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from London, was, so far as the inhabitants were satorius will suffice to show that the insect intended concerned, ten times that distance, I became fully is an allied creature, described by Westwood as initiated into all the popular superstitions arising Clothilla studiosa, with similar habits and general from various natural phenomena, so prevalent in appearance, but differing, inter alia, in the possession, agricultural districts, and among them was duly im- | when mature, of small, rounded, coriaceous, readily pressed with the belief that the ticking noise heard in deciduous wing-scales. Our common Atropos is the house, in the still evening, was a portent of some most probably the Termes fatidicus of Linnæus, but domestic calamity; and further, that the said ticking the description, probably by a slip of the pen, inwas produced by the little creature to which the fates dicates a very much larger creature. (and Leach) have applied the name of Atropos. We Forest Hill.
R. McLACHLAN. all know how difficult it is to shake off an impression deeply rooted in childhood, and it was not until I came to reflect upon the structure of the creature,
THE DODO. that I for a moment doubted the power of Atropos to send the country folk sighing at the trouble TF you, Mr. Editor, or your readers, care to pursue which its supposed ticking was sure to foretell. 1 the subject of the Dodo further, the subjoined Mature consideration has forced me to the convic- quaint description of this extinct bird, from a copy tion that it is not in the power of Atropos to pro- in my possession of the “Travels into divers parts duce any sensible sound. The integuments of the of Africa and Asia the Great,” of Sir Thomas creature are so soft that the fine wetted point of a Herbert, Bart., may be acceptable. The passage is camel's hair brush is sufficient to rupture them, and taken verbatim from the earliest edition, published nowhere, not even in the thickened femora, is there a | in 1638. surface which, being sharply applied to a sonorous "Here [Mauritius] and in Dygarrois (and no opposing one, coudl occasion an audible sound; even where else that ever I could see or heare of) is Anobium, encased as it is almost in a coat of mail, generated the Dodo (a Portuguize name it is, and can only cause a little more than perceptible noise. has reference to her simpleness) a Bird which for I cannot imagine, therefore, how Atropos can possibly | shape and rareness might be callid a Phænix (wer't be the culprit. In the house in which I am now in Arabia :) her body is round and extrame fat, her writing, I have far too many of Atropos in my insect slow pace begets that corpulencie; few of them room; yet during ten years I have never heard the weigh lesse than fifty pound: better to the eye “death-watch" there, whereas in my bed-room it is | than stomack : greasie appetites may perhaps sometimes so loud and constant as to become a commend them, but to the indifferently curious positive nuisance, its frequence in the latter room nourishment, but prove offensive. Let's take her being pointed to significantly by the numerous drill- picture: her visage darts forth melancholy, as ings of Anobium in an old-fashioned bedstead. My sensible of Natures injurie in framing so great and credulity in astonishing freaks of Nature is pretty massie a body to be directed by such small and considerable ; even, on ocular evidence, I will complementall wings, as are unable to hoise her believe in the protracted existence of ancient toads | from the ground, serving only to prove her a Bird, in blocks of compact stone; but, as before said, which otherwise might be doubted of: her head is until I see Atropos making certain movements, and variously drest, the one half hooded with downy a sound proceeding from the spot, and keeping time | blackish feathers; the other perfectly naked; of a with the movements, I elect to discard what I now whitish hue, as if a transparent Lawne had covered it: consider a deeply-rooted superstition. It seems to her bill is very howked and bends downwards, the me possible that in the case of both Mr. Derham's thrill or breathing place is in the midst of it; from and Mr. Chaney's observations an Anobium has been which part to the end the colour is a light greene concealed in the same spot with the Atropos, but mixt with a pale yellow; her eyes be round and was not discovered. I ask your readers to take any small, and bright as Diamonds; her cloathing is of substance of the same consistence as the head of finest Downe, such as you see in Goslins : her trayne Atropos, and try if by any means they can produce a is (like a China beard) of three or foure short ticking as loud as that of a watch, or any ticking at feathers; her legs thick and black, and strong ; her all, by striking it against a sonorous surface. tallons or pounces sharp, her stomack fiery hot, so
With one other remark I conclude. Owing to as stones are easily digested in it; in that and the whole of my remarks in the “Ent. Month. Mag." shape not a little resembling the Africk Estriches : not having been extracted, it is made to appear that but so much, as for their more certain difference I I have arbitrarily changed the familiar specific name dare to give thee (with two others) her representapulsatoria to that of divinatoria (O. F. Müller in tion.”-Folio. London, 1638. P. 347. “ Zoologicæ Danicæ Prodromus," 1776). This is not As a later edition contains some emendations, the so. I have reluctantly dropped the Linnæan name, following extract is given from the “Fourth Imbecause a glance at his description of Termes puls | pression,” to which “are added (by the Author now
living) as well many additions throughout the whole work, as also several Sculptures, never before
PODURÆ.* printed.” Folio. London, 1677.
