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iLLi'STr.ATivr. or Tiir.n: 

Instincts, Seasoning Powers, and Domestic Habits. 






Vol. II. 

Nature is a book written on both Rides, within and without, in which the finger of GOD 
is plainly visible. — Fred. Von Schlecel. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in tlie year 18C8, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 

No. 19 Spring Lane. 





Family Bombycillid.e. Wax-Wings. 

The Bombycillidre, of which the Bohemian Chatterer or Wax-Wing (Am- 
pelis garrulus) is the type, are placed in the above order, although they 
are provided with the singing apparatus of the Oscines. 

The Bohemian Chatterer is widely distributed on both continents, and is 
generally known. It breeds in the most northern sections, but in severe 
winters moves southwards. It congregates in flocks in these migrations, and 
is a social, unwary bird. Its food consists of berries of various sorts, in- 
sects, seeds, &c. In confinement, it will not refuse anything edible, but 
seems to prefer fruits. In plumage, it is one of the most beautiful of birds, 
being a vinous-ash color above, and lighter beneath ; the feathers of the 
head are prolonged into a crest ; the throat, the feathers around the nostrils, 
and a stripe, which passes from the beak to the back of the neck, are black. 
The secondaries of the wings are tipped with white, each having the shaft 
prolonged, and furnished with a small, scarlet, horny appendage. The tail 
is black, tipped with a yellow band. 

Family Alaudidjs. The Larks. 

In this group are comprehended the true larks, of which the Skylark 
(Alauda arvensis) is the tpye. Although provided with the singing ap- 
paratus, these birds, for the reasons given in our remarks on the Chatterers, 
are placed in the Clamatores. 

The Skylark is spread generally over Europe, several parts of Asia, and 
of Africa. It is thus described : — 

" No bird sings with more method : there is an overture performed vivace 
crescendo, while the singer ascends ; when at the full height, the song be- 
comes moderate, and distinctly divided into short passages, each repeated 
three or four times over, like a fantasia, in the same key and time. If 



there Ijc any wind, he rises perpendicularly by bounds, and afterwards poises 
himself with breast opposed to it. If calm, lie ascends in spiral circles ; in 
horizontal circles during the principal part of his song, and zigzagly down- 
wards during the performance of. the finale. Sometimes, after descending 
about half way, he ceases to sing, and drops with the velocity of an arrow 
to the ground. Those acquainted with the song of the Skylark can tell, 
without looking at them, whether the birds be ascending or stationary in the 
air, or on their descent, so different is the style of the song in eacli case. 
In the first, there is an expression of ardent impatience, in the second, an 
andante, and in the last, a graduated sinking of the strains, often touching 
the subdominant before the final elose. The time and number of the notes 
often correspond with the vibrations of the wings ; and, though they sometimes 
sing while on the ground, as they seem to do in cages, their whole frame 
seems to be agitated by their musical efforts."' 

This is one of the earliest spring birds of song, and continues its warblings 
for the whole summer months, but becomes quite mute in winter, and is 
one of the few birds which chant on the wing. It sings witli greatest en- 
ergy in the morning, and lias been the theme of poets in all ages, and 
is, perhaps, mole listened to during its aerial flights than almost any other 

The Lark makes its nest on the ground, between two clods of earth, or 
scrapes a hollow cavity in the soil, and there deposits four dirty-white eggs, 
which are blotched and spotted with brown. It commences the business of 
incubation early in May, and if its first nests are destroyed, will lay so late 
as September. Mr. Jesse asserts that when the Lark is disturbed while in- 
cubating, it will remove its eggs from its nest to a place of greater security ; 
"and this transposition." says he, '' I have observed to be effected in a very 
short spaee of time. When one of my mowers first told me that he had 
observed the fact, I was somewhat disinclined to credit it; but I have since 
ascertained it beyond a doubt, and now mention it as another strong proof 
of that order in the economy of nature, by means of which this affectionate 
bird is enabled to secure its forthcoming offspring. I call it affectionate, 
because few birds show a stronger attachment to their young." lie adds, 
" Since this was written, I have had a further opportunity of observing the 
fact respecting the Larks removing their eggs ; and a friend informed me 
that when he was recently in Scotland, a shepherd mentioned having wit- 
nessed the same circumstance." 

This bird sits only fifteen days, and usually produces two broods in a year. 
As soon as the young have escaped from the shell, the attachment of the 
parent bird seems to increase ; she flutters over their heads, directs all their 
motions, and is ever reatly to screen them from danger. This instinctive 



warmth of attachment often discovers itself, even before she is capable of 
becoming a mother, which might be supposed to precede, in the order of 
nature, the maternal solicitude, as thus finely exemplified by Buflfon : — 

"A young hen bird," says he, "was brought to me in the month of May, 
which was not able to feed without assistance. I caused her to be educated, 
and she was hardly fledged, when I received from another place a nest of 
three or four unfledged Skylarks. She took a strong liking to these new- 
comers, which were scarcely younger than herself; she tended them night 
and day, cherished them beneath her wings, and fed them with her bill. 
Nothing could interrupt her tender offices. If the young ones were torn 
from her, she flew to them as soon as she was liberated, and would not think 
of effecting her own escape, which she might have done a hundred times. 
Her affection grew upon her; she neglected food and drink; she now re- 
quired the same support as her adopted offsprings, and expired at last, con- 
sumed with maternal anxiety. None of the young ones survived her. They 
died one after another, so essential were her cares, which were equally tender 
and judicious." 

Family LT'uriD.E. The Hoopoes. 

In this family are two sub-families, thus distinguished : — 

_„,_„.„ — ... r i it ,1 • i * v ( strongly incurved ; head without crest . . . . Trcr.Tsnnix.E. 
"'' llnJ - ' law of hallux (hind toe) . . j ft , , straight . j ieild with crest UrupiSjB. 

Gray says of the genus Upupa, the typical genus of the Upupince, — 
"The species that compose this genus are found in Europe, Asia, and 
Africa. They are migratory, and prefer low and moist situations that 
border woods and forests : it is in such [daces that they search for insects 
and worms. They also seek for their food on the trunks of trees, and espe- 
cially among the foliage for caterpillars ; and they may sometimes be observed 
hanging from a branch while reaching one of them from a leaf. Even 
manure is examined by these birds for the insects that it contains. The nest 
is generally placed in holes of decayed trees, and occasionally in crevices of 
walls and rocks. The material employed consists of dry grass, and the 
nest is usually lined with feathers, or other soft articles, internally. The 
female deposits four or five eggs." 

The same author says of Irrisor, the type of the Irrisorince, — 
"The species of this genus are found throughout the entire continent of 
Africa. They frequent the tall trees, creeping among the branches while in 
search of their food, which consists almost entirely of insects and their 
larvae ; they also feed on the fruits of the fig trees when ripe ; and should 
they, while thus engaged, be disturbed, they commence uttering a loud, 
chattering noise. It is further stated that they congregate in small flocks, 
and roost in the holes of tier-.'' 
ISO. xi. .", 1 


We will licre include a family not mentioned by Lilljeborg, viz., the 


Family Menukid-s:. The Lyre Birds. 

We are indebted to the writings of Mr. Gould, the eminent British nat- 
uralist, for the following very complete account of these birds : — 

"In the structure of its feet, in its lengthened claws, and in its whole 
contour, the Lyre Bird presents the greatest similarity to the Pteroptochos 
megapodius of Kittlitz ; another singular circumstance, by which their alli- 
ance is rendered still more evident, is the fact that Pteroptochos differs from 
the other families of the rnsessorial order in having fourteen feathers in its 
tail, and that Menura also differs in the same particular in possessing six- 
teen, The immense feet and claws of these two birds admirably adapt them 
for the peculiar localities they are destined to inhabit, and the same beau- 
tiful modification of structure is observable in the other genera, equally 
adapting them for the situations they are intended to fulfil. Thus the Me- 
nura passes with ease over the loose stones and the sides of rocky gullies and 
ravines, while the Maluri trip over the more open and even ground, and 
the Dasyomi, with equal facility, thread the dense shrubs and reed-beds. 

"The great stronghold of the Lyre Bird is the colony of Xe\v South 
Wales, and from what I could learn, its range does not extend so far to the 
eastward as Moreton Bay; neither have I been aide to trace it to the west- 
ward of Port Philip, on the southern coast : but further research can alone 
determine these points. It inhabits equally the bushes on the east, and 
those that clothe the sides of the mountains in the interior: on the coast it 
i- especially abundant at the Western Port and Illawarra ; in the interior, 
the cedar brushes of the Liverpool range-, and according to Mr. (i. Bennett, 
the mountains of the Tumat country are among the places of which it is 
a denizen. 

" ( )f all the birds 1 have ever met with, the Menura is far the most shy 
and difficult to procure. While among the mountains 1 have been sur- 
rounded by these birds, pouring forth their loud and liquid calls for days 
together, without being able to get a sight of them ; and it was only by the 
most determined perseverance and extreme caution that I was enabled to 
effect this desirable object, which was rendered more difficult by their 
often frequenting the almost inaccessible and precipitous sides of gullies and 
ravines, covered with tangled masses of creepers and umbrageous trees: the 
cracking of a stick, the rolling down of a small stone, or any other noise, 
however slight, is sufficient to alarm it; and none but those who have trav- 
ersed these tugged, hot, ami suffocating brushes, can fully understand the 
excessive labor attendant on the pursuit of the Menura. Independently of 
climbing over rocks and fallen trunks of trees, the sportsman has to creep 


and crawl beneath ami among the branches with the utmost caution, taking 
care only to advance when the bird's attention is occupied in singing, or in 
scratching up the leaves in search of food. To watch its action, it is neces- 
sary to remain perfectly motionless, not venturing to move even in the slight- 
est degree, or it vanishes from sight as if by magic. Although I have said 
so much on the cautiousness of the Menura, it is not always so alert ; in 
sonic of the more accessible brushes, through which roads have been cut, it 
may frequently be seen, and on horseback, even closely approached, the 
bird evincing less fear of those animals than of man. 

"The Lyre Bird is of a wandering disposition, and although it probably 
keeps to the same brush, it is constantly engaged in traversing it from one 
end to the other, from the mountain base to the top of the gullies, whose 
steep and rugged sides present no obstacle to its long legs and powerful, mus- 
cular thighs : it is also capable of performing extraordinary leaps, and I 
have heard it stated that it will spring ten feet perpendicularly from the 
ground. Among its many curious habits, the only one at all approaching to 
those of the Gallinacere is that of forming small, round hillocks, which are 
constantly visited during the day, and upon which the male is continually 
tramping, at the same time erecting and spreading out its tail in the most 
graceful manner, and uttering its various cries, sometimes pouring forth its 
natural notes, at others mocking those of other birds, and even the howling 
of the native dog (Dingo). The early morning and the evening are the 
periods when it is most animated and active. 

"The food of the Menura appears to consist principally of insects, partic- 
ularly centipedes and coleoptera ; I also found the remains of shelled snails 
in the gizzard, which is very strong and muscular. 

"I regret that circumstances did not admit of inv acquiring a perfect 
knowledge of the nidification of this very singular bird. I never found the 
nest lint once, and this unfortunately was after the. breeding season was over; 
but all those of whom I made inquiries respecting it, agreed in assuring me 
that it is either placed on the ledge of a projecting rock, at the base of a 
tree, or on the top of a stump, but always near the ground ; and a cedar- 
cutter, whom I met in the brushes, informed me that he had once found a 
nest, which was built like that of a magpie, adding, that it contained but one 
eu'ir. The natives state that the ea - us are two in number, of a light color, 
freckled with spots of red. The nest seen by myself, and to which my at- 
tention was drawn by my black companion Natty, was placed on the prom- 
inent point of a rock, in a situation quite secluded from observation behind, 
but affording the bird a commanding view and an easy retreat in front ; it 
was deep, and shaped like a basin, and had the appearance of having been 


roofed ; was of a large size, formed outwardly of sticks, and lined with tlie 
inner bark of trees and fibrous roots." 

Family Ei:ioi>ni:ii>/F.. Bush Shrikes and Ant Thrushes. 
In this group are included three sub-families, characterized as follows : — 

EHIODORTD /'. i covered with scutellaj. Bill \ lii^li unci stout, like that <>f Lanius. Tn \mxophtmn.e. 
Outer side oi tursusi / weak, like Out of VunUi* . . . Mviotiii' kin e. 

(covered with an < nt in/ plnte Hypocnemidin^:. 

The ThamnophilinO}, or Bush Shrikes, arc found on both continents. 
Gray says of the typical genus Thcunnophilus, — ■ 

"Most ot these birds are inhabitants of the tropical parts of America. 
Then' usually reside in the vast forests, seeking the foliage of the low bushes 
and the trunks of trees for the insects on which they subsist. The nests 
are usually placed in the thick bushes, at no great distance from the ground ; 
the exterior is attached by strong filaments to the boughs, which form a fork 
at the extremity of a slender branch ; the interior is furnished witli hairs 
and delicate stems ot' plants. Some species compose it of a series of small, 
spinous branches, slightly put together. The eggs arc from two to five in 

The Ant Thrushes (Myiotherinoi) are a singular group of birds. By 
some authors, they are made a sub-family of the Fo?'micarinCB, while others 
place them in the Turdidce. The following account of these birds, and their 
nearly-allied species, will give a good idea of their characteristics: — 

"Under the name of Myiotherce, Illiger and Cuvier have united several 
genera, composing the Hi-' ves of Buffon, and the Ant Thrushes, properly so 
called. The Breves are remarkable for the vivid and strongly-contrasted 
hues of their plumage, for the length of the legs, and the shortness of the 
semi-erect tail. They are only found in India ami the adjacent islands, and 
Australia, whilst the Ant Thrushes belong to the New World as well as the 
(lid. The Breves have the gradually-curved bill of the true thrushes, but 
much stronger ; tin; wings are short, anil the powers of flight feeble. The 
predominant color is metallic green, variegated with azure blue, scarlet, and 
black i and some species, witli a hood of the latter tint, appear to be confined 
to Australia and the neighboring islands of the Indian Seas. The Ant 
Thrushes, principally confined to tropical America, represent the Breves in 
that portion of the world, but differ from those splendid birds in having a 
more abruptly-hooked bill and more soberly-colored plumage." 

The utility of the Ant Thrushes, in their native localities, is thus com- 
mented upon by Mr. Swainson : — 

"Of all the tribe of insects which swarm in the tropics, the ants are the 
most numerous ; they are the universal devastators, and in the dry and over- 


grown forests of the interior the traveller can scarcely proceed five paces 
without treading upon their nests. To keep these myriads within due limits, 
a wise Providence has called into existence the Ant Thrushes, and has given 
to them this particular food. Both are proportionate in their geographical 
range, for beyond the tropical latitude the ants suddenly decrease, and their 
enemies, the Ant Thrushes, totally disappear. As a general distinc- 
tion by which this family may be known from the Bush Shrikes, we may 
mention the difference in the feet, the structure of one being adapted for 
walking, while that of the other is more suited fur perching. The Ant 
Thrushes are very locally distributed ; for, although the group is tropical, 
we frequently found that a particular species, very common in one forest, 
was replaced in another by a second : while a third locality, in the same 
district, would present us with still another kind, different from those we had 
previously found. Cayenne and Surinam, in like manner, furnish us with 
many species totally unknown in the forests of Brazil." 

Family Tvi:axnid-k. Tyrant Flycatchers. 

This family is divided into two groups, which are distinguished as fol- 
lows : — 

iM-n i \M- f n i? n-n (large and thick ; wider than high at base Tvi; wnin-.f.. 

J 1I.A-\MU.1:. U1I1. . . j moderate . llut „„!,.,. ,,,.,„ „;„], Kl.l-VU OLINJE. 

The FluvicolinoR, or Waterchats, as stated by Mr. Swainson, are, with 
the exception of one genus, entirely restricted to the warm latitudes of South 
America, where they seem to represent the Stonechats and the W agtails of 
the Old World. "They are," says this author, "strictly ambulating Fly- 
catchers, and constitute the rasorial division of this family. The legs are 
consequently very long, and formed especially fur walking; the toes are 
also long, quite divided to their base, and furnished with long, slightly- 
curved claws. This structure enables these birds to run with great celerity ; 
and they are generally seen on the sides of streams and rivers, feeding on 
Hying insects, which resort to such situations ; for they never hunt among 
trees, and rarely perch, — such, at least, are the manners of the typical 

Mr. Swainson is of the opinion that these birds seem to connect the Ty- 
rant Shrikes with the Flycatchers, which last birds constitute a group hardly 
less numerous than that of the Warblers, and composed, like them, almost 
entirely of small birds. 

Of the Tyrannince, or Tyrant Flycatchers, there are many species con- 
tained in some seven genera. They are restricted to the American continent, 
and many of them are well known, — such as the King Bird, Fork-tailed 
Flycatcher, &c. 


Our limits will not permit an extended review of this group. "The Water- 
chats" (Fluvicolince), says Mr. Swainson, "which seem to connect the 
Tyrant .Shrikes to the fly-catching family, or the Muscicapidce, like very 
many other tribes, have their plumage black and white, variously blended, 
but without any mixture of green. The lesser Tyrants (Tyrannulce) , on 
the contrary) are all of an olive-colored plumage; that color, in short, 
which is most adapted for concealment among foliage, and therefore suited 
to their mode of life. Between these, however, we find some curious birds, 
which borrow the habits of both groups. The species, called by Latham 
White-headed Tody, for instance, is black and white; its general resort is 
on the sides of marshes, where it perches upon the reeds, and darts on pass- 
ing insects in the same manner as a true Tyrant Shrike. The lesser Tyrants 
(Tyrannulce) are spread over the whole of America, where they represent 
the true Flycatcher (Jluscicapa) of the Old World; both have nearly the 
same manners ; and so closely do they resemble each other, that they can 
only be distinguished by their feet, tail, and wings. From these we may 

pass to the tri r greater Tyrants by a. little sub-generic group ( Miluulus) , 

having very long forked tails. The habits of the typical Tyrants intimately 
resemble those of the lesser, but they feed upon larger insects more suited 
to their own size: some imitate tin 1 Kingfishers, by diving in the water; 
and they will even prey upon small reptiles. The species, which are numer- 
ous, swarm in tropical America, where they are everywhere seen perched 
upon naked branches, and uttering at short internals a sharp and monotonous 
cry. The Tyrants are bold and quarrelsome birds, particularly during the 
season of incubation : tin' male will not then suffer any birds to come near 
its nest, and becomes so infuriated against such unconscious intruders, that 
it will attack both hawks and eagles, with a determination not to be resisted, 
until they are fairly driven away. 

Family Plattrynchidje. The Broad Bills. 

The birds composing this group have occupied uncertain and varied posi- 
tions in the writings of various authors. Most ornithologists have placed 
them in the Muse leap idee. 

The following remarks explain somewhat the causes for their being placed 
in this position : — - 

"Mr. Vigors, at the commencement of the section treating of the order 
Dentirostres, observes that the depressed bill anil insect-food of the Tur- 
didce introduce us at once to the Muscicapidce, with which they are imme- 
diately connected by the genus Plcityrynchus. The species that com- 
pose the latter group (Plahjrynchus) were separated from it only on account 
of the comparative strength of their legs. The whole of the MuscicapidcB, 


indeed," continues Mr. Vigors, "with which family Platy)~ynchus is now 

united, have a decided affinity to the last tribe, or the birds which feed 
upon the winy, in their broad-based bills, the vibrissa' that surround them, 
and their similar habits of darting upon their prey while on the wing." 

Family Pipkidje. Tin: Maxaiuxs. 

Mr. Swainson regards the Pipridce, or, as be calls them, Piprinos, as a 
sub-family of the Ampelidse, from which they differ in the slenderness of the 
feet, shortness of the beak, and curvature of the upper mandible i most arc 
of small size, and clothed in plumage of the richest tints of crimson, or- 
ange, yellow, blue, green, and black. The warmer regions of America are 
their strongholds, but not their exclusive habitat. According to Mr. Swain- 
son, the Manakins "chiefly occur in the deep virgin forests of the tropics, 
but are much more social than the Cotingas. They live in little bands ; are 
continually in motion, and teed almost entirely on the large, soft berries of 
the different species of Melastoma ; the nest of one species, Pipra pareola, 
is often built in the fork of a shrub, in such an exposed manner, that the 
female can look all round, and watch the approach of danger. We found one 
in such a situation in the forest of Pitanga, a single leaf of a large pepper 
plant (Piper) forming a kind of umbrella shade over the female, which 
was sitting, and did not rise from her nest as we passed onwards." 

Family Piiytotomid.l. The Plant Cutters. 

Some ornithologists place the Plant Cutters, the Colies, the Touracos, and 
the Plantain-eaters under one family head, of which they constitute so many 
distinct tribes. We are inclined, however, to regard them as the types of 
distinct forms, that is, constituting so many family sections." 

Of these birds the Chilian Plant Cutter (Phytotoma rara) is one of the 
best known. 

To Molina we are principally indebted for our knowledge of the habits of 
this bird, which, from the depredations it commits, is subject to incessant 
persecution. It feeds on plants of the most tender nature, cutting them off 
close to the roots ; and not content with merely satisfying its appetite, it 
has the most destructive habit of cropping close a quantity of them without 
touching them further, thus injuring the fields of rising grain, while the 
blade is peeping above the surface. 

The Chilian Plant Cutter builds its nest on the most lofty trees, in obscure 
and but little frequented spots, and, consequently, generally rears its young 
brood in safety, notwithstanding the reward which Molina says is (or in his 
time was) given to children and other persons who destroy the eggs. 


The same writer states that its numbers were, in his time, considerably 
diminished, and adds, — 

"I do not know whether this circumstance is because a price is set on its 
head, or on account of its naturally small degree of fecundity." 

Jn size, this bird nearly equals a thrush ; its bill is rather large, straight, 

conical, and with the edges seriated : the tail is moderate and rounded. The 

color is dusky-gray upon' the hack, rather clearer on the under surface; the 

points of the quills and the tail are black. Its voice is a hoarse, interrupted 


Family A:\iPELiDiE. The Chatterers. 

Tin' group is divided as follows : — 

-( \IPE1 ID r. \ thick and convex, not compi - set] ; second primary abbreviated in the males. Ps \kin\e. 
i ;i H > j broad at base, compressed towards tip ; second primary not abbreviated. . . Ampklin£. 

The Ampelincc of Lilljeborg corresponds apparently to the Cothigidce, 
or Chatterers, of other authors. Of the Cotingas, there are a great many 
species : they are showy birds, residing in the tropical portions of America, 
especially on the trees that grow by the sides of the rivers. They feed on 
fruits and insects, and are thus compelled to migrate from place to place 
in search of their food. The female deposits four eggs, and the nest is 
found in the highest branches of trees. 

Nearly allied to, if not included in this group, are the species of Procnias 
(Bell Birds). These birds reside in the tropical forests of America; in hab- 
its they resemble the Cotingce, ami some species "possess a very loud and 
powerful voice, which may be heard a great distance, and is said to vary 
according to the season. It is stated that the noise uttered by one of these 
birds is like the tolling of a distant church bell, which is more distinctly 
heard during the heat of the day, when every other bird has ceased to sing. 
This bird utters a toll, and a minute pause ensues ; then another toll, with a 
repetition of the pause, and then again a toll, and so on : the note of an- 
other species has been compared to the noise produced by striking a hammer 
on an anvil." 

Of the Psarince, or Becards, Gray gives the following account, when 
treating of the genus Tityra: — 

"The birds that compose this genus arc found in the warmer parts of 
South America and the islands of the "West. Indies. They migrate from 
place to place, and are usually seen perched on the highest branches of the 
lofty trees of the primeval forests. Insects form their chief subsistence ; 
these they capture by short flights, and return again to the same perch to 
watch for others passing within a certain range. 


Plalalm ijaja 


Siimucl Vi'.'i 1 Irov & Co Tiuulm 

tree ( keepers. 13 

Family Anabatid.-e. Tree Creepers and Axabates. 
This group is divided into two sub-families. 

A\ IRATIDJS. I nearly equal to the middle 

Outer toe .... \ shorter than the middle. Hallux louger thau in the preceding 

Of the Anabatince, the habits of Anabates, as given by Gray, will fur- 
nish the example. 

"It is in the warmer parts of South America that these birds reside in 
bushv places on the sides of the rivers. They are sedentary, generally in 
small flocks of ten or twelve, dispersed in the neighboring shrubs, on 
which they arc constantly on the move, sometimes leaping from branch to 
branch, or hopping about on the ground round the stems of the thorny 
shrubs, which they seem to prefer to other kinds : these they search for 
minute insects and seeds. "W hen perched, they erect their crests, and at 
the same time utter loudly, without interruption, a varied note." 

Of the De7idrocolaptince, or Tree Creepers, the habits of the typical 
uciius Dendrocolaptes will illustrate the group. These birds inhabit the 
vast forests of the warmer parts of South America. They are usually ob- 
served clinging to the trunks and branches of trees by means of their 
strong, curved claws and the rigid points of their tail feathers, examining 
the cracks of the bark and among the foliage for the larvae of insects, and 
even those in a perfect state, on which they principally subsist. In fact, in 
their habits and manners they closely assimilate to the Common Creeper. 
The female deposits from three to four eggs in hollow trunks of trees. 

Mr. Vigors says, "The whole of the birds, however, thus united by close 
affinities, and as such generally brought together by systematic writers into 
one conterminous series, are decidedly divisible into two distinct groups, nat- 
urally arranging themselves under different subdivisions of the order. The 
family of Oerthiadae live upon animal food, while the remaining genera of 
the L'mmvan Certkia subsist chiefly upon vegetable juices. The tongues 
of each, though similar, in being more or less extensible, and in being the 
medium through which they are supplied with food, are equally distinct as 
the nature of the food itself. Those of the former are sharp, and of a 
spear-like form, as if to transfix the insects which are their prey, while those 
of the latter are divided into tubular filaments, which appear exclusively 
adapted to the purposes of suction. In other particulars they exhibit an 
equal difference. The Certkiadce climb, and their feet are of a conformable 
structure; but the feet of suctorial birds are not only in general unsuited to 
that purpose, but they become gradually weaker as they come nearer the 
type of the tribe, where they are so short and slightly formed as to be ser- 
viceable only in perching, when the bird is at rest." 
mi. xi. 55 




The Zygodactyly of Lilljeborg correspond very generally with the Or- 
der Scansores of other authors. 

This group is divided, by the present arrangement, into eight families and 
nineteen sub-families, which are characterized as follows : — 


Mrsm-itum. k. Hallux 

'I i: M> V 


(nut i 

B '.!!■ i . Tai ills 

R iMI'D l i ! !' i 

i shortci (han i sterna] toe 
1 us long ji mi loi 

M, Colin!?, Bonap, 

8,i, Jtlusfji/liuuinti Swains. 

Si, /,.„„,„,„:, Bonap. 

8? UnllMliuli I: i|. 

liter toe Hp! Cn/fttuHiuir. Bonap'. 

90. fiami>/tw<t>iiK, Bunap. 

nasal lossn or aperture, mure in lesi upci I between tile nasal I .and 

ries D 91. ''' o-ni'r oji/in't'iiir, G Gray. 

i i ' I i 1 1. K. ' in ii mi -ii I fossa pcrture, / , lo"K. straight, with mandible 

Nostrils.. and vol less covered \ lour:, cuneate. 1 ndt-d. ) niched only at ti| 92. Stiurotherinfe, Bonap. 

Bill ) .1 ivitli i i mi ible 

v curved altnust!>iiM-... 9,1. (V w'/mr. It ip. 

moderated, emorginated Bill s.hurt and stout.. 94. httUrntorh 

1*1. 1 1. I-:. Tai] t. athers 

P6ITT M in I:. 

( soft, with the tip rounded '.::■-. I,,,.,, Bonap 

""""-, ,,...„!, with ti„ i,,, , -.,,(, ocut. DtS I'irinli Swai 

'not longer Mian tin- iutiei £ surrounded hv mi inrouiplete facial aren 97. Sliitiopiiii* Bonnp 

anterioi toe witlioul its { uot surrounded bj a fa- , small, slendi I in id eylindrieal.... 98. J/tcr offlo. ssinK-, I; ■ ap 

mill. Eyes < cial area. Tongue.. I broad, depn eil . .hurt rounded 


(I. -In \ veil 99, Pantocrine, Illiger. 

<? in, in- or less 

' neate... 100. Arainm, i. Gray. 

inn'.', t tliim ttu' inner anterior toe without S short and strongly incurved 1"! . 'rrc/t/r-ei. r«a-, Swains. 

L its nail. Claws floug aud but little incurved 102. !"■ :ojio>-iuh , Bunup. 

Of course our limits will not permit a review of these sub-families in their 
habits and peculiarities, and we can direct our attention only to the leading- 

Family Psittacid^e. Parrots, Macaws, Parrakeets, Lories. 

Mr. A igors declares it as his opinion that the PsittacidcB afford more 
difficulties to the inquirer into affinities than any other group in the known 
class ; he remarks that, in manners and general structure, as well as in the 
mode of using their feet and hill, the Parrots hold nearly an insulated situ- 
ation among birds, ami that they may, perhaps, be pronounced to be the 
only group among them which is completely sui generis. Yet, because the 
Parrots and the Woodpeckers are climbers, par excellence, — differing, 
however, as he states, as to the mode in which they climb, — he associates 
them together, ami considers the Barbcts I^Pugunins) to be the link of 
union between them. 

Mr. Swainson is of opinion that the Parrots constitute the sub-typical 
division of the Scansores, in which the powers of climbing are less devel- 
oped. ' If," says that writer, "any group in nature be isolated, it is this. 
Possessing in themselves the strongest characteristics, there is no bird yet 
discovered which presents any point of connection to them ; approximations 
are certainly made by the Tooth-billed Barbets, but still there is a gap 
which no genus discovered is calculated to fill up." In the Parrot tribe the 


modification of the bill is very remarkable. In man}- birds the upper man- 
dible is more or less movable at its junction with the forehead. In the 
Parrots, this mobility is carried out to its fullest extent, a sort of hinge 
uniting the upper mandible to the forehead, while the slender bones, con- 
necting the upper mandible to the base of the skull, yield to every move- 

Across the horny palate of the beak is a sort of notch, against which the 
front margin of the lower beak works ; and this margin, chisel-like, is sharp 
and thin, while the articulation of the lower mandible is as loose as possible. 
Hence, aided by the thick, fleshy tongue, a Parrot, as we have often seen, 
will, by means of its beak, clear the inside of a fresh pea from the outer 
skin, rejecting the latter, and perform the whole process, not only with facil- 
ity, but with the greatest delicacy of manipulation, if this term is allowable. 
In all birds, as a ride, the margin of the orbit is incomplete. In the Par- 
rot, the bony ring, varying in breadth, is complete, and below it runs the 
slender bone connecting the upper mandible with the os quadratum. "The 
lower mandible is light, thin, and deep. The tongue is thick, muscular, and 
in constant requisition : it is covered with papilla;, is moistened with saliva, 
and possesses both taste and great mobility. In the Lorikets ( Tricho- 
glosans) , however, which feed on the nectar of the flowers of the Euca- 
lypti, in Australia, it is furnished with a brush of delicate, close-set fila- 

The Parrots are a noisy race, associating together in flocks, and feeding 
upon fruits, buds, seeds, &c. : they sleep crowded together, and are fond 
of pruning each other's plumage : they are monogamous, the pairs forming 
lasting associations, and they breed in the hollows of trees. With respect 
to powers of flight, they vary considerable ; some fly slowly, but others wing 
their way with the greatest rapidity, and for a long continuance. It is to 
the warmer climates, more particularly, that these birds are confined ; and 
they are abundant in the inter-tropics. In the southern hemisphere, how- 
ever, they occur in temperate latitudes, while in the northern hemisphere, 
they are rare beyond the Tropic of Cancer; the Carolina Parrot, in Amer- 
ica, and some of the genus Palceomis, in India, however, are extra-tropical. 
On the contrary, Parrots occur in the southern extremity of America, 
throughout New Holland, Van Piemen's Land, New Zealand, and even in 
Macquarie Island, in the fifty-second degree of south latitude. 

Of all birds, Parrots are the most suceptible of being rendered tame and 
familiar ; and towards their protectors they often manifest great attachment, 
courting their notice and caresses. They are decidedly the most intelligent 
of the feathered race, and are quick in learning to repeat words, sentences, 
and tunes : they mimic the voices of other animals, — the barking of dogs, 


the raewin" 1 of cats, and the crowing of poultry, — and their memory is re- 
tentive, and their ear is accurate. Individuals, however, differ in their qual- 
ifications, and some species are superior to others in the facility with which 
they learn their lessons, the Gray Parrot of Africa (Psittacus erythacus) 
being preeminent. 

In the classical writings of antiquity we have several references to these 
birds, which appear to have been great favorites and in general request. 
Aristotle well described their tongue as resembling that of man, whence, as 
he conjectured, arose the facility with which they pronounce words or sen- 
tences. The Greeks were the first of European nations who became ac- 
quainted with birds of the Parrot tribe, viz., some of the species of the 
Indian genus Pulcvornis (Parrakeets) ; these, from all accounts, were 
introduced into Europe from India at the time of the Macedonian con- 
quest, and, having been once brought into Greece, the great demand for 
them, and the high prices for which they sold, rendered the importation of 
them a profitable speculation. 

From Greece the Parrot soon found its way to Pome, and became extrav- 
agantly admired. It was kept in cages of the most costly materials, nor 
was any juice, however inordinate, deemed beyond its value. Until the 
time of Nero the Romans were not acquainted with the Parrots of Africa ; 
but. as that, country became more known, these birds, with other natural 
productions, were sent to Italy ; and most probably it was from that quar- 
ter that the numbers of the Parrot race were imported, which, at a subse- 
quent period, supplied the luxury of Heliogabalus. Among other articles 
in the bill of fare, detailed by ./Elian as entering into the feasts of this em- 
peror, arc the combs of fowls, the tongues of peacocks and nightingales, the 
brains of flamingoes and thrushes, the heads of parrots and pheasants, and 
it. is reported that with the bodies of the two latter he fed his beasts of 

In captivity the Parrot lives long; instances are on record of individuals 
attaining the age of eighty or one hundred years. 

The Macaws occur in the warm regions of South America, and arc among 
the largest of the Parrot race. They are easily domesticated, and become 
very gentle and familiar, but in their powers of imitation they fall fir short 
of the true Parrots and Parrakeets ; their natural cries are harsh, discordant, 
and piercing, and are pronounced in a disagreeable tone. The beak is of 
enormous size and strength ; the cheeks are, to a greater or less extent, bare ; 
the nostrils are concealed : the under mandible is very deep. The plumage 
is remarkable lor gaudy coloring. The Blue and Yellow Macaw is a native 
of Brazil, Guiana, and Surinam, tenanting the swampy forests along the 
banks of rivers, and generally living in pairs, though sometimes they assem-. 


Lie in large flocks. The food of this species consists principally of a fruit 
of a kind of palm abundant in humid or marshy places. On the wing, the 
Bine and Yellow Macaw is rapid, displaying great address and case in its 
aerial movements, and is often seen skimming over the tops of the loftiest 
trees, the highest branches of which it selects for its roosting-place. 
Like the Parrots generally, this .Macaw lays two white eggs in the 
hollow of a decayed tree ; both sexes attend to the duty of incubation, and 
to the labor of rearing the young. Two broods are said to be produced 

The Lorikeets (Tvlchoglossi) arc natives of Australia, and arc charac- 
terized by the tongue being furnished at its apex with a pencil or brush of 
strong hairs, rendering it an efficient agent in procuring food. This consists 
of the nectar of various species of Eucalypti, some of which are always in 
flower, thus furnishing the Hocks with an abundant supply. Were it not 
for this succession of blooms the Lorikeets would lie straitened for food. 
Among the pendent blossoms of these trees may the Lorikeets be. observed 
clinging in every attitude, and busily engaged in absorbing, with their pencil- 
tufted tongues (and so licking up), tli> honey from the cups of the newly- 
expanded blossoms, which they have compressetl and nibbled with their 
beaks. "To such an excess," says Mr. Gould, "do these birds satiate them- 
selves with their liquid food, that, on suspending a fresh-shot specimen by 
the toes, a large tea-spoonful, at least, of honey will flow from the mouth ; " 
and he adds, "when we know this to be the natural food of this group, how 
can it be expected that the species can exist in captivity upon the hard seed 
or farinaceous diet so generally given as a substitute?" And we agree with 
him in thinking that if honey or liquid saccharine matter were afforded them, 
they might lie kept in cages and aviaries; and when it is considered that 
they are among the most elegant and beautiful of their race, it is desirable 
for those who have the opportunity of making a series of trials. 

According to Mr. Calez, the Blue-Mountain Lorikeet, or Blue-Mountain 
Parrot (Warrin of the natives), is remarkable for its docility and attachment 
to some people, whilst it is a perfect scold to others, who may have teased 
or offended it. "Flocks of these birds," says this accurate observer, "may 
be seen in the Eucalypti trees when in dower, in different parts of the 
country, but in the greatest number near their breeding-places. It does not 
eat any kind of grain, even when in a domesticated state. It i.s much sub- 
ject to fits, which generally prove fatal ; and it is rare to find an individual 
kept alive above a couple of years. One that I kept, on being shown a 
figure of a colored plant, used to put its tongue to the flowers, as if with 
the intent of sucking them ; and I have seen it make the same attempt with 
a piece of cotton furniture. The flesh of this bird is very good eating." 


Aii'nin, speaking of the Crimson-fronted Parakeet, Coolieh of the natives 
(Trichoglossus concinnus), Mr. Calez states that it may he observed in 
laro-e flocks sucking the Eucalypti flowers. lie adds, that like the Blue- 
Mountain Parrot, it is subject to fits, which generally prove fatal ; that it is 
.seldom kept alive, and that its breath, or some part above its head, emits a 
very sweet odor. The natives told him that this species breeds in the hollow 
boughs of trees, scraping out the decayed mould, and making its not of it. 
The eggs, he informs us, are green, without spots, and the number of young- 
two. Of the Small Parakeets (Jarryang of the natives) (Trichoglossus 
pusillus), he observes that this, like the Coolieh, is seen in very large 
flocks in the Eucalypti trees when in bloom. "The natives," says he, 
"now and then bring in the young ones, but they seldom live long. I had 
three young ones for some time, which used to huddle together, anil give out 
a very pleasing note. They all died strongly convulsed, and nearly at the 
same time the limbs were as stiff the moment life was extinct as if the 
body had become cold. The natives tell me that it builds in the hollow 
limbs of trees, making no other nest than of the decayed wood. The eggs 
are white and without spot." 

In the Cockatoos the bill is strong, short, broad, with the upper mandible 
much curved; the bead is ornamented with a folding crest; base of the 
under mandible frequently concealed by feathers. Wings long ; tail even. 
Locality, Australia and the Indian Islands. These birds inhabit the woods, 
feeding on fruit, and breeding in hollow trees : their cry is harsh, loud, and 
disagreeable, but they are readily tamed, and though not celebrated for their 
powers of imitation, are engaging from their gentleness and affectionate dis- 
position. Their plumage is very powdery. They live long in captivity. 
An authenticated instance is on record of a great Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 
which attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. Mr. Gould, who, 
in his " Birds of Australia," has given a magnificent figure of the Cacatua 
galei'ita ofVieillot, observes, that if we regard the White Cockatoo of Van 
Diemen's Land and that of New Guinea as mere varieties of each other, 
this species has a more extensive range than most other birds. It is an in- 
habitant of all the Australian colonies, both on the southern and northern 
coasts, but has not yet been seen mi the western. "On a close examination 
of the specimens from the three countries above mentioned, a decided differ- 
ence is observable in the structure of the bill, or rather, perhaps, a modifica- 
tion of the organ for the peculiar kind of food afforded by the respective 
countries. The Van Diemen's Land bird is the largest in every respect, and 
has the bill, particularly the upper mandible, le.-s abruptly curved; the bill 
of the Xew Guinea bird is much rounder, and is, in fact, fitted to perform a 
totally different office from that of the White Cockatoo of Van Diemen's 


Land, which, as I linvc ascertained by dissection, feeds principally on the 
small bulbs of the terrestrial Orchidacece, for procuring which its lengthened 
upper mandible is admirably adapted, while it is more than probable that no 
food of this kind is to be obtained by the New Guinea bird, the structure of 
whose bill indicates that hard seeds and nuts constitute the principal part 
of its diet. The crops and stomachs of those killed in Van Diemen's Land 
were very muscular, and contained seeds, grain, native bread (a species 
of fungus), small tuberose, and bulbous roots, and, in most instances, 
large stones." 

As may be readily imagined, this bird is not upon favorable terms with the 
agriculturists, upon whose fields of newly-sown grain and ripening maize it 
commits the greatest devastations : it is consequently hunted down wherever 
it is found — a circumstance which tends much to lessen its numbers. It is 
still, however, vcrv abundant, moving about in nocks, varying from a hun- 
dred to a thousand in number, and evinces a decided preference to the open 

plains and cleared lands, rather than to the dense brushes near the < -t. 

"Except when feeding or reposing on the trees after a repast, the presence 
of a flock, if not seen, is certain to be indicated by their horrid, screaming 
notes, the discordance of which may be slightly conceived by those who have 
heard the peculiarly loud, piercing, grating scream of the bird in captivity, 
always remembering the immense increase of the din occasioned by the large 
number of the birds uttering their disagreeable notes at the same moment : 
still I ever considered this annoyance amply compensated for by their 
sprightly actions, and the life their snowy forms imparted to the dense and 
never-varying green of the Australian forest — a feeling participated in by 
Sir Thomas Mitchell, who says that amidst the umbrageous foliage, forming 
dense masses of shade, the White Cockatoos sported like spirits of light." 

Family Picid.e. Woodpeckers. 

These birds are generally distributed in both hemispheres. Mr. Swainson 
is of opinion that the structure of the Picidas constitutes them the most per- 
fect of all the climbing birds, for nature has rendered their whole organi- 
zation subservient to this particular power. "The feet," he observes, 
"although short, are unusually strong; the nails are broad and crooked, 
and the toes placed in pairs, two forward and two backward. As an addi- 
tional and powerful support, in their rapid and perpendicular ascent up the 
trunks of trees, their tail feathers," he remarks, "terminate in points, and 
are uncommonly hard, so that, being pressed against the bark, they assist 
the bird in its progress, or in keeping its position. The bill, destined for 
the laborious operation of penetrating the wood, or stripping off the bark 
of forest trees, is beautifully adapted for the purpose, being wedge-shaped, 



furnished with regular-sided angles, and in one species (Picus principalis) 
nearly of the color and consistency of ivory, whence it has been termed the 
Ivory-billed Woodpecker." 

Mr. Yarrel, in describing the characteristics of the Woodpeckers, says, — 

"Moderate powers of flight, sufficient to transport the bird from tree to 
tree, are all that it seems to require: large pectoral muscles, with a deep 
keel to the breastbone, would, to this bird, be an inconvenience. The 
advantage of a narrow, shallow keel is immediately apparent, on looking at 
a representation of the skeleton in a climbing position ; the low keel allow- 
ing the bird to place its body close to the tree, brings its centre of gravity 
in a perpendicular line before the points of support, and thus materially 
diminishes the labor of, and the strain upon, the muscles of the legs and 

Of the Picince, or true Woodpeckers, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is a 
good type. This species is a native of North America, being found in the 
swampy forests of the Southern and South-western States. 

" 1 ((.-cending the ( )hio," says Audubon, " we meet with this splendid bird, 
for the first time, near the confluence of that beautiful river and the Missis- 
sippi ; after which, following the windings of the latter, either downwards 
towards (lie sea, or upwards in the direction of the Missouri, we frequently 
observe it. On the Atlantic coast, North Carolina may lie taken as the 
limits of its distribution, although now and then an individual of the spe- 
cies may be accidentally ^wn in Maryland. To the westward of the Mis- 
sissippi, it is found in all the dense forests bordering the streams which 
empty their waters into that majestic river, from the very declivities of the 
Rocky Mountains. The lower parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, 
Louisiana, and Mississippi, are, however, the most favorite resorts of this 
bird; and in those States it constantly resides, breeds, and passes a life of 
peaceful enjoyment, finding a profusion of food in all the deep, dark, and 
gloomy swamps dispersed throughout them." 

Beetles, larva 1 , and large grubs constitute the chief diet of this species; 
and for these it attacks the bark and wood of decayed trees, its strokes re- 
sounding far through the gloomy wilds. " 'Wherever he frequents," says 
Wilson, "he leaves numerous monuments of his industry behind him. We 
there see enormous pine trees, with cart-loads of bark lying around their 
roots, and chips of the trunk itself in such quantities as to suggest the idea 
that half a dozen axe-men had been at work there for the whole morning. 
The body of the tree is also disfigured with such numerous and so large 
excavations that he can hardly conceive it possible for the whole to be the 
work of a Woodpecker." 

Audubon says he has seen it detach pieces of bark seven or eight inches 




+ 1 Ws ' 





Samuel Walker & ("o Bo.ston 


in length at a single blow, busy in quest of insects, all the while sounding 
its loud notes, as if highly delighted. Sound and healthy trees, however, 
are never thus attacked, excepting for the purpose of nidificatiou. The tree 
selected, for this purpose, is cither an ash or a hagberry ; and at a great ele- 
vation, the pair, relieving each other by turns, begin their operations. They 
generally select a spot under the junction of a large branch, with the trunk 
as a defence against rain. They first excavate horizontally for a few inches, 
and then downwards, the extent of the cavity varying from a foot to three 
feet downwards, into the core of the tree ; the diameter is about seven inches, 
but the aperture will only just admit the bird. The eggs, generally six, are 
white. Two broods are usually reared each summer. Besides insects, this 
Woodpecker devours wild grapes, persimmons, and hagberries. The flight 
of this species is very graceful, though, as Audubon says, seldom prolonged 
to more than a few hundred yards at a time, unless when it has to cross a 
large river, which it does in deep undulations, but the transit from tree to 
tree is performed by a single sweep. It seldom utters any sound while on 
the wing; but as soon as it alights, its voice is heard, the notes resounding 
to a considerable distance, and may be represented by the monosyllable pait, 
pait, pait, in tone like the false high note of a clarionet. 

The head and bill of this species are held in great esteem, as a sort of 
charm or amulet, by many of the tribes of America, who ornament their 
belts with them ; and Europeans purchase them as beautiful curiosities. 
When wounded, this bird generally ascends the nearest tree, in a spiral 
direction, till it attains the top branches, where it hides; but if intercepted 
and laid hold of, it defends itself both with its beak and claws, inflicting 
severe lacerations. 

The Pileated Woodpecker {Hylatomus pileatas) is also well known. It 
is found only in American forests, and is recognized by a number of names, 
— such as Log Cock, Black Wood-Cock, Great Woodpecker, &c. Its color 
is black, with a streak of white across the head and on the sides of the 
breast, and the crown is of a scarlet red. 

The great size and strength of this bird enable it to pierce into and tear 
apart the decaying trees in which its food is burrowing, with wonderful facil- 
ity and ease. We have, at times, in passing through the forest, found huge 
trees that had died and fallen to the ground, with their bark stripped off, 
and large chips torn out, as if some animal had been at work on them ; and 
we always supposed that a bear had been amusing himself, as those animals 
sometimes do, in this employment. One day we discovered the author of 
the demolition, and it proved to be the Pileated Woodpecker. While seated 
in the woods near the settlement known as Wilson's Mills, in Maine, we 
heard a large animal, as we supposed, rooting and tearing into a dead tree a 
no. xii. 56 


few roils off. We crept up near the sound, hoping to get a shot at a bear, 
when we discovered this bird, which looked very much like a black hen, 
busily at work. He was searching for the borers and large black ants that hide 
beneath the bark ; and so earnestly was he employed, that he permitted us 
to approach very near him. lie would force his powerful bill, by repeated 
strokes, into the bark, in holes in a direct line with the grain, until he had 
marked out a patch, perhaps six or eight inches square, and then, striking 
into it diagonally, tear it off, thus exposing the living vermin beneath, which 
he lost no time in securing. After clearing that spot, he moved to another, 
and repeated the same operation, until, by a sudden movement, we startled 
him, when he flew off, uttering a rattling cackle similar to that of a gar- 
rulous hen. His flight was similar to that of the other Woodpeckers 
described in another place in this volume. In addition to insects, this 
Woodpecker eats acorns, beech-nuts, berries, and Indian corn, but is not 
at all troublesome to farmers ; and the little that it pilfers is much more 
than repaid by the immense numbers of injurious larva- that it destroys. 

The Downy Woodpecker is also well known. 

This little Woodpecker — the smallest we have — is abundantly distrib- 
uted throughout the Eastern United States, and is a resident throughout the 
year. The exceedingly interesting description of its habits, by Wilson, is 
so full that we will give it entire. He says, — 

"About the middle of May the male and female look out for a suitable 
place for the reception of their eggs and young. An apple, pear, or cherry 
tree — often in the near neighborhood of the farm-house — is generally fixed 
upon for this purpose. The tree is minutely reconnoitred for several days 
previous to the operation ; and the work is first begun by the male, who 
cuts out a hole in the solid wood as circular as if described with a pair of 
compasses. lie is occasionally relieved by the female, both parties working 
witli the most indefatigable diligence. The direction of the hole, if made 
in the body of the tree, is generally downwards, by an angle of thirty or 
forty degrees, for the distance of six or eight indies, then straight down for 
ten or twelve more : within, roomy, capacious, and as smooth as if polished 
by the cabinet-maker ; but the entrance is judiciously left just so large as 
tn admit the bodies of the owners. During this labor, they regularly carry 
out the chips, often strewing them at a distance, to prevent suspicion. This 
operation sometimes occupies the chief part of a week. Before she begins 
to lay, the female often visits the place, passes out and in, examines every 
part — both of the exterior and interior — witli great attention (as every 
prudent tenant of a new house ought to do), and at length takes complete 
possession. The eggs are generally six, — pure white, and laid on the 
smooth bottom of the cavity. The male occasionally supplies the female 


with food while she is sitting; and, about the last week in June, the young 
are perceived making their way up the tree, climbing with considerable dex- 
terity. All this goes on with great regularity where no interruption is met 
with ; but the House Wren, who also builds in the hollow of a tree, but 
who is neither furnished with the necessary tools, nor strength for excavat- 
ing such an apartment for himself, allows the Woodpeckers to go on till he 
thinks it will answer his purpose, then attacks them with violence, and gen- 
erally succeeds in driving them off. I saw, some weeks ago, a striking 
example of this, where the Woodpeckers we are now describing, after com- 
mencing in a eheiTy tree, within a few yards of the house, and, having made 
considerable progress, were turned out by the Wren. The former began 
again on a pear tree in the garden, fifteen or twenty yards off, whence, after 
digging out a most complete apartment, and one egg being laid, they were 
once more assaidted by the same impertinent intruder, and finally forced to 
abandon the place. 

"The principal characteristics of this little bird are diligence, familiarity, 
perseverance, and a strength and energy in the head and muscles of the 
neck which are truly astonishing. Mounted on the infected branch of an 
old apple tree, where insects have lodged their corroding and destructive brood, 
in crevices between the bark and wood, he labors sometimes for half an hour 
incessantly at the same spot, before he has succeeded in disloging and 
destroying them. At these times, you may walk up pretty close to the 
tree, and even stand immediately below it, within live or six feet of the bird, 
without in the least embarrassing him. The strokes of his bill are dis- 
tinctly heard several hundred yards off; and I have known him to be at 
work for two hours together on the same tree. Buffon calls this ' incessant 
toil and slavery ; ' their attitude, ' a painful posture ; ' and their life, ' a didl 
and insipid existence,' — expressions improper because untrue, and absurd 
because contradictory. The posture is that for which the whole organiza- 
tion is particularly adapted ; and though to a Wren or Humming Bird the 
labor would be both toil and slavery, yet to him it is, I am convinced, as 
pleasant and as amusing as the sports of the chase to the hunter, or the 
sucking of flowers to the Humming Bird. The eagerness with which he 
traverses the upper and lower sides of the branches, the cheerfulness of his 
motions while digging into the tree and dislodging the vermin, justify this 
belief. He has a single note or chink, which, like the former species, he 
frequently repeats ; and when he flics off, or alights on another tree, he utters 
a rather shriller cry, composed of nearly the same kind of note, quickly 
reiterated. In fall and winter he associates with the Titmouse, Creeper, 
&c, both in their wood and orchard excursions, and usually leads the van. 
Of all our Woodpeckers, none rid the apple trees of so many vermin as 
this, digging off the moss which the negligence of the proprietor had suf- 


fered to accumulate, and probing every crevice. In fact, the orchard is his 
favorite resort in all seasons, and his industry is unequalled and almost 
incessant which is more than can be said of any other species we have. In 
the fall, he is particularly fond of boring the apple trees for insects, digging 
a circular hole through the bark, just sufficient to admit his bill ; after that, 
a second, third, &C, in pretty regular horizontal circles round the body of 
the tree : these parallel circles of holes are often not more than an inch 
or an inch and a half apart, and sometimes so close together that I have 
covered eight or ten of them at once with a dollar. From nearly the surface 
of the o-round up to the first fork, and sometimes far beyond it, the whole 
bark of many apple trees is perforated in this manner, so as to appear as if 
made by successive discharges of buckshot; ami our little Woodpecker — 
the subject of the present account — is the principal perpetrator of this sup- 
! 1 mischief: I say supposed, fir. so far from these perforations of the 
bark beinn' ruinous, they are not only harmless, but, I have good reason to 
believe, really beneficial to the health and fertility of the tree. I leave it to 
the philosophical botanist to account for this; but the fact I am confident of. 
In more than fifty orchards, which I have myself carefully examined, those 
trees which were marked by the Woodpecker (for some trees they never 
touch, perhaps because not penetrated by insects ) were uniformly the most 
thriving, and seemingly the most productive. Many of these were upwards 
of sixty years old, their trunks completely covered with holes, while the 
branches were broad, luxuriant, and loaded with fruit. Of decayed trees, 
more than three fourths were untouched by the Woodpecker. Several in- 
telligent farmers, with whom I have conversed, candidly acknowledge the 
truth of these observations, and with justice look upon these birds as bene- 
ficial ; but the most common opinion is, that they bore the tree to suck the 
sap, and so destroy its vegetation : though pine and other resinous trees, on 
the juices of which it is not pretended they feed, are often found equally 
perforated. Were the sap of the tree their object, the saccharine juice of 
the birch, the sugar-maple, and several others, would be much more inviting 
(because more sweet and nourishing) than that of either the pear or apple 
tree ; but I have not observed one mark on the former for ten thousand that 
may be seen on the latter. Besides, the early part of spring is the season 
when the sap flows most abundantly ; whereas, it is only during the months 
of September, October, and November that Woodpeckers are seen so inde- 
fatigably engaged in orchards, probing every crack and crevice, boring 
through the bark — and, what is worth remarking, chiefly on the south 
and south-west sides of the tree — for the eggs and lame deposited there 
by the countless swarms of summer insects. These, if suffered to remain, 
would prey upon the very vitals — if I may so express it — of the tree, and, 
in the succeeding summer, give birth to myriads more of their race, equally 


"Here, then, is a whole species, I may say genus, of birds, which Prov- 
idence seems to have formed for the protection of our fruit and forest trees 
from the ravages of vermin, which every day destroys millions of those nox- 
ious insects that would otherwise blast the hopes of the husbandman ; they 
even promote the fertility of the tree, and, in return, are proscribed by those 
who ought to have been their protectors, and incitements and rewards held 
out for their destruction ! Let us examine better into the operations of 
nature, and many of our mistaken opinions and groundless prejudices will 
be abandoned for more just, enlarged, and humane modes of thinking." 

