« ZurückWeiter »
A Pair of Redbreasts built a Nest late in November, 1833, in a rather exposed hole in the northern side of a garden wall in this town. By early in December, five eggs were laid; but some boys, who had discovered the nest, caused the birds to forsake it. The nest and eggs were removed on Dec. 20., when, of the eggs, two that were accidentally broken, showed a state of progress towards the formation of young. I have the three unbroken eggs. A nest of young redbreasts in winter would be rare indeed, but the past season has been extraordinarily mild. — T. G. Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, December 26. 1833. REPTILEs. – A Tortoise foreknows the relative Coldness of a coming Winter, and foreshows the Degree by the Depth to which it buries itself in the Earth.-I have a tortoise; I was going to say an old tortoise, but I know nothing about his age. I have had him about nine years. He was given to me by an old gentleman, who had possessed him at least twenty years, and who had received him from another old gentleman who had possessed him for many years previously, but who gave him away because he used to eat young lettuces. Neither this person nor the gentleman who gave him me knew any thing about his age; so it is not probable that I should. Every winter, this tortoise buries himself in the earth; and, knowing better than Mr. Squire or Moore's Almanack what sort of a winter we are going to have, the colder the winter is going to be, the deeper he goes. Well, Sir, last winter  the top of his shell was only covered two inches. There were, if you recollect, only two nights that could be really called frosty; and now his shell is only just level with the earth, the very top of it being visible through the turf. Argal, we shall have no frost at all. — E. N. D. Dec. 14. 1833. This foretelling arrived too late for publication in the Number for January, 1834. E. N. D. has, on February 2., informed us that “the tortoise, on January 17. 1834, emerged from his hiding-place, and walked about as in summer.” A Tortoise inhabits the Aquarium of the Botanic Garden at Cambridge ; and as this (it is possible) may eventually become as venerable as the tortoise above, and, like it, the hero of a tale, a timely registration of some facts in the history of its younger days may avail its future biographer. This tortoise was once my father's, who has, at my request, supplied most of the following facts respecting it. — J. D. The tortoise was given me in the end of May, 1828, by your aunt, L. Cross, to whom it had been given by her son, E. Cross, who had brought it, with five other tortoises, from the coast of Malaga in Spain, where he picked them up off the sands. Your aunt must have received it in the autumn of 1826 or 1827, because she says that during the winter it used to get under the grate. She used to put water or milk, with soaked bread, in a plate for it; but it is not certain that she ever saw it take any thing. When I had received it, I, not knowing better, treated it as a land tortoise. I put it, in the day time, into the front garden (which is, from its aspect, the warmer one), but, contrary to my expectation, I could not perceive it take any vegetable food. I afterwards put it in the back yard, whence it several times made its escape; and one day we considered we had lost it, until our dog traced it to the pond in the yard, and assisted in the capture of it. We then bored a hole in its shell, tied thereto a string, and to the same string, at about a yard from the shell, fastened a float, that we might capture the creature at any time. We regularly, in an evening, brought it in-doors and put it in a basket. When liberated, in the morning, it directly sought the pond: so that, after we had half-starved it, it had found its element. It was in the water that we first saw him feed on some small pieces of lights which your mother threw into the pond for it. Afterwards it became so familiar as to eat out of your mother's and sister's hands (it seemed to show an aversion from men), and by its more healthy appearanee, the quickness of its motions [and it would, when obstructed in front, travel backwards almost as fast as forwards], and by its getting frequently out of the water upon a stone at the pond's edge, to bask there in the heat of the sun, showed that it enjoyed its existence. When winter approached, it was less anxious to leave its basket. We then wrapped it up, and placed it in its basket, in a warm situation, until the spring. After keeping it through a part of the summer [of 1829], I made a present of it to Mr. Arthur Biggs, the curator of the Cambridge Botanic Garden, and took off its float, and put it into the sheet of water [supplied by a slow stream that passes through it], in which the aquatic plants are cultivated. Here it gets its own living, and has remained, to the best of Mr. Biggs's, and Mr. Scott the foreman's, knowledge, during four winters. [The length of time which it remains wholly unapparent (wherever it may hide) is not many weeks. Its first appearance, in 1833, was on April 2.] In warm weather, in the heat of the day, it either enjoys itself by sunning itself on a stone step at one end of the water, or on the grass at the edge of the water, or, when the water is low, on the narrow beach which intervenes the water and the grass. From this place it, on the approach of any one, hastens into
the water, and has convenient hiding-places amongst the aquatic plants, and especially amongst and under the ample leaves of the water lilies (Nymphæ'a álba L. and Nùphar advena H. K.), and occasionally it floats stationary on the surface of the water, as it were in the manner in which fishes, in slow streams, are, in hot sunny weather, said to sleep. It has increased in size considerably, and appears very healthy. Mr. Scott has told me, that once [in April or May, 1832) it travelled to near the Free School Lane entrance to the garden; a distance of, perhaps, 150 yards from the water, - possibly in search of a mate.