T have often been asked by friends interested " This noble Isle [Mauritius] as it is prodigal in 1 in microscopical pursuits where Poduræ her water and wood, so she corresponds in what were to be obtained, and I myself was puzzled else a fruitful Parent labours in : not only boasting over the problem once. Mr. Hogg's work on the in that variety, but in feathered creatures also; yea, Microscope, and Dr. Carpenter's more elaborate in the rareness of that variety : I will name but treatise, had sharpened my curiosity on the point, some, and first, the Dodo; a Bird the Dutch call and I regretted I did not count among my acWalghvogel or Dod Ersen : her body is round and quaintances some one to whom I could apply for fat which occasions the slow pace or that her cor the entrée of a wine-cellar, there to put in practice pulencie ; and so great as few of them weigh less the plan recommended for the capture of these inthan fifty pound : meat it is with some, but better sects by means of oatmeal and a basin -a plan to the eye than stomach ; such as only a strong ap
which I was led to think would produce abundant petite can vanquish : but otherwise, through its
results. Soon, at Smith and Beck's, I bought a oyliness it cannot chuse but quickly cloy and
slide of the scales, and to my great disappointment nauseate the stomach ; being indeed more pleasur found I could not see them satisfactorily in my able to look tban feed upon. It is of a melancholy
microscope. But there is no wonder in this, for visage, as sensible of Natures injury in framing so beginners are not usually furnished at the outset massie a body to be directed by complemental wings, with the best class of objectives, by means of which such indeed as are unable to hoise her from the alone can the markings on this microscopic testground, serving only to rank her amongst Birds : her object be plainly seen: head is variously drest; for one half is hooded with down of a dark colour; the other half, naked and of a white hue, as if Lawn were drawn over it; her bill hooks and bends downwards, the thrill or breathing place is in the midst, from which part to the end, the colour is of a light green mixt with a pale yellow; her eyes are round and bright, and instead of feathers has a most fine down; her train (like to a Chyna beard) is no more than three or four short feathers : her leggs are thick and black; her tallons great; her stomach firey, so as she can easily digest stones; in that and shape not a little resembling the Ostrich: The Dodo, Cacato or Parrat and one of the Hens take so well as in my Tablebook I could draw them.”
This description is worthy of respect, inasmuch as it is from the pen of a well-known old traveller, who saw the ungainly bird in its native habitat; but as for the “sculpture” of the male and female of the species with which the garrulous baronet accompanies his text, one is compelled to add that, if his drawing of the pair of Dodos resembles the originals no more faithfully than that of the “ Cacato (cockatoo] or Parrat” resembles that well Fig. 37. Podura, without scales ; common under stones. known bird, his pictorial memoranda from his “ Tablebook” are a "world too wide” from nature to serve However, though I had obtained a slide of the any useful purpose.
HENRY CAMPKIN. scales, I wanted to see a living Podura. “Surely," Reform Club,
thought I, "if they are so common in cellars, there
is a chance of their being found in the lower regions WORK.-As in travelling so in thinking; he who of the house in which I live.” So I took a candle, has started must work with the means which he owns, and commenced a search on the outside of a beer. however small the stock may be. There is a time barrel. Peering into its seams, I soon discovered for gathering such mental gear; when it is gone, the in these localities, and on the wall, tiny creatures of time comes for using engines or expedients. If | a leaden hue, with purplish reflections in those parts grammar, logic, and mathematics be mysteries, the where the light chiefly played. “Can these be rule-of-thumb must serve their turn.-Frost and Fire.
* Read at the Quekett Microscopical Club, Nov. 23, 1866.
