Page images

to my surprise, and]I must also add disgust, a large from which the above notice is taken will be black spider (dropped out. Looking at the seat of found in the Entomologists Monthly Magazine, irritation, I could not observe the mark of any December, 1866. Mr. McLachlan is reminded puncture, but there was a red spot at the part that in Italy and the south of France, similar, if not about three-fourths of an inch in diameter. The identical, galls are produced on the elm, sometimes irritation was slight and soon went off. It is not as large as the fist, containing a clear water called always safe to use the post hoc propter hoc argument, eau d'orme, which is sweet and viscid, and is recombut from your late correspondent's description of mended to wash wounds, contusions, and sore eyes. the poison-gland, I think that conclusion may now Towards autumn, when the galls become dry, a be considered correct.—G. 4. W.

residue in the form of a yellow or blackish COMMON TERN (Sterna Hirundo).- I succeeded in

balsam, called beaume d'ormeau, is found, which is shooting a single specimen of the above bird some

said to be recommended for diseases of the chest. short time since in this neighbourhood. With us it

Kirchner (in “Lotos,” 1855, p. 241), calls the is a very rare visitant; no doubt it was driven out

insect Schizoneura lanuginosa, Hart., of which Mr.

McLachlan's S. gallarum-ulmi is probably, a synonym. of its course by contrary winds which prevailed at that time. Scores of people were watching it at

The same authority states that it has a parasite in a the time I shot it.-C. Denny, Kelvedon,

new species of Entedon.-Ed.

FINE Tench.-I succeeded in capturing a fine THE BARN OWL.-In all old barns a hole may be

tench some short time since, weighing upwards of observed in the angle of the roof, made on purpose

two pounds and a half, length eighteen inches, to allow of the owls flying in and out. It is not

girth thirteen and a half inches, and which is now made in the newer barns; but surely it was more

in course of preservation by Mr. H. Rose of Coggessensible thus to encourage these great destroyers of

hall.-C. Denny, Kelvedon, vermin than to shoot them, as both gamekeepers

LATENESS OP MARTINS AND SWALLOWS.—These and farmers now do.-W. R. Tate, Grove Place, Denmark Hill

birds stayed with us remarkably late this year, later

than I ever knew them to stay before; up to the SWALLOWS AND THE CHOLERA.- A correspondent | 14th of November several specimens were observed, whose signature is familiar to tbe readers of SCIENCE

I suppose, owing to the mildness of the season.Gossip, draws attention to the fact that these birds

C. Denny, Kelvedon. deserted those districts affected by the fatal scourge,

BITTERN IN NORFOLK.—I have a fine female and I venture to suggest a reason for their doing so.

specimen of the Bittern (Ardea Stellaris, Linn.) Swallows are insect-feeders, and I have noticed

shot on Barton Broad, Norfolk, 26th November that on the appearance of cholera, flies and other

last. As these birds bave nearly, if not entirely, insects decrease; may not this account for the de

become extinct in Norfolk, I think very probably it parture of the birds? It was a long time ago, the

was blown over from Holland during the gales that first advent of cholera that I remember, and persons

prevailed about that time. Several beautiful were far more nervous about it then than they are

specimens of the Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla at present. I was a very little girl, but can well re

garrulus) have been shot at different parts of Norfolk collect remarks to the effect that, “the cholera had

during the last three weeks, at Cromer, Wroxham, not reached us, because the flies were as numerous

Beeston, Hickling, Mutford, and other places. as ever:” it having been observed that in those

From the numbers already procured, there must towns where the plague raged, there was not a fly

have been a very unusual flock of them visiting us to be seen.-Helen E. Watney.

