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different in microscopical structure (fig. 15, c). It hemp, but rougher, and without any indication of is not unlike flax without its transverse markings. cross markings.

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JETEE (Marsdenia tenacissima) yields the Rajmahal bowstring hemp, a fibre much valued for its tenacity. The ultimate fibres (fig. 17, 1) are regular

The ultimate fibres are distinctly to be seen in the ordinary bundles, which is not the case with flax.

A creeping plant called BEDOLEE (Pæderia fatida) abounds in Assam, and yields a silky fibre possessed of great strength and flexibility. Under the microscope (fig. 14, c) it appears as a smooth solid cylinder with very slight markings.

Jute is well known in English commerce, and is derived from two plants, Corchorus olitorius and Corchorus capsuloris. The presence of this fibre, which, by the way, is an adulterant in extensive use, can be easily detected by the microscope (fig. 13, 6). It has a rougher outline and is much more opaque than flax; it has no definite cross markings, and the cells frequently terminate in a tongue-like shape.

BARIALA is the native name of Sida rhomboiden, which yields a similar fibre in India. The microscopic appearance (fig. 15, a) is that of a regular, distinct, longitudinal structure. It is opaque and slightly woody. By reflected light it presents a pearly appearance not unlike New Zealand flax.

AMBAREE is the brown bemp of Hibiscus cannabinus, and under the microscope (fig. 15, 6) is very similar to the fibre of the Bariala.

The true Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is well known ; and fig. 16 represents the microscopic appearance of tbree varieties : the Russian, Himalayan, and Italian. They are not unlike flax, except as to the transverse markings, in which hemp is usually defective, and, when present, not so decided. It is difficult to distinguish some fine samples of hemp from flax.

Sunx or Bombay hemp (Crotalaria juncea) offers a fibre which microscopically is rather like that of

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Manilla Hemp, the produce of a species of plantain (vol. i. p. 232) called by botanists Musa textilis, presents but little variation from other endogenous fibres, except in the presence of distinct cross-markings (fig. 18, c).

Arenga sacharifera. The figures of these fibres (fig. 19) will render description unnecessary.

It is desirable that the investigations thus commenced should be proceeded with, that a larger number of fibres should be examined, and their characters ascertained, and especially that those already examined should be viewed with higher powers, subjected to chemical action, and viewed under all circumstances. Polarization may bring new features into notice, and boiling in nitric acid should be tried. The figures in the Micrographical Dictionary, which exhibit some of the foregoing fibres after treatment with nitric acid, may be referred to as indicating that the present is only initiative of a larger and more comprehensive work which still remains to be accomplished.

At the last meeting of the Quekett Microscopical Club, a sub-committee was appointed to examine microscopically the different varieties of commercial fibres, with the view of ascertaining if distinct characters could be found whereby one kind might be discriminated from another, and to report thercon.



Fig. 18. 1. Pine-apple; b. New Zealand fax; c. Manilla



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Fig. 20.

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NISH scales are readily available for micro-

scopic objects, and those of the Sole are often recommended; but the scale of the common fresh water Perch is quite as interesting, and less commonly used. Those of the Roach and Dace are by no means to be despised. Scales are generally mounted dry, being first cleaned; but when it is intended to view them with the polariscope, they must be mounted in balsam. There is so much of character in the scales of different species of fishi that it is a matter for surprise that so few of the cabinets of amateurs contain even a respectable series. There are no difficulties to be surmounted either in procuring, cleaning, or mounting them; and perhaps this is one reason why they have not had the attention they deserve.*

Fig. 19. a. Cocoa-nut coir ; 1. Ejoo.

Coin, the product of the cocoa-nut palm (Cocos nucifera), (fig. 19, a), and EJoo, the black fibres which surround the bases of the leaf-stalks and trunk of the Gomuti palm (Sc. Gos., vol. i. p. 77),

* Consult “ Micrographic Dictionary,"p. 607, and "Davies on Preparing and Mounting Microscopic Objects," pp. 53, 78.