Family Cuculid.e. Cuckoos. 

Mr. Swainson remarks of the Cuculidce, — 

" So faintly is the scansorial structure indicated in these birds, that but 
for their natural habits, joined to the position of their toes, Ave should not 
suspect they were so intimately connected with the more typical groups of 
the tribe, as they undoubtedly are. They neither use their bill for climbing, 
like the Parrots, nor for making holes in trees, like the Woodpecker; neither 
can they mount the perpendicular stems, like the Certhiadce, or Creepers; 
and yet they decidedly climb, although in a manner peculiar to themselves. 
Their flight is so feeble, from the extreme shortness of their wings, that it is 
evidently performed with difficulty, and it is never exercised but to convey 
them from one tree to another, and these flights, in the thickly-wooded tracts 
of tropical America, are, of course, very short : they alight upon the high- 
est boughs, and immediately begin to explore the horizontal and slanting 
ramifications with the greatest assiduity, threading the most tangled mazes, 
and leaving none unexamined. All soft insects inhabiting such situations 
lying in their route become their prey, and the quantities that arc thus 
destroyed must be very great. In passing from one bough to another, they 
simply hop, without using their wings, and their motions are so quick, that 
an unpractised observer, even if placed immediately beneath the tree, would 
soon lose sight of the bird. 

" Warm and temperate climates of both hemispheres are the chosen 
haunts of the Cuckoos. The species peculiar to North America build their 
nests, and rear their own young, while most of the others are parasitic." 

Of one species, the Black-billed Cuckoo (Cuccygtis erythrophthalmus) 
is probably the best known. It is found in most portions of the Eastern 
United States, and is in many localities common. In New England, it arrives 
from the south about the first week in May, and, like the Yellow-billed 
Cuckoo, the males precede the females. We have examined numbers of the 
first birds that arrived in different seasons, and they were invariably males, 
the females making their appearance about ten days or a fortnight later. The 


habits of the two species are very similar, although the present bird prefers 
the more cultivated and open districts, while the other seems to delight in 
the more retired and wooded localities. 

In flight, the Black-billed Cuckoo is more swift than the other ; in breed- 
ing habits, the same ; and its fund is similar, consisting principally of insects 
and their larvae, small fruits, and the eggs and young of small birds. Like 
the other, the Black-billed Cuckoo is very cowardly, and is quickly driven 
from the neighborhood of the nest of almost any of the other birds. If a 
robin, or other bird of equal size, discover one of these, to him pirates, in 
the vicinity of his nest, he immediately assaults the intruder, with loud out- 
erics, pouncing upon him, and pecking with great ferocity. Others of his 
neighbors, who are near, join in the attack : the Cuckoo, in retreating, dives 
into the recesses of a stone wall, or the first secure retreat available, very 
seldom taking to his wings, as another bird would do. We have known of 
a Cuckoo being driven into a barn by a bluebird ( S. sialis), who sat perch- 
ing on a fence outside for several minutes, keeping his enemy prisoner; and 
the latter, when pursued and captured, preferred being our prisoner to facing 
his enemy outside. 

The nest of the Black-billed Cuckoo is usually placed in a low tree or 
barberry-bush. It is constructed of twigs, roots, and sometimes a few 
leaves and moss. We have examined a great number of these, from dif- 
ferent sections, and have noticed that those from northern localities were 
invariably lined with gray moss, called .Spanish moss, and leaves, while 
others, from more southern districts, were without such linings. 

The eggs are usually four in number : they are of a darker greenish blue 
than those of the other bird, and average a little smaller, their length vary- 
ing from 1 to 1.12 inch, by from .84 to .92 inch in breadth. 

( ;f the Cucidince, or Cuckoos, the Common Cuckoo (C'ucuhis canorus) 
of Europe is a good example. 

The following account of this species is by Gilbert White : — 

"In July I saw several Cuckoos skimming over a large pond, and found, 
after some observation, that they were feeding on Libellulce, or dragon- 
flies, some of which they caught as they settled on the weeds, and some as 
they were on the wing. The favorite food of this bird, however, are the 
hairy caterpillars, or some of the lepidopterous order; these it kills by pass- 
ing them through the sharp edges of its mandibles ; it then nips off the 
hinder end of the caterpillar, and, with a jerk or two, clears the body of the 
alimentary canal, and immediately swallows it whole. With the hairs of 
the caterpillar the stomach is often completely coated. In a communication 
by Mr. Thompson to the Zoological Society in 1834, he states, that in three 
Cuckoos, examined in 1833, the stomach, with the exception of some small, 
sharp gravel, was entirely empty, and coated closely over with hair. 


" Attention was called to this, that the hair with which it is lined might be 
observed. From its close adhesion to the inner surface of the stomach, and 
from the regularity with which it is arranged, Mr. Thompson was at first 
disposed to consider this hair as of spontaneous growth ; but part of the 
stomach being subjected to maceration in water, and afterwards viewed 
through a microscope of high power, the hairs proved, to the entire satis- 
faction of Mr. Owen and himself, to be altogether borrowed from the larvae 
of the tiger-moth {Arvlin caj'a), the only species found in the stomachs of 
several Cuckoos, from different parts of the north of Ireland, which were 
examined by Mr. Thompson, in the months of May and June, 1833, and 
whose stomachs were similarly coated." (Proceedings Zool. Soc, 1839, 
P- 29.) 

The well-known notes of the Cuckoo are confined to the male, the female 
making only a chattering noise. 

The singular habit of the Cuckoo, in depositing its eggs in the nests of 
other birds, is too well substantiated to admit of a doubt; the nests usually 
chosen arc those of the Hedge Sparrow, Titlark, White Throat, Wagtail, &a. 
The egg is very small in comparison with the size of the Cuckoo, scarcely 
exceeding that of a common Chaffinch. When the young Cuckoo is hatched, 
and has acquired a little strength, guided by the instinct of self-preservation 
it dislodges all its weaker companions by insinuating itself under them, and, 
with a sort of jerk, forces them overboard. Thus it secures to itself the 
exclusive attention of its dupes of foster-parents. Gilbert White mentions 
a young Cuckoo found in the nest of a Titlark, which he describes as being- 
very fierce and pugnacious, pursuing his finger, as he teased it, for many 
feet from the nest, and sparring and buffeting with its wings like a game- 
cock ; and Selby alludes to the same bold and pugnacious disposition. 

Many attempts have been made to keep the Cuckoo alive in captivity, 
and several have lived, with care, to the middle of winter, when they have 
died. Mr. Thompson, however, instances two exceptions ; one of these 
lived for more than a year at Cranmore, near Belfast, the residence of John 
Templeton, Esq. : it. was procured on the 2Gth of July, 1820, and died, in 
consequence of an accident, January 10, 1822. It was originally taken 
from a Titlark's nest. "Its engaging manners,"" says Mr. Templeton, "were 
the delight of the whole family and admiration of strangers. It was gen- 
erally fed on hard-boiled eggs, and occasionally on caterpillars : it would 
sometimes cat forty or fifty at a time of the Papilio Brassidce; it, how- 
ever, showed a decided preference for rough ones, as those of the Papilio 
UrticcB. A seeming treat was a little mouse, about one quarter grown, 
which it would hold in its bill and beat against the ground, or anything hard, 
until the animal became soft, when it exhibited great powers of extending 


its throat and swallowing. What, however, was most extraordinary, it was 
never known to drink, though, when presented with a drop of water, at the 
end of a linger or straw, it would sip it, and it seemed to delight, when 
seated on its mistress's or other person's hand, to put its bill into their mouths 
and sip saliva. It delighted very much in heat, and sitting in the sunshine; 
and its feathers were so much broken by striking them against the furniture, 
that it could fly but very imperfectly, and apparently very thankful to any per- 
son who would help it upon the first sash of the window. At other times 
it sat upon the fender, turning itself in various directions, and spreading its 
wings and feathers to receive the heat, of which it could bear a temperature 
equal to one hundred degrees, for a considerable time, with seeming satis- 
faction. During cold weather it slept at its mistress's bedside, covered 
with a piece of flannel, which was well wanned, previous to its going to 
rest. With this attention, it generally remained quiescent till morning; 
but, on feeling cold, sometimes presumed so far as to creep under the bed- 

"It was only to those from whom it had received some hurt or persecution 
that it expressed dislike or fear, which it did by raising its neck feathers and 
putting itself in an attitude of defence. It never uttered the cry of the male, 
— cuckoo, — but sometimes, when persons were in the room laughing, it would 
apparently join, and emit a noise somewhat like the barking of a little dog. 
At other times, the only sound it made was a kind of low-chattering expres- 
sion of pleasure when it got into a warm place, or on seeing its mistress 
after she hail been absent some hours. It received the unlucky tramp, which 
finally killed il, from having lost too much the apprehension of injury."' 
(Ann. and Mag. of Nat. Hist., 1842, p. 223.) 

Family IIiiampiiastid.e. Toucans. 

The RhamphastidcB are all natives of tropical America, where they live 
retired in the deep forests, mostly in small companies. Their flight is straight 
but laborious, and while on the wing the beak is raised and directed for- 
wards, so as to offer as little resistance as possible to the air. Among the 
branches of the trees their movements arc easy and active; they appear to 
glide from branch to branch, and in this manner ascend to the very sum- 
mits. I.)'Azara states that the Toucans are, to a certain extent, omnivorous, 
living a great part of the year on fruits, but during the breeding season at- 
tacking the smaller birds in their nests, and devouring their eggs or their 
young. Even the eggs and young of the Macaws, and other large birds, 
often tall victims to their carnivorous propensities. 

Mr. Swainson, who hud seen the Toucans in their native forests, was led 
to suspect the same fact, and informed Mr. Broderip that he had frequently 


observed them perched on the tops of lofty trees, evidently watching the 
departure of birds from their nests, besides which, the remains of food found 
in the stomachs of such as were shot, proved that eggs and young birds, as 
well as fruit, constituted their diet. lie never, however, observed them in 
the act of destruction. 

On the 23d of November, 1824, Mr. Vigors had spoken at the Zoological 
Club of a living Toucan, which was then exhibited in St. Martin's Lane. 
Mr. Vigors stated that the bird had been fed on a vegetable diet, but that 
the proprietor had told him, that on the occasion of a young Canary Bird 
having escaped and gone near to the Toucan, the latter appeared more than 
usually excited ; that thereupon the barrier between them was removed, and 
that the Toucan instantly seized and devoured the Canary Bird. On the 
next day Mr. Broderip went to the place where the Toucan was exhibited, 
and thus describes what he saw : — 

"After looking at the bird, which was the object of my visit, and which 
was apparently in the highest state of health, I asked the proprietor to bring 
up a little bird, that I might see how the Toucan would be affected by its 
appearance. He soon returned, bringing with him a Goldfinch — a last 
year's bird. The instant he introduced his hand, with the Goldfinch, into 
the cage of the Toucan, the latter, which was on a perch, snatched it with 
his bill. The poor little bird had only time to utter a. short, weak cry, for, 
within a second, it was dead, killed by compression on the sternum and 
abdomen, and that so powerful, that the bowels were protruded after a very 
few squeezes of the Toucan's bill. As soon as the Goldfinch was dead, the 
Toucan hopped witli it, still in his bill, to another perch, and, placing it 
with his bill between his right foot and the perch, began to strip off the 
feathers with his bill. When he had plucked away most of them, he broke 
the bones of the wings and legs (still holding the little bird in the same 
position) with his bill, taking the limbs therein, and giving, at the same 
time, a strong, lateral wrench. He continued this work with great dexter- 
ity, till he had almost reduced the bird to a shapeless mass ; and ever and 
anon he would take his prey from the perch in his bill, and hop from perch 
to perch, making, at the same time, a peculiar, hollow, chattering noise; 
at which times I observed that his bill and wings were affected with a vibra- 
tory or shivering motion, though the latter were not expanded. He would 
then return the bird to the perch with his bill, and set his foot on it. He 
first ate the viscera, and continued pulling off and swallowing piece after 
piece, till the head, neck, and part of the back of the sternum, with their 
soft parts, were alone left; these, after a little more wrenching, while they 
were held on the perch and masticated, as it were, while they were held in 
the bill, be at last swallowed, not even leaving the beak or legs of his prey. 
NO. xu. 57 


The last part gave him the most trouble ; but it was clear that he felt great 
enjoyment ; for whenever he raised his prey from the perch, he appeared to 
exult, now masticating the morsel with his toothed bill, and applying his 
ton<me to it ; now attempting to gorge it, and now making the peculiar, 
chattering noise, accompanied by the shivering motion above mentioned. 
The whole operation, from the time of seizing his prey to that of devouring the 
last morsel, lasted about a quarter of an hour. He then cleansed his bill from 
the feathers by rubbing it against the perches and bars of his cage. While on 
this part of the subject, it may be as well to mention another fact, which 
appears to me not unworthy of notice. I have more than once seen him 
return his food after he had taken it to his crop, and, after masticating the 
morsel a while in his bill, again swallow it, the whole operation, particularly 
the return of the food to the bill, bearing a strong resemblance to the anal- 
ogous action in ruminating animals. The food, on which I saw him so 
employed, was a piece of beef, which had evidently been macerated some 
time in the crop. While masticating it, he made the same hollow, chatter- 
ing noise as he made over the remains of the Goldfinch. Previous to this 
operation, lie had examined his feeding-trough, in which there was nothing 
but bread, which I saw him take up and reject; and it appeared to me that 
he was thus reduced from necessity to the above mode of solacing his palate 
with animal food. His food consists of bread, boiled vegetables, eggs, and 
flesh, to which a little bird is now added about every second or third day. 
lie shows a decided preference for animal food, picking out all morsels of 
that description, and not resorting to the vegetable diet till all the former is 

Family Buccoxid.l. Barbets. 

These birds are distinguished at once by their large, conical beak, which 
appears swollen, as it were, or puffed out at the sides of its base, and is 
bearded (winner its name) with fine tufts of stiff bristles directed forwards. 
Their short wings and heavy proportions do not admit of swift flight; and 
their prey consists of insects and young birds, which they surprise ; they 
also eat varieties of fruits. Their nests are generally built in the holes of 
trees. The two sub-families, Bucconince and Capotonince, are founded on 
the genera Bucco (Cuvier), and Capito (Yieillot). They are found in 
both the Old and New Worlds. 

Swainson says of the Barbets, — 

"There is something very grotesque in the appearance of all the Puff 
birds, and their habits, in a state of nature, are no less singular. They 
frequent open cultivated spots near habitations, always perching on the 
withered brandies of alow tree, where they will sit nearly motionless for 
hours, unless, indeed, they descry some luckless insect passing near them, at 


which they immediately dart, returning again to the identical twig they had 
just left, and which they will .sometimes frequent for months. At such 
times, the disproportionate size of the head is rendered more conspicuous by 
the bird raising its feathers so as to appear not unlike a puff-ball ; hence the 
general name they have received from the English residents in Brazil. 
When frightened, this form is suddenly changed by the feathers lying quite 
flat. They are very confiding, and will often take their station within a few 
yards of the window. 

Family Galbuliile. Jacamaes. 

The characteristics of the genus Galbula (Mcehr), as given by Gray, 
will serve as a type of the family. 

The species that compose this genus are peculiar to the tropical portions 
of South America, and are also found in some of the West India Isles. 
They inhabit the humid forests, where it is usual to observe them seated 
singly on some low, naked branch, until the approach of an insect calls them 
into action ; after which they dart off rapidly, and, securing it with their 
lengthened, acute bill, return to the same place again. The ground around 
their chosen position is generally strewed with the wings of insects, as they 
only feed on the bodies. Some species are stated to frequent the borders of 
rivers and brooks, and to feed on fish and their fry. These birds form a 
hole in trees, or in banks of rivers, like the Kingfishers, the entrance of 
which is an inch and a half in diameter, and the eggs are placed about eight 
inches from the outward surface. They are usually three in number. 

Family Tiiogoxidje. Tuogons. 

Mr. Gould's "Monograph of the Trogo?iidce" gives much valuable infor- 
mation regarding these magnificent birds. "Greatly insectivorous," says 
Mr. Gould, " they seize the fluttering insect on the wing, which their wide 
gape enables them to do with facility, while their feeble tarsi and feet are 
such as to qualify them merely for resting on the branches, as a post ot ob- 
servation, whence to mark their prey as it passes, and to which, having given 
chase, to return. If not strictly elegant in form, the Trogons, in the bril- 
liancy of their plumage, are surpassed only by the TrochilidtB; their splen- 
dor amply compensates for every other defect. Denizens of the intertropical 
regions of the Old and New World, they shroud their glories in the deep 
and gloomy recesses of the forest, avoiding the light of day and the obser- 
vation of man. Dazzled by the brightness of the meridional sun, morning 
and evening twilight is the season of their activity." 

Another writer describes them as being solitary birds, extremely jealous 



of their freedom, never frequenting inhabited or open tracts, and delighting 
in the silence of deserts. The interior of the thickest forests is their chosen 
abode for the entire year. They are sometimes seen on the summit of trees, 
but, in general, they prefer the centre, where they remain a portion of the 
day, without descending to the ground, or even to the lower branches. Here 
they lie in ambush for the insects which pass within reach, and seize them 
with address and dexterity. Though they thus conceal themselves in the 
thick foliage, it is not through distrust; for when they are in an open space, 
they may be approached so nearly as to be struck with a stick. They are 
rarely heard to utter any cries, except during the season of reproduction, and 
then their voice is strong, sonorous, and melancholy. They have many 
erics, from the sound of one of which their name is derived. 

Fajiilt Musopiiagid.e. Plantain-eaters and Colies. 

"The species of Colius are peculiar to the continent of Africa, where 
they are usually observed in parlies on the trees, among the branches of 
which they are seen quickly hopping, from one to another, in search of the 
fruits and freshly-formed buds, on which they subsist. Their flight consists 
of little mi ire than flitting from one tree to another, and they have a peculiar 
habit of suspending themselves by one foot attached to the branch, with the 
head hanging downwards. They are rarely observed on the ground, as the 
formation of their foot does not admit of their walking with ease. They 
form their nests in society, closely packed together on the same tree or bush, 
and composed of flexible twigs lined with feathers, the female depositing from 
four to six eggs." 

The Mttsophagince, or Plantain Eaters, are found in Africa. They are 
comprehended in several genera. Among them arc the Touracos, which 
are very elegant birds. They feed upon soft fruits, principally the plan- 
tains. Their flight is of limited strength. 

The characteristics of the foregoing families in the Zygodactyly as given 
by Lilljeborg, arc as follows : — 

5 1 



mil ver- 

Sec 1 

Hi,,, ted l 

1, ,.,!,,[ 

I Bill.. J 


V\ l!ll>, lit 

■ ,,il, i .,,,,!,, 1 th, second phalanx. 

lint 111] 

ted tO 




■t the 





■ ■lily 

tO tin- "lltel 

first phal- 

!■_'. Mr60m \<:ti' r. Sund, 

i ■ i i nih.k, Sund. 

44. liALin Lii'.i;, Sund. 

. nrar base. 
„ lumbriciform and extensible 

provided with a a/re. Tin upper mandible huukctl 

lint tw ice us long as 
dead. Nostrils in 
Iheir usual posi- 
tion. I ; - ■ 

ally present. 45. BrjCCONTD.iE, Sund. 

M i v lai :■'■. gi I.' '.,1 

Iv t\\ ne. oi i e 

than tM ice as long 
:i - In ad. Nostrils 
in the dorsal sur- 
face ol bill, and 
not Burrovmded 
|.\ skin. Bristles 

absent 4(5. Piiamtii \sxrn.E, Bona, 

Bristles, none 17 Cu< i i n- 1 Sund. 

48. Pn ii' i ■ , Bonsp. 

49. F6ITTACID<E, Buuap. 

Plate xn: 


i The Ring Necked Phi asant : 

■ I in jii v . 1 1 1 Lonhophoi u - 

t'l'lir Ruffed Grouse.) 




I Till' I'.IN.l'l l-'l ll C'l I. us- I 


~^#5$ - 

(The Common Franco! in.) 

(The C:ilifoi ni.iu lhlv< , 

lii is'i'dx, samm :t. wai.kkk * c 




By Lilljeborg's arrangement this order comprehends seven interesting 
families, which arc characterized as follows : — 

connected by a movable skin. Gape very large. Secondaries long-. 35. Caprihulgid.e, Sun- 

Ante- - 

not connected by 
movable skin , 
though some 
i imes more or 
less united. 
Secondaries . . 

vcr) short, not ex- ( shorl and broad at base, 

tending to base Hinder toe generally 

of tail. Wings j versatile forwards. . . 3G. CYPSELID.E, Sund. 

long andarcuate. long and Blender. Hinder 

Bill I toe not versatile . . . . 37. Trochilid.e, Sund. 

ong, and unconnected. Bristles rigid. 38. Coracidjc, Sund. 
passing beyond 

hi ae i if tail, j united. 


at base . 

F< el 

■a ith [ arcuatu 


tarsi snort 


39. Meropid^, Sund. 


j little re- 

V i urved .. It). An IChlNUU , • .imv. 

: ; 1 i tarsi quite 

long, or moderate, 

sometimes ratln r 

short 41. BucEROTiDiE, Sund. 

The subdivisions of these groups arc thus characterized : — 

< ' \ i-rmrr < .n> i . \ pectinated inside. Bill weak CfiprimuJginx t Bonap. 

Nail of middle toe j not pectinated. Bill stoul Stratorniihin&, G. Gray. 

versatile forwards Cypselinw, Bonap. 

utile ( 'olloculime. 

STuisom ■. 


, , , , I disconnected Trochilht:v, Bonap. 

ROCHILID.E. AntenortoesalbascJ connectcd rhuHhvrnithhi^Q.G 


Ml ropidjs. Bill with margins 

tinr, Bui] ip. 

i Prionit ni:r. Bonap. 

■ntire Wt>ropin;i' t Bonap. 

xi " K - ii>iiMi,.,-, ■] ;; , ;:," l 1 ';,';;; ] ,',; 1 , ,;,- ::;:;:;: uXi">^"""^y. 

BuckrotiD-E Bucerotiiiai, Bonap. 


Family 1>ucei;otid.e. Hornbills. 

These strange-looking birds, characterized by the enormous development 
of the beak, are natives of India and Africa. Not only is the beak of 
immense magnitude, but the upper mandible is furnished with projecting 
appendages, adding greatly to its entire dimensions, and in some species 
encroaching over the top of the head. These appendages increase with age. 
In young birds they are very small, and their figure is undefined, and it is 
gradually that they acquire their enormous dimensions. The immense beak, 
thus furnished, seems to be heavier than it is (and it is by no means light), 
for the additional appendage is cellular internally ; the edges of both man- 
dibles are roughly notched. 

M. Lesson sums up the habits of the Hornbills thus : — 
"Those of Africa live on carrion ; those of the East Indies seek for fruits, 
especially nutmegs, and their flesh thence acquires a delicious flavor. Their 
flight is performed by repeated strokes of the wings, and the air which they 
displace, joined to the clattering of their mandibles, occasions a great and 
very disquieting noise in the forests when the cause is unknown. This 
noise, capable of inspiring terror, does not ill resemble those flaws of rough 



and sudden winds which arise so unexpectedly between the tropics, and blow 
so violently. The Europeans established at the Moluccas think that the 
furrows, which are seen on the bill of the Hornbills, are the result of age, 
and that each furrow signifies a year, whence the name of Jerarvogel, which 
they give to these birds." 

.Mr. Swainson remarks that the Hornbills are gregarious, noisy birds, gen- 
erally of a very large size, and are restricted to the Old World ; that they 
are omnivorous, feeding both on animals and vegetables ; that some, how- 
ever, seem only to partake of the latter food, while others, upon the author- 
ity of Le Vaillant, feed upon carrion. 

The Buceros cavatus, dissected by Air. Owen, was observed to be more 
attached to animal than to vegetable food, and would quit any other sub- 
stance if a dead mouse was offered to it. This it would swallow entire, after 
squeezing it twice or thrice with the bill, and no eastings were noticed. Mr. 
Owen, however, adds, that Petiver has borne testimony to its regurgitating 

The progressive motion of these birds is by hopping or jumping along. 
Major General Hardwicke expresses surprise at this, and at their perching 
with such security, as their feet are formed for walking, and better suited to 
the ground than the trees — an error which the consideration of the form, 
and shortness of the tarsi, the structure of the toes, and the general contour 
of the birds might, one would think, have prevented. 

Active and alert, notwithstanding the magnitude of their beaks, these 
birds lightly traverse the branches of the forest, and leap from one to an- 
other, till the highest is attained ; they then often stop and utter a loud, 
roaring sound, which may lie heard at a considerable distance, and is alarm- 
ing to those who do not know whence it proceeds. The noise thus uttered, 
and which is, most probably, their call-note, throws a light upon the design 
of the hollow protuberance surmounting the bill : it acts as a sounding- 
board, increasing the reverberation of the air. With regard to the huge 
beak itself, many conjectures have been entertained as to its peculiar uses. 
It has been suggested as a reason for its development, that it perhaps con- 
stitutes a necessary weapon of defence against monkeys and other animals 
which may seek to assail its nest, while some have supposed that it might be 
employed in dragging snakes and lizards from their lurking-places, or young 
birds and cu'irs from the recesses of the trunks of aged trees. 

The Crowned Tock (Buceros coronatus) was found by Le Vaillant, asso- 
ciating in flocks of over five hundred in number in Africa, feeding on the 
remains of an elephant which had been slain by the hunters. They mani- 
fested no alarm at the approach of observers, but continued their feast 
without interruption. 

the bee-eaters. 35 

Family Alcedixid.e. Kingfishers. 

In this group occur the Halcyonince, or Crab Hunters, of Gray, and the 
Alcedinince, or true Kingfishers. 

In the first-named division, the birds are confined to the Old World, the 
species of Dacclo being found in Australia and New Guinea : those of 
Tanysiptera occurring in New Guinea and the Philippine Islands ; those 
of Halcyon being found in Africa, India, Australia, and the islands of the 
South Seas, and the species of Oeyx in India and its archipelago. 

This author, in describing the characteristics of the typical genus Halcyon, 
says, — 

"These birds generally reside, singly or in pairs, in the moist, open for- 
ests, or jungles on the sides of rivers and brooks, though some species are 
rarely observed in the neighborhood of water, while others frequent culti- 
vated places and plains. When flying, they usually utter a loud, rattling 
scream. They often sit for a long time on a pole or the lower branch of a 
tree, watching the space around them for the appearance of small reptiles, 
fish-crabs, insects and their larva', which constitute their chief subsistence 
Some species examine the flowers of the cocoa-nut trees for the insects that 
are found within them. The nest is formed in the hollow trunks of trees, 
and the eggs are usually three or four in number." 

Of the sub-family Alcedininai, the common Kingfisher (Alcedo ispida) 
of Europe, and the Belted Kingfisher of America, are types. 

''The European Kingfisher," says an English writer, "is common in most 
parts of Europe ; and there are few of our streams and rivers, flowing through 
fertile meads, abounding with fish, over which this beautiful but voracious 
bird may not be seen glancing backwards and forwards, its metallic hues ejlit- 
tering in the sun. Occasionally it boxers at a moderate elevation over the 
water, and then darts down, with astonishing velocity and suddenness, on 
some unwary fish, which, heedless of its foe, ventures near the surface, and 
which is seldom missed by the keen-eyed bird. The ordinary manner, how- 
ever, in which the Kingfisher captures its finny prey, is by remaining quietly 
perched on some stump or branch overhanging the water, and then intently 
watching, with dogged perseverance, for the favorable moment in which to 
make its plunge : it marks the shoals of minnows gliding past, the trout 
lurking beneath the concealment of some stone, or in the shadow of the 
bank, the roach and dace pursuing their course. At length, attracted by 
a floating insect, one rises to take the prize ; at that instant, like a shot, 
down descends the glittering bird, the crystal water scarcely bubbling with 
its plunge; the next moment it reappears, bearing its victim in its beak, 
with which it returns to its resting-place ; without loosing its hold, it passes 


the fish between its mandibles, till it has fairly grasped it by the tail; then, 
by striking smartly its head three or four times against the branch, ends its 
struc^les, reverses its position, and swallows it whole. Quiet, secluded 
nooks, seldom disturbed by the intrusion of any save the 'honest angler;' 
sheltered spots of the river, margined with alders and willows ; mill-dams, 
surrounded by tranquil, pastoral scenery, are the favorite haunts of this 
bird. Its mate is its only companion, and both labor assiduously in the 
support of their young. The place chosen for incubation is the bank of the 
river, where it is sleep or overhanging, and here it either constructs or ap- 
propriates to itself a burrow, two or three feet in extent, bearing diagonally 
upwards. It is said to select not unfrequently the old burrow of a water- 
rat, but of this we are not convinced. At all events, we have seen the holes 
of the Kingfisher half way down the steep and perfectly perpendicular lace 
of banks, which the water-rat could not have made, and which, we have no 
doubt, were the work of the birds themselves. At the end of the gallery is 
a little chamber, and here, without making any nest, the female lays her 
eggs, from five to seven in number, and of a clear, pinky white. While 
engaged in the work of incubation, the female is supplied by her industrious 
mate ; and as the fish-bones and scales are disgorged ( for, like owls, the King- 
fisher recasts the indigestible parts of its food), a circle of these rejectanea 
surrounds the eggs, which, after the young are hatched, is greatly increased, 
and hence has arisen the supposition — that of pellets of fish-bones is the nest 
composed. The young arc clamorous for food, uttering an incessant cry : 
they soon acquire their brilliant plumage, and, when able to leave their 
abode, follow their parents, and, resting on a branch in some lonely retreat, 
tax the industry of their parents. They are, however, soon able to fish for 

"The Kingfisher performs a sort of limited migration. When winter sets 
in, and drives the fish from the shallows to deep and sheltered bottoms, freezes 
the mill-dams, or coats with ice the sluggish basin, worked out by the riv- 
er's current in rich alluvial soil, these birds wander from the interior to the 
coast, and frequent the mouths of rivulets, entering large, navigable rivers, 
dikes near the sea, and similar places, especially on the southern portion of 
our island.'' 

Family MEitorro.E. Bee-eaters. 

Mr. Swainson is of opinion that the 31eropidce, or Bee-eaters, succeed the 
swallows, ami says of the Mei'ops apiaster, that it annually visits Italy in 
thicks of twenty or thirty, anil may be seen skimming over the vineyards 
and olive plantations with a flight much resembling the swallow, though 
more direct and less rapid. 

The common Bee-eater (Merops apiaster} is an example of the family. 


This brilliant species, which occasionally wanders as far westward as the 
British Isles, is a summer visitant to the southern and eastern provinces 
of Europe : it is common in Sicily, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, &c, 
whence it retires into Africa on the approach of winter. In Spain, which 
it enters by way of Gibraltar, it makes its appearance generally during 
the first week in April, in flocks of forty or fifty, sometimes at a consid- 
erable elevation, at other times skimming low, and uttering a shrill whis- 
tle, heard at a considerable distance. They thus give chase to various 
insects, — bees, wasps, beetles, grasshoppers, and butterflies, — catching 
them on the wing with great address. Bee-eaters haunt rivers and streams, 
anil may lie seen coursing up and down in pursuit of their prey, and glit- 
tering in the sun with metallic brilliancy. In their habits these birds resem- 
ble the kingfisher : they breed in holes, which they burrow in steep banks 
overhanging the river, at the extremity of which, in a nest, according to 
Selby, the eggs arc laid. These are of a pure white, and from five to seven 
in number. It is observed also, that, like the kingfisher, which recasts the 
bones and scales of fishes, these birds disgorge the wing-cases, and other 
indigestible parts of their insect food, rolled up in the form of small pellets. 

Family Couaciixt;. Rollers. 

The European Roller (Coracias garrula) is the type of this group. 

This species is wild, shy, restless, and fierce, frequenting, by preference, 
deep forests of oak and birch, where its harsh cry may lie often heard. The 
Roller has been observed falling through the air like a tumbler pigeon. Tem- 
minck states that it makes its nests in the holes of trees, where it lays from 
four tn seven eggs of a lustrous white. Vieillot states that, in Malta, where 
trees are scarce, the bird builds on the ground. In Barbary, it has been 
observed to form its nest on the banks of the Sheliif, Booberak, and other 
rivers ; and l'ennant remarks that, where trees are wanting, it nests in clayey 
banks. These last modes of niditication bring it very close to the bee-eaters 
and kingfishers, whose eggs quite resemble those of the Roller in color and 
shape, varying only in size. The male assists in incubation. The food is 
varied, according to Temminck, who enumerates moles, crickets, cockchaf- 
ers, grasshoppers, millcpeds, and other insects, slugs and worms. 

Family Tnocnn.iDiE. Humming Birds. 

In this division are placed the two groups — Phaet7iornithince of Gray, 
and Trochilince, or Humming Birds proper. 

The Humming Birds are among the smallest and most brilliant of the 
feathered race. Winged gems, they glance, witli dazzling effulgence, as 
they dart along, or hover over the fragrant flowers. No birds excel them 
no. xii. 58 


in powers of flight ; their long and narrow wings arc admirably adapted for 
aerial progression. The quill feathers are stilt', firm, and elastic, and fur- 
nished with rigid shafts, in some instances singularly developed. The tail 
is variable. The plumage is close and compact, and resembles an arrange- 
ment of fishes' scales, glittering, in the males, with metallic lustre. The 
tarsi arc very small and .-.hurt; and the toes, three before and one behind, 
are very delicate. The ground is never their resting-place : they perch on 
slender twigs, but are mostly seen on the wing. 

The beak is long and slender, but very variable in its form, being straight, 
curved, and, in some species, even turned up. The tongue is long, bifid, or 
split into two filaments, tubular, and capable of being darted out to a con- 
siderable distance. As in the woodpeckers, it is the principal instrument 
by means of which they obtain their food, viz., insects of various kinds, and 
the nectar of flowers; and it is protruded by the same arrangement of the 
cartilaginous continuation of the os hiioides winding round the skull to the 
forehead. With respect to the tongue itself, Lesson describes it as com- 
posed of two musculo-fibrous cylinders, soldered to each other so as to 
resemble, in some degree, a double-barrelled gun; but these tubes towards 
the tip become separated ami enlarged, each presenting a little blade, which 
is concave within, and convex externally. In order that this tubular tongue 
may be projected upon the aliments, which its terminations are appointed to 
seize and retain, the os hyoides, which supports it, is formed of two bony 
plates or straps, which separate, pass below the cranium, reascend over the 
boms of the' oeeiput, and proceed to form a point of resistance or fulcrum 
by their reunion on the forehead. The result of this disposition, when 
brought into play by the muscles of the tongue, is a great power over the. 
muscular tubes which compose the organ of taste. The two small blades, 
of elongated, spoon-like termination, seize the insects or lick up the honeyed 
exudations, which are on the instant carried to the aperture of the oesoph- 
agus by the elasticity and contractility of the two tubes, and forthwith swal- 
lowed. The long and slender bill comes in admirably in aiding to insert the 
tongue in the nectary of flowers. 

These gorgeous birds are all natives of America, and that great archi- 
pelago of islands between Florida and the mouth of the Orinoco, together 
with the mainland of the Southern Continent until it passes the Tropic of 
Capricorn, literally swarms with them. In the wild and uncultivated parts, 
they inhabit those forests of magnificent timber, overhung with lianas and 
the superb tribe of ]',i(j nnnar, ,c , the huge trunks clothed with a rich drapery 
of parasites, whose blossoms vie in tints, if not in brilliancy, with their 
winged riflers. In tin.' cultivated parts, they abound in the gardens, and 
seem to delight in society, becoming very familiar ; feeling confidence in their 


own powers, they will ever hover about one side of a shrub while flowers 
or fruits are picked from the opposite. As we recede from the tropics on 
either side the numbers decrease, though some species are found in Mexico, 
and others in Peru, which do not appear to exist elsewhere. Thus Mr. Bul- 
lock discovered several species at a high elevation, and consequently low 
temperature, on the lofty table-lands of Mexico, and in the woods in the 
vicinity of the snowy mountains of Orizaba ; while Captain King, in li is 
survey of the southern coasts, met with numerous members of this dimin- 
utive family flying about in a, snow storm, near the Straits (if Magel- 
lan, and discovered two species in the remote island of Juan Fernandez. 
"Two species only spread far into the Northern Continent of America : the 
one, the Ruff-necked Humming Bird, which was discovered by Captain Cook 
in Nootka Sound, and has been traced by Ivotzebue to ill along the western 
shores: the other, the Northern or Ruby-throated Humming Bird, so beau- 
tifully described by Wilson. This species has been obtained from the plains 
of the Saskatchewan, and was found breeding, by Mr. Drummond, near the 
sources of the Elk River. It is known to reach as far north as the fifty- 
seventh parallel." 

The velocity with which the Humming Birds glance through the air is 
extraordinary, and so rapid is the vibration of their wings that the action 
eludes the sight : when hovering before a flower, they seem suspended as if 
by some magic power, rather than by the vigorous movement of their rigid 
pinions, which, however, produce a constant murmur or buzzing sound, 
whence the English title by which we designate these birds, and the Creole 
epithets in Cayenne and the Antilles, viz., Murmures, Bourdons, and Frou- 

It has been frequently and justly observed that in their mode of flight 
the Humming Birds closely resemble the sphinx-moths or the dragon-flies. 
Mr. Darwin, in his admirable "Journal," states, that while at Bahia, he 
started early one morning, and walked to the top of the Gavia or Top-ail 
Mountain. ''The air was delightfully cool and fragrant, and the drops of 
dew were still glittering on the leaves of the large liliaceous plants which 
shaded the streamlets of clear water. Sitting down on a rock of granite, 
it was delightful to watch the various insects and birds as they flew past. 
The Humming Birds seemed particularly fond of such shady, retired spots : 
whenever I saw these little creatures buzzing round a flower, with their 
wings vibrating so rapidly as to be scared}' visible, I was reminded of the 
sphinx-moths ; their movements and habits are, indeed, in many respects, 
very similar." 

Bullock and Wilson both notice the surprising rapidity of the vibrations 
of their wings. The former, speaking of specimens caged, says, that in a 


space barely sufficient for tliem to move their wings, they will keep their 
bodies in the air, apparently motionless, for hours together. There are, how- 
ever, exceptions to this rule. Mr. Darwin, describing the Trochilus gigas, 
which, as lie observed, had arrived in the neighborhood of Valparaiso in 
numbers a little before the vernal equinox, adds, — 

" It comes from the parched deserts of the north, probably for the purpose 
of breeding in Chili. When on the wing, the appearance of this bird is 
singular. Like the others of the genus, it moves from place to place with a 
rapidity, which may be compared to a syrphus amongst dipterous insects, 
and a sphinx amongst the moths; but whilst hoveling oxer a flower, it flaps 
its wings with a slow and very powerful movement, totally different from 
that vibratory one, common to most of the species, which produces the hum- 
ming noise. I never saw any other bird the force of whose, wings appeared 
so powerful in proportion to the weight of its body. When hovering by a 
flower, its tail is constantly expanded and shut like a fan, the body being 
kept in a nearly vertical position. This action appears to steady and sup- 
port the bird between the slow movements of its wings. Although flying 
from flower to flower in search of food, its stomach generally contained 
abundant remains of insects, which, I suspect, are much more the object <<{' 
its search than honey is. The note of this species, like that of nearly the 
whole family, is extremely shrill." 

These brilliant creatures are an intrepid, daring race, and extremely pug- 
nacious, and cannot endure the approach of one even of their own species, 
still less of any other bird, near their breeding-places. Of one minute but 
beautiful species, the Mexican Star, Mr. Bullock says, — 

"When attending their young, they attack any bird, indiscriminately, that 
approaches the nest. Their motions, while under the influence of anger or 
fear, are very violent, and their flight rapid as an arrow. The eye cannot 
follow them, but the shrill, piercing shriek which they utter on the wing, 
may be heard when the bird is invisible. They attack the eyes of the 
larger birds, and their sharp, needle-like bill is a, truly formidable weapon in 
this kind of warfare. Nothing can exceed their fierceness when one of their 
own species invades their territory during the breeding-season : under the 
influence of jealousy they become perfect furies, their throats swell, their 
crests, tails, and wings expand, they fight in the air, uttering a shrill noise, 
till one falls exhausted to the ground." 

It would appear, from Mr. Bullock's statement, that Humming Birds often 
avail themselves of the insects caught in spiders' webs ; not, however, with- 
out the spiders endeavoring, not to devour, but to drive them away. "The 
house," he writes, "I resided in at Xalapa for several weeks on my return 
to Vera Cruz, was only one story high, enclosing, like most of the Spanish 


houses, a small garden in the centre, the roof projecting six or seven feet 
from the walls, coveting a walk all round, and leaving a small spare only 
between the tiles and the trees which grew in the centre. From the edge 
of these tiles to the branches of the trees in the garden the spiders had 
spread their innumerable webs so closely and compactly that they resembled 
a net. I have frequently watched, with much amusement, the cautious per- 
egrinations of the Humming Bird, who, advancing beneath the web, entered 
the various labyrinths and cells in search of entangled flies ; but, as the 
larger spiders did not tamely surrender their booty, the invader was often 
compelled to retreat. Being within a few feet, I could observe all their 
evolutions with great precision : the active little bird generally passed once 
or twice round the court, as if to reconnoitre his ground, and commenced 
his attack by going carefully under the nets of the wily insect, and seizing, 
by surprise, the smallest entangled flies, or those that were most feeble. In 
ascending the angular traps of the spider, great care and skill were required ; 
sometimes he had scarcely room for his little wings to perform their office, 
and the least deviation would have entangled him in the complex machinery 
of the web, and involved him in ruin. It was only the works of the smaller 
spiders that he durst attack, as the largest rose in defence of their citadels, 
when the besieger would shoot oil' like a sunbeam, and could only be traced 
by the luminous glow of his refulgent colors. The bird generally spent 
about ten minutes in this predatory excursion, and then alighted on a branch 
of an avocata to rest and refresh himself, placing his crimson, star-like 
breast to the sun, which then presented all the glowing lire of the ruby, and 
surpassed in lustre the diadem of monarchs." 

The nests of the Humming Birds are most beautiful, compact structures, 
with exquisite finish and nicety of arrangement. Some are composed of 
the finest silky down, or cotton of a delicate straw yellow, soft, light, and 
compact, attached to the end of a twig, and concealed by leaves. In some 
eases the outside is formed of fine moss, lichens, &c., investing a compact 
bed of the down of plants, cotton, and even spiders' webs. 

Family Cypselidje. .Swifts. 

The Chimney Swallow, or Swift (Chmhira pelasgia) of America, and 
the common Swift of Europe, furnish familiar types of the sub-family Cyp- 
selinoB, and the Esculent Swallow (Collocalia esculenta) of the Collo- 


The Chimney Swallow is a well-known bird in the eastern United States. 
It arrives in the latitude of New England, in great numbers, from the south, 
from about the 1st to the loth of May. Immediately on arriving the birds 
pair, and commence building. The nest is usually constructed in an unused 


flue of a chimney : but, before the country was settled, they bred, and we have 
no doubt that great numbers of them, in thinly-settled districts, still breed, 
in hollow trees. The nest is composed of twigs, which are glued together, 
and to the side of the chimney, with the saliva of the bird. It is lined with 
a few leathers and straws. The strength of these structures is wonderful, 
and they are so durable that we have known of instances of their remaining 
in the chimney during three seasons. Usually the bird displays great 
sagacity in the choice of a location for a nest, in securing protection from 
storms and from the attacks of animals ; but occasionally the nest is built in 
a chimney, open at the top sufficiently wide to permit the rain to trickle 
down the sides : the result is, that the moisture softens the glue by which 
the nest is attached to the chimney, and it is, with its living contents, pre- 
cipitated to the bottom. Again, if the nest is built too low in the chimney, 
the young or eggs furnish agreeable food for rats, which, unfortunately, are 
sometimes found in dwelling-houses in the country in uncomfortable num- 
bers. The eggs are generally four or live in number, pure white in color, 
rather long in shape. 

This species i- somewhat nocturnal in its habits. From earliest dawn 
until seven or eight in the morning, it is busy in the pursuit of insects : it 
then retires to its roosting-places in the chimneys, and is seldom seen until 
laic in the afternoon. From early twilight until late in the night it is again 
actively employed ; and, having heard its notes, as it sped through the air, 
often as late as midnight, we have no doubt that, in pleasant weather, it is 
busy through the whole night. 

In descending the chimneys, where their young are, the birds fly rapidly 
until they are immediately over them, when, partially closing their wings, 
they drop suddenly, and with apparent ease, down the flue. In ascend- 
ing, the noise of their wings in the chimney is like that of a distant 
thunder. The flight of these birds is very rapid, surpassing, we think, 
that of any other species : it is .so peculiar, — the long wings vibrating in 
short, quick, energetic strokes, — that it furnishes a ready means of dis- 
tinguishing it from all other species at a great height. 

About sunset the great multitudes of these birds arc out, and the num- 
bers of insects they destroy must be immense. Everywhere they may be 
seen : away up in the blue sky, as far as the eye can reach, they are coursing 
in wide-extended circles, chasing each other in sport, and even caressing and 
feeding their mates while on the wing ; a little lower, they are speeding 
over the tops of trees, gleaning the insects that have just left the foliage; 
over the surface of the lake or river they fly so low, in the pursuit of aquatic 
insects, that their wings often touch the water : everywhere they are busy. 
Truly, they arc deserving of much better treatment than they too often re- 


ccivc at the hands of the farmer, to whom they are his best friends ; yet it 
is a fact, that in a great many sections the}' are driven from the chimneys 
of the farm-houses, and even destroyed, at every opportunity. 

About the 10th of August the Chimney Swallow, in large, scattered 
flocks, leaves for the south, and spends the winter in Honduras and the 
AVest Indies. On returning, in the spring, the same pair occupy the 
chimney used in the previous season, as has beeu proved by actual obser- 

The nest of the Esculent Swallow is regarded as a great delicacy by the 
Chinese. "These nests are composed of a mucilaginous substance, usually 
more or less mixed with fragments of grass, hair, and similar materials : 
they arc attached to the surface of rocks in caverns, and the birds always 
build in communities. It was formerly supposed that the mucilaginous mat- 
ter employed in the construction of the nests was obtained from sea-weeds 
eaten by the birds; but it is now ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the 
substance in question is secreted by greatly-developed salivary glands. 
These birds are found in great abundance in all parts of the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, and on the continent of India. The nests are collected in great 
quantities, and constitute an important article of commerce with China. 

Family OAnuMULGiDJG. Night Jars, Oil Birds, and Goat-suckers. 

The Steatornithinai, or Oil Birds, are among the most interesting of this 

The Guacharo {Steatomis Caripensis) is thus described: — 

This extraordinary bird was discovered by Baron Humboldt in the cavern 
of Caripe, called Cueva del Guacharo, in the province of Ciunaua, which it 
haunts in thousands. These birds quit the cave only at nightfall, especially 
when there is moonlight; and Humboldt remarks that it is almost the only 
frugivorous night-bird yet known. It feeds on very hard fruits (an excep- 
tion to the rule among the Caprimulgidae) , and the Indians assured him 
(though we place little dependence on their statement ) that, it does not pur- 
sue either the hard-winged insects, or the moths that serve as the food of 
this tribe of birds. It is, he states, difficult to form any idea of the horrible 
noise made by thousands of the Guacharo birds in the dark recesses of the 
cavern, whence their shrill and piercing cries strike upon the vaulted rock, 
and are repeated by the echo in the depths of the grotto. By fixing torches 
of copal to the end of a long pole, the Indians showed the nests of these 
birds, fifty or sixty feet above the heads of the explorers, in funnel-shaped 
holes, with which the cavern roof is pierced like a sieve. 

Once a year, near midsummer, the Guacharo cavern is entered by the 
Indians. Armed with poles, they ransack the greater part of the nests, 


while the old birds hover over the heads of the robbers, as if to defend their 

In- 1, utteriii" horrible cries. The young-, which fall down, are opened on 

the spot. The peritoneum is found loaded with fat, and a layer of the same 
substance on the abdomen forms a kind of cushion between the bird's legs. 
At the period above mentioned, which is generally known at Caripe by the 
designation of the "oil harvest," huts are built by the Indians with palm 
leaves, near the entrance, and even in the very porch of the cavern. There 
the fat of the young birds just killed is melted in clay pots over a bush-wood 
fire; and this fat is named butter or oil (manteca or aceite) of the Guacharo. 
It is half liquid, transparent, inodorous, and so pure that it will keep above 
a year without becoming rancid. In the kitchen of the monks of the con- 
vent of Caripe no other oil is used, and Humboldt never found that it 
imparted a disagreeable taste or smell to the aliments. The quantity of 
very pure manteca collected does not exceed one hundred and fifty, or one 
hundred and sixty bottles, each being sixty cubic inches; the rest, which is 
less transparent, is preserved in large earthen vessels: the whole hardly 
seems to correspond with the immense annual carnage of birds. The use 
of the Guacharo oil is very ancient, and the rare of Guacharo birds would 
have been extinct long since if several circumstances had not contributed to 
their preservation. The natives, withheld by superstitious fears, seldom dare 
to proceed far into the recesses of the cavern. Humboldt had great difficulty 
in persuading them to pass beyond the outer part of the cave, the only por- 
tion of it which they visit annually to collect the oil; and the whole author- 
ity of the pndres was necessary to make them penetrate as far as the spot 
where the floor rises abruptly at an inclination of sixty degrees, and where 
a small, subterraneous cascade is formed by the torrent. In the minds of 
the Indians this cave, inhabited by nocturnal birds, is associated with mystic 
ideas, and they believe that in the deep recesses of the cavern the souls of 
their ancestors sojourn. 

Of the ( 'upriuiulgince, our American Night Hawks, Whippoorwills, the 
European Night Jar, are familiar examples. 

The Night Hawk, or Hull Bat, is distributed generally over the North 
American continent, and its habits are well known. It arrives in the lat- 
itude of Xew England about the 10th of May. At this time great num- 
bers may be observed, at early twilight, coursing through the air in different 
directions, sometimes at a great height, sometimes just above the trees in 
the country, or houses in the city; occasionally, very near the earth or 
water, or, when near the sea-coast, but just above the marshes, where they 
destroy great numbers of insects. Their flight is very rapid, their long- 
wings giving quick, powerful sweeps ; and, as they dart about in many eccen- 
tric movements, busily gleaning their food, they utter, at oft-repeated inter- 


vals, their short note or squeak, which almost exactly resembles that of the 
common snipe. 

About the middle of May, or by the 20th of that month in Maine, the 
male commences his attentions to the female. His movements at this time 
are interesting, and, from their common occurrence, familiar to all who live 
in the country. At early evening, and in cloudy weather throughout the 
greater part of the day, he ascends into the air, and when he has attained 
a considerable height, partially closing his wings, he drops witli great ve- 
locity through the distance of seventy-five or one hundred feet, sometimes 
nearly to the earth. The sound made by the air passing through the winsr- 
quills is mi loud that we have often heard it at certainly the distance of half 
a mile: it resembles, as Nuttall truly says, the sound produced l>v blowing 
into the bung-hole of an empty hogshead. This art is often repeated, the 
bird darting about at the same time in every direction, and uttering his sharp 
squeak. Wilson was of the opinion, that this habit of the Night Hawk was 
confined to the period of incubation ; the male acting in this manner, as he 
thought, to intimidate any person from approaching the nest. We have had 
abundant opportunities for observing the bird in all times of the summer, 
and during its stay with us ; and we would unhesitatingly affirm, that, from 
the time of early courtship, until the young are hatched, if not after, the 
male acts in this manner. 

This species constructs no nest, but lays its eggs on the bare ground, in a 
slight hollow scratched by the female, or often on a bare rock. We have 
found numbers of these eggs, particularly in the northern parts of Maine, 
where, in walking over a pasture or rocky field, we have Hushed sometimes 
a bird in every ten rods. We remember a ledge of rocks back of the set- 
tlement known as Wilson's Mills, which seemed a favorite breeding-place 
lor these birds ; and, in the space of every four or five rods, a female was 
sitting on her eggs. The eggs are two in number, elliptical in shape, of a 
dirty-white color, which is covered with fine dottings of different shades of 
brown, with obscure markings of slate color, and some spots of lavender. 

The male assists the female in incubating, as we have witnessed many 
times. When perched by her, on a tree or fence-rail, during the light of 
midday, he always sits along the limb or rail, instead of across it, a pecu- 
liarity which is also noticeable in the Whippoorwill. Some authors, in 
speaking of this fact, explain it by noticing the comparatively small size of 
the feet, and apparent weakness of the legs. AVe think this can hardly be 
a sufficient cause ; for both these birds, while on the ground, can run with 
considerable speed, and, if captured, cannot only perch across the finger of 
a hand, or the back of a chair, as we have often proved, but can rest on one 
foot, drawing the other up into the feathers of the belly, like other birds. 
no. xii. 59 


About the 20th of August, after the young have become able to provide 
for themselves, all the families in a neighborhood assemble in a large, scat- 
tered flock; ami, after having become completely recruited from the labors 
of incubation, they all leave for the south. 

The Whippoorwill is also well known to the inhabitants of the rural dis- 
tricts in the United States, east of the great central plains. It arrives 
from the south generally about the second week in May. Its habits are 
not well known, as it is not a very common species, and it inhabits the most, 
secluded spots in the deep woods; but its song is well known to all, as are 
its nocturnal wanderings in search for insect food. This bird, as also the 
Nhdif Hawk, is, to the fanner, one of the most valuable among the feath- 
ered tribes: its food consists almosi entirely of night-flying Lepidoptera, 
and the number of these insects destroyed is immense. 

The peculiar song of this bird is beard at early eve, and until late into 
the niidit, dining the mating and part of the breeding seasons. It is not 
uttered in the depths of the wilderness alone ; but the bird, perching on t lie 
well sweep, on the eaves of a low shed, or even on the door-sill of the 
fanner's house, pours out its melancholy strain. The description, by Alex- 
ander Wilson, of the habits of this bird, is so accurate and comprehensive, 
that we will not presume to attempt another. lie says, — 

"The notes stem pretty plainly to articulate the words, which have been 
generally applied to them, whip-poor-will, the first and last syllables being 
uttered with great emphasis, and the whole in about a second to each repe- 
tition ; but, when two or more males meet, their whippoorwill altercations 
become much more rapid and incessant, as if each were straining to over- 
power or silence the other. When near, you often bear an introductory 
cluck between the notes. At. these time-, as well as at almost all others, 
they fly low, not more than a few feet from the surface, skimming about the 
bouse ami before the door, alighting on the wood-pile, or settling on the 
roof'. Towards midnight they generally become silent, unless in clear 
moonlight, when they are beard, with little intermission, till morning. If 
there he a creek near, with high, precipitous, bushy banks, they are sure to 
he found in such situations. During the day they sit in the most retired, 
solitary, and deep-shaded parts of the woods, generally on high ground, 
where they repose in silence. When disturbed, they rise within a few feet, 
sail low and slowly through the woods lor thirty or forty yards, and gener- 
ally settle on a. low branch or on the ground. Their sight appears deficient 
during the day, as, like owls, they seem then to want that vivacity for which 
they are distinguished in the morning and evening twilight. They are rarely 
shot at or molested; and, from being thus transiently seen in the obscurity 
of dusk, or in the deep umbrage of the woods, no wonder their particular 


markings of plumage, should lie so little known, or that they should be con- 
founded with the Night Hawk, which, in general appearance, they so much 
resemble. The female begins to lay about the second week in May, select- 
ing, for this purpose, the most unfrequented part of the wood, often w 
some brush, old logs, heaps of leaves, &c, had been laying, and always on 
a dry situation." 

