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DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL HISTORY.

THE MUSK OX. The Musk Ox.—Bos Moschatus.—(Called Mathek Mongsoo,

or Ugly Moose, by the Creeks,-Uming Mak, by the Esquimaux.]

To civilized man, the extreme northern regions may appear cheerless and uninviting, because they are subjected to the utmost unrelenting influence of wintry skies. Yet we have already seen that they are the favorite resorts of multitudes of animals, varying in size, characters and habits, from the Lemming to the Moose A species remains to be described, which, of these forbidding regions prefers the most barren and desolate parts, and is found in the greatest abundance in the rugged and scarcely accessible districts lying nearest the North Pole. This species, so far from heing condemned to a life of extreme privation and suffering, appears to derive as much enjoyment from existence, as those which feed in more luxuriant pastures, or bask in the genial rays of a summer sun.

In destining the musk ox 10 inhabit the domains of frost and storin, nature has paid especial attention to its

security against the effects of both; first by covering its body with a coat of long dense hair, and then, by the shortness of ls limbs, avoiding the exposure that would result frorn a greater elevation of the trunk. The projection of the orbits of the eyes, which is very remarkable in this species, is thought by Parry to be intended to carry the eye clear of the large quantity of hair required to preserve the warmth of the head.

Although some few items relative to this animal are to be gathered from the works of the recent explorers of the Northern Regions, it is to Hearne, that we are almost exclusively indebted for the natural history of the musk ox, as we have already been for most of the animals inhabiting the same parts of this continent.— This excellent and accurate observer travelled in the years 69, 70, 71, and '72, and it is only to be regretted that 1.e did not write down all he knew in relation to the northern animals. He appears to have frequently thought that what was so familiarly known to him, would not be of much interest to others, and has thus withheld knowledge that few individuals can have a similar opportunity of gaining. Notwithstanding this, he has anticipated all the recent explorers in every essential particular.

Hearne states that he has seen many herds of musk oxen in the high northern latitudes, during a single day's journey, and some of these herds contained from eighty to a hundred individuals.

Musk oxen are found in the greatest numbers within the aretic circle; considerable herds are occasionally seen near the coast of Hudson's Bay, throughout the distance from Knapp's Bay to Wager Water. They have in a few instances been seen as low down as lat. 60° N. Captain Parry's people killed some individuals on Melville Island, which were remarkably well fed and fat. They are not commonly found at a great distance from the woods, and when they feed on open grounds they prefer the most rocky and precipitous situations. Yet, notwithstanding their bulk and apparent unwieldiness, they climb among the rocks with all the ease and agility of the goat, to which they are quite equal in sureness of foot. Their favorite food is grass, but when this is not

to be had they readily feed upon moss, the twigs of the willow, or tender shoots of the pine.

The appearance of the musk ox is singular and imposing, owing to the shortness of the limbs, its broad fattened crooked horns and the long dense hair which envelopes the whole of its trunk, and hangs down nearly to the ground. When full grown, the musk ox is ten and a half hands high, according to Parry, and as large as the generality, or at least the middling size of En. glish cattle.

From the shortness of the limbs and the weight of the body, it might be inferred that the musk ox could not run with any speed, but it is stated by Parry, that although they run in a hobbling sort of canter that makes them appear as if every now and then to fall, yet the slowest of these musk oxen can far outstrip a man. When disturbed and hunted, they frequently tore up the ground with their horns, and turned round to look at their pursuers, but never attempted to make an attack.

The musk oxen killed on Melville Island during Party's visit, were very fat, and their flesh, especially the heart, although highly scented with musk, was considered very good food. When cut up it had all the appearance of beef for the market. Hearne says that the flesh of the inusk ox does not at all resemble that of the bison, (Bos Americanus) but is more like that of the moose, and the fat is of a clear white tinged with light

A knife used in cutting up such meat, becomes so strongly scented with this substance, as to require much washing and scouring before it is removed. Musk ox flesh when dried, is considered by Hunters and Indians to be very good. " In most parts of Hudson's Bay it is known by the name of Kew-hagon, but among the Northern Indians is is called Achees.' of the musk ox, according to Parry, is about 700lbs. that of the head and hide is 130lbs.

The horns of the musk ox are employed for various purposes by the Indians and Esquimaux, especially for making cups and spoons. From the long hair growing on the neck and chest, the Esquimaux make their musquitoe wigs, to defend their faces from those troublesome insects. The hide of the musk ox makes good soles for

azure.

The weight

shoes, and is much used by the natives for this pur. pose.

During the months of August and September the musk oxen extend their migrations to the north Georgian and other islands bordering the northern shores of the continent. By the first of October they have all left the islands and moved towards the south. By Franklin's expedition, they were not seen lower than 66° North.

THE PAPAW—CARICA PAPAYA. Though the papaw-tree is now found in the East as well as in the West, it is generally understood to be a na. tive of America, and to have been carried to the East about the time of the first intercourse between the two continents. The papaw rises with a hollow stem to

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the height of about twenty feet, after which it has a head composed, not of branches, but of leaves and very long foot-stalks. The male and female flowers are on different trees: the female flowers are bell-shaped, large, generally yellow, and followed by a fleshy fruit, about

the size of a small melon. The tree, and even the fruit are full of an acrid milky juice; but the fruit is eaten with sugar and pepper, like melon; and when the halfgrown fruit is properly pickled, it is but little inferior to the pickled mango of the East Indies. There are many forms in the fruit

, and some varieties in the color of the flower of the papaw; and there is also a dwarf species; though as this has been observed chiefly in airy situations, it may be the common sort stunted for want of moisture.

Selected for the Monthly Repository by the Rev. William Granville.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE GLOW-WORM. The Glow Worm is an insect of the beetle kind. The female deposits her eggs in the month of June or July, among grass, moss, &c. Their eggs are of a yellow color, and emit light. After remaining about five or six weeks, the larvæ break the shells, and make their appearance: at first they appear white, and are very small; but they soon increase in size, and their color changes to a dark brown, or nearly black. The body of the larva is formed of eleven rings; it has six feet, and two rows of reddish spots down the back. It emits light in the dark at its pleasure: this light arises from the last ring of its body, on the under side, and, when examined attentively, appears like two briiliant spots. The larvæ are seen shining during the fine nights of autumn, and some times in winter, when the weather is mild. The light they emit is to direct them to their food; they feed on small snails, the carcasses of insects, &c. They frequently cast their skins.

After the expiration of about one year and nine months from their birth, they arrive at their perfect size; they then cease to eat, cast their skin, and assume another appearance. The form of the perfect insect may be discovered through a thin skin that covers them. After remaining two or three weeks in this state (scarcely ever moving) they throw off their last skin, and arrive at perfection, the male then appears a perfect beetle, having wings, and covers to them. The female, VOL. 11.

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