Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Ommatostrephes, thus avoiding the institution of a new genus for their reception, as proposed in his former paper.

Mr. A. H. Garrod read a paper on the "showing off" of the Australian bustard (Eupodotis attstralis), and pointed out the peculiar structure by which this " showing off" was accomplished.

A communication was read from Dr. F. Stolicza, containing a description of the Ovis Polii of Blyth, of which he had lately obtained specimens in Yarkand.

Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe read a paper on a new genus and species of Passerine birds from the West Indies, which he proposed to name Phoenicomanes Iora.

A communication was read from the Rev. 0. P. Cambridge, containing descriptions of some new species of spiders of the genus Erigone from North America.

Dr. Giinther read a paper describing some new species of reptiles from the Camaroon Mountains, West Africa. Amongst these were two new species of chameleon, and a new snake of the family of Lycodontidae, proposed to be called Bothrolycus ater. One of these chameleons was referred to a new subgenus (Rhampholeon) being remarkable for its abbreviated tail and the development of a denticle at the inner base of each claw.

Mr. Sclater read a paper containing a description of three new species of the genus Synallaxis from M. Jelski's collections in Central Peru, which he proposed to call S. pudibunda, S. graminicola and S. virgata.

Messrs. H. P. Blackmore and E. R. Alston communicated a joint paper on the Arvicolidae which have hitherto been found in a fossil state.

Professor Newton read an account of a living dodo shipped for England in the year 1628, extracted from letters iu possession of Dr. J. B. Wilmot, of Toubridge Wells.

Mr. J. E. Harting read a paper on the common lapwing of Chili, which he proposed to separate from Vanellus cayanensus, under the name of V. occidentalis.

A second paper read by Mr. Harting contained an account of the eggs of some new or little-known Limicolae.

A communication was read from Mr. R. Swinhoe, containing an account of a new Cervine form discovered in the mountains near Ningpo, China, by Mr. A. Michie, and proposed to be called Lophotragus michianus.

Dr. J. Murie read a paper on the structure of the skeleton of Fregilupus varius, based on a specimen iu the Museum of Cambridge.

This meeting closes the present session. There will be no more scientific meetings until November next.

Notes on British Bats. By William Borrer, Esq.

Although I have nothing to say very worthy of record respecting the British bats, such notes as I have from time to time made I with pleasure place at your disposal, and I will commence with—

Vespertilio Noctula.—Well denominated by the immortal Gilbert White "Altivolans," for I have never seen any other species so truly swift-like and ethereal in its flight as this. Its habits have been already so well described that I shall make but few remarks on it. It seems to be very generally diffused throughout the South of England. Bell, quoting White, says he has never seen it till the end of April nor later than July. At Henfield, in Sussex, I shot oue on the 26lh of September, 1841. It was a damp warm evening, and it was flying very low. It was very fat, and when skinned the body looked like a lump of bacon. It had probably been tempted by the warmth to come forth from its intended winter quarters. I have this note:—On the 3rd of November, 1862,1 observed three large bats, flying round my house at Cowfold, Sussex, at 5 p. M. One I shot, and it proved, as I expected from its flight, to be a Noctule. I have frequently seen this bat flying late in October. A few years since (but I made no note of it) I was surprised to hear a great squeaking of bats behind an old door, which had been closed up, on the south side of Cowfold Church. As a rule, I do not think the species mix much together in their places of resort or hybernation; and I conclude that these were Noctules, as one of this species had forced his muzzle into a little round hole, which no doubt formerly contained a handle, much probably to the discomfort of his companions, as they must have been half-roasted, the door being so healed by the sun that it was unpleasantly warm to the hand: "Hinc illae lachrymae."

Vespertilio Lesleri I have never seen, nor V. discolor.

Vespertilio pipistrellus.— Of V. pipistrellus I have nothing to mention except that, many years since, I took several specimens at Ensbury, in Dorsetshire, of a very rusty red colour, nearly that of the dormouse; but I could see no reason to think them any other than Pipistrellus.

Vespertilio pygmceus.—I believe the only British specimen is in the British Museum.

SECOND SERIES—VOL. IX. 2 T

Vespertilio serotinus.—The first specimen I ever saw was taken at Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, aud was sent me by my friend the Rev. C. A. Bury. On the evening of the 10th of July, 1851, whilst walking in a lane at Charlton, near Dover, 1 saw a bat which I at once knew from its flight was of a species I never before saw alive. The next evening I shot a male of this species, and the night after, at the same place, a female; and on the. 21st, near Riverchurch, in the same neighbourhood, another male, and I this night saw several others of this species. They commenced their flight about a quarter before nine, and at first they flew very low, hovering occasionally to catch something from the ends of the branches of the trees, in which act I shot the first. As the night got on they flew higher, and between 9.30 and 9.45 they flew altogether out of gun-shot in height. On the 3rd of August I received from Mr. Gordon, of the Dover Museum, a half-grown one, taken from a hole in a tree near Waldershare, Dover; and in October, 1851, I received from the aforesaid Mr. Gordon fifteen specimens alive, male and female: of these I turned ten into the roof of my house at Cowfold, Sussex, and saw them careering round the house many evenings after. They generally flew very high, their flight and manner on the wing much resembling those of the swift, especially in the habit of occasionally turning half over, with their wings extended and motionless. In April, 1852, three or four only appeared, and these I saw most evenings, till, in July, I left home for a month, and I saw no more of them till the 31st of October, when a pair were again flying about my house. This species seems to be especially savage when handled, and will bite most severely if they have a chance. I could not make them take any food in confinement. These were all taken from the old clock-tower at Waldershare, the seat of the Earl of Guildford. After the last-mentioned date I saw them no more at Cowfold; but in June, 1870 or 1871 (for I have no note) I found that they had become common at Henfield, five miles south of Cowfold, where they appear to have remained ever since, probably inhabiting the church, as they are generally flying about some old trees in a meadow near. As I studied bats for many years at Henfield, and was a close observer, I feel certain that the Serotine was not there thirty years ago, and I cannot avoid the conclusion that they are my bats migrated in a body from Cowfold.