this winter. The extremities of their wings are GALLS ON THE ELm.-At a meeting of the En

adorned with waxlike tips of a bright red colour, tomological Society (November 5th), Mr. F. Smith

and varying from two to seven on each wing. The exhibited some large galls formed by Aphides, and

tails in some specimens are slightly tipped in the found at Deal, on the elm. On the 24th of July

same manner. Their food here appears to consist last, Mr. R. McLachlan observed numbers of these

of the haws of the whitethorn. It is three years galls on some elms on the banks of the Thames,

since number has been noticed here, when about near Hampton Court. Each was at, or near, the

sixteen were shot.-Stephen Wm. Utting. extremity of a twig. In size they varied from that NESTING OF THE PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla of a walnut to that of a medium-sized potato, of an alba).- For some years a pair of Chimney Swal. irregular shape, green externally, turning to rosy on lows built their nest in an unused chimney; but the side exposed to the sun. They were hollow, three years ago, before their arrival, a pair of and each had a large hole on one side. Internally Wagtails took possession of it, and, spite of an they were half full of liquid. Mr. McLachlan con- endeavour to dislodge them, they reared four young siders that the insect which produces the gall is ones, and have continued to build in the same Schizoneura gallarum-ulmi of De Geer. The account chimney ever since.—John Ranson, Linton-on-Ouse.


WINTERGREENS.-In a fir-wood not far from my BOTANY.

residence several plants of Pyrola minor, Lesser CURIOUS FLOWER.—One of the most singular

Wintergreen, are growing in a patch of a few yards flowers growing in this pretty garden (of the Panama

in extent. I have examined them occasionally, three Railway Company) was an orchid, called by the or four years last past, for the purpose of procuring natives “Flor del Espiritu Santo," or the “Flower specimens for friends. Last season I was somewhat of the Holy Ghost.” The blossom, white as Parian

surprised to find six or eight plants of Pyrola secunda marble, somewhat resembles the Tulip in form ; its

growing in the midst of the other species. I had perfume is not unlike that of the Magnolia, but more

never observed a single specimen before. I cannot, intense. Neither its beauty nor fragrance begat for

of course, be positive that this is the first appearance it the high reverence in which it is held, but the

of P. secunda ; but if it is, it would lead to grave image of a dove placed in its centre. Gathering the

doubts about the permanency of distinction between freshly-opened flower, and pulling apart its alabaster closely-allied species. Is it possible that P. minor, petals, there sits the dove; its slender pinions droop

under certain conditions, stretches out its style till listlessly by its side; the head inclining gently forward,

it becomes P. secunda ? for this length of style as if bowed in humble submission, brings the delicate

seems the principal difference between them.-W.R.

the snowy breast. Meekness and innocence seem em- unusual growth of fungi? In this district (Knap bodied in this singular freak of nature; and who Hill), immense numbers and in great variety have can marvel that crafty priests, ever watchful for any appeared; although, singularly enough, the common phenomenon convertible into the miraculous, should mushroom (Agaricus campestris) has been far from have knelt before this wondrous flower, and trained plentiful. A fir plantation, adjoining the Woking the minds of the superstitious natives to accept the Necropolis, was especially rich in many forms of the title, the “Flower of the Holy Ghost,” to gaze upon larger kinds of fungi. On the side of a recent road it with awe and reverence, sanctifying even the cutting, and apparently springing out of the bare rotten wood from which it springs, and the air laden sand (the mycelium had probably fallen there from with its exquisite perfume? But it is the flower the top of the bank), appeared a group of the alone I fear they worship; their minds ascend not Amanita muscaria, some of large size, the pileus of from "nature up to nature's God;" the image only a bright scarlet hue, and studded with white warty is bowed down to, not He who made it. The stalks excrescences. Amongst the heath on the adjoining of the plant are jointed, and attain a height of from common, were found several examples of the hollowsix to seven feet, and from each joint spring two stemmed Marasmius scorodonius, rather uncommon lanceolate leaves; the time of flowering is in June in this country. But the most remarkable form of and July.-J. K. Lord's "The Naturalist in Vancouver fungus for extent, beauty, and persistency, was due Island.

to a singular cause. Rather more than two months

since, the sleepers (firwood) of a temporary tramTHE TULIP.-It is related that a sailor, having

way, of several hundred yards in extent, and which taken some goods to a Dutch merchant, had a had been down for two and a half years, were reherring given him for bis breakfast; but seeing what

moved, leaving in the shallow trenches, portions of he supposed to be a kind of small onions lying on the

decaying wood. From nearly every trench, sprung counter, the tar carelessly took up a handful, which

up immense clusters of orange cups (Peziza he immediately ate with his dried fish. These proved aurantia), successive crops of which have continued to have been tulips of so much value, that it was

to appear for two months. The earlier growths were estimated a magnificent breakfast might have been

of a dark orange red (even darker than the one given to the heads of the Dutch government for

figured on the title-page of M. C. Cooke's British less expense than the cost of the sauce which the