These facts prove that this species of tortoise will live in any reservoir of water, like that in the Cambridge Botanic Garden; and they may, especially if the amount of them is not already well known, promote endeavours to naturalise many individuals of this and other species of aquatic tortoises in similar situations, where they could not fail to be interesting objects to lovers of nature. — J. D. sen.
A young Land Tortoise, once kept in a cool green-house in a private garden at Bury St. Edmunds, lost its life by attempting to ascend a tall stone step placed at the threshold inside the entrance door. It fell backwards; and the convexity of its shell was such, or the animal's weakness (for I suspect that it had been but very negligently fed) was such, that it could not apply its feet to the floor to lever itself into its natural position. It was found lying on its back, dead, and with froth at its mouth. –J. D.
Fishes. — The Goldfish, with a double Tail-fin. (VI. 529.)Another instance of this variation is now living at Mr. Hope's, of Deepdene. — W. Fowler. Dec. 17. 1833.
MOLLUSCOUS ANIMALS. — A List of the more rare Species of Shells, which were collected in August, 1833, at Aberdovey, in Merionethshire. - This part of the coast has, I believe, been but little explored by the conchologist. The following species of shells were all found on the sand at Aberdovey, or between that place and Borth. v. r. mean very rare; r. rare; f. frequent; C. common.
Nautilus crispus C., umbilicátulus r.; Rotàlia Beccarii c. Beccarii perversa c.; Lobátula vulgàris f.; Vermículum intórtum c, oblongum f., subrotúndum
f.; Arethùsa láctea v. r. ; Orthócera (2) trachea c.; Patélla virgínea r.; Búlla umbilicàta r., cylindràcea f., truncata r., obtusa r., apérta r.; Turritélla Térebra c., elegantíssima f., ùnica, v. r. ; Cingula subcarinàta r., costata r., reticulata r., striàta r., labiosa f., ventròsa 7., púlla f., cingilla v.r.; Odostèmia unidentàta r., plicàta,r. spiralis v. r.; Scalària clàthrus f., Túrtoni r.; Skènea depressar.; Nática pallidula v, r., lacuna v. r.; Tròchus tùmidus r.; lán
thina communis v. r. ; Tornatélla tornátilis r.; Buccinum anglicànum v. r.; Térebra reticulàta c., pervérsa r.; Fùsus costàtus r., nébula f., linearis r.; Pleurótoma gracilis v. r.; Rostellària pès-pelecàni; Cápulus hungáricus v. r.; Fissurélla græ'ca v. r.; Pécten operculàris r., varius r.; Pectúnculus pilòsus r.; Nùcula nuclear.; Modiola discrepans r.; Cárdium tuberculàtum c.; Córbula striàta f.; Máctra sólida c., subtruncata r., stultòrum c.; Kellia rúbra r.; Amphidésma convéxum r., compréssum c., Bóysii f.; Tellina fábula f., crássar.; Cyprina islándica f. ; Cytherèa Chiòne f., exolèta r.; Venus verrucòsa r., gallina c, undàta r.; Sòlen vagina f., ensis f., legumen c.; Lutrària vulgàris c.; Montacùta bidentata f., ferruginosa f. The three following are common on the rocks at Aberystwith : – Túrbo petræ us, Trochus umbilicàtus and crassus. Besides the above, I also found at Aberdovey six or eight species, which I have not yet ascertained, and some of which I believe have not been described. — H. E. Strickland. November 22. 1833. The
following Species of British Land and Freshwater Shells have been collected in the Neighbourhood of Rugby, Warwickshire:- In the Oxford and Coventry Canal, Cyclas rivícola. In the canal and river Avon, Cụclas córnea, pusilla; A'nodon cygneus; Mýsca pictòrum, ovata. In gardens and hedges, Hèlix nemoralis, hortensis, aspersa. In Newbold lime pits, Hèlix ericetòrum, híspida. The following were found in a mass of silt and dead leaves, left after a flood, upon the banks of the Clifton Brook, near Brownsover Mill:-Hèlix nitens, lucida, crystallina, pulchella; Bulimus lubricus; Succínea amphibia; Carýchium mínimum; Vertigo pygmæ a; Planórbis carinàtus, marginàtus, vórtex, fontànus, contórtus, álbus; Limnèus auriculàrius, péreger, scaturíginum, stagnalis, frágilis, palustris, fossàrius; Physa fontinalis, Valvàta obtusa, Paludina impùra, víridis. In the Oxford Canal