The Whippoorwill constructs no nest, but lays its eggs, which are two in 
number, in a slight hollow which it scratches in the earth, usually near a rock 
or fallen trunk of a tree. These eggs are of an elliptical form, being as large 
at one end as at the other ; their ground color is a delicate creamy white, with 
blotches, lines, and spots of different shades of light brown and lavender: 
taken altogether, it is one of the handsomest eggs found in New England. 
The length of several specimens before me varies from 1.21 to 2.27 inches ; 
breadth, from .7."> to .79 inch. The bird commences laying about the last 
week in May, and the period of incubation is fourteen days. 

The young are soon able to walk, and in a few days can run with consid- 
erable speed ; and they hide with such adroitness, that it is a work of no little 
difficulty to capture them. The female, when her young are discovered, 
immediately throws herself before the intruder, counterfeiting lameness so 
well, that, unless lie is well acquainted witli the habits of birds, lie will 
quickly be misled into following her. As soon as the young birds are able 
to shift for themselves, they are turned adrift by their parents, ami are seen 
only singly, or at most in pairs, dining the remainder of their stay. By 
the latter part of August, or seldom later than the 10th of September, all 
of them depart for the south, the old males remaining a few days later, 
uttering, occasionally, their song, but always in the woods, or in localities 
far removed from human habitation. 

The European Night Jar is known by a variety of names, such as Jar- 
Owl, Fern-Owl, Wheel-Bird, Milchsaiiger, Nachtschwalbe, &c. It feeds 
on flies, moths, and beetles. "Its powers of flight are wonderful, exceeding 
even those of the swallows ; the jarring sound, which gives name to the 
bird, is uttered sometimes while flying, but usually when it is at rest : it 
seems to be produced in the same manner as the purring of a eat, and re- 
sembles it, though louder. It appears that goat-sucking is not the only 
crime laid to this bird, for White, of Selborne, informs us that 'the country 
people have a notion that the Fern-Owl, which they call also Packeridge, 
is very injurious to weanling calves, by inflicting, as it strikes them, the 
fatal distemper known as puclceridge.' Thus docs this harmless, ill-fated 
bird fall under a double imputation, which it by no means deserves, in Italy, 
of sucking the teats of goats, whence it is called the Caprimulc/us, and 
with us of communicating a deadly disorder to the cattle. 7 ' 




Tins order, one of the largest anil most interesting, contains a great vari- 
ety of forms, which are scattered over all portions of the globe. 

The birds of prey are divided into two sections, — the diurnal and noc- 
turnal, — which are characterized as follows: — 

Si ction I 


' posterior toe.. 

Ihan flaw of medi Claws obtuse. II< ul 
mm li -snaked 

il L'< I Hum , lnu i I mi ill: tcriol tUC. < 1 1 II - :n 111 r 1 Inn I |i :.l 1 1 

:;_'. Yi n nun e, Sun. 

'■■'■ I' \i ■ I'.un:, Snti 

Sci t N : .1 

I directed lorwurds III. STKl'.ii'.i , Sum I 

These families are subdivided into several groups, each with well-marked 

ii iiiiii, 11,1!:, and its nail 

il. -I 

.ifi-irri 1:1 s. 

f I inserted above the base. 


in I I'litturimf, Illig. 

GitltartiHK, li' Lafr, 

<■'■< I 

middle ol tail. 

hum' .nli not vi 

1 i,: 

Outer I, 

' ' 


ul i 

trull .iii'il hi 

I.HIIiili il 
\ O] 


ieatliered, or 01 1. 

covered with In. 


t 1 1,1 d in i in. 

.. V.'hih, ,,,„:■■, 


tail leatlu . 

toot I n|,|i. i n. in, I. ', 

' li ■ til-tin. i collar, loi I ..I I. utliei ■ ader .uul i 

Hi. I... 

curved towards tlieir end . 

I U,,u 

. Ii..i,.i|i 

tniinn [tonan 
. i, lira) 

».. I!.,i,.i|i 


>Tltl<;n».l \\ I , .:, . :,,, , :,i Radiate facial arc! l te iHniiiiir, I: ip. 

!■'! (present. Kadiale tn i ilcd Utrtt/uui L3yuap. 

f eial area c plcte< pointed bclov. lar N'ail of middle toe pceti- 

f ii i nli Ui/briUhlK. 

Family Strigidje. Tin: <>uls. 

Of the llybridince, the Barn < >\vl of Europe is a type. 

This bird is spread throughout the temperate and warmer regions of Eu- 
rope. It is common in England and Ireland but less so in Scotland : in the 
northern latitudes of the continent it is not known. The Barn Owl con- 
ceals itself during the day in deep recesses among ivy-clad ruins, in antique 
church-towers, in the hollow of old trees, in barn-lofts, and similar places 
ot seclusion. At. night, it sallies forth for prey, which consists of mire, 
rats, moles, and shrews, but, we believe, never birds. Hence it is perse- 
cuted by the tanner in vain, who suspects that it thins Ins dove-cot, and little 
knows the extent of the services which the bird renders to him. "If," says 
Mr. Y\ aterton, " this useful bird caught it^ food l>v day, instead of hunting for 
it by night, mankind would have ocular demonstrations of its utility in thin- 
ning the country of mice, ami it would lie protected and encouraged every- 
where. Y\ hen it has young, it will bring a mouse to the nest every 
twelve or fifteen minutes" (that is, during the night) ; and lie adds, "For- 
merly I could get very lew young pigeons till the rats were excluded from the 


dove-cot ; since that took place, it has produced a great abundance every 
year, though t lie Barn Owl frequents it, and is encouraged all round it ; " 
and he affirms that the pigeons neither regard it " as a bad nor suspicious 

Mr. Thompson ("Mag. Zool. and Botan., Vol. II., p. 178") observes 
that "the White (barn) Owl is a well-known visitor to the dove-cot ; and, in 
such a place, or rather a loft appropriated to pigeons, in the town of Bel- 
fast, I am informed, by an observant friend, that a pair once had their nest ; 
this contained four young, which were brought up at the same time with 
many pigeons. The nests containing the latter were on. every side, but the 
owls never attempted to molest either the parents or their young. As may 
be conjectured, the owl's nest was frequently inspected during the progress 
of the young birds. On the shelf beside them never less than six, and often 
fifteen mice and young rats (no birds were ever seen) have been observed, 
and this was the number they had left after the night's repast. The parent 
owls, when undisturbed, remained all day in the pigeon-loft." In further 
proof, it may be urged, that the remains of rats, mice, and occasionally 
beetles, lane been found, to the exclusion of feathers, in the stomachs of 
most owls when examined. Such remains were found in the stomachs of 
all those opened by Mr. Thompson, and of such are the pellets cast by the 
owls invariably composed.* 

The Barn Owl quarters the ground for food with great regularity, and 
drops upon it with unerring aim. Selby says it occasionally utters loud 
screams during its flight; and Mr. Yarrell says it screeches, but does not 
generally hoot. But Sir William Jardine asserts, that he shot one in the 
act of hooting, and that at night, when not alarmed, hooting is its general 
cry. It snores and hisses, and, when annoyed, snaps its bill loudly. 

The Barn Owl constructs a rude nest; the eggs are three or four in num- 
ber, and of a white color. The female often lays a second time before the 
young are able to leave the nest; hence young owls have beeu found late in 
the autumn, and even in December. 

Of the Surnince, the genera Nyctea (of which the Snowy Owl (JVyctea 
nivea) is an example), Scops (of which the Little lied or Mottled Owl is 
well known) , and Bubo (in which occurs the Great Horned Owl {Bubo Vir- 
ginianus) of America), and Athene (the Burrowing Owl), all furnish 

Wilson describes the habits of the Great Horned Owl (one of the most 
interesting of this group) as follows : — 

* The owl anil all the hawk tribe east up the indigestible parts of their prey, as bones, 
feathers, hair, claws, &c, in the form of pellets; and in the long-tenanted haunt of an owl, 
these are found greatly accumulated. 


"His favorite residence is in the dark solitudes of deep swamps, covered 
with a growth of gigantic timber ; and here, as .soon as the evening draws ou, 
and mankind retire to rest, he sends fortli such sounds as seem scarcely to belong 
to this world. . . Along the mountain shores of the Ohio, and amidst the 
deep forests of Indiana, alone and reposing in the woods, this ghostly watch- 
man has frequently warned me of the approach of morning, and amused me 
with his singular exclamations. Sometimes, sweeping down and around my 
[ire, uttering a loud and sudden ' Waugh 0/ Waugh Of sufficient to 
llarmed a whole garrison. lie has other nocturnal solos, one of which 
very strikingly resembles the half-suppressed screams of a person suffocating 
or throttled ," 

The flight of this bird is elevated, rapid, and graceful. It sails with ap- 
parent ease in large circles, and rises and descends without the least diffi- 
culty, by merely inclining its wings or its tail as it passes through the air. 
Now and then it glides silently close over the earth, with incomparable 
velocity, and drops, as if .-hot dead, on the prey beneath. At other times 
it, suddenly alights on the top of a fence, stake, or dead stump, and utters a 
.shriek so horrid, that the woods around echo to its dismal sound. During 
the utterance of the deep, gurgling cries, so well described by Wilson, it 
moves it- body, and particularly its head, in various grotesque ways, and 
at intervals violently snap- its hill. It.- food consists of various gallinaceous 
hiii!-, half-grown turkeys, domestic poultry of all kinds, ducks, grouse, 
hares, opossums, ami squirrels; and whenever chance throws a dead fish 
on the shore, this bird feeds on it with peculiar avidity. The Virginian 
Horned Owl is very powerful, and equally spirited. Mallards, Guinea 
fowl, and common fowls fall an easy prey, and are carried off in its talons 
to tlie depth of tin: woods. "When wounded," says Audubon, "it exhibits 
a revengeful tenacity of spirit, scarcely surpassed by the noblest of the 
eagle tribe; disdaining to scramble away, it faces its enemy with undaunted 
courage, protruding its powerful talons, and snapping its bill. Its large, 
goggle eyes open and shut in quick succession, and the feathers of its body 
are puffed up, and .-well out its apparent bulk to nearly double the natural 
size. In some districts it is a great nuisance to the settler, making sad 
havoc among his stock of poultry. Among some of the Indian nations a 
sort of reverential horror is entertained towards this bird, and the priests and 
conjurers have adopted it as the symbol of their office, carrying about, with 
them a stuffed specimen with glass eyes, which excites general awe. This 
bird usually constructs a bulky nest in the forked branch of a tree, composed 
c\t. inallv of crooked .-ticks, and lined with coarse grass and feathers. The 
eggs are three or four in number, and of a dull white." 

In size, this species is nearly as large as the European representative, 


the Eagle Owl, and, in the general style of coloring, is similar, the upper 
parts being waved and mottled with black and brownish red.; a tiniie of 
gray, as the ground color, prevails on the lower part of the back ; the throat 
is [Hire white : the rest of the under surface is marked by innumerable nar- 
row, transverse, dusky bars, on a reddish ground color, thinly interspersed 
with white. 

Our Little Red Owl ( Scops Asio) of America, is also another intere.-ting 
species. Audubon says of it, — 

"The flight of the Mottled Owl is smooth, rapid, protracted, and noise- 
less. It rises at times above the top branches of the highest of our forest 
trees whilst, in pursuit of large beetles ; and at other times sails low and 
swiftly over the fields, or through the woods, in search of small birds, field- 
mice, mules, or vv 1-rats, from which it chiefly derives its subsistence. On 

alighting (which it docs plurnply), the Mottled Owl immediately bends its 
body, turns its head to look behind it. performs a curious nod, utters its 
notes, then shakes and plumes itself, and resumes its flight in search of 
prey. It now and then, while on the wing, produces a clicking sound with 
its mandibles, but more frequently when perched near its mate or young. 
This I have thought was done by the bird to manifest its courage, and let 
the hearer know that it is not to be meddled with; although few birds of 
prey are more gentle when seized, as it will suffer a person to touch its feath- 
ers ami caress it without attempting to bite or strike with its talons, unless 
at rare intervals. 

"The notes of' this owl are uttered in a tremulous, doleful manner, and 
somewhat resemble the chattering of the teeth of a person under the influ- 
ence of extreme cold, although much louder. They are heard at a dis- 
tance of several hundred yards, and by some people tire thought to be of 
ominous import." 

These notes almost exactly resemble the whimpering whine of a small 
dog, for which we have mistaken them on different occasions. 

''The little fellow is generally found about farm-houses, orchards, and 
gardens. It alights on the roof, the fence, or the garden gate, and utters 
its mournful ditty, at intervals, for hours at a time, as if it were in a state 
lit' great suffering; although this is far from being the case, the sung of 
all birds being an indication of content, and happiness, in a state of con- 
finement it utters its notes with as much satisfaction as if tit liberty. They 
are chiefly heard during the hitter part of winter, that being the season 
of love, when the male bird is particularly attentive to the fair one which 
excites his tender emotions, and around which he flies and struts much in the 
manner of the common pigeon, adding numerous nods and bows, the sight 
of which is very amusing." 


As a pet, this bird is interesting and amusing. A friend of ours, who 
had one for a long time in captivity, writes for us the following account of 
its habits : — 

"As I was walking through the streets of a village one day, I observed a 

crowd of boys around a small owl. On approaching it. 1 found that the 

bird was a young Mottled Owl. It was staring about in a dazed manner, 

i half stupefied. I easily persuaded the boys to part with it for 

-nt it home. At that time, June 15, 1867, it was, I should 

, about two - Id, and was covered with a grayish down. I put 

il in n large cage, and gave it some meat, which it ate, but not readily, for 

led at the sight of my band, and, at its near approach, 

would draw back, snapping its beak after the manner of all owls. It soon 

grew tamer, however, and, as I sat at my bench, would regard me with a 

ly understanding what I was about. In a short time 

k food from me without fear. I never saw it drink, although water 
was kepi constantly by it. 1 fed it upon mice, bird-, and butchers' meat. 
I c r about I . during which time it became 

tame, but would not tolerate handling, always threatening me with its 

when my band approached it. As the wires of its cage broke it- feath- 
ers l>'. the I ird j about, and as it hardly seemed resigned to confine- 
ment, I opi tied its cage, il the freedom of the room, leaving the 
wind la and day. About this time I gave it the name of 

. to which, in a little while, it would answer, when called, with a low 
rattle, which sounded like I lit note of the kingfisher. 

''One morning Scops was missing; diligent search was made for him 
(we now regarded the bird as a male), but no owl could be found. Once 
or twice h a the neighboring woods by different people, and once 

on the roof of a barn, but he was wild, and refused to be caught. lie 
bad beet. ibout a week, when, one morning, 1 was told my owl was 

out iii tin . J hastened out, and found a half-grown Newfoundland 

dog playing with my pet. S ips was clinging to the dog's shaggy fur with 
his c] biting fiercely. 1 immediately rescued 

him, and carried him into the house: the rain was falling, and he was thor- 
oughly wet. On arriving in his old quarters he seemed pleased, chuckling 
to hin p his manner. He was almost starved, and ate two full-grown 

bluebirds at the first meal. After this time, "although enjoying the utmost 
freedom, he has never but once remained away more than two day- at a time. 
V> hen a bird i- g\\ en him for food he in his claws, invariably pulls 

Ollt the wine- and tail feather- first : then eats the head : then pulls out the 
intestine-, and devours them; and then, if not satisfi the remainder 

of the bird, feathers and all. While pulling the bird to pieces, he holds 


it in his claws, and tears it with his bill. That this owl sees tolerably well 
in the daytime, I have proved to my satisfaction. I caught a mouse, and put 
it alive into an open box about two feet square. This I placed upon a bench 
near Scops, who was attentively watching my movements : the moment he 
discovered the mouse, he opened his eyes wide, bent forward, moved his 
head from side to side, as if to learn its exact position, and then came down 
upon it with an unerring aim, burying his talons deep in the head and back 
of the mouse ; then flew with his struggling prey to his perch, where he 
killed the mouse by biting it in the head and back. During the whole act 
he displayed considerable energy and excitement. 

"Again, I have seen him pounce upon a dragon-fly, which lay disabled, 
buzzing on the bench : the bird went through the same manoeuvres as before, 
striking the insect with the greatest precision, and with both feet. I think 
that these instances prove that the bird can tee nearly as well in the day as 
in the night. In both the above instances the sun was not shining on the 
objects struck, but they were very near the window, and the light was con- 
sequently strong. 

" In sleeping, Scops usually stands upon one foot, both eyes shut ; but some- 
times he stretches out at full length, resting on his breast. When sound 
asleep, he awakens instantly, and, on his name being pronounced, answers 
at once. I have heard him utter his peculiar, quavering note on one or two 
ions only. Scops is often out of the house all night, and even past the 
strong light of sunrise. While flying, lie moves through the air with a quick, 
Steady motion, alighting on any object without missing a foothold. Some- 
times during the day he will take a sudden start, flitting about the room like 
:i spectre, alighting on different objects to peer about, which he docs by mov- 
ing sideways, turning the head in various directions, and going through many 
curious movements; but he always returns to his perch, and settles down 

Of the Burrowing Owls, there are two species, the A. cunicularia and 
the .1. hypugcea. These birds, from their habit of nesting in burrows in the 
earth, which they have dug, or which were dug by other animals, are worthy 
of more than a passing notice. From the "Thousand Miles' Walk," we 
copy the following account of the Athene cunicularia: — 

"I first met with this owl on the banks of the River San Juan, in the 
Banda Oriental, one hundred and twenty miles west of Montevideo, where 
a I'vw pairs were observed devouring mire and insects during the daytime. 
From the river, travelling westward thirty miles, I did not meet a single 
individual, but after crossing the Las Vacas, and coming upon a sandy 
waste, covered with scattered trees and low bushes, I again met with 

no. xii. 60 


"Upon the pampas of the Argentine Republic they are found in great 
numbers, from a i'cw miles west of Eosario, on the Parana, latitude 32° 
5G' south, to the vicinity of San Luis, where the pampas end, and a tra- 
vesia or saline desert commence-. 

"On these immense plains of grass it lives in company with the bizencha. 
The habits of this bird are said to be the same as those of the species that 
inhabits the holes of the marmots upon the prairies of western North Amer- 
ica. Hut this is not strictly correct, for one writer says of the northern 
species, ' We have no evidence that the owl and marmot habitually re- 
sort to one burrow;' and Say remarks, 'that they were either common, 
though unfriendly, residents of the same habitation, or that our owl was 
the sole occupant of a burrow acquired by the right of conquest.' In this 
respect they differ from their South American relatives, who live in perfect 
harmony with the bizcacha, and during the day, while the latter is sleeping, 
a pair of these birds stand a few inches within the main entrance of the bur- 
row, and at the first strange sound, be it near or distant, they leave their 
station, and remain outside the hole, or upon the mound which forms the 
roof of the domicile. When man approaches, both birds mount above him 
in the air, and keep uttering their alarm note, with hides dilated, until he 
passes, when they quietly settle down in the grass, or return to their former 

"While on the pampas, I did not observe these birds taking prey during 
the daytime, but at sunset the bizcachas and owls leave their holes, and 
search for food, the younger of the former playing about the birds as they 
alighted mar them. They do not associate in companies, there being but 
one pair to each hole, and at night do not stray far from their homes. 

"In describing the North American Burrowing Owl, a writer says that 
the species 'suddenly disappears in the early part of August," and that 'the 
species is strictly diurnal.' 

" The Athene cunicularia has not these habits. It does not disappear 
during any part of the year, anil it is both nocturnal and diurnal, tor, though 
1 iliil not observe it preying by day on the pampas, I noticed that it led at 
all hours of the day and night on the north shore of the Plata, in the Banda 

"At longitude 66° west our caravan struck the great saline desert that 
stretches to the Andes, and during fourteen days' travel on foot I ilid not see 
a dozen of these birds: but while residing outside the town of San Juan, 
at the eastern base of the Andes, 1 had an opportunity to watch their habits 
in a locality differing materially from the pampas. 

"'fhe months of September and October are the conjugal ones. During 
the middle of the former month I obtained a male bird with a broken win''. 

Plate X. 


PE Rt 'IS 

[The Hmicy liun/.ari] j 

Al'< ll'ITI.K i KING] 1. 1.. Mill's 
(The I uropean Sparrow Hawk I 


(The White tailed Eagle 

(The Egyptian Neophron I 

1 "« 


i The Swallow-tailed Hauclerus I 


(TheAshcoloured II. n riei i 



It lived in confinement two days, refusing to cat, and died from the effects 
of the wound. A i'ew days later a hoy brought me a female owl, with five 
eggs, that had been taken from her nest, five feet from the mouth of a bur- 
row that wound among the roots of a tree. 

"She was fierce in her cage, and fought with wings and beak, uttering all 
the while a shrill, prolonged note, resembling tin' sound produced by draw- 
in- a tile across the teeth of a saw. I supplied her with eleven full-grown 
mice, which were devoured during the first thirty-six hours of confinement. 

"I endeavored to ascertain if this species burrows its own habitation, but 
my observations of eight months failed to impress me with the belief that it 
does. I have conversed with intelligent persons who have been familiar 
with their habits, and never did 1 meet one that believed this bird to lie its 
own laborer. It places a small nest of feathers at the end of some occu- 
pied or deserted burrow, as necessity demands, iu which are deposited from 
two to five white eggs, which are nearly spherical in form, and are a little 
larger than the eggs of the domestic pigeon. 

"In the Banda < triental, where the country is as fine, and the favorite food 
of the owd more plentifully distributed than upon the pampas, this bird is 
not common in comparison with the numbers found in the latter locality. 
The reason is obvious. The bizcacha does not exist in the Banda Oriental, 
and consequently these birds have a poor chance for finding habitations. 

" On the pampas, where thousands upon thousands of bizcachas undermine 
the soil, there, in their true locality, the traveller finds thousands of owls. 
Again, along the bases of the Andes, where the bizcacha is rarely met with, 
-we find only a i'cw pairs. Does the hole, from which my bird was taken, 
appear to be the work of a bird or quadruped? The several works that I 
have been able to consult do not, in one instance, give personal observations 
relative to the burrowing propensities of this owl ; from which fact, it will 
be inferred that it never has been caught in the act of burrowing." 

Family Falcoxid.e. Eagles, Hawks. 

Of the Circince, or Harrier Hawks, the Marsh Hawk of America and 
the Moor Harrier of Europe are good examples. The Harriers arc active 
and constantly on the wing : they frequent healthy moors, foggy marshes, 
and low, Hat grounds, over which they are almost continually flying. In 
hunting for their prey, they quarter the ground after the. manner of the 
spaniel dog, and when they seize the object of their search (a small quad- 
ruped, bird, or reptile), they drop suddenly upon it. and clutch it in their 
talons. They build on the ground among terns and rushes. 

The sub-family Falconinae, (Falcons and Hawks) is a large and interest- 
ing group. Among all the raptorial birds, none are more bold and daring 




than these : they arc formed for rapid flight, and pursue their prey with 
extreme velocity, or, soaring above, descend upon it with a swoop, hearing 
it to the ground. Some, as the kestrels, which teed principally on frogs and 
mice, not excluding insects, sail in the air, performing easy circles, hover- 
ing over one spot when discovering an object of prey, and, by a sudden and 
rapid descent, pouncing upon it with unerring certainty. 

Of the falcons, the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a well- 
known example. 

This beautiful and once highly-valued bird is very widely spread, being 
found in most of the bold and rocky districts of Europe and Asia.: every- 
where it seems to be a bird of passage, whence its specific name, peregrinus. 
As regards the British Islands, it is common in Scotland and Wales, build- 
ing on high, precipitous rocks bordering the sea-coast. It frequents similar 
situations in Devonshire and Cornwall, where it is called the Cliff Hawk. 
In many parts of Ireland it is abundant. "In the four maritime counties 
i I Ister," says Mr. Thompson, "it has many eyries; and in Antrim, whose 
basaltic precipices are favorable for this purpose, seven, at, least, might be 
enumerated. Of these, one only is inland. At the Gobbins, regularly fre- 
quented by a pair, there were two nests in one year within an extent of rock 
considerably less than a mile." < >f the prowess and daring of this Falcon 
many instances are on record. Mr. Thompson (Mag. Zool. and Botan., 
Vol. II., p. 53) observes, that "Mr. Sinclair, when on one occasion exer- 
cising his dogs on the Belfast mountains, towards the end of July, prepara- 
tory to grouse shooting, saw them point; and on coming up, he startled a 
male Peregrine Falcon off a grouse (Tetrao scoticus), just killed by him ; 
and very near the same place he came upon the female bird, also on a grouse. 
Although my friend lifted both the dead birds, the hawks continued flying 
about, and on the remainder of the pack (of grouse), which lay near, being 
sprung by the dogs, either three or four more grouse were struck down by 
them, and thus two and a half or three brace were obtained by means of 
these wild birds, being more than had ever been procured out of a pack of 
grouse by his trained Falcons." The Peregrine Falcon attacks his prey 
only while on the wing, seldom pursuing it into dense cover; and it has 
been observed, that birds thus driven to shelter by the Peregrine Falcon are 
so terrified, that, rather than venture again on the wing, they will allow them- 
selves to L>e captured by the hand. Even the black cock has been known to 
be thus taken. Mr. Thompson says the strike of this species is more fatal 
than its clutch, and that when flown at rooks, it has been known to strike 
down several birds in succession before alighting to prey on one; and he 
adds, " An eye-witness to the fact assures me that he once saw a falcon strike 
down five partridges out of a covey, one after the other; but such circum- 


the Peregrine falcon. 57 

stances are rare. Mr. Selby, in his " British Ornithology," gives a similar 
instance of daring to that related by Mr. Thompson, from the account of 
Mr Sinclair. "In exercising my dogs upon the moors, previous to the com- 
mencement of the shooting season, I observed a large bird of the hawk 
genus hovering at a distance, which, upon approaching, I knew to be a Per- 
egrine Falcon. Its attention was now drawn towards the dogs, and it 
accompanied them while they beat the surrounding ground. Upon their 
having found and sprung a brood of grouse, the Falcon immediately gave 
chase, and struck a young bird before they had proceeded far upon the wing. 
My shouts and rapid advance prevented it from securing its prey. The issue 
of this attempt, however, did not deter t lie Falcon from watching our subse- 
quent 'movements ; and another opportunity soon offering, it again gave 
chase, and struck down two birds by two rapidly-repeated blows, one of 
which it secured and bore off in triumph." The flight of this falcon, when 
pursuing its quarry, is astonishingly rapid. Montagu lias reckoned it at the 
rate of one hundred and fifty miles an hour; and Colonel Thornton, an 
expert falconer, estimated the flight of one in pursuit of a snipe to have 
been nine in eleven minutes, without including the frequent turnings. 

The Peregrine Falcon was regarded very highly in the practice of fal- 
conry ; an art which, in former days, engaged the most earnest attention, 
and is still a common amusement among the Turks in some parts of Asia 
Minor, among the Persians, Circassians, and the wandering hordes of Tur- 
comans and Tartars. "Hawking appears to have been introduced into Eng- 
land from the north of Europe during the fourth century. Our Saxon 
ancestors became passionately fond of the sport, but do not appear to have 
made great progress in the art of training their birds. In the eighth cen- 
tury, one of the kings of that race caused a letter to be written to A\ innifred, 
Archbishop of Mons, begging the dignitary to send him some falcons that 
had been well trained to kill cranes. The month of October was more par- 
ticularly devoted to that sport by the Saxons. We are indebted to our fierce 
invaders, the Danes, for many improvements in falconry. Denmark, and 
still more Norway, were always celebrated for their breeds of hawks, and 
the natives of these countries bad attained an extraordinary degree of skill 
in the art of training them. In the eleventh century, when Canute, King 
of Denmark and Norway, ascended the English throne, the sport became 
more prevalent. We are not aware of what restrictions were imposed under 
the Saxon or Danish monarchs, but after the conquest by William of Nor- 
mandy, none but persons of the highest rank were allowed to keep hawks. 
Cruel laws, with respect to field sports, were framed, and rigorously executed 
by the first princes of the Norman dynasty. According to the liberal views 
of those times, the people were held utterly unworthy of partaking anything 



except tin' air of heaven in common with (heir noble oppressors.. The life 
of a -rrl was i.l' less value in the eyes of a Norman baron than that <>t" a. 
buck, a hound, or a hawk; and in those days, the mass of what we now 
call the people were serfs and slaves. As to the keeping of falcons, the 
ureal expense attending it put it entirely nut of tin' power of the common- 
alty, but the prohibitive Norman law was probably meant at first to extend 
to such of the Saxon landholders as wen' rich and remained free, but bad no 
rank nor nobility according to the conqueror's estimation. In the days of 
John, however, every freeman was most liberally permitted to have eyries 
of hawks, falcons, eagles, and herons in his own woods. In the year 
1 Isl was printed the 'Book of St. Albans," by Juliana Berners, sister of 
Lord Berners, and prioress of the nunnery of Sopewell. It consisted bftwo 
tracts, one on hawking, the other on heraldry. The noble dame obtained 
from her grateful contemporaries the praise ol being 'a. second Minerva in 
her studies, and another Diana in her diversions.' Her subject was well 
chosen ; hawking was then the standing pastime of the noble, and the lady 
abbess treated it in the manner the most likely to please. The book became 
to falconers what Hoyle's has .-nice become to whist-players ; but the dame 
Juliana's bad, moreover, the merit of paying proper homage to the jealous 
distinctions between man anil man, as then established. According to the 
Hook of St. Albans,' there was a nice adaptation of the different kinds of 
falcons to different ranks. Thus, such species of hawks were for kings, 
and could not be used by any person of inferior dignity, such for princes 
of the blood, such others for the duke and great lord, anil so on down to the 
knave or servant. In all there were fifteen tirades; but whether this num- 
ber was so small, owing to the species of birds, or because it included all 
the factitious divisions of society then recognized, we cannot well determine. 
We have too much respect for the patience of our readers to follow the dame 
through all her directions, to which additions have been made in the fifteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. We would rather accompany the trained hawks 
into the held. 

"Strut!, in his industrious work on the 'Sports and Pastimes of the Eng- 
lish,' gives one or two engravings, from very old pictures, representing ladies 
followed by dogs, and running on foot, with their hawks on their fists, in 
east them oil' at game. Indeed, John of Salisbury, who wrote in the thir- 
teenth century, says that the women even excelled the men in the knowledge 
and practice of falconry, whence be unGcallantly takes occasion to call the 
sport itself frivolous and effeminate. Taken altogether, however, a hunting- 
party of this kind, composed of knights and dames, mounted on their piaff- 
ing manege horses, and with their train of falconers, in appropriate costume, 
and their well-broken dogs, and the silver music of the bells, mingled with 


a variety of other sounds, must have been a pleasant enough scene to behold, 
or to form part of." 

For most species of game, it appears that spaniels, cockers, or other dogs 
were required to rouse the birds to wing. When the game was at a proper 
elevation, the hawk, being freed from his head-gear, was cast off from the 
sportsman's list with a loud whoop, to encourage him. But here great science 
was required; and it was frequently made a matter of anxious and breath- 
less debate as to whether the fur Jettt e or the j< ttet serve should be adopted. 
These terms, like many more employed in those days in hawking and hunt- 
ing, were derived from the French. Jeter signifies to throw or cast off. 
The far jettee meant to cast oil' the hawk at a distance from the quarry it 
was to pursue : and the jettee serve to fly it as near to the laid, or as soon 
alter the destined prey had taken wing, as possible. But many considera- 
tions were involved iii these decisions, — the species of the quarry, the pecu- 
liar properties of the hawk on hand at the time, the nature of tin- country, 
the force and direction of the wind, and numerous other circumstances had 
to he duly pondered. 

" When the hawk was cast off, it \\q\v in the direction of the game, and 
endeavored to surmount it, or get above it in its flight. To obtain this ad- 
vantage, when herons and other birds strong on the wing were pursued, the 
hawk was obliged to have recourse to sealing, or ascending the air by per- 
forming a succession of small circles, each going higher and higher, like lie' 
steps of a winding corkscrew staircase. In whatever way it was performed, 
this was called 'the mount.' At times, both the pursuer and pursued would 
fly so high as almost to be lost in the clouds. When the hawk reached a 
proper elevation above the game, she shot down upon it with all her force 
and velocity, and tins descent was technically called 'the stoop," or 'the 
swoop.' John Shaw, Master of Arts, of Cambridge, who published a strange 
hook, called 'Speculum JSIundi ( The World's Looking-glass) , in that learned 
city, in 1G35, informs us that the heron, or hernsaw, 'is a large fowle that 
liveth about waters, and that hath a marvellous hatred to the hawk, which 
hatred is duly returned. When they fight above in the air, they labor both 
especially lor this one thing — that one may ascend and lie above the other. 
Now if the hawk getteth the upper place, he overthroweth and vanquisheth 
the heron with a marvellous earnest flight.' It should seem, however, that 
this was not always the case, and that the heron sometimes received the 
hawk on its long, sharp bill, and so transfixed and killed her. When the 
hawk closed or grappled with her prey (which was called binding, in fal- 
conry), they generally tumbled down from the sky together, and the object 
of the sportsman was, either by running on foot or galloping his horse, to 
get to the spot as soon as they should touch the earth, in order to assist the 


Hawk in her struggle with her prey. The falcons, it should lie observed, 
were taken into the field with hoods over their eyes, and with little hells on 
their legs ; and the sportsman carried a hire, to which the bird had been 
taught to fly, by being fed regularly upon or near it with freshly-killed meat. 
' When the hawk,' says Master Gervase, 'is passingly reclaimed, you must 
brin" her to hue by easy degrees : first, by dainties, making her jump upon 
your list, then to fall upon the lure, when held out to it, and then to (Mine 
at thr sound of your voice; and to delight her more with the lure, have it 
ever garnished, on both sides, with warm and bloody meat.' These lures 
seem to have been of various sorts. In very old times a ' tabur-stycke,' 
which was merely a piece of wood rounded and besmeared with blood, was 
in use ; bill with the progress of ci\ ilization, a better lure, called a ' hawker,' 
was introduced. The hawker was a staff about twenty-two inches long, 
cased at the upper part with iron, having a bell, 'rather of sullen tone than 
musical,' and tin 1 figure of a bird, with outstretched wings, carved at the 
top. When this instrument was agitated, a reclaimed hawk would descend 
to it from the clouds; but, we believe, for a bird of the highest training, 
nothing more was required than to shake the tasselled hood in the hand of 
the sportsman, and to use tin- voice." 

Of the Astarince, or Hawks proper, the Goshawks, so widely scattered, 
arc well-known types. In describing the habits of the American Goshawk 
(jlstur nt ri'-njiill us) , Audubon says, — 

''The flight of the ( ioshawk is extremely rapid and protracted. lie sweeps 
along the margins of the fields, through the woods, and by the edges of 
ponds and rivers, with such speed as to enable him to seize his prey by 
merely deviating a few yards from his course, assisting himself on such 
occasions by his long tail, which, like a rudder, he' throws to the right or 
left, upwards or downwards, to cheek his progress, or enable him suddenly 
to alter his course. At times he passes like a meteor through the under- 

w 1, where he secures squirrels and hares with ease. Should a flock of 

wild pigeons pass him when on these predatory excursions, he immediately 
gives chase, soon overtakes them, and, forcing his way into the very centre 
of the flock, si alters them in confusion, when you may see him emerging 
with a bird in his talons, and diving towards the depth of the forest to feed 
upon his victim. When travelling, he flies high, with a constant feat of 
the wings, seldom moving in largo circles like other hawks; and, when he 
doe- this, it is only, a few times in a hurried manner, after which he contin- 
ues his journey. 

"Along the Atlantic coast this species follows the numerous (locks of 
ducks that arc found there during the autumn and winter, and greatly aids 
in the destruction of mallards, teals, black ducks, and other specie-, in 


company with the Peregrine Falcon (Fulco anaturn). It is a restless bird, 
apparently more vigilant and industrious than many other hawks, and it 

seldom alights unless to devour its prey ; nor can I r< llect ever having 

seen one alighted, for many minutes at a time, without having a bird in its 
talons. When thus engaged with its prey, it. stands nearly upright; and, 
in general, when perched, it keeps itself more erect than most species of 
hawks. It is extremely expert at catching snipes on the vvino - ; and so well 
do these birds know their insecurity, that on its approach they prefer squat- 
ting tn endeavoring to escape by flight. 

" When the passenger pigeons arc abundant in the western countrv, the 
(iii-hawk follows their close masses, and subsists upon them. A single 
hawk suffices to spread the greatest terror among their ranks ; and the mo- 
ment lie sweeps towards a flock, the whole immediately dive into the deepest 
woods, where, notwithstanding their great speed, the marauder succeeds in 
clutching the fattest. While travelling along the Ohio, I observed several 
hawks of this specie's in the train of millions of these pigeons. Towards 
the evening of the same day, 1 saw one abandoning its course to give chase 
to a large flock of (.'row Blackbirds ( Quiscalus versicolor), then crossing 
the river. The hawk approached them with the swiftness of an arrow, 
when the blackbirds rushed together s i closely, that the flock looked like a 
dusky hall passing through the air. On reaching the mass, lie, with the 
greatest ease, seized first one, and then another, and another, giving each a 
squeeze with his talons, and suffering it. to drop upon the water. In this 
manner lie had procured four or five before the poor birds reached the wood-;, 
into which they immediately plunged, when he gave up the chase, swept 
over the water in graceful curves, and picked up the fruits of his industry, 
carrying each bird singly to the shore. Reader, is this instinct or reason? 

"The nest of tin' Goshawk is placed mi the branches of a tree, near the 
trunk or main stem. It is of great size, and resembles that of our crow, 
or some species of owl, being constructed of withered twigs and coarse grass, 
with a lining of fibrous strips of plants resembling hemp. It is, however, 
much flatter than that of the crow. In one, I found, in the month of April, 
three eggs, rea ly to be hatched : they were of a dull bluish-white, sparingly 
spotted with light reddish-brown. In another, which I found placed on a 
pine tree growing on the eastern rocky bank of the A'iagara River, a few 
miles below the great cataract, the lining was formed of withered herbaceous 
plants, with a few feathers : the eggs were four in number, of a white color 
tinged with greenish-blue, large, much rounded, and somewhat granulated. 

"In another nest were four young birds, covered with buff-colored down, 
their legs and feet of a pale yellowish flesh-color, the bill light blue, and the 
eyes pale gray. They differed greatly in size, one being quite small coin- 

NO. XIII. 01 


pared with the rest. I am of opinion that few breed to the south of the 
■State of Maine." 

We once witnessed an attempt of this bird to capture a common gray squir- 
rel, that was quite interesting to tlic beholder, but certainly not to the 
animal. While on a collecting' excursion, a few miles from Boston, as we 
were seated beneath a huge oak, observing the movements of some small 
birds, we heard the harking of a squirrel; and, while looking for his where- 
abouts, we suddenly heard a whistling sound as of a body falling through the 
air, and, as quick as thought, a Goshawk struck on the limb, on the spot 
where, a second before, the squirrel had been seated : luckily for the squirrel, 
the hawk missed his aim, the animal giving a sudden dodge beneath the 
limb the moment the hawk appeared. All who are acquainted with the 
habits (if this quadruped know that it is very successful in dodging behind 
the limb of a tree, and hugging it closely. The hawk sat a few moments, 
apparently surprised at his disappointment, when, suddenly launching into 
the air, he espied it beneath the limb, hugging tor dear life. As soon as he 
had moved, the squirrel turned adroitly on the limb, still keeping it between 
itself and its enemy. Alter several trials, the hawk, always alighting and 
remaining perched on the limb a few seconds, succeeded, by a dexterous 
feint, in securing his prey, when, on the instant, we tired, bringing the hawk 
and his victim to the ground. The hawk dropped dead ; but the squirrel, 
after King on the ground a moment, got up, and staggered oil' beneath a 
pile of rocks, and we neither saw nor heard anything more of it. 

Of the Gypo'jeraninoe, the Secretary Buzzard is the type. This singu- 
lar bird is termed, in allusion to its habits, Slang 'en-vreeter, or Serpent- 
eater, by the Dutch colonists of the Cape, and its Hottentot name has the 
same meaning; snakes, in fact, constitute its principal food, and, in the 
attack and defence, it displays the greatest coolness and address. 

" The Slangen-vreeter," says Sparrman, "has a peculiar method of seiz- 
ing upon serpents. When it approaches them, it always takes ire to hold 
the point of one of its wings before it, in order to parry off their venomous 
bites: sometimes it finds an opportunity of spurning and treading upon its 
antagonist, or else, of taking it tip on its pinions, and throwing it into the 
air. "When, by this method of proceeding, it has at length wearied out its 
adversary, and rendered it almost senseless, it then kills it, and swallows it 
without danger. Though I have very frequently seen the Secretary Bird, 
both in its wild and tame state, yet I have never had an opportunity of see- 
ing this method it has of catching serpents; however, I can by no means 
harbor any doubt concerning it, after having had it confirmed to me by so 
many Hottentots as well as Christians, and since this bird has been observed 
at the menagerie at the Hague to amuse and exercise itself in the same 


manner with a straw." The Secretary was so called by the Dutch from the 
plumes at the back of its head, which reminded them of the pen stuck be- 
hind the ear, according to the custom of the gens de cabinet in Holland, and 
the name has since been generally adopted. These birds, at least in .South 
Africa, are not gregarious, but live in pairs, and build on high trees, or in 
dense thickets. Their gait is a singular stalk, reminding us of a person 
moviii"' along on elevated stilts ; but they run with great swiftness, and are 
not to be approached, without great difficulty, by the sportsman. Attempts 
have been made (how far successful we know not) to introduce this bird into 
Martinique for the purpose of destroying the deadly lance-headed viper, or 
vellow serpent, of the Antilles (Trigonocephalus lanceolatus) , which 
abounds there, and is greatly dreaded. 

The type of the sub-family Pernince, the Honey Buzzard ( Pernis apivo- 
rus), is very rare in England, but more common in the warmer countries 
of Europe, where it is migratory. It is found in Asia, and specimens have 
been received from various parts of India. We believe one instance, only, 
of its having been killed in Ireland, is on record. The bird in question was 
shot by R. G. Bornford, Esq., in his demesne of Annandale, near Belfast. 
Mr. Thompson states that the bill and forehead were covered with cow-dung, 
from the search the bird had evidently been making for insects. The stomach 
contained some of the larva', and fragments df coleoptera, and various cat- 
erpillars. It is, in fact, chiefly upon caterpillars and the larva' of bees and 
wasps that the Honey Buzzard feeds, together with other insects, not, how- 
ever, to the exclusion of moles, mice, rats, small birds, reptiles, and slugs. 

According to Yicillot, the Honey Buzzard flies low, but runs on the 
ground with great celerity. It breeds in tall trees, making a nest of twigs, 
with an inner layer of wool : the eggs are two or three in number, of an 
ashy gray, dotted at each end with small, red spots, and surrounded, in the 
middle, with a broad, blood-red zone, or mottled all over with two shades 
of orange brown. 

Of the MiloinOB, the Swallow-tailed Hawk (Nauclerus fn renins) of 
America, and the Kite (Milvus ictinus) of Europe and Asia, are ex- 

The Swallow-tailed Hawk, remarkable for its grace and ease on the wing, 
is described by Audubon as follows : — 

"In the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, where these birds are abun- 
dant, they arrive in large companies in the beginning of April, and arc 
heard uttering a sharp, plaintive note. At this period, I generally remarked 
that they came from the westward, and have counted upwards of a hun- 
dred in the space of an hour, passing over me in a direct easterly course. 
At that seasou, and in the beginning of September, when they all retire 



from the United States, they are easily approached when they have alight- 
ed, beinc then apparently fatigued, and busily engaged in preparing them- 
selves for continuing their journey, by dressing and oiling their leathers. 
At all other time-, however, it is extremely difficult to get near them, as 
they are generally on the wing through the day, and at night rest, on the 
higher pines and cypresses bordering the river bluffs, the lakes, or the 
swamps of that district of country. They always feed on the wing. I n 
calm and warm weather they soar to an immense height, pursuing the large 
insects called Mosquito Hawks, and performing the most singular evolutions 
that can be conceived, using their tail with an elegance of motion peculiar to 
themselves. Their principal food, however, is large grasshoppers, grass- 
caterpillars, small snakes, lizards, and frogs. They sweep close over the 
fields, sometimes seeming to alight for a moment to secure a snake, and, 
holding it fast by the neck, carry it off, and devour it in the air. When 
searching for grasshoppers and caterpillars, it is not difficult to approach 
under cover of a fence or tree. When one of them is killed and falls to 
the ground, the whole Hock come over the dead bird, as if intent upon car- 
rying it off. An excellent opportunity is thus afforded of shooting as many 
as may be wanted, and I have killed several of these hawks in this manner, 
firing as fast as I could load my gun. The Swallow-tailed Hawk pairs im- 
mediately after its arrival in the Southern Stales; and as its courtships take 
place on the win-, its motions are then more beautiful than ever. The nest 
is usually placed on the top branches of the tallest oak or pine tree, situated 
on the margin of a stream or pond. It resembles that of a carrion crow 
externally, being formed of dry sticks, intermixed with Spanish moss, and 
is lined with coarse grasses and a few leathers. The eggs are from four to 
six, of a greenish-white color, with a few irregular blotches of dark brown 
at the large end. The male and female sit alternately, the one feeding the 
other, 'l'he young are at first covered with buff-colored down. Their nest 
covering exhibits the pure white and black of the old birds, but without any 
of the glossy-purplish tints of the latter. The tail, which at first is but 
slightly forked, becomes more so in a, few weeks, and at the approach of 
autumn exhibits little difference from that of the adult birds. The plumage 
is completed the first spring. Only one brood is raised in tin; season. The 
species leaves the United States in the beginning of September, moving off 
in Hocks, which are formed immediately after the breeding season is over." 

The Kite is distributed over the greatest part of Europe and Asia, and 
the northern districts of Africa. In the British islands it appears to be less 
common than formerly : in Ireland it is not known. Formerly it was very 
abundant in the southern counties of England, and Clusius states, that 
when he was in London an amazing 1 number of Kites flocked there for the 


offal thrown into the streets : they were so tame that they took their prey in 
the midst of crowds, and it was forbidden to kill them. 

"The Kite," says Mr. Selby, "is proverbial for the ease and gracefulness 
of its flight, which consists of long, sweeping circles, performed with a mo- 
tionless wing, or, at least, with a slight and almost imperceptible stroke of 
its pinions, and at very distant intervals. In this manner, and directing its 
course by tin' aid of the tail, which acts as a rudder, its slightest motion pro- 
ducing an effect, it frequently soars t.> Mich a height as to become almost 
invisible to the human eye." Its appearance*, as it wheels over the farm- 
yard, with eyes intent upon the broods of chickens and ducklings, is by no 
means hailed with pleasure, either by the feathered dependants of the farm, 
in- the good man who owns them. The poultry set up loud cries of c\ 
tion ; the hens call their broods beneath their wings, and chanticleer prepares 
fur battle ; the dogs are roused, and the men run tin- their guns. Finding 
preparations made to receive him. the marauder generally makes off; but 
if he has swept away a chicken before the alarm is given, he is almost sure 
df repeating his visit, and is oftentimes so successful as to destroy a whole 
brood. Leverets, rabbits, young game, ami small mammalia are also the 
prey of this species : it has been known to skim off dead fish and other float- 
ing animal substances from the surface of the water with the greatest address. 
The Kite builds its nest in the forked branch of some tall forest tree, and 
constructs it of sticks and twigs, lining it with wool, hair, and other soft 
materials. 1 he eggs are three in number, rather larger than those of a 
hen: they are of a dirty white, with reddish-brown spots at the large end. 
The female defends her nest vigorously. 

Of the Aquilince, the White-headed Eagle, or Bald Eagle, as it is im- 
properly called, the Golden Eagle, and the Great Harpy Eagle furnish 
prominent examples. 

The White-headed Eagle is found in nearly till portions of temperate 
North America, from whence it is a very rare wanderer in Europe. Wil- 
son's account of the bird and its habits is one of the most interesting pas- 
sages in ornithological literature. * 

"The celebrated cataract of Niagara," he says, " is a noted resort for the 
Bald Eagle, as well on account of the fish procured there, as for the numer- 
ous carcasses of squirrels, deer, bears, and other various animals, that, in 
their attempts to cross the river above the falls, have been dragged into the 
current, and precipitated down that tremendous gulf, where, among the 
rocks that bound the rapids below, they furnish a rich repast for the vulture, 
the raven, and the subject of the present account. 

"Formed by nature for bearing the severest cold, feeding equally on the 
produce of the sea and of the land, possessing powers of flight capable of 


outstripping even the tempests themselves, unawed by anything but man, and 

from the ethereal heights to which lie soars, looking abroad at one glai 

over an immeasurable expanse of forests, fields, lakes, and ocean deep be- 
low him, lie appears indifferent to the change of seasons, as, in a few min- 
ute-, he can pass from summer to winter, from the lower to the higher 
regions of the atmosphere (the abode of eternal cold), and thence descend 
at will to the torrid or to the arctic regions of the earth. He is, therefore, 
found at all seasons in the countries lie inhabits, but prefers such places as 
have been mentioned above, from the great partiality he has for fish." "In 
procuring these, be displays, in a very singular manner, the genius and 
energy of bis character, which is fierce, contemplative, daring, and tyran- 
nical — attributes not exerted but on particular occasions, but, when put 
forth, overpowering all opposition. Elevated on the high, dead limb of 
some uiuautic tree, that commands a wide view of the neighboring: shore 
and ocean, lie seems calmly to contemplate the motions of the various feath- 
ered tribes that pursue their busy avocations below — the snow-white gulls 
slowly winnowing the air, the busy trinycn coursing along the sands, silent 
and watchful cranes intent and wading, clamorous crows, and all the winged 
multitudes that subsist by the bounty of this vast magazine of nature. High 
over all these hovers one, whose action instantly arrests his whole attention. 
By his wide curvature of wing, ami sudden suspension in air, he knows him 
to be the fish-hawk, settling over some devoted victim of the deep. His eve 
kindles at the sight, and, balancing himself with halt-opened wings on the 
branch, he awaits the result. Down, rapid as an arrow, from heaven de- 
scends the distant object of his attention, the roar of its wings reaching (he 
ear as it disappears in the deep, making the surges foam around. At this 
moment the eager looks of the eagle are all ardor; and, levelling his neck 
for flight, be sees the lish-hawk once more emerge, struggling with bis prey, 
and mounting in the air with screams of exultation. These are the signal 
lor the eagle, who, launching into the air, instantly gives chase, ami soon 
gains on the lish-hawk. Each exerts his utmost to mount above the other, 
displaying in* these rencontres the most elegant and sublime aerial evolutions. 
The unencumbered eagle rapidly advances, and is just on the point of 
reaching his opponent, when, with a sudden scream, probably of despair 
and honest execration, the latter drops his fish : the Eagle, poising himself 
lor a moment, as if to take a more certain aim, descends like a whirlwind, 
snatches it in his grasp ere it reaches the water, and bears his ill-gotten booty 
silently away to the woods." 

Ibis is not the only mode in which the White-headed Eagle procures his 
sustenance, \oung lambs and pigs, ducks, geese, swans, and various sea- 
fowl, are attacked and carried away. Mr. J. Gardiner stated to Wilson, 


that he saw one flying with a lamb ten days old', but which, from the vio- 
lence nt' its struggles, it was obliged to drop at the height of a i'cw feet 
from the ground. lie added that, by running up and hallooing, he pre- 
vented it from again seizing the lamb, whose hark it had broken, and to 
whose misery he put an instant termination. The dam seemed astonished 
to see its offspring suddenly snatched up and borne off by a bird. Sheep, 
if old or sickly, are also subject to the attacks of these tyrants of the feath- 
ered race; nor do they reject carrion, keeping the vultures (over which they 
often exercise their despotism) at a respectful distance, waiting till they have 

ooi'o-ed their till and departed. Now and then they procure iish for them- 
es O A * 

selves in .shallow places, wading in the water, and striking at them with 
their beak. They have been known even to attack children. We have 
quoted Wilson's animated description of the attack of the White-headed 
Eao-le upon the fish-hawk or osprey; and we will now transcribe Audubon's 
equally graphic details of a different conflict : — ■ 

To give you," he write-, "some idea of the nature of this bird, permit 
me to place you on the Mississippi, on which you may float gently along, 
while approaching winter brings millions of water-fowls, on whistling wings, 
from the countries of the north, to seek a milder climate in which to sojourn 
for a season. The eayle is seen perched, in an erect attitude, on the sum- 
mit of the tallest tree by the margin of the broad stream. 1 1 is glistening 
but stern eye looks over the vast expanse ; he listens attentively to every 
sound that comes to his quick ear from afar, glancing every now and then 
on the earth beneath, lest even the light tread of the fawn may pass un- 
heard. His mate is perched on the opposite side, .and, should all lie tran- 
quil and silent, warns him by a cry to continue patient. At this well-known 
call, he partly opens his broad wings, inclines his body a little downwards, 
and answers to her voice in tones not unlike the laugh of a maniac. The 
next moment he resumes his erect attitude, and again all around is silent. 
Ducks of many species — the teal, the widgeon, the mallard, and others — 
are seen passing with great rapidity, and following the course of the cur- 
rent, but the eagle heeds them not; they are at that time beneath his 
attention. The next moment, however, the wild, trumpet-like sound of a 
yet distant but approaching swan is heard. A shriek from the female eagle 
comes across the stream, for she is fully as alert as her mate. The latter 
suddenly shakes the whole of his body, and, with a few touches of his bill, 
aided by the action of his cuticular muscles, arranges his plumes in an 
instant. The snow-white bird is now in sight; her long neck is stretched 
forward ; her eye is on the watch, vigilant as that of her enemy ; her large 
wings seem with difficulty to support the weight of her body, although they 
flap incessantly ; so irksome do her exertions seem, that her very legs are 


spread beneath her tail to aid her in her flight. She approaches, however. 
The ea<>'le has marked her for his prey. As the swan is passing the dreaded 
pair, starts from his perch the male bird in preparation for the chase, with 
an awful scream, that, to t he swan's ear, brings more terror than the 
report of the large duck-gun. Now is the moment to witness the display 
of the eagle's powers. lie glides through the air like a falling star, and, 
like a flash of lightning, conies upon the timorous quarry, which now, in 
agony and despair, seeks by various manoeuvres to elude the grasp of his 
cruel talons. It mounts, doubles, and willingly would plunge into the 
stream were it not prevented by the eagle, which, possessed of the knowl- 
edge that by such a stratagem the swan might escape him, forces it to 
remain in the air by attempting to strike it with his talons from beneath. 
The hope of escape is soon given up by the swan. It has already become 
much weakened, and its strength fails at the sight of the courage and swift- 
ness of its antagonist. Its last gasp is about to escape, when the ferocious 
eagle strikes with its talons the under side of its wing, and, with unresisted 
power, forces the bird to fall, in a slanting direction, upon the nearest shore. 
It is then that you may see the cruel spirit of this dreaded enemy of the 
feathered race, whilst exulting over his prey he for the first time breathes 
with ease. lie presses down his powerful feet, and drives his sharp claws 
deep into the heart of the dying bird ; he shrieks with delight as he feels the 
last convulsions of his prey, which has now sunk under his efforts to render 
death as painful as it possibly can lie. The female has watched every move- 
ment of her mate; and if she did not assist him in capturing the swan, it 
was not from want of will, but merely that she felt full assurance that the 
power and courage of her lord were quite sufficient for the deed. She now 
sails to the spot where he eagerly awaits her; and when she has arrived, 
they together turn the breast of the luckless swan upwards, and gorge them- 
seh es with gore." 

