Page images
PDF
EPUB

NOTES AND QUERIES. PLASTER Casts.-Can you tell me where I can find any remarks on the making of plaster casts. I want to take some casts of skulls, teeth, and other bones.--J. G.

To Kill SLUGS.-Can any of your readers inform me what chemical preparation it is whicin

, when dropped upon a living slug, destroys its vitality, but preserves it with tentacles extended and colours true as if it were alive?-E. C. I,

ConvocatION OF SPARROWS.- Passing up St. Dunstan's Hill to-day, at 4 P.M., I descried a flock of sparrows on two trees, about 500 or 600 in number. Tliey made a great noise for about ten minutes, and then all flew off, creating quite a sensation among the people. Is such a thing rery, cenimon (especially at this season of the year)? And why do they all flock, and then fly off if it is not common?-J..1.,ju. Dec. 12, 1565.

BEES AND WASrs.-In several places in Belgium the same has been observed as in England--that wasps were not to be scen, and that bees attacked the fruit.-B.

GOOD CEMENT.-H. J. B. asks if any one can recommend a good cement for aquaria ?

FIBRE OF THE COTTON PLANT.-Would it not be possible to extract the fibre of the stem of the cottou plaut (Gossypium herbaceum, &c.)? I believe this is worth an investigation, and I recommend it to all who are acquainted wiihi cotton growers. I tried a small delicate stem, put here in open ground, and got some fibres by beating it. -- Bernardin, Vclle, near Ghent.

[It has been done. Specimens from India were shown at the Exliibition of 1862.-Ed. S.-G.] ·

VISITATION OF SPIDERS.-It may interest your northern correspondent and others to learn that the spiders alluded to at page 282 of your December number have visited the south. On returning from chapel after the morning service on the 12th Novemher last, I observed the railings from St. Thomas's Street to one of the entrances to Victoria Park swarming with almost any quantity of them; but, strange to say, I could not find a single specimen on the leafless twigs of the trees in the park, and tlie railings beneaili them had only here and there one. They were very tame, running, about the hand freely, and leaving it by attaching a thread to its margin, and so dropping down five or six inches, pausing thus for a moment, and then, with almost the speed of a winged insect, mounting high in the air, where their intensely black bodies could be seen in the bright sunlight some yards away. Accepting the belief that the aerial spiders make their flights by the lightness of the silk they throw off, it would be interesting to learn-first, how our little visitors contrived to detach the thread from the hand, or whether they merely held on by it while they spun another thread that was free? Secondly, why the thread from the same creature at one time is a mere rope of suspension, and at another acts the part of a balloon ? "Is it possible that the spiders capable of making these atmospheric ascents have some mcans, liitherto unknowil, of inflating the air sacks

or other part so as to reduce their specific gravity ? I spent some time the following morning in examining the railings, ground, and crevices in the locality where the previous day they had been so plentiful, and yet with the help of ten years' experience in such hunting I could not find a single individual. Their threads were there, stretching from point to point like fairy telegraph wires, that mighit have been put up hy some joint stock enterprise from the realms of Queen Mab; hut of the workmen I saw none, alive or dead. Their task completed here, on what other fields has their great Maker employed them ? -W. H. llall.

ATDIOSPIIERIC PHENOMENON--While trarelling from Oxford, on the London and North-Western Railway, on the 20th July, I witnessed what, to me at least, was a novel phenomenon. The sun was 4 or 5 degrees above the horizon, the time being 7.40 P.M. In the cast a dull haze extended some 9 or 7 degrees above the horizon, and terminated in light flocky clouds; above these the sky was clear. Exactly opposite the place of the sun a beam of light shot up from the horizon, extending across the haze and clouds as far as the clear sky above. In the course of about a minute three or four more beams became visible, apparently radiating from a point, situated as far below the castern horizon as the sun was at the time above the western. The most southerly of the beams appeared faintly tinged with prismatic colours. I turned towards the west, thinking the sight I had witnessed must be il reflection of the “Moses' Horns," so often seen when the sun is on the point of setting, but could not see anything of the kind. The appearance lasted, with varying intensity, for about ten minutes, fading away gradually, and quite disappearing before the sun had set. After the sun was below the horizon, a broad streak of rosy light filled the space before occupied by the beams, as though Aurora, having mistaken the hour, was about again to open the gates of day before Apollo had had time to repos.-W.S., Buckingham.

