimens; one was found in the stem on breaking it across in the position of one of the external apertures: this specimen is somewhat injured by the loss of one of its elytra. The other specimen I found had buried itself so far into the stem as just to leave its posterior part exposed. They are both beetles, about a quarter of an inch in length, black in colour, and have a large head of peculiar shape, well adapted, no doubt, to contain powerful muscles and mandibles for tearing the tough woody fibre of the stem of the plant; but I leave their description to the entomologists. The office these creatures are no doubt intended to fulfil in Nature's economy is to assist in keeping the tropical vegetation in check. They burrow into the stem of the tree, are rewarded . by the sap and nourishment it affords, and are liberated, after performing this task, by a gust of wind snapping the undermined and weakened stem across. They are not found in other trees or shrubs than the one alluded to. The beetle turns on his side while boring, his back being towards tho bark; in this manner his form suits the circumference of the stem."
Mr. M'Lachlan referred to a specimen of a fly (one of the Syrphida;), which he had exhibited at the meeting of 7th July, 1873, as a stronglymarked instance of gynandromorphism, the sexual organs on the under side of the abdomen being placed on one side instead of the middle. He had since been informed by Mr. Verrall that this was an error, and that the apparent want of symmetry in those organs was usual in the species. Mr. Verrall, who was present, stated that the insect was a male specimen of Chrysotoxum festivum.
New Parts of ' Transactions.'
Collected Observations on Willie's Thrush (Turdus varius of Pallas). By Edward Newman.
Few birds have excited more interest, or evoked more controversy amongst us, during the last few years than White's thrush. Its distinctness as a species has been frequently called in question; some have supposed it a variety of the song thrush, others have suggested that it is the young of the missel thrush; but neither of these solutions has found favour in the eyes of our leading ornithologists, who, I believe, without exception, admit that it is perfectly distinct from any other recognized British or European species.
It was first minutely described as British by Mr. Eyton, who, in 1836, assigned it the name of Turdus Whitei (as a tribute of respect to the memory of Gilbert White), at p. 92 of his work on the ' Rarer British Birdsafterwards by Mr. Yarrell, in the second edition of his ' History of British Birds;' by Mr. Tomes, at p. 379 of the * Ibis' for 1859; by Mr. Sclater at p. 3041 of the ' Zoologist' for 1872; and finally by Mr.Rodd, at p. 3880 of the volume of the 'Zoologist' for 1874; and Prof. Newton has given an exhaustive summary of its bibliography, at p. 251 of his first volume of the
SECOND SERIES—VOL. IX. 2 I
fourth edition of Yarrell, under the name of Turdus varius of Pallas, with which it is now supposed to be identical. It was described by the last-named illustrious naturalist, in 1811, at p. 449 of the first volume of his ' Zoographia Rosso-Asiatica.' To these I have now added an original figure from a photograph of the latest obtained specimen, kindly given me by Mr. Rodd, of Penzance.
Turdus varius is described and figured, in his 'Zoological Researches in Java,' by Dr. Horsfield, who says, "It inhabits the thick forests which cover the mountain Prahu, and, as far as my observations extend, it never leaves a region between six and seven thousand feet above the level of the ocean. On this circumscribed region it is extremely abundant. Its food consists of insects and worms. It is easily surprised by the natives. During my last visit to the mountain I obtained, in the course of a few days, a great number of individuals. I never found it in any other part of Java."
Mr. Swinhoe says that at Amoy, in China, where it is an extremely rare visitant, it only appears in spring, when the banyan berries are ripe; but he also found it in Formosa; and Mr. Gould has received an example from Manilla.
It is again described by Macgillivray, at p. 146 of the second volume of his 'History of British Birds,' published in 1839. He gives it the new and not inappropriate name of" variegated thrush." Mr. Macgillivray adds the following note from Mr. Yarrell, which I have read with much interest:—"That gentleman [Mr. Yarrell] has been so kind as to inform me, in answer to my inquiry, that 'from the differences found on a comparison of Lord Malmesbury's specimen with those from Java in the collection of the East India Company (he is) induced to consider Turdus varius of Dr. Horsfield as distinct from White's thrush. Two or three specimens,' he adds, have turned up lately which are also considered distinct.'"
It is described by Mr. Gould in the second volume of his ' Birds of Europe,' with a figure on plate 81, which Temminck pronounces, at p. 602 of the fourth volume of his 'Manuel d'Ornithologie,' "figure parfaite," calling the bird " Merle vari6 ou de Withe" and 44 Turdus varius seu Withei." Again, in his last work, the 'Birds of Britain,' Mr. Gould describes it as Oieocincla aurea of Holandre.