The White-headed Eagle is seldom seen alone, but generally in company 
with its mate; the union continues during life; they hunt for the support 
of each other, and feed together. The nest, is usually placed on some tall 
tree, with a massive, towering stem, destitute of branches for a considerable 
height. It is composed of sticks, clods, weeds, and moss, and measures five 
or six feet in diameter; and, being annually augmented by fresh layers (for 
it is used year after year), it is often as much in depth. The eggs are from 
two to four in number, and of a dull white. Tin.' attachment of the parents to 
their young is very great ; and they provide abundantly for their support, 
bringing home fish, squirrels, young lambs, opossums, raccoons, &c. 

The Harpy Eagle {Harpyict destructor) is a native of Guiana, and 
other parts of South America, where it frequents the deep recesses of the 


forests remote from the abodes of man. Of its habits, however, in a state 
of nature, we have but little information. It is feared for its great strength 
and fierceness, and is reported not to hesitate in attacking individuals oi' the 
human race ; nay, that instances have been known in which persons have 
fallen a sacrifice, their skulls having been fractured by the blows of its beak 
and talons. This may be an exaggeration, but certainly it would be a haz- 
ardous experiment to venture unarmed near the nest of a pair of these for- 
midable eagles. Hernandez stales that this species not only ventures to 
assault man, but even beasts of prey. According to Mendruyt, it makes 
great destruction among the sloths, which tenant the branches of the forest, 
and are ill fitted to resist so formidable an antagonist : it also destroys fawns, 
cavil's, opossums, and other quadrupeds, which it carries to its lonely retreat, 
there, in solitude, to satiate its appetite. Monkeys are also to be numbered 
among its victims ; but the sloth is said to constitute its ordinary pre}-. Of 
its nidification we know nothing ; as the eagles, however, lay only from two 
to three eggs, it is reasonable to suppose that the present species is not an 
exception to the rule. 

It has been correctly observed by Mr. Selby, that the members of the 
Aquiline division of the raptorial order do not possess the same facility of 
pursuing their prey upon the wing which we sec in the falcons and ha\% ks ; 
for, though their flight is very powerful, they are not capable of the rapid 
evolutions that attend the aerial attacks ^i' the above-named groups, in con- 
sequence of which their prey is mostly pounced upon on the ground. The 
shortness of the wings of the Harpy Eagle, when compared with those of 
tin 1 Golden Eagle of Europe, and their rounded form and breadth, though 
well adapting them for a continued and steady flight, render them less effi- 
cient as organs of rapid and sudden aerial evolutions than those of the latter ; 
lint, as it inhabits the woods, and does not prey upon birds but upon ani- 
mals incapable of saving themselves by flight, its powers of wing (or 
rather the mollification of those powers) are in accordance with the circum- 
stances as to food and locality under which it is placed. If the Harpy 
Eagle soars not aloft, hovering over plains and mountains, it threads the 
woods, it skims amidst the trees, and marks the sloth suspended on the 
branch, or the monkey dozing in unsuspicious security ; and, with unerring 
aim, strikes its defenceless victims. Mr. Selby, commenting on the fierce- 
ness of a pair of Golden Eagles in his possession, and their readiness to 
attack every one indiscriminately, observes, that when living prey (as hares, 
rabbits, or cats) are thrown to them, the animal is "instantly pounced on 
by a stroke behind the head, and another about the region of the heart, the 
bill appearing never to be used lint for the purpose of tearing up the prey 
when dead." It is precisely in this manner that the Harpy Eagle deals with 
no. xin. G2 


its victims ; death seems the work of an instant; the strongest cat, powerless 
in his grasp, is clutched, and expires. Nor will this surprise any one who 
has contemplated the power seated in the talons of this bird: strong as are 
the talons of the Golden Eagle, great as is the muscular development of its 
limbs, and formidable as are its claws, they seem almost trifling compared 
with those of the Harpy Eagle. "In the Museum of the Zoological Society 
are the skeletons of both these birds, which it is interesting to compare to- 
gether. The thickness of the bones of the limbs in the latter, and espe- 
cially of the tarsus, which is more than double that of the Golden Eagle, 
and the enormous size of the talons, are sufficient to convince the observer 
of the ease with which, when living, the fierce bird would bury its sharp- 
hooked claws in the vitals of its prey, and how vain resistance when the 
fatal grasp was taken. In its native regions, the Harpy Eagle is said to be 
by no means common : were it so, the destruction occasioned by its pres- 
ence would, it mij>ht be naturally expected, preponderate over the renovation 
of the species which constitute its habitual food, and the balance which 
Nature has established between the destroyed and the destroying, the san- 
guinary and their victims, be thus disarranged. No doubt that (as is t lie 
case with all carnivorous animals) its numerical ratio, in a given space, is 
proportionate to that of the animals on which it is destined habitually to 
feed. Where the sloth is most abundant, there will most abound the Harpy 

The Panel ioni nee, or Osprevs, are well known. The American species 
very closely resembles the European and Asiatic in characteristics of form 
anil habit. 

Audubon, whose descriptions of the habits of American birds arc always 
most interesting, says of the < )sprey as follows : - : — 

"As soon as the females make their appearance, which happens eight or 
ten days after the arrival of the males, the love season commences, and, 
soon after, incubation takes place. The loves of these birds arc conducted 
in a different way from those of the other falcons. The males arc seen 
playing through the air amongst themselves, chasing each other in sport, or 
sailing by the side of, or after, the female which they have selected, uttering 
eric- of joy and exultation, alighting on the branches of the tree on which their 
last year's nest is yet seen remaining, and, doubtless, congratulating each 
other on finding their home again. Their < aresses are mutual. They begin 
to augment their habitation, or to repair the injuries which it may have sus- 
tained during the winter, and are seen sailing together towards the shores, 
to collect the drifted sea-weeds, with which they line the nest anew. They 
alight on the beach, search for the dryest and largest weeds, collect a mass 
of them, clinch them in their talons, and fly towards their nest, with the 

THE OSriiEY. 71 

materials dangling beneath. They both alight and labor together. In a 
fortnight the nest is complete, and the female deposits her eggs." 

The nest is generally placed in a large tree in the immediate vicinity of 
the water, either along the sea-shore, on the margins of the inland lakes, or 
by some large river. It is, however, sometimes to be seen in the interior 

ol a w 1, a mile or more from the water. We have concluded that, in 

the latter case, it was on account of frequent disturbance, or attempts at 
destruction, that the birds had removed from their usual haunts. The nest 
is very large, sometimes measuring fully four foot across, and is composed 
of a quantity of materials sufficient to render its depth equal to its diameter. 
Large sticks, mixed with sea-weeds, tufts of strong grass, and other mate- 
rials, form its exterior, while the interior is composed of sea-weeds and finer 
grasses. We have not observed that any particular species of (ice is pre- 
ferred by the Fish-Hawk. It place- its nest in the fork of an oak or a pine 
with equal pleasure. But we have observed that the tree chosen is usually 
of considerable size, and not unfrequently a decayed one. 

The Fish-Hawk is gregarious, mid often breeds in colonies iii' three or 
four nests in an area of a few acres. The males assist in incubation. 

We have heard of instances of as many as a dozen nests being found in 
the distance of half a mile on the coast of New Jersey. 

In New England the species is not so plentiful, and seldom more than 
one nest can Lie found in one locality. The flight of the bird is strong, vig- 
orous, and well sustained. As lie flies over the ocean, at a height of perhaps 
fifty feet, his long wings, as they heat the air in quick, sharp strokes, give 
the bird the appearance of being much larger thai; he really is. When he 
plunges into the water, he invariably seizes the fish (his prey) in his talons, 
and is sometimes immersed to the depth of a foot or eighteen inches in his 
efforts to capture it. He is of a peaceable disposition, and never molests 
any of his feathered neighbors. If the nest is plundered, the parent attacks 
the intruder, and often inflicts ugly wounds in its defence. 

The eggs are usually laid before the 10th of May : they are generally 
three in number. They vary considerably, both in shape, size, and mark- 
ings. In a majority of specimens the ground color is a. rich reddish-cream, 
and covered with numerous blotches of different shades of brown. In a 
number of specimens these blotches are confluent, and the primary color is 
nearly hidden. Their form varies from nearly spherical to ovoidal, and the 
dimensions from to 2.28 to 2.4.1 inches in length, and from 1.G5 to 1.83 in 

The Polyborinoe, of which the Caracara Eagle (JPolyborus tharus) is the 
type, are "common throughout South America, being found from the shores 
of the Gulf of Mexico as far as Cape Horn. Their flight is slow and 


heavy, mid they seldom soar in the air. They run, however, rather quickly 
nlon"' the "round, waiting their share of the cai'cass, <in which the turkey- 
buzzards have commenced their feast. It is in the neighborhood of the 
slaughtering-houses »on the River Plata that they are most common, where 
they feed on the offal of the animals killed. Worms and insects also form 
a portion of their food ; and further, they are stated to attack young lambs 
and birds in small partie . 

Family Vtjlturidj-:. Vultures and Condors. 

The sub-families of this group, as characterized on a preceding page, are 
distributed in both Worlds, and arc well known. Our limits will permit a 
consideration of but two of the most interesting species. 

The Condor (Sarcoramphus gryphus) is one of the largest of the feath- 
ered tribe. It is found among the Andes of South America, to which local- 
itv it seems restricted. 

The elevation chosen by the Condor as its breeding- place and habitual 
residence, varies from ten thousand feet to fifteen thousand above the level 
of the m:i ; and here, on some isolated pinnacle or jutting ledge, it rears its 
brood, and looks down upon the plains below for food. It is generally seen 
singly or in pairs, seldom in large companies ; though, among the basaltic 
elitl's of the St. Cruz, Mr. Darwin found a spot where scores usually haunt. 
"On coming," be says, ''to the brow of the precipice, it was a tine sight to 
see between twenty and thirty of these great birds start heavily from their 
resting-places, and wheel away in majestic circles." It .appears that many 
clusters of rocks, or high, precipitous crags, are named alter these birds : 
the appellations, in the language of the Incas, meaning the "Condor's look-, 
out," the "Condor's roost," the "Condor's nest," &C 

High over the loftiest pinnacles may the Condor often be seen soaring, 
borne up on outspread wings, describing, in its flight, the most graceful spires 
and circles. " Except when rising from the ground," says Mi-. Darwin, "I do 
not recollect ever having seen one of these birds flap his wings. Near Lima, 
I watched several for nearly half an hour, without once taking off my eyes. 
They move in large curves, sweeping in circles, descending and ascending, 
without once flapping. As they glided close over my head, I intently 
watched, from an oblique position, the outlines of the separate and terminal 
feathers of the wing: if there had been the least vibratory movement, these 
would have blended together; but they were seen distinct against the 
blue sky. The head and neck were moved frequently, and apparently with 
force; and it appeared as if the extended wings formed the fulcrum on 
which the movements of the neck, body, and tail acted. If the bird wished 
to descend, the wings were for a moment collapsed ; and then, when again 


expanded, with an altered inclination, (lie momentum gained by the rapid 
descent seemed to urge the l>inl upwards with the even and steady movement 
of a paper kite. In case of any bird soaring, its motion must be sufficiently 
rapid, so that the action of the inclined surface of its body on the atmos- 
phere mav counterbalance its gravity. The force to keep up the momentum 
of a body moving in a horizontal plane in that fluid (in which (here is so 
little friction) cannot be great, and this force is all that is wanted. The 
movement of the neek and body of the Condor we must suppose sufficient 
for this. However this may be, it is truly wonderful and beautiful to sec 
so great a bird, hour after hour, without any apparent exertion, wheeling 
and gliding over mountain and river." 

The Condor feeds, like other vultures, on carrion, dead llamas, mules, 
sheep, &c. When gorged with food, they sit sullen and drowsy on the 
rocks, and, as Humboldt says, will suffer themselves to be driven before 
the hunters, rather than take wing ; but lie adds, that he has seen them when 
on the look-out for prey, especially on severe days, soaring at a prodigious 
height, as if for (he purpose of commanding the most extensive view. The 
same writer states that he never heard of any well-authenticated instance 
of these birds carrying away children (according to vague report) ; that he 
often approached within a fevv feet of them, as the}' sat on the rocks, but 
they never manifested any disposition to assault him ; and the Indians at 
Quito assure him that men have nothing to fear from them. This scarcely 
applies to other animals. "Besides feeding on carrion," says Mr. Darwin, 
"the Condors will frequently attack young goats and lambs. Hence the 
shepherd-dogs are trained, the moment the enemy passes over, to run out, 
and, looking upwards, to bark violently." Two of them will sometimes 
attack (he vicugna, the llama, the heifer, and even the puma, persecuting 
the quadruped till it falls beneath the wounds inflicted by the beaks of its 
assailants. The Condor is, indeed, amazingly strong, and extremely tenacious 
of life. Sir Francis Head relates the account of a struggle between one of 
his ( tarnish miners and a Condor gorged with food, and, therefore, not in 
the best state for the fray : the man began by grasping the bird round the 
neck, which he tried to break ; but the bird, roused by the unceremonious 
attack, struggled so violently as to defeat the plan ; nor, after an hour's 
struggling, though the miner brought away several of the wing feathers in 
token of victory, does it appear that the bird was despatched. 

According to Mr. Darwin (and Humboldt states the same), "the Condor 
makes no sort of nest, but in the months of November and December 
lays two large white eggs on a shell' of bare rock. On the Patagonian 
coast, I could not see any sort of nest among the cliffs where the young were 
standing. It is said that young Condors cannot fly for an entire year. At 


Concepeion, fin the 5th of March (corresponding to our September), T saw 
a vminu' bird, which, though in size little inferior to an old one, was com- 
pletely covered with down, like that of a gosling, but of a blackish color. 
After the period whin the young Condors can ilv, and apparently as well as 
the old birds, they vet remain at night on the same ledge, hunting by day 
with their parents. Before, however, the young bird has the ruff turned 
whiie. it may be often >cvn hunting by itself." Mr. Darwin considers it 
probable that the Condor breeds only once in two years. 

The King Vulture {Sarcoramphus papa) is a native of the intertropical 
regions of America, and is seen occasionally in Florida — probably its most 
northern limit. It is not, like the Condor, a mountain bird, but tenants the 
low, humid forests bordering rivers and savannas, where animal life is 
abundant, and where decomposition rapidly succeeds death. It is amidst 
the most luxuriant scenery that this monarch of the vultures reigns, the 
turkey-buzzard and gallinazo being in subjection under him. Waterton, in 
his entertaining work, relates that, while sailing up Essequibo, he observed 
a pair of King Vultures sitting on the naked branch of a tree, with about 

a dozen of the con n species, waiting to begin the fea -t upon a goat killed 

liv a jaguar, but which he had been forced to abandon. The pair seemed 
rather to tolerate the presence of the rest, than to associate with them on the 
terms of familiarity. flic same traveller, haying killed a large serpent, 
caused it to be carried into the forest, as a hue for one of these vultures 
which be wished to obtain. He watched the result. "The foliage," he 
says, where lie laid the snake, "was impervious to the sun's rays; and had 
any vultures passed over that part of the 1 forest, I think 1 may say, with 
safely, that they would not have seen the body through the shade. For the- 
first two days not a vulture made its appearance at the spot, though I could 
see a Yultur aura, gliding on apparently immovable pinions, at a moderate 
height over the tops of the forest trees ; but, during the afternoon of the 
same day, when the carcass of the serpent had got into a state of putrefac- 
tion, more than twenty of the common vultures came and perched upon the 
neighboring trees, and the next morning, a little before six o'clock, I saw a 
magnificent King of the Vultures. There was a. stupendous morn tree close 
by, whose topmost branches had either been tried by time, or blasted by 
the thunder-storm. Upon this branch I killed the King of the Vultures 
before it had descended to partake of the savory food which had attracted 
it to the place. Soon after this, another King of the Vultures came, and, 
alter he had stuffed himself almost to suffocation, the rest pounced down 
upon the remains of the serpent, and staid there till they had devoured the 


last morsel." 

Though this species is mostly seen alone or in pairs, travellers state that, 


in Mexico, it is- sometimes observed in flocks. The general account, — that 
the other vultures stand patiently by till their monarch has finished his 
repast, — and which appears to be not without foundation, may be easily 
accounted for by the superior strength and courage of this species. 

The Gypaetinoe, or Bearded \ ultures, are comprehended in a single spe- 
cie^, viz., the Gypaetus barbatus, often called the Lammergeyer. 

This bird is found throughout the whole of the great mountain chains of 
the Old World. It ocean's in the Pyrenees, and in the Alps of Germany 
and Switzerland, where it is notorious for its destructiveness among the lambs 
and kids which are fid on the green slopes of the lower ranges. The inter- 
mediate situation assigned to the Lammergeyer, and which is aptly expressed 
in- the generic appellation Gypaetus, is clearly indicated in its form and 
general habits. Of a powerful and robust make, it has neither the fill nor 
the talons of the eagle, the former being elongated, and hooked only at the 
tip, and the latter comparatively small: yet it prefers to prey on victims 
which it has itself destroyed, or upon the flesh of animals recently slaugh- 
tered, and. unless hard pressed by hunger, rejects putrid carrion, the favorite 
repast ot the vulture. The eagle bears oil' hi- pr y ; the Lammergeyer, unless 
disturbed, or providing for its young, seldom attempts to remove it, but 
devours it on the spot. Attracted by the carcass of some unfortunate ani- 
mal, which has recent!',' perished among the ravines of the mountains, a 
number of these birds gradually congregate to share the booty, and gorge, 
like the vulture, to repletion. The Liimmergeyer attacks hares, lambs, 
kid-, and the weak and sickly of the llocks, with great ferocity : the strong- 
limbed chamois is not secure, nor, when rendered desperate by hunger, will 
the ravenous lard forbear an attack on man. Children, indeed, are said to 
have often fallen sacrifices to its rapacity. Young or small animals are. 
easily destroyed, tor, though elongated, the beak is hard and strong, and 
well adapted for lacerating the victim ; but larger animals, instead ot' being 
at once grappled with, are, as it is said, insidiously assaulted while upon 
the edge ot' some precipice or steep declivity, the bird unexpectedly sweep- 
ing upon them with fury, and hurrying them into the abyss, down which it 
plunges to glut its appetite. As illustrative of the boldness of the Lam- 
mergeyer, Bruce relates that, attracted by the preparations for dinner, which 
his servants, were making on the summit of a lofty mountain, a Bearded 
Vulture "slowly made his advances to the party, and at length fairly seated 
himself within the ring they had formed. The affrighted natives ran for 
their lances and shields, and the bird, after an ineffectual attempt to abstract 
a portion of their meat from the boiling water, seized a large piece in each 
of his talons, from a platter that stood liv, ami carried them off slowly along 
the ground as he came." Returning fur a second freight, he was shot. 












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In this order are included the Didunculidce, or Dodos (birds now ex- 
tinct) ; the Cuiumbidce, or Pigeons; the Penelopidce, or Cracidce, Curas- 
sovvs, of Gray, and the Megapodidos, the Megapodes, or Mound Birds. 
Our present limits will permit but a brief view of these families, and the 
others not yet treated of. 

Family Diduxcdlid^;. The Dodos. 

Of the existence of the Dodo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
there is abundant evidence. Its habitat was the island of Mauritius : it is 
described as being as large as our swans, with a large head, and a kind of 
hood thereon; "no wings, but, in place of them, three or four black little 
pens, and the tail consisting of four or five plumelets of a grayish color." 
In A\ illoughby's translation of Clusius is the following: — 

''This exotic bird, found by the Hollanders on the Mauritius Island, did 
equal or exceed a swan in bigness, but was of a far different shape ; for its 
head was great, covered, as it. were, with a certain membrane resembling a 
hood ; besides, its bill was not flat and broad, but thick and long, of a yel- 
lowish color next the bead, the point being black. The upper chap was 
bunked, in the nether was a bluish spot in the middle, between the yellow 
and black part. Its legs were thick, rather than long, whose upper part, as 
far as the knee, was covered with black feathers." 

Bontius, edited by Piso (1658), says, — 

" It hath yellow legs, thick, but very short ; four toes in each foot, solid, 
long, as it were, scaly, armed with strong, black claws. It is a slow-paced 
ami stupid bird, and which easily becomes a prey to the fowlers. The flesh, 
especially of the breast, is fat, esculent, and so copious, that three or four 
Dodos will sometimes suffice to till an hundred seamen's bellies." 

Of the information concerning these birds accessible, the above seems the 
most interesting. The species is now completely extirpated, and a skull and 
foot, with a few old paintings in the British Museum, are all there is left to 
show that it ever existed. 

Family CoLrMBin.r.. Pigeoxs and Doves. 

^ conformed to the opinion of Linnajus in placing these birds among 
the Passeres, because of their natural great analogy to that group, like 
nearly the whole of which, tla- Pigeons pair in the season of love, the male 
and female working jointly at the nest, taking their turns during incubation, 




blui; POUI i 


snap: an 

Samuel Wallror & Co Bontoi 

the iwssf.xgei; pigeon. 79 

and participating in the care of the young, which, among the true Pigeons, 
are hatched blind, fed in the nest, which they do not quit until they are cov- 
ered with feathers, and are supported by their parents some time after their 
departure from it, having no power to feed themselves. Such are the points 
ol resemblance. Their dissimilarity consists in their mode of drinking, and 
feeding their young, in the nature of their plumage, and the singularity of 
their courtship, and of their voice — points of difference which also .separate 
them from the true gallinaceous birds, "with which," says M. Vieillot, "they 
have no analogy in their instincts, their habits, or their loves. Nearly all 
the gallinaceous birds are polygamous, and lay a great number of eggs each 
time they incubate, which is rarely more than once a year in the temperate 
zones; while the true Pigeons lav only two eggs each time, incubate fre- 
quently during the year, and are monogamous. Among the gallinaceous 
birds, as a general rule, the male does not solace the female at the time of 
building the nest and of incubation : the young run as soon almost as they 
are out of the egg-shell, quitting their nest, and seeking their own food 

The Pigeons occupy a peculiar position, and no birds are so nearly allied 
that their points of separation are not plainly manifest. 

One peculiarity of their internal organization is worthy a special notice. 
The crop, in the state which is adapted lor ordinary digestion, is thin ami 
membranous, and the internal surface is smooth : but, by the time the voting 
are about to be hatched, the whole, except the part which lies on the trachea, 
becomes thicker, and puts on a glandular appearance, having its internal 
surface very irregular. It is in this organ that the food is elaborated by the 
parents before it is conveyed to the young; for a milky fluid of a grayish 
color is secreted and poured into the crop among the grain or seeds under- 
going digestion, and a quality of food suited to the nestling is thus produced. 
The fluid coagulates with acids, and forms curd, and the apparatus forms 
among birds the nearest approach to the mamma' of quadrupeds. The dis- 
tribution of this family is very extensive, the form occurring almost every- 
where, except within the frigid zones. Among their numbers are found 
some of the most gorgeously-attired birds, and some have, such as the Tur- 
tle Dove, the Carrier Dove, the Passenger Pigeon, a history as familiar as 
that of the most common species. Of these birds, the Wild Pigeon, or 
Passenger Pigeon of America, is one of the most interesting. This singular 
bird inhabits a wide and extensive region of North America, though it does 
not seem to be known westward of the Great Rocky .Mountains, but spreads 
all over Canada, and ranges as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. 

The numbers of these birds which associate in their breeding-places almost 
surpass belief: these breeding-places are always in the woods, and some- 



limes occupy a large extent of forest. ""When they have frequented," says 
Wilson, " one of these places for some time, the appearance it exhibits is sur- 
prising. The ground is covered to the depth of several inches with their 
dun- : all the tender grass and underwood d( stroyed : the surface strewed with 
lar"e limbs of trees, broken down by the weight of the birds clustering one 
above another : and the trees themselves, tor thousands of acres, killed as 
completely as if girdled with an axe. The marks of this desolation remain 
for many years on the .spot ; and numerous places could be pointed out 
where, for several years alter, scarce a single vegetable made its appear- 
ance. By the Indians, a pigeon-roost, or breeding-place, is considered an 
important source of national profit ami dependence. The breeding-place 
differs from the former in its greater extent. In the western countries above 
mentioned, these are generally in beech woods, and often extend in nearly a 
straight line across the country for a great way. Not far from Shelbyville, 
in the State of Kentucky, about five years ago, there was one of these 
breeding-places, which stretched through the woods nearly in a. north and 
south direction, was several miles in breadth, and was said to be upwards 
of forty miles in extent! In this tract almost every tree was furnished with 
nests wherever the branches could accommodate them. The pigeons made 
their first appearance there about the 10th of April, and left it altogether, 
with their young, before tin 1 25th of .May. As soon as the young were 
fully grown, and before they left their nests, numerous parties of the inhab- 
itants, from all parts of the adjacent country, came with wagons, axes, 
bid-, cm. king utensils, many of them accompanied by the greater part of 
their families, and encamped for several days at this immense nursery. Sev- 
eral of them informed me, that the noise in the woods was so great as to ter- 
rify their horses, and that it was difficult for one person to hear another speak 
without baVling in his car. The ground was strewed with broken limbs of 
trees, eggs, and voung pigeons, which bad been precipitated from above, 
and on which herds of hogs were fattening. Hawks, buzzards, and eagles 
were sailing about in great numbers, and seizing the young from their nests 
at pleasure, while, from twenty feet upwards to the top of the trees, the 
view through the woods presented a perpetual tumult of crowding and flut- 
tering multitudes of pigeons, their wings roaring like thunder, mingled with 
the frequent crash of falling timber; for now the axe-men were at work cut- 
ting down those trees that seemed to be most crowded witli nests, and con- 
trived to fell them in such a manner, that in their descent they might bring 
down several others ; by which means the falling of one large tree sometimes 
produced two hundred voting, little inferior in size to the old ones, ami almost 
one mass of fat. On some single tree, upwards of one hundred nests were 
found, each containing a single young one only — a circumstance in the 


history of this bird not generally known to naturalist.?. It was dangerous 
to walk under these flying and fluttering millions, from the frequent fall of 
large branches, broken down by the weight of the multitudes above, and 
which, in their descent, often destroyed numbers of the birds themselves; 
while the clothes of those engaged in traversing the woods were completely 
covered with the excrements of the pigeons. 

"These circumstances were related to me by many of the most respectable 
part of the community in that quarter, and were confirmed in part l>v what 
I myself witnessed. 1 passed for several miles through this same breeding- 
place, where every tree was spotted with nests, the remains of those above 
described. In many instances 1 counted upwards of ninety nests on a single 
tree; but the pigeons had abandoned this place for another, sixty or eighty 
miles off, towards Green River, where they were said at that time to be 
equally numerous. From the great numbers that were constantly passing 
overhead to or from that quarter, I had no doubt of the truth of this state- 
ment. The beech mast had been chiefly consumed in Kentucky, and the 
pigeons every morning, a little before sunrise, set out for the Indiana terri- 
tory, the nearest part of which was about sixty miles distant. .Many of 
these returned before ten o'clock, and the great body appeared generally on 
their return a little after noon. I had left the public road to visit the 
remains of the breeding-place near Shelbyville, and was traversing the 
woods with my gun, on my way to Frankfort, when, about one o'clock, the 
pigeons, which I had observed flying the greater part of the morning north- 
erly, began the return in »ur\\ immense numbers as I never before had wit- 
nessed. Coming to an opening, by the side of a creek called the Benson, 
where I had a more uninterrupted view, I was astonished at their appear- 
ance. They were flying with great steadiness and rapidity, at a height 
beyond gun-shot, in several strata deep, and so close together that, could 
shot have reached them, one discharge could not have failed of bringing 
down several individuals. From right to left, as far as the eye could reach, 
the breadth of this vast procession extended, seeming everywhere equally 
crowded. Curious to determine how long this appearance would continue, 
I took out my watch to note the time, and sat down to be observe them. It 
was then half past one. I sat for more than an hour, but, instead of a 
diminution of this prodigious procession, it seemed rather to increase, both 
in numbers and rapidity: and, anxious to reach Frankfort before night, I 
rose and went on. About four o'clock in the afternoon I crossed the Ken- 
tucky River, at the town of Frankfort, at which time the living torrent 
above my head seemed as numerous and as extensive as ever. Long after this 
I observed them in large bodies, that continued to pass for six or eight min- 
utes, and these again were followed by other detached bodies, all moving in 


the same south-east direction till after six in the evening. The great breadth 
of front which this mighty multitude preserved would seem to intimate ;i 
corresponding breadth of their breeding-place, which, by several gentlemen 
who had lately passed through part of it, was stated to me at several miles. 
It was said to be in Green County, and that the young began to llv about 
the middle of March. On the 17th of April, forty-nine miles beyond Dan- 
ville, and not far from Green River, I crossed this same breeding-place, 
where the nests for more than three miles spotted every tree; the leaves not 
being yet out, I had a fair prospect of them, and was really astonished at 
their numbers. A few bodies of pigeons lingered yet in different parts of 
the woods, the roaring of whose wings was heard in various quarters around 
me. All accounts agree in stating that each nest contains only a single 
young one. I liisr are so extremely fat, that the Indians, and many of the 
whites, are accustomed to melt down the fat for domestic purposes, as a sub- 
stitute for butter and lard. At the time they leave the nest, they are nearly 
as lieavj as the old ones, but become much leaner after they are turned out 
to shift for themselves." 

Family Penelopid^:. Guaxs and Curassows. 

( )f the Guans, Gray writes as follows: — 

"The birds of this division are only found in the warmer parts of South 
America. They mostly reside upon the trees ol the vast forests of the in- 
terior, near the tops of which they perch during the heat of tin/ day ; in the 
cool ot the morning and evening, they are actively engaged in searching, 
from tree to tree, or on the ground, for their food, which consists of fruits 
ami various insects. Their flight is heavy, and performed with difficulty." 

I be -line author says of the Curassows, — 
I be species ot' this genus tire found in the woods of tropical Amei'ica. 
They are generally observed together in numerous flocks, searching for 
worms, insects, fruits, and seeds of plants, on which they subsist. The 
nests are built on trees, and are formed externally of branches, interlaced 
with the stalks of herbaceous plants, and lined with leaves." 

Family Meg.u'Oi>ii>.e. The Mound ]3ii;i>s. 

The habits of the typical genus Megapodius serves to illustrate this family. 
I he species of tins singular genus are found in all the islands ot' the 
eastern archipelagos of Asia, and the north-western parts of Australia. 
They are exclusively met with in pairs in the thick woods of the immediate 
neighborhood of the sea, and, if disturbed, very quickly hide among the 
brushwood. They seek their fond, which consists of fibrous roots, seeds, 
berries, and insects, on the ground. Their flight is heavy, and when dis- 


turbed, while feeding, they usually fly to a tree, and are said, on alighting, 
to stretch out their head and neck in a straight line with the body, remain- 
ing in this position as stationary and motionless as the branch mum which 
they are perched. Some species deposit their eggs, to the number of a hun- 
dred or more, in the night, in holes on the sea-shore, which they excavate to 
the depth of three or tour feet. Others deposit their eggs in immense con- 
ical mounds, composed of sand and .-hells, with a large mixture of black 
soil and vegetable matter, the base generally resting on the sandy beach, 
within a few 1'eet of high-water mark : .some of these mounds measure from 
twenty to sixty feet in circumference, and from five to fifteen in height. 
After the female has deposited an egg, which is effected in the night, at in- 
ternals of several days, and is placed perpendicularly in a hole, near the 
middle of the mound, to the depth of several feet, she Mattel- a quantity 
of sand in the hole until the cavity is filled up. The young are supposed 
by some to effect their escape from the mound unaided; while, on the other 
hand, it has been considered that the parent, bird-, knowing when the young 
are ready to emerge from their confinement, scratch down, and release them. 

Another writer says of these birds, — 

"The Megapodidaa are a small family of birds found only in Australia 
and the surrounding islands, but extending as far as the Philippines and 
north-west Borneo. They are allied to the gallinaceous birds, but differ 
from these and all others in never sitting upon their eggs, which they bury 
in sand, earth, or rubbish, and leave to be hatched by the heat of the sun 
or fermentation. They are all characterized by very large feet, and long, 
curved claws, and most of the species of Megapodius rake and scratch 
together all kinds of rubbish, dead leaves, sticks, stones, earth, rotten wood, 
&c, till they form a large mound, often six feet high and twelve feet across, 
in the middle of which they bury their eggs. The natives can tell by the 
condition of these mounds whether they contain eggs or not: anil they rob 
them, whenever they can, as the brick-red eggs (as lame as those of a swan) 
are considered a -feat delicacy. A number of birds are said to join in 
making these mounds, and lay their eggs together, so that sometimes forty 
or fifty may be found. The mounds ate to be met with here and there in 
dense thickets, and are great puzzles to strangers, who cannot understand 
who can possibly have heaped together cart-loads of rubbish in such out-of- 
the-way places ; and when they inquire of the natives, they are but little 
wiser, for it almost always appears to them the wildest romance to be told 
that it was done by birds. The species found in Bombock is about the 
size of a small hen, and entirely of dark olive and brown tints. It is a 
miscellaneous feeder, devouring fallen fruits, earth-worms, snails, and cen- 
tipedes, but the flesh is white and well-flavored when properly cooked." 



The four families — Pteroclidaz, the Sand Grouse; Phasianidas, the 
Pheasants, Turkeys, aiul Fowls; Tetraonidce, "the Grouse, and Cri/ptwidce, 
the Tinamous — arc all interesting. They comprehend a very great variety 
of forms, and are scattered over both continents. Our limits will not per- 
mit an extended notice of them, and \vc will confine ourselves to one of the 
more interesting species. 

( ){' the Tetraonidce, the Pinnated Grouse, or Prairie Chicken, is one of 
the iii(>-t important and interesting. Wilson's account of this bird is the 
best thai we have seen. Quoting a letter from a friend, he says, — 

" jlmours. — The season for pairing is in March, and the breeding-time 
is continued through April and May. Then the male grouse distinguishes 
himself by a peculiar sound. When he utters it, the parts about the throat 
iire sensibly inflated and swelled. It may be heard on a still morning for 
three or four miles ; some say they have perceived it as far as live or six. 
This noise is a sort of ventriloquism. It does not strike the car of a by- 
stander with much force, but impresses him with the idea, though produced 
within ;i few rods of him, of a voice a mile or two distant. This note is highly 
characteristic. Though very peculiar, it is termed tooting, from its resem- 
blance to the blowing of a conch or horn from a remote quarter. The 
female makes her nest on the ground, in recesses very rarely discovered by 
men. She usually lays from ten to twelve eggs, which are of a brownish 
color, much resembling those of a Guinea hen. When hatched, the brood 
is protected by her alone. Surrounded by her young, the mother-bird ex- 
ceedingly resembles a dome-tic hen and chickens. She frequently leads 
them to Iced in the roads crossing the woods, on the remains of maize and 
oats contained in the dung dropped by ihe travelling horses. In that em- 
ployment, they are often surprised by the passengers. On such occasions, 
the dam titters a cry of alarm. The little ones immediately scamper to the 
brush ; and, while they are skulking into places of safety, their anxious 
parent beguiles the spectator by drooping and fluttering her wings, limping 
along the path, rolling over in the dirt, and other pretences of inability to 
walk or fly. 

" Food. — A favorite article of their diet is the heath-hen plum, or par- 
tridge-berry. They are fond of huckleberries and cranberries. A\ orms 
and insects of several kinds arc occasionally found in their crops. lint in 
the winter they subsist chiefly on acorns, and the buds of trees which have 
shed their leaves. In their stomachs have been sometimes observed the 



leaves of a plant supposed to be a wintergreen ; and it is said, when they 
arc much pinched, they betake themselves to the buds of the pine. In con- 
venient places, they have been known to enter cleared fields, and regale 
themselves on the leaves of clover; and old gunners have reported that they 
have been known to trespass upon patches of buckwheat, and pick up the 

" Migration. — Thev are stationary, and never known to quit their abode. 
There are no facts showing in them any disposition to migration. On frosty 
mornings, and during snows, they perch cm the upper branches of pine trees. 
Thev avoid wet and swampy places, and are remarkably attached to dry 
ground. The low and open brush is preferred to high shrubbery and thick- 
ets. Into these latter places they fly for refuge when closely pressed by the 
hunters; and here, under a stiff and impenetrable cover, they escape the 
pursuit of dogs and men. Water is so seldom met with on the true grouse 
ground, that it is necessary to carry it along for the pointers to drink. The 
flights of grouse are short, but sudden, rapid, and whirring. I have not 
heard of any success in taming them. They seem to resist- all attempts at 
domestication. In this, as well as in many other respects, they resemble the 
quail of New York, or the partridge of Pennsylvania. 

" Manners. — During the period of mating, and while the females arc occu- 
pied in incubation, the males have a. practice of assembling principally by 
themselves. To some select and central spot, where there is very little un- 
derwood, they repair from the adjoining district. From the exercise per- 
formed there, this is called a scratching-place. The time of meeting is the 
break of day. As soon as the light appears, the company assembles from 
every side, sometimes to the number of forty or fifty. When the dawn is 
past, the ceremony begins by a low tooting from one of the cocks. This is 
answered by another. They then come forth, one by one, from the bushes, 
and strut about with all the pride ami ostentation they can display. Their 
necks are incurvated ; the feathers on them are erected into a sort of rufF; 
the plumes of their tails are expanded like fans ; they strut about in a style 
resembling, as nearly as small may be illustrated by great, the pomp of the 
turkey-cock. They seem to vie with each other in stateliness ; and, as they 
pass each other, frequently cast looks of insult, and utter notes of defiance. 
These are the signals for battle. They engage witli wonderful spirit and 
fierceness. During these contests, they leap a foot or two from the ground, 
and utter a cackling, screaming, and discordant cry. 

"They have been found in these places of resort even earlier than the 

appearance of light in the east. This fact has led to the belief that a part 

of them assemble over night. The rest join them in the morning. This 

leads to the further belief that they roost on the ground ; and the opinion is 

no. xiii. (34 



confirmed by the discovery of little rings of dung, apparently deposited by 
a flock which bad passed the night together. After the appearance of the 
sun they disperse. 

" These places of exhibition have often been discovered by the hunters ; 
and a fatal discovery it has been for the poor grouse. Their destroyers con- 
struct for themselves lurking-holes, made of pine branches, called bough 
houses, within a few yards of the parade. Hither they repair with their 
fowling-pieces, in the latter part of the night, and wait the appearance of 
the birds. Watching the moment when two are proudly eyeing each other, 
or engaged in battle, or when a greater number can be seen in a range, they 
pour on them a destructive charge of shot. This annoyance has been given 
in so many places, and to such extent, that the grouse, after having been 
repeatedly disturbed, are afraid to assemble. On approaching the spot to 
which their instinct prompts them, they perch on the neighboring trees, in- 
stead of alighting at the scratching-place ; and it remains to be observed 
bow far the restless and tormenting spirit of the marksmen may alter the 
native habits of the grouse, and oblige them to betake themselves to new 
ways of life. 

"They commonly keep together in coveys, or packs, as the phrase is, 
until the pairing season. A full park consists, of course, of ten or a dozen. 
Two packs have been known to associate. I lately heard of one whose 
Dumber amounted to twenty-two. They are so unapt to be startled, that a 
hunter, assisted by a dog, has been able to shoot a whole pack, without 
making any of them take wing. In like manner, the men lying in conceal- 
ment near the scratching-places have been known to discharge several guns 
before either the report of the explosion, or the sight of their wounded and 
dead fellows, would rouse them to flight. It has further been remarked, 
that, when a company of sportsmen have surrounded a pack of grouse, the 
birds seldom or never rise upon their pinions while they are encircled, but 
each runs along until it passes the person that is nearest, and then flutters 
off with the utmost expedition. 

"This bird, though an inhabitant of different and very distant districts of 
North America, is extremely particular in selecting his place of residence, 
pitching only upon those tracts whose features and productions correspond 
with his modes of life, and avoiding immense intermediate regions that he 
never visits. Open, dry plains, thinly interspersed with trees, or partially 
overgrown with shrub oak, are his favorite haunts. Accordingly, we find 
these birds on the grouse plains of New Jersey, in Burlington County, 
as well as on the brushy plains of Long Island; among the pines 
and shrub oaks of Pocano, in Northampton County, Pennsylvania; over the 
whole extent of the Barrens of Kentucky ; on the luxuriant plains and 


prairies of the Indiana Territory, and upper Louisiana; and, according to 
the information of the late Governor Lewis,. on the vast and remote plains 
of the Columbia River; in all these places preserving the same singular 

"Their predilection for such situations will be best accounted for by con- 
sidering the following facts and circumstances : First, their mode of flight 
is generally direct and laborious, and ill calculated for the labyrinth of a 
high and thick forest, crowded and intersected with trunks and anus of trees, 
that require continual angular evolution of wing, or sudden turnings, to 
which they are by no means accustomed. I have always observed them to 
avoid the high-timbered groves that occur here and there in the Barrens. 
Connected with this fact is a circumstance related to me by a very respect- 
able inhabitant of that country, viz., that, one forenoon, a cock grouse 
struck the stone chimney of his house with such force as instantly to fall 
dead to the ground. 

" Secondly, their known dislike of ponds, marshes, or watery places, which 
they avoid on all occasions; drinking but seldom, and, it is believed, never 
from such places. Even in confinement, this peculiarity has been taken 
notice of. While I was in the State of Tennessee, a person living within a 
lew miles of Nashville had caught an old hen grouse in a trap ; and, being 
obliged to keep her in a large cage, as she struck and abused t lie rest of the 
poultry, he remarked that she never drank, and that she even avoided that 
quarter of the cage where the cup containing the water was placed. Hap- 
pening, one day, to let some water fall on the cage, it trickled down in 
drops along the bars, which the bird no sooner observed than she eagerly 
picked them off, drop by drop, with' a dexterity that showed she had been 
habituated to this mode of quenching her thirst, and probably to this mode 
only, in those dry and barren tracts, where, except the drops of dew ami 
drops of rain, water is very rarely to be met with. For the space of a week, 
he watched her closely, to discover whether she still refused to drink ; but, 
though she was constantly fed on Indian corn, the cup and water still re- 
mained untouched and untasted. Yet no sooner did he again sprinkle water 
on the bars of the cage, than she eagerly and rapidly picked them oil' as 

" The last, and probably the strongest, inducement to their preferring 
these plains, is the small acorn of the shrub oak, the strawberries, huckle- 
berries, and partridge-berries, with which they abound, and which constitute 
the principal part of the food of these birds. These brushy thickets also 
afford them excellent shelter, being almost impenetrable to dogs or birds of 

"In all these places where they inhabit, they are, in the strictest sense 


of the word, resident, having their particular haunts and places of rendez- 
vous (as described in the preceding account), to which they are strongly 
attached. Yet they have been known to abandon an entire tract of coun- 
try, when, from whatever cause it might proceed, it became again covered 
with forest. A i'{i\v miles south of the town of York, in Pennsylvania, 
commences an extent of country, formerly of the character described, now 
chiefly covered with wood, but still retaining the name of Barrens. In the 
recollection of an old man born in that part of the country, this tract 
abounded with grouse. The timber growing up, in progress of years, these 
birds totally disappeared; and, for a long period of time, he had seen none 
of them, until, migrating with his family to Kentucky, on entering the Dar- 
rens, he, one morning, recognized the well-known music of his old acquaint- 
ance, the grouse, which, lie assures me, are the very same with those he 
had known in Pennsylvania. 

" But what appears to me the most remarkable circumstance relative to 
this bird is, that not one of all those writers who have attempted its history 
has taken the least notice of those two extraordinary bags of yellow skin 
which mark the neck of the male, and which constitute so striking a pecu- 
liarity. These seem to be formed by an expansion of the gullet, as well 
as of the exterior skin of the neck, which, when the bird is at rest, hangs in 
loose, pendulous, wrinkled folds along the side of the neck, the supplemental 
wings, at the same time, as well as when the bird is flying, lying along 
the neck. But. when these bags are inflated with air, in breeding-time, they 
are equal in size, and very much resemble in color a middle-sized, fully ripe 
orange. By means of this curious apparatus, which is very observable sev- 
eral hundred yards off, he is enabled to produce the extraordinary sound 
mentioned above, which, though it may easily be imitated, is yet difficult to 
describe by words. It consists of three notes of the same tone, resembling 
those produced by the night hawks in their rapid descent, each strongly 
accented, the last being twice as long as the others. When several are thus 
engaged, the ear is unable to distinguish the regularity of these triple notes, 
there being, at such times, one continued bumming, which is disagreeable 
and perplexing, from the impossibility of ascertaining from what distance, 
or even quarter, it proceeds. While uttering this, the bird exhibits all the 
ostentatious gesticulations of a turkey-cock — erecting and fluttering his neck 
and wings, wheeling and passing before the female, and close before his fel- 
lows, as in defiance. Xow and then are heard some rapid, cackling notes, not 
unlike that of a person tickled to excessive laughter; and, in short, one can 
scarcely listen to them without feeling disposed to laugh from sympathy. 
These are uttered by the males while engaged in light, on which occasion 
they leap up against each other, exactly in the manner of turkeys, seemingly 


with more malice than effect. This bumming continues from a little before 
daybreak to eight or nine o'clock in the morning, when the parties separate 
to seek for food. 

"Fresh-ploughed fields, in the vicinity of their resorts, are sure to be ris- 
ked by these birds every morning, and frequently, also, in the evening. On 
one of these 1 counted, at one time, .seventeen males, making such a con- 
tinued sound, as, I am persuaded, might have been hoard for more than a 
mile off. The people of the Barrens informed me that, when the weather 
becomes severe with snow, they approach the barn and farm-house, are 
sometimes seen sitting on the fences in dozens, mix with the poultry, and 
glean up the scattered grains of Indian corn, .seeming almost half domesti- 
cated. At such times great numbers are taken in traps. No pains, how- 
ever, or regular plan, has ever been persisted in, as far as I was informed, 
to domesticate these delicious birds. A Sir. Reed, who lives between the 
Pilot Knobs and Bairdstown, told me that, a few years ago, one of his sons 
found a grouse's nest with fifteen eggs, which he brought home, and imme- 
diately placed beneath a hen then sitting, taking away her own. The nest 
of the grouse was on the ground, under a tussock of long grass, formed 
with very little art, and few materials ; the eggs were brownish white, and 
about the size of a pullet's. In three or four days the whole were hatched. 
Instead of following the hen, they compelled her to run after them, distract- 
ing her with the extent and diversity of their wanderings ; and it was a day 
or two before they seemed to understand her language, or consent to be 
guided by her. They were let out to the fields, where they paid little regard 
to their nurse; and, in a few days, only three of them remained. These 
became extremely tame and familiar, were most expert flycatchers ; but, soon 
after, they also disappeared.'' 

The Gallinaceous birds are all granivorous, feeding upon the produce of 
the various eerealia, grasses, &c., to which may be added roots, berries, and 
also insects and their larvae; the limbs are formed for terrestrial habits, and 
the hind-toe, as a rule, is placed higher upon the tarsus than the plane of 
the anterior toes. The wings are mostly rounded, concave, and unlit for 
rapid or long-continued flight; though, to this rule, some i'vw species afford 
exceptions. Formed for the ground, these birds walk well, and run with 
considerable rapidity ; the limbs are muscular ; the body is stout and heavy ; 
the beak strong and horny, and at its base there is a tough membrane, in 
which the nostrils are situated. Most are polygamous, and the females lay 
several eggs. The young are hatched in a state of considerable forward- 
ness, and follow the mother, who broods over them with her wings, and 
leads them in search of food (seeds and insects), which they themselves 
pick up. Many roost in trees, others on the ground exclusively. 



Tins order (the Oursores of authors) is composed of but two families — 
Struthionidee, the Ostriches, and Apterygidce , the Kivis. In the first 
family there are hut five species, the most important of which are the Af- 
rican Ostrich ( sirnthio camelus), the South American Ostrich (lihea 
Americana), the Emeu Dromaius, and the Cassowary (Cctsuarius emeu). 

Of the first-named bird, Gray says, — 

"This, the largest of all known birds, inhabits the open plains of Africa, 
where it is sometimes observed in large flocks, especially if the herbage and 
vegetation are abundant and fresh, as these form their chief food : the great 
height of this bird enables it to perceive at a considerable distance over the 
tall herbage all objects that may be approaching it. When alarmed, it usu- 
ally escapes with a stately gait, and is soon out of sight, though its pace 
appears to be but little more than that of walking; and when hard pressed, 
it runs with great rapidity by the assistance of the wings. The nest is a 
slight hollow scratched in the sand, six feet in diameter, bordered by a shal- 
low ring. In this nest arc laid, generally by two females, about twenty 
eggs, while in the outer trench are scattered several more. These are con- 
sidered by the Hottentots as intended tor the first food of the young. The 
male bird sits on the eggs, and attends to the feeding and care of the young, 
till they arc able to provide for themselves." 

The same author also says of the South American species, the JR. Amer- 
icana and J!. Darwinii, — - 

"These birds are found on the plains of South America. They are, says 
Mr. Darwin, shy, wary, and solitary, and, although so fleet in their pace, 
they tall a prey without much difficulty. They generally prefer running 
against the wind, yet on the first start they expand their wings to assist them 
in their progress. Dining the heat of the day they sometimes enter a bed 
of tall rushes, where they squat concealed till quite closely approached. 
These birds will cross rivers, or pass from island to island, by swimming, 
which is performed rather slowly, very little of their bodies appearing above 
the water, and their necks extending a little forwards. They teed on vege- 
table matter, such as roots and grass; but Mr. Darwin has repeatedly seen 
three or four come down at low water to the extensive mud banks, which are 
then dry, for the sake of catching small fish. The nest is a shallow excavation, 
wherein are placed as many as from twenty-two to seventy, or even eighty, 
eggs; these are deposited by several females; many eggs are, however, 
scattered singly^ over the plains, and thereby become useless. The male 


bird alone collects them, and hatches the eggs, and, for some time after- 
wards, accompanies the young; at which time, the males are occasionally 
tierce, and even dangerous." 

The Cassowary is found in the vast forests of the Molucca Islands and 
New Guinea. It lives in pairs, feeding on tin its , herbs, and, occasionally, 
cm small animals. It runs with rapidity, and defends itself from the attacks 
of its enemies by means of its feet. The female deposits three eggs on the 
bare ground. 

The Apterygidce, of which there is but one species, the Apteryx Aus- 
tralis, arc found scattered over various parts of New Zealand, especially 
those covered with extensive and dense beds of ferns, which afford them a 
place of concealment when alarmed. They run with swiftness, and some- 
times hide in holes of rocks or hollow trees. Their food is supposed to 
consist of snails, insects, and worms, which they are said to seek lor during 
the night ; the worms arc obtained by the bird beating the earth with its 
foot, seizing them with its bill the instant they appear above the ground. 
The nest is usually placed at the base of a hollow tree, or in deep holes 
excavated in the ground. 

The Emu, or Emeu, sometimes called Australian Cassowary, is another 
well-known bird. Its food consists of vegetables and seeds, but chiefly of 
fruits, roots, and herbage. In a state of nature it is very fleet, and affords 
excellent sport in coursing with dogs, which arc, however, rather shy of 
their game, in consequence of the powerful kicks that the bird can inflict; 
so powerful, that the settlers say it can break the bone of a man's lei;- by 
striking out with its feet. Well-trained dogs, therefore, to avoid this inflic- 
tion, run up abreast, and make a sudden spring at the neck of the bird. 
Though the Emeu has bred so frequently in captivity, the mode of making 
the nest in the wild state docs not appear to be well known, though it is 
generally supposed to be a mere hollow excavated in the earth. The dark- 
green eggs are six or seven in number. The birds appear to be tolerably 
constant in pairing, and the male bird sits and hatches the young, while the 
female watches and guards the nest. The Emeu can produce a hollow, 
drumming note, well known to those who have attended to its habits in cap- 
tivity. These birds will, like the Rheas, take to water. Captain Sturt, 
when descending the Murrumbidgee, in Australia, saw two of them in the 
act of swimming. They appear to be gregarious, and not very shy in some 
localities, for Major Mitchell, in his exclusions towards Port Philip, found 
them very numerous on the open downs, and their curiosity brought them to 
stare at the horses of the party, apparently unconscious of the presence of 
the riders. In one flock he counted thirty-nine, and they came so near him, 
that the traveller, having no ritle with him, fired on them with his pistol. 



In this order are comprehended, by the present system, the following 
families : — ■ 

Olididm, the Bustards; Charidriidcn, the Plovers; Scolopacidce, the 
Snipes : Totunidos, the Longshanks : Gruidce, the (Vanes : Ciconidie, the 
Storks: Ardtidce, the Herons ; Psophidce, the Trumpeters ; Palarnedeidce, 
the Screamers ; Rallidce, the Rails, and Phoenicopteridce, the Flamingoes. 

Family Otidid^e. The Bustards. 

The Bustards, though placed with the ( lassowaries and other short-winged 
birds by many authors, seem to more properly belong with the (Indite. 
They arc 1 found on the open districts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, prefer- 
ring plains or wide-spreading, extensive downs, dotted with low bushes and 
underwood — localities which give them an opportunity of descrying their 
enemy from afar. They are said to fly but rarely, running from danger 
with exceeding swiftness, and using their wings, like the ostriches, to accel- 
erate their course. When they do take wing, their flight is low, and they 
skim aloii" the ground with a sufficiently rapid and sustained flight. Their 
food consists of vegetables, insects, worms, grains, and seeds. They are 
polygamous, one male living with many females, which, after fecundation, 
live solitary. Temminck says that it would seem that they moult twice a 
year, and that the males, in the greatest number of species, differ from the 
females in having extraordinary ornaments, and in possessing a more varie- 
gated plumage. lie further observes that the voting males wear the garb 
of the female during the first and second years, and adds his suspicion that 
the males in winter have the same plumage as the females. Cuvier notices 
their massy port, and the slightly-arched and vaulted upper mandible of 
their beak, which, with the little \\v\\~ or palmations between the bases of 
their toes, recall the form of the gallinaceous birds; but he adds that the 
nudity of the lower part of their legs, all their anatomy, and even the flavor 
of their flesh, place them among the GralJcB, and that, as they have no hind 
toe, their smallest species approach nearly to the Plovers. 

Family Charadriidje. The Plovers. 

The habits of ( 'haradrius, the true Plovers, as given by Gray, will serve 
as a type of this group. 

These birds are found in most parts of the world. They are usually 
\ed in small flocks in the neighborhood of the sea-coast, the bays, 


creeks, anil mouths of rivers, especially those that are composed of gravel ; 
but, sometimes during the summer months, when they separate in pairs, 
they frequent the inland banks of rivers, lakes, and the elevated mountains 
or open moors. Their food consists of small insects of various kinds, in 
their different states ; also small molluscous animals. These they are actively 
seeking for in the evening and the night, but during the day they generally 
remain quiet, in a resting posture. Their flight is strong, and performed 
with rapidity, but does not generally proceed far at a time, and they some- 
times run with great swiftness. Their note is composed of a plaintive 
whistle, often repeated. The nest is a slight hollow, lined with a few steins 
of dry grass. The eggs are generally four in number, and when they are 
hatched, the parents protect the young birds until they are able to fly. If 
disturbed by an enemy, they generally run for some distance from the nest, 
and then usually pretend that they are unable to fly, tumbling over on the 
ground, and feigning lameness. 