THE SPAWN Or Doris.-Would the spawn of the Doris (Doris phleta), deposited in my tank, ever hatch? If so, would the young ones grow in an aquarium? The Doris spawned on the 1st of November, Could any of your correspondents answer the above questions?-1V. B.

PRESERVING Birds WITII Wood Acid.- Ir. Newton, of Cambridge, says in his

Hints on making Collections of Eggs”: “Birds may be preserved entire by pouring a few drops of pyroligneons acid down their throats.” I presune this would only keep them for a time, until they can conveniently be skinned. Or would it entirely preserve them without any other process? Perhaps some of your correspondents have tried the plan, and could speak as to its results.-W. F. Saunders.

Cuixa Griss.-I believe different nettles are known under that name. According to Dr. Blumc, the name of tchoum is given by the Chinese to Bæhmeria spicata, Thunb.; and to B. longisprica, Steud. ; the RHEA of Assam is B. nivea and B. tenacissimai, Gaudich.; the TANEN, RAMI, &C., of the Malay is B. tenacissima. Dr. Blume says (in Mus. Ludg. Bat.) that B. tenacissima is produced by cultivation m B. nirea.-B.

[All tliese wames do not represent distinct species. Bchmeria nirea includes B. tenacissima.-En. S.-G.]

SPIIINX CONVOLVULI.-Surely, the Hawk-moth AN ANCIENT SEA-ANEMONE.- In the year 1920 generally known as the Convolvulus Hawk-moth, has the late Sir John Graham Dalzell took from the not a double trunk, or proboscis. For my own part, sea an Anemone (Actinia mesembryanthemum), which I cannot see why it should be called the Unicorn he supposed to be then about seven years old. Hawk-moth, if it had a double trunk; for it is pro- He placed it in a glass, and kept it till be died bably the remarkable length of the proboscis, which at about the year 1952, when the specimen was is quite as long as its body, that suggested the name transferred to Professor Fleming, and on his death of unicorn.-Helen Watney.

il passed into the hands of the gentleman in whose

keeping it, I believe, still remains. Some time ago BLACK BEETLES.-I think that A. H. will find a friend of mine told me that its then possessor was that cucumber peelings form a better bait for black a little oppressed with the responsibility of properly beetles than even beer, as these insects are quite keeping alive such an historically valuable animal, incapable of resisting the smell of the cucumber, and that if I wrote to him, offering to take great care and will eagerly climb the sticks to reach the of it, and to provide it with a luxurious home, it delicacy.-11. J.B. II.

might probably pass into my charge; but the answer

I got was that there was no intention of parting PUCILARDS.-How is it that pilchards are not now with it. I quite forgot the gentleman's name, but to be had in London? Some years back plenty were

if he should read this he will perhaps kindly accept sold. The little dried sticks called capelins," it as an apology for what I did not intend as a piece seem to be the only substitutcs.-R. II. I.

of intrusiveness : I was simply misinformed. Up

to the year 1950 this specimen gave birth to about REMOVING TIIE CUTICLE OF LEAVES.-Can any

700 young ones. I have often thought whether it one tell me how to separate the cuticle of leaves for is possible that Sea-Anemones and some few other mounting? The leaves of some plants offer great

animals nerer die of old age, but only of accident, difficulty, and cannot be stripped off in the slovenly or neglect, cold, heat, hunger, and so forth. I have manner recommended in some treatises.-W. W.R. kept anemones and madrepores for many years--the

same specimens, -and I have never been able to PROBOSCIS OF BLOW-PLY.-In reply to “T. S.,"

detect any signs which may be interpreted as I would say, that of the twelve slides usually

getting old.”W. Alford Lloyd, Zool." Gardens, mounted to illustrate the anatomy of the blow-tly,

Hamburg, Nor. 1865. that containing the proboscis is the most difficult to manage. To succeed, the microscopists must exer

