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Chinese pheasant as though it were a distinct species, and jet speaks of our pheasant being brought about by the intermixture of three kinds! this seems rather unsatisfactory. Supposing them to be species, there is no probability of intermixture; supposing them geographical varieties, the intermixture is a matter of course: we wish the term kinds had been avoided. Mr. Gould proceeds thus:—
"Most of the pheasants now spread over every county of the British islands are mongrels, brought about by the interbreeding of three kinds, and their progeny are but too often rickety and sickly creatures.
"Whilst on the subject of interbreeding, I should wish to draw the attention of sportsmen to the advantages likely to accrue from the interbreeding of our grouse with that of Norway (Tetrao Saliceti). Ornithologists are questioning whether these are not one and the Bame species, and if the differences existing between the two may not be due to the influence of climate. Should such be the case (and I think it probable), then the introduction of the original stock would doubtless effect an improvement in the health and vigour of our birds. Prof. Rasch, of Christiania, believes the two so-called species to be identical, and is introducing our grouse into his country, partly to determine this point, and partly for the sake of the infusion of fresh blood."—Pp. 15, 16.
The subject, however, is too interesting to be dropped, and I am sure no one will object to another passage exhibiting the result of Mr. Gould's "ample experience," every word of which will be read with interest.
"Had I not had ample experience on the subject of naturalization, I should not have prolonged these remarks; but having for the last forty years been a close observer of the denizens of the Gardens of the Zoological Society of London, a Society justly popular for its interest and usefulness, I have not failed to note that, however high our hopes may have been raised respecting the probability of the successful introduction of many valuable species, nothing but bitter disappointment has been the result. Two or three instances will suffice. Soon after the arrival of the beautiful mandarin ducks they commenced laying, and hatched out several clutches of young; it was therefore only natural to infer that this lovely denizen of the Celestial Empire would hereafter grace our ponds and lakes; but such has not been the case, and very sparingly indeed does the bird breed after the second or third year of its introduction. Three species of tho equally beautiful Ceriornithes, or so-called horned pheasants, have at one time or other also graced the gardens, and gave early evidence that they would reproduce their kinds; and many of them did so; but, alas! the same result followed; for in a very few years all, both old and young, sickened and died. A like fate attended the fine Crossoptilous; they laid freely, and a numerous progeny were raised during the first two or three years: but they ultimately all perished; and thus these fine and rare members of the Phasiauidae, which formed unrivalled ornaments to the Gardens in 1870, were in 1872 not to be seen. Many other instances might be cited in support of this view of the impossibility of naturalizing a foreign species. Nature as a rule places each species in the locality best adapted to it; and its removal to any other is pretty certain to end in failure."—Page 18.
Last of all, we come to the consideration of those physiological characters on which alone a natural classification of birds can possibly be founded. Mr. Gould will certainly have long since forgotten that on the 12th of March, 1850, the late D. IV. Mitchell, the indefatigable Secretary of the Zoological Society, read a paper oi mine intituled "First Thoughts on the Physiological Classification of Birds." Mr. Spence occupied the chair, and the dear old gentleman listened to the prosy paragraphs with the most courteous attention. The paper is preserved in the Proceedings of the Society of that date and also in the ' Zoologist' for April, 1850. Mr. Gould was the only member who considered it worthy of a single syllable, whether in approbation or disapprobation, but he amply made up for this deficiency by the expression of his candid and unqualified disapproval. The salient points were these: I divided birds into two great groups named Hesthogenous and Gymnogenous, and thus gave the leading characteristics of each :—
"1. Hesthogenous Birds.— In these, immediately the shell is broken, the chick makes its appearance in a state of adolescence rather than infancy: it is completely clothed, not with such feathers as it afterwards wears, but still with a close, compact and warm covering. It possesses the senses of sight, hearing, smelling, &c, in perfection: it runs with ease and activity," &c.
I will not repeat the lengthened characters, but simply state that I included the poultry, cranes, plovers, snipes, rails, divers and ducks.
"2. Gymnogenotis Birds.—In these, when the shell is broken, the chick makes its appearance in a state of helpless infancy: it is naked, blind, and incapable of locomotion: it gapes for food, but does not distinguish between the proper food offered by its parents and a stick or a finger held over it," &c.
I again spare the reader further detail, except just to say that I included the pelicans, gulls, birds of prey, herons, all passerine or insessorial birds, all xygodactyle birds, and the pigeon. Tt is therefore with peculiar pleasure that I see the value of these characters virtually admitted by Mr. Gould, although he still ignores them as a means of natural classification.
