Abbildungen der Seite

females. Of many hundreds of males, which I have seen in the course of a single day's ramble, I have never observed one variety of this sex, though I made it a point to capture every pale specimen which I saw. Where this insect flies in great abundance, the females are seldom seen, but where it is comparatively rare, the latter may as frequently be noticed on the wing as the males; precisely as in the common P. cardámines: I have seen the woods quite alive with the male orangetipped white butterflies, when I have not observed above two or three females in the course of the day; yet, where this species is not very abundant, both males and females may be seen flying about in nearly equal numbers; which fact will, indeed, reconcile some rather conflicting descriptions of this latter insect. In Jersey, the number of pale females of Colias Edusa bore the proportion, to those of the usual colour, of at least one third; but, though the males were so very plentiful, female specimens were difficult to procure, as they sluggishly concealed themselves in the lucern: I was never able to take above half a dozen in a day, though of males I might have captured some hundreds. Yet, in September, 1833, the two sexes were observed in this neighbourhood [Tooting, Surrey], flying in about equal numbers; but the species was, here, far from being common.

I took, on the whole, about twenty individuals of the pale variety of Còlias Edùsa, and observed in them considerable variation; some being whiter than others, and some having the spot on the upper surface of the hinder wings white, others having it yellowish, and others orange: they also varied much in size, but not more than individuals of the usual colour do.

It will not, perhaps, be uninteresting to name here a few other species which I observed in that island, during a stay of three months, in August, September, and October, 1833. I saw there no sort of butterfly that was not common in Britain. The other European species of Còlias I sought for much, but in vain.

Hipparchia Ægèria swarmed in unusual abundance, far beyond what I had ever seen in England; the numerous shady lanes there being peculiarly adapted to its habits. H. Megæ'ra was also extremely plentiful; it was unusually common in the vicinity of London that season. H. pilosellæ and Pamphilus were there as abundant as here; as were the different autumnal Póntiæ. Lycæ na Phlæ`as was very plentiful, also Polyómmatus Alexis; this last mostly retiring to roost in small clusters, chiefly on the sea holly (Eryngium marítimum), or on rushes; a habit which may be observed in several of our


British Polyómmati, and which furnishes the best mode of procuring unrubbed specimens of them, where they occur in sufficient abundance. I noticed P. Argiolus, which was rare, but no other member of this genus. Cynthia cardui was rather common; Vanessa urticæ exceedingly so; V. Io somewhat rare; V. Atalánta very abundant; and I witnessed there a very large concourse of this last-mentioned butterfly, and of common wasps (Véspa vulgaris), upon the trunk of a diseased pollard oak, from which exuded a saccharine juice. A similar occurrence has been noticed by Mr. Lukis of the neighbouring island of Guernsey.' (VI. 222. (see also VII. 265.]) In the instance now mentioned, one side of the tree was completely covered with alderman butterflies; these are always readily attracted by any thing sweet.

I heard several times there of a large and very showy blue butterfly, which I have not since been able to make out. decidedly was not the emperor (Apatùra I`ris): although it was about when I was in the island, I did not once succeed in getting a sight of it.

A very common insect there is the humming-bird hawkmoth (Macroglóssa stellatàrum), one of the most interesting of our native Lepidóptera. I have seen as many as seven or eight of them together, hovering around the flowers of a honeysuckle, whisking from bloom to bloom with the rapidity of thought, suspending themselves in the air around each blossom, and inserting into the tubes their long proboscides, then quick as lightning darting out of sight; though sombre in their hues, reminding us of the fairy tenants of the western world. One that I reared from the caterpillar came out in the short space of four weeks. I observed a favourite restingplace of this species to be immediately under a small projection, over the sea beach, formed by the action of high tides against a crumbling sandy soil, the matted roots of the turf holding together, while the ground beneath had been washed away.

In this situation I have seen within short four or five of the M. stellatàrum, which would readily suffer themselves to be transfixed, and this in midday, when others were flying about in abundance. To this place I have often seen them fly direct, and, after hovering a little, alight to rest themselves.

It would here take too much space to note down the various moths, &c., which I observed. I found the larva of the Sphinx A'tropos, but I failed in the endeavour to rear it. The angle shades moth (Phlogóphora) was uncommonly plentiful, as was also the common Plusia gámma, the latter flying chiefly by day, a feeble miniature of the Macroglossa stellatàrum. --- Edward Blyth. Tooting, Surrey, May 22. 1834.

a very


[ocr errors][merged small]

ART. I. Catalogue of Works on Natural History, lately published, with some Notice of those considered the most interesting to British Naturalists.

BUSHNAN, J. S.,"F.L.S., &c.; An Introduction to the Study of Nature; illustrative of the Attributes of the Almighty, as displayed in the Creation. 8vo, 310 pages. London, 1834. 9s. in boards.

A work of dignified purpose, as is shown in its title; and this the author has striven to execute in what he has conceived to be a consistent manner, namely, a vigorous and lofty one. We honour his purpose; we applaud his efforts, that is, his facts, his arguments, his illustrations, his eloquence in many places, adduced in the elucidation, relevance, and production of this purpose; but we do not quite agree with him in the manner in which many of these are presented, nor in all the conclusions to which he has directed them. In the former there is not enough, to our liking, of the suaviter in modo; in the latter, quite enough of the sortiter in re; the re, in this case, we employ to signify the author's foregone conclusions.