EVAPORATION AND CONDENSATION.-Over the cise some ingenuity, as he is left altogether without vast area, consisting of nearly threc-fourths of the hint or guide by the handbooks as to the method of

whole surface of the earth, now covered by the manipulation to be pursued. I have mounted several,

occan,-an area of 115,000,000 of square miles,and as the method I have pursued may be useful to

there is ever present an atmosphere of aqueous some, until a better be given I freely supply it. But

vapour, which, with the other air, is constantly first I should say, that for various purposes con

being carried 'along by the winds, and at length nected with mounting, I find that pieces of strong

reaches land. In passing over the land the air glass, less than an inch square, with their edges very

becomes changed in temperature and in its electrical slightly ground to take of their cutting sharpness, to

state, and ceases to retain the aqueous vapour be very useful. I cut off the head, and lay it on a

mixed with it. From vapour the water passes into glass slide with a little water, antennæ upwards. I

cloud, and from cloud to rain. Water or rain falls then lay one of the small squares of glass upon the

on the fifty millions of square miles of land, this head, so that its edge may lie along the front edge of

water having previously been sucked up from thrice the head. I then find that, by pressing down the

that area of sea; and the rain that falls in the upper glass, the proboscis will shoot out, and the

course of a single year on the land would, if acculobes of the ligula will expand beautifully, and, in

mulated, cover its whole surfcac to a depth of nearly most cases, just as I require. If the pressure be

three feet.-Ansted's Practical Geology. removed the tongue will relapse to its former condition. I therefore take advantage of the moment

PozzuoLANO is the name given to a natural volof expansion and, with another piece of glass, fix it canic earth or trass, of a reddish colour, originally in the expanded position, and maintain the pressure

found in the vicinity of Pozzuoli, not far from until the water has evaporated, when I supply tur

Naples. Similar material has since been obtained pentine, which gives it a permanent set. If the in large quantities from extinct volcanic districts, tongue does not expand properly, or I fail to fix it i especially at Vivarais, inCentral France, at Brühl, near when expanded, I try another lead, as it is utterly ! Andernach, on the Rhine, and even near Edinburgh. useless to work with needles, for they only tear, and

In the latter case it is also a volcanic material, but mess, and lacerate the structure. I miglit have ex- of very ancient date. It varies in colour, but retains tended the above, so as to be more minute in giving

its miucral characteristics. Ansted's Practical the details, but enough bas been given to guide the Geology. operator, who in other respects may improve by experience beyond any further hints I could give. I NEW SPECIES OF CHARR.-At the meeting of would only say, that I believe by no other method the Zoological Society, on the 28th November last, will he succeed with this object without more than Dr. Günther pointed out the characters of a new usual trouble and care. Lewis G. Hills, LL.B., British species of charr, from Loch Killen, in Secretary Nat. His. Soc., Armagh.

Inverness-shire, for which he proposed the name

Salmo killenensis. ACTION OF FUNGI-SPORES.-Some recent investi. gations by French medical men serve to prove that CRESTED BLACKBIRD.-A specimen of a crested the spores of Fungi introduced into the blood of blackbird was exhibited at the last congress of the the human subject are capable of inducing disease British Association, which it is supposed may evenand causing death.

tually prove to be a distinct species.

[ocr errors]

1

[ocr errors]

H. B.-Cuthill's treatise on the mushroom will give you NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.

the information you solicit. A dark cellar is not essential.

The soil moist, not wet.
All communications for the Editor should be addressed to
No. 192, Piccadilly, W. To avoid disappointment, contribu.

H. H.-- Tetraphis pellucidn is not considered rare. tions should be received on or before the 15th of each

R. H. wishes to exchange land and fresh water shells for month. No notice can be taken of anonymous communi

marine or others.-36, Swine Market, Halifax. cations. All notes, queries, or articles for insertion, must be guaranteed by the name and address of the writer, which

BOTANICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY._." Pritzel's Thesa'irus," pub. may be withheld from publication if so desired.

lished on the Continent, may doubtless be obtained through

some füreign bookseller-Williams & Norgate, Asher & Co., QUERIES.-- Having been inundated with questions, we are

or Bailliere. It is the most complete Bibliography of the compelled to announce that we cannot undertake to answer

Science published. A list of many of the works published those of which the querist might satisfy himself by an appeal | since was continued until lately in the “Natural History to any elementary book on the subject. We are always pre. Review." pared to accept queries of a critical nature, and to publish the replies, provided some of our readers, beside the querist,

W. W.- We are not supposed to know anything of those

who advertise in our ** are likely to take an interest in them.