Vespertilio murinus I have never met with, nor with V. Bechsteinii.

Vespertilio Nattereri.—On the 29th of June, 1848, in taking off the ridge-tiles of a roof in this parish, about a dozen bats were found, only one of which was captured, a male specimen of this species, and on the 8th of July another male at the same place. On the 4th of December I received another, also a male, from the roof of Cowfold Church. I have received specimens from Henfield and from London, and I took one myself from a hollow in a beech tree, in St. Leonard's Forest, in the parish of Lower Beeding, Sussex. Of its habits and flight I know nothing. I have also received this species from Ensbury, Dorset, and from Bonchurch, Isle of Wight.

Vespertilio emarginatus.—Of V. emarginatus I can only say that the nearest to it which I have seen is the specimen now in the British Museum, which was taken by Mr. G. Buckton at the Charlton paper-mills near Canterbury, by means of a piece of white paper at the end of a fishing-rod, and is now, I believe, called V. dasycneme. See 'Journal of Linnean Society, 1853,' and 'Zoologist' for 1854 (Zool. 4357).

Vespertilio Daubentonii.—One evening, in July, 1849, T strolled into the churchyard of Christchurcb, Hants, and my attention was called to a great squeaking of bats, of which I saw a continuous stream issuing from an aperture in the north wall of the church; they all appeared to be making towards the river: both their note and their flight were new to me. The next day I called on the verger, and got him to show me into a chamber in the church with which this aperture communicated: there, clinging to the ceiling and the walls, I saw many hundreds of this species. The floor, too, had many large heaps of their excrement, which I advised the aforesaid verger to experimentalize on in his garden: in some places these heaps were quite knee-deep. The bats were clinging together in great masses; I stirred them up with a long stick, and many took to flight. I had, however, great difficulty in capturing them with a butterfly-net, but the place being very warm I took off my coat, and, standing quite still, was rather surprised, as well as pleased, to find that many settled on my white shirt-sleeves, and I easily took as many specimens as I required. On several evenings after, I saw numbers flitting, much in the manner of sand martins, over the surface of the river near the bridge in the town, never appearing to rise very high in the air, and seldom flying much beyond the river-banks. One of those I obtained in the church had a young one clinging to the nipple, which in no way appeared to impede the flight of its parent. On the 3rd of April, 1856,1 obtained this species from the Isle of Purbeck, and in July, 1863, from Ulswater, where, as I am informed by a friend, as well as at Grasmere, they do not fly till late at night over the lakes, but in the boat-houses, &c, they fly by day. I have also seen specimens taken at Preston, near Brighton, a locality in which I should not have expected them, as they appear to be especially addicted to water, and there is none there.

Vespertilio mystacinus.—On the 5th of November, 1848, an adult male was brought me by a servant, who found it suspended by the thumbs, and not by the hinder feet, from a crack in the ceiling of my coal-cellar, here at Cowfold. This cellar is slightly below the surface of the surrounding garden; and in the following June I picked up one dead in the same garden. Early in January, 1853, I received an immature male shot near Dover—singularly late for it to be abroad, but the weather was remarkably mild, there having as yet been no real frost, and the thermometer rarely below 40° at night and from 48° to 50° by day. In August, 1859, a young male was sent me, taken in an ivy-covered wall near Wimborne, Dorset. One day, late in June, 1845, one of these bats was sent me which had flown against a man's white frock in the day time at Lindfield, Sussex: it had probably been disturbed by the pulling down of some buildings near: while seems particularly attractive to bats.

Plecolus auritus.—Of this bat, which seems to be the most generally diffused, 1 will only mention that I have seen two snowwhite specimens, one of which is in the possession of Mr. F. Bond and the other in my own. The latter was taken at Horsham, Sussex, in May, 1872, curiously enough, on the same premises as Mr. Bond's. I have never seen white specimens of any other British species. P. brevimanus of Professor Bell appears to be only the immature Auritus, which Mr. Bell told me he was satisfied was the case.

Barbastellus Daubentonii.—Of this I can only say that 1 have on several occasions taken it from under the thatch of summerhouses in Henfield, Sussex, and on two occasions I have taken specimens which had flown into a house at night in the same village of Henfield. I have also received it from Hornsey, Middlesex; and one was taken in a house at Ensbury, Dorset, in

« AnteriorContinuar »