A VERY interesting volume, cutitled." The World

before the Deluge,” by Louis Figuier, has recently been translated into English, in a rery satisfactory manner, and published in this country. From this work, which is profusely illustrated, we have borrowed a woodcut representing the Dinornis, i'cstored to what is believed to have been its natural


Fig. 21.


S the water in my marine aquarium requires

aerating pretty frequently, and as syringing is too troublesome, I have contrived a small fountain, of which I send a sketch and description.

D is a wide-mouthed bottle, in the cork of which are drilled three holes. Through these lioles pass respectively the three glass tubes, A, B, and c; the

Fig. 22. The Dinornis, restored. latter reaching nearly to the bottom, the other two only passing through the cork. A is a wide tube

appearance. Writing of the post-pliocene period, with a funnel-shaped top, B is plain, and c is slightly the author remarks: “Two gigantic birds seem to bent at the top, where there is attached to it (by have lived in New Zealand during this epoch. The means of a piece of indian-rubber tubing) a long Dinornis, which, if we may judge from the tibia, tube, E, which is bent up and drawn to a point at its which is upwards of three feet long, and from its other extremity.

eggs, which are much larger than those of the The cork and tubes should fit perfectly. To set ostrich, must bave been of most extraordinary size the fountain in action, fill the bottle, and when it is for a bird. As to the Epiornis, the egg only has full, continue to pour water gently into the funnel been found." until it is above the level of the bend in the tube c, At the meeting of the Zoological Society, held on when a little will flow over into the long leg E of the the 12th of December, Mr. W. H. Flower communisyphon. The water will then of course continue to cated some notes from Dr. Hector, Director of the flow until the level of the water in the bottle falls Geological Survey, New Zealand, upon the bones of below the mouth of the tube c.

various species of Dinornis, which had been exhibited The tube B is for the escape of the air while filling. in the New Zealand Exbibition, recently held at Care should be taken to keep the bottle clean, and Dunedin. free from particles of sand and grit, or these will get We were led into an error in our last number into the pipe and stop the jet.

į (page 282), in stating that the Moa's egg was sold for £120. It is true that this was the highest bidding, young state on the wood when it had been reduced but there was a reserve beyond that sim, and we are to its present figure and magnitude; for the moulds told that the egg is to be repacked and sent back to which remain in their holes appear to be quite small New Zealand, as its owner is not disposed to part at the surface and quickly to grow larger within." with it at the price.

From the engraving the wood would be about five

inches long, and one inchi and a quarter broad, atFOSSIL-WOOD IN FLINT.

tached to a good-sized piece of flint.

J. S., St. Mary Bourne, Hants. IN

a cavation made in this neighbourhood, for the purpsse of getting chalk for the manufacture of

ZOOLOGY. whiting, I met with a fine specimen of fossil-wood

RED-BREASTED FLY-CATCHER (Muscicupa parra). embedded in a large tabular fliut. With difficulty --Mr. E. H. Rodd has addressed the following I succeeded in removing the greater part of it, letter to Dr. Gray, on the occurrence of this bird at together with a portion of adherent flint. The

Scilly :-“It may be interesting to you to know that specimen measured eight inches in length, and seven

another example of Muscicapa parra, very nearly in in circumference. It is silicious throughout, bears

the same state of plumage as its predecessor at traces of bark, and is riddled in places with circular

Scilly, was captured on Sunday week at Trescoe holes, which are filled with pellets of fiint; the holes

Isle, Scilly. The variation in its plumage consists having been most likely bored by teredines before

in the scapularies and wing-coverts being more the wood bad become petrified. As the silicified

decidedly bordered with rufus. This, I think, fibres when microscopically examined exhibit rows

shows it to be a bird of the year. I expect it breeds of circular dots, similar to those seen on the fibres of

in Britain."-- Penzance, Nov. 14. (See also Annals coniferous wood, there is little doubt that the speci.