Gossip" beyond their advertisements.

1.K.-Long lists of desiderata and exchanges must be inWe cannot undertake to return "rejected addresses.'

serted as allvertisements.

M. A.-We expect that“ Biitish Reptiles" will really come

in with the new year, and that you will be able to obtain it on A. G. R.--Your red fungus on Judas tree is Tubercularia

application to the Publisher, at 192, Piccadilly. vulgaris.

R. 0.- The dried specimens of fungi to which you allude J. S.-Scarcely so thin as it should have been.

may be had at the ofice of this journal. There are examples W. A. L. is thanked for his offer, but we receive "Hedwigia” of 100 species, and the price is one guinea. egularly.

L. L.- We regret that your specimens were not named for K. D.-Your shells are those of Littorina obtusata, the you; but suppose that either they were too many, or in an Turbo obtusatus of Linnæus, and Littorina littoralis of Forbes imperíect state. It is possible that they may have been mis. and Hanley. R. T.

laid; but we have no recollection of the circumstance. R. A.--Your black Staghorn fungus from decayed timber is J. S.-The only work, of which we have any knowledge, on Xylaria hypoxylon, very common.

the parasites of birds and animals (Anopleuru) is “Denny's W. B. MAXFIELD would exchange thin, unmounted sections

Monograph," published by H. G. Bohn, of Covent Garden. of turtle, bone for human or ostrich bone, or any kind of

A. T.--We purpose devoting some space during the current sponge spicules.- Address, Stone, Staffordshire.

year to fresh-water fish, with illustrations which will probably APAIDES.-Mounted specimens of Aphides will be sent to

answer your purpose. such applicants as will pay postage for them, by addressing to

S.J.P.-We cannot attempt to answer queries on any other Discipulus, School-house, Mulbarton, Norwich.

subject than Natural History. E. C. and C. B. C.-We do not comprehend your queries.

R. A. C.-If you wish to make any progress in the study of E. G. (Grasmere) sends us an abnormal form of inflores

plants, you had better do what you purpose thoroughly. cence of Geum rivale (Water avens), in which a “flower is

There is no science without technicalities. disposed in a whorl about the stem, two inches below the terminal one." It has been forwarded to the herbarium of the Society of Amateur Botanists.

COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED.--A. H.-L. S.-E. T. S.M. W.--The Micrographic Dictionary is published by

L. L. C.-W. W. S.--O. I. T.-J. R. E.-E. C. Y.-W. A. L. Van Voorst (London), at 45s.

R. H.-L. G. M.-J.A.-J. S.-A. G. R.-H. W. N.-T. S.G. T. P.-We cannot insert such a list as you send, and can W. W.-W. F. S.-R, A.-D. P. A.-J. S.-W. Ross.-K. D.only announce that you wish to exchange Lepidoptera.- E. A.-W. S.-H. B.-E. C.-T. P.-H. W. (Oxford).-Address, 8, Clare Hill, Huddersfield,

G. T. P.-H. H.-M. W.-B. 11.-J. E. Y.-J. A., jun.VALLISNERIA SPIRALIS.- II. J. B. offers fragments of this

C. B. C.-G. S.-H. J. B.-H. U.- Prof. BERNARDIY.plant, as well as Desmids from an aquarium, to correspon

J. W.-E. G.-A, N.--R. 11.-M. A.-I. K.-S. W.-R. 0.dents.-- 44, Camberwell Road, London.

W.A.S.--Annie.-- L. L.-M.A.F.-G. 0.-R. A, C.-W. B.

S, S. T.-W. W.-J. S.-S. J. P. TesTACELLA MANCEI.-A few shells of this mollusk are offered in exchange for those of Testacella Haliotidea, var. Scutulum; or any of the foreign Parmacella.--Address, E. C., 7, Eldon Villa, Redland, Bristol.

CORRESPONDENTS will please to append their own names, or

initials, to their communications, which may be withheld H. J. B.- Mosses may be found almost anywhere. What

from publication if desired; but no notice whatever can be species do you want locality for ?

taken of anonymous contributions. 0. I. T. corrects an error at page 286 (1805). For Althea cerea read Anthea cereus.

