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NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
To CORRESPONDENTS AND EXCHANGERS.-As we now publish SCIENCE-Gossip earlier than sormerly, we cannot undertake to insert in the following number any communications which reach us later than the 8th of the previous month.
To ANONYMOUS Querists.-We must adhere to our rule of not noticing queries which do not bear the writers' names.
To DealERS AND Others.-We are always glad to treat dealers in natural history objects on the same fair and general ground as amateurs, in so far as the “exchanges" offered are fair exchanges. But it is evident that, when their offers are simply DISGUISED ADVERTISEMENTS, for the purpose of evading the cost of advertising, an advantage is taken of our gratuitous insertion of “exchanges," which cannot be tolerated.
We request that all exchanges may be signed with name (or initials) and full address at the end.
SPECIAL Note.—There is a tendency on the part of some exchangers to send more than one per month. We only allow this in the case of writers of papers.
To our Recent Exchangers.-We are willing and helpful to our genuine naturalists, but we cannot further allow disguised Exchanges like those which frequently come to us to appear unless as advertisements.
British insects. Offered, “Insects Abroad" (1883).-Rev. X., 12 The Park, Ealing, W.
Will give as. 6d. for a clean copy of “The Zoologist " for January, 1881.-Chas. Oldham, Ashion-on-Mersey.
ANY entomological specimens (of whatever order) would be gratefully received from anyone having duplicates, and having no use for same. Box sent (prepaid) and return postage.T. R. Hamilton, 11 Crozier Road, Mutley, Plymouth.
OFFERED, “The Entomologist," vols. 16 to 21 bound, and vols, 22 and 23 unbound; “Builder," vols. 56 and 37 bound, vols. 55, 59, and greater part of 58 unbound. Exchange for foreign land shells, conchological or other scientific books. G. S. Parry, 18 Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne.
OFFERED, 325 stamps, all different, many of them rare. Wanted, British land and freshwater shells, foreign marine shells, or offers to-P. R. Shaw, 48 Bidston Road, Oxton, Birkenhead.
WANTED, any land or sea shells from the West Indies. Have a number of natural history and other books to offer in exchange. List sent.-W. Jones, jun., 27 Mayton Street, Holloway, London.
WANTED, a few good fossils from Devonian or old red sand. stone. A good equivalent given in exchange in minerals, such as fluor spar, galena, malachite, travertine, radiated calcite, chalcedony, blende, crystals of quartz, selenite, pyrites, calcite and others, or good carboniferous fossils.-P. J. Roberts, 11 Back Ash Street, Bacup.
WANTED, fossils from various localities. A large number of good duplicates offered in exchange. - Thomas W. Reader, 171 Hemingford Road, London, N.
Wanted, specimens of British and foreign echini (sea urchins), or crabs, in exchange for British land, freshwater, or marine shells or fossils.-F. Stanley, M.C.S., Clifton Gardens, Margate.
West African bird-skins in exchange for books (must be latest editions) on natural history.-J. H., 19 Connaught Street, W.
ELEVEN vols. of Science-Gossip, 1880-go, including the coloured plates, for rare British shells or eggs, foreign shells, or offers.-Thos. H. Hedworth, Dunston, Gateshead.
Helix lamellata, Pupa ringens, and numerous other species offered for varieties of British land and freshwater shells. Also wanted, Continental and foreign land and freshwater shells.- Rev. John Hawell, Ingleby Greenhow Vicarage, Northallerton.
For a slide of diatoms, or botanical mount showing placenta. tion, &c., I will send a tube of Chara showing cyclosis.-J. , Blackshaw, 179 Penn Road, Wolverhampton.
West Indian, South American, and Australian land shells wanted in exchange for European, South African, or North American land, freshwater, and marine. Any foreign correspondence esteemed.-S., 40 Braybrooke Road, Hastings.