"From the egg to the chick is a natural sequence: and here commences a stage in the life of birds which has been regarded by myself with more than ordinary interest. If any one feature in my illustrations to the 'Birds of Great Britain' has special claims to originality it is the representation of the young or infantine state of many of the species; and this I trust will be duly appreciated by those who possess the work. In the imagination of most people young birds are blind, callow, helpless creatures, depending in every way on the fostering care of their parents, and instinctively opening their gaping bills to receive the food assiduously brought to them. Such a helpless condition as this undoubtedly prevails among the young of nearly all, if not all, the Insessorial birds; but compare these with those of other forms, and what vast differences are seen! The tiny offspring of the grebe emerging from its bursting shell in all the vigour and activity of a fully organized being, is immediately capable of clambering, should danger approach, upon its mother's back, or of seeking security and concealment by diving under a floating leaf. Who is not familiar with the duckling, which from birth equals if it does not surpass its parents in the quickness of its movements and in the skill with which it darts over the surface of the water in pursuit of flies or other insects? As a means to an end (that of continuing its existence unaided), the young duck is as perfect as the old bird, though destitute of the power of flight to be accorded to it hereafter. What the webbed feet and swimming capabilities are to the immature birds above mentioned, the organs of flight are to the chick of the gelinotte or hazlehen, which within a day of its exit from the shell is endowed with such a development of its primaries and secondaries that it can fly from branch to branch or dart after its parents through the wood with an ease and rapidity equal to that of any other little bird. At this early stage the gelinotte appears all wings, and from the down, which alone covers its body, presents somewhat of the appearance of a gigantic moth. The young of the heron exhibit a very low degree of perfection, but those of the crane, the bustard, and the plover are agile on exclusion."—P. 21.
It is inexpressibly gratifying to me to find so accomplished an ornithologist as Mr. Gould not only admitting, but insisting on, these physiological characters: he never would have done this,— he never would have brought these characters prominently to the front,—unless fully convinced of their importance. Although it may be said he has not yet fully utilized their characters, for purposes of classification, but still adheres mainly to the fanciful quinarian arrangement of Vigors, it is probably because he considers systematic arrangement of minor importance, and prefers adopting the general provisions of a system he finds ready made, to the arduous and most thankless task of constructing a new one.
In conclusion, I may truly say that although quite aware of some little imperfections in the ' Birds of Great Britain,' it certainly lays the foundation, and contains the enduring materials, for the ultimate completion of that natural classification which, taking the diversity of the early stages of independent bird-life for its guide, must sooner or later supersede alike the structural and fanciful systems which have hitherto so perplexed us. All honour be to Mr. Gould for his labours: may they be crowned with every success!
Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society. 1873-4. Demy 8vo. 86 pp. Id. Supplement, 80 pp.
The papers contained are—
I. Fauna and Flora of Norfolk. Part IV. Fishes. By John Lowe, M.D. .
II. On Breeding Lepidoptera in Confinement. By F. D.Wheeler.
III. On Empusa Musca and other Micro-Fungi. By F. Kitto.
IV. On the Nidification of Prosopis. By J. B. Bridgman.
V. Meteorological Observations. By John Quentin.
(Supplement). Fauna and Flora of Norfolk. Part V. Lepidoptera. By Charles G. Barrett.
Dr. Lowe's "Fishes of Norfolk" is a list prepared with evident care, and interspersed and enriched with notes from a variety of other sources. It is probably known that Mr. Gunn has for years past been preparing for publication in the 'Zoologist' a "Catalogue of the Fishes of Norfolk and Suffolk," and I always regret to see two naturalists expending their energies on the same subject, unless co-operating with each other and intending to make a joint result of their labours. The number of subjects that require the pen of the monographer is now so great, and the field of labour so wide, that I must regard this duplicate production as a somewhat wasteful expenditure of time and talent. In Dr. Lowe's list I find nothing that calls for comment: it has evidently been carefully prepared.
Mr. Wheeler's contribution "On Breeding Lepidoptera in Confinement" contains litlle that is very new to entomologists, but certainly a good deal that will be read with interest by beginners; and one passage that possesses considerable interest.
"One constantly recurring cause of failure is the difficulty of getting the sexes to pair: indeed after being bred, in an in, from the same stock, sooner or later all moths refuse to pair. Some do so after the second, and even after the first generation, and all are more or less affected by it. In this case nothing remains but to mix the breed, either with those reared by some friend from a different stock; or still better by pairing with wild males. If the species occurs in the neighbourhood this may often be readily done, the modus operandi being simply to tie a piece of fine silk firmly round the base of one of the fore wings [of the female], and having thus secured it to a tree where the insect is supposed to fly, to leave it all night. If the night be favorable, very often the male will be found with it in the morning; so that besides a batch of fertile eggs, you secure an additional specimen. Sometimes, however, a bat or some such nocturnal marauder will find your female, and make a meal of her instead; but on the whole this is a very profitable mode of pairing, as it wastes comparatively few specimens, and the eggs are almost certain to be fertile. I may mention that I have myself tried this plan successfully with Palpina and Ziczac, while Mr. Harwood informs me that he regularly pairs by this process many of the prominents, the kittens, &c."—Page 59.
There is no better authority on such a subject than Mr. Harwood, whose skill and success in rearing beautiful specimens of Lepidoptera is above all praise.
Mr. Bridgman's paper on Prosopis, as Mr. Smith has chosen to call it, Hylaeus as we old bee-hunting entomologists have known it for years, is very interesting, but perhaps not quite conclusive: he concludes thus:—
"These bees form their nest in any suitable situation, whether in soft wood or earth, not even despising ready-formed holes. At the bottom of one of the cells in the bramble-sticks I found a hard, half-round pellet of some yellow substance, which, under the microscope, turned out to be a mass of regular oval-shaped pellets, closely and carefully packed together, evidently of pollen and honey mixed, each pellet covered with the same gold-beater's-skiu-like secretion. Now as the bee has no special organs for collecting pollen, I fancy it must have been collected and carried home in