, Paludina achátina, vivípara. In the Bilton Brook, A'ncylus fluviátilis, and a small species of Cyclas, unnamed in Turton's Manual of the British Land and Freshwater Shells. — A. Bloram. Rugby, Warwickshire, January, 1834.
A Portion of Pearly Matter found within a Shell of the Freshwater Muscle (Anodon cygneus); and the Reason why it was formed there. In the hollow of one of the valves of a freshwater muscle (A'nodon cýgneus), which I lately picked up by the side of one of the ponds in this neighbourhood, I found a large irregular-shaped apparently solid mass of pearly matter, rather more than 1 in. long, i in. broad, and full & in. high. It struck me as being an awkward encumbrance for the animal, and I was puzzled, as neither dint nor
fracture was observable on the exterior of the shell, to ascertain the cause; but, on breaking a small portion of the irregular mass, discovered it. The animal had, by some accident, got a large mass of mud between itself and the shell, and not having the power of dislodging the mud, and probably finding the roughness of it disagreeable to the smooth surface of its own body, had formed a coating of pearly matter entirely over it, and had thus sagaciously rendered it, though it must have been a great encumbrance, as little inconvenient to itself as possible. — Id.
The Limnèus elongatus Turton, Hèlix octanfrácti Montagu, and H. octòna Pennant. -- Would that some correspondent would clear up the difficulty which appears to hang over
these! The figure in Pennant's British Zoology is quite correct, according to many dozens of specimens which I have found on plants in a pool near Southampton, where even the youngest
shells have the fractured apex. Will Mr. Kenyon, who (in his list of land and freshwater shells in II. 273.) mentions it under the name of Lymnæ a leucóstoma, oblige me by stating in what degree my drawing (fig. 32.) is like or unlike his shell ? - W. W. Southampton, Jan. 17. 1834.
SPIDER-LIKE ANIMALS. - [Of Trachean Arachnides, the Genus Achlýsia, constituted and named by M. Audouin, consists, probably, but of Species, in an immature State, of Hydráchnade, of the Genus Limnocharis Latr. Individuals of a Species of Limnocharis Latr. have been found subsisting, in one of their States, as Parasites, upon the Body of Dytiscus marginalis L.] - In turning over the leaves of vol. i. of the Zoological Journal, my attention was attracted by some figures in the 4th plate, and, on referring to the descriptions I found, in page 122., “ A Memoir on Achlysia, a new Genus of Trachean Arachnides, by M. J. V. Audouin."
Some years back, I carefully examined a specimen of Dytiscus marginalis L., under the wings of which, and attached to its back, were above a dozen bags, each rather smaller than a grain of wheat, curved and narrowed at the end by which they were attached. On opening these sacs, I found, to my astonishment, that each contained a perfect animal, which I believe may be a Hydráchna, or rather Limnocharis Latr. As there is nothing new under the sun, I did not at the time regard this discovery, and lost my descriptions and drawings, which I now very much regret, as it renders my present communication very imperfect; but, I hope, even this notice may be the means of calling the attention of some one to the subject better acquainted with the Trachearia than I am.
VOL. VII. No. 38.