The work should, however, be possessed by every naturalist: it includes a very rich collection of scientific facts; many instructive ones derived from comparative anatomy.

Hawkins, T., F.G.S.: Memoirs of Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri, extinct Monsters of the ancient Earth; with 28 Plates, copied from Specimens in the Author's Collection of Fossil Organic Remains. One volume, folio. London, 1834. 2l. 10s.

The extraordinary remains of enormous animals, nearly allied to the lizard and crocodile, that occur in the secondary strata of England, above the coal measures, may be regarded as the peculiar treasures of English fossil geology; as these remains occur more abundantly, and in better preservation, in England than in any other country hitherto examined. It was in this country, also, that the true character of the animals to which these fossil remains belong was first ascertained. The beds of dark stratified limestone intermixed with strata of dark clay, called lias limestone and clay, which extend into

many of the midland counties, from Dorsetshire to Yorkshire, are peculiarly rich in these fossil remains; in some parts the animals appear to have perished by a sudden catastrophe, which has broken the bones into numberless fragments, and scattered them through particular strata, as in the cliffs at Aust Passage, near Bristol; in other situations, the remains of nearly entire skeletons have been found, which are evidently near the situations in which the animals expired. The bones are commonly so closely embedded in the stone, that the difficulty of preserving them entire is often very great, added to which, the quarrymen frequently destroy large portions of the skeleton, before they are aware of its occurrence: the vast size of some of these animals is such, “ extending many a fathom,” that the head may be found in one part of the quarry, while the remote extremities may be buried in another part which may not be wanted for some years to come. Owing to these difficulties it is, that good specimens of entire skeletons or even of large portions of them, are so rare in collections at present. Mr. Hawkins, the author of this work, has for some years distinguished himself as a “mighty hunter," a fossil Nimrod. Unlike, however, to the heroes and hunters of the fabulous ages, whose labours were directed to the destruction of monsters, our modern Nimrod is engaged in restoring their dislocated limbs, and joining heads to their cervical vertebræ again, after having lain dissevered for

The present volume contains an ample account of the difficulties which Mr. Hawkins has had to encounter among the quarries and quarrymen in the county of Somerset, near Wells and Glastonbury, where his discoveries have been chiefly made. Many persons may deem the conversations with the quarrymen, given in the Somersetshire dialect, more amusing than instructive, and altogether misplaced in a work on science. The author himself confesses that he has, for his own pleasure, departed occasionally from the conventional forms of writing, but we would willingly pardon him on this head, for the very valuable service which he has rendered to the student of fossil geology.

The lithographic plates in the present volume are of large size, and well executed, and display with much clearness the osteology of the several species of fossil Ichthyosauri and Plesiosaúri” in the author's possession ; indeed, they convey almost as distinct information as we could obtain from the specimens themselves. The anatomical details given in the description of the plates are good as far as they extend, but we could have wished them to have been more ample. The drawing in plate 3. represents an entire skeleton of the Ichthyo

countless ages.

saúrus called by the author chiroligóstinus), except the right fore arm and paddle; the figure measures in the plate 3 ft. 3 in. from the snout to the extremity of the tail : there are in this skeleton about 500 bones, and the spinal column contains 150 vertebræ. Plates 7. and 17. contain figures of skeletons of two other species, nearly as perfect as that in plate 3., but of smaller dimensions. Plate 24. represents a very interesting skeleton of the Plesiosaurus, entire except one of the paddles : in this skeleton the bones of the sternum and pelvis are beautifully displayed; there are thirty-two cervical vertebræ, and twenty dorsal; the neck of this animal was longer than the whole body, except the tail; the caudal vertebræ amount to thirty-three. Several of the other plates represent large portions of skeletons. The remaining plates display detached bones and heads, with the paddles or hands of these animals. The head represented in plate 13. is truly remarkable for the extreme length of the jaws; it resembles, as the author observes, the head and bill of a snipe. “It possesses 260 long sharp teeth, 140 in the upper jaw, and 120 in the lower jaw."

The author has given a new classification of the species of both the Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri, but we cannot think that he has been happy in his nomenclature, though derived from the Greek; it would scarely be possible to select terms that are less suited to the English ear. The classification of Ichthyosauri, which he proposes, is founded on the structure of the hand or paddle. From the Greek cheir, hand, and osteon, bone, with the addition of the Greek words for, 1. few, 2. many, 3. round, 4. oblong; we have the following names for the four species:-Sp. 1. Ichthyosaurus chiroligóstinus ; 2. chiropolyóstinus ; 3. chirostrongulóstinus ; 4. chiroparamekósti

The specific characters of the Plesiosaúri, he says, are to be discovered " in the posterior extremity, in the tarsus.” Then, from the Greek tarsos, heel, and osteon, bone, with the Greek numerals for 3, 4, 5, 6, we have the following strange names Sp. 1. Plesiosaurus triatarsóstinus; 2. tesseratarsóstinus; 3. pentetarsóstinus ; 4. extarsóstinus.

We could almost suppose that our author intended, by the invention of these terms, to ridicule the absurd fabrication of compound Greek words, such as pliocene,” “ pecillite, ” &c. &c., which have lately been introduced by some geologists; for he cannot expect that the names he has constructed will ever be used by his countrymen. We sincerely hope that good sense will ere long free geology from all such pedantic contamination. In the mean time, we recommend our author

nus !!!!

« ZurückWeiter »