BOOKS RECEIVED K. D. - What is “ Crap," of which you inquire ?

“ The World before the Deluge." By Louis Figuier. E. G.–The yellow fungus on bramble leaf is Lecythea (Translated from the Fourth French Edition; pp. 418, 870.,

illustrated.) London, Chapman and Hall, 1865. ruborum, which generally precedes or accompanies the brand.

" The Book of the Pike." By H. Cholm ondeley- Pennell. W. Ross.-Not a vegetable production at all.

ondon, Robert Hardwicke, 1865.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

When autumn days grew pale, there came a troop
Of childlike forms from that cold mountain top;
With trailing garments through the air they came,
Or walk'd the ground with girded loins, and threw
Spangles of silvery frost upon the grass,
And edged the brook with glistening parapets,
And built it crystal bridges, touch'd the pool,
And turn'd its face to glass, or rising thence,
They shook, from their full laps, the soft, light snow,
And buried the great earth, as autumn winds
Bury the forest floor in heaps of leaves.-WILLIAN CULLEN BRYANT.

[graphic]

HE Snowflake, ar- where their elevations exceed the height of 9,000 feet rested in its descent or thereabouts. Where these snows accumulate to and transferred to great thickness, in the valleys, or in the deep mazy the microscope, is an fractures of the soil, they harden under the object of beauty, influence of pressure resulting from their incumand teeming with bent weight. But it always happens that a certain matter for reflec- quantity of water, the result of momentary fusion of tion. The land- the superficial beds, traverses its substance, and this scape which the

forms a crystalline mass of ice, granulated in strucfrost traces during the night ture, which the Swiss naturalists designate névé. with delicate crystals on the From the successive melting and freezing, provoked window-pane is a mystery to by the heat by day and the cold by night, the infilthe child and a marvel to the tration of air and water in its interstices, the névé is man. Here

is exhibited slowly transformed into a homogeneous and skybeauty in combination with coloured block of ice, filled with an infinity of air power. Great agents have bubbles ; this is what is called glace bulleuse, bubbled been "frost and fire” in the ice. Finally, these masses are completely frozen ; physical revolutions of the the water replaces the air bubbles; then the transworld. How they began, and formation is complete; the ice is homogeneous, and where they will end, let us presents those fine azure tints so much admired by leave for speculators to dream, the tourist who traverses the magnificent glaciers and confine our business to of Switzerland and Savoy." the world as it is.

Such are the glaciers which fill the gorges of the After a night's downfall, as Alps, and by a gradual progress move onwards to the far as the eye can scan, everywhere lies the snow. valleys, where they continually melt, whilst at their It makes the leafless trees look elegant, hides the sources they are being as continually replenished. smoke-dried city garden, and buries all evidence of Such the means by which great and important the scavenger's neglect. The town is as trim and changes have been wrought on the surface of the clean as a chimney-sweep in his Sunday shirt, and globe, and such the material for many a castle in the country one vast tablecloth to which birds the air more fragile and evanescent than snow. are the only guests. But under the snow lies, The parallel roads of Glen Roy indicate the action fearful to contemplate, all the unpleasant experi- of the glaciers of Scotland in ancient times, and ences of mud and slop. So “frost and fire ” conduce other evidences may be traced amongst the mounalternately to our pleasure and pain.

tains of Wales. The small experiences of snow which fall to our At one time a notion prevailed in the vicinity of lot are sufficient to remind us of the glaciers and snow-capped mountains that an avalanche might be avalanches of mountainous districts. “The snow brought down by the firing of a gun or the tinkling which during the whole year falls upon the moun. of a bell; that a trifling sound might cause a small tains does not melt, but maintains its solid state, fragment of snow to move, and in its motion down. No. 14.