Of the Plovers, the Golden Plover is well known in both the New and 
Old Worlds. The Kildeer Plover is probably as well known as any other 
species on this continent. 

This species is pretty generally distributed throughout Xew England as a 
summer resident. It is not common in any localities, but seems to be found 
in pairs all along our sea-coast ; and, although occasionally breeding in the 
interior of these States, in the neighborhood of large tracts of water, it is 
almost exclusively found, during the greater part of the year, in moist fields 
and meadows, and sandy pastures, within a lew miles of the sea. Wilson 
describes its habits as follows : — 

"This restless and noisy bird is known to almost every inhabitant of the 
United States, being a common and pretty constant resident. During the 
severity of the winter, when snow covers the ground, it retreats to the sea- 
shore, where it is found at all seasons ; but no sooner have the rivers opened, 
than its shrill note is again heard, either roaming about high in air, tracing 
the shore of the river, or running amidst the watery flats and meadows. As 
spring advances, it resorts to the newly-ploughed fields, or level plains bare 
of grass, interspersed with shallow pools; or, in the vicinity of the sea, 
to dry, bare, sandy fields. In some such situation it generally chooses to 
breed, about the beginning of May. The nest is usually slight, a mere hol- 
low, with such materials drawn in around it as happen to be near, such as bits 
of sticks, straw, pebbles, or earth. In one instance I found the nest of the 
bird paved with fragments of clam and oyster shells, and very neatly sur- 
rounded with a mound, or border, of the same, placed in a very close and 
curious manner. In some cases there is no vestige whatever of a nest. 
The eggs are usually four, of a bright rich cream or yellowish-clay color, 
no. xiii. 65 


thickly marked with blotches of black. They are large for the size of the 
bird, measuring more than an inch and a half in length, and a full inch in 
width, tapering to a narrow point at the great end. 

" Nothing can exceed die alarm and anxiety of these birds during the 
breeding season. Their cries of hill-deer, kill-deer, as they winnow the 
air overhead, dive and course around yon, or run along the ground counter- 
feiting lameness, are shrill and incessant. The moment they see a person 
approach, they llv or run to attack him witli their harassing clamor, contin- 
uing it over so wide an extent of ground that they puzzle the pursuer as to 
the particular spot where the nest or young are concealed, very much resem- 
bling, in this respect, the lapwing of Europe. During the evening, and 
long after dusk, particularly in moonlight, their cries are .frequently heard 
with equal violence, both in the spring and fall. From this circumstance, 
and their living about both after dusk and before dawn, it appears probable 
that they see better at mkIi times than most of their tribe. They arc known 
to Iced much on worms, and many of these rise to the surface during the 
night. The prowling of owls may also alarm their fears for their young at 
those hours : but, whatever may be the cause, the facts are so. 

''The Killdeer is more abundant in the Southern States in winter than in 
summer. Among the rice-fields, and even around the planters' yards, in 
South Carolina, 1 observed them very numerous in the months of February 
and March. There the negro boys frequently practise the barbarous mode 
of catching them with a line, at the extremity of which is a crooked pin, 
with a worm on it. Their flight is something like that of the tern, but more 
vigorous ; and they sometimes rise to u great height in the air. They are 
fond of wading in pools of water, and frequently bathe themselves during 
the summer. They usually stand erect on their legs, and run or walk with 
the body in a stiff, horizontal position : they run with great swiftness, and 
arc also strong and vigorous in the wings. Their flesh is eaten by some, 
but is not in general esteem ; though others say that, in the fall, when they 
become very fat, it is excellent. 

"During the extreme droughts of summer these finis resort to the grav- 
elly channel of brooks and shallow streams, where they can wade about in 
search of aquatic insects : at the close of summer, they generally descend 
to the sea-shore in small flocks, Seldom more than ten or twelve being seen 
together. They are then more serene and silent, as well as difficult to be 

Family Scolopacid^. The Snipes. 

This large and interesting family is generally distributed over both conti- 
nents ; it contains some of the most valuable game finis, such as the Red- 
breasted Snipe, the English or Wilson's Snipe, the Woodcocks, the Curlews, 


the Avosets, the Phalaropes, &c. Of these birds, Wilson's Snipe, and tlic 
American Woodcock, are most familiar to the people of this continent. The 
habitat of the snipe embraces almost the entire continent of America. 

The following description of the habits of this interesting bird is taken 
from the "Ornithology of New England:" — 

"This snipe is found in New England only as a spring and autumn vis- 
itor, rarely breeding here, but [Kissing the season of incubation in higher 
latitudes. It frequents the fresh-water meadows, where it usually lies con- 
cealed during the day, only moving about in dark weather and in the night. 
In the spring, while with us, it appears to be pairing; and, although asso- 
ciating in small, detached flocks, they are most often found in pairs by them- 
selves. It is during this season that the male performs his well-known 
gyrations in the air: he ascends to a considerable height, early in the even- 
ing, and, almost, in the manner of the night-hawk, dives towards the earth, 
uttering lus bleating cry and peculiar, rumbling sound. This species breeds 
sometimes in the northern portions of New England. It forms a loose nest 
of grass and a few leaves on the ground, in a bog or wet, swampy thicket; 
and, about the first week in May, the female lavs three or lour eggs. These 
are more pyriform in shape than those of the woodcock, and average about 
1.45 by 1.15 inch in dimensions. Their color is an olivaceous drab, marked 
with spots of brown, which are, at the greater end, confluent into blotches, 
■which almost entirely hide the ground color. 

"The snipe has been known to breed in Massachusetts ; but the occurrence 
is very rare, and can be regarded only as accidental. By the 25th of Au- 
gust it returns to the meadows of New England, in small parties of three or 
four; but it is not abundant much before the 10th or 15th of September, 
and then is not found in great numbers, unless we have had two or three 
sharp frosts. The time when sportsmen most expect to find them in num- 
bers is after a north-easterly storm, when the wind -seers around to the 
south-westward. Then the meadows are hunted diligently, and generally 
with success. A\ r e have bae-e-ed twenty-four birds in an afternoon's shooting, 
within ten miles of Boston, and have known that number to lie exceeded in 
favorable weather. The snipe lies close to the ground when approached ; 
and, being a bird of strong scent, as the expression is, is winded to a con- 
siderable distance by a good dog. It is easy to imagine the excitement the 

sportsman experiences, when, with a g 1 dog, he enters a large meadow, and 

sees him suddenly come to a point ; when, walking up to the snipe, and flush- 
ing it, the report of his gun, as he shoots the bird, startles from their lurking- 
places perhaps a dozen others, who fly but a short distance, uttering their 
peculiar squeak or scaip, and then alight in the grass, promising him an 
abundance of shooting for the day. 


"The snipe, when first flushed, rapidly doubles and twists in a quick, zig- 
z.ij flight, which it continues for several rods, when it takes a more direct 
course, almost always against the wind. The sportsman, knowing the habit 
of the bird, reserves his lire until it has stopped twisting, when his aim is 
generally successful. Sometimes two birds arise at the same time, when it 
requires considerable coolness and experience to secure both. I once gut 
three double shots in succession, securing all six birds; but such an occur- 
rence and good luck are rare ; and wc must be satisfied, in most shooting, to 
get but single birds. 

"The snipe, like the woodcock, probes in the soft earth for worms and 
animalcule, which it feeds upon; it also eats the larvse of water insects, 
and leeches, and occasionally captures grasshoppers and other insects in the 
wet grass in which it almost constantly resides. It is very difficult of ap- 
proach in cloudy and windy weather; but in warm, bright days in the fall, 
it is quiet, and lies until approached quite near. It remains with us until 
the ground is frozen in the meadows, when it moves to the Southern States, 
where it passes the winter." 

Family Totaxid-E. Tin: Longshanks. 

The characteristics of the typical genus Totanus will serve for this family. 
These migratory birds are scattered in both hemispheres, especially ia the 
temperate and northern portions. They are usually seen in pairs, or in 
small flocks, on the banks of the lakes and rivers, and sometimes on the 
shores of the ocean ; but at certain seasons they resort to the moist woods 
and marshes for the purpose of rearing their young. Their food is sought 
for on the ground, or among the grave] and stones on these shores : it eon- 

o DO 

sists of insects, worms, and small molluscous animals, and fish. The nest 
is usually formed in a tuft of grass, or in a slight depression in the earth, 
which is lined with dry grass and other vegetable matter. The female usu- 
ally deposits four eggs, and if disturbed while incubating, generally flies 
around the intruder, uttering, at the same time, a series of shrill notes. 

Family Gnuin.E. Tin: Cranes. 

These large birds are usually found on extensive plains, open ground 
under cultivation, marshes, or the muddy flats of the sea-shore. They reg- 
ularly migrate to the warmer parts of the world during autumn and winter, 
but in summer they retire to northern localities to breed. Their flights are 
performed during the night in large flocks, generally headed by a leader, who 
is followed by the remainder in two diverging lines, flying at a great eleva- 
tion, and uttering, during stormy weather, loud cries, which may be dis- 
tinctly heard, though the birds are invisible. They find difficulty in rising 

( A Semipal mai us I 

(ABar' 1 n 


( A Herodias i 


' I < V I 1 ('; I 1 ! 1 . I " 

.Samuel Walker &('o Boston 


from the ground, first flying low and heavily, and after a time risinjr in the 
air spirally to a great height, living around in large circles, as if reconnoi- 
tring the country to a vast extent for new quarters. When wounded, they 
possess great courage in defending themselves from the attacks of man, and 
can inflict very severe wounds with their bills. They feed on grain, seeds, 
worms, and insects, also small mammals, reptiles, and fish. The nest is 
usually raised above the ground, sometimes to the height of the body when 
standing, and is composed of grasses and reeds. The eggs are generally 
two in number, and both sexes incubate. 

Family Cicomiu:. The Storks. 

Mr. Temminek observes that the Storks, as a rule, live in marshes, and 
Iced principally on reptiles, frogs and their spawn, as well as fishes, small 
mammals, and young birds. They are, in all the old countries, where they 
occur, a privileged race on account of their utility, and of the havoc they 
make among the noxious animals. Their migration takes place in great 
flocks : they are easily tamed. Of these birds, the Common or White Stork 
of Europe, is probably the best known. This species is, from long habit, 
very tame, approaching the dwellings of man without fear. "In Holland 
and Germany, especially, the bird is treated as a welcome guest, and there, 
as indeed elsewhere, it annually returns to the nest which has cradled many 
generations, on the steeple, on the turret, on the false chimney that the Hol- 
lander has erected for its site, in the box, or on the platform which the 
German has placed for its use. The stump of a decayed tree is sometimes 
chosen by the bird, and the nest is made of sticks and twigs, on which are 
laid from three to five cream-colored eggs about the size of those of the 
common goose. The incubation continues for about a month, when the 
young are hatched; these are carefully attended by the parent birds until 
they are fully feathered and able to obtain food for themselves. In the 
continental towns domesticated Storks, which have been taken from the 
nest when young, may be often seen about the markets, where they are 
recognized as scavengers, cleaning the place of fish, entrails, and other 
offal, to their own and the citizen's satisfaction. 

There are other species, among which are the Black Stork, the African 
Gigantic Stork, or the Marabou. 

Family The Herons. 

This very extensive and generally-distributed group embraces the true 
Herons, the Egrets, the Bitterns, the Cranes, &c. 

These birds, as a rule, frequent the margins of rivers, lakes, or marshes, 
feeding on lish, reptiles, and even small mammals. Essentially formed for 


wading, the leo-s are very long, and the neck and hill proportionate. In 
most species the beak is very sharp pointed ; the toes an- generally elon- 
gated ; the hind toe is fairly applied to the ground. Though in general they 
build and breed in societies, they always wander alone iu search of food, 
and, after the breeding season, live apart. Many are adorned with elegant 
plumes and' crests ; their wings are ample; their (light buoyant. 

The picture which Wilson has drawn of the breeding-places of some of the 
American herons is worth quoting. The Great Heron, tor example, builds a 
spacious platform of sticks covered with small tw igs, on the top of a tall cedar, 
a community often or fifteen pairs usually building in company. "Alan)' of 
their breeding-places," says Wilson, "occur in both Carolinas, chiefly in the 
vicinity of the sea. In the lower parts of New Jersey, they have also their 
favorite places for building and rearing their young. These are generally in 
the gloomy solitudes of the tallest cedar swamps, where, if unmolested, they 
continue annually to breed for many years. These swamps are from half a 
milr to a mile in breadth, and sometimes five or six in length, and appear as 
if they occupied the former channel of some ehoked-up river, stream, lake, 
or arm of the sea. The appearance they present to a stranger is singular: 
a front of tall and perfectly straight trunks, rising to the height of fifty or 
sixty feet without a limb, and crowded in every direction, their tops so 
closely woven together as to shut out the day, spreading the gloom of a 
perpetual twilight below. ( hi a nearer approach they are found to rise out 
of the water, which, from the impregnation of the fallen leaves and roots 
of the cedars, is of the color of brandy. Amid this bottom of congregated 
springs, the ruins of the former forest lie piled in every state of confusion. 
The roots, prostrate logs, and, in many places, the water, are covered with 
green mantling moss, while an undergrowth of laurel, fifteen or twenty feet 
high, intersects every opening so completely, as to render a passage through 
laborious and harassing beyond description : at. every step you either sink to 
the knees, clamber over fallen timber, squeeze yourself through between the 
stubborn laurels, or plunge to the middle in ponds made by the uprooting 
of large trees, ami which the moss concealed from observation. In calm 
weather the silence of death reigns in these dreary regions ; a few inter- 
rupted rays of light shoot across the gloom; and, unless for the occasional 
hollow screams of the herons, and the melancholy chirping of one or two 
species of small birds, all is silence, solitude, and desolation. When a 
breeze rises, at first it sighs mournfully through the tops ; lint, as the gale 
increases, the tall, mast-like cedars wave like fishing-poles, and, rubbing 
against each other, produce a variety of singular noises, that, with the help 
of a little imagination, resemble shrieks, groans, or the growling of beasts 
of prey." 



Wilson gives a similarly interesting account of the breeding-places of 
the Night Heron or Qua Bird, which has been occasionally seen in Europe 
as a straggler. "The Night Heron," he tells us, "arrives in Pennsylvania 
learly in April, and immediately takes possession of his former breeding- 
place, which is usually t lie most solitary and deeply-shaded part of a cedar 
swamp. Groves of swamp oak, in retired and inundated places, are also 
sometimes chosen; and the males not unfrequently select tall woods on the 
hanks of a river to roost in during the day. These last regularly direct 
their course, about tin; beginning of evening twilight, towards the marshes, 
uttering, in a hoarse and hollow tone, the sound </""• At this hour, also, all 
the nurseries in the swamps are emptied of their inhabitants, who disperse 
about the marshes, and along the ditches and river shore, in quest of food. 
Some of these breeding-places have been occupied, every spring and summer, 
for time immemorial, by from eighty to one hundred pairs of Qua Birds. In 
places where the cedars have been cut down for sale, the birds have merely 
removed to another quarter of the swamp ; but when personally attacked, 
long teased and plundered, they have been known to remove from an ancient 
breeding-place, in a body, no one knew where. Such was the case with one 
on the Delaware, near Thompson's Point, ten or twelve miles below Phila- 
delphia, which, having been repeatedly attacked and plundered by a body of 
crows, after many severe encounters, the herons finally abandoned (he place. 
Several of these breeding-places occur among the red cedars on the sea-beach 
of ('ape May, intermixed with those of the little White Heron, Green Bit- 
tern, and Blue Heron. The nests are built entirely of sticks, in considerable 
quantities, with frequently three or four nests on the same tree. The eggs 
are generally four in number, measuring two inches and a quarter in length, 
by one and three quarters in thickness, and of a very pale light-blue color. 
The ground or marsh below is bespattered with their excrements, lying all 
around like' whitewash, with feathers, broken egg-shells, old nests, and fre- 
quently small fish, which they have dropped by accident, and neglected to 
pick up. On entering the swamp in the neighborhood of one of these breed- 
ing-places, the noise of the old and the voting would almost induce one to 
suppose that two or three hundred Indians were choking or throttling each 
other. The instant an intruder is discovered, the whole rise in the air in 
silence, and remove to the tops of the trees in another part of the woods, 
while parties of from eight to ten make occasional circuits over the spot, to 
see what is going on. When the young are able, they climb to the highest 
part of the trees ; but, knowing their inability, do not attempt to fly. 
Though it is probable that these nocturnal birds do not see well during the 
day, yet their faculty of hearing must be exquisite, as it is almost, impossi- 
ble, with all the precautions one can use, to penetrate near their residence 



without beinf discovered. Several species of hawks hover around, making 
an occasional swoop among the young; and the bald eagle himself has been 
seen reconnoitring near the spot, probably with the same design." 


Family Psophidje. The Trumpeters. 

The speeies of this group are found in the tropical parts of South Amer- 
ica, inhabiting the forests, where they starch for grain and fruits. They are 
usually discovered by their peculiar trumpet-like note, which has procured 
for them their local name. "If disturbed, they seek safety by running, 
which is performed quickly, and is much assisted by means of expanding 
their win<'s. The nest is on the ground, near the base of a tree. The 
female deposits two eggs." 

Family Palamedeid.e. The Screamers. 
These singular birds are confined to Central and Smith America. 


Chaja (Channel Chavarici), and the Horned Screamer are the best known. 
Of the former bird, D'Azara gives many interesting particulars. Its sharp, 
clarion-like cry is exerted not only during the day, but also in the night, if 
it hears any noise. The note of the male is expressed by the word chaja, 
and that of the female, by the word chajali. They are seen sometimes 
singly, sometimes in pairs, and, at other times, in numerous flocks. They 
ordinarily frequent marshes. The}' do not swim, but cuter the water like 
herons, but not, like them, in search of fish or frogs, but for the leaves and 
seeds of aquatic plants, on which they subsist. 

D'Azara saw them brought up among the domestic poultry at country 
houses, ami they were as tame as fowls. The Indians of Carthagena rear 
them among their geese and other poultry, under the idea that they serve as 
guards, the Chaja being so courageous as to attack and drive away a' vul- 
ture. The nests are stated to be spacious, and formed of small branches, on 
bushes surrounded with water. The eggs are two ; the young follow their 
parents, though clothed only with down. 

Family RallidvE. The Rails. 

In this group are comprehended the Rails proper, the Coots, the Galli- 
nules, the Water-hens, < brakes, &c. They are distributed, generally, in both 
hemispheres, and their species are numerous and varied. They conceal 
themselves among the reeds and grasses in marshy places, and run with great 
facility in such localities, preferring to escape in this manner from pursuit, 
rather than to take wing. Their food consists of a variety of seeds, small 
tacea, insects, &c. They do not probe in the mud, but pick up their food 
from the surface. Some species are \ cry numerous, and when their homes 


are submerged the birds are shot by gunners, to whom they furnish excellent 
sport, and by epicures are esteemed as most delicious food. Of these birds, 
the Sora Rail of America is a good example. Of the Coots, or Mud-liens, 
the habits of the American ( loot will serve as an example. Wilson describes 
its general habits in the following language : — 

"This species makes its appearance in Pennsylvania about the first of Oc- 
tober. Among the muddy flats and islands of the River Delaware, which 
are periodically overflowed, and which are overgrown with the reed, or wild 
oats and rushes, the Coots are found. They are not numerous, and are sel- 
dom seen, except their places of resort be covered with water; in that case, 
they are generally found silting on the fallen reeds, waiting for the ebb of the 
tide, which will enable them to feed. Their food consists of various aquatic 
plants, seeds, insects, and, it is said, small fish. The Coot has an aversion 
to take wing, and can seldom be sprung in its retreat at low water ; for, 
although it walks rather awkwardly, yet it contrives to skulk through the 
grass and reeds with great speed, the compressed form of its body, like that 
of the Rail genus, being well adapted to that purpose. It swims remarka- 
bly well; and, when wounded, will dive like a duck. When closely pur- 
sued in the water, it generally takes to the shore, rising, with apparent 
reluctance, like a wounded duck, and fluttering along the surface, with its 
feet pattering on the water. It is known in Pennsylvania by the name of 
the Mud-hen." 

Family Piicentcopterid.e. Tiie Flamingoes. 

The PhcenicopteridcB include a single genus, Pkoenicopterus. The posi- 
tion of these birds, in the systems of ornithologists, has been a doubtful 
one, some placing them with the swimmers, others with different groups of 
the Grallse : the present position seems the most natural one. 

Temminck, in giving the habits of these birds, says that they live on the 
sea-beach, or in marshes formed by salt lakes, where their food consists of 
testaceous mollusks, marine insects, and the spawn of fish, which they col- 
lect by plunging their long neck into the water, and turning the head upside 
down, so as to employ with greater advantage the bend of their bill. They 
join in large troops, and live in societies. Their nest is made in the marshes, 
and consists of earth piled up; upon this nest the birds sit astride, because 
their length of limb hinders them from incubating otherwise. \\ hethcr 
they are reposing or fishing, sentinels are appointed, which keep a sort of 
guard. If anything alarms the sentinel, he utters a trumpeting cry, and 
all the birds of the flock follow him into the air. They rarely take their 
repose in any other than open places ; and it is asserted that their sense of 
smelling is so acute, that they can scent from afar the hunter and fire-arms. 
no. xtv. GG 



Tins very large, widely-distributed, ami extremely-varied group, com- 
prehends some of the most valuable birds which have been used for the 
support of man. 

In the family Anatidce arc comprehended all 1 1 1 < - Geese and Ducks of the 
world, and in the Mt ryidoe are placed the Sheldrakes and Mergansers. 

Family Anatidje. Geese and Ducks. 

( )f the ducks, the Mallard and Eider Ducks are well known in both hem- 
ispheres ; ami the far-famed Canvas-back Duck is known to almost every 
inhabitant of the United States. 

Wilson's account of the last-named species is one of the most interesting 
that we have nut with, lie says, — 

" The Canvas-back Duck arrives in the United States, from the north, 
about the middle of October; a i'vw descend to the Hudson and Delaware; 
but the great body of these birds resort to the numerous rivers belonging to, 
and in tin? neighborhood of, the Chesapeake Hay, particularly the Susque- 
hanna, the Patapsco, Potomac, and James Rivers, which appear to be their 
general winter rendezvous. Beyond this, to the south, I can find no certain 
accounts of them. At the Susquehanna, they are called Canvas-backs; on 
the Potomac, White-backs; and on dames River, Sheldrakes. They are 
seldom found at a great distance up any of these rivers, or even in the salt- 
water hay, hut in that particular part of tide-water where a certain grass- 
like plant grows, on the roots of which they feed. This plant, which is 
said to he a species of Vallisneria, grows on fresh-water shoals of from 
seven to nine feet (hut never where these are occasionally dry) , in long, 
narrow, grass-like blades, of four or five feet in length : the root is white, 
and has some resemblance to small celery. This grass is in many places so 
thick that a boat can with difficulty be rowed through it, it so impedes the 
oars. The shores are lined with large quantities of it, torn up by the ducks 
and drifted up by the winds, lying, like hay, in windrows. A\ herevcr this 
plant grows in abundance, the Canvas-hacks may he expected, cither to pay 
occasional visits, or to make it their regular residence during the winter. 
It occurs in some parts of the Hudson ; in the Delaware, near Gloucester, 
a few miles below Philadelphia, and in most of the rivers that fall into the 
Chesapeake, to each of which particular places these clucks resort; while, 
in waters unprovided with this nutritive plant, they are altogether unknown. 


"On the first arrival of these birds in the Susquehanna, near Havre de 
Grace, they are generally lean; but such is the abundance of their favorite 
food, that, towards the beginning of November, they are in pretty good 
order. They are excellent divers, and swim with great speed and agility. 
They sometimes assemble in such multitudes as to cover several acres of the 
river, and, when they rise suddenly, produce a noise resembling thunder. 
They float about these shoals, diving and tearing up the grass by the roots, 
which is the only part they eat. They are extremely shy, and can rarely be 
approached, unless by stratagem. When wounded in the wing, they dive 
to such prodigious distances, and with such rapidity, continuing it so perse- 
veringly, and with such cunning and active vigor, as almost always to render 
the pursuit hopeless. From the great demand for these ducks, and the high 
price they uniformly bring in market, various modes are practised to get 
within gunshot of them. The most successful way is said to he by decoying 
them to the shore by means of a dog, while the gunner lies closely concealed 
in a proper situation. The dog, if properly trained, plays backwards and 
forwards along the margin of the water; and the ducks, observing his 
manoeuvres, enticed perhaps by curiosity, gradually approach the shore, until 
they are sometimes within twenty or thirty yards of the spot where the gun- 
ner lies concealed, and from which he rakes them, first on the water, and 
then as they rise. This method is called tolling them in. If the ducks 
seem difficult to decoy, any glaring object, such as a red handkerchief, is 
fixed round the dog's middle or to his tail ; and this rarely fails to attract. 
them. Sometimes, by moonlight, the sportsman directs his skiff towards 
a flock, wdiose position he had' previously ascertained, keeping within the 
projecting shadow of some wood, bank, or headland, and paddles along so 
silently and imperceptibly as often to approach within fifteen or twenty yards 
of a flock of many thousands, among whom he generally makes great 

"Many other stratagems arc practised, and, indeed, every plan that the 
ingenuity of the experienced sportsman can suggest, to approach within 
gunshot of these birds ; but, of all the modes pursued, none intimidate them 
so much as shooting them by night ; and they soon abandon the place where 
they have been thus repeatedly shot at. During the day they are dispersed 
about, but towards evening, collect in large flocks, and come into the mouths 
of creeks, where they often ride, as at anchor, with their head under their 
wing, asleep, there being always sentinels awake, ready to raise an alarm on 
the least appearance of danger. Even when feeding and diving in small 
parties, the whole never go down at one time, but some are still left above 
on the lookout. 

" When the winter sets in severely, and the river is frozen, the Canvas- 


backs retreat to its confluence with the bay; occasionally frequenting air- 
holes in the ice, which arc sometimes made for the purpose, immediately 
above their favorite grass, to entice them within gunshot ui' the hut or bush, 
which is usually iixed at a proper distance, and where the gunner lies con- 
cealed, ready to take advantage of their distress. A Mr. Hill, who lives 
near James River, at a place called Herring Creek, informs me that, one 
severe winter, he and another person broke a hole in the iee, about twenty 
by forty feet, immediately over a. shoal of grass, and took their stand on the 
shore in a hut of brush, each having three guns well loaded with large shot. 
The ducks, which were Hying up and down the river, in great extremity, 
soon crowded to this place, so that the whole open space was not only cov- 
ered with them, but vast numbers stood on the iee around it. They had 
three rounds, firing both at once, and picked up eighty-eight Canvas-backs, 
and might have collected more, had they been able to get to the extremity 
of the ice alter the wounded ones. In the severe winter of 1779 — 80, the 
grass, on the roots of which these birds feed, was almost wholly destroyed 
in .James River. In the month of January the wind continued to blow 
from W.N. W. for twenty-one days, which caused such low tides in the 
river that the grass froze to the ice everywhere; and a thaw coming on 
suddenly, the whole was raised by the roots, and carried oil' by the freshet. 
The next winter a few of these ducks were seen, but, they soon went away 
again, and for many years after they continued to be scarce; and, even 
to the present day, in the opinion of my informant, have never been so 
plenty as before." 

Of the Eider Duck and its habits, the following account will srivc a good 
idea : — 

''Its native country extends from about 45' north to the highest arctic 
latitudes hitherto explored, both in Europe and America, — the Farn Isles, 
oil' the coast of Northumberland, and the rocky islets beyond Portland, in 
the district of Maine, being the southern boundary of their breeding-places; 
but they are old)' very plentiful in Behring's Straits, Labrador, Greenland, 
Iceland, and other arctic regions. Selby, however, thinks that they might 
be greatly increased in the Farn Islands by proper attention. 

"According to M. T. Brunnich, who wrote an express treatise on the 
natural history of the Eider Duck, their first object, after pairing, is to pro- 
cure a suitable place fur their nest, preferring the shelter of a juniper bush, 
where it can be bad, and where there is no juniper, contenting themselves 
with tufts of sea-grass, bundles of sea-weed east up by the tide, the crevices 
of rocks, or any hollow place whieh they can find. Some of the Icelandic 
proprietors of breeding-grounds, in order to accommodate them, cut out 
holes in rows on the smooth, sloping banks, where they would not otherwise 

Till: EIDEE DUCK. 105 

build, but of which they gladly take possession when thus scooped out. It 
is not a little remarkable that, like several other sea-birds, they almost always 
select small islands, their nests being seldom, if ever, found on the .-limes 
of the mainland, or even of a large island. The Icelanders are so well 
aware of this, that they have expended a great deal of labor in actually 
forming islands, by separating from the main island certain promontories 
joined to it by narrow isthmuses. 

"Both the male and the female Eider Ducks wmk in concert in building 
their nest, laying a rather coarse foundation of drift grass, dry tangle, and 
sea-weed, which is collected in some quantity. Upon this rough mattress 
the female Eider spreads a bed of the finest down, plucked from her own 
breast, and by no means sparingly, but, as Brunnich informs us, heaping it 
up, so as to form a thick, pulled roll quite round the nest. When she is 
compelled to go in quest of food, alter beginning to sit, she can fully turns 
this marginal roll of down over the eggs to keep them warm till her return. 
Martens says she mixes the down with moss, but, as this is not recorded by 
any other observer, we think it is not a little doubtful, particularly as in the 
places chosen for nestling she would find it no easy matter to procure moss. 
It is worthy of remark that, though the Eider Duck lays only five or six 
■ , ' it is not uncommon to find more than even ten and upwards in the 
same nest occupied by two females which live together in concord.' 

''The quantity of down in each nest is said, by Van Troil, to be about 
half a pound, which, by cleaning, is reduced one half. By Pennant, who 
examined the Eider's nest in the Earn Islands, off Northumberland, it is 
only estimated, when cleaned, at three quarters of an ounce, and this was 
so elastic as to (ill the crown of the largest hat. The difference of quantity 
in these two accounts, theoretically ascribed by the translators of BufFon to 
difference of climate, may have arisen from the one being the first, and the 
other the second or third nest of the mother duck ; for if the first nest be 
plundered of its down, though she immediately builds a second, she cannot 
furnish it with the same quantity as before; and, if forced to build a third 
time, having then stripped her breast of all she could spare, the male is said 
to furnish what is wanting, which is recognized as being considerably whiter 
than the female's. When the nest is not robbed, it is said that he furnishes 

"The down taken from the nests becomes a valuable article of commerce, 
being sold, when cleaned, for three rix-dollars ( twelve shillings) a pound. In 
17-"i(), the Icelandic company sold down amounting in value to about Sol)/., 
besides what was sent directly to Gluckstadt. Little or none of it is used 
in the country where it is found. In that rough climate, as Bufhm remarks, 
the hardy hunter, clothed in a bearskin cloak, enjoys in his solitary hut a 


peaceful, perhaps a profound sleep, while, in polished nations, the man of 
ambition, stretched upon a bed of Eider-down, and under a gilded roof, 
seeks in vain to procure the sweets of repose." 

Of [lie geese, the "Wild or Canada Goose of America is a good example. 

This well-known bird passes through or over New England in the spring 
and autumn migrations, appearing in the former about the first week in 
April, and passing in flocks until the tenth of that month. In the autumn, 
il returns as early as the last week in September; and from then until the 
first of December, and even later, it passes in flocks in its southern migra- 
tions. The Wild Goose, as the rule, breeds in the most northern portions 
of the continent: it sometimes passes the season (if incubation in the limits 
of the United States ; but the occurrences are very few of its having been 
found to remain in New England. The nest is located in some retired place, 
not tar from the water, generally among the thickest grass, and not (in- 
frequently under a bush. It is carelessly formed of dry plants of various 
kinds, and is of a large size, ilat, and raised to the height of several inches. 
The eggs are usually about six in number: they average three and a half 
inches by two and a half, arc thick-shelled, rather smooth, and of a very 
dull yellowish-green color. The period of incubation is twenty-eight days. 
Wilson says of this bird, — 

"Their first arrival on the coast of New Jersey is early in October; and 
their first numerous appearance is the sure- prognostic of severe weather. 
Those which continue all winter frequent the shallow bays ami marsh islands, 
their principal food being the broad, tender, green leaves of a marine plant, 
which grows on stones and shells, and is usually called sea-cabbage ; and 
also the roots of the sedge, which they arc frequently observed in the net 
of tearing up. Every few days they make an excursion to the inlete on the 
beach for gravel. They cross, indiscriminately, over land and water, gen- 
erally taking the nearest course to their object, differing, in this respect, 
from the brant, which will often go a great way round by water, rather than 
cross over the land. They swim well ; and, if wing-broken, dive, and go 
a long way under water, causing the spoilsman a great deal of fatigue be- 
fore he can kill them. Except in very calm weather, they rarely sleep on 
the water, but roost all night in the marshes. When the shallow bays are 
frozen, they seek the mouths of inlets near the sea, occasionally visiting the 
air-holes in the ice ; but these bays are seldom so completely frozen as to 
prevent them from feeding on the bars. 

1 he flight of the Wild Geese is heavy and laborious, generally in a 
straight line, or in two lines, approximating to a point, thus, ]> ; in both 
cases, the van is led by an old gander, who, every now and then, pipes his 
well-known honk, as if to ask how they come on; and the honk of 'All's 


well' is generally returned by some of the party. Their course is in a 
straight line, with the exception of the undulations of their flight. When 
bewildered in foggy weather, they appear sometimes to be in great distress, 
flying about in an irregular manner, and for a considerable time over the 
same quarter, making a great clamor. ( m these occasions, should they 
approach the earth and alight (which they sometimes do, to rest and re-col- 
Iecl themselves), the only hospitality they meet with is deatli and destruc- 
tion from a whole neighborhood, already in arms for their ruin." 

Family Mekoid.e. Mergansers. 

The Hooded Merganser is one of the most interesting of these birds. 
This beautiful bird, though found in the whole of our continent, is less com- 
mon than either of the other mergansers on our coast, and in bur bays and 
iidets, in autumn, winter, and early spring. In the summer, it resides in 
the interior, where it breeds by the lakes and other bodies of fresh water, 
building its nest in holes in high, dead trees, or on the tops of stubs, thirty 
or forty feet from the ground, exactly like the sheldrake. The eggs are 
from nine, to twelve or fourteen in number, usually about ten. They are 
of a clear-white color, although their surface is, in some specimens, stained 
by the moisture from the feet if the bird. 

When the nest of this species is approached, the female remains quiet, 
and Hies off only when alarmed by blows on the trunk of the tree on which 
her nest is built. She then Hies silently, and alights in the lake, near which 
the nest is usually built, and watches the intruder from a safe distance, with- 
out making any outcries or disturbance. If the tree is surrounded by un- 
dergrowth so thick that she cannot sec the intruder from the water, she flies 
silently over and around him, always at a safe distance. The male never 
shows himself on such occasions ; and we think it likely that he separates 
from his mate at the commencement of the period of incubation, and re- 
mains by himself until the young are able to provide for themselves. 

A\ hen living in the neighborhood of fresh water, this bird has many of 
the habits of the other mergansers, and then feeds on aquatic insects and their 
larvae, and is an expert fisher and diver. 

A\ hen the female is suddenly surprised, while with her young in a stream 
or pond, she gives a guttural, chattering cry, when the whole brood dives, 
and swims off under water to the shore, where they conceal themselves in 
the aquatic herbage. This species, in passing with its young from one body 
of water to another, often, while flying, carries them singly in its mouth ; and 
we have been told that, even after it has been shot, and has fallen to the 
ground, it not unfrcquently holds the chick. The female of the summer 
duck often encroaches on the nest of this Merganser. 




Tins group is also varied, and widely distributed in both hemispheres. 

Family Pelicanid^e. The Pelicans. 

]n this family are comprehended the Phae'tonince, or Tropic Birds ; the 
7V"////"', or Darters; the Pelicans, Gannets, and Cormorants. 

The true Pelicans are large and heavy birds, with a great extent of wing, 
and are excellent swimmers. Their expansive pouch, whose elasticity is 
well known to all who have witnessed the shapes into which it is stretched 
and formed in museums, will hold a considerable number of fish, and thus 
enables the bird to dispose of the superfluous quantity which may be taken 
during fishing expeditions, either for its own consumption, or for the nourish- 
ment of its young. In feeding the nestlings (and the male is said to supply 
the wants of the female in the same manner), the under mandible is pressed 
against the neck and breast to assist the bird in disgorging the contents of 
the capacious pouch. 

The neighborhood of rivers, lakes, and the sea-coasts arc the haunts of 
the Pelicans, and they are gregarious to a great extent. Their food con- 
sists entirely of fishes, which they capture with great dexterity, generally iii 
shallow inlets. The) do not dive, but they often dash, from a great height, 
on the wing, upon a fish, with such velocity that they become submer 
though their buoyancy brings them instantly to the surface again. Although- 
they perch on trees, tiny generally seem to prefer rocky shores. The nest, 
commonly formed of coarse, reedy grass, with a lining of grass of a softer 
quality, is large, and made upon the ground. The eggs, which are wdiite, 
are usually two in number. They arc found abundantly in both hemi- 

The Cormorants exist abundantly in all parts of the globe. Thev are 
mostly found on the sea-coast, breeding on rocky ledges, difficult of access, 
and also on trees. They are exceedingly expert in catching fish, being very 
active in the water, and capable of remaining under its surface for a great 
length of time. 

The Gannets, whose habits resemble those of the pelicans, usually fre- 
quent almost inaccessible rocky islands, where they congregate in great 
numbers during the season of reproduction, at other times miirratintr alone - 
tli* ast. Their flight is rapid, powerful, and long-continued. 

The common Gannet is a well-known species in this country. This bird 


is quite common on our coast in tlie autumn and spring, and through the 
greater part of the winter. Audubon, in describing its breeding habits, 

"The newly-finished nest of this bird is fully two feet high, and quite as 
blond externally. It is composed <>f' sea-weeds and maritime grasses, the 
former being, at times, brought from considerable distances. Thus, the 
Gannets breeding on the rocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence carry weeds 
from the Magdalene Islands, which are about thirty miles distant. The 
grasses are pulled or dug up from the surface of the breeding-place itself, 
often in great clods, consisting of roots and earth, and leaving holes not 
unlike the entrances to the burrows of the puffin. The nests, like those of 
the cormorants, are enlarged or repaired annually. The single egg, of a 
rather elongated oval form, averages 3^ inches in length, by 2 inches in 
its greatest breadth; and is covered with an irregular, roughish coating of 
white calcareous matter, which, on being scraped oil', leaves exposed the pale 
greenish-blue tint of the under surface." 

The Gannet breeds in almost incredible numbers on some of the rocky 
islands near the coast of Labrador. When the breeding season is over, it 
wanders as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. Its mode of flight is power- 
ful, and, at times, graceful. Its food consists of fish, principally herrings ; 
these arc obtained by plunging from on high, often remaining under water 
for a minute or more at a time. 

The Darters, or Snake Birds, are among the most interesting of this 
group. Buffon, in describing one of them, says, — 

The Arhinza oilers us a reptile grafted on the body of a bird.'' Those 
who have seen the long neck, and that only issuing from the water, twisting 
about among the herbage, and among the foliage, say that the casual observer 
mio-ht well take it for a snake. Vaillant states that the neck of the species 
seen by him in Africa was always in oscillation when the bird was perched ; 
and that any one, who saw its tortuous movements among the foliage, the 
body being concealed, would take it for one of the tree-serpents. 

Le Vaillant describes them as diving for fish ; when they caught a small 
one, it was swallowed whole ; when they captured a large one, it was car- 
ried to a rock, or the trunk of a tree, and the bird, fixing it beneath its feet, 
picked it to pieces with its bill. Though the water is their favorite element, 
it is upon rocks or trees that they establish their nests, and bring up their 
young, taking care that they may be easily precipitated into the river as 
soon as they are able to swim, or wdienevcr the safety of the little family 
requires it. 

The habits of the species of America are similar to those of the Old 
World birds. 

ml xtv. G7 




Tins group, though not one of the largest, is, nevertheless, quite inter- 
esting. It consists of the two families, Laridoe, the Gulls, and JProcellari- 
dce, the Petrels. 

Family Pkocellatud.e. The Albatrosses and Petrels. 

The common Albatross is the largest sea-bird known : it is often met 
with in the southern seas. Its food, as with the others, consists offish, 
which it has been known to eat to the extent of five pounds at a meal. 
"These birds do not confine themselves entirely to fish, but will prey on 
other sea-animals. The Kamtschatkadales take them by fastening a cord to 
a laii;v hook, baited with a whole fish, which the birds greedily seize."' 

( )f thr Petrels, the Stormy Petrel is the most interesting. The power 
of wing of this bird is so great that it is enabled to sweep over the ocean, at 
every distance from land, and even to weather the most tempestuous winds, 
while, with its webbed feet and light form, it can actually walk upon the 
billows with as much rase as a sparrow ran hop along a garden walk. "It 
is, indeed, an interesting sight," says Wilson, "to observe these little birds, 
in a gale, coursing over (he waves, down the declivities, and up the ascents 
of the foaming? surf that threatens to burst over their heads, sweeping; along; 

© loo 

the hollow troughs of the sea, as in a sheltered valley, and again mounting 
with the rising billow, and just above its surface occasionally dropping their 
feet, which, striking the water, throw them up again with additional force, 
sometimes leaping, with both legs parallel, on the surface of the roughest 
waves for several yards at a time. .Meanwhile they continue coursing from 
side to side of the ship's wake, making excursions far and wide to the right 
and to the left, now a great way ahead, and now shooting astern for several 
hundred yards, returning again to the ship as if she were all the while sta- 
tionary, though perhaps running at the rate of ten knots an hour. Put the 
most singular peculiarity of this bird is its faculty of standing, and even 
running, on the surface of the water, which it performs with apparent 
facility. When any greasy matter is tin-own overboard, these birds in- 
stantly collect around it, facing to windward, with their long wings 
expanded, and their webbed feet patting the water. The lightness of their 
bodies, and the action of the wind on their wings, enable them with ease to 
assume this position. In calm weather they perform the same manoeuvre 
by keeping their wings just so much in action as to prevent their feet from 
sinking below the surface." 


"There are," says the same writer in another place, "few persons who 
have crossed the Atlantic that have not observed these solitary wanderers 
of (he deep, skimming along the surface of the wild and wasteful ocean; 
flitting past the vessel like swallows, or following in her wake, gleaning their 
scanty pittance of fond from the rough and whirling surges. Habited in 
mourning, and making their appearance generally in greater numbers pre- 
vious to, or during, a storm, they have long been fearfully regarded by the 
ignorant and superstitious not only as the foreboding messengers of tempests 
and dangers to the hapless mariner, but as wicked agents, connected, some- 
how or other, in creating them. 'Nobody,' say they, 'can tell anything of 
where they come from, or how they breed, though (as sailors sometimes 
say) it is supposed that they hatch their eggs under their wings as they sit 
on the water.' This mysterious uncertainty of their origin, and the circum- 
stances above recited, have doubtless given rise to the opinion, so prevalent 
among this class of men, that they are in some way or other connected with 
the prince of the power of the air. In every country where they are known, 
their names have borne some affinity to this belief. They have been called 
"Witches, Stormy Petrels, the Devil's Birds, and Mother Can's Chickens,* 
probably from some celebrated ideal hag of that name; and their unex- 
pected and numerous appearance has frequently thrown a momentary damp 
over the minds of the hardiest seamen. It is the business of the naturalist, 
and the glory of philosophy, to examine into the reality of these things, to 
dissipate the clouds of error and superstition wherever they darken and be- 
wilder the human understanding, and to illustrate nature with the radiance 
of truth." 

When we inquire, accordingly, into the unvarnished history of this omi- 
nous bird, we find that it is by no means peculiar in presaging storms, for 
many others, of very different families, are evidently endowed with an 
equally nice perception of a change in the atmosphere. Hence it is that, 
before rain, swallows are seen more eagerly hawking for flies, and ducks 
carefully trimming their feathers, ami tossing up water over their backs to 
try whether it will run off again without wetting them. But it would be as 
absurd to accuse the swallows and ducks on that account of being the cause 
of rain, as to impute a tempest to the spiteful malice of the poor Petrels. 
Seamen ought rather to be thankful to them for the warning which their 
delicate feelings of aerial change enable them to give of an approaching 

"As well," says "Wilson, "might they curse the midnight lighthouse, that, 
star-like, guides them on their watery way, or the buoy that warns them of 

* Tliis name seems to have been originally given them by Captain Carteret's sailors, who 
met with these birds on the coast of Chili. 


the sunken rocks below, as this harmless wanderer, whose manner informs 
them oi' the approach of the storm, ami thereby enables them to prepare 
for it." The Petrels are nocturnal birds. When, therefore, they are seen 
Hying about and feeding by day, the fact appears to indicate that they have 
been driven from their usual quarters by a storm ; and hence, perhaps, arose 
the association of the bird witli the tempest. Though the Petrels venture 
to wing their way over the wide ocean a-, fearlessly as our swallows do over 
a mill-pond, they are not, therefore, the less sensible to danger; and, as if 
feelingly aware of their own weakness, they make all haste to the tiearesl 
shelter. When they cannot then find an island or rock to shield them from 
the blast, they fly towards the first ship they ran descry, crowd into her 
wake, and even close under the stern, heedless of the rushing surge, so that 
they can keep the vessel between them and the unbroken sweep of the wind. 

Fajiily Lakid.k. Gulls, Skuas, and Terns. 

The Gulls proper frequent tin- shores of the ocean, but often wander to 
great distances from land ; they are incapable of diving, but swim buoyantly. 
Their food consists principally of fish and Crustacea; but some oi' the larger 
species feed occasionally on the flesh of cetaceous animals, and devour the 
young and eggs of some species of sea-birds. These birds vary much in 
some being quite small, while others rank among the largest of marine 
They are not peculiar to any region, but arc- found abundantly over 
the world. They comrre£rate in great numbers on the sand-liars at the 
entrance of inlets and large bay-. In winter tiny migrate in search of 
food, frequenting harbor,-, anil ascending rivers. 

Nearly resembling the Gulls proper are the Skua-gulls, or JaJgers. 

These hardy birds inhabit the high latitudes of both hemispheres. There 
are lour arctic species, found both in Europe and North America. They are 
piratical in their habits, appearing to derive their subsistence mainly from 
the labors of others. They chase and harass various species of gulls, com- 
pelling them to disgorge a portion of their food, which they dart after, and 
seize before it reaches the water. 

The Terns are mostly found on the sea-coast and neighboring bays, occa- 
sionally on rivers and lakes ; they assemble in large numbers on the sand- 
bars and points at the mouths of inlets, are much on the wing, and are 
remarkable for their buoyant and easy flight. Their food consists of small 
fishes and Crustacea, which they obtain by hovering over and suddenly dart- 
ing down upon. Although they thus seize their prey while in the water, 
they only occasionally swim or rest upon its surface. These birds are so- 
ciable in their habits, congregating in large communities in the breeding 
season, and nesting near each other on the ground. 



The four families which are comprehended in this group are distributed 
throughout all portions of the globe. Our limits will not permit us to 
review them in detail, and we will glance at but few of the most interesting. 

Family Podicipid.e. The Grebes. 

These birds arc found in salt as well as fresh-water rivers, are excellent 
swimmers, and dive frequently. They feed on small fishes, frogs, crusta- 
ceans, and insects, and their nests, formed of a large quantity of grass and 
weeds, are generally placed among reeds and carices, and rise and fall with 
the water. The plumage is very soft, and, on the under surface, silky: 
they are remarkably active on the water, and when alarmed remain below 
the surface, exposing only the bill. 

The following account of the habits of the Red-billed Grebe (Podi/lim- 
bus podiceps), is sent us by a friend in Wisconsin : " This bird breeds abun- 
dantly in Pewaukee Lake, and, I presume, throughout Wisconsin. It 
nests about the middle of May, in rushes of the former year's growth, and 
in water from one to two feet deep. In such situations, the old rushes, that 
have fallen down into the water, are pulled together, and continually piled 
upon each other, until the fabric rises above the water ; the nest is then 
formed of moss and weeds gathered from the bottom. It is raised but 
little, and is always wet, except when the water has fallen, and left the nest 
higher than it was originally built. It appears like a circular mass of weeds 
and moss floating on the water, or, when filled with eggs, carefully covered, 
like a floating ball ; but it does not really float, as the foundation rests more 
or less upon the bottom. By pressing on the nest with the hand, it can 
generally be easily sunk. The eggs (four or five in number) are white at 
first, but soon get stained by contact with the wet nest. "When left, they 
are carefully covered by the bird. It is surprising how quick and effectu- 
ally the eggs are covered if the nest is approached, the bird always getting 
away without being seen. I have examined more than twenty nests this 
summer, both with and without eggs ; in some eases, on examining the 
bottom, near the empty nests, I was able to find the eggs that had rolled 
out and sunk. All of the nests were alike (always in one or two feet of 
water), and constructed of rushes (the foundation), never of grass, weeds, 
or flag, which were as plenty, and would seem equally as appropriate mate- 
rials. The bird is very shy during the breeding season, keeping out of sight 
anion:? the weeds and rushes.'' 

114 division i. vertebral animals. —class ii. aves. 

Family Colymeid.e. The Loons and Divers. 

These birds excel all others in diving, and their powers of swimming, and 
their endurance while submerged, are wonderful: their food consists of fish, 
which they pursue and capture while beneath the water. They frequent the 
fresh and salt water, and breed in the high latitudes. They nest on the 
ground, usually on some small island, and lay two or three eggs, which are 
not large for the size of the bird. .Most species perform migrations, while 
one or two remain in northern localities through the winter. 

Family Alcid.e. The Auks, Guillemots, and Puffins. 

These birds are strictly oceanic birds, scarcely ever leaving the water, 
except for the purposes of incubation. They breed in communities in cav- 
erns and on rocky clifls, laying one, two, or three large eggs. Some species 
dig burrows for the purpose of nesting, and others are .said to occupy the 
burrows of rabbits and other small mammals. Their food, which they 
obtain by diving (an operation in which they are materially assisted by their 
wings, as well as by their feet), consists of small fishes, crustaceans, and 
other marine animals. The young are said to be fed from the crops of their 
parents, not only before they are able to leave the place of their birth, but 
also for some time afterwards. The breeding-places of these birds are fre- 
quently visited by eggers and fishermen, and the numbers of eggs, and the 
amount of feathers which they obtain, is surprisingly large. 

Family Aptenodytidje. The Penguins. 

In these birds the wing is almost wanting, being merely rudimentary : 
they seem to replace, in the southern hemisphere, the auks, which occur in 
the northern. They associate in immense numbers, and their breeding- 
places cover acres in extent. Sir John Narborough says of the Patagonian 
Penguins, that their erect attitude, and their bluish-black backs, contrasted 
with their white bellies, might cause them to bo taken at a distance for 
young children with white bibs. The towns of these birds at the Falkland 
Islands have attracted particular attention. Sonic of these assemblies arc 
described as giving a dreary, not to say awful, impression of the desolation 
of the place, and the utter absence of the human race. In some of the 
towns it is stated there is a general stillness, and when intruders walk among 
the feathered population, they are regarded with sidelong glances, but seem 
to cany no terror with them. In many places the shores are covered with 
them, and hundreds have been taken in an hour. The females hatch the 
eggs by keeping them close between their thighs; and if approached during 
incubation, are said to move away, carrying their eggs with them. 

Plate XXm 










We have now arrived at a class of animals, in the production of which 
nature has seemed to deviate from her usual plan of beauty and utility, as 
all the orders, comprising the series, with the exception of the first, are 
calculated to create in man feelings of the deepest disgust, aversion, and 
often terror. The grotesque forms, in which ugliness and deformity mani- 
fest themselves in multifarious variety, the utter uselessness of all, save the 
exception just named, and the venomous and dangerous character of many, 
have caused them in all ages to be regarded by man as symbols of moral 
degradation and types of all evil. AVe instinctively shrink from contact 
with them, and start with a shudder when one is suddenly and unexpectedly 
revealed to our sight. It is difficult to define or describe that emotion of 
dread which one experiences when the cold and slimy snake glides along at 
his feet, with its forked tongue and menacing hiss. Even the touch of the 
harmless toad will produce sensations of the most disagreeable character. 

The animals of this class have the heart so constructed, that at its several 
contractions it sends only a portion of the blood into the lungs, the re- 
mainder returning into the general circulation without being subjected to 
respiration. "As respiration imparts warmth to the blood, reptiles are con- 
sequently cold-blooded, and their aggregate muscular energy is less than in 
the mammalia, and much less than in birds. Hence their movements can 
scarcely be performed otherwise than by crawling or swimming; and though 
several of them leap and run with celerity on certain occasions, their habits 
are generally sluggish, their digestion excessively slow, their sensations ob- 
tuse, and, in cold or temperate climates, they pass nearly the whole winter 
in a state of lethargy. Their proportionally very diminutive brain is less 
necessary than in the two preceding classes for the exercise of their animal 
and vital functions; their sensations seem to be less referable to a common 
centre ; they contrive to live and to execute voluntary movements for a con- 
siderable time after having been deprived of the brain, and even when the 
head is severed. Their heart pulsates for many hours after it has been 
detached, and its loss does not deprive the body of mobility for a still longer 
period. The smallness of the pulmonary vessels enables them to suspend 
respiration without arresting the course of the blood, and thus to remain 
submerged lor a longer time than mammalia or birds." 

As the amount of respiration in this class is not fixed, as in the mammalia 
and birds, but varies according to the relative proportion of the diameter of 
the pulmonary artery, as compared with that of the aorta, some respire 


mucli more than others. Thus, in the tortoises and lizards, respiration is 
the most full and perfect. In the frogs it is much less. Following this 
fact, and comparing the extent of respiration with their organs of move- 
ment, M. Brougniart has divided them into four orders, as follows: The 
( 'Ik Iniiiinis, or Turtles and Tortoises; the Suurians, or Lizards; the 
Ophidians, or Serpents ; and the Batrachians, or Frogs. 

ORDER I. CHELOXIA (The Turtles and Tortoises). 

1'lie ( lielonians have a heart with two auricles, and a ventricle with two 
unequal chambers, which communicate together. The blood from the body 
enters the right auricle, and that from the lung the left, but the two streams 
mingle more or less in passing through the ventricle. These reptiles are distin- 
guished by having the bodj enclosed between two shields or shells, so that 
the bead, neck, legs, and tail only appear externally; and these arc capable 
of being retracted in a greater or less degree. The upper shell is formed 
by the libs, which are enlarged, flattened, and closely united by sutures; 
the under shell is the sternum or breast bone, and the vertebras of the neck 
and tail only are movable. In consequence of this conformation, the mus- 
cular system is inverted, in many respects, as with insects and Crustacea; 
and to this circumstance these animals owe their great strength. Tortoises 
have no teeth : and the margin of the mandibles is covered with horn, as in 
the F< ti lv~ of birds. They are very tenacious of lib', and will move weeks 
after being deprived of the bead; and this last will continue to bite long 
alter it is severed from (he body. They can remain -months, and even years, 
without food. Tin' eggs have a hard shell, and are deposited in the sand. 
'flic Land Tortoises are distinguished by the convexity of their upper shell, 
and their short toes, enveloped in tin? common integument nearly to the 
nails. They perish if thrown into the water. 