of Nat. Ilist., 1863, vol. XI., p. 229; Zoologist, men is part of a pine branch. The chalk in which

p. 84:15.) the fossil was found is of the kind known as upper THE GLOW-WORM IN AUSTRALIA.—Those are chalk, as it is interstratified at intervals of about six

mistaken who believe that the little luminous worm feet with densely packed layers of flints, some of

of this colony never displays its light unless the soil which are of immense size, and when broken are

is disturbed. The first time that I observed it was often found to contain beautiful specimens of silici

in the passage at the back of an old bush house near fied arborescent sponge, coloured with oxyde of iron.

Mount Elephant, one very wet night. The rain Some of the hollow nodular flints are lined with ex

had beaten in under the door, and the boards were quisitely coloured mammillated calcedony. The

wet and dirty. I was surprised at the brilliant chalk itself is not very fossiliferous, liaving succeeded light, so like that of the English glow-worm, and in finding only a few Terebratulæ with one or two

having carried one luminous speck into a lighted of the commoner Echini; but the workmen had

room, found it to be from a little whitish, semipicked up from time to time several small pieces of

transparent worm, of which several specimens might petrified wood, which were also found to be

have been collected from the floor and door-posts.coniferous.

Wm. Aileny. That such discoveries are sometimes noticed in

The GLOW-WORM.-It may be worth recording scientific journals would lead to the conclusion that in SCIENCE-GOSSIP that I saw a glow-worm giving petrified wood is not common in chalk. The Geolo

out a brilliant light, last evening, in a hedgerow gical Magazine for July last contains a notice, with

near my house. It was about ñ o'clock. I never a figure of a similar fossil, found also in the Hamp

before saw a specimen later than September.-W. shire chalk, near Winchester. The specimen is now

IV. Spicer, Itchen Tlbas, Hants, Dec. 8, 1565. in the Oxford Museum. Professor Phillips, the BIRD SLAUGHTER. — The President of the writer of the article, describes it as "a fragment Naturalists' Field Club (the Rev. G. C. Abbs) worn and rounded in some of the prominent parts;"

stated on Thursday, at the anniversary meeting of and adds that "it looks like a small portion of a

the club, that he had been calculating the number pine-branch which had been exposed to rough

of caterpillars which the 6,000 sparrows killed by a treatment, so as to present a wasted surface de

member of a "sparrow club” in Essex, and for prived of the bark. It is entirely silicious, and

which he had actually received a prize of 10s., reveals in the utmost perfection the whole of the wonld have eaten. The amount was 6,307,000,000. tissues.” He then continues: "Traversing the woody While the clod-hoppers of Essex are killing sparrows fibres are several short tubular masses, swollen at

by the thousand, the Australian colonists are imthe end, and marked more or less plainly with trans- porting them at a considerable expense from Engverse rings. These are flint moulds in cavities left

land, to act the part of protectors of the crops, and by boring shells, probably teredines. It appears that I thereby of promoters of the comforts of the people. these animals must have begun their operations in a -Gateshead Observer.

FLEAS.-Perhaps S. J. MʻIntire will allow me to of Swists and Swallows (?) were found in the hollow make a sinall addition to the account of the Cat places behind the frame of the clock. A colony of Flea. He says he has not seen the larve of the Swifts always frequented the tower every year, and common flea. Once, in a hot part, where fleas are they had evidently found access to the space behind rather too common,