Fungi); but the later ones were much paler, some sailor so inadvertently took with his salt herring.

being almost yellow. The fierce and sudden way in Flora Historica,

which some of the matured groups, when gathered, Talipat Palm (Corypha umbraculifera). — The ejected their spores, in the form of a minute dustmost majestic and wonderful of the Palm tribe is

shower, was very amusing.-T. N. Brushfield, M.D., the talpat or talipat, the stem of which sometimes

Brookwood, near Woking. attains the height of 100 feet, and each of its enor- ANACHARIS ALSINASTRUM. - We may state a mous fan-like leaves, when laid upon the ground, singular fact that has recently come to our knowwill form a semicircle of sixteen feet in diameter, ledge with reference to this plant; that whereas and cover an area of nearly 200 superficial feet. some time since it was very abundant in the lake in The tree flowers but once, and dies; and the na- front of the palm-house at Kew, it was this season tives assert that the bursting of the spadix is accom- all but supplanted by Nitella flexilis.--Gardeners' panied by a loud explosion.- T'ennents Ceylon. Chronicle, Dec. 1, 1866.

thoroughly free them from all traces of the alkali, MICROSCOPY.

by repeated washings in clear water. They may

then be placed flat between two glass slides, STEPHANOPS, &c.—Referring to your figure in December No., it may be interesting to some of

held together by clips at either end, and suffered

to dry, but without heat, or they will curl up upon your correspondents to learn that the other species

the glass being removed. When thoroughly dry, of Stephanops, viz., S. muticus, was obtained in toler.

take them out and mount at once, to prevent any able abundance by me on Hampstead Heath on the

chance of their curling up again. 12th of last November. At times their movements

To mount in Balsam.- Proceed as before, but were very rapid, but they would often remain so

when dry, soak for a few hours in spirits of turpenmotionless for minutes together that they might

tine, and then mount as usual, leaving a clip upon have been taken for dead, except for a slight ciliary motion which a one-fifth objective rendered visible.

the thin glass cover until the balsam has set hard.

Chloroform and balsam answer well for these They were in company with the beautiful Conochilus

objects. volvox, which objects to confinement so strongly that it commits suicide by breaking itself up, if the WHEAT EELS (Vibrio Tritici).-Several years ago “durance vile” be long continued. The glass slides

a friend of mine gave me a slide containing a large having a deep depression in them keep it alive

quantity of these eels; he also gave me some account longest. I also obtained at the same time a re- of their habits and character, since which I have markably abundant gathering of the more common desired to obtain specimens for my own examination; desmids and Volvox globator. The filamentous

and lately, while in our corn market, I incidentally desmid (Desmidium) may be obtained on Wands- looked into a sack of wheat and saw amongst the worth Common in fine condition.-S. J. McIntire.

perfect grains some black, dried-looking seed of MELICERTA, FLOSCULES, &c.-It may be interest

some kind, which, on closer inspection, proved to be ing to microscopists in search of Infusoria, &c., at

blighted grains of wheat, and on cutting open one this time of year, to know that I found, on the 14th

and placing the contents in water found it was what of November, in a pond behind the temporary

I had been so long looking for. I am not intending church Hampstead Fields, Belsize Lane, the fol

to give a description of them. I have by me about lowing: Floscularia in abundance, Melicerta, Hydra

100 grains containing these little creatures, which viridis, Epistylis, Vaginacola, and many bunches of

are interesting microscopic objects, and I shall be large Vorticella, &c. This, so late in the year, is

glad to supply amateurs with two or three grains, if interesting, and I would advise any one being in

they will send a stamped addressed envelope. The that neighbourhood to visit this prolific pond.

grains will require to be soaked two days in water, G. H. F.

then taken out, cut open, and the contents placed in

a watch glass in water. In two or three hours after VARNISH, AS AN OBJECT.–A drop of the trans- while in water they will display considerable animaparent varnish used by photographers for varnishing tion by twisting about; they then, or before if collodion pictures, forms an interesting microscopic desirable, may be taken out in sufficient numbers, object. The drop should be placed upon a cold placed on a slide, and mounted in Dean's gelatine. glass slide, and viewed with a power of about 200 When this is sufficiently cooled, say from four to diameters. As the spirit evaporates the varnish is six hours, wash off with cold water the gelatine exbroken up into small globules, which settle on the tending beyond the edges of the glass cover, wipe it glass, and are surrounded with exceedingly minute dry with a cloth, and use the liquid varnish brush so globules, exbibiting very rapid motions, in conse- as to make the gelatine air-tight, which will soon quence of the currents produced by evaporation. | dry on, cover this with black asphalt, you will then The slide should be slightly inclined at first, in order have a very neat nice slide-take care that the to spread the varnish, and then viewed upon a asphalt is quite dry before you put it away; place horizontal stage.-J. S. Tute.

a label on the slide and the whole business is ac

complished.---J.J. Fox, Derizes. Fish SCALES.—These are mounted "dry,” and in balsam. If for use with ordinary transmitted light, MOUNTING WHALEBONE.- Mr. E. Davies recomthe first method is preferable, as the balsam renders mends the steeping of whalebone for twenty-four them (generally speaking) too translucent. If, hours in Liq. Potass.," to show the structure. I however, they are required for the polariscope, they have repeatedly tried his plan without success. must be mounted in the latter way. Glycerine The result I have obtained each time has been the might give good results for viewing them by trans. swelling of the section and giving it the appearance mitted light, but I have no experience of this. of gelatine and the destruction of its polarizing pro

To mount dry.–First clean the scales by washing perties. Several of my friends have tried the plan them in a weak solution of caustic potash, then with the same result.-G. M. I.



Self-DENIAL OF CATS.-In answer to "W.F.,"as British Association, held at Leeds on September 22,

to the self-denial of cats in abstaining from taking 1858, a paper was read by Mr. Albany Hancock of

young birds from the nest until they are ready to Newcastle, on certain vermiform fossils found in the Ay, I could give him many instances noticed by mountain limestone of the North of England, and

myself. I have a large cat, which I have very which afterwards appeared in the “Transactions of

frequently seen in this particular most self-denying.

I have noticed this cat attend regularly many nests, the Tyneside Naturalist Field Club," vol. iv., with

beginning his attentions soon after their commenceelaborate illustrations. Your correspondent will find ment, and continuing it (and that most regularly) in this paper a different solution for these mysterious

both during the time occupied in building, and also

that of incubation; and having carefully noticed the markings to the prevailing opinion that they are

cat during that time, I never once have known bim "worm borings” or “worm casts." Mr. Hancock

to satisfy his murderous appetite until the young was struck with the appearance of some track-like were just about to quit the nest; and then, one by markings on the sand of the sea-shore, which, after

one, the unfortunate fledglings have been carefully

abstracted and devoured with the most self-satisfied patient and careful investigation, be discovered to

air. Not only in one case, but in numberless cases, arise from the borings of a small crustacean--one of have I watched this cat, and with exactly the same the Amphipoda—something like a common sand- result; and have upon many occasions (upon dishopper, but not quite so long. He watched the covering the placing of the first few twigs of a nest)

been obliged to tie brambles round the trunk of the whole process of the little creature's operations,

tree to prevent the attentions and active interand saw the sand rise on its being pushed upwards ference of “Peter.”—W. A. S. by the animal's back, while the arch or tunnel thus formed partially subsided as it passed onward, and,


the following receipt (Dr. Carter's), taken from the breaking along the centre, a sort of median groove

third edition of Dr. Beale's excellent book, “How was produced. This crustacean has been named to Work with the Microscope: Suleator arenarius. The fossil markings seen on Pure Carmine .... 1 drachm. the carboniferous slabs have exactly the appearance Liq. Ammon. fort. 2 drachms. and structure of the galleries made by arenaria, or

Glacial Acetic Acid.. 1 drachm 26 minims. such as might be expected to result from similar

Solution of Gelatine

(1 to 6 of water).. 2 ounces. operations in a more coherent substance than plain Water

l} ounces. sea-sand, and Mr. Hancock concludes “that if the

Dissolve the carmine in the solution of ammonia tunnel-tracks were formed in a tenacious material, and water, and filter if necessary. To this add an their walls would not entirely collapse, but the ounce and a half of the hot solution of gelatine, and cylindrical form would be more or less retained. It

mix thoroughly. With the remaining half ounce of

gelatine solution mix the acetic acid, and then drop is, therefore, fair to suppose that the sedimentary

this, little by little, into the carmine solution, stirring matter, as it was being deposited, would gradually briskly during the whole time.-J. J. R. find its way into these lengthened tunnels or burrows after their submergence, and ultimately fill them

SKIPJACK (SCIENCE GOSSIP, vol. i. p. 69) is the

Gasterosteus saltatrix, Linn. up; but the particles of such infiltrated matter, having a different arrangement from those forming WAR-BIRD (SCIENCE GOSSIP, vol. ii. p. 46).the general mass of the rock, the phenomenon pre

Major Ross King, in a recently-published work, sented on breaking it up into slabs would neces

The Sportsman and Naturalist in Canada,

bestows this name upon the Scarlet Tanager (Pysarily occur—the casts of the tracks would become

ranga rubra, Swains); but I think that the descripisolated, like the fossil remains of any organic body, tion extracted from the “Backwoods of Canada or might be left in relief in either the upper or the

can hardly apply to this bird.-H. G. O. lower slab.” This very plausible theory seems to

GRAND LORY (SCIENCE Gossip, vol. ii. p. 213).answer your correspondent's inquiry, and accounts

I am convinced ibat the bird inquired about was for the character he alludes to, viz., “being in bas- the Psittacus grandis, Linn.-H. Ĝ. relief,” and that a “broken line should show at the

PAGODA THRUSH (SCIENCE GOSSIP, vol.ii. p. 213). point of fracture a compressed circle.-A. W.D.,

-This is the Turdus pagodarum, Linn., called by Seaham.

Jerdon Temenuchus pagodarum. In Madras it is CLAYS are largely derived from felspars, and

called the “Brahmin's Myna,” or “Black-headed felspar itself has perhaps been originally derived

Myna,” and I have also heard it called “Rajah

Myna.”-H. G. from still older clays. Granite, gneiss, basalt, clay-slate, and some other metamorphic and igneous

ATHELA OF BABYLON (SCIENCE GOSSIP, vol. ï. rocks yield clay soils on decomposition. This is

p. 214).- The ancient tree alluded to is Tamarix

orientalis, Forsk. The Egyptian name is said to be owing to the facility with which the sand and other

Athlè. It is known to the Arabs as “ Asul ;” but minerals mixed with the clay are carried away on Burckhart, Lynch, and others give the Arabic name disintegration, leaving the clay behind.

as turfa or tarfa.Bangalore.

[ocr errors]


MOUNTING IN BALSAM.-I am convinced by my but it came from 39, Queen-street, Lincoln's-Inn' own experience that any-one who wishes to attain Perhaps the notice of this may prove useful.proficiency in preparing microscopic objects, must E. T. Scott. rely upon himself, and not upon directions in books. The latter are often more a hindrance than a help. A TENACITY OF LIFE IN A FLEA.—A few days mounting instrument,” a. water-bath,” a “spirit- since one of these irritating little creatures attacked lamp," a "slider-forceps," "air-pump,” and all a member of the genus Homo, and while in the act the other implements usually recommended, are ex- of piercing the skin, the individual placed his finger pensive to obtain, and practically useless when got. on it, and put it into a basin full of clean water. For most purposes, a penknife, à camel-hair brush, This was about eleven o'clock p. m. Next morning a pin, and a candle, will be found sufficient. Tó it was found at the bottom of the water, to all apfollow the advice of some writers, it would require pearance quite dead. It was then put into an a month or six weeks to prepare the proboscis of a envelope, and placed in the gentleman's waistcoat fly. First it must be steeped in potash; then it pocket for inspection at his leisure. An hour or must be washed in water, after which it will take a two afterwards the envelope was examined, when out fortnight to dry, Then it must be steeped in tur- jumped the animal with all the agility for which the pentine for another week, and dried again before it genus Pulex are remarkable, after having been is mounted. To harden the balsam, the slide has under water ten hours. Not being an amphibious now to be put “in a warm situation, where it may animal, I cannot understand upon what principle it remain from “May till September," and then not could escape drowning; having spiracles and a trabe hard. By the plan I adopt the whole of this cheal system it would appear impossible that these business may be performed in a few minutes. The should not fill with water, and thus kill the little length of time the object must remain in the potash creature; but it was not so; it still lives.-J. J. Fox. will depend upon its texture; but when it is taken out of the potash, if it is washed with turpentine instead MOUNTING IN BALSAM.- The difficulty experiof water, it may be mounted immediately. The tur- enced in mounting with Canada balsam may arise pentine most effectually clears it of the “milky ap- in several ways; the most probable is, that the balsam pearance,” which forms the difficulty of “T. B. N." employed is genuine that is to say, in its thick state; Having washed the object with turpentine until the as imported, such a specimen will not acquire solidity milky appearance is gone, place a little balsam upon so rapidly as is absolutely necessary for the purpose. the glass slip, hold it over the candle until the Another cause of indifferent mount may be that the balsam boils, then place the object in it, and put on vendor has diluted the pure article with commercial the cover. When the slide cools, the balsam will spirits of turpentine; and although this is to a cerbe perfectly hard, and the specimen may at once be tainty preferable to the undiluted balsam it is by no cleaned for the cabinet. The whole of this process, means satisfactory. If your inquirer will attenuate from tbe taking of the object out of the potash to