Podnræ ?” The question was soon settled in the The forked tail is not less curious in its structure affirmative after the examination had been made than in the use to which it is applied. When at under the microscope of two or three captured rest it is kept in a groove under the abdomen, but specimens. The scales were, however, smaller and it is brought into operation very effectively in case more transparent than those on my bought slide, of danger threatening its possessor. If the alarmed and the markings far less distinct. Having paid some attention to these insects since then, I proceed to record my notes.
With regard to the habits of Poduræ, and the places where they may be successfully sought, I may say they all love damp situations. Some prefer an excessively moist condition, such as the sur. face of a puddle in the open country or by the roadside. These are destitute of scales, and sometimes occur of considerable size. (See figure in “The Micrographic Dictionary,” page 554.) They may also be found under stones in damp places, and often are abundant at the edges of weedy ponds. Others are content with the humid atmosphere under the broad leaves of a dock, or at the roots of a dandelion; and others again show their aversion to daylight by taking up their abode under a stone, or amid the cobwebs and the darkness of a damp cellar. In these latter localities more particularly
Fig. 38. Tail of Podura, expanded, x 40. do the scale-bearing species delight.
They feed upon decaying animal and vegetable insect finds its legs cannot carry it into safe quarters substances, such as a stale cooked potato, decaying
quickly enough, it suddenly straightens out its tail leaves or vegetables, a rotten bone or an egg-shell.
horizontally, thus striking a smart blow with it on All these form capital baits. In addition I find the ground. The force of the blow is sometimes so oatmeal is moderately successful in a cellar, and an
great as to cause the creature to rise into the air old shoe has been recommended to us as possessing
some twelve inches or so, and then it alights in an special attractions. The easiest mode of capturing unexpected place, whence it crawls away in security. Poduræ, when found, is one told me by Mr. Powell,
I think a curious organ (situated between the third the eminent optician. A small glass tube a quarter
pair of legs), which I also saw, on one occasion, used of an inch in diameter, and about two inches long
as a sucker, when the Podura was walking in an in(a quill will do nearly as well), open at one end and
verted position on the under-side of the cell-cover, corked at the other, is placed over the insect, which
assists the tail in the operation. The whole appamost probably takes a leap into it instantly. The
ratus bears some resemblance to the ingeniously open end can then be closed, and you have your
contrived wooden toy frog, which, by means of a prisoner safe. In order to obtain the scales I ad
string, a piece of wood, and a bit of cobbler's wax, minister chloroform vapour, and then, with the side
can be made to leap for the amusement of children. of a needle, press the Podura gently on the thin glass
The antennæ are four-jointed, and the whole body cover, which has been previously cleaned. I some
is covered with a series of scales arranged very times find they leap into the glass tube so violently
much after the fashion of those on the wings of as to die on the spot from their self-inflicted injuries.
moths. The antennæ, as well as the legs, which The Podura belongs to the order Thysanura, the
terminate in two claws or toes, are clothed with characteristics of which, as extracted from the
fine bairs, and also in some cases with scales. “ Micrographic Dictionary," are as follows :
My experience refers especially to two kinds of “Wings absent; not undergoing metamorphosis;
scale-bearing Poduræ; one of them black or leadennot parasitic; mouth furnished with mandibles and
coloured (P. plumbea ?), and another of a fawnmaxillæ; eyes simple, in two groups; abdomen
colour, somewhat speckled. I shall speak of it as mostly terminated by setæ or a bifid tail.”
the Speckled Podura, for want of knowing its scienThe Podura possesses about sixteen simple eyes,
tific name. I do not think it has been described; arranged in two groups, one on each side of the
its scale certainly has not, and I shall allude to it head. Each group, containing eight, looks like a
presently. The former is of frequent occurrence cluster of beads.*
under some boards at the back of our house, and
also in similar situations in a cellar at Brixton; the * It would appear that some species have 14 or only 12 eyes :
latter occurs in the same cellar, but inhabits the there is often much difficulty in counting them.