Genus Testudo. — The Land Tortoises. These animals arc distin- 
guished by a bulged carapace, which is supported by a solid, bony skeleton ; 
their feet are truncated, with very short toes connected nearly to the nails, 
and, together with the head, can be wholly withdrawn within the shell. The 
lore feet have five nails, and the hinder four. They feed chiefly on vege- 
table substances. 

T. Iudictt . — This species is distinguished by its large size, measuring 
over three feet in length, and is of a brown color. The Indian species are 
numerous, and most of them are remarkable for their great strength. Air. 
bell describes one, which he names Pyxis arachnoides, that can easily carry 
two men on its back. The hind legs of this Tortoise bear an extraordinary 


resemblance to those of an elephant. The anterior part of the shell is mov- 
able on a transverse hinge, and shuts up the head and fore limbs. Slow, 
quiet, and inoffensive, this reptile seldom wanders far from its haunts, and 
trusts only to its passive means of defence when molested. 

T. Grceca. — This animal is about a foot long, and frequents the regions 
round the Mediterranean ; it is also found in other parts of Europe. It lays 
four or five eggs in spring, and burrows a hole, where it passes the winter. 
Its food is fruit, leaves, insects, and worms. A specimen resembling this, 
but a little larger, I have seen in the State of Maine. 

T. Radiata. — This species is a native of New Holland. It is of a large 
size, but otherwise resembles the one mentioned below. 

T. Geomelrica. — This is a small species, with a black shell, pleasingly 
relieved with yellow lines radiating from a disk of the same color. 

Fresh-water Tortoises. — These do not differ from the above in gen- 
eral characters, with the exception that their feet are more adapted to aquatic 
habits, and the armor of the back is flatter than in the land tortoises. 

T. Picta. — This species is the most widely diffused, and is found on both 
continents. It is of a brown color, ami each scale is encircled with a yel- 
low ribbon. It is common in all parts of North America, and is often seen 
among reeds, upon rocks, or the trunks of trees, from which it falls into 
the water when alarmed. 

T. Europea inhabits all the south of Europe, and is about ten inches in 
length. Its flesh is good, on which account it is captured and fattened 
on bread and tender herbage. According to Morsigni, its egg requh'es a 
year to hatch. There are many other species, among which are the well- 
known Terrapin, or Box-tortoise, and T. serpentina, which approximates 
some of the turtles. It is known by its extremely long tail. "It inhabits 
the warm regions of North America, is very destructive to fish and water- 
fowl, ascends far up the rivers, and sometimes attains a weight of twenty 

Genus Ciielonia. — The Turtles. This family comprises a large num- 
ber of species, most of them of large size, and many of them valuable for 
their flesh, which is esteemed a great luxury, and their shells, which are 
employed in the arts. 

The turtles are distinguished from the land tortoises particularly by their 
large and long fin-shaped feet, and also by a longer tail, which serves them 
as a rudder. They have no teeth, but the horny upper jaw closes over the 
lower like the lid of a box, thus serving them as excellent shears, either for 
crushing shells or dividing the tough fibres of the sea-grass. 

They are at home in all the warmer seas, but sometimes they are carried 
by oceanic streams far away from their accustomed haunts. Thus, in the 



year 17;"»2, .1 Green Turtle, six feet long, and weighing nine hundred 
pounds, stranded near Dieppe; and in 177S, another, seven feet long, on 
the coast of Languedoc. One taken on the coast of Cornwall, in July, 
1755, measured, from the tip of the nose to the end of the .shell, six feet 
nine inches, and the weight was supposed to he nearly eight hundred pounds. 
These few examples show us that the turtles rank among the larger inhabit- 
ants of the ocean, although they are far from attaining the fabulous propor- 
tions assigned to them by Pliny (who makes the Indians use their shells as 
boats or roofs), or the enormous size of some colossal, extinct species, such 
as the fossil tortoise from the Sirvala Hills, preserved in the East Indian 
Museum, which measures twelve feet in length. They live almost con- 
stantly at sea on shell-fish, like the fierce Loggerhead Turtle ( O. caretta), 
partly on sea-grass, like the Green Turtle (('. nidas), and only go on 
shore during the warmest months <>{' the year for the purpose of laying their 

C/telonia Nidas. — The Edible, or Green Turtle. The shell of this spe- 
cies is distinguished by its greenish scales, to the number of thirty, the 
medial of which are disposed in almost regular hexagons. The Green 
Turtle attains a length of six or seven feet, and a weight of seven or eight 
hundred pounds. The flesh is much (.-teemed. Green Turtle soup being 
regarded as a prime luxury by epicures : but the shell is not valuable. It 
feeds in great troops upon the alga}, in the depths of the ocean, and ap- 
proaches the mouths of ri\ers to respire. It deposits its eggs in t lie sand, 
where the sun may warm them. They are very numerous, and are consid- 
ered very delicate as food. 

C. Maculosa, an allied species, has the middle plates twice as long as 
wide, and of a fulvous color, marked with large black spots. Another 
neighboring species, O. Lachrymata, has plates, as in the preceding one, 
but raised into a base posteriorly, with black splashes upon the fulvous. 
The scales of both of these are used in manufactures. 

Prince Maximilian, of Xeuwied, furnishes the following interesting de- 
scription, in his instructive work, entitled Travels through the Brazils : — 

" \\ e followed the monotonous sea-coast (our two soldiers, a negro 
and an Indian), frequently stopping to dig turtle eggs out of the sand, 
which, boiled in sea water, used to form our evening repast. Once, while 
they were busy gathering drift wood for cooking, we found, but a small dis- 
tance from our fire, an enormous turtle, busy laying her eggs. We could not 
possibly have met with anything more agreeable ; the creature seemed to 
have crawled there for the express purpose of providing for our supper. 
Our presence did not discompose her in the least; she allowed herself to be 
touched, and even raised from the ground, for which purpose four men were 


required. During our loud deliberations on her future fate site gave no 
other signs of uneasiness than a blowing sound, and continued to work 
slowly with her hind fins, throwing up the earth at regular intervals. 

"One of the soldiers stretched himself out at full length on the ground, 
near the purveyor of our kitchen, inserted his arm into the earth-hole, and 
threw out the eggs as they were laid by the turtle. In this manner above 
a hundred were collected in about ten minutes. A council was now held as 
to the means of adding the beast to our collection, but, as it would have 
required an additional mule for the transport, we gave it its life. These colos- 
sal turtles — Midas, Coriacea, and Caretta — especially choose these desert 
coasts for the laying of their eggs. They emerge from the sea in the dusk 
of evening, and then crawl back again into the water, one or two hours 
after the setting of the sun. Thus also the friendly turtle, which had so 
abundantly provided for our wants, disappeared after a short time ; we found 
the large hole filled up, and a broad trace in the sand showed that the ani- 
mal had again retreated to its favorite element. The Midas is said to lay 
from ten to twelve dozen, and the Coriacea from eighteen to twenty dozen 
eggs at once." 

C. Imbricata. — This turtle is not so large as the Green, but has a more 
lengthened muzzle, and the scales, of which there are thirteen, yellowish 
and brown, cover each other in the manner of tiles. The flesh is not edi- 
ble, but the eggs are delicate, and the shell is the finest employed in manu- 
factures. It inhabits the seas of all hot climates. The Imbricated Turtle is 
hunted for its shell, and the Green for its flesh, on which account immense 
numbers, of both species, are destroyed yearly in various quarters of the 
globe. The South American shores, those of the West Indies, and of the 
islands of the Indian seas are visited for this purpose. The gii'ted author of 
" Paul and Virginia " draws the following graphic and interesting picture 
of a turtle hunt on Ascension Island : — 

'Tire-wood, kettle, and the neat boat sail were landed, and the sailors 
lay down to sleep, as the turtles do not emerge from the sea before night- 
fall. The moon rose above the horizon, and illumined the solitude, but her 
light, which adds new charms to a friendly prospect, rendered this desolate 
scene more dreary still. A Ye were at the foot of a black hillock, on whose 
summit mariners had planted a great cross. Before us lay the plain, cov- 
ered with innumerable blocks of black lava, whose crests, whitened by the 
drippings of the sea-birds, glistened in the moonbeam. These pallid heads 
on dark bodies, some of which w^ere upright, and others reclined, appeared 
to us like phantoms hovering over tombs. The greatest stillness reigned 
over this desolate earth, interrupted only from time to time by the breaking 
of a wave, or the shriek of a sea-bird. AA'e went to the great bay to await 


the arrival of the turtles, and there we lay flat upon the sand, in the deepest 
silence, as the least noise frightens the turtles, and causes them to withdraw, 
ami at last we saw three of them rising out of the water, and slowly creep- 
ing on shore, like black masses. We rapidly ran up to the first, but 
our impatience caused it to drop immediately again into the sea, where it 
escaped our pursuit. The second, which had already advanced too far, was 
unable to retreat: we turned it on its back. In this way we caught about 
fifty turtles, some of which weighed five hundred pounds. Next morning, 
at ten, the boat came to fetch the produce of our nocturnal sport. This work 
occupied us the whole day, and in the evening the superfluous turtles were 
restored to the sea. If suffered to remain a long time on their backs, their 
eyes become blood-red, and start out of their sockets. We found several 
on the strand, that had been allowed to perish in this position — a cruel neg- 
ligence, of which sailors are but too often guilty." 

But other foes, besides man, make war upon the poor turtles, and perse- 
cute them to death. Large numbers of these animals annually frequent the 
wild sand-coast of Bantam (.lava). They are often obliged to creep over 
nearly a quarter of a mile of the beach before finding at the foot of the 
sand-dunes dry and loose soil lit for their purpose; and on this journey, 
which for them is a very long one, they have many dangers to encounter. 
Hundreds of their skeletons lie scattered about the strand, many of them 
five feet long, and three feet broad ; some bleached and cleaned by time, 
others still half filled with putrid intestines, and others, again, quite fresh 
and bleeding. High in the air a number of birds of prey wheel about, 
scared by the traveller's approach. Here is the place where the turtles are 
attacked by the wild dogs. In packs of from twenty to fifty, the growling 
rabble assails the poor sea-animal at every accessible point, gnaws and tugs 
at the feet and at the head and succeeds, by united efforts, in turning the 
huge creature upon its back. Then the abdominal scales are torn off, and 
the ravenous dogs hold a bloody meed on the flesh, intestines, and eggs of 
their defenceless prey. .Sometimes, however, the turtle escapes their rage, 
and, dragging its lacerating tormentors along with it, succeeds in regaining 
the friendly sea. Nor do the dogs always enjoy an undisturbed repast. Of- 
ten, during the night, the hungry tiger bursts out of the forest, pauses for a 
moment, casts a glance over the strand, approaches slowly, and then, with 
one bound, accompanied by a terrific roar, springs among the dogs, scatter- 
ing the howling band like chaff before the wind. And now it. is the tiger's 
turn to feast ; but even he, though rarely, is sometimes disturbed by man. 
Thus, on this lonely, melancholy coast, wild dogs and tigers wage an unequal 
war with the inhabitants of the ocean. 

C. Caretta. — The Hawk-billed Turtle. A color more or less rufous or 



brown, and fifteen scales, the medial of which have raised crests, are the 
principal characters of the species. It is an inhabitant of various seas, but 
has little commercial value, as the flesh and shell are worthless. It fur- 
nishes, however, a considerable quantity of oil, nearly equal iu quaility to 
that of the whale, and which may be applied to the same uses. 

Genus Sphaegis. — The Leather-backs. This series comprises those 
species which have no scales, but have the carapace, or upper armor, clad 
in a kind of leather. There are but two or three species mentioned. 

Genus Chelys. — The Chelydes, as these turtles are called, have an en- 
velope much too small to enclose all their limbs ; their nose is prolonged 
into a little trunk ; but their most prominent character is a widely-cleft 
mouth, destitute of the horny beak which distinguishes other genera. 

Genus Tiiionyx. — The Soft Tortoise. The Soft Tortoises have no 
scales, but both the carapace and plastron are enveloped in a soft skin. The 
horn of their beak is invested with fleshy lips outside, and their nose is pro- 
longed, as in the Chelydes. They dwell in fresh water. 

T. Ti'iU7iguis. — This species inhabits the northern portions of Africa, 
and is sometimes three feet long. It is of a green color, spotted with white. 
It destroys large numbers of young crocodiles, and thus renders an impor- 
tant service to the Egyptians. 

T. Ferox. — The American Trionyx. The rivers of Carolina, Georgia, 
Florida, and Guiana are the habitat of this animal. While it devours 
young alligators, it often falls a prey to the older ones. It seizes on birds 
and reptiles, for which it lies in ambuscade among the weeds. Its flesh is 
palatable and wholesome. 

The turtle, being cold-blooded, is obliged to confide the hatching of her 
eggs to the sun, which generally accomplishes the task in three weeks. On 
creeping out of the egg, the young, even those of the largest species, are 
not larger than half a crown, and of a white color. Unprotected by a 
parent's tenderness, the poor little creatures seem only to be born for imme- 
diate death. Their first instinctive movements are towards the element for 
which they are destined ; slowly they drag themselves towards the water, 
but the sea meets them with a rough embrace, and the unmerciful waves 
generally throw them back again upon the shore. Here they are attacked 
by great sea-birds, storks, and herons, against which, in spite of their small- 
ness, they make feeble efforts of defence or by still more powerful beasts 
of prey ; and thus the greater part of the unfortunate brood is destroyed at 
its very first entrance into life, while those which reach the sea are gener- 
ally devoured by sharks and other sharp-toothed fishes. It is, therefore, not 
in vain that the turtle lays four or five hundred eggs in a single summer, for, 
were she less fruitful, the race would long since have beeu extinguished. 


ORDER II. SAURIA (Crocodiles, Alligators, Lizards). 

The animals included in this order arc all of lizard shape, and vary in 
size, from the gigantic Crocodile, which often attains the length of thirty 
I'eet, to insignificant creatures of a few inches. They have a heart consti- 
tuted like that of the Chelonians ; lungs, which extend towards the hinder 
part of the body ; mouths invariably armed with teeth; tails more or less 
lengthened, and thick at the base, and skins covered with thick, hard, ser- 
rated scales, or scaly granules. Most of the Saurians have four legs, but 
some have only two. Their eggs are enclosed in a hard envelope, and the 
forms of the young are perfectly developed before they issue therefrom. 

In a former period of the earth the Saurians peopled the vast abysses of 
the ocean, and individuals, like the Ichthyosaurus, huge and rapacious mon- 
sters, ruled the seas, remorseless tyrants of all the other inhabitants of the 
dee]). But changes in the temperature of the elements have swept them 
from the scene of existence, and it is from fossil remains only that we gather 
the story of their lii'e and mode of living. No members of this race now 
frequent the sea, but the larger representatives of this once formidable 
family now inhabit the lagoons, rivers, and swamps of tropical climates, 
while the others are distributed over the whole surface of the globe, with the 
exception of the frozen regions. The order is divided into six families, the 
first of which comprises the Crocodiles and Alligators. 

Genus Cuocodilus. — Brongniart. The Crocodile is a gigantic beast, 
of prodigious strength, found in the rivers of the warm regions of the East- 
ern Continent, especially in the Xile and Niger. The back and tail are 
covered with great square scales, constituting an armor of extraordinary 
strength, and the jaws are furnished with a row of pointed teeth. It often 
reaches the enormous length of thirty feet, and will sometimes seize the 
most powerful animals, such as the tiger, and draw them under the water. 
let it is affirmed that this formidable monster may lie tamed, and made to 
serve its master with the obedience of the ox. In Siam, the Crocodile is 
taken when young, subjected to discipline, and managed "like a horse, the 
rider directing it as he thinks proper." This subjugation of the Crocodile 
to human control is confirmed by travellers who have had opportunities of 
observing the strange spectacle. The author of I)nj Leaves from Young 
Egypt relates the following adventure : — 

"One of my first exhibitions, after reaching Karachi, was a visit to the 
Magar Talao, as it is called, or Lake of Crocodiles. This curious place is 
about eight miles from Karachi, and is well worth inspecting to all who are 


fond of the monstrous and grotesque. A moderate ride through a sandy and 
sterile track, varied with a few patches of jungle, brings one to a grove of 
tamarind trees, hid in the bosom of which lie the grisly brood of monsters. 
Little would one, ignorant of the locale, suspect that, under that green 
wood, in that tiny pool, which an active leaper could half spring across, 
such hideous denizens are concealed. ' Here is the pool,' I said to my guide, 
rather contemptuously, ' but where are the crocodiles?" At the same time 
I was stalking on very boldly, with head erect, and rather inclined to flout 
the whole affair, naso adunco. A sudden hoarse roar or bark, however, 
under my very feet, made me execute a pirouette in the air with extraordi- 
nary adroitness, and, perhaps, with more animation than grace. I had 
almost stepped on a young crocodilian imp, about three feet long, whose 
bite, small as he was, would have been the reverse of pleasant. Presently 
the genius of the place appeared in the shape of a wizard-looking old fakir, 
who, on my presenting him with a couple of rupees, produced his wand (in 
other words, a long pole), and then proceeded to call up his spirits. On 
his shouting, ' Ao ! Ao ! ' (Come! Come!), two or three times, the water 
suddenly became alive with monsters. At least threescore huge crocodiles, 
some of them fifteen feet in length, made their appearance, and came throng- 
ing to the shore. The whole scene reminded me of fairy tales. The soli- 
tary wood, the pool, with its strange inmates, the fakir's lonely hut on the 
hillside, the fakir himself, tall, swart, and gaunt, the rubber-looking Biluchi 
by my side, made up a fantastic picture. Strange, too, the control our 
showman displayed over his 'lions.' On his motioning with the pole, they 
stopped (indeed, they had already arrived at a disagreeable propinquity), 
and on his calling out, 'Baitho' (Sit down), they lay flat on their stomachs, 
grinning horrible obedience with their open and expectant jaws. Some 
large pieces of flesh were thrown to them, to get which they struggled, 
writhed, and fought, and tore the flesh into shreds and gobbets. 1 was 
amused with the respect the smaller ones showed to their overgrown seniors. 
One fellow, about ten feet long, was walking up to the feeding-ground from 
the water, when he caught a glimpse of one much larger just behind him. It 
was odil to see the frightened look with which he sidled out of the way, evi- 
dently expecting to lose half a yard of his tail before he could effect his 
retreat. At a short distance (perhaps half a mile) from the first pool I 
was shown another, in which the water was as warm as one could bear it 
for complete immersion ; yet, even here, I saw some small alligators. The 
fakirs told me these brutes were very numerous in the river, about fifteen or 
twenty miles to the west. The monarch of the place, an enormous croco- 
dile, to whom the fakir had given the name of ' Mor Sahib ' (My Lord Mor), 
never obeyed the call to come out. As I walked round the pool, I was 


shown where he lay, with his head above water, immovable as a log, and 
fur which 1 should have taken him but for his small, savage eyes, which 
glittered so that they seemed to emit sparks, lie was, the fakir said, 
very fierce and dangerous, and at least twenty feet, in length." 

There are several species of crocodiles peculiar to Africa and Asia, but 
in characters and habits they do not materially differ from the Crocodile of 
(lie Nile. Thai, of (he Ganges, however, "which attains a large size, is re- 
markable not only for the length of its muzzle, but for a large cartilaginous 
prominence surrounding the nostrils, which throws these backwards, and 
led .Elian to assert that the Gangetic Crocodile had a horn at the tip of its 

The crocodiles are carnivorous, but unable to swallow under water, and 
their habit, is to drown their prey, and conceal it in some hole beneath the 
surface till it putrefies, when they devour it. The female is very prolific, 
guards her eggs with care, and continues to protect her young until they can 
support themselves. Yet, with all her vigilance, she cannot prevent the 
greater portion of her eggs from being devoured by the ichneumon, trionyx, 
and vulture. Were it not for this provision of nature, these frightful ani- 
mals would overrun the countries which they frequent, and render them 
uninhabitable by human beings. 

Gexus Alligator. — Cuvier : The American Crocodile. — The Cay- 
man. This animal is distinguished from its Oriental congener by a broader 
and more obtuse muzzle, and feet undentelated, and only semi-palmated. 
These powerful animals are found in great numbers in lagoons and rivers of 
Georgia, Florida, and most of the wanner countries of the American Con- 
tinent. Their body is as large as that of the horse, and in shape is not 
unlike that of the lizard: their head is described as resembling a "huge 
clump of wood filiating about upon the water." They grow to the length 
t>\' fifteen or twenty feet, are covered by a dense harness of horny scales, 
impenetrable to a musket ball, except about the head and shoulders, and 
have a huge mouth, opening about, three feet, armed with two rows of 
strong, unequal, conical teeth, some of which shut into cavities of the upper 
jaw-bone, 'liny swim or dart along through the water with wonderful 
celerity, impelled by their long, laterally-compressed, and powerful tails, 
which serve as very efficient oars. On land, their motions are proportion- 
ally slow and embarrassed, because of the length and unwieldiness of their 
bodies, the shortness of their limbs, and the sort of small, false ribs which 
reach from joint to joint of their necks, and render lateral motion very dif- 
ficult. The Alligator is generally considered as disposed to retire from man, 
but this is only to be understood of alligators frequenting rivers or waters 
where they are often disturbed. In situations less visited by man, they are 


very ferocious. They have a loud and terrible roar, resembling distant 
thunder; and when hundreds of" them arc roaring together, it seems as if 
the earth itself were agitated. They also make a remarkable noise by chip- 
ping their jaws together, which may be heard at a great distance. These 
animals may often be seen lying in great numbers upon the banks, where 
they seize hogs and other beasts which go to the river to drink. .Sometimes 
they attack small boats, endangering the lives of those who are in them. 

" The females make their nests in a curious manner upon the banks of 
rivers or lagoons, generally in marshes, along which, at a short distance 
from the water, the nests are arranged somewhat like an encampment. 
They are obtuse cones, four feet high, and about four feet in diameter at 
the base, built of mud and grass. From one hundred to two hundred eggs 
are found in each one. The females keep near the nests, and take the 
young under their care as soon as they are hatched, defending them with 
great perseverance and courage. The young are seen following the mother 
through the water like a brood of chickens following a hen. When basking 
in the sun on shore, the young arc heard whining and yelping about the 
mother, not unlike young puppies. When first hatched they are very feeble 
and helpless, and large numbers of them are devoured by beasts of prey, 
turtles, and the American trionyx, as well as by the male alligators, until 
they grow old and strong enough to defend themselves. Many of the eggs, 
also, are destroyed by vultures and other animals, so that the race would 
become speedily extinct were it not for the great fecundity of the females." 

The Second Family of the Saukians embraces the Lizards, divided 
into two great genera, comprising numerous species. Besides the common 
and well-known individuals of the Lizard group, there are the Monitors, 
which are the largest of the whole tribe. They have teeth in both jaws, 
and are adapted to aquatic habits. Frequenting the vicinity of the haunts 
of crocodiles and alligators, it is said that they give warning, by a whistling 
sound, of the approach of those dangerous reptiles, and hence probably their 
names of Sauvegurde and Monitor. They constitute the genus Monitor, 
one species of which, M. crocodilinus (the Great Dragonet of Guiana), 
attains a length of six feet, and is eaten. Another, of equal size and 
length, is found in Brazil. It runs swiftly on the ground, and takes to the 
water when pursued, into which it plunges, but does not swim. It devours 
all sorts of insects, small reptiles, and the eggs of poultry, and nestles in 
holes which it burrows in the sand. Its flesh and eggs are eaten by the 
natives, and considered wholesome and savory. 

The Third Family of Saurians is composed of the Iguana group. 
In this series is the Dragon, a small animal, furnished with a sort of mem- 
brane or wini"-, which enables it to glide from bough to bough, and is the 

no. xiv. i;;i 


original of the flying serpents of the ancient mythology. Here also is 
found the Marblet, which, having a voluminous lung that fills nearly the 
whole body, changes the lines of its skin, when excited, like the chameleon. 

The Fourth Family of Saurians is composed of the Geckotians, 
small animals of nocturnal habits and disagreeable aspect, bearing a consid- 
erable resemblance to toads and salamanders. Their feet arc so constructed 
that they adhere to surfaces, and enable the animal to walk on ceilings. 
They belong to the Old World. 

The Fifth Family consists of the Chameleons. These singular ani- 
mals are about fifteen inches in length : they live on trees, subsisting on 
insects, which they dexterously capture with their long, extensile tongue, 
that moves with great celerity. The end of this organ is furnished with a 
glutinous substance, which attracts numerous small insects, and holds them 
fast till they are conveyed to the mouth and swallowed, when the curiously- 
armed tongue again darts forth for another batch of victims. 

The lung of the Chameleon is so vast that, when inflated, the body ap- 
pears tran-pareiit, which led the ancients to believe that these animals fed 
on air. The singular power they possess of changing their color according 
to their wants and passions, is also to be attributed to this magnitude of the 
lung. Another remarkable peculiarity of this reptile is the want of sym- 
pathy between the two sides of the whole body, each side having movements 
and affections of its own, like a separate animal. Thus, while one side may 
be asleep, the other may be awake; one may he of one color, and the other 
of another; the eyes, too, have separate movements, and the limbs will not 
aet in concert ; consequently the animal cannot swim. 

The Sixth Family comprises the Scindoidiens, which are recognized 
by the shortness of their feet, the non-extensibility of the tongue, and the 
equality of the tile-like scales which cover the whole body and tail. In the 
whole family there is a general approach to the serpent form. It is divided 
into five genera, viz., the Scinques, the Sc])S, the Dlpodes, the Ohal- 
cides, and the < 'hirotes, all of which exhibit the same gradual descent to 
the serpent character. 


The first family of Serpents retains the skull, teeth, and tongue of one 
of the preceding groups, — the Seps, — and might be designated as Sauri- 
ans without feet. r fhe Double Marcheurs (Ophidians that can prog 
either head or tail foremost), the Amphisbcenes, the Typhlops, the Roles, 
which comprise the first part of the second family of Serpents, also show 


some Saurian characters. They are, for the most part, very small animals, 
and offer no peculiarities of sufficient interest to be recorded here. 

Serpents Proper. " What geology and anatomy have unfolded of the 
nature of Serpents, in regard to their present condition," says Professor 
Owen, "amounts to this: that their parts arc as exquisitely adjusted to the 
form of the whole, and to their habits and sphere of life, as is the organi- 
zation of* any animal which we call superior to them. It is true the Serpent 
has no limbs, yet it can outclimb the monkey, outswim the fish, outleap the 
jerboa, and, suddenly loosing the coils of its crouching spiral, it can spring 
into the air, and seize the bird upon the wing ; thus all these creatures fall 
its prey. The Serpent has neither hands nor talons, yet it can outwrestle 
the athlete, and crush the tiger in its folds. Far from licking up its food as 
it glides along, the Serpent lifts up its crushed prey, and presents it, grasped 
in the death-coil as in the hand, to the gaping, slime-dropping mouth. It 
is truly wonderful to see the work of hands, feet, fins, performed by a sim- 
ple modification of the vertebral column in a multiplication of its joints, 
with mobility of its ribs. As Serpents move chiefly on the surface of the 
earth, their danger is greatest from pressure or blows from above ; all the 
joints are accordingly fashioned to resist yielding, and to sustain pressure in 
a vertical direction ; there is no natural undulation of the body upwards and 
downwards — it is permitted only from side to side. So closely and com- 
pactly do the ten pairs of the joints between each side of the two or three 
hundred vertebrae fit together, that, even in a relaxed and dead state, the 
body cannot be twisted, except in a series of side coils. Of this the reader 
may assure himself by an experiment on a dead and supple snake. Let him 
lay it straight along a level surface, seize the end of the tail, and, by a 
movement of rotation between the thumb and finger, endeavor to screw the 
snake into spiral coils ; before he can produce a single turn, the whole of the 
long and slender body will roll over as rigidly as if it were a stick. When 
we call to mind the anatomical structure of the skull, the singular density 
and structure of the bones of the cranium strike us as a special provision 
against fracture and injury to the head. And when we consider the remark- 
able manner in which all the bones of the skull overlap one another, we 
cannot but discern a special adaptation in the structure of Serpents to their 
commonly prone position, and a provision for the dangers to which they 
were subject from falling bodies, and the tread of heavy beasts." 

With respect to their conformation, all Serpents have a very wide mouth 
in proportion to the size of the head ; and, what is very extraordinary, they 
can gape and swallow the head of another animal which is three times as 
big as their own. To explain this, it must be observed, that the jaws of 


this animal do not open as ours, in the manner of a pair of hinges, where 
bones are applied to hones, and play upon one another; on the contrary, 
the Serpents jaws are held together at the roots by a stretching, muscular 
skin : by which means they open as widely as the animal chooses to stretch 
them, and admit of a prey much thicker than the snake's own body. The 
throat, like stretching leather, dilates to admit the morsel; the stomach 
receives it in part, and the rest remains in the gullet till putrefaction and 
the juices of the Serpent's body unite to dissolve it. 

The tongue in all these animals is long and lorky. It is composed of two 
long, fleshy substances, which terminate in sharp points, and are very plia- 
ble. Some of the viper kind have tongues a filth part the length of their 
bodies ; they are continually darting them out, but they are entirely harm- 
less, and only terrify those who are ignorant of the real situation of their 

The skin is composed of a number of scales, united to each other by a 
transparent membrane, which grows harder as it grows older, until the ani- 
mal changes it, which is generally done twice a year. This cover then 
bursts near the head, and the Serpents creep from it, by an undulatory mo- 
tion, in a new skin much more vivid than the former. As the edges of the 
foremost scales lie over the ends of the following scales, so those edges, 
when the scales are erected, which the animal has the power of doing in a 
small degree, catch in the ground, like the nails in the wheels of a chariot, 
and so promote and facilitate the animal's progressive motion. The erect- 
ing these scales is by means of a multitude of distinct muscles, with which 
each is supplied, and one end of which is tacked to the foregoing. 

This tribe of animals, like that of fishes, seems to have no bounds put to 
its growth; their bones are in a great measure cartilaginous, and they are 
consequently capable of great extension ; the older, therefore, a Serpent 
becomes, the larger it grows : and, as they seem to live to a great age, they 
arrive at an enormous size. 

Lequat assures us that he saw a Serpent in Java that was fifty feet lung, 
and Carli mentions their growing to above forty feet. Mr. Wentworth, who 
had large concerns in South America, assures us that, in that country, 
they grow to an enormous length. lie one day sent out a soldier, with an 
Indian, to kill a wild fowl for the table; anil they accordingly went some 
miles from the fort. In pursuing their game, the Indian, who generally 
marched before, beginning to tire, went to rest himself upon the fallen trunk 
oi a tree, as he supposed it to be; but when he was just going to sit down, 
the enormous monster began to move, and the poor savage, perceiving that 
he had approached a liboya, the greatest of all the Serpent kind, dropped 
down in an agony. The soldier, who perceived at some distance what had 


happened, levelled at the Serpent's head, and, by a lucky aim, shot it dead ; 
however, he continued his fire until lie was assured that the animal was 
killed ; and then, going up to rescue his companion, who was fallen motion- 
less by its side, he, to his astonishment, found him dead likewise, being 
killed by the fright. 

Upon his return to the fort, and telling what had happened, Mr. Went- 
worth ordered the animal to be brought up, when it was measured, and 
found to be thirty-six feet long. 

In the East Indies they grow also to an enormous size, particularly in 
the Island of Java, where we are assured that one of them will destroy and 
devour a buffalo. In a letter printed in the German Ephemerides, we have 
an account of a combat between an enormous Serpent and a buffalo, by a 
person who affirms that he was himself a spectator. The Serpent had, 
for some time, been waiting near the brink of a pool in expectation of its 
prey, when a buffalo was the first that offered. Having darted upon the 
affrighted animal, it instantly began to wrap it round witli its voluminous 
twistings ; and at every twist the bones of the buffalo were heard to crack 
almost as loud as the report of a cannon. It was in vain that the poor ani- 
mal struggled and bellowed; its enormous enemy entwined too closely to 
get free ; till at length, all its bones being mashed to pieces, like those of a 
malefactor on the wheel, and the whole body reduced to one uniform mass, 
the Serpent untwined its folds to swallow its prey at leisure. To prepare 
for this, and, in order to make the body slip down the throat more readily, 
it was seen to lick the whole body over, and thus cover it with its mucus. 
It then began to swallow it at that end that offered least resistance, while 
its length of body was dilated to receive its prey, and thus took in at once 
a morsel that was three times its own thickness. We are assured by trav- 
ellers, that these animals are often found with the body of a stag in their 
gullet, while the horns, which they are unable to swallow, keep sticking out 
at their mouths. 

But it is happy for mankind that the rapacity of these frightful creatures 
is often their punishment ; for whenever any of the Serpent kind have gorged 
themselves in this manner, and their body is seen particularly distended with 
food, they become torpid, and may be approached and destroyed with safety. 

Other creatures have a choice in their provision ; but the Serpent indis- 
criminately preys upon all — the buffalo, the tiger, ami the gazelle. < hie 
would think that the porcupine's ipiills might lie sufficient to protect it; but 
whatever has life serves to appease the hunger of these devouring creatures. 
Porcupines, with all their cpiills, have frequently been found in their stom- 
achs when killed and opened ; nay, they most frequently are seen to devour 
each other. 


But though these animals are, above all others, the most voracious, ami, 
though the morsel which they swallow, without chewing, is greater than 
what any other creature, either by land or water, the whale itself not ex- 
cepted, can devour, yet no animals upon earth hear abstinence so long as they. 
A single meal, with many of the snake kind, seems to lie the adventure of 
a season ; and Is an occurrence for which they have been for weeks, nay, 
sometimes fur months, in patient expectation. Their prey continues, for a 
long time, partly in the stomach, partly in the gullet, and a part is often 
seen hanging out of the month. In this manner it digests by degrees, and, 
in proportion as the part below is dissolved, the part above is taken in. It 
is not, therefore, till this tedious operation is entirely performed, that the 
Serpent renews its appetite and its activity. But, should any accident pre- 
vent it from issuing once more from its cell, it still can continue to bear 
famine for weeks, months, nay, for years, together. Vipers are often kept 
in boxes for six or tight months without any l'ood whatever; and there are 
little Serpents sometimes sent to Europe from Grand Cairo that live for 
several years in glasses, and never eat at all, nor even stain the glass with 
their excrement. Thus the Serpent tribe unite in themselves two very op- 
posite qualities — wonderful abstinence and yet incredible rapacity. 

Though all Serpents arc amphibious, some are much fonder of the water 
than others ; and, though destitute of fins or gills, remain at the bottom, or 
swim along the surface, with great ease. They can, however, endure to live 
in fresh water only ; lor salt is an effectual bane to the whole tribe. 

Some Serpents have a most horrible fetor attending them, which is alone 
capable of intimidating the brave. This proceeds from two glands near the 
vent, like those in the weasel or polecat; and. like those animals, in propor- 
tion as they are excited by rage or by fear, the scent grows stronger. It 
would seem, however, that such Serpents as are most venomous are least 
offensive in this particular, since the rattlesnake and the viper have no smell 
whatever; nay, we are told that, at Calcutta and Crangamore, in the East 
Indies, there arc some very noxious Serpents, who are so far from being dis- 
agreeable that their excrements are sought after, and kept as the most pleas- 
ing perfume. The Esculapian Serpent is also of this number. 

Some Serpents bring forth their young alive, as the viper. Some bring 
forth eggs, which are hatched by the heat of their situation, as the (.'011)111011 
black snake, and the majority of the Serpent tribe. When a reader, igno- 
rant of anatomy, is told that some of these animals produce their young 
alive, and that some produce eggs only, he is apt to suppose a very great 
difference in their internal conformation, which makes such a variety in their 
manner of bringing forth. But this is not the case ; these animals are 
internally alike in whatever manner they produce their young ; and the 


variety of their bringing forth is rather a slight than a real discrimination. 
The only difference is, that the viper hatches her eggs, and brings them to 
maturity within her body; the snake is more premature in her productions, 
and sends her eggs into the light some time before the young ones are capa- 
ble of leaving the shell. Thus, if either arc opened, the eggs will be found 
in the womb, covered with their membranous .--hell, and adhering to eaeli 
other like large beads on a string. In the egg of both, the young ones will 
lie found, though at different stages of maturity ; those of the viper will 
crawl and bite, the moment the shell that encloses them is broken open ; 
those of the snake are not yet arrived at, their perfect form. 

Father Labat took a Serpent, of the viper kind, that was nine feet, long, 
and ordered it to be opened in his presence. lie then saw the manner in 
which the eggs of these animals lie in the womb. In this creature there 
were six eggs, each of the size of a goose egg, but longer, more pointed, 
and covered with a membranous skin, by which also they were united to 
each other. Each of these eggs contained from thirteen to fifteen young 
ones, about six inches long, and as thick as a goose quill. These little, 
mischievous animals were no sooner let loose from the shell, than they crept 
about, ami put themselves into a threatening posture, eoiliug themselves up, 
and biting the stick with which he was destroying them. In this manner 
he killed seventy-four young ones; those that were contained in one of the 
eggs escaped at the place, where the female was killed, by the bursting of 
the egg, and their getting among the bushes. 

The, last distinction that we shall mention, lint the most material among 
Serpents, is, that some are venomous, and some inoffensive; but not above 
a tenth of their number arc actually venomous. 

From the noxious qualities in the Serpent kind, it is no wonder that not 
only man, but beasts and birds, carry on an unceasing war against, them. 
The ichneumon of the, Indians, and the peccary of America, destroy them 
in great numbers. These animals have the art of seizing them near the 
head ; and it is said that they can skin them with great dexterity. The 
vulture and the eagle also prey upon them in great abundance ; and often, 
sousing down from the clouds, drop upon a long Serpent, which they snatch, 
struggling and writhing, in the air. Dogs, also, are bred up to oppose them. 

Father Feuillee tells us that, being in the woods of Martinico, lie was 
attacked by a large Serpent, which he could not easily avoid, when his dog 
immediately came to his relief, and seized the assailant with great courage. 
The Serpent entwined him, and pressed him so violently, that the blood 
came out of his mouth, and yet the dog never ceased till he had torn it in 
pieces. The dog was not sensible of his wounds during the fight ; but, soon 
after, his head swelled prodigiously, and he lay on the ground as dead. l>ut 


his master having found, hard by, a banana tree, he applied its juice, mixed 
with treaelc, to the wound, which recovered the dog, and quickly healed his 

In India there is nothing so common as dancing Serpents, which are car- 
ried about in a broad, flat vessel somewhat resembling a sieve. These en i I 
and put themselves in motion at the word of command. When their keeper 
sings a slow tune, they seem, by their heads, to keep time ; when he sings 
a quicker measure, they appear to move mure brisk and lively. All animals 
have a certain degree of docility; and we find that Serpents themselves can 
be brought to move and approach at the voice of their master. From this 
trick, successfully practised before the ignorant, it is most probable has 
arisen all the boasted pretensions which some have made to the charming of 
Serpents — an art to which the native Americans pretend at this very day. 

As a general thing, the non-venomous Serpents have the branches of the 
upper jaw furnished throughout their length, like those of the lower jaw and 
the palate, with fixed and solid teeth. There are three or four sub-equal 
ranges of these teeth in the upper part of the mouth, and two in the lower. 
On the contrary, the venomous Serpents are furnished with movable fangs. 
It should be remembered, however, that some snakes with solid teeth are 
dinglv poisonous, especially those that have very large, black molars. 

GENUS \)<>\. — The Boas. These are the largest of all serpents, attain- 
in- a length of from thirty to forty feet. They have a hook on each side 
of the anus, a compressed body, large towards the middle, small scales on 
the hinder part of the head, and a prehensile tail. They are capable of 
swallowing very large animals, even cattle, after having crushed them within 
their folds, and lubricated, with their saliva, as wc have already described in 
our general remarks upon serpents. To enable them to perform such an 
extraordinary feet of deglutition, they have, at the extremity of the great 
lung, — one lung is but half the length of the other, — a large air-bag, 
which contains the air requisite for respiration when the nostrils are closed 
in the process of swallowing. 

There are several species, which are distinguished by the difference in the 
teguments of the head and jaws. The Anaconda of South America does 
not differ materially from the Boa of Africa and India. They are all pow- 
erful animals, and justly objects of terror to the inhabitants of those coun- 
tries which are infested by them. 

All along the swampy banks of the Rivers Niger and Oroonoko, where 
the sun is hot, the forests thick, and the men but \\:\\, the serpents cling 
among the branches of the trees in infinite numbers, and carry on an un- 
ceasing war against all other animals in their vicinity. Travellers have 
assured us that they have often seen large snakes twining around the trunk 


of a tall tree, encompassing it like a wreath, and thus rising and descending 
at pleasure. In these countries, therefore, the serpent is too formidable to 
become an object of curiosity, for it excites much more violent sensations. 

AYe are not, therefore, to reject, as wholly fabulous, the accounts left us 
liv the ancients of the terrible devastations committed by a single serpent. 
It is probable, in early times, when the arts were little known, and mankind 
were but thinly scattered over the earth, that serpents, continuing undis- 
turbed possessors of the forest, grew to an amazing magnitude; and every 
other tribe of animals fell before them. We have many histories of an- 
tiquity presenting us such a picture, and exhibiting a whole nation sinking 
under the ravages of a single serpent. We are told that while Regulus led 
his army along the banks of the River Bagrada, in Africa, an enormous 
serpent disputed his passage over. We are assured by Pliny, who says that 
he himself saw the skin, that it was a hundred and twenty feet long, and 
that it had destroyed many of the army. At last, however, the battering 
engines were brought out against it, and these assailing it from a distance, 
it was soon destroyed. 

GENUS COLUBER. — The Snakes proper. In this division are the Py- 
thons, which have hooks on each side of the anus, and narrow, ventral 
plates, as in the Boas, from which they only differ by having the plates under- 
neath the tail double. Some of the species equal the Boa in size. Nine or 
ten different groups are mentioned by the authors, peculiar to the several 
regions of the earth ; but, as they offer no features of special interest, we 
pass them by. 

The common Snakes of the United States form quite a numerous family. 
A small species, with a brown back and vermilion belly, is common through- 
out New England, as is also another, a little larger, colored a beautiful 
green. The Striped Snakes, some of which attain the length of a yard, 
are too well known to need any description. They are all harmlessi Of 
the Slack Snakes, two species occur frequently in all parts of this country, 
— the common Black, and the Collared Black, Snake, the last mentioned 
being the most fierce and powerful. It sometimes, when disturbed, will 
attack human beings, but is scarcely able to contend with a resolute man, 
although instances have occurred of some severe contests. The Black 
Snakes move with amazing celerity, the eye being scarcely able to follow 
them. As they are not poisonous, they can be dangerous only to children, 
whom sometimes they strangle, by coiling round the neck. 

The Venomous Serpents. — All of the species bring forth their young- 
alive, whence the general name, viper — a contraction of viviparous. Their 
maxillary bones are small, and very movable, having a pointed tooth attached 
to them, through which extends a small canal, which conveys a poisonous 
NO. xiv. 70 


liquid, secreted by .1 large gland beneath the eye. It is this liquid which is 
instilled into the wound inflicted by the tooth, that produces the effects mure 
or less deadly, according to the species from which it proceeds. 

"Venomous serpents, with isolated fangs, present nearly the same external 
characters; but the greater number have extremely dilatable jaws, and the 
tongue very extensile. Their head, which is wide posteriorly, has, in gen- 
eral, a savage aspect, which, to a certain extent, announces their ferocity. 
They form two great genera, — the Rattlesnakes and the Vipers." 

Genus Cuotalus, Linn. — These snakes, so celebrated Cor the deadli- 
nes of their venom, are exclusively American. They were formerly very 
numerous in all the Eastern States, but arc now nearly exterminated. This 
reptile is one of the most dangerous of its family, its bite, properly inflicted, 
being sure to cause the death of the largest animal. It is totally unknown 
in the Old World, and is readily distinguished by its rattle — an instrument 
situated at the tail extremity, and consisting of several horny, membranous 
cells, which rattle upon each other when agitated by the animal. The Rat- 
tlesnake i^ of a tawny and black color above, and ash color beneath; has a 
short and rather round head; a large protecting scale over each eye, and 
long, sharp-pointed fangs. It is slow in its motions, inactive in its habits, 
and not readily disturbed — features which luckily tend to lessen the mis- 
chief which otherwise it would be capable of inflicting. Its head is broad, 
triangular, and generally Hat in its entire extent. Its eyes are very bril- 
liant, and provided with a nictitating membrane, the mouth very large, the 
tongue forked at its extremity. Its body is robust, elongated, cylindrical, 
co\ 1 led above with carinated scales. Its tail is short, cylindrical, and some- 
what thick. The number of the little bells, which terminate it, increases 
with age, an additional one being formed at every casting of the skin. These 
bells are truncated, quadrangular pyramids, received within each other in 
such a manner that only a third part of each is visible, the tip of every bone 
running within two of the bones below it. Thus they are united by a kind 
of ball and socket joint, and move with a rattling sound whenever the ani- 
mal agitates its tail. The noise resembles that made by rumpled parchment, 
or two quills of a goose rubbed smartly against each other. Tin 1 poison 
fangs are traversed by a canal for the emission of the poison. These fangs, 
when not used, remain concealed in a fold of the gum ; when the animal 
biles, the fangs are raised. They are two in number, one at each end of 
the upper jaw. The effects of the poison of course depend much upon the 
season of the year, the age. and strength of the reptile, and the part struck; 
hence numerous cases are on record of indn iduals recovering in a few weeks 
from the bite of a Rattlesnake. It is also found, by experiment, that the 
effect of subsequent wounds is greatly diminished, either by the diminution 


of the quantity of venom, or by some deterioration of its strength; so that 
if a venomous serpent be made repeatedly to inflict wounds, without allow- 
ing sufficiently long intervals for it to recover its powers, each successive bite 
becomes less and less dangerous. "A gentleman of my acquaintance," says 
the author of British Reptiles, "had, some years ago, received a living 
Rattlesnake from America. Intending to try the effects of its bite upon 
some rats, lie introduced one of these animals into the cage with the serpent ; 
it immediately struck the rat, which died in two minutes. Another rat was 
then placed in the cage; it ran up to the part farthest from the serpent, 
uttering cries of distress. The snake did not immediately attack it ; hut, 
after half an hour, and on being irritated, it struck the rat, which did not 
exhibit any symptoms of being poisoned lor several minutes, and died twenty 
minutes after the bite. A third and remarkably large rat was then intro- 
duced. It exhibited no sign of terror at its dangerous companion, which, 
on its part, appeared to take no notice of the rat. After watching for the 
rest of the evening, my friend retired, leaving the serpent and the rat to- 
gether. On rising early the next morning to ascertain the late of his two 
heterogeneous prisoners, he found the snake dead, and the muscular part of 
its back eaten by the rat. I do not remember at what time of the year this 
circumstance took place, but I believe it was not during very hot weather." 

When the winter is rigorous, the Rattlesnakes pass some time in a lethargic 
state, near the sources of rivers, in covert places, where the frost cannot 
reach them. They bury themselves thus, before the autumnal equinox, 
after they have changed their skin, and do not emerge until after the vernal 
equinox. Many of them are often found together in the same hole. Till 
the month of July their bite is comparatively harmless. At Cayenne, and 
in the hot latitudes, they tire in constant activity all the year. They are 
viviparous, and can live a long time. Some have been mentioned as having 
forty or fifty pieces in their rattles, and being from eight to ten i'eet in 
length. They have great tenacity of life. Thev feed on birds, squirrels, 
frogs, &c, and it was for a time believed that they had the power to charm 
these animals, and thus draw them within their reach. Other serpents, also, 
have been supposed to possess the same wonderful faculty, to which, it was 
believed, even human beings sometimes succumbed. These small animals, 
and even timid persons, may have been temporarily paralyzed by fear at the 
sudden appearance of one of these frightful reptiles, hut we are obliged to 
believe all the cases of charming, which are recorded, to be purely imagi- 
native and apocryphal. 

A species of horned Rattlesnake has been discovered in the Rocky Moun- 
tains. A specimen is now (1869) in the possession of Mr. James Estes, 
of Jonesboro', Tennessee. It has twelve rattles, a large, flat, red head, and 


is about three feet in length. There are two large horns situated on the top 
of the head — three spikes to each horn. 

Allied to the foregoing are the Trigonocephaly, which are distinguished 
by the absence of the rattle, but accord in other characteristics. The ( 'upper- 
head, or Moccasin Snake, belongs to the same family. It inhabits the vast 
prairies of the West, and we have seen it in Connecticut, at the foot of a 
mountain, in the town of Southington. Its venom is similar to that of the 
Rattlesnake. Various remedies have been named as effectual for the bite 
of these serpents, — such as whiskey taken to intoxication; applying to the 
•wound bruised plantain leaves, or a decoction of tobacco; washing it with 
strong ley water; a treatment producing a heavy perspiration, as the steam- 
bath; and, lastly, extracting the virus by suction. 

Genus Vipera. — The Vipers. These reptiles are distinguished from 
the Rattlesnakes by the absence of the rattle, and also of the cavities beneath 
tin nostrils, in which last particular they differ from the Trigonocephali. 

The American Viper, or Adder, is distinguished by its thick body as 
compared with its length, which is from one to two feet, although we have 
seen specimens a yard long. Its color is generally brown, with yellow spot.- i 
we have met with Adders of a yellowish-white ground color, with black, 
irregular patches. They are all poisonous, disgusting creatines, and fortu- 
nately, in New England at least, nearly exterminated. The celebrated and 
will known (by the lull and frequent descriptions of travellers) Cobra di 
Capeflo, or dancing serpent of India, and the Hnje, or Asp of Egypt, be-, 
long to this group. There arc several others, all extremely venomous. 
There are two other species peculiar to India — the Bongars .and the Hy- 
dras. The former attain a length of eight or ten feet, and are called Koch- 
Snakes ; the latter arc aquatic animals, and infest the Indian .seas. They 
are swift swimmers, feed on fishes, and are extremely poisonous. 

The Order of Ophidians terminates with a curious genus of animals, the 
anatomical and physiological .structure of which approximates them to the 
Batrachians. Their eyes are excessively small, nearly hidden by the skin, 
and sometimes wholly absent, whence their generic name, CcECILIA. They 
inhabit the warm regions of both continents, and live, for the most part, be- 
neath the surface, .sometimes in marshy places several i'eet under ground. 
One species, the C. lumbricoides, is totally blind, two feet in length, of a 
blackish color, and about the thickness of a goose quill. 

An investigation of the cerebral structure of the Ophidians shows that, in 
point of mental power, they occupy nearly the lowest place in the scale of 
being. Stupid and dull to the last degree, it is difficult to conceive how 
such a brute could have been adopted by all the old mythologies as a symbol 
of wisdom. The traditional serpent of the poets and mythologists is no- 


where to be found among existing species, and, consequently, we may con- 
clude never had a being except in (able. And yet this most stupid and dis- 
gusting of all creatures was, in many ancient systems, as the Egyptian and 
Scandinavian, an emblem of the conservative power of .Nature. A Chris- 
tian sect was railed by its name (the Ophidians), and employed serpents in 
their religious ceremonies as a type of the Infinite Wisdom. Traces of 
snake worship may also be found in the Old Testament. With our instinc- 
tive antipathy to the serpent, and the experience of that crawling horror 
which its presence, and even the thought of it, inspires, we cannot conceive 
how any human beings could ever have regarded it with other feelings, and 
much less how they ever could have received it as a symbol of wisdom and 
goodness. On the contrary, we feel that the terrible hideousness of the forms 
of all, and the poisonous character of some, might well represent the Evil 
Principle of the universe. 

ORDER IV. BATRACHIA (Frogs and Toads). 

The Batrachians, according to Cuvier, have but one auricle and one ven- 
tricle to the heart, which, however, is disputed by Professor Owen. Their 
two lungs are always equal (we here follow Baron Cuvier), and when young, 
they conjoin to their gills, which give them a relationship with the class of 
fishes. The greater number lose these gills upon attaining the perfect state, 
the only exception being the Syrens, the Protei, and the Menobranchi, 
which retain them at all ages. During the period of the retention of the 
gills, the aorta, on proceeding from the heart, divides into a number of 
branches upon each side, corresponding to that of the gills, the blood from 
the gills returning through veins, which unite together towards the back into 
a single arterial trunk, as in fishes. This trunk supplies the greater number 
of the arteries which nourish the body, and even the vessels which conduct 
the blood for respiration into the lungs. But in the species which shed their 
gills, the vascular ramifications that communicate with them become obliter- 
ated, excepting two, which unite together to form a dorsal artery, each 
giving off a small branch to the lung of its particular side, so that the cir- 
culation of a fish becomes thus converted into that of a reptile. 

The Batrachians have no scales, but arc clothed with a naked, smooth, 
and moist skin, and, excepting one genus, have no nails to their toes. The 
eggs are laid in the water, and the young bear little or no resemblance to 
the form which they assume at maturity. Some of the species are vivip- 

Genus Rax a. — The Frogs. The Frogs are the most numerous, and 


consequently the best known, group of tlic Batrachian family. They are 
distributed through all regions, and, we believe, there is no land where their 
singularly-varied voice is nol heard, either as a. harbinger of the opening 
spring, ci- a sure prophecy of approaching rain. They have a somewhat 
slender body, and four legs, the hinder ones very long, and the feet pal- 
mated. "Their head i- flat, the muzzle rounded, the mouth deeply cleft, 
and the greater number have a soft tongue attached only to the lower part 
of the gullet, but which extends forward to the jaw, and is doubled back 
above. Their fore feet have only four toes, but the hinder sometimes show 
the rudiment of a sixth. The males have, on each side, under the ear, a 
delicate membrane, which is inflated with air when they croak, 

"Their skeleton is entirely deprived of ribs. A cartilaginous plate, even 
with the head, takes the place of tympanum, and renders the ear visible 
externally. The eye has two fleshy lids, and a third, which is horizontal 
and transparent, concealed by the lower one. 

"The inspiration of air is produced simply by the movements of the mus- 
cles of the throat, which, by dilating, draw in the air through the nostrils, 
and, by contracting, whilst the orifices of the nostrils are closed by means 
of the tongue, force the air into the lungs. Expiration, on the contrary, is 
•ted by the contraction of the muscles of the lower belly. 

"The eggs are fecundated at the moment they are laid, and the young is 
termed a Tadpole. It is at first provided with a long, fleshy tail, and a 
small, horny beak, but with no other apparent members besides certain little 
fringes at the sides of the neck. These disappear after some days, but 
Swammerdam assures its that they still exist as gills underneath the skin. 
The latter are minute crests, which are very numerous, attached to the four 
cartilaginous arches, placed on each side of the neck, adhering to the hyoid 
bone, and enveloped by a, membranous tunic, which is covered by the gen- 
eral skin. The water, entering by the mouth, to bathe the intervals of 
these cartilaginous arches, passes out either by two orifices or by a single 
one, according to the species, pierced through the external skin, either on 
the middle or on the left side of the animal. The hind feet are gradually 
developed to view, by little and little, while the anterior likewise appear 
beneath the skin, but do not burst it for some time later. The tail is 
absorbed by degrees. The beak falls, and occasions the genuine mandibles 
to appear, which had previously been soft, and were concealed underneath 
the skin. The gills shrink, and are obliterated, leaving the lungs to perform 
their functions unassisted by them. The eye, which in the Tadpole was 
only visible through a thinner space in the skin, becomes apparent with its 
three lids. The intestines, previously very long, slender, and spirally contort- 
ed, shorten, and acquire the enlargement of stomach and colon. The Tadpole 


lives solely upon aquatic vegetation, whilst the adult animal preys on insects 
and other animal substances. Finally, the limbs of the Tadpole reproduce 
the parts of them that had been mutilated, nearly as in the Newts. 

"The particular epoch of these several changes varies according to the 

"In temperate and cold climates, the perfect animal buries itself, during 
winter, under ground, or in the mud below the surface of water, where it 
continues to live without food or respiration, beyond what of the latter is 
effected by (lie surface of the skin." 

The active powers of this animal arc astonishingly great, when compared 
with its unwieldy shape; it is the best swimmer of all four-footed animals, 
and Nature has finely adapted it for those ends, the arms being light and 
pliant, the legs long, and endowed with great muscular strength. 

The portion of brain which the Frog possesses is much less than might 
be supposed from its make; the swallow is wide, and the stomach narrow, 
though capable of being distended to an astonishing size; the heart, as in 
all other animals that art' truly amphibious, has but one ventricle, so that 
the blood can circulate, whilst it is under water, without any assistance from 
the lungs ; these resemble a number of small bladders, joined together like 
the cells of a honey-comb, and can be distended or exhausted at the crea- 
ture's will. 

A single female produces from six to eleven hundred eggs at a time; but 
this only happens once a year. The male is of a grayish brown color, but 
the skin of the female is of a yellow hue ; these colors grow deeper with 
every change, which frequently happens every eighth day. The Frog gen- 
erally lives out of the water; but, when the cold nights set in, it returns to 
its native place, always making choice of those stagnant waters, at the bot- 
tom of which it is most likely to remain concealed ; there it remains torpid 
during the winter season ; but it is roused into activity by the genial warmth 
of spring. The croaking of these animals has long been considered as the 
certain symptom of approaching rain ; and no weather-glass can describe a 
change of season with more accuracy than this vociferous tribe; and we 
could hardly imagine that a creature of that size could send forth sounds 
that w( uld extend the distance of three.' miles. All very dry and hot seasons 
arc allowed to be injurious to the health of these animals ; and, as they live 
chiefly upon snails and worms, at those periods they find it difficult to pro- 
cure a sufficiency of food. " The method they adopt to ensnare these unsus- 
pecting creatures affords entertainment to the curious mind. When they 
observe their destined prey approaching, for some moments they remain 
immovably fixed, and, when they are sufficiently near, spring suddenly 
upon them, at the same time darting their long tongue from their mouth, 


which is covered with a glutinous substance, to which whatever it touches 

The Fro" 1 is not only capable of existing with a small portion of nourish- 
ment, but will live several hours after the head has been severed from the 
frame; and schoolboys frequently, in the wantonness of cruelty, strip the 
unfortunate creatures of their skin for the purpose of seeing how much vigor 
they are possessed of, though suffering the most excruciating torture and 

< )ne species ( C< ratophoros) lias a very broad head, and a horn-like prom- 
inence over each eye. The Dactylethra is a South African species, with 
pointed toes. The Tree-frogs (Jffylci) have their toes formed into "a sort of 
\ iscous palette," by means of which they climb trees, where they dwell during 
summer, feeding on insects. They seek the water, however, like the other 
frcs, for the purpose of depositing their eggs, and spend the winter in a 
state of torpor, buried in the mud. 

Genus Bufo. — The Toads. This group is composed of animals of a 
most hideous and disgusting form. Their thick, squat bodies, covered with 
tubercles, and a large swelling behind each eye, from the pores of which 
exudes a fetid, milky secretion, renders them peculiarly disagreeable to the 
sight. A singular species, the Rana pipa, of Linnfeus, is peculiar to South 
America. The body is horizontally flattened ; head large and triangular; 
tongue wholly wanting ; tympanum concealed beneath the skin; small eyes 
placed towards the margin of the upper jaw, and each of the front toes 
split, at the tip, into four little points. It inhabits the obscure nooks of 
houses in Cayenne and Surinam, and has a granulated back, with three lon- 
gitudinal ranges of larger granules. The male places the eggs of the female 
upon her back, where they are fecundated, upon which the female returns 
to the water, the skin of her back swelling so as to form a number of cells, 
which enclose each of the eggs, and wherein the young pass their tadpole 
state until they have lost their tails, and developed their limbs, at which time 
the mother returns to land. 

Genus Salamander. — The Salamanders. These animals were once 
believed to have the power to resist excessive heat, and dwell comforta- 
bly in the hottest fires. AYe need not say that no such creatures exist. The 
opinion probably arose from the circumstance that the Salamander expresses 
from the pons of its body a profuse liquid, which enables it, for a short 
time, to withstand the action of fire. 

They have an elongated body, four limbs, and a long, thick tail. The 
head is flattened, and the jaws are armed with numerous small teeth. The 
tadpoles breathe at first by gills, in the form of crests, three on each side 
of the neck. The adidts respire in the same manner as the frogs. The 

VLATE fX//. 


OF E r ti TUHi i r 


fHi SHA 

Siimucl Walker A Co Moslem 


terrestrial Salamanders only remain in the water during the tadpole state, 
and when they return to that element to deposit their eggs. The aquatic 
species (the Tritons) live almost entirely in the water. 

One of the most remarkable characteristics of these animals is the power 
which they possess of reproducing their limbs when they have been torn away. 
According to the experiments of Spollanzani, they renew, many times, succes- 
sively, the same member after it has been severed ; and this with all its bones, 
muscles, vessels, &c. Another faculty, not less singular, consists (as shown 
by Dufoy) in their recovering after having been long frozen up in ice. The 
eggs are fecundated by fluid dispersed in the watery medium, which pene- 
trates with the water into their oviducts. They lay long chaplets of eggs, 
and the young appear fifteen days from the deposition of them, retaining 
their gills fir a longer or shorter period, according to the species. Modern 
observers have distinguished several species, the males of which develop 
high, membranous, dorsal crests very early in the spring, which are absorbed, 
and the remnants cast off, ere they leave the water, at the end of summer. 
One, with a smooth, olive-colored skin like a frog, and handsomely spotted 
with black, is common in stagnant waters ; and two others, with a granu- 
lated skin like a toad, and also spotted upon a much darker ground, and 
punctuated with white, are (the first at least) equally so. All have the 
under parts bright-orange color. Those with granulated skins resemble the 
toads in the capability of remaining without food for a most extraordinary 
period, in a state of imprisonment, having been found occasionally in closed 
cavities, where they must have remained for many years. 

Following the Salamanders, and somewhat allied to them, there are sev- 
eral animals, some of which retain the gills permanently, while others do 
not seem to possess them at all. The latter constitute the genus Menopoma. 
These reptiles are peculiar to North America, and are called by the people 
Hell-benders. They are about eighteen inches in length. 

Among those which have the gills developed arc the Menobranchi , the 
Protei, and the Syrens. The Protei have three toes before, and but two 
behind. The eyes are couched beneath the skin, thus adapting them to 
their manner of living in subterranean waters. The Syrens have a body 
shaped much like that of the eel. They have only two feet, which are 
placed a little below the throat. The head is flattened, and muzzle obtuse. 
They have three branchial crests. They arc small animals, although one 
species, Syren lacertina, attains the length of three feet. 
no. xv. 71 



We now come to the consideration of the most numerous class of verte- 
brate animals, which, in multitudinous variety, fills the ocean-world with 
life, and the inland lakes and rivers with the perpetual spcetaele of a joyous 
existence. They inhabit all depths of the ocean (at least as far below (be 
surface as animal life is possible) , the different genera occupying different 
strata; and many of them are confined by geographical limits, although 
some, and those generally the most useful to man, range through all oceans, 
and appear to be at home in all seas. Many of them are interesting from 
their extreme beauty and gorgeous colors, and others from their great utility 
to mankind as articles of food. The most brilliant tribes inhabit the milder 
regions of the globe, and flash their splendors among the coral-groves of the 
tropica] seas. All the colors of the rainbow are combined in the hues of 
their scaly vesture; and as they dart from branch to branch among the 
reefs of coral, through the (dear and silvery water, each movement reveals 
new ibinations of tints which no art can ever equal. 

There are over eight thousand species of fishes recorded by naturalists, 
and probably there are thousands more in those distant seas which have 
never yet been visited by civilized man. The fecundity of this class is 
extraordinary. A single cod produces, each year, over nine millions of eggs, 
and a sturgeon more than seven, while most of the other species are propor- 
tionally prolific. And yet, preying upon each other as they do, and exposed 

to n erous enemies besides, among whom is man, who destroys countless 

millions annually, were it not for this remarkable increase, the sea would 
soon be without inhabitants. 

The age of a fish may be ascertained by an examination of the scales, 
which cousisl of concentric circles, the number of circles corresponding to 
the number of years it has lived. Where scales are wanting, the age may 
be determined by the number of rings on the articulating surfaces of the 
back bone. The life of a fish is a constant struggle for existence, and the 
ocean is the scene of perpetual warfare; and, consequently, it is not proba- 
ble that many live out the full term of existence. "But, if only few fishes 
die a natural death, a life of liberty makes them some amends for their vio- 
lent end. The tortured cart-horse and ox would, if they could reflect, 
willingly exchange their hard lot and joyless existence for the free life of 
the independent fish, which, from the greater simplicity of its structure, its 
want of higher sensibilities, and the more equal temperature of the element 
in which it lives, remains unmolested by many of the diseases to which the 
warm-blooded, and particularly the domestic, animals arc subject." 


Fishes are described by Cuvicr as viviparous, vertebrata, with a double 
circulation, and respiring through the medium of water. For this purpose 
they have, on each side of the neck, branchiae, or gills, consisting of arches 
of bones attached to the os hyoides, or bone of the tongue : and to these 

arches the filaments of the gills are attached, generally in a row upon each, 
and having their surfaces covered by a tissue of innumerable blood-vessels. 
The water taken in by the mouth passes through among the filaments of the 
gills, and escapes by the gill-openings towards the rear. In its progress 
through the filaments of the gills, the water imparts to these the oxygen of 
the air which it contains, and receives carbon in return, the same as in the 
lungs of an air-breathing animal. The gills of a fish do not decompose 
water, so as to derive oxygen from it, but merely separate the oxygen from 
the atmospheric air contained in the water; and hence, if water is deprived 
of this air, or impregnated with deleterious gases, fishes cannot live in it. 

As little can they bear the return of water entering at the gill-openings, 
and escaping by the mouth ; for, if a fish is held so that the water is made 
to pass in this direction, it is as speedily drowned as if it were an air-breath- 
ing animal. The blood is brought to the gills by the heart, which thus 
answers to the right ventricle of warm-blooded animals; and from the gills 
it is sent to an arterial trunk, lying immediately upon the under side of the 
back bone, which trunk is the left, or systematic, ventricle of the heart, and 
sends the blood throughout the body of the fish. 

Living habitually in water, which is of very nearly the same specific 
gravitv as theil bodies, fishes have no weight to bear, but merely to propel 
themselves through the water; and their form, and their organs of motion, 
are all adapted to this one purpose, though varying in the species. In 
many there is, under the spine, a membranous air-bladder, which the fish 
can contract or expand, at pleasure; and this is understood to alter its grav- 
ity, and enable it to suspend itself at, any depth in the water. Many fishes, 
wanting this apparatus, have, however, nearly the same habits as others 
which are possessed of it. 

Progressive motion is effected by the tail striking alternately right and 
left against the water, for which purpose the flexure of the spine is lateral, 
whereas, in the other vertebrata, generally, the principal flexure is vertical ; 
anil perhaps the jet of water thrown backwards from the gill-openings may 
assist. Thus a fish has but little use for extremities, and the parts analo- 
gous to legs and arms are accordingly very short, terminating in a number 
of rays analogous to fingers and toes ; and these, covered by membranes, 
form what are termed fins. The fins, answering to arms, are called pec- 
torals, and those, answering to legs, ventrals ; and, besides these, there are 
often fins on the back called dorsal, behind the vent called anal, and on the 
extremity of the tail called caudal. 


The texture of the fins is important in classification. If the rays consist 
of single hones, whether stiff or flexible, they are said to be spinous ; anil, 
if they consist of a number of jointed pieces, divided at their extremities, 
they arc called soft or articulated. 

The pectorals are attached to two bones immediately behind the gills, and 
answering to the scapulars, which bones are sometimes imbedded in the 
muscles, or attached to the spine, but generally to the bones of the head. 
The pelvis rarely adheres to the spine ; and it is often in advance of the 
belly, and attached to the bones of the shoulders. 

The vertebrae have their proximate surfaces concave, and filled with car- 
tilage, which forms the joints, and is generally continued by an aperture 
through the centre of each vertebra. Spinous processes, upwards and 
downwards, support the muscles, and maintain the vertical position of the 
body; but, as far as the cavity extends, the downward processes are want- 
ing, and there arc transverse processes, to which the ribs arc sometimes 
soldered by cartilages. 

The head varies much in form, but, in general, consists of the same num- 
ber of bones as in the other vetebrata — a frontal of six pieces, parietals of 
three, occipitals of five, and live of sphenoid, and two of each temporal bone 
included in the composition of the cranium. 

Uesides the brain, which is disposed as in reptiles, fishes have nodes, or 
ganglions, at the base of their olfactory nerves. The nostrils are simple 
cavities at the end of the muzzle, always pierced with two holes, and lined 
by a regularly-plaited pituitary membrane. In their eyes, the cornea is 
flat, and there is a little aqueous humor, but the crystalline lens is almost 
spherical, and very hard. The body is usually clothed with a scaly cover- 
ing, although there are several species which have no visible scales. 

Wonderful as it may appear to see creatures existing in a medium so 
dense that men, beasts, and birds must inevitably perish in it, yet experi- 
ence proves that, besides those species, which we are in the daily habit of 
seeing, the very depths of the immense ocean contain myriads of animated 
beings, to whose very form we are almost strangers, and of whose disposi- 
tions and maimers we are still more ignorant. It is probable, indeed, that 
the fathomless recesses of the deep contain many kinds of fish that are never 
seen by man. In their construction, modes of life, and general design, the 
watery tribes are, perhaps, still more astonishing than the inhabitants of 
either the land or the air. The structure of fish, and their adaptation to 
the element in which they are to live, are eminent proofs of divine wisdom. 
Most of them have the same external form (sharp at each end, and swelling 
in the middle), by which configuration they are enabled to traverse their 
native element with greater ease and swiftness. From their shape, men 


originally took the idea of those vessels which are intended to sail with the 
greatest speed ; but the progress of the swiftest sailing ship, with the advan- 
tage of a favorable wind, is far inferior to that of fishes. Ten or twelve 
miles an hour is no small degree of rapidity in the sailing of a ship ; yet 
any of the larger species of fishes would soon overtake her, play round her, 
as if she did not move, and even advance considerably before her. The 
senses of fishes are remarkably imperfect; and, indeed, that of sight is 
almost the only one which, in general, they may be said to possess. 

Since the time of Linnaeus, several attempts have been made to classify 
these numerous inhabitants of the watery element, and a number of systems 
has appeared, which are more or less entitled to respect. That of Professor 
Agassiz, founded on their scaly covering, is a very ingenious method, and 
extremely useful in determining fossil species, but is not so applicable to 
existing fishes as that of Baron Cuvier. We have chosen to follow the 
latter, therefore, in this work. lie first separates them into two grand 
divisions, — the Cony Fishes and the Cartilaginous Fishes, — the for- 
mer of which he arranges in six orders, and the latter in two. 


The larger number of known fishes are comprised in this order. "Their 
characters are spinous rays in the first dorsal fin, if there arc more than 
one, and spinous rays in the first part, if there is one only ; but sometimes, 
instead of a first dorsal, they have free spines, without any connecting mem- 
branes. The anal has also its first rays spinous ; and there is, generally, 
one such ray in each ventral. By the first ray of a fin is meant the one 
nearest the head.'' 

Peucid.E. — The Perch Family. This tribe is distributed over all parts 
uf the globe, and is distinguished, as a general thing, by its brilliant tints, 
while some of the Perches are noted for their very gorgeous colors. Nearly 
all of them are delicate eating, and as much sought after as the trout, pick- 
erel, or bass. 

They have an oblong body, covered with rough or hard scales, with the 
gill-lid, or gill-flap, or often both, toothed or spinous in the margins. They 
are mostly thoracic, or have the ventral fins under the pectoral, and are sub- 
divided according to the number of gill-rays. Those in the first division 
have seven rays in the gills, two dorsal fins, and the mouth is furnished with 
rows of extremely minute teeth. 

Genus Peuca. — In this group is the P. fluvialis, or common Perch, 


so well known in all the lakes and rivers of this country. Graceful ami 
quick in its movements, darting lure and there in pursuit of its food, often- 
times turning its sides of greeii and gold to the sun, and Hashing its brilliant 
hues through the clear water, it oilers a most interesting spectacle for observa- 
tion. There is scarcely a boy in the land who is not familiar with Perch 
fishing; and even now we remember the enjoyment, when a youth, wc ex- 
perienced in this sport, and particularly witli what pride we returned home 
from a successful expedition, bearing the trophies of our skill strung on a 
stick at i air side. 

Besides the genus Percct, this division contains fourteen genera, among 
which is Labrax, the Bass (a marine fish), and Apogon, small fishes, of 
a red color, found in the Mediterranean. The King of Mullets, or Beard- 
less .Mullet, belongs to this group. Some Perches of this division have two 
dorsal tins, like the last, I. ut. long, pointed teeth. They are all small fishes 
peculiar to the warm regions of the east. 

In the second division, they have also the same gill-rays, hut only one 
dorsal tin i and the genera are arranged according to the characters of the 
teeth — Mcrous, the Great Perch, 8e7*ranus, the Sea-perch, and Anthias, 
the Barber (a beautiful red fish of the Mediterranean, with metallic reflec- 
tion), are found here. There air several other genera inhabiting the waters 
ol different parts of the world, most of them of extremely pleasing form 
and appearance. 

All the preceding Percidce have the ventrals placed immediately under 
the pectorals, hut there are others which have them upon the throat. They 
comprehend several genera, the most remarkable of which are Trockinus, 
the Weevers, ami Uranoscopus, the Star-gazers. The Weevers have the 
head compressed, the ryes near each other, the mouth obliquely upwards, 
thf first dorsal fin short, but with a formidable spine on the first ray. 
These fishes are small, hut their powerful armor of strong, sharp spines 
renders them nearly invulnerable to the attacks of their foes. They conceal 
themselves in die mud, and inflict severe wounds, with their dorsal spines, 
which are very painful, though it does not appear that the spines contain 
any poisonous matter, as the fishermen believe. They arc of a silvery 

The Star-gazers are so called, because the eyes are placed on the upper 
surface of the nearly-conical head, directed towards the heavens. They are 
cunning fishes, and catch their prey by concealing themselves in the mud, 
through which they protrude a narrow slip, with which the mouth is fur- 
ni lied behind the tongue, which attracts small fishes, and holds them fast. 

Tin' third division of the Percidce comprises those which have the ventral 
fins behind the pectoral. To this series belong the genera 8phyrcena, the 


Sea-pikes, and Mullus, the Surmullets. The first of these are powerful 
ami savage fishes, with oblong heads and projecting under jaws. One spe- 
cies, ,s'. Barracuda, is as much dreaded, in warm seas, as the white shark. 
Mullus is a very celebrated genus, and was well known to the ancient-. 
There are two species, the Striped Red Mullet and the Plain Red Mullet. 
They are beautiful fishes, and "the luxurious Romans used to feast their 
eves on their changing colors, when dying, before they devoured their flesh." 

The Hard-cheeks. — The second family of Acanthopterygii is thus 
named on account of the singular appearance of the head, which is variously 
mailed or defended by spines and scaly plates of hard matter. There arc 
several well-known genera. 

Genus Tkigla. — The Gurnards. These fishes derive their name from 
the peculiar sounds which they utter on being taken out of the water. 
"They h;ive the head vertical, armed on each side witli hard and rough 
bones, two distinct dorsals, an air-bladder of two lobes, and extremely large 
pectorals, by means of which they are able to leap to a considerable height out 
of the sea. There arc several species, among which the T. cuculus and /'. 
kirundo arc much esteemed for the table, although the latter is somewhat dry." 

GENUS Puioxotus. — This is a fish peculiar to this country, resembling 
the former genus, but with pectorals so large that they can "support the 
body during a considerable leap through the air." 

Genus Dactyloptekus. — The fishes of this group have the sub-pec- 
toral rays numerous, longer than the body, and united by a membrane, 
by means of which they leap into the air to escape the pursuit of their ene- 
mies ; but, as they cannot fly, they soon fall back again to become the 
victims of their relentless foes. They belong to the Mediterranean and 
Indian Oceans ; they are small fishes, not more than a foot in length. 

Genus Cottus. — The Bull-head. A depressed head, teeth in both jaws, 
the gill-lids furnished with spines, gills with six rays and large openings, 
bodies .-lender, and without visible scales, two dorsals, and small vertical 
fins arc the distinguishing characters of this class. They frequent both (he 
sea and rivers. The River Bull-head is said to evince the same parental 
affection for its ova as a bird for its nest, returning quickly to the spot 
■where they are deposited, and being unwilling to quit it when disturbed. 

Genus Apidophorus. — The Pogge. This is a singularly-formed fish, 
sometimes called the Armed Bull-head. The body is octangular, and cov- 
ered with scaly plates, and its snout is furnished with recurved spines. It 
frequents our rivers, and all the shores of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific 

Genus Scorpcena. — Some of the species are gregarious, having their 


haunts among the rocks. With the exception of their armed and tuber- 
culated heads, they resemble the perches. Their spines are considered 
poisonous. As a general thing, the fishes of the Hard-cheek family are all 
very disagreeable in appearance, and most of them entirely useless to man as 
food, and, with the exception of the following group, totally devoid of interest. 
GENUS GasteroSTEUS. — The Stickleback. This fish receives its name 
from the free spines on the back, and a bony covering on the belly. There 
are several species, chiefly distinguished by the number and character of 
their spines. They inhabit both salt and fresh water. The Stickleback is a 
small fish, but extremely voracious. It is, however, one of the few fishes 
which exhibit anything like an affection for their progeny. It possesses the 
parental instinct to a remarkable degree, and manifests much skill in the 
construction of the nest which it prepares for its spawn. After the fish has 
collected the materials, it covers them with sand, glues the walls with a 
mucous secretion, and prepares a suitable entrance. At a later period, it. be- 
comes the bold and indefatigable defender of its eggs, repelling, with tooth and 
pi i :kles, all other Sticklebacks that approach the nest. If the enemy is too 
powerful, it has recourse to artifice — darts forth, seems actively engaged in 
the pursuit of an imaginary prey, and succeeds in diverting the aggressor's 
attention from its nest. 

The Sckenidje. — -The third family of bony fishes is thus named. They 
also resemble the perches, but have no teeth on the palate. The muzzle is 
thickened, and there are a few scales on the dorsal fins. There arc over 
twenty genera, many of them distinguished for their fine colors. Most of 
them arc foreign, but quite a number are found in American seas, among 
which are Otolitlms, with weak anal spines, no cirri, and some elongated 
or canine teeth; Corvina, with small, crowded teeth, and the second anal 
spine rather strong ; Jbhnius, much esteemed as food, the flesh being white 
and easy of digestion ; Eqnes, with a long and compressed body, elevated 
at the shoulders, and tapering to the tail ; and Hcemulon, with a lengthened 
muzzle, resembling that of a hog, and the lower jaw compressed, opening 
very wide, and of a bright red, on which account, in the West Indies, they 
are called "Eed-throats." 

The Mediterranean has a remarkable genus (the Umbrina), distinguished 
by a cirrus on the lower jaw. It is an extremely beautiful fish, of a golden 
ground color, with bright bands of steel blue. It sometimes attains the 
weight of forty pounds, and its flesh is highly esteemed. 

The Si'akid.k. — Sea-bream tribe. The Sparidai constitute the fourth 
family of bony fishes. In general appearance they resemble the Sciosnidce. 


They have no teeth on the palate, and no scales on the fins. The first. 
division of this family comprises five genera, which have the sides of the 
jaws set with round, flat teeth, of remarkable strength. Among them is 
the Genu.s Chhysophris, the Gilt-heads, one species of which, C. auratus, 
is a large and beautiful fish, with a golden eyebrow. They all have very 
strong teeth, capable of crushing the hardest shells. Most of the members 
of this family arc foreign fishes, and nearly all arc noted for their fine colors. 

The MENiDiE. — The fifth family of the Acanthopterygii comprises 
only four genera. They differ from the last in the great extensibility of 
the upper jaws, which is advanced or withdrawn by means of long, inter- 
maxillary pedistes. The genera Mmna and Smarts inhabit the Mediter- 
ranean. The first of these has a body like that of a herring — lead colored 
on the back, and silvery on the belly. The third genus, Ccesio, belongs to 
Indian Ocean, and the fourth, (/ere*, to the Atlantic. The latter has a 
projectile mouth, and is much esteemed for the fine quality of its flesh. 

Squamipennes. — Scaly-finned. The sixth family of bony fishes are 
thus named because the soft, and often spinous, parts of their dorsal fins arc 
so covered with scales as not to be easily distinguished from the rest of their 
bodies. These fishes abound in warm seas, and are celebrated for the 
beauty of their colors. They arc found near rocky shores, and their flesh 
is very palatable and nutritious. 

Genus Cii.etodox. — The generic name of these fishes is derived from 
the peculiar brush-like appearance of the teeth. They all resemble each 
other, even in their colors, being marked with a black band which passes 
over the eye. In some there arc several vertical bands ; others have them 
longitudinal or oblique ; some have brown spots on the flanks ; some have 
glossed bands on the vertical fins, and one or two ocellated spots. Some of 
them are also distinguished by filaments, produced from the soft rays of the 
dorsal, and others have very few spines in that fin. 

Genus Chelmon. — This fish is remarkable for the length of its snout, 
at the extremity of which is its mouth, which is furnished with fine teeth, 
like hairs. One species, C. rostratus, found near the shores of Southern 
Asia, has a most extraordinary method of hunting its prey. When it sees 
a fly alighting on any of the plants which overhang the shallow water, it 
approaches, with the utmost caution, coming as perpendicularly as possible 
under the object of its meditated attack. Then, placing itself in an oblique 
direction, with the mouth and ears near the surface, it remains a moment 
immovable, taking its aim like a firstrate rifleman. Having fixed its eyes 
directly on the insect, it darts at it a drop of water from the tubular snout, 
NO. xv. 72 


but without showing its mouth above the surface, from which only the drop 
seems to rise, and that with such effect, that, though at the distance of four, 
five, or six feet, it very seldom fails to bring its prey into the water. An- 
other small East Indian fish, the Toxotes jaculator, belonging to the same 
familv, catches its food by a similar dexterous display of archery. There are 
ten other genera, mostly found in foreign seas. 

Heniochus (Coachman) have the first spines of the dorsal, and particu- 
larly the third and fourth, extended into filaments, like a whip, and often 
twice the length of the body. 

Ephippus (Horseman), with a deep notch between the spinous and soft 
portions of the dorsal, the first of which has no scales, and can be folded 
into a groove on the back. 

Sr< >Mp,Ei:n>.r.. — The Mackerel tribe. The Scomberidce compose the 
seventh family of bony fishes. They comprise, as Cuvier well remarks, a 
vast number of genera, numerous species, and countless individuals. 

Geni s Scomber. — The Mackerel. This fish has a long, slender body, 
beautifully colored, and nearly smooth, the scales being very small. It 
quickly dies on leaving the water, exhibits, tor a short time, a phosphores- 
cent light, and lusts, in a great measure, the brilliancy of its hues. It is 
nut surpassed by any fish in its commercial value; lor, either fresh or salted, 
it is a common article of food, at all seasons of tin' year, in the families of 
nearly all civilized nations. It is an extremely voracious animal, and makes 
great havoc among the herring-shoals, although its own length is only from 
twelve to sixteen inches. It ranges through all the seas of North America 
and Northern Europe, and is everywhere esteemed as one of the most valu- 
able of our edible fishes. In winter, it retires into deep water, probably at 
no great distance from the shores, where it appears during the summer and 
autumn in such countless numbers. 

The Mackerel is taken with seines, and with the hook and line ; the latter 
method is by far the most interesting and exciting sport. It bites greedily 
at every bait, and often at the bare hook. 

'fhe vessels fitted out for this fishing are generally small schooners of from 
twenty-five to sixty tons burthen, the largest of them carrying a crew of 
from eight to ten men. "When the fishing-ground is reached, the vessel is 
"hove to," and the deck prepared for action. The lines are furnished with 
two hooks each, and are fastened to " belaying -pins," inserted in the cap- 
ping of the bulwarks. One man tends two lines, and has placed near him, 
on the right, a barrel to receive his prey. The gills of the Mackerel are 
very tender, and the fisherman is not obliged to disengage the fish from the 
hook with his fingers, as is the case with the cod and many other kinds of 


fish, a slight jerk of the arm being sufficient for the purpose, and which 
lodges the Mackerel securely in the barrel with his brother- victims. When 
the biting is "lively," the work is more like sport than toil, as the excite- 
ment takes away from the fisherman all sense of fatigue, and he stands by 
his lines, drawing them in, one after another, with the greatest rapidity, and 
without intermission, hour after hour. 

A bait of ground fish is thrown out to tole the school up to the vessel ; 
nut the Mackerel is a very capricious animal, sometimes rushing at the 
hooks, baited or unbaked, with perfect madness, for hours, and at others 
refusing to bite for days together. We have been among schools of Mack- 
erel for two or three days, when their incalculable numbers actually darkened 
the water, and yet not a single individual would be tempted to touch the book. 

The business of Mackerel-catching in this country commences in the 
spring, off the coasts of Florida. As the summer advances, the shoals 
migrate to the north, and later in the season the whole coast is alive with 
them from Newfoundland to the capes of Delaware, when the waters of the 
Atlantic, along the American shores, studded with countless numbers of 
fishing-vessels, present a very animated spectacle. 

This fishing appears to lie prosecuted with equal zeal on the other side of 
the ocean, especially on the coasts of Great Britain. In an interesting work, 
entitled 117/'/ Spurt* of tin West, we find the following lively picture of 
Mackerel-catching oil' the Irish shores: — 

''It was evident that the bay was full of Mackerel. In every direction. 
and as far as the eye could range, gulls and puffins were collected, and, to 
judge by their activity and clamor, there appeared ample employment for 
them among the fry beneath. We immediately bore away for the place 
where these birds were numerously congregated, and the lines were scarcely 
overboard, when we found ourselves in the centre of a shoal of Mackerel. 
For two hours we killed these beautiful fish, as fast as the baits could be 
renewed and the lines hauled in ; and when we left oft' fishing, actually 
wearied with sport, we found that we had taken above five hundred, includ- 
ing a number of the coarser species, called Horse-mackerel. There is not, 
on sea or river, always excepting angling for salmon, any sport comparable 
to this delightful amusement : full of life and bustle, everything about it is 
animated and exhilarating; a brisk breeze and fair sky, the boat in quick 
and constant motion, all is calculated to interest and excite. He who has 
experienced the glorious sensations of sailing on the Western Ocean, a 
bright autumnal sky above, a deep-green, lucid swell around, a steady 
breeze, and as much of it as the hooker can stand up to, will estimate the 
exquisite enjoyment our morning's Mackerel-fishing afforded." 

Nearly all of the Scomburidw family visit the shores in summer for the 


purpose of "depositing their spawn, and they subsist, in great part, upon 
the fry of the later spawners, as those again live upon theirs, which is a 
beautiful adaptation, whereby the immense surplus of one family of fish 
adequately supplies the wants of another." 

The genus Scomber is separated into several sub-genera. They are the 
Gempylus, whose ventral fins are scarcely perceptible; the Cybium, found 
in the warm parts of both oceans, some species of very large size ; the 
Souda, common in the Black Sea and Mediterranean; the Auxis, found on 
the Mediterranean, of a fine blue on the back, with oblique blackish lines, 
and the flesh deep red. A West Indian species attains an extremely large 
size; Orcynus, with long pectoral fins, blackish back, and silvery belly, 
visits, during the summer, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean in 
numerous shoals. But the following sub-genus is the chief of the tribe. 

Thynnus. — The Tunny. This celebrated fish has a soft corselet of 
large scales on the thorax, a cartilaginous keel between the crests and 
the sides of the tail, and the first dorsal approaching the second. It abounds 
in the Mediterranean, where it is often found from fifteen to eighteen feet 
in length. It is captured in vast numbers, and constitutes an essential 
article of food. The flesh is as solid as that of the sturgeon, but is much 
more finely flavored. Pennant affirms that he saw one killed in 1769 which 
weighed four hundred and sixty pounds. 

Tunny-catching, according to Mr. Yarrell, is a very important business 
in the Mediterranean. He says, "In May and June, the adult fish rove 
along the coast in large shoals and triangular array. They are extremely 
timid, and easily induced to take a new, and apparently an open, course, in 
order to avoid any suspected danger. But the fishermen take advantage of 
this peculiarity for their destruction by placing a lookout or sentinel on some 
elevated spot, who makes the signal that the shoal of Tunnies is approach- 
ing, and points out the direction in which it will come. Immediately a great 
number of boats set off, range themselves in a curved line, and, joining their 
nets, form an enclosure, which alarms the fish, while the fishermen, drawing 
closer and closer, and adding fresh nets, still continue driving the Tunnies 
towards the shore, where they arc ultimately killed with poles. 

"But the grandest mode of catching the Tunny is by means of the French 
madrague, or, as the Italians call it, tonnaro. Series of long and deep nets, 
fixed vertically by corks at their upper edges, and with lead and stones at the 
bottom, are kept in a particular position by anchors, so as to form an en- 
closure parallel to the coast, sometimes extending an Italian mile in length ; 
this is divided into several chambers by nets placed across, leaving narrow 
openings on the land side. The Tunnies pass between the coast and the 
tonnaro; when arrived at the end, they are stopped by one of the cross- 


nets, which closes the passage against them, anil obliges tliem to enter the 
tonnaro through the opening which is left for them. When once in, they are 
driven, by various means, from chamber to chamber to the last, which is 
called the 'chamber of death.' Here a strong net, placed horizontally, th:it 
can be raised at pleasure, brings the Tunnies to the surface, and the work of 
destruction commences. The tonnaro fishery used to be one of the great 
amusements of rich Sicilians, and, at the same time, one of the most con- 
siderable sources of their wealth. When Louis XIII. visited Marseilles, 
he was invited to a Tunny -fishery, at the principal madrague of Morgiou, 
and found the diversion so much to his taste, that he often said it was the 
pleasantest day he had spent in his whole progress through the south." 

There are several species of Tunny, of which the bonito is the most strik- 
ing. It forms the principal food of the sword-fish. 

XirniAS. — This genus comprises the Sword-fishes, which, in their in- 
ternal organization, minute scales, and the power of their caudal fin, resem- 
ble the tunnies. Their principal characteristic, however, is a long, pointed 
beak, formed like a sword or spit, which terminates their upper jaw, and is 
a most formidable weapon. The gills are not divided, "but each consists of 
two large and parallel lamina?, with reticulated surfaces." Their movements 
are extremely swift, when pursuing their prey, but often their motions are very 
slow and deliberate, and we have frequently seen them, for a considerable 
period, apparently at rest, showing the apex of the dorsal fin above the 

Xiphias gladius, the species common in our waters, attains a length of 
about fifteen feet. As the remarkable beak, or sword, that distinguishes 
this fish, is not required or employed in procuring its l'ood, which consists 
chiefly of small fishes, especially the bonito, it must probably be regarded 
as a weapon of defence against the attacks of powerful enemies. The stories 
regarding the warfare made by the sword-fish upon the whale are, undoubt- 
edly, "fables of the sea," which have come to be believed from their long 
repetition. . Experienced and intelligent whalers repudiate all these tales as 
impossibilities. Yet it is true that, when in eager pursuit of its prey, — the 
bonito, — it sometimes unintentionally, and unfortunately for itself, rushes 
against a whale, and loses its sword in the whale's blubber, which does not 
materially injure the latter, while the sword-fish is irreparably damaged 
thereby. In the same way, while similarly engaged, it has been known fre- 
quently to run against the sides of a ship, and thrust its sword through its 
thick and strong timbers. We have seen such timbers, with the broken 
weapon still adhering. But these must be considered accidental and unin- 
tentional encounters. 

There are several varieties of this fish ; one, Tetrapturus, has a beak 


shaped like a stiletto, and another, Istiophorus, has a beak like the preced- 
ing, but the dorsal fin high, serving as a sail in swimming. All of the 
group are of large size, and the flesh, especially that of Xphias gladius, 
is much esteemed. 

CenteONOTDS. — This genus is distinguished by having free spines in- 
stead of the first part of the dorsal ; all the species are furnished with ven- 
tral fins. The best known representative of the class is, — 

Nmicrates ductor, the Pilot-fish, which has a spindle-shaped body, free 
dorsal spines, and two free spines before the anal. The South American 
black species attains the enormous length of eight or nine feet. The Med- 
iterranean Pilot-fish docs not exceed a foot in length, but is an extremely 
swift and voracious animal, following in the wake of ships, accompanied by 
sharks, which it was formerly supposed (erroneously) to lead, whence its 
name. The following sub-genera arc, — 

Educates, form and dorsal spines like the last, but the head flattened, 
and the keel and anal spines wanting. 

Lickia, has dorsal ami anal .-pines on the back, one of the former lying 
flat and direct forwards, but the body is compressed, and no keels on t lie 
tail. There are several species in the Mediterranean, all eatable, and some 
of large size. Trachinotus, merely has the body a little more elevated, "and 
the dorsal and anal longer and more pointed. 

KllYNCHOBDELLA. — In their spinal structures the fishes of this group 
resemble the former genus, but have no ventrals. The sub-genera arc, — 

Mucrognathus, with a pointed, cartilaginous muzzle, projecting beyond 
the lower jaw, and the dorsal and anal separate from the caudal. Mes- 
tacembelus, jaws equal, and dorsal and anal joined to the caudal. Both 
inhabit the fresh waters of Asia, and feed on worms, in search of which 
they plough up the sand with their cartilaginous noses ; their Mesh is much 

NoTACONTHUS. — The waters of the Arctic Ocean are the home of this 
genus, where individuals are sometimes found- two feet and a half long. 
They have a pointed, cartilaginous muzzle, abdominal ventrals, and a long 
anal reaching to the top of the tail. 

SeEIOLA. — This genus resembles liehia, has a horizontal spine before 
the dorsal, but the dorsal spines united by a fin, a small tin with two spines 
before the ana], and no keel on the lateral line. One species is the Milk- 
fish of Pondicherry, so much esteemed for the delicacy of its flesh. There 
are several other species in both oceans. 

Nojieus, resemble the last, but have large ventrals attached to the abdo- 
men by their inner edge; color, silvery, with transverse black bands on the 
upper part. Has been confounded with the gobies. 


• : !■'. I L 




S;iih::i'I U'alkci' & Co Ifusloi: 


Temnodon ( Blue-fisb). Tail unarmed, spines or small fins before the anal, 
first dorsal small, second and anal small, scales, one row of trenchant teeth in 
each jaw, with small, crowded ones behind, and on the vomer, the parietals, 
and tongue ; seven rays on the gills, and the gill-lid forked. There are spe- 
cies common to both oceans, and about the size of the common mackerel. 

Caranx, have the lateral line, with scaly plates, keeled, and often spinous, 
horizontal spine before the first of the two dorsals, last rays of the second 
dorsal often detached, some spines or a small fin before the anal. These 
fishes do not appear to have any geographical limits, but are found in all 
seas. They resemble mackerel, and arc called Bastard or Horse-mackerel, 
and they sometimes make their appearance in immense shoals, literally 
"banking the sea." They feed on the fry of herrings, and are not in much 
estimation as food. 

" Vomer. — This genus have the body more and more compressed and ele- 
vated in the different sub-genera, while the armature on the lateral line 
diminishes, and the skin becomes smooth, like satin, without any apparent 
scales. They have no teeth, except short and fine ones crowded together; 
and the sub-genera arc chiefly distinguished from eaeli other by various fila- 
mentary prolongations of some of the fins. The following are the sub- 
genera : — 

" Olistus. — These resemble Situloe, a sub-genus of Caranx, but the mid- 
dle rays of the second dorsal are not branched, but merely articulated, and 
extend in long filaments. 

" Scyris. — Nearly the same in form and filaments, but the spines of the 
first dorsal hidden in the edge of the second, and the vcntrals short. 

" Blepharis, has long filaments to the second dorsal and anal, the vcntrals 
very long, and the spine scarcely above the skin ; their body is very ele- 
vated, but their profile not so vertical as that of some of the other sub- 
genera found in the warm seas ; and, in the West Indies, one species is 
called the "Cobbler." Gallus, similar to the last in all respects except hav- 
ing the profile more vertical. Argyreiosus, has the profile still more ver- 
tical, the first dorsal definitely formed, and some of its rays extended in 
filaments, as well as those of the second dorsal; the ventrals are also very 

Zeus, the Dory, has the first dorsal deeply notched between the spines, 
and the intermediate membranes extend into long filaments, together with 
the forked spines along the basis of the dorsals and the anal. One species, 
the Common Dory (John Dory), is yellowish-brown, with golden or silvery 
reflections, according to the position of the light, with a round black spot 
margined with white on the shoulders. "The Dory has been a renowned fish 
since the davs of the ancients, who styled it not the fish of Jove, but Zeus, 


that is, Jove himself. The monks also claimed it as the ' Tribute-money- 
fish,' from the black marks of the thumb and fingers of St. Peter on the 
shoulders, in which it is the rival of the haddock, neither of which fishes 
Peter had any chance of seeing. It is still held in great estimation by epi- 
cures ; anil, being a ground fish, it keeps two or three days, and is all the 
better for it." 

Following the Zeus, and resembling it in many of its characters, are the 
genera Capras, the Boar-fish ; Lampris, a huge fish of the Arctic seas, of 
a violet color, spotted with white, and having red lins ; Equula are small 
fishes of the Indian Ocean; some of the species have a projectile snout, 
with which they surprise their prey. Nearly motionless, the deceitful snout 
contracted and concealed, they wait till the small fry, on which they feed, 
are within reach, when they suddenly project the treacherous muzzle, and 
sweep the victims into their hungry jaws; Menas is also an inhabitant of 
the Oriental seas, of a silvery color, witli a black spot near the back; Slro- 
mateus resembles the foregoing, with the exception that its muzzle is blunt 
and non-protractile; JPeprilus "has the pelvis trenchant and pointed before 
the vent ;" Lnvnnus, snmc species of which are of large size, of a silvery 
color, with a red back; Seserinus is a small Mediterranean fish, and Kurtus 
is found in the Indian seas. 

< i >!.-> ni.K\A ( Dorades, or ( rold-fishes), the Dolphins of the ancients and 
of the modern Hollanders. They have the body long, compressed, and cov- 
ered with small scales; the head trenchant in the upper part; a single 
dorsal, which extends the whole length of the back, with flexible rays the 
■whole length, but the anterior ones not jointed, and they have seven rays in 
the "ills. The following 1 are the sub-genera : — 

Coryphcsna, the Coryphene, properly so called, have the head much ele- 
vated, the profile curved and descending rapidly ; they have teeth in the 
palate, as well as in the jaws. They are large and splendidly-colored 
fishes, celebrated for the velocity of their motions, and the havoc which 
they commit among the flying-fishes. " O. hipparis, the common Cory- 
phene, is found in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. It is a brilliant fish, 
and drives through the water like a radiant meteor. Its long dorsal is sky 
blue, with the rays gold colored ; its tail-fin green ; its back green, mottled 
with orange, and its belly silvery, divided from the former by a yellow lat- 
eral line. As it passes along, however, there is an extraordinary play of 
colors upon it; and it is one of the fishes, with the changes of whose col- 
ors, when dying, the luxurious Romans used to gloat their depraved fancy. 
Some of the Indian species are brighter colored than this one; and, indeed, 
all the Scomberidae have a tendency to get blackish in the cold seas, and 
brilliant in the warm ones, owing to the greater effect of the solar light in 


the latter, for the sunbeam is Nature's pencil, down even to the deepest fish 
or pearl shell.'' 

Guranaxamores. — These fishes differ from the above in having the head 
oblong and less elevated. The other sub-genera are the Centrolophes, Pter- 
aclis, and A.strodermus. The last is found only in the Mediterranean. It 
has a very long dorsal. The body is silvery, spotted with black, and the 
fins are red. 

T^exid.e (Eibbon-shaped Fishes). — These singular-looking creatures 
compose the Eighth Family of the Acanthropterygii. They have long 
bodies, flattened on the sides, and very small scales. They are separated 
into three tribes ; those comprised in the first have an elongated muzzle, the 
mouth deeply cleft, and armed with strong, trenchant teeth, and the lower 
jaw projecting beyond the upper. There are two genera. 

LepidoI'US. — The Scabbard-fish. It derives its name from the peculiar 
form of the ventrals, "which arc merely two scaly plates. The body is 
thin and long. One species, L. argyreus, is sometimes found four or five 
feet in length. It often swims with the head out of the water, and is ex- 
tremely rapid in its motions." 

Tkichiurus (Hair-tail).- — -These fishes have many characters like the 
last, but " have no ventral, anal, or caudal fins, excepting a few little spines 
on the under side of the tail, which terminates in a hair-like point." When 
seen laterally in the beams of the sun, they appear like "beautiful silver rib- 
bons." There are several species in the Indian Ocean. One, T. Lepturus, 
is found in the Atlantic. It is of a shining, silvery color, with grayish- 
yellow fins, the dorsal mottled with black on the edge, and the irides are 

The second tribe is composed of such of the Taenida! as have the mouth 
small and little cleft. 

Gymnetrus. — The fishes comprehended in this genus have a long and 
flat body, with a long dorsal, but no anal fin. They are remarkably tender, 
their bones soft, their fins extremely frail, and their flesh rapidly decomposes. 
They inhabit the Atlantic, Arctic, and Indian oceans, and the Mediter- 
ranean, and are sometimes found ten feet long. 

Stylepjiorus. — This genus has a caudal fin like the last, though not so 
long; "and instead of the tail ending in a hook in the middle of the fin, as 
it docs there, it is produced in a filament longer than the body." 

The third tribe consists of three genera, which have the muzzle short, and 
cleft obliquely. 

Sepol.v. — This genus has a long dorsal and anal fin, and the top of the 
cranium flattened. The Red Snake-fish belongs to this group. 
no xv. 73 


Lophotes. — These fishes belong to the Mediterranean. They have a 
short head, with an osseous nest, surmounted by a spine. 

Theuttes. — The Lancet-fishes. These form (he Ninth Family of the 
Spiny-fins. They have a compressed, oblong body, small mouth, and a 
single row of trenchant teeth in the jaws ; but their distinguishing charac- 
ters are the short, lance-like spines on the sides of the tail, and a horizontal 
one before the dorsal. Their spines are extremely powerful, and are used 
very efficaciously as weapons of defence. Their food is fuci, and other 
marine plants. The family is small ; wc know of but six genera, most of 
them inhabiting the Oriental seas. 

Pit viiYxiiix.E Labtrintiiiformj3. '/'//< Tenth Family of Spiny-fins. 

By the term Pharynginne labyrinthiformce, is meant, that the upper mem- 
branes of the pharynx arc divided into small, irregular leaves, more or less 
numerous in the different genera, containing cells between them, which the 
fish can, at pleasure, fill with water, and, by ejecting a portion of this 
water, moisten its gills, and thus continue its circulation while out of its 
proper element. From this contrivance of Nature herself, we arc to 
understand that, if the gills of a fish can be kept properly moistened, by 
sill water or by fresh, according as the fish is naturally an inhabitant of one 
or the other, it may be carried alive over land to an indefinite distance. By 
means of this apparatus, these fishes are enabled to quit the pool or rivulet, 
which constitutes their usual element, and move to a considerable distance 
over land. This singular faculty was unknown to the ancients; and the peo- 
ple in India still believe that these fishes fall from heaven. 

In cold and temperate climates this apparatus is not necessary, because 
all the ponds and streams there, which are capable of supporting fish, are 
perennial, and never dried up, except in seasons of extreme drought, when, 
of course, all the fishes perish. But in tropical countries, where the seasons 
are alternate drought and rain, there is neither food nor water lor a fish dur- 
ing the one season, and plenty of both during the other. Hence these fishes 
are furnished with this peculiar apparatus in the pharynx, by means of 
which they are enabled to follow the water over dry obstacles, and, in some 
of the species, to climb steep banks, or even trees, in the course of their 
instinctive journeys. The following are the genera: — 

Anabas. — The Climbing Perch of India. This genus has the labyrinths 
highly complicated ; the third pharyngi have pavement teeth, and there are 
others behind the cranium ; the body is round in the section, and covered 
with strong scales; the head is large, the muzzle short and blunt, and the 
mouth small ; their lateral line is interrupted for the posterior third ; the 
margins of the operculum, super-operculum, and inter-opereulum are strong- 


ly toothed, but there are no teeth in the pre-operculum ; their gills have Eve 
rays ; they have many spinous rays in the dorsal and anal, and their stomach 
is of middle size, rounded, and with three coecular appendages to the 
pyrolus. Only one species is known, which nut only quits the water, and 
moves over hanks, but is said by Daldorf to climb bushes and trees l>v 
means of its dorsals and the spines on the gill-lids ; but others dispute the 
latter power. This species is very common in India. 

PoLTACANTHUS has the spinous rays as numerous as the last genus, or 
even more so, and the same mouth, scales, and interrupted lateral lines, 
but the gill-lid is not toothed ; the body is compressed ; there are four rays 
in the gills, a narrow band of small, crowded teeth in the jaws, but no pal- 
atal teeth ; the labyrinths are less complicated, and the pyrolus has only 
two coecular appendages. 

Macropodus differs from the last in having the dorsal less extended, and 
that in the caudal and ventral ending in slender points ; the anal is also 
larger than the dorsal. 

Hesostoma have a small, compressed mouth, so protractile as to advance 
from and retreat to the sub-orbitals ; they have small teeth on the lips, and 
some on the jaws of the palate ; five gill-rays, on the arches of which, 
towards the mouth, there are lamellas resembling the external ones; the 
stomach is small, and has only two pyrolic coeca, but their intestine is long; 
the air-bladder is very stout. 

Osphromanus is so called from a conjecture, apparently erroneous, that 
the labyrinths of the pharynx are organs of smell, resembles Polyacanthus, 
but has t lie forehead concave, the anal longer than the dorsal, the sub- 
orbitals and inferior edge of the pre-operculum finely toothed, the first .-oft, 
ray of the ventrals very long, six gill-rays, the body much compressed. One 
species, O. alfax, grows as large as a turbot, and is considered more deli- 
cious. It has been introduced into ponds in the Isle of France and Cayenne, 
where it thrives well. The female, as in many other species of fish, digs a 
cavity in the sand for the reception of her eggs. 

TfilCHOPODUS has the forehead more convex than the last, a shorter dor- 
sal, and only four gill-rays. The only known species is a small fish from 
the Oriental Isles, of a brownish color, witli a dark spot on the side. 

SPIROBRANCHUS resembles the Anabas, but has no teeth on the gill-lids, 
but teeth in the palate. The only known species is a minute fish of South- 
ern Africa. 

Ophicei'IIALUS, like the rest of the family in most of its characters, es- 
pecially in the pharyngeal labyrinth, and can creep for some distance over 
land : but it differs from all other Acanthropterygii in having no spines in 
the iins, except a short one on the first of the ventrals ; the body is long 


and cylindrical; tlie head flat, and covered with polygonal plates; the 
dorsal extends nearly the whole length ; the anal is also long, and the caudal 
round it; they have five gill-rays; the stomach is obtuse, with moderately 
long coeca, and the abdominal cavity extends nearly to the base of the 
caudal. They are found in India and China, of various species, and differ- 
ent sizes. In the former country, the jugglers, and even the children, 
amuse themselves by making it crawl along upon dry ground; and, in 
China, the larger ones are cut up alive for sale in the markets. 

"All the genera and species of this family are fresh-water fishes; and 
they have not hitherto been found, except in the south-east of Asia and the 
adjacent islands, and in Southern Africa." 

MugiliDjE. — The Mullets. This tribe composes the Eleventh Family 
of //if Order Acanthopterygii. 

There are three genera — Mugil, Tetrugoniims, and Atherina. The 
last occupies a place between the Mullets and Gobies. It has two dorsals 
far apart, and ventrals behind the pectorals. It is a small fish, but the flesh 
is delicate. There are numerous species. Tetragonurus comprises but one 
species, which inhabits the Mediterranean. It is of a black color, about a 
foot lung, and its flesh is poisonous. 

Mugil, the Mullet, properly so called, must not, however, be confounded 
with the Red Mullets, either plain or striped, which arc included in the 
Perch family. Their organization has so many peculiarities that they 
might be formed into a separate family. Their body is nearly cylindrical, 
covered with large scales, two separate dorsals, with only four spinous rays 
in the first, and the ventrals are a little in rear of the pectorals. Their head 
is a little depressed, covered with large, angular, scaly plates; their muzzle 
is short ; their form is an angle, in consequence of a prominence at the 
middle of the lower jaw ; and their teeth are very small, and, in some, 
almost imperceptible. They have six gill-rays ; the bones of the pharynx 
give an angular form to the gullet ; their stomach terminates in a fleshy 
gizzard, resembling that of a bird ; they have few coecal appendages, but 
the intestinal canal is long and doubled. They are gregarious, resorting to 
the mouths of rivers in large troops, and constantly leaping up out of the 
water. They feed, in part, upon small crabs and other Crustacea, which 
they swallow entire. There are several species found in the European seas, 
of which the flesh is much esteeemed. M. labia is an American fish. It is a 
small species, but has proportionally larger lips than the European Mullets. 

GomoDj;. — The Gobies. Twelfth Family of the Order Acanthop- 


Thinness and flexibility of the dorsal spines are the peculiar characteris- 
tics of this family. The genera are quite numerous. 

Blennius. — ■ "The Blennies have one well-marked characteristic in their 
ventral fins, inserted before the pectorals, and having only two rays each. 
They live in small troops, among rocks near the coast, swimmino 1 and lean- 
ing, and can exist for some time without water. Their skin is covered with 
a mucous secretion, whence they have their common name, Blennies. Many 
of them are viviparous, bringing forth their young alive, fully formed, and 
capable of subsisting by themselves." 

There are several species — all small fishes, and of no value to man. 
The B. phalis is said to be remarkably tenacious of life, being capable of 
living man}- days if kept in moist grass or moss. 

From this genus, the following sub-genera have been separated : — 

Myxodes, with a lengthened head and pointed muzzle ; Malarias, an in- 
habitant of the Indian Ocean ; Clinus, with short-pointed teeth in several 
rows; Cirrhibarba has a little filament over the eye, one in the nostril, 
three longer ones at the end of the muzzle, and eight under the point of the 
lower jaw. It is found in Oriental seas ; Murcenoides, the Spotted Gun- 
nel, has the ventral smaller than in the others, and the body lengthened like 
a sword-blade. It is eaten by the Greenlaijders ; Opistognathus has the 
short snout of the true Blennies, rasp-like teeth, and three rays in the ven- 
trals, which are directly under the pectorals. It belongs to the Indiau 
Ocean ; Zoarcus comes nearer to the true Blennies, though it has but one 
spinal ray ; Z. labrosus is an American fish, of an olive color, with brown 
spots, and specimens are sometimes found three feet in length ; Anarriclin*, 
the last of this series, is an extraordinary fish. "The whole body is soft 
and slimy; the parietal bones, vomer, and mandibles are hard, with stout, 
bony tubercles, surmounted by small, enamelled teeth; but the front teeth 
are much larger and conical. This structure of the teeth gives them an 
armature which, added to their large size, makes them both fierce and 
dangerous fishes." 