C

wards to accumulate until it became an avalanche, for the young year. There lie buried the germs which, like that of Val Calanca in 1806, might which shall make our fields green, feed our cattle, transport a forest from one side of the valley to the make our gardens gay, replenish our granaries, fill other, or bring destruction like that of the valley of our tables, store our cellars, and indeed supply all Tawich in 1794, which buried the whole village of the substantial materials for our daily wants. It Bueras “under the snow.”

cannot cause much surprise therefore that, at this Ice has recently been made the subject of a very season of the year, all should feel an interest, though interesting communication to a contemporary, in but few express it, of what lies hidden “under the which the process of crystallization during liquefac- snow.” tion has been thus graphically described :—“Here is a block of clear ice, such as any fishmonger can supply. Rows of air-bubbles can be seen running

THE BELTED KINGFISHER. parallel to each other throughout the mass, and in

(Ceryle Alcyon.) some irregular places there is a fine gauze-like ap

LA

AKE, river, streamlet, and sea-side, are alike pearance produced by a web of minute bubbles.

enlivened in the Far North-West by the This is but the poetical way in which ice expresses presence of Kingfishers. Wherever fish are to be a split; for this beautiful netting is the result of caught, there, attired in a quiet livery of pale-blue, nothing more than some accidental blow. Cutting one is certain to meet with a goodly sprinkling of a slice from the block across the bubbles, let us hold these most greedy fish-eaters. In size, and strength it close to a naked gas-flame, and now let us observe of beak, it far outstrips the brilliant gem-like little it. The lamp of Aladdin could not have wrought a bird, the Kingfisher of our own pleasant streams. more wondrous change. The part before clear and Even staid old Romans looked upon Kingfishers unmarked is now studded all over with lustrous with a superstitious love. Halcyon, the Greek name stars, whose centres shine like burnished silver. A of the Kingfisher, has given rise to the everyday fairy seems to have breathed upon the ice, and saying “ Halcyon-days.” It was believed, the bird caused transparent flowers of exquisite beauty sud- hatched its young in a nest that floated on the denly to blossom in myriads within the ice, and all surface of the water; and, being specially under the with a charming regularity of position. It is the protection of the gods, could at will hush the intangible fairy-heat that has worked this spell. roughest sea, during the period of incubation: The ice was laid down according to the same laws hence the usually calm days near the summer solstice that shape the snow into those beautiful and well- (corresponding to our latter half of May and first known crystalline forms so often to be seen in snow- part of June) were called by sailors Halcyonstorms here and elsewhere. Ice is indeed only an days." aggregate of crystals similar to those of snow, which, The dead body of the bird, kept as a relic, lying together in perfect contact, render each other enabled its possessor to shut up a thunder-storm or invisible and the block transparent. When the quell a household riot. In Tartary, the feathers of heat of the gas-flame entered the slab, it set to work the Kingfisher, worn as an amulet, are supposed to to pick the ice to pieces, by giving it, in certain ensure the wearer the love of any lady he sets his places; a rapid molecular shaking, and the fairy mind on. Had the skin of this little bird so recently flowers which appear in the warmed ice are the sought after to adorn the hats and bonnets of the fair result of this agitation. On à priori grounds, we a like magic power ? should therefore infer that the shape of these liquid There are many who believe even now that the crystals-for they are merely water-would be the body of a Kingfisher, suspended by a thread, will same as the solid crystals which originally built up invariably turn its breast to the North. The the ice. This is found to be the case. The two are savages in North-Western America have wonderful seen to be identical, each has six rays, and the myths relative to the Belted Kingfisher, and use its serrations in both follow the common angle of 60°; crest, attached to bows, as a charm to make the just as the ice freezes, so, under suitable conditions, arrow go true to its mark. it liquefies; the ice-flowers, or negative crystals, ap- It is always a pity to destroy poetic fancies, and pearing in the same plane as that in which they demolish in five minutes the myths-very pretty, if were formed. The air-bubbles in ice show this di- only true—that have existed for centuries. The rection. The bubbles collect in widely distant Belted Kingfisher never has a nest, neither has its layers, marking the successive stages of freezing; British relative, but digs an ugly hole into a mudbetween the layers there is either a clear intervening bank, or, taking forcible possession of one already space, or those perpendicular rows of bubbles excavated, lays its eggs on the bare earth at the end already noticed. Accordingly the ice freezes of the burrow. I have dug out a great many nests parallel with the former and at right angles with from the sand-banks near the Columbia river, and the direction of the latter bubbles."

can safely say, the only impression not likely to be Beneath the snow and the ice we all direct our hopes I readily forgotten is entirely nasal-a potent, pun

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »