Page images
PDF
EPUB

21

[ocr errors]

which wears perhaps the most perfect disguise is a little shapeless lump of mud or stick. The vorathe Onychocerus scorpio. This beetle is common cious Mantidæ are often concealed in a similar in South America, and was found abundantly by manner. Many have the thorax broadly dilated, and, Mr. Bates on the banks of the Amazon, but always with the wing-covers, coloured like a dead or a green clinging to the rough bark of one kind of tree, leaf; and one has large brown legs and small wings, called by the natives Tapiribà. This bark was so so that it looks more like a cluster of bits of stick closely imitated by the beetle itself,-its elytra and and withered leaves than a living insect. thorax being tubercled and coloured so as exactly to match it, and the insect clinging so closely as to form, apparently, one surface with the tree, that Mr. Bates assures me it was often absolutely impossible to detect it by the closest inspection as long as it remained motionless!

Many of the Tiger beetles, although they are such conspicuous and beautiful objects in our cabinets, are well disguised when in their natural stations. Our commonest species, Cicindela campestris, is fond of grassy banks, where its green colour makes it difficult to see it. Cicindela maritima is almost exactly the same colour as the sandy shores it haunts. The large Cicindela heros frequents the mountainous forests of Celebes, where its brown colour exactly matches with the dead leaves that cover the ground. The magnificent velvety-green Cicindela gloriosa was captured only on wet mosscovered rocks in the bed of a mountain torrent in the island of Celebes, where it was very difficult to see it. The pale-coloured Cicindela Durvillei was found on coral sand of almost exactly its own colour; and I noticed generally that, whatever the colour of the sand or the soil, the common Tiger beetles of the locality were of the same hue. A most remarkable instance of this was a species which I found only on the glistening, slimy mud of salt marshes, the colour and shine of which it matched so exactly that at a few yards' distance I could only detect it by the shadow it cast when the sun shone!

Several Buprestidæ of the genus Corchus resemble the dung of birds freshly dropped on leaves, and I have often been puzzled to determine whether what I saw was worth picking up or not. Mr. Bates tells us that Chlamys pilula cannot be distinguished from the dung of caterpillars. Our own Onthophilus sulcatus is very like the seed of an umbelliferous plant, and the common Pill beetle (Byrrhus pilula) would be taken for anything rather than an insect. We must now turn to the Orthopterous insects,

Fig. 197. Stick Insect. which contain some of the most surprising cases of disguise yet discovered. The true Walking Leaf | The true Phasmidæ, or Stick-insects, are the most has been already described at the commencement of curious, perhaps, of all, and they are much more this article, but there are other insects of a quite abundant in the eastern forests than the Leaf. different structure which almost equally resemble insects. They vary from a few inches to a foot leaves, as shown by the names given to them by the long, and are almost always of the colour and shape old writers; such as Locusta citrifolia, L. laurifolia, of pieces of stick, the legs forming the branches. L. myrtifolia, &c. Acrydium gallinaceum, from the One of the most curious facts connected with them Malay Archipelago, has an immense erect leaf-like is that they seem to know that if they rested in the thorax; A. platypterum has wings like the most beau- symmetrical attitudes in which they are always tiful smooth green leaves; while A. gibbosum is like I drawn, with their legs spread out uniformly on each

WE

side, they would soon be detected. They are ac- ! These curious facts prove that we have yet cordingly found stretched out motionless in the much to learn as to the causes which determine most unsymmetrical manner possible-one leg out the colours of animals, and it is to be wished on one side, and two on the other, for example, the that a few of our young naturalists would exremaining legs fitting so closely to the body that they periment on some of our commonest insects, appear to form one piece with it. They lay generally rearing them from the egg exposed to the influence across leaves and twigs, as if they had accidentally of differently coloured objects and carefully registerfallen there from some dry branch overhead ; and so ing the result. In this articlc I have only been impossible is it to detect them by the eye that I able to call attention to some curious facts in the used to make it a practice, when walking along in colouring of insects, and more especially to the the forests, to touch every suspicious bit of dead disguises which serve to protect them from their stick I saw loose on the foliage, as the only means of enemies, or enable them more easily to entrap their finding out whether they were real sticks or Stick- | prey. Such of my readers as may wish to know insects. Sometimes they are exactly the colour of more of this subject, and may desire to learn how lichen-covered branches, and are covered with little these strange modifications of form and colour have foliaceous expansions. One that inhabits the probably arisen, are referred to an article in the swampy forests of Borneo has these of a beautiful Westminster Reriew for July last, on “Mimicry, and olive-green colour, so as exactly to resemble a other Protective Resemblances among Animals," in creeping moss or jungermannia ; and the Dyak who which the most recent views of Mr. Darwin's brought it me assured me it was very curious, for disciples are fully explained. he had never before seen an insect grown all over with moss while alive! I was quite as much

PRIMEVAL BRITAIN. astonished as he was, for I could hardly believe my eyes, and it was only after close and repeated ex- ! TN the April number of SCIENCE-Gossip there amination that I could convince myself it was not a ' 1 appeared a very interesting extract from Campreal plant that covered the animal. This insect bell's “Frost and Fire,” treating of a legend reloses all its beauty when dried, and it has been corded in the Gaelic poems of Ossian, and in the very poorly figured by the Dutch naturalists, and folk-lore of the Irish, Welsh, and Highlanders. very, inappropriately named Ceroxylus laceratus, | This story asserts that in Ancient Britain, in from its torn and shaggy appearance in the pre the days of Fionn, and in the “Feinne” (which served specimens.

may be taken to mean, I suppose, the dynasty In the deserts of Egypt are some curious Man- | which he founded or the domain over which he and tidæ which are so exactly the colour of the soil they his posterity ruled), there lived men and animals of live upon that the closest inspection can scarcely gigantic stature. This curious tradition, like most detect them. It is even stated that where the soil others, is probably founded on a truth which, wben changes from brown to white or yellow in a few discovered, might greatly increase our knowledge of yards' distance, the insects change also, and always the early history of our race and land. correspond in colour to their habitation. The While Mr. Campbell quite sees reason, from the caterpillar of a European moth, Bryophila algæ, is remains of large fossil animals which have been dissaid to change in a similar manner, being yellow covered in this country, to believe the latter part of when found on the yellow Lichen juniperinus, but the legend, he finds the former part, viz., the supgrey when on the grey Lichen saxatilis. In this position of a gigantic race of men, incredible. Now case, however, the food may probably produce the it has; occurred to me that the very name of the change of colour, as it is known to do in some other monarch under whom this state of things prevailed larvæ. Some cases more to the point have been is the key to the enigma. Surely this Fionn is no observed by our artist, Mr. T. W. Wood. He other than the personage to whom almost all the states that the chrysalis of the common Tortoise. | old Erse legends relate, viz., Farsaidh, Finiusashell butterfly is of a very different colour accord. | Farsa, or Phenius the Sage--the personification, in ing to its position. When attached to a nettle, it is fact, of the rule of the Tyrian (Phenician) traders, of a golden colour ; when on a wall or fence, mottled whose attainments must have appeared so wongrey; and when on a tarred paling, nearly black. derful and gigantic (to use a material comparison) Once he placed some larvæ of the Swallow-tailed to the native Irish. It is well known that uncivilized butterfly in chip boxes, where they changed into nations regard those who have attained more knowchrysalids; but, strange to say, instead of being ledge than themselves as giants in intellect; and it green or dusky, as they usually are, they were of is perfectly comprehensible how this reverence for exactly the same colour as the inside of the box, superior intellectual power should become changed in without any marking whatever. Some of them pro- time into an actual belief in their superior stature. duced very fine butterflies, which shows that they | In the sense of "learned” or “ gifted” man, the were healthy.

word “giant” is frequently used in Scripture. If

however, a literal interpretation of the word "giant” | Siberia. The large animals of the bovine species, should be insisted on, it is not at all impossible to with which our ancestors, to judge from the legends conceive that the gigantic races of Canaan—the which reach us at the present day (“Guy and the Emiin and Anakim-took service with the Phe. | dun cow,” &c.), had such terrible conflicts, are nicians as mercenaries, in the same way as Goliah nearly extinct. The auroch is only known to exist and his family appear to have been employed by the in two or three imperial forests in Lithuania and Philistines.

Poland; the "ox with the high promontory” of The Greek geographers relate that Carthaginian Celtic legends, probably the bison, is now confined artificers and husbandmen left the Punic colonies in to North America, and is being rapidly extirpated Northern Spain to settle in Ireland; and this immi- | there; the indigenous wild ox only survives at gration into that country must have been carried on Chillingham Park, in Northumberland, and at to a large extent, to affect, as it has done, the native Hamilton Palace, in Lanarkshire. The wolf is the only language; for modern Erse is nearly pure Punic. animal, of those previously mentioned, of whose exThe native legends attribute the first colonization tirpation in Britain there is any record in history. of Ireland to three fishermen from Northern Spain; The last was killed in Scotland by Sir Ewen Cameron and it may be that this is true, since Rennell's of Lochiel in 1680; in Ireland they survived till Current, a branch of the Gulf Stream, runs directly 1710. from Biscay to Cape Clear. The Irish bards em The bones and antlers of the elk are found in the bodied in their songs a tradition that part of the peat-bogs of Ireland and the Isle of Man, in excelcountry was once in the possession of settlers called lent preservation; but we have no records of their “Phenies,” who came from Spain ; and it is thus existence in our land, even in the time of the owing to the dim recollection of the glories of the Romans. colonial empire of Carthage that the modern Irish Nothing is more striking than the similarity berebels took the name of “Fenians.” St. Jerome says tween the animals and plants of Northern Europe that “Poenus," a Carthaginian, is clearly derived and North America. This fact seems to point to from the term “Phenician.”

the union of the two continents at some distant When we proceed to examine the attributes as- date. Mr. Murray, in his work on "The Distribucribed to this Phænius by the Irish traditions, we tion of Mammals,” tells us that Shetland shows discover that they strikingly coincide with the evident signs of having been once inland; and to known characteristics of the Phenicians. For in make it so again a rise of only seventy fathoms is stance, he is said to have loved learning, invented necessary, which would connect it with America by the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets, and to way of the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland. have held commercial dealings with Syria and In North America we find the dwarfish Esquimaux, Africa. The Phenician race had its two capital who are one and the same people with the Lapcities in Syria and Africa, was the most commercial landers of Northern Europe; and in both continents one on the face of the earth, the reputed inventor we find the bison (fossil in Europe), elk, reindeer of letters, and probably, from its wide dealings, (called “cariboo" in America), beaver, polar bear, greatly skilled in philology. Even in dress and and several smaller mammals. personal appearance, the likeness between the

F. A. ALLEN. Irish and the inhabitants of Northern Spain is most marked at the present day. The red cloaks of the

BITTEN BY A VIPER. women and the variegated plaids of the men, which the Irish formerly wore and the Gael still wear, are T HAT fatal results have followed the bite of the usual articles of dress in Northern Spain. Pro

the viper, the records of many a country bably at the time when Ireland was thus occupied surgeon's note-book, I am satisfied, would show : by the Phenician colonists, the gigantic elk, auroch, that death has been the immediate consequence of bear, and wolf were alive in the dense forests the bite, in all cases, I am not so certain. That conof the two islands; if not the hyena, mammoth, stitutional and other predisposing causes, in certain rhinoceros, and great cave tiger of Britain, whose cases, will render a fatal issue inevitable to some bones have been found in the drift or gravel persons when so bitten, cannot be doubted; and so stratum at Brentford and elsewhere. This last will these causes influence the course and terminaanimal was of the feline race, as large as the largest |tion of the effects resulting from the infliction of African lion or Bengal tiger-probably some other injuries upon the human body; e.g., punctures thing between the two, like the puma, but with from rusty nails, thorns of some shrubs, the sting of stronger-knit limbs. It is not necessary to suppose the wasp or bee, and the bite of the common flea and that the climate was much warmer when it lived bed-bug, or other insects. Cases have come under here than it is now, since the tiger at the present my notice where severe constitutional disturbance day often follows herds of antelopes to the verge of and much local suffering and inflammation bave perpetual snow in the Himalayas, and goes far into | resulted from the sting of a bee, inflicted upon the

palm of a healthy young man; and I am no stranger At times, a low form of delirium existed, and the to the feverish excitement and severe local irritation tongue was dry and brownish. Increased attention resulting from the bites inflicted by bed-bugs in was given to the poor fellow, and on the extension discharge of their allotted task. I destroy all such of the morbid action over the entire limb—from pests when they intrude upon me, and I cannot fingers to shoulder-several long and free incisions imagine that many are of Mr. Ullyett's way of were made through the distended and discoloured thinking respecting the viper, and care to protect so integuments, so as to prevent sloughing of the obnoxious a reptile,-for, independent of his inter whole, and also to give vent to the dark-coloured esting cases as to the comparative harmlessness of and fætid sanies which had accumulated from disthe reptile's bite, I fancy many instances could be organization of the cellular tissue. Much relief produced where it would be seen that the viper's followed these incisions, and charcoal and other bite is a malignant and a deadly one. The recollec poultices gradually corrected the fætor of the distion of the following case induces me to imagine charge; while, at intervals, considerable portions that the venom of the viper, when fairly introduced, of the cellular tissue sloughed away through the is capable of producing death, or a very close openings mentioned. All this anxious period the approximation to it, to the person so injured. Some patient required the closest attention and care; the sixteen years ago, while residing in Essex, a healthy, delirium, restlessness, and tendency to collapse industrious, and temperate labouring man, came were combated by the rather free use of opiates, under my notice, he having, some twelve or fourteen ammonia, brandy, strong beef-tea, &c., until after hours previously, been bitten by an adder on the the lapse of ten or twelve days, when the danger, dorsum of his right hand, about an inch above the once so great, was considered as past, and a decrease first joint of the middle finger. The man's age was in our solicitude took place. about 36 years, and he had enjoyed very good health. However, some six or eight weeks were consumed for several years, not during this period being before he could resume some of his duties as a farm necessitated to absent himself from his daily labour. | labourer, and then only with an enfeebled limb, and He was, when bitten, in the enjoyment of his usual one marked with distinct scars, which will ever good health, and he was engaged in the fields cut remind him of the danger he had experienced from ting some fagots or dry stubble (I forget just now the bite of a viper. Against the whole tribe the man exactly which), but he came upon a group of adders; vowed vengeance. one of these sprang at him, and seized his right Now, although this case of being bitten by a hand, as mentioned; he shook it from him, and viper had not a fatal termination, I fancy it will killed it. He sucked the wound well, but not im- | not acquire any increased toleration for the reptile mediately after he had rid himself of the reptile, from those who may read its details. Had the man but after he had destroyed it, so that absorption of been less robust, or been deprived of ordinary care the virus was complete. Soon after this he began and attention, I fancy a fatal result would have to experience a sense of burning and stabbing pain been recorded. Supposing the reptile bad bitten a in the hand; the arm also became heavy and stiff. child instead of the man, death would then have The wound gradually assumed an angry look, while been certain, i.e., if we may judge from the the hand became much swollen.

symptoms reported. When I saw him he was in bed; the bitten mem Sir Charles Bell, I think, like to Mr. Ullyett, has ber had been placed in a warm poultice of herbs : expressed his belief in the non-fatal effects of the the man was feverish, flushed, and excited-the viper's bite; and while respecting Mr. Ullyett's pulse being small and rapid, the tongue and fauces humane motive-the protection of the creatures he parched; he was very thirsty. A sedative was given studies--I must confess, from the recollection of to him, and a free but guarded supply of ammonia, the above case, that I should be induced to destroy with brandy, given at rather frequent intervals. A the reptile whenever and wherever I might see it. faint and bright redness was extending up the fore. It has a bad, a very bad character, and is, there is no arm, nearly to the elbow, and some marked amount gainsaying it, a dangerous reptile ; and from some of swelling also was clearly present. A large linseed resemblance it has to the common and harmless poultice was applied over the entire limb, from the snakes, it passes its own demerits upon its harmfingers to the elbow.joint. He passed a restless less and certainly useful congeners, who are acnight, and next day at noon the hand and forearm cordingly sacrificed needlessly by all who believe were greatly swollen, the hand being mottled with all snakes to be, like the viper, poisonous. green and yellow on a dusky red ground; the wound

FREDERICK HALL. on the dorsum was sloughy, and discharged a dirty | The writer of a very interesting article (“Bitten coloured sanies. The forearm was much swollen by a Viper") in your issue for last month, says and discoloured, but less so than the hand. Inflam- that when he suggested that the viper's bite should matory and morbid action was extending up the be sucked or cauterized, his friend asserted the usearm; it was dusky-red in colour, painful, and swollen. I lessness of these expedients, excepting, perhaps,

in partially alleviating the effects of the poison-
"Since,” he said (I quote from memory), “the very

TOADFLAXES. first pulsation, after the bite had been inflicted, September woods, September skies, so soft and sunny all! would carry a portion of the poison into the circu. Unfaded and unfall'n your leaves, and yet so soon to fall. lation.” Now as the matter referred to is of con

Ah! what avails that dying smile which gilds your fading

green, siderable importance, perhaps you will permit me to

While Winter peeps, like Death, behind, to shut the fare. say that my own experience connected with snake

well scene ! bites-extending over a service of sixteen years in the East Indies-does not coincide with the asser

M'HE wane of the year is again upon us: the

1 tion of the above writer's friend.

fields, cleared for the most part of their "golden I have myself treated four cases of cobra-bites |

grain," present a forlorn appearance; and the among my native servants and the men of my regi.

shortening days, as well as the gorgeous hues of the ment; and in all the cases I found that 'speedy

fading leaves, tell us that Autumn has indeed cauterization with liquor ammonia fortior, combined

arrived. There is always a certain amount of sadwith small doses of brandy at short intervals, and

ness associated with the ingathering of the corn ; making the sufferer walk about for half an hour or

we feel that the full beauty of the year has departed, more after treatment, always succeeded in checking

and in the stubble which remains we seem to find bad consequences. A tourniquet was at the same

an intimation of the coming Winter. Not that a time applied above the bite (in my cases all four

stubble-field is, in itself, dull or gloomy; for many men were bitten in the leg), and kept tightly

a bright flower, hitherto concealed by the waving screwed up till the caustic had done its work. It

corn, now appears in great force; but still there is is possible that merely sucking the wound might

an air of desolation about it which we cannot overnot suffice to remove the poison (to say nothing of

poison ito say nothing of look. We must therefore study the more carefully the risk caused through any abrasion, however

the remaining flowers, in which almost every day slight, in the mouth of the operator); but I feel

marks a diminution, and may appropriately select sure that the prompt use of a ligature above the

for consideration in the present paper the British wound, and the application of liquid caustic to the

members of the pretty genus Linaria. bite would, in almost every instance, suffice for a perfect cure-certainly in the case of a bite from a common viper, whose venom has not the activity of that of the cobra di capello.

On a person being bitten by a snake, the poison is not at once admitted into the circulation. Nature endeavours by every means to prevent its entrance into the blood. The effusion of blood, on the bite being inflicted, is an effort on her part to wash out the veins, as it were; and although in the case of acute poisons (such as that of some snakes) this effort rarely suffices to expel the whole of the offending matter, still time is thus afforded for the

Fig. 198.

Fig. 199.

Toadflax, peloria form. Toadflax, normal flower. application of further means for its removal. It would therefore be a great mistake to refuse to aid The common Snapdragon, or Bull's - mouth Nature's efforts by the use of ligatures, cupping (Antirrhinum majus), with its curiously-shaped glasses, or liquid caustic.

blossoms of various gay colours, is a plant with All animal poisons when introduced into the cir which almost every one is familiar. The mouth of culating fluid-whether the poison be that of snake the curious monopetalous corolla is closed by the bite, rabies, syphilis, &c.-have a longer or shorter palate attached to the lower lip; and it is only period of incubation before they commence their when we press the back of the flower that it opens work of destruction, and it is during this period of and discloses the four white stamens, two long and inactivity that means should be employed for their two short, which tell us that the plant belongs to elimination; and I feel confident that were a man the Linnean class Didynamia. The Toadflaxes, or who was bitten by a venomous snake to at once tie Linariæ, much resemble the Snapdragon; indeed his handkerchief or neckcloth tightly above the bite the above-described corolla (technically termed per(should such be practicable), and cauterize the / sonate) is among British plants confined to these wound either with fire, lupar caustic, liquor ammo. two genera; but the two are distinguished by the niæ, or any strong acid (the liquid applications being presence, in the species of Linaria, of a spur at the far preferable), he would, in nine cases out of ten, 1 back of the corolla, which spur is wanting in the escape with nothing worse than the inevitable tem- | species of Antirrhinum. porary shock to the system.

W. S. Y. We find, then, that our Toadflaxes agree in

« EelmineJätka »