I found a blanket abounding the wooden frame of the face of the clock, which prowith their eggs and grubs. When I was a boy we jected about a foot in front of the stonework. These took some trouble to see the habits, &c., of fleas. I skeletons were apparently of all ages, most of them, got a glass tube, about two inches long, and put if I remember rightly, full grown, and the feathers some cotton wool lightly into the upper part of it, adhering to them. The sexton brought me a bat with two or three flcas. The other end was stopped full of them, and said there were great numbers of with a cork, and to find them I used to take this them which the workmen had turned out. I regret out and apply the open part to the back of the hand, that I did not examine them accurately at the time, when the fleas made no trouble about coming down to see if they were all Swifts, or some of them and having a feast. In this way I kept them for Swallows. Nor do I know whether Swists and some time, and they laid their eggs and hatched Swallows will breed in harmony in the same places. their larvæ. But the life of these I did not trace But how came these scores of skeletons there? any further. Talking about different kinds of flcas, The only conclusion I could drair was that some of I would mention that our English ones are much the birds every year were either the produce of a lighter in colour than those found in Africa. They second hatching, and so perhaps too weak to migrate attach their eggs to the fibres of the wool or flannel.

with the rest, or else that, having been accidentally Whether they always lay the same number I do not injured, they were unable to encounter the flight to know, but I have one I preserved many years ago, warmer latitudes, and so remained behind and and it has five eggs of a plain oval shape.-E. T. Scott. perished. The appearance of Swallows so late as

the 10th of December is certainly a very remarkLATE APPEARANCE OF SWALLOWS.- Amongst the able occurrence. I have not “White's Natural many characteristics of the extraordinary weather History of Selborne," at hand, to see what is the we have had this year none is more remarkable than

latest date at which he observed Swallows, but I the late period to which the Swallows have remained think the very late period to which they have with us. The main body of them left us at this remained with us this year is worth recording in place on the 10th October. Almost every year it your interesting journal of SCIENCE-Gossip.-T. may be remarked that a few will be seen again Salrey, Dec. 11. about the middle of November, and accordingly this year a few made their appearance on the 12th

GEON ALFONDI.-In my hunts on our coast and 13th November. But on the 4th of this month during tliis week I have had the pleasure of coming a few were again playing about, the weather on upon four specimensof the Anemone Ægeon alforili. that day being remarkably stormy. To my surprise,

On Tuesday, December 5th, I brought home two however, several House Martins appeared again

from the pools, formed by large stones and boulders, yesterday, the 10th. The weather was fine; the on the beach in Porth Crapa Bay, on the south side vind cast; and at 3 P.M., when they were flying of St. Mary's. On Wednesday, the 6th, I found about, the thermometer was 45°. I noticed upon

another in the same wilderness of stones, ncarer this last occasion that they kept in their flight very

low water mark; and on Thursday, the 7th, I came close along the western side of the houses in the upon the fourth in a narrow crevice of a ledge of park here, and were only out between 2 and 3 P.M. granite under the Garrison Hill, running out into They appeared very brisk and lively, but evidently the roads on the north side of St. Mary's. All did not like to get out of the warm stratum of air

these, unlike the first specimens I found, were more immediately in contact with the houses. On the or less imbedded in sand, much after the manner of 4th, however, they were flying high up in the air on

Tealia crassicornis. The bases of all were expanded the castern as well as the western side of the houses, beyond the column, and of a red color. The column the thermometer at that time being to higher

in all is very flexuous and distensible, the surfcae than on the 10th. Naturalists have long been being divided into squares, with fine pellucid lines, puzzled to make out where these late stragglers

each square containing a small crimson vart. The hide themselves, and how they subsist apparently

disc is cup-shaped. The tentacles are long and so long without food; and also whether they flexuous, but much more so in one specimen than eventually migrate, or remain with us till the in the other three. One I found with the tentacles weather kills them. A curious fact in relation to quite hidden, but they were more concealed by the this subject came to my knowledge about twenty swelling of the upper part of the column than by years ago. In removing the framework of an old

their own retraction. As to colour, the columns of clock in the tower of Oswestry Church, in order to all the specimens were much like the one described put in a new clock, the skeletons of many scores by Mr. Pope, but in two red prevailed chiefly; in

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