Supposing, however, for the sake of convenience, all the specimens to belong to a single and singularly vagrant species, whose migrations, if any, are unknown, whose habits are obscure, and whose appearances in Europe and Britain are purely accidental, or is otherwise governed by laws of which we are profoundly ignorant, I shall proceed to enumerate the published records, on this subject.
At p. 100 of his valuable 'Handbook of British Birds,' Mr. Harting has, with his usual care, enumerated twelve records of the occurrences or appearances, real or supposed, of White's thrush in the British Isles; and I have made this ray guide in the following notes, adding particulars for which he had no space, and also introducing two very important records—one of Dr. Tristram having observed the species at Greatham, the other of Mr. Rodd having obtained a specimen in Cornwall.
1. The first known British specimen is that described and named by Mr. Eyton; it was a male, and was shot in January, 1828, by Lord Malmesbury at Heron Court, his lordship's seat, near Christchurch, in Hampshire: this is also the specimen figured and described by Mr. Yarrell.
2. The second specimen is introduced to us by Mr. Yarrell, whose note on the subject I extract entire, appending a doubt by Professor Newton, which will cause ornithologists to hesitate in accepting this specimen as British. Mr. Yarrell's record runs thus:—"To Mr. Jesse I am indebted for au introduction to his friend Mr. Bigge, of Hampton Court, who has allowed me the use of a specimen of a thrush which appears to be identical with Dr. Horsfield's thrush from Java, and also with specimens from Australia, which are certainly very closely allied to the Javanese thrush. Mr.Bigge's bird is said to have been shot in the New Forest, Hampshire, by one of the forest keepers, who parted with it to a birdpreserver at Southampton, of whom Mr. Bigge bought it for his own collection. * * * * Mr. Bigge's specimen is eleven inches and a half long; the wing five inches and a half; the first feather short; the second as long as the sixth; the third, fourth and fifth of equal length and the longest in the wing."—History of British Birds, third edition, vol. i. pp. 203,204. Professor Newton's commentary on the above runs thus:—" It will be observed that no notice has been taken of a thrush mentioned in former editions of this work as being the property of Mr. Bigge, then of Hampton Court, but now of Debden Hall, Essex, who, about the year 1825, bought it of a birdstuffer at Southampton. This specimen was said to have been shot in the New Forest by one of the keepers. It was unfortunately sold in 1849 with the rest of Mr. Bigge's collection, and that gentleman, though he has most obligingly made every inquiry, has failed to trace it. It is evident that it was not a White's thrush, for, as described in former editions of this work, it had the second primary as long as the sixth, a character which equally precludes it, in the Editor's belief, from having been an example of Horsfield's thrush; while he has been very kindly informed by its former possessor that, though he had no reason to doubt the birdstuffer's story, the specimen when shown to Mr. Gould, who still remembers the fact, was found by him to have its head stuffed with wool, as was often the case with bird-skins prepared in Australia. On the whole, therefore, it seems not improbable that, though no fraud may have been intended, the specimen may have been brought from that country, and is most prudently to be omitted from further consideration."—History of British Birds, fourth edition, vol. i., p. 256. It must not, however, be omitted that Mr. Harting adds a second authority for this specimen, as follows:—" Wise,New Forest, p. 314."
? 3. Mr. Allman, at p. 378 of the eleventh volume of the 'Annals of Natural History,' states he "is in possession of a specimen of this very rare bird, obtained about ten days previously [i.e. previous to the loth of December, 1842] in the neighbourhood of Bandon, county of Cork." Mr. Thompson, who cites Mr. Allman's communication, adds," It is said, in the' Fauna of Cork,' that the gentleman at whose place the bird was obtained, saw what he believed another of the same species there; but when is not mentioned."— Natural History of Ireland, vol. i. p. 129. This specimen "wants the head and neck," and on a comparison with a thrush from Nepal, supposed to be of the same species, and "wanting the legs," exhibited the following differences:—" The tail of the Irish bird in length and size generally exceeds that of the Nepal bird; the quillfeathers of the wing are all longer." In colouring and marking the two birds are similar," agreeing with the descriptions and figures in Eyton and Yarrell, with the exception of the unimportant difference of the Irish one being the deeper in tint, owing, it may be presumed, either to its being killed sooner after moult or being less exposed to the sun or weather than the Nepal bird." I take the liberty to express a doubt as to the propriety of considering the specimen a decided example of the species. Its remains are now in the Museum of Trinity College, Dublin.