pure balsam with camphor (a highly rectifying the finish, may be performed in about five minutes. spirit of turpentine, until it acquires a consistence a Of course, expertness at the work is gained only by little less limpid than olive-oil, he will be, as I have experience; and every preparer will have a way been, perfectly satisfied with the result. I prepeculiar to himself. The answer to James W.Impey sume its superiority is due to the increased soluis :- The hardening of the balsam depends upon the bility which it acquires by the addition of the amount of heat applied to it, and this must be regulated camphor. I ought to observe that, having mixed by the state of the balsam and the nature of the object. as above, the compound should not be used until And if “ T. B. N.” will wash with turpentine instead perfectly clear (it will become so after a few hours). of water, the “milky appearance

» will cease to

-W. R. trouble him.-T. Craggs, Gateshead.

BLUE BIRDS OF GALILEE.- I see that a correCEMENT FOR SLIDES.- I see amongst several spondent in a late number inquired what was the correspondents, J. W. Impey complains of the time

blue bird of Galilee." I suppose that fancy may be balsam takes to harden; and so it will; and even allowed some scope in the question, but as a matter after it seems hard, a very slight degree of warmth

of fact there are but two birds to which it can be will soften it. I venture again to mention the way

applied—the blue Thrush (Petrocincla cyanea) which in which I set a great majority of objects. I put

is scattered about the Galilean hills and glens in them on the slide very slightly damp, put some small numbers all the year round, and the Roller balsam over them, and the glass at top; and gently (Coracias garrula) which is very common over the heat them till the water boils away: the balsam

whole country in summer only The Sun-bird takes its place. The vapour of the water takes (Nectarinia osea) is quite out of the question. It is most of the air away, and a little manipulating with not blue, and it barely exists in Galilee; one or two the thin glass removes the rest. This done, the pairs merely straggling into the neighbourhood or balsam sets hard at once, and three or four minutes

the Lake of Galilee. It is a bird of the Lower Jordan will finish the slide.

valley and Dead-Sea basin strictly, and even there I see some of your correspondents find difficulty

will only be seen by those who look closely for it.

H. B. Tristram. in dissolving india-rubber, and it is a troublesome thing to do unless they get the right kind of naphtha. ["T. G. P." writes to us again in support of his If they use india-rubber which has been dissolved,

opinion that the bird alluded to by Renan, as "so they will find it easier ; but it is best to buy it. small and light that it can rest on a blade of grass Some years ago I wanted some cement to put round without bending it,” must be some such small creaslides in which glycerine was used, and, for want of ture as Cinnyris osea.] something better at the time, I used the contents of a bottle of preserving waterproof varnish for shoes ; BIDYUSK (SCIENCE GOSSIP, vol. ii. p. 214), called I found it do very nicely, and have used nothing else in Persia and the gardens of Northern India, Bedsince. It dries quickly and tough, and doesn't peel mooskh (“Royle Illustrations,” p. 345), is Salix off the glass. I cannot tell the name of the maker, Egyptiaca.-8. G.

« EelmineJätka »