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whatever may have been the primary root, the Romans, who were much better acquainted with the Greeks than with the Celts, must certainly have taken the word from the Greek, Aglis, which in the plural, Aglites, was the term used for the root or cloves of the garlic. We find the g, which was omitted by the Romans, still retained in its soft form by the Italians in their word for the same plant, Aglio. In French it becomes Ail, in Spanish Ajo, and in Portuguese Alho. This accordance in name may lend us to infer that either the Romans themselves introduced the garlic into their western provinces, or that it had been perhaps taken there before their conquests by Greek mariners, who would have the cloves or root on board their vessels, both as an article of food for themselves, and for traffic with the natives. Garlic was an indigenous plant probably in Lower Egypt, as well as in the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cepa, the specifie name of the onion, and by which it was known separately by the Romans from the Allium or garlic, has the appearance of a Greek extraction also ; Kephalis being the term applied to the head of flowers, prevailing in all the plants of the kind. The Keph becomes Cep from the softening of the consonant before e. The modern Itaļian here also approaches nearer the Greek than the Latins did, and we have cipollo in Italy at the present day, instead of cepa. The Celtic cep, meaning a head, may be the primary root; and, if we rely on this etymology, the onion or cepa may be considered to have derived its name, either from having been looked upon as the principal of its kind, or from possessing the most perfect capitulum or head of flowers. Its habitat was probably more extended than that of garlic, passing perhaps from the Mediterranean islands into northern Greece. A good European flora would shew if this supposition were correct.

The Gothic and Saxon races do not seem to have followed the Latins in their names for these vegetables ; but, adopting their own word, Læk, Look, or Lauch, as a general term, affixed to it some other word denoting what appeared most characteristic in the species they wished to particularize. The leek or prason of the Greeks, the porrum of the Romans, and poireau of the French, was familiar to them. Instead, therefore, of introducing the soft language of the south, they vigorously applied the firm articulations of their own tongue in combinations, to express new ideas, or name new objects as they presented themselves. This rule has not held, howeve in the case of the shallot, which, being probably of later introduction to the northern countries of Europe than others of its genus, and only cultivated in the gardens of the rich, kept amongst the Germans the southern name given to it unchanged.

In closing these observations on the onion or garlic genus, and returning to the point of enquiry first touched upon, I can say that my own belief is that the onions from the banks of the Temiscamingue Lake, if really garden onions, must be descendants of some that have been cultivated on that spot by the Jesuits, or perhaps some shanty-men or intelligent Indians once localed there. In these old Jesuit gardens, flowers of Europe have been found perfectly naturalized, which must have been first introduced by the early pioneers of civilization. These floral bequests, after nearly one hundred years of neglect, have still, by the favor of nature and advantageous situation, kept their solitary hold, beautiful mementos of the pursuits and recreations of the most intelligent of the first enterprising settlers in the land.

ARTICLE VIII.—On the Generation of Sounds by Canadian

Insects. By George GIBB, M. D., M. A., F. G. S., Member of the Canadian Institute, &c.

(Presented to the Natural History Society of Montreal.) Among the most striking peculiarities associated with the study of insect life, which very early attracts the attention of the young entomologist, are the various musical or other sounds and notes which are enitted by many of the genera among the different families of this division of the animal kingdom. In my youthful days I used to listen with an exciting interest to the tuneful song of the Tree-hoppers, Cicada, in the extensive gardens of Mr. James E. Campbell, my maternal grandfather, situated at the foot of the Current St. Mary, on the beautiful Island of Montreal. I watched whence the music proceeded, and stopped not until my curiosity was ultimately rewarded with the capture of one of these insects, wbich have been celebrated from time immemorial, and described by Virgil as rending the bushes with their song :

"Et cantu querulæ rumpent

arbusta cicadæ.” The insect sang as it was held between my fingers, and it was from the possession of this specimen that my taste for collecting insects at an early period was formed. It was not long subse

quently to this that a fine large beetle of a fawnish-drab colour, the Monohammus confusor * rewarded my efforts, and the utterance of a very delicate, but still quite audible squeak like that from a mouse, only not so loud, astonished me very much. This sound continued for hours, whenever the beetle was disturbed, notwithstanding a pin had been passed through one of the elytræ. As my collection increased, many other beetles were discovered to emit similar sounds of varying intensity. But the loudest and most striking note of this kind given forth by an insect, was from a very beautiful and rare species of sphinx, the Sesia Pelasgus or Humble-bee Hawkmoth, and although my collection numbered but one similar specimen given to me, I retained the one which was captured by myself for some time alive to hear its murmurs.