Urio pictorum, from a Cheshire locality, offered in exchange for good land and freshwater shells, British or foreign.-R. Cairns, Queen Street, Hurst, Ashton-under-Lyne.
WANTED, land and freshwater shells, in exchange for living Pupa secalé, and others. Several vols. of Science-Gossip and other books of for shells.-H. T. Smith, 11 Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol.
T. H. C.-The eighth edition of “The London Catalogue of British Plants” is published by George Bell & Sons, price 6d.; the “York Catalogue of British Mosses," price 6d., by Ben Johnson & Co., Micklegate, York.
R. C.-Your specimen is the blue fea-banc (Erigeron acris).
M. B. DAVIES.-The insect imbedded in amber is a wellpreserved dipterous fly, probably a species of Tachina.
S. Lowe.-You will find a long chapter on fossil sponges (illustrated) in Taylor's “Common British Fossils” (London: Chatto).
R. A. COOPER.-Write to Messrs. W. Wesley & Son, Essex Street, Strand, for their “Scientific Book Circular."
G. A. HANKEY.-1. The cuticle of leaves is the delicate transparent skin which covers the epidermis. It rarely shows any signs of structure, only markings produced by contact. It can be detached by slow maceration, and then comes off the surface both of the epidermis and hairs. 2. The mould on palm
leaves to which you refer is probably Graphiola phænicis (see Science-Gossip vol. for 1877, page 124).
M. E. Pore. - Your specimen is a variety of the meadow orchis (O. morio).
R. C. C.-The specimen enclosed is evidently a very remark. able variety of Cardamine pratensis. Send a specimen to the Secretary of the Botanical Record Club.
H. ROBERTS.- Many thanks for your kind offer. Will you send us a short specimen of the sort of thing you mean?
EXCHANGES. OFFERED, six different specimens of Scotch granite, one German, and one Sweden, polished on one side and rough on other; also marine shells. Wanted, Newman's “British Butterflies and Moths,” or what offers -W. D. Rae, 9 Clare. mont Terrace, Alpha Road, Millwall, London, E.
Wanted, Maltwood's finder. Offered, magic-lantern, small telescope, micro-slides or objects, dried plants, &c.-G. H. Bryan, Thornlea, Trumpington Road, Cambridge.
WANTED, Morgan's "Animal Biology,” Marshal and Hurst's “Practical Zoology,” Prantl's "Botany," Bower's “ Practical Botany,” Foster's "'Embryology,” Howe's "Atlas of Biology.” Must be cheap, in good condition, and recent editions. What offers to-Shoosmith, Stopsley, Luton, Beds.
WANTED, Helix arbustorum, var. marmorata. Will give H. arbustorum, var. pallescens, in exchange.-H. Milnes, Winster, near Derby.
Wanted, Berkeley's “ Outlines of Fungology." Will give in exchange Beale's "Microscope." Also wanted, mosses, lichens, and other cryptogams.-C. F. Rea, S.S.M., Blackheath, S.E.
Science-Gossip, six vols., unbound, including 1884 and 1885, with plates ; Milner's “Gallery of Geography,” twenty-four 1s. parts; last two vols. of "American Monthly Microscopical Journal; also “Manual of British Coleoptera," by Stephens, good as new. Wanted, tricycle, or botanical books, Cooke's * Freshwater Algæ," good inicro mounts, &c.-J. C. Blackshaw, 179 Penn Road, Wolverhampton.