woodwork and the whitewashed wall, rarely being
seen on the floor, except during the winter months. | deep cell for observation. They disliked their poI can catch a black Podura occasionally by means sition exceedingly, and made vain attempts to get of oatmeal, but have to trust to my eyes and fingers away, but ultimately accommodated themselves to alone in the case of the speckled. Both kinds will, circumstances pretty well. I noticed that they however, eat oatmeal when kept in confinement. often cast their skins. One was observed shortly I have had numbers of them both enclosed in roomy, previous to, and immediately after, the operation. wooden cells, and have derived much pleasure while During the process its colour became much paler, watching their habits. The floors of the cells were almost white, and large drops of fluid adhered to it covered with moistened blotting-paper, in order that the humid atmosphere in which the insects hours I looked again, when lo! it had extricated live might be imitated.
itself from the old coat, and was busy turning round and round in a bran new one (which was many shades darker than the old), as if to try how it fitted.* The exuvid (scales, antennæ, portions of the tracheæ, &c.) were all attached to the cell-cover, which I removed in order to identify the various parts under high powers. The full size of the insect is about one-eighth of an inch in length.
This family produced, while in confinement, a
brood of young ones. The eggs were not noticed Fig. 40. Black Podura, front view, x 40.
because they were concealed under the rotten chip
of wood, but on the 18th June about twenty tiny The Black Podura* is a most superb object under
is a most superb object under white Poduræ were seen, apparently just born. the microscope, because the scales decompose light
They were clothed with hairs and rudimentary strongly; hence brilliant colours, especially purple,
scales, the head was large in proportion to the body, play over the surface of the little creature when it
the eyes red, and the general resemblance to the is well illuminated. I do not succeed well in the
parents great. They seemed to feed greedily on preservation of dead specimens. One only has the fungoid growths which had arisen in the cell, hitherto afforded me a somewhat satisfactory slide:
owing to the conditions existent there, and were it is mounted in the dry. If fluids are used, all the
very active. Soon they betook themselves to an scales come off directly. The application of fluid,
oatmeal diet, and in course of time grew, so that on however, enables the examination of the mode of
the 3rd of July there was little except their size to attachment of the scales to be performed very
distinguish between them and the old ones. They readily.
had then acquired iridescence, doubtless by casting On one occasion a fine colony of this species was off their skins several times, and behaved just like found on a rotten chip of wood, and deposited in a their parents, running hither and thither, meanwhile
* The colour varies much : some specimens are dall grey, and others have bronze reflections. It has been suggested to me that possibly the correct scientific name of this species is Macrotoma nigra.
* The process has been repeatedly witnessed since then. The tail is the last part drawn out of the exuviæ. I have some now (Feb. 1), which were confined at the close of last November, and they appear to be in perfect health.
rapidly waving their antennæ, and making active, of iridescence. The antennæ are much longer in proefforts to escape whenever I opened the cell. All portion to the body, which is liberally furnished Poduræ are very attentive to personal cleanliness, with hairs, especially near the neck, and its head is and their constant habit of preening themselves is not carried so low as in the case of the black kind · very curious to witness. They suddenly double (see figure). It also inhabits a drier situation, and their antenne under the head, passing them through | in my experience is not nearly so often met with. the mouth many times, and treat every part of their I only know of one place where I may calculate bodies that may be within reach in a similar manner. with some certainty on finding a specimen (viz., on
Fig. 42. Scale of Black Podura ; $ objective, A eyepiece.
The scale of this Podura is very like that supplied to me as the real “test scale.” The markings, Fig. 43. Scale of Speckled Podura; } objective, A eyepiece. though clear, are much finer, and I suspect that the test scales are only found on the oldest Poduræ, | the whitewashed door, or similarly treated wall of but I am open to correction. Accurate information the cellar at Brixton); but I have unexpectedly about Poduræ seems at present difficult to obtain. caught stray ones in other places, chiefly indoors; The adult insect should be selected in preference to hence I suspect it inhabits the decayed woodwork the young specimen, the tegumentary appendages of houses. Under the microscope, this sort i disof which appear to me to be imperfectly developed. plays a speckled or banded appearance-the back I notice that the small ones are more iridescent and sides being clothed with scales, mostly dark than the full-grown insects.
brown or black, arranged in transverse rows. The The other species of Podura which has come individual scales are exceedingly beautiful and much particularly under my notice is rather larger than more easily resolved than the standard test scales. the black species. Its colour is very light brown, They also possess faint transverse striæ on the osten speckled with black, and there is no symptom elevated portions. Hitherto they have seldom, if