The sounds generated by Canadian insects were never disregarded in my entomological rambles, and it is with a view of drawing the attention of my younger readers to this interesting subject, that I venture to put together a few remarks, which shall embody a brief description of the sounds, and an enumeration of the principal insects which produce them. And here I must be excused for a moment, if I refer back to that period of youth, when all is sweet and joyous, when neither thought, nor care troubles the mind, and nought interests for the time but the ardent pursuit after the studies of nature. It is with feelings of ever cherished recollection that my mind dwells upon my rambles and their connecting incidents over the various parts of my native island, which, perhaps, are agreeably forced upon one during a sojourn in another and a distant land. My insect collecting days are not likely to be resumed in this country, and with a view ter preserve the records of my early labours, the great bulk of my collection is now deposited in the Museum of the Literary and Philosophical Society of St. Andrew's, in Fifeshire, the country from whence my paternal ancestors came.

Of the Canadian insects which emit sounds, unquestionably the most remarkable is the Cicada or Tree-hopper, which sings loudly during the hot months of summer, and in some localities, especially in large gardens, and groves of bushes, exists in great num. bers. Its shrill chirping may be heard during the greater part of the day, when the sun is shining, and the insect may be found sitting on the leaves or small branches of trees, or occasionally on the fences, in all of which situations I have captured them.

• Common in August about the Wood-yards of the city.-Eds.

[graphic][graphic]

Tree-hopper. *

Drums of Tree-hopper. (Cicada canicularis.)

a a the outer drums; b the muscular Natural size.

strings ; c c the inner drums. This insect is not a grass-hopper, as its name is erroneously translated from the writings of Pliny and others, but belongs to the first family of the Homopterous Hemiptera. It has a pair of transparent wings and wing covers, and a shining black body ; the largest Montreal specimens measure 3 inches and 3 lines with extended wings, and the body 9 lines and-a-half. Their general expansion is from 2 to 34 inches, and the veins of the wings are of a green and orange colour. They are not found in such large numbers in Canada as in the United States, where it is said such immense numbers are sometimes congregated, as to “ bend and even break down the limbs of trees by their weight, and the woods resound with the din of their discordant drums from morn to eve.” On the most careful comparison between the Canadian and European species of this insect, I find there is not the slightest appreciable difference in the formation of the musical instrument or particular organ, which is present in the males only on each side of the base of the abdomen, by means of which is produced a sort of monotonous and noisy music, which has led to their being termed by many authors “ chanteuses ” or singers.

It consists of 2 pairs of large plates fixed to the trunk between • Several species of Cicada inhabit the United States and Canada. The Larvæ live under ground on the roots of trees to which they are occasionally injurious. Dr. Harris in bis treatise “ On Insects injurious to Vegetation,” gives an interesting history of the above and several other species.-EDS.

the abdomen and hind legs, these form a large exterior moveable cartilaginous curtain or membrane, which, when raised, exposes a cavity, part of which seems to extend into the abdomen, and part to be covered with a second thin and pellucid membrane, much more delicate than the exterior one, and tensely stretched, plicated, and iridescent. In the middle there is a horny plate running horizontally across the bottom. It is this iridescent membrane which is acted upon internally by a bundle of muscular strings which throw it into rapid vibration, and thus gives rise to the sound. These minule muscular strings are attached by one extremity to another membrane in the interior, which is presumed to be the true drum, from the fact, that when Réaumur*, who is describing the mechanism of the sound produced, compares it to that issuing through an opening like that of the larynx of quadrupeds, or the sound-hole of a violin.

This most curious apparatus has attracted the attention of many of the most celebrated physiologists, and a desire is manifested on the part of some of them to know whether any actual difference exists in its construction in Cicadæ, existing in other parts of the world besides Europe. As Greece and Italy are the two countries in which it abounds, the fami'iarity with its history evinced by Anacreon, Aristotle, Pliny, Virgil, and some other ancient authors is fully explained. There can be no doubt that Aristotle refers to the Cicada, when he speaks of the voices of insects, especially of "a shrill, long-drawn note, like the grass-hopper.” Pliny speaks of the Cicada, but there is no doubt that he, as well as Aristotle has confounded grass and tree-hoppers together.

Whether the sound is pleasing to the ear is a question; assuredly when it proceeds from a number, its shrillness and frequent repetition becomes fatiguing. I cannot say that it was displeasing to myself, perhaps because my curiosity was amply repaid by its capture and examination of the insect, and because I wondered, in common with others, that such a shrill and loud sound should proceed from such a small creature : its music being more audible than that of many birds. In the forests of South America at certain periods of the day nothing is heard but a loud and uninterrupted rustling or humıning noise, produced by various insects, in which the notes of the Cicadæ predominate. Kirby and Spence mention on the autho

• See Cuvier's Animal Kingdom 1849, page 569 for a more minute and strictly anatomical account.

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