OFFERED, SCIENCE-Gossip for 1890, Karl Russ's “Speaking Parrots," Greene's “ Amateur's Aviary.” Wanted, back vols. of Science-GossIP, “Selborne Magazine,” scientific works, &c.-H. Roberts, 60 Princess Road, Kilburn, London. WANTED, “Insects at Home" (Wood), or other work on
BOOKS, ETC., RECEIVED FOR NOTICE. "Popular Lectures and Addresses,” by Sir William Thomson, LL.D., F.R.S., &c., vols. i. and iii. (London: Macmillan & Co.).-"Lessons in Elementary Biology," by Professor T. Jeffery Parker (London: Macmillan & Co.). -"The Making of Flowers," by Professor G. Henslow (London: S.P.C.K.). “The Species of Epilobium occurring North of Mexico," by Professor Trelease. “Notes on Indian Rotifers," by H. H. Anderson.-" The British Noctuæ and their Varieties," by J. W. Tutt (London : Swan Sonnenschein & Co.).—“British Cage Birds," Parts 13 and 14.-“Glimpses of Nature," by Dr. Andrew Wilson (London: Chatto & Windus).-"The Mediterranean Naturalist,” No. 1.-"American Microscopical Journal."-" The Microscope.”—“The American Monthly Micro. Journal."-" American Naturalist."-"Canadian Entomologist.”—“The Naturalist.”—The Botanical Gazette.”—“The Gentleman's Magazine.”-“The Midland Naturalist."_"The Essex Naturalist."-" The Garner.”-“Feuille des Jeunes Naturalistes.”—“Journal of Microscopy," &c., &c.
COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED UP TO THE OTH_ULT. PROM: J. E. L.-A. J. H. C.-J. H.-F. B.-C. G.-A. B.-G. H. B. -W. H. S.-A. E. B.-E. B.-W. D. R.-J. H. C.-W. W.Dr. A. I.-M. D. D.-C. F. G.-J. W. W.-W. J. S.H. H. A.-J. W. B.-D. E. C.-T. D. A. C.-E. R.-H. E. G -J. H. S.-E. D. H.-F. J. B.-W. C.-H. M.-C. F. R. J. C. B.-H. R.-H. T. M.-C. 0.-T. R. H.-E. H, R. W. E. S.-G. S. P.-P. R. S.-Dr. R. L. R.-J. W. R. S.F. S.-S. P.-T. W. R.-J. H.-W. J., jun.-P. J. R. G. A. H.-J. C. B.-E. L. S.-J. C. S.-R. C.-H. T. S. J. H.-T. H. H.-J. S.-F. B.-A. H. H.-F. B.-H, M.&c., &c.
WORDS OF BIRDS.
By J. H. GORDON, B.A. Oxon.
am as sane
Now there must be no mistake, and so I had better
say at once that I cannot understand all birds ; any more than Professor Max Müller can understand all the languages of men, in this best of possible worlds; no, that would be rather a big job, to say the least of it, though the language of birds when you once understand the method of it, is not nearly so hard as one would expect.
If I had my choice, in fact, I would much rather take up the grammar of a rook, or even a common and vulgar sparrow—and the sparrow is vulgar, too, sometimes when he likes—than wade through the horrible inflexions, conjugations, declensions, and other monstrosities, that hide their sweetness under the names of Latin and Greek, and what not.
Yes, there is much to be said in favour of the speech of the playful warbler. He is in general simple and honest in his likes and dislikes, and in expressing these likes and dislikes. Here and there I do not deny, I have come across a very Gladstone amongst the rooks, who would gather in a crowd and
No. 320.- AUGUST 1891.
talk to them literally for hours; but he was an exception, and it usually ended in his starting a newbeing compelled to start-a new realm of wisdom by his own account.
With the sparrow, too, I have some fault to find; his language is not always so decorous as it should be ; indeed, to hear what the sparrow—the London one, especially-says, when he is disturbed at a feast, or the grain spilt from a passing horse's nose-bag, is simply horrible, and would often make me, had I been some what thinner and lighter in bulk, pick up a stone and teach them a lesson.
After all, the sparrow must be forgiven much, for he is a very talented bird; he has a greater proportion of brains to his body than pretty well any other bird, and a great deal more ideas. A very gifted bird is the sparrow, though he does swear terribly and gamble all the sunny days on the house-tops, and jeer wickedly at the homely cat. But great men have great vices as well as great virtues; and so is it in bird-land.
Let us look at another warbler who is very much more greatly admired, and yet whose brains are the minimum possible to the realm of air. The nightingale is the one I refer to ; and every one knows how even delicate girls will go out at night-time to hear this songster ; and yet with all this glory, he has the smallest vocabulary than any bird I know of. I fancy if the charming maidens who listen shivering and wondering to him as he sings in the neighbouring bush, knew what he meant, they would have him away in disgust.
For this sweet songster, the nightingale, is an awful gourmand ; and thinks of nothing but filling himself with worms, grain, anything in fact that comes to hand. When he sets them so simply, and we all believe him to be singing to his mate, he's doing no such thing; it's the early worm he's singing to, it's the early worm he is glorifying with that divine music; and it is because the early worm is later than usual, that he sings at all.
Just give him an early worm and see what he bird of the wren tribe had been severely hurt and was does.
still very ill when the day for the annual migration Sing his thanks, you think? No, indeed, if he does came ; indeed, amongst all the denizens of the thicket, ing, it is simply to ask for more, but usually he a general belief was expressed that the poor little remains silent.
wren must be left behind to winter in the land of
snow and frost.
His mate nearly lost her head in the agony of the
separation, for there were young ones, and one at In the glory of the morn! There is nothing sweeter than
least had to go to look after them. There he stood The early worm With the dew upon him in the
divided between love and duty ; should he leave his Glory of the morn!”
dear companion of the summer, or should he leave
his young ones to go forth and die perhaps in a That is his song; and he will go on singing that for
foreign land? hours, until the early worm turns up. He knows no And so he flew from tree to tree in wild terror and more, poor bird, and what is worse, wants to know despair. nothing more.
At length there came slowly two great cranes He is ignorant: very, very ignorant ; and he is across the wide expanse, and with a mad hope in his happy : very, very happy in his ignorance.
heart he advanced and humbly besought their help. His total vocabulary does not exceed some sixty They were kind-hearted creatures ; and on his words; whilst the sparrow, often runs over into promising to keep a good look out for frogs, they thousands, especially when he is in a rage, and at a took the wee wren under their wing, and carried her loss, then he invents a dozen new adjectives on the along with her family into the-far away country. spur of the moment. Besides the first bird sticks Happy wren and happier cranes ! superstitiously to his fifty words, whilst the sparrow is simply avaricious of new ideas and new words. Let a sparrow invent some taking phrase, and it is
LAC (COCCUS LACCA). immediately taken into the bosom of the language,
By H. DURRANT. and in a few weeks in common use by all alike.
I remember a sparrow nicknamed a pea-shooter, THIS insect, like its congener the cochineal insect, but what would be translated “ quick-joy,” because of belongs to the order Hemiptera. Its habits and the delight of eating the peas, after the rapid flight. economy are nearly identical with it. When a colony Now every sparrow-even the rather stupid hedge of several males and females select a branch of a tree sparrow-speaks of many other things under that for their home, they puncture it, and a milky exudaname-as “rain-drops.”
tion follows, in which they are soon entombed, and One of the pleasantest afternoons I ever spent was
which furnishes them with both food and shelter. It passed in listening to a trial by rooks.
forms irregular dark-coloured, resinous masses on the One of the rooks was accused of playing the decoy- twigs of the trees which it surrounds, and which is duck with some of his fellows, and of being in league gradually added to until they are sometimes nearly with certain farmers ; and of thus causing many of an inch in diameter. The trees most usually affected his comrades to adorn the inside of a horrible are the Ficus Indica and F. religiosa which both chamber, called a pigeon-pie.
abound in a milky juice. When the season arrives, The defence was, that he could not understand the the natives collect the encrusted twigs, which in this farmers, nor the farmers him ; secondly that he gained state are known commercially as “stick-lac.” It nothing by doing this great wickedness, as was evident, contains about seven per cent. of resin and one. if he did do it. But to this was replied that he was twentieth part of colouring matter. To separate the allowed a free entrance into a granary stocked with sticks, colouring and other foreign matter, the stickfresh grain ; and that was evidence conclusive. lac is placed in large vats of hot water which melts
The poor fellow, whom I pitied greatly, tried to the resin and thus liberates all impurities. It is then show that he had found a hole in and offered to show taken out and put into oblong bags of cotton, and a it the company generally; and this gained him many man standing at each end of the bag holds it over a friends ; indeed I thought he was safe. No, his charcoal fire. By this plan the resin is liquefied and cnemies were too fiercely determined ; they reminded drops through and falls on to the smooth stems of the the folk present of a new-sown field, and demanded Banyan tree, placed purposely to catch it. This an instant verdict.
flattens it out into thin plates, and it is then known to That decided it, and he was instantly found guilty us as shell-lac. If the colouring matter has not been and pecked to death.
well washed out the resin is left of a very dark colour, But there are other much more kindly views of thus we find in the lac-market, orange, garnet, and bird-life to be gained than the one I have described. liver varieties. That which most nearly approaches
I remember one very affecting incident: a small to a light brown colour being the best.
cMost of the Acalypterata are small fies, generally
obscure in colour, though some are brilliantly coloured and easily recognised, the niajority, however, being closely allied and difficult to identify.
A great many species have been introduced as British that do not appear to be so.
Mr. Verrall's arrangement of the genera differs from that of Schiner (still probably the best Continental authority), and I shall follow the former in these
When separated from impurities, pulverized, and the major portion of colouring matter removed, it is known as “ seed-lac.”
Sometimes it is melted up and made into small cakes; in this state is known as “lump-lac.” The water which remains behind after the lac has been softened is rich in a colouring matter akin to that of cochineal, so that when strained and evaporated, a beautiful purple residue is lest. Cut into cakes this forms another important article of commerce, viz:“ lac-dye.”
Shell-lac is soluble, in anhydrous alcohol, ether, fat, and volatile oils. In the alcoholic solution it forms a fine varnish.
Hydrochloric and acetic acids also dissolve it. It is necessary sometimes to bleach it, for the manufacture of colourless varnishes, sealing-wax, &c. This is effected by dissolving in caustic potash, and passing chlorine gas through the solution. It can then be pulled and twisted into sticks. Seed-lac is much more soluble in alcohol than shell-lac. Lac-dye is soluble in sulphuric and hydrochloric acids. The mordant for use in dyeing is generally bi-tartrate of potass and protochloride of tin.
The chief use of lac is for the manufacture varnishes and sealing-wax. The differently tinted sealing-waxes are produced by adding vermilion for red, ivory black for black, and verditer for blue (sometimes smalt is used). For a white wax, the lac is simply bleached as before mentioned.
To obtain the fine golden colour sometimes seen, powdered yellow mica is incorporated with it. Shelllac is imported from Assam, Siam, and an inferior quality from Bengal.
Pegu stick-lac is exceedingly dark, and therefore not fitted for the finer uses of lac ; but the finest lac of a very light sherry colour comes from Circar.
We receive something like 1,000,000 lbs. annually, but a large portion of this is again exported to Germany, Italy, and other foreign countries. Το each male insect it has been computed there are not less than 5000 females, the males being twice as large as the females.
After the first melting of the lac it is usually more tenacious than after subsequent meltings, which tend to make it hard and brittle. The ancient Chinese were well aware of this property, as is evinced in some of their works of art which remain perfect to this day. They are usually small boxes either in wood or metal, which have had a thin coating of lac, and while sost and plastic, had been moulded into various beautiful forms. Some of these works of art setch considerable prices.
Cordylura, Fln., inhabits damp fields and the cooler spots in woods; long-bodied and rather shortwinged flies ; long 4-6 mm.
Scatophaga, Mg., is a carnivorous genus, the larvæ living in dung, two or three species being very common everywhere, especially S. Stercoraria, L.,. which in the of is clothed in bright yellow hair, the legs also similarly clothed, the antenna and eyes are black, the wings yellowish grey; long 8-10 mm. In the 4 (smaller) tie colour is entirely grey. The face is reddish in both sexes.
Orygma, Mg., Calopa, Mg., and Actora, Mg., are found on seaweeds. Flies of rather an abnormal appearance ; flattened ; with small heads and short thick legs, osten pubescent.
In Helomyza, Fln., the larva feeds on fungi, woods, fields and pastures; several species are British ; allied.
Dryomyza, Fln., occurs in woods ; larva lives in mushrooms. Large Aies; D. analis, Fall., has marked wings.
Sciomyza, Fin., frequents short herbage and shady woods. Several species are British, more or less. closely allied, rather small in size.
Tetanocera, Fln., is found on aquatic plants, larva aquatic; the flies not being rare ; of good size ; stoutly-built ; usually more or less tawny in colour, and from 5 to 9 mm. long.
Limnia marginata, F., is a brownish-black fly, with yellowish white face; reddish front with two black spots on inner side of eyes ; brown wings covered pretty uniformly with small round grey spots, the fore-border and tip being brown; legs brown ; common ; long 8 mm,
At the meeting of the Geologists' Association on July 3rd, Professor Blake read a paper on “The Geology of the country between Bridlington and Whitby, the district to be visited during the Long Excursion."
Elgiva, Mg., resembles Telanocera ; two or three of the five British species are fairly common.
In Sepedon, Latr., the imago has the faculty of running over the surface of water ; allied to Elgiva and Tetanocera ; two species British.
Psila rosa, F., feeds on the carrot in the larval state. Ten species of Psila are British, resembling Tetanocera.
Loxocera, Mg. (2 spp.), inhabits damp woods, running over the foliage.
Micropeza corrigiolata, L., a fly with much attenuated thorax and abdomen, and long and thin legs; found chiefly on broom ; long 6 mm. ; common.
Dorycera graminum, F., occurs in grass and
animal matter. Macquart, a French writer, has found them in fungi; about twenty species are British; many common ; mostly closely allied, and nearly all yellowish, with yellowish wings.
S. rorida, Fln., is tawny; face broad, with a small black spot on the vertex ; eyes black ; wings yellow ; legs pale yellow with black tips ; common; long 4 mm. S. lupulina, F., is distinguished from the latter by a bluish-grey thorax.
Opomyza germinationis, Fln., very common every
Fig. 149.-Rhyphus, Latr. (mag.)
Fig. 146.-Dixa, Mg. (maz.)
Fig. 150.-Tanypus, Mg. (mag.)
Fig. 147.-Limnobia, Mg. (mag.)
Fig. 151.-Method of pinning down Diptera, &c.
flowers, sometimes swarming ; larva aquatic; pupa two-horned.
Ceroxys, Mcq., on tree trunks.
Platystoma seminationis, F., on flowers and hedges -in spring ; somewhat resembling Limnia marginata in general appearance, but smaller and more stoutly. built.
The Trypetidæ are a well-marked group, in which the wings are beautifully ornamented with brown and black markings, thus affording an easy means of determining the species. The principal genera are Trypeta, Mg., and Tephritis, Latr., all the genera occurring on plants, the larvæ being leaf-miners.
Lonchæa, Fin., and Palloptera, Fin., inhabit fields and grassy banks.
In Sapromuza, Fln., the larvæ live on decaying
where. Yellowish, with a dorsal row of blackishbrown spots on the abdomen; face, antennæ, and legs yellow ; wings pale grey, the two transverse veins and border towards the tip blackish ; long 4 mm.
Sepsis is common on umbelliferous flowers.
S. cynipsca, L., smooth; shining black; wings clear, with a small black round spot at tip; long 4 mm. ; larva lives in decaying animal matter ; very common everywhere.