One species, ^.-i. lupus, the Sea-wolf, inhabits the northern seas, and is 
often met with. It is six or seven feet long, of a brown color. Its flesh is 
like that of the eel, and is salted by the Icelanders for food. 

The Anarrlticas lupus has six rows of grinders in each jaw, excellently 
adapted for bruising the crabs, lobsters, scallops, and large whelks, which 
this voracious animal grinds to pieces, and swallows along witli the shells. 
When caught, it fastens, with indiscriminate rage, upon anything within its 
reach, fighting desperately, even when out of its own clement, and inflicting 
severe wounds if not cautiously avoided. Schb'nfeld relates that it will 
seize on an anchor, and leave the marks of its teeth behind, and Steller 



informs us that one, which he saw taken on the coast of Kamtschatka, fran- 
tically seized a cutlass, with which they attempted to kill it, and broke i! 
in pieces, as if it had been made of glass. No wonder that the fishermen, 
dreading its bite, endeavor as soon as possible to render it harmless by 
heavy blows upon the head. The great size of the monster, which in 
the northern waters attains the length of six or seven feet, and in the 
colder and more extreme northern seas is said to become still larger, ren- 
ders it one of the most formidable denizens of the ocean. It commonly 
frequents the deep parts of the sea, but approaches the coasts in spring to 
deposit its spawn among the marine plants. Fortunately for its more active 
neighbors, it swims but slowly, and glides along with the serpentine motion 
of the eel. 

''Gobius, the Gobies, or Sea Gudgeons, are easily recognized by the 
union of their ventrals, which are thoracic, and united, either for their 
whole length or at their basis, into a single hollow disk, more or less fun- 
nel-shaped. The rays of the dorsal are flexible, their gills have five rays 
only, and, like the blennies, they have but little gill-opening; they can live 
for some time out of water. Like the blennies, also, their stomach has no 
cul-de-sac, and their intestines no coeca. In their reproduction, they further 
resemble the blennies ; and some species, as in these, are known to be vivip- 
arous. They are small or middle-sized fishes, which live anions rocks near 
the -hore, and most of them have a simple air-bladder." 

They admit of division into the following sub-genera': — 

Crobius, comprehending the Gobies, properly so called. They have the 
ventrals united for the whole of their length, and also a transverse membrane 
joining their basis in front, so as to form the whole apparatus into a con- 
cave disk. The body is lengthened, the head moderate and rounded, the 
cheeks turgid, and the eyes near each other, and they have two dorsal iins, 
the last of which is very long. Several species inhabit the European seas, 
the characteristics of which are not sufficiently ascertained. They prefer a 
clayey bottom, in which they excavate canals, and pass t lie winter in them. 
In spring, they prepare a nest in some spot abounding with sea-weed, which 
they afterwards cover with the roots of zostera (grass-wrack). Here the 
male remains shut up, and awaits the females, which successively arrive to 
deposit their eggs ; and these he fecundates, and exhibits much solicitude 
and courage in defending them from enemies. The Goby is the Phycis of 
the ancients ; according to Aristotle, "the only fish that constructs a nest." 

Gobius Niger. — The Black Goby is a small species, five or six inches 
long, and is of no value, except as bait for other fish. It is one of the few 
fishe> that evince affection for their progeny. It prepares a nest for its eggs. 
This fish inhabits the slimy bottoms of the lagoons near Venice, and burrows 


galleries in the clayey soil, where it spends the greater part of the year, pro- 
tected against storms and enemies. In spring, it digs more superficial 
dwellings among the roots of the sea-grass, to which the spawn attaches 
itself. The architect watches over the entrance of the house, opposing sharp 
rows of teeth to every intruder. 

The sub-genus Goboides differs from Gobius only in having but one dorsal 
fin; Tenoides has a more lengthened body, eyes very small and almost hid- 
den, and cirri on the lower jaw ; Eleotris has flexible spines in the first dorsal, 
ventral fins separate, and six gill-rays. The fishes of this group live in the 
mud, at the bottom of streams, in the warm countries ; Callionymus has, in- 
stead of gill-openings, a single hole on each side of the nape, the ventrals 
are longer than the pectorals, and are placed under the throat, the head is 
oblong, and the eyes are directed upwards. These fishes arc adorned with 
fine colors ; Trichonotes has wide gill-openings, a lengthened body, and a 
single dorsal, the first ten rays of which arc extended in long threads ; 
Comephorus has an oblong muzzle, gills with seven rays, Very long pec- 
torals, but no ventrals. This fish inhabits the Lake of Baikal, and is valued 
on account of its oil ; Chirus has a somewhat long body, with small, cili- 
ated scales, and a dorsal fin extending along the entire back. This fish is 
found only in the Sea of Kamtschatka ; P< riopthalmus has the head scaly, 
eyes with a movable undcrlid, and the pectorals scaly for more than half 
their length, which gives the appearance of having wrists. As the gill- 
openings of these fishes are much smaller than those of the Gobies, they 
can live for a longer period out of water. Fleeing from their enemies, or 
pursuing their prey, they are often seen creeping or leaping along the muddy 
marshes of the Molucca Islands, which they inhabit. 

Pectorales Pedunculati. Thirteenth. Family of the Order Acan- 

The name given to this singular family signifies Fishes with wrists to their 
pectoral fins. 

"There are some spinous fishes in which the carpal bones are so elongated 
as to form a sort of arm or wrist, to the extremity of which the pectoral fin 
is articulated. The family consists of genera closely allied to each other, 
though authors have sometimes placed them far apart in their arrangements ; 
and they are also related to the Gobies, particularly to Periopthalmus, al- 
ready noticed. This is a very peculiar structure of the fins, and gives these 
fishes a strange appearance, enabling them, in some instances, to leap sud- 
denly up in the water, and seize prey which they observe above them ; and 
in others to leap over the mud, somewhat after the manner of frogs. 

" Lopiiius. — Anglers. The distinguishing characteristic of these, besides 


their demi-cartilaginous skeleton, and their skin without scales, consists in 
the pectoral being supported as by two arms, each consisting of two bones, 
which may be compared to the radius and ulna of an arm, but which, in 
reality, belong to the carpus, or wrist; and, in this genus, they are larger 
than in any other. They are also characterized by having the ventrals 
placed much in advance of the pectorals, and by having the operculum and 
the gill-rays enveloped in the skin, so that the gill-opening is merely a hole 
situated behind the pectoral. They are voracious fishes, with a large stom- 
ach and a short intestine; they can live a long time out of the water, in 
consequence of the small size of their gill-openings. They admit of division 
into three sub-genera. 

"Z/ophius. — These fishes have the head excessively large compared to the 
body, very broad, depressed, and spinous in many parts; the mouth deeply 
cleft, and armed with pointed teeth, and the lower jaw fringed round with 
many fleshy barbules. They have two dorsal fins, and some rays of the 
first are free, and move on the bones of the head, where they rest on a 
horizontal, inter-spinal process. In the Angler, or Fishing-frog, the motions 
of these detached rays are very peculiar. Two are considerably in advance 
of the eyes, almost close to the upper lip; the posterior of these is articu- 
lated by a stirrup upon a ridge of the base, but the anterior one is articulated 
by a ring at its base, into a solid staple of the bone, thus admitting of free 
motion in every direction, without the possibility of displacement, except in 
case of absolute fracture. The third one, which is on the top of the cranium 
behind the eyes, is articulated much in the same manner as the posterior one 
of the other two; and, of course, though these two have considerable motion 
in the mesial plane of the fish, they have a very little in the cross direction. 
The one near the lip, however, can be moved with nearly the same case and 
rapidity in every direction ; and, while the others terminate in points, it car- 
ries a little membrane, or (lag, of brilliant metallic lustre, which the fish is 
understood to use as a means of alluring its prey; and the position of the 
flag, the eyes, and the mouth, certainly would answer well for such a pur- 
pose. The gill-membrane forms a large sac, opening in the axilla of the 
pectorals, supported by six very long rays, and with a small operculum. 
They have only three gills on each side. It is said that these fishes lurk in 
the mud, where, by agitating the rays on their heads, they attract smaller 
fishes, which mistake the appendages upon the rays for worms, and which 
are instantly seized, and transferred to the gill-sac. Their intestines have 
two or three short cceca near the commencement, but the fishes have no air- 

L. Piscatorius, the Fishing-frog, Sea-devil, and many other local names, 
attains sometimes the length of four or five feet, and the extreme hideous- 


ness of its appearance has procured it some celebrity. Such is its propen- 
sity to keep its great mouth in exercise, that, when captured in a net ..alum; 
with other fishes, it speedily begins to swallow it companions, especially it' 
flounders, which appear to be its favorite food. On some coasts it is sought 
for on account of the live fish in its stomach, its own flesh being but small 
in quantity, and held in little estimation. 

The Sea-devil is a slow swimmer, and would often be obliged to fast if 
it did not resort to stratagem. Crouching close to the ground, it stirs up 
the sand or mud, and, hidden by the obscurity thus produced, attacks 
many a prize by leisurely moving to and fro the two slender and elongated 
appendages on its head, the first of which, the better to deceive, is broad 
and flattened at the end, inviting pursuit by the shining, silvery appearance 
of the dilated part. 

" Chironectes. — These have, like the last genus, free rays on the head, 
of which the first is small, and often terminating by a tuft; and those be- 
hind it are enlarged by a membrane, which is sometimes very broad, and 
at other times they are united into a fin. Their body and head are com- 
pressed, and their mouth opens vertically. Their gill-membranes have four 
rays, and have no opening but a small hole behind the pectorals. Their 
dorsal extends along the whole back, and they often have cutaneous appen- 
dages all over their bodies. They have four gills, a large air-bladder, and 
a moderate intestine without cceca. They can inflate their great stomach 
with air, in the same manner as the Tetrodons blow up their bellies 
like balloons. On the ground, their two pairs of fins enable them to crawl 
along like quadrupeds ; and the pectorals, in consequence of their position, 
perform the functions of hind legs. They can live out of the water for two 
or three days. They are found only in the seas of warm countries, and 
^Tineas confounded many of them under the name of L. histrio. In some 
of the muddy estuaries on the north coast of Australia, from which the tide 
ebbs far back in the dry season, these frog-fishes are so abundant, and capa- 
ble of taking such vigorous leaps, that those who have visited the places 
have, at first sight, taken them for birds." 

The Frog-fish of the Asiatic Islands and the Southern Hemisphere is not 
more remarkable for its hideous deformity than for its capacity of leading a 
terrestrial life. Not only can it live several days out of the water, but 
it can crawl about the room in which it is confined — a facility which it owes 
tu the great strength and the peculiar position of its pectoral fins, which 
thus perform the office of feet. The whole aspect of these grotesque- 
looking creatures, particularly in a walking position, is so much like that 
of toads or frogs, that a careless observer would, at first, be at some loss to 
determine their real nature. 

ml xv. 74 


Malthus. — These have the head greatly extended and flattened, prin- 
cipally by the projection of the sub-operculum ; the eyes are forwards; the 
snout projecting, with a little horn; the month under the muzzle, of mean 
size, and protractile; the gills sustained by six or seven rays, and opening 
by a hole above each pectoral. They have a simple dorsal, which is soft 
and small, and there are no free rays in the head. The body is studded with 
osseous tubercles, and bordered round with cirri. They have neither coeca 
nor air-bladder. 

The remaining genus of this family is Hat radius, the Frog-fishes, prop- 
erly so called. They have the head flattened horizontally, and much larger 
than the body ; the gape deeply cleft ; the operculum and sub-operculum 
spinous ; six gill-rays : the ventrals straight, attached under the throat, with 
only three rays, of which the first is broad and lengthened ; the pectorals 
an' carried by a short arm, resulting from an elongation of the carpal bones; 
their first dorsal is short, supported by three spinous rays; the second is soft 
and long, and has the anal corresponding to it ; their lips are often garnished 
with filaments ; their stomach is an oblong sac ; their intestines are short, 
and without coeca ; and their air-vessel is anteriorly deeply forked. They 
lurk in the sand, in order to swallow small fishes, in the same manner as the 
members of the last genus ; and it is thought that wounds inflicted by their 
spines are dangerous. They inhabit both oceans. In some the scales are 
smooth, and they have a membrane over the eye. Others are scaly, and 
want that membrane. 

Labkiii/e. — Rock-fish tribe. The Fourteenth Family of the Order 

In this family are found several of our most valuable and delicious table- 
fishes. They have generally an oblong body, covered with scales, and a 
single dorsal, supported anteriorly by spinous rays, often furnished with 
membranous laminae. The jaws are covered by fleshy lips. There are three 
bones in the pharynx — two upper ones attached to the cranium, and a large 
under one. All the three are furnished with teeth, arranged like a pave- 
ment in some, and pointed, or in lamin;e, in others, and of unusual strength. 

The Labridce are a numerous family, constituting two great genera, many 
sub-genera, and a multitude of species. 

Labeus. — The characteristics of this genus are an elongated body, cov- 
ered with large, thin scales ; a single dorsal fin, extending nearly the whole 
length of the back, part of the rays spinous, the others flexible ; behind the 
point of each spinous ray, a short filament ; lips large and fleshy, whence 
the generic name of Labrus; teeth conspicuous, conical, sharp; cheek 
and operculum covered with scales; pre-operculum and operculum without 
serrations or spines. 


In the siiinmer of 1869, I had an opportunity, through the politeness of 
J. A. I). Worcester, Esq., proprietor of the Mattapoisett House, Matta- 
poisett, Mass., of examining the three following species of Labri, which 
were caught in Buzzard's Bay, directly in front of that popular hotel, where 
they are usually very abundant: — 

L. Americanus. — The Black-fish, or Tautog. The favorite haunts of 
this fish appear to be among the rocks of Mattapoisett Harbor, and the 
waters in the vicinity of A T ew Bedford. The species exhibits a considerable 
variety of markings, although generally it is bluish-black above, varied with 
bands and blotches, which become darker towards the abdomen, which is 
whitish. The head is nearly without scales ; lips thick and fleshy ; eyes cir- 
cular ; pupils blue-black ; and the lateral line rises just above the operculum, 
and curves with the body. The pectoral fins are of the color of the abdo- 
men, and rounded at the extremity. The ventrals are situated a short 
distance back of the pectorals, and are dark-colored above, and white 

The excellence of this fish has caused it to be transferred into Massachu- 
setts Bay, where it seems to flourish quite as well as in the more southern 
waters, large numbers being taken annually all along the coast. The Tau- 
tog varies much in size, very large specimens being sometimes met with. 
A few years ago one was taken in Mattapoisett Harbor, which weighed 
fourteen pounds and three ounces. The flesh is very delicate, and in great 
demand among epicures. 

L. Squeteague. — The Otollthus regalis of Cuvier. Weak-fish, or 

Dr. Storer, in his report on the Fishes of Massachusetts (1837—8), 
says, — 

"This species, which was, some years since, found in large numbers about 
Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, lias, of late, entirely disappeared. Dr. 
Yale, of Holmes' Hole, writes me, 'The Squeteague has deserted these 
waters ; there has not been one taken for three or four years about here ; 
they left about the time the Bine-fish came.' Hon. II. Barnard, of Nan- 
tucket, also says, 'The /Squeteague, or Weak-fish, have disappeared since 
the return of the Blue-fish, which are their avowed enemy. Our fishermen 
say they have not seen one for six years.' Thus it appears, that while 
the Blue-fish was absent, they were abundant, and at the appearance of 
the Blue-fish, they left us." 

I have no reason to doubt the general correctness of this statement re- 
garding the eccentric movements of the Squeteague, — their long and mys- 
terious absence from their usual haunts, — but I am quite sure the ransr 
must be sought -for in something very different from the one here assigned, 



inasmuch as the Blue-fislt and Squeteague are now (1809) both found 
abundantly in the same localities ; and I have recently sat at a table where 
both these fishes (caught in the same waters) were comprised in the bill of 

1 >r. Mitchell's description of this fish is as follows : — 

"Size commonly from a foot to fifteen inches." (I have seen one nearly 
two feet long.) "lie never goes into fresh streams, or ponds, but, within 
the limits of the salt water, is taken in almost all the places where rock-fishes 
are caught. The Weak-fish is so much the companion of the basse, that I 
once gave him the specific name of Comes. Head and back brown, with fre- 
quently a tinge of greenish. The spaces towards the sides faintly silvery, 
with dusky specks. These gradually disappear on the sides, until, on de- 
scending to the belly, a clear white prevails from the chin to the tail. Mouth 
wide. Jaws toothed, and, in the upper mandible, one, two, or three teeth 
in front, larger and stronger than the rest, and resembling the fangs of ser- 
pents. Throat, in front of the oesophagus, armed above and below with 
collections of small teeth. Eight softish rays in the foremost dorsal fin. 
Pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins light or pale brown, inclining sometimes 
to yellowish. Anal and ventral fins pale yellow. Tail even. Lower jaw 
longer than the upper. Lateral Hue arched upwards, and, after its descent, 
runs quite to the extremity of the caudal fin. Tongue yellow, with minute 
black dots around the forepart; concave, with a soft and flexible margin; 
lias a frcenum. The swimming-bladder is convertible to a good glue. I 
have eaten as fine blanc-mange from it as from the isinglass of the sturgeon. 
lie is a fish of a goodly appearance, and is wholesome and well tasted, 
though rather soft. Is brought to market in great numbers during the 
summer months. He is taken by the line and the seine. He is called 
Weak-fish, as some say, because he does not pull very hard after he is 
hooked ; or, as others allege, because laboring men, who are fed upon him, 
are weak, by reason of the deficient nourishment in that kind of food. 

"Certain peculiar noises under water, of a low, rumbling, or drumming 
kind, are ascribed by the fishermen to the Squeteague. Whether the sounds 
come from these fishes or not, it is certain that, during their season, they 
may be heard coming from the bottom of the water, and in places fre- 
quented by Weak-fish, and not in other places ; and when the Weak-fish 
depart, the sounds are no more heard."' 

In this last peculiarity, it shows a relationship to J'ogonias, the Drum- 

L. Versicolor. — Pagrus argyrops (Cuvier). — Scup, Porgee, Scapaug. 
The length of the Porgee, or Scup, is from eight to twelve inches. The 
general color is a lustrous silvery, varied with reddish-brown and blue- 


The dorsal fin is composed of twenty-four rays — twelve spinous and twelve 
membranous. It abounds in Buzzard's Bay, and large quantities are also 
taken at New Bedford, Holmes' Hole, and in the Vineyard Sound, which 
supply the Boston market. It is always a favorite on the table. 

The European seas furnish several species. L. maculalus, the Balloon 
Wrasse, is a foot or eighteen inches long, with twenty or twenty-one spines 
in the dorsal. Its color is blue or greenish above, white below, marked all 
over with yellow, and sometimes the yellow predominates. 

This species is numerous upon the British shores, though they arc not 
very often caught; and, from the variations of their colors, they are not 
easily identified. They frequent deep pools among the rocks, hide them- 
selves in fuci, and are understood to feed chiefly on Crustacea. If the fish- 
ermen know their haunts, they take a bait freely ; and, according to the 
report of Mr. Couch, the first taken are always the largest. They frequent 
the rocky shores only. They spawn in April ; and the fry, which are then 
of small size, remain among the rocks during the summer. It is understood 
that the blue color, which appears to be characteristic of the high condition 
of the fish, is very evanescent. L. lineatus, the Lineal-streaked, is more 
clouded, has irregular bands along the flank, the ground of which is reddish, 
and the dorsal spines are less numerous, and the soft part of the fin lower, 
than in the former species. This species is named as a British fish, but it 
appears to be exceedingly rare. L. variegatus, the Blue-streaked, is one 
of the most beautiful of the family, of an orange red, paler on the belly, 
having the sides and irides striped with fine blue. The lips are capable of 
great extension, and there is a single row of pointed teeth in each jaw. It 
is found in the British seas, but only on the south and south-west coasts. 
L. vetula is dark purple, black on the upper part, paler on the belly, and 
has the fore part of the head flesh-colored, tinged with purple, and the eye- 
lid blue. L. carneus, the Three-spotted Wrasse, reddish in the color, with 
four light spots, and three black ones intermediate, extending from the 
middle of the dorsal to the root of the caudal. It belongs to the Mediter- 
ranean, but has been found on the Channel-coast of England, in the Firth 
of Forth, and even on the coast of Norway, and in the Baltic. 

Among the sub-genera are the following, which are all foreign, with one 
exception : — 

Chellinus, differs from Labrus, properly so called, in having the lateral 
line interrupted at the end of the dorsals, where it recommences a little 
lower down. They are beautiful fishes, inhabiting the Indian seas. 

Lachnolaimus (Captains), have the general characteristic of Labrus ; but 
their pharynx has no pavement-like teeth, except in the posterior part, the 
remainder of them, as well as a part of the palate, being covered with a 


villous membrane. They are easily known by the first spines of the dorsal, 
which extend in long, flexible threads. They are American lishes. 

Jul is have the head entirely without scales, and the lateral line forming a 
curve near the end of the dorsal. There are some in the Mediterranean, 
hut they are more numerous in the tropical seas. They are generally small, 
but beautiful fishes : some are violet, some bright scarlet, some rich green, 
ami Mime marked with golden color; and those which have the caudal fin 
rounded, or truncated, have the first dorsal rays extended in long fila- 

Anampses have the characteristics of the last, with the exception of two flat 
teeth, which project from the mouth, and curve upwards. The two known 
species are from the Indian seas. 

Crenilabrus. — They have the true characteristics of Labrus, both ex- 
ternal and internal, and differ only in having the border of the pre-operculum 
toothed. Siime species are found in the North Sea, — such as Lui 'j 'anus ru- 
jurs/is of Bloch, yellow, with clouded hands ranged vertically, and blackish ; 
L. Noroegicus, brownish, irregularly marked with deep brown ; L. mi lops, 
orange, spotted with blue, and a black spot behind the eye; L. exoletus, 
remarkable for five spines in the anal fin. The Mediterranean furnishes a 
number, most beautifully colored, the most splendid of which is L. lapina, 
silvery, with three broad longitudinal bands, composed of vermilion dots, 
with the pectorals yellow, and the ventrals blue. They arc also abundant 
in the tropical seas ; and many species, hitherto included in the genus La- 
brus, ought to be placed here. Several species of this sub-genus occur in 
the British seas, the chief of which arc — Crenilabrus tinea, the Gilt- 
head; (_'. cometicus, the Gold-sinny ; (J. gibbus, the Gibbous Wrasse; 
and C. leusias, the Scale-rayed Wrasse; but they are all small fishes, in 
little or no estimation. 

Coricus. — This sub-genus has all the characteristics of the last, in addi- 
tion to which the mouth is little less protractile than in the next. Only one 
small species is known, which inhabits the Mediterranean. 

JEjribulus. — These fishes are remarkable for the extreme extension which 
they can give to their mouth by means of a see-saw motion of their maxil- 
laries, and the sliding forward of the intermaxillaries, which instantly forms 
a kind of tube. They make use of this artifice for seizing small fishes 
which pass near this curious instrument ; and the same artifice is resorted 
to by the Corcyi, the Zei, and the Smares, according to the degree of pro- 
tractility of the mouth. The entire body and head of this sub-genus are 
covered with large scales, the last track of which advances upon the anal 
and caudal fins, as in Cheilinus. The lateral line is similarly interrupted as 
in the latter; and, as in Labrus, there are two long conical teeth in the 


front of each jaw, followed by smaller blunt ones. The known species is 
from the Indian seas, and is of a reddish color. 

Clepticus. — This sub-genus has a small cylindrical snout, which is sud- 
denly advanced forward, but which is not so long as the head. The teeth 
are small, and barely perceptible to the touch; the body is oblong; the 
lateral line continuous; and the dorsal and anal arc enveloped in scales 
nearly to the top of the spines. One species, of a red color, and from the 
W est Indies, is the only one known. 

Gomphosus. — These Labridce, with the head entirely smooth, as in Julis, 
have the muzzle in the form of a tube, composed of the prolonged maxil- 
laries and intermaxillarics, as far as the small opening of the mouth. Sev- 
eral species are taken in the Indian Ocean, and the flesh of some is 
considered delicious. 

Scaeus. — The Scari resemble the Labridce in their oblong form, large 
scales, and an interrupted lateral line. Several species arc found in tropical 
seas, which, on account of their brilliant colors, and the form of their jaws, 
are called Parrot-fishes. One species, 8. creticus, inhabits the Archipel- 
ago, and is remarkable for the change that takes place in its color, beinc at 
one season blue, and at another, red. This fish was much valued by the 
ancients ; and the Roman admiral, Elipertius Optatus, during the reign of 
Claudius, went to Greece to obtain it, and distribute through the Italian 

Fistularidje. The Fifteenth Family of the Order Acanthopterygii. 

According to Yarrcll, the characteristics of this tribe are as follows : — 

A single dorsal, must of which, as well as of the anal, is composed of 
simple rays. The intermaxillarics and the lower jaw are armed with small 
teeth. From the two lobes of the caudal proceeds a filament which is 
sometimes as lonij as the bod v. The tube of the snout is verv Ion"' and 
depressed ; the scales are invisible. There are two genera. 

Fistularia (Pipe-mouths). — They have a cylindrical body. Their 
head is equal to a third or a fourth of the length of the whole body, which is 
itself long and slender. One species, F. serrata, is sometimes found on 
our shores. There are several varieties of these fishes, one of the most 
remarkable of which is the F. Chinensis, or Chinese Tobacco-pipe Fish. 
They are curious creatures, but of no value to man. 



Cvpi:inii>.t:. ■ — The Carps. First Family of the Malacopterygii 

The fishes of this family have a shallow mouth, feeble jaws, often with- 
out teeth, and the margin formed by the outer maxillaries ; but they have the 
pharynx strongly toothed. They have few gill-rays, a scaly body, and are 
the least carnivorous of the whole class, feeding on seeds, roots of plants, 
and mud, and the slimy substance which gathers on the rocks in fresh waters. 
It is a numerous family, at the head of which is the genus 

Cyprinus. — The Carps have a small mouth, without a single tooth, three 
flat gill-rays. They have a smooth tongue. " Their pharynx is a powerful 
instrument of mastication, having strong teeth on the inferior pharyngeal 
bones ; and they bruise their fond between these and a strong disk, which is 
set in a large cavity under a process of the sphenoid. They have a long 
dorsal fin, the second ray of which, as well as that of the anal, is armed 
with a strong spine. 

C. Carpio. — The Common Carp. This fish is of an olive-green color 
above, yellowish below. It bears transportation, or rather colonization, 
better than any of the class; and, from its home in Central Europe, it has 
found its way into the lakes and rivers of both continents. It was intro- 
duced into England by Leonard Maschal, about the year 1514. Carp are 
very long-lived. Gesner brings an instance of one that was a hundred 
years old. They also grow to a very great size. These fish are extremely 
cunning, and on that account arc by some styled the Hirer Fox. They 
will sometimes leap over the nets, and escape that way; at others, will 
immerse themselves so deep in the mud, as to let the net pass over them. 
They are also very shy of taking a bait; yet, at the spawning time, they 
are so simple as to suffer themselves to be tickled and caught by anybody 
that will attempt it. It is so tenacious of life that it may be kept alive for 
a fortnight in wet straw or moss. 

C. Auratus. — The Golden Carp. These are the Gold-fishes and Silver- 
fishes of our aquariums. They are black when young, but by degrees ac- 
quire the golden red for which they are esteemed, though some of them arc 
silvery, with various clouds of all the three colors. Some have no dorsal; 
others, a very small one ; others, again, have a caudal of three or four lobes ; 
and others still, very large eyes, — all of which varieties are merely acci- 
dental, and the results of that artificial treatment which they receive when 


kept in glass vessels for ornamental purposes. They flourish in our northern 
ponds and streams, and bear well the rigors of the climate. 

They are the pets of ladies, who complain that, like all other beautiful 
things, they die early. They arc careful to change the water, and keep 
them clean, but forget that the Carp is a semi-carnivorous animal, with a 
sharp appetite, and as much in danger of starving to death in his narrow 
quarters as a land animal. In confinement, however, it is best to give them 
animal food, such as worms, only occasionally, and let their principal fare 
be of pellets of stiff dough, made of flour and water only. All the food 
that remains uneaten should be removed. 

Baebus. — The Barbel, or Bearded-fish, is so named from the cirri at its 
mouth. B. communis, the common Barbel, known by its long head, was 
so coarse as to be overlooked by the ancients till the time of Ausonius, and 
what he says is no panegyric on it ; for he lets us know it loves deep waters, 
and that, when it grows old, it was not absolutely bad. It frequents the 
still and deep parts of rivers, and lives in society, rooting, like swine, with 
its nose in the soft banks. It is so tame as so suffer itself to lie 
taken with the hand ; and people have been known to take numbers by 
diving for them. In summer they move about during night in search of 
food, but towards autumn, and during winter, confine themselves to the 
deepest holes. They are the worst and coarsest of fresh-water fish, and 
seldom eaten but by the poorer sort of people, who sometimes boil them with 
a bit of bacon, to give them a relish. The roe is very noxious, affecting 
those who unwarily eat of it with a nausea, vomiting, purging, and a slight 
swelling. It is sometimes found of the length of three feet, and eighteen 
pounds in weight ; it is of a long and rounded form ; the scales not large. 
Its head is smooth ; the nostrils placed near the eyes ; the mouth is placed 
below. On each corner is a single beard, and another on each side the 
nose. The dorsal fin is armed with a remarkably strong spine, sharply ser- 
rated, with which it can inflict a very severe wound on the incautious 
handler, and even do much damage to the nets. The pectoral fins are of a 
pale brown color ; the ventral and anal tipped with yellow ; the tail a little 
bifurcated, and of a deep purple ; the side line is straight ; the scales are 
of a paie gold color, edged with black ; the belly is white. 

Gonio. — The Gudgeons. The Gudgeon is generally found in gentle 
streams, and is of a small size ; those few, however, that arc caught in the 
Kennet and Coin Rivers, in England, are three times the weight of those 
taken elsewhere. The largest we ever remember to have heard of was taken 
near Oxbridge, England, and weighed half a pound. They bite eagerly, 
and are assembled by raking the bed of the river; to this spot they imme- 
diately crowd in shoals, expecting food from this disturbance. The shape 
no. xv. 7.3 


of tlie bod)' is thick and round ; the irides tinged with red, the gill-covers 
with green and silver. The lower jaw is shorter than the upper; at each 
corner of the mouth is a single beard; (Ik- back olive, spotted with black; 
the side line straight ; the sides beneath that silvery ; the belly white. The 
tail is linked ; that, as well as the dorsal fin, is spotted with black. 

Abramis. — The Bream. There are two species — the Carp Bream and 
the White Bream. The first is largest, and most highly esteemed ; and the 
other is of no value except as food fir more interesting and valuable 

The Carp Bream is found in all the great lakes, and in rivers which have 
a gentle current, and a bottom composed of marl, clay, and herbage ; and 
it abides in the deepest parts. It is taken mostly under the ice; and ibis 
fishery is so considerable that, in some of the lakes belonging to Prussia, 
there have been taken to the value of two hundred pounds at a time; they 
are also caught in great quantities in Holstein, Mecklenburg, Livonia, and 
Sweden. In a lake near Nordkiceping, there were taken at one time, in 
March, 17 1!>, no less than fifty thousand, weighing eighteen thousand two 
hundred pounds. It is extremely deep, and thin in proportion to its length. 
The back rises much, and is very sharp at the top. The head and mouth 
are small. The scales are very large ; the sides flat and thin. The dorsal 
fin has eleven rays, tin.' second of which is the longest : that fin, as well as 
all the rest, arc of a dusky Color; the back of the same hue; the sides yel- 
lowish. Tin- tail is very large, and of the form of a crescent. 

CaSTOSTOMUS. — The Suckers. This genus has :l single dorsal fin; gill- 
membranes three rayed ; head and operculum smooth ; jaws toothless and 
retractile; mouth beneath the snout: lips plaited, lobed, or carunculated, 
suitable for sucking; and throat with pectinated teeth. 

All of the species are American, and very common in our rivers and 
ponds. Although not much prized by fishermen, I have often eaten them, 
and found them very palatable. The Black Sucker ( 0. nigricans), how- 
ever, is the best for the table. They appear to feed on the slimy substance 
which gathers on the surfaces of nicks, logs, and other objects sunk in the 
rivers. I have frequently seen long rows of them attached by their sucking 
mouths to these sludgy surfaces, their fins slightly agitated, and their bodies 
undulating in the current, reflecting the sunbeams in numerous lustrous and 
beautiful combinations. 

('. Bostoniensis. — This is the common Sucker, too well known to ev- 
ery boy of the United States to need description. 

('. Taberculatus. — The Horned Sucker. Although this fish has been 
taken in the rivers and ponds of the New England States, it is not very 
1 mon. Le Sueur describes a specimen found in Pennsylvania. It 

/■/./// 1/ 

i*r,i-.i rmiiiirt 

f />m,,h;f Ottt ffftiff 

Samuel Wnlkc:- &Vn !>■<- 



is al lout fourteen inches in length, color dark brown above, yellowish on the 
sides, and white beneath : scales large, with golden reflections. The pectoral 
fins are reddish, tipped with brown, and the ventrals are of the same color. 
But the distinguishing characteristic of the species is its tuberculated or 
horned snout. 

('. Gibbosus. — The Gibbous Sucker. This species was discovered by 
Le Sueur, in the Connecticut River, and he thus describes it : — 

"Back elevated in front of the dorsal fin, which is almost as high as 
broad, and rounded ; anal fin bilobated ; head nearly as high as long' ; snout 
short, roundish ; tail straight : caudal fin semi-lunated ; lobes roundish, the 
inferior one longer than the upper. The color of the back is a deep blue, 
witli golden reflections; pectoral, ventral, and anal fins of a fine reddish 
orange color; caudal fin tinted witli carmine and violet : dorsal fin bluish- 
green ; abdominal scales red at their base : lateral line hardly perceptible : 
body marked with four or five faint transverse bands. Length of the speci- 
men, eleven inches." 

This is a beautiful fish, but must be very rare, as I have never met with 
it in the rivers of Maine or New Hampshire. 

C. Nigricans. — The Black Sucker. I am tempted here to introduce Dr. 
Storer's excellent description of this species. The specimen here described 
was about fifteen inches in length. 

"Color of the back, black; sides reddish-yellow, with black blotches; 
beneath, white, with golden reflections. Scales moderate in size. Head 
quadrangular, one fifth the length of the fish ; top of the head of a deeper 
black than the body. Eyes moderate, oblong; pupils black; irides golden. 
Mouth large; corrugations of the lips very large, particularly those of the 
lower lip. The lateral line, arising back of the operculum, on a line oppo- 
site the centre of the eye, makes a very slight curve downwards, and then 
pursues nearly a straight course to the tail ; it is composed of sixty scales. 
Back, between the head and dorsal fin, rounded. The pectoral, ventral, 
and anal fins are reddish. The caudal and dorsal blackish. The dorsal fin 
in height is equal to two thirds its length. The third and fourth rays of 
the anal fin, which are longest, extend a little on to the rays of the 
caudal fin. 

"In two of the eight specimens examined, there were but twelve rays in 
the dorsal fin. 

"In larger specimens than that just described, the back is not black, but, 
together with the sides, is of an olive-brown color ; in others, again, the 
back is neither black nor olive-brown, but reddish, like the sides. In some 
specimens, a longitudinal band, of a deeper red than the rest of the side, runs 
the whole length of the fish, just beneath the dark-colored back. The 


golden tints reflected from the opercula, and the scales along the entire sides 
of this species, give it a very brilliant appearance." 

LeuciSCUS. — This group has a short dorsal and anal fin; no spines, 
cirri, or peculiarities of the lips ; the species are numerous, but not much 

L. Crusoleucas. — The New York Shiner. This is a handsome species, 
but not held in high esteem, except as bait for pickerel and other fish. It 
is from six to seven inches long ; the prevailing color is bright golden ; the top 
of the head and the back are black ; gill-covers more brilliant than the sides. 
The dorsal fin is of a light-brown color; the pectorals are yellowish, except 
the upper rays, which are of a dusky black. 

L. Argenteus. — The Silvery Leuciscus. This species is about six inches 
in length, of a shining silvery color, darker on the back, and the top of the 
head is blue. 

L. Pulchcllus. — The beautiful Leuciscus. This is a larger species, and 
quite common in our ponds and streams. 1 have seen it in great numbers 
in the rivers of Maine, have caught it on numerous occasions, and have fre- 
quently eaten it, tried, as the perch is generally cooked, and found it a very 
agreeable food. Its length is from twelve to fourteen inches; the top of the 
head is bluish; the gill-covers silvery, with flesh-colored tints; the sides 
and abdomen of a beautiful flesh color, tinged with golden reflections, and 
the back is of a dark brown. 

L. Atrona&us. — The Brook Minnow. There arc. few who are not famil- 
iar with this pretty little fish, multitudes of which may be seen at almost 
any time sporting in the shallow waters of our streams and ponds. They 
are from one to two inches in length. The upper part of the body is of a 
greenish hue ; a black band passes along the sides to the tail ; the parts 
beneath this band are white. The gill-covers are silvery, radiating gold 
rays. These tiny creatures present a very pleasing appearance when they 
are swimming in the sunshine, darting here and there in pursuit of their 
food, or in the wantonness of play. 

HYDRARGIRA. — This genus is characterized by teeth in the jaws and 
throat ; protractile jaws ; head flat, shielded above with large scales ; the 
ventral fins have six rays. 

II. Nigro-fasciata. — The Banded Minnow, a pretty little fish, two inches 
1 inj , of a golden-green color above, and a silvery-white beneath ; II. ornata, 
the Ornamented Minnow, nearly three inches long, found plentifully in the 
creeks along the coast, of a dark-brown color on the back, belly white, and 
sides brown, with metallic reflections ; and the II. jiavula, the Basse Fry, 
compose the group. The latter species is about five inches in length. The 
upper part of the body is yellowish-green, the under part a brilliant yellow, 


anil on each side are four dark-colored bands, running almost the whole 
length of the fish. It derives it name from the resemblance of the bands, 
which mark its body, to those of the " Striped Basse." 

EsociD-E. — The Pike Tribe. Second Family of the Malacqpterygii 
Abdominal* s. 

The members of this family, with one exception, have the dorsal fin far 
back, opposite the anal. Many species are found in fresh waters, and all 
are extremely voracious. At the head of the series is placed the- genus 

Esox. — The Pikes. They have an oblong, obtuse, and broad muzzle, 
and small intermaxillaries, furnished with small, pointed teeth in the mid- 
dle of the upper jaw, where they form two rows. The vomer, palatals, 
tongue, pharynx, and gill-arches are "roughened with teeth, like a card ; " 
and they have in the sides of the under jaw a row of long and pointed 

E. Lucius. — The Common Pike. This fish is noted in Europe for its 
large size, strength, fierceness, and voracity. It flesh is good, and easy of 
digestion, and it is consequently a favorite dish on the table. It is common 
in most of the lakes of Europe, but the largest are those taken in Lapland, 
which, according to Schsefier, are sometimes eight feet long. They are 
taken there in great abundance, dried and exported for sale. According to 
the common saying, these fish were introduced into England in the reign of 
Henry VIII., in 1537. They were so rare, that a pike was sold for double 
the price of a house lamb in February, and a pickerel for more than a fat 
capon. All writers who treat of this species bring instances of its vast 
voraciousness. "We have known one that was choked by attempting to swal- 
low one of its own species that proved too large a morsel. Yet its jaws are 
very loosely connected, and have on eaeli side an additional bone, like the 
jaw of a viper, which renders them capable of great distention when it 
swallows its prey. It does not confine itself to feed on fish and frogs ; it 
will devour the water-rat, and draw down the young ducks, as they are 
swimming about. At the Marquis of Stafford's Canal, at Trcntham, Eng- 
land, a pike seized the head of a swan, as she was feeding under water, and 
gorged so much of it as killed them both. The servants, perceiving the 
swan with its head under water for a longer time than usual, took the boat, 
and found both swan and pike dead. Put there are instances of its fierce- 
ness still more surprising, and which, indeed, border a little on the marvel- 
lous. Gcsner relates that a famished pike in the Phone seized on the lips 
of a mule that was brought to water, and that the beast drew the fish out 
before it could disengage itself; that people have been bit by these voracious 
creatures while they were washing their legs ; and that they will even 


contend with the otter for its prey, and endeavor to force it out of its 
mouth. Yet, it is said that the pike, with all its strength and ferocity, is 
no match for a trout of equal weight, the greater velocity of the latter fish 
giving it the advantage. 

E. Heticulatus. — The American Pickerel. This fish is found in all parts 
of our country, and is one of the most popular objects of the angler's pur- 
suit. It derives its specific name from the network of brownish lines which 
covers nearly the whole body. The color varies in different localities, being 
in some places of a brilliant gold color, and in others of a greenish-brown. 
Specimens are often taken weighing from six to eight pounds. 

Another American species is the _£'. estor, which is sprinkled with round, 
blackish spots. 

Belone. — Yarrell gives the following generic characteristics: — 

"Head and body extremely elongated; the latter covered with minute 
scales ; both jaws very much produced, straight, narrow, and pointed, 
armed with numerous small teeth." 

11. Tmncata, the Gar-fish, is frequently found on our shores from ten to 
fifteen inches in length. Dr. Storer describes a specimen as of a light- 
green color above, and beneath, a clear silvery-white. There are some 
species eight feet in length, which bite very severely. The flesh is good 
and wholesome, although some persons refuse it on account of the greenish 
color of the bones. 

Scojiberesox. — The generic characteristics of the group are the same 
as the former, save that the posterior portions of the dorsal and anal tins 
are divided, forming unlets, as in the mackerel. The species are gregarious, 
and are followed and preyed upon by porpoises, the tunny, and other large 
members of the mackerel family. 

8. Equirostrum. — The Dill-fish. This is the only species, we believe, 
found in American waters. A i'rw years ago, I found it in large numbers 
in the waters of Cape Cod, and suppose it to be equally plentiful there 
now. It approaches the coast about the middle of autumn, and is welcomed 
as an agreeable and wholesome article of food. It is from eight to twelve 
inches in length. The upper part of the back is of a yellowish-green color; 
a silvery band, half an inch wide, and divided in its centre by a line of the 
same color as the back, runs the whole length of the body. The belly is 
silvery, with a coppery tinge. 

Exocetus. — Tin- Flying-fish. These fishes are provided with pectoral 
fins of so great a length, as to be able to carry them, like wings, a great 
distance through the air. According to Mr. George Bennet (" Wanderings 
in New South Wales"), they cannot raise themselves when in the atmos- 
phere, the elevation they take depending entirely on the power of the first 


spring or leap they make on leaving their native element. Their flight, as 
it is called, carries them fifteen or eighteen feet above the water, and the 
lines which they traverse when they enjoy full liberty of motion, are very 
low curves, and always in the direction of their previous progress in the 
usual element of fishes. Their silvery wings and blue bodies, glittering be- 
neath the rays of a tropical sun, afford a most beautiful spectacle, when, as 
is frequently the case, they rise into the air by thousands at once, and in all 
possible directions. The advantage afforded them by their wing-like fins, 
in escaping from the pursuit of the bonitos and albacores, often, however, leads 
to their destruction in another element, where gulls and frigate-birds frequently 
seize them with lightning-like rapidity ere they fall back again into the ocean. 
It is interesting to observe a bonito swimming beneath the feeble aeronaut, 
keeping him steadily in view, and preparing to seize him at the moment of 
his descent. But the Flying-fish often eludes the bite of his enemy by in- 
stantaneously renewing his leap, and not unfrequently escapes by extreme 

The specific gravity of the Flying-fish can lie most admirably regulated 
in correspondence with the element through which it may move. The swim- 
ming-bladder, when distended, occupies nearly the entire cavity of the 
abdomen, thus containing a large volume of air; and, in addition to this, 
there is a membrane in the mouth which can be inflated through the gills. 
The pectoral fins, though so large when expanded, can be folded into an 
exceedingly slender, neat, and compact form, so as to be no hinderance to 
swimming. A light displayed from the chains of a vessel in a dark night 
will bring many Flying-fishes on board, where they are esteemed as a great 
delicacy. Their fate, thus to be persecuted in both elements, and to find 
securitv nowhere, has often been pitied in prose and verse ; but, although 
they excite so much sentimental commiseration, they are themselves no less 
predaceous than their enemies, feeding chiefly on smaller fishes. 

The Flying-fish of the West-Indian waters is frequently allured by the 
tepid waters of the Gulf Stream into higher latitudes, and Pennant cites 
several examples of its having been found near the British coast. 

One species, E. volitans, is common in the Atlantic, and is said to have 
the power to leap more than two hundred yards in distance, and upwards of 
twenty feet in height. It sometimes, but rarely, visits our shores. 

Siltjtiid.e (Sheat-fish). Third Family of the Malacoptenjgii Ab- 

" These fishes arc distinguished from all the rest of the order by the want 
of true scales, having only a naked skin, or large bony scales. The inter- 
maxillaries, suspended under the ethmoid, form the margin of the upper 


jaw ; and the maxillary bones arc either simple vestiges, or extended into 
cirri. The intestinal canal is large, folded, and without coeca. The air- 
bladder is large, and adheres to a peculiar apparatus of bones. A strong, 
articulated spine generally forms the first ray of the dorsal and the pectorals ; 
and there is sometimes an adipose dorsal behind the other, as in the Salmon 

" Siluiils. — These form a numerous genus, known by the naked skin, 
from the mouth being cleft in the end of the muzzle, and from a strong 
spine in the first ray of the dorsal. This spine is articulated only to the 
bones of the shoulder, and the fish can at pleasure lay it flat on the body, 
or keep it fixed in a perpendicular direction, in which case it is a formidable 
weapon, and wounds inflicted by it are understood to lie poisoned; which 
opinion has arisen from tetanus sometimes following the wound, not from 
poison certainly, but from the ragged nature of the wound itself. 

"These fishes have the head depressed; the intermaxillarics suspended 
under the ethmoid, and not protractile; the maxillaries very small, but 
almost always continued in barbules attached to the lower lip, and also to 
the nostrils : the covering of their gills is without sub-operculum or gill-flap ; 
their air-bladder, strong and heart-shaped, is attached, by its two upper 
lobes, to a peculiar bony structure, which again is attached to the first ver- 
tebra; the stomach is a fleshy cul-de-sac, having the intestinal canal long 
and wide, but without coeca. They abound in the rivers of warm countries; 
and seeds of plants are found in the stomach of many of their species. 

"Sunns, properly so called, with only a small fin of four rays on the 
fore-part of the back, but with the anal very long, and approaching very 
close to the base of the caudal. There is no obvious spine in the dorsal ; 
and the teeth in both jaws, and in the vomer, arc like those of a card. 
&. glunis, the Sly Silurus, is the largest fresh-water fish of Europe, and 
the only member of the genus in this quarter of the world. It is smooth, 
of a greenish-black, spotted with black above, and yellowish-white below; 
bead large, with six cirri — two large ones near the nostrils, and four shorter 
on the lower jaw. It sometimes grows to six feet in length, and weighs 
three hundred pounds. It is found in the slow-running rivers of Central 
Europe, and lurks in the mud to watch for its prey. Its flesh is greasy, and 
is sometimes employed as hog's lard. It is found in the rivers of Asia and 

" Schilbus have the body vertically compressed, a strong-toothed spine in 
the dorsal, the head small and depressed, the nape suddenly raised, and the 
eyes low down. They have eight cirri, are found in the Nile, and their 
flesh is said to lie less disagreeable than that of other members of the 


Pijielodus. — -The body is covered witli a naked skin; no lateral arma- 
ture; jaws, and often palatine bones, furnished with teeth, but there is no 
band of tcetli on the vomer parallel to that on the upper jaw. The form 
of the head varies very much, as well as the number of its barbules. There 
are several foreign species. 

P. Nebulosus. — The Horned Pout. This is a well-known species in all 
of our rivers and ponds. It is often eaten, and is much esteemed by many, 
while others throw it away, not liking its appearance. Fourth Family of the Malacopterygii Abdominales. 

The genera and sub-genera of this family are too numerous to be recorded 
here. I shall confine my observations, therefore, to the most valuable of 

Salmo. — The Salmons have the head smooth; two dorsal fins, the first, 
supported by rays, the second fleshy, and without rays ; teeth on the vomer, 
both palatine bones, and all the maxillary bones. 

S. Solar. — The C< 

;almon, which was known to the Romans, but 

not to the Greeks, is distinguished from other fish by having two dorsal fins, 
of which the hindermost is fleshy, and without rays; they have teeth both 
in the jaws and the tongue, and the body is covered with round and minutely 
striated scales. Gray is the color of the back and sides, sometimes spotted 
with black, and sometimes plain. The belly is silvery. It is entirely a north- 
ern fish, being found both at Greenland, Kamtschatka, and in the northern 
parts (if North America, but never so far south as the Mediterranean. Salmon 
are now scarce in all our rivers south of the Merrimac. In the Connecticut, 
they were once so abundant as to be less esteemed than shad ; and the fish- 
ermen used to require their purchasers to take some salmon with their shad. 
Within the memory of persons living, they were taken in plenty even as far 
up as Vermont. The Indians used to catch a great many of them as they 
were ascending Bellows Falls. It is supposed that the locks, dams, and 
canals, constructed in the river, have driven this valuable fish away. About 
the latter end of the year, the salmon begin to press up the rivers, even for 
hundreds of miles, to deposit their spawn, which lies buried in the sand till 
spring, if not disturbed by the floods, or devoured by other fishes. In this 
peregrination it is not to be stopped even by cataracts. About March the 
young ones begin to appear; and, about the beginning of May, the river is 
full of the salmon fry, which are then four or five inches long, and gradu- 
ally proceed to the sea. About the middle of June, the earliest fry begin 
to return again from the sea, and are then from twelve to fourteen inches 
long. Rapid and stony rivers, where the water is free from mud, are the 
favorite places of most of the salmon tribe, the whole of which is supposed 
no. xvi. !''< 


td afford wholesome food to mankind. These fish, when taken out of their 
natural element, very soon die; to preserve their flavor, they must he killed 
as soon as they are taken out of the water. The fishermen usually pierce 
them near the tail with a knife, when they soon die with loss of blood. The 
Scotch Commissaries of Fisheries, some years since, adopted an ingenious 
device for learning the migrations of the salmon. They marked a large 
number of fish, hatched from the spawn deposited the last year in the Tweed, 
by placing around them a belt or ring of India rubber, numbered and dated. 
< (ne of the fish was caught, two days after being thus marked, and let go, 
a hundred miles from the mouth of the Tweed. All fishermen, taking such 
marked fish, were desired to take note of the weight, the place and date of 
capture, and various other particulars named in the directions. The idea is 
decidedly a novel and very amusing one, and may lead to valuable scientific 
discovery in regard to the habits of the salmon. 

This valuable fish is not so abundant in the Eastern States of the Union 
a- formerly, yet the rivers of Maine keep the markets pretty well supplied, 
Civilization, with the industrial enterprises which accompany it, is as de- 
structive to many of our most valuable river fishes as to the aborigines, 
and the wild beasts of the t'ore.-ts. The manufactories and numerous dams, 
which interrupt their progress up the rivers, have greatly diminished their 
numbers. It is interesting to observe the efforts they make-to overcome these 
obstructions, and the surprising leaps they sometimes make. I have seen 
them >hoot like arrows over dams of a considerable height, and against a 
strong current. 

•V. '/'in/In. — The Salmon Trout. This species varies considerably in 
color. It is generally bluish-black above, pale on the sides, silvery on the 
belly, with cross-shaped spots towards the upper part. 

The Sea Trout, or Salmon Trout, migrates, like the salmon, up several 
ol' our rivers, spawns, and returns to the sea. The shape is thicker than 
the common trout. The head and hack are dusky, with a gloss oi' blue and 
green, and the sides, as far as the lateral line, are marked with large, irreg- 
ular spots nt' black. The flesh, when boiled, is red, and resembles that of 
tin- salmon in taste. 

Trout-fishing affords excellent diversion for the angler, and the passion 
for this pastime is very great. It is a matter of surprise that this common 
fish has escaped the notice of all the ancients, except Ausonius. It is also 
singular, that so delicate a species should lie neglected, at a time when the 
folly of the table was at its height : and that the epicures should overlook a 
fish that is found in such quantities in the lakes of their neighborhood, when 
they ransacked the universe for dainties. The milts of murcence were 
brought from one place; the \h of , from another; ami oysters even 


from so remote a spot as Sandwich; but there was, and is, a fashion in the 
article of good living. The general shape of the trout is rather long than 
broad; in several of the Scotch and Irish rivers they grow so much thicker 
than in those of England, that a fish from eighteen to twenty-two inches 
will often weigh from three to five pounds. This is a fish of prey, has a short, 
roundish head, blunt nose, and wide mouth, filled with teeth, not only in the 
jaws, but on the palate and tongue ; the scales are small; the back ash- 
color ; the sides yellow, and, when in season, it is sprinkled all over the body 
and covers of the gills with small, beautiful red and black spots : the tail is 
broad. The colors of the trout, and its spots, vary greatly in different waters, 
and in different seasons ; yet each may be reduced to one species. It sometimes 
attain- the weight of seven and a half pounds. In the Androscoggin River, 
.Maine, two brook trout were taken by Mr. Bartlett, the author of "Familiar 
Quotations," at one east of the fly, which weighed respectively seven and 
a half and four pounds. It is usually much smaller, and is much in 
request for the table. The large species of trout, which inhabit the larger 
hikes of Maine, New Hampshire, and those about the sources of the 
Susquehanna, have not yet been described or properly distinguished, that 
we are aware of; indeed, it is possible that more than one species has 
been confounded under the common trout. A gigantic species of trout 
from Lake Huron has been described by Dr. Mitchell. It is said to at- 
tain the weight of one hundred and twenty pounds. The flesh is remarka- 
bly fat, rich, and savory. The specific name Amethystinus was applied 
on account of the purplish tinge and hyaline tips of the teeth. We add 
some observations on the trout as an object of pursuit to the American 
angler. It is particularly, abundant in New England, where the waters and 
soil, being of a more Alpine character, are highly congenial to the nature 
of this species of fish. They may be divided into three principal classes, 
namely, Pond Trout, River Trout, and Sea Trout. Of these, however, there 
are as many varieties and shades of difference as are known and described 
in England, Scotland, and other countries ; but, for all the purposes of the 
angler, it is unnecesary to enumerate any others than those above men- 
tioned. Pond or lake trout vary in shape and color. Their size is gener- 
ally in proportion to the extent, of the water in which they are taken. In 
Moosehead Lake, in Maine, they attain the enormous weight of forty or 
fifty pounds, and in the lakes oi' other States, are found of the average size 
of salmon. This large description of trout are seldom taken, except through 
the ice in winter, and consequently afford but little sport to the lover of 
angling. In the Winnipiseogee Lake, in New Hampshire, and Sebago 
Lake, in Maine, the average size of the fish is about that of the largest 
mackerel, which it also resembles in shape. The spots upon these and other 


lake trout are seldom red, but dark and indistinct, according- to their size. 
The last-mentioned lake is one of the few in which the fish are taken by the 
usual method of angling, for which they are more esteemed, as affording 
good sport, than for their flavor; and the common impression is, that these 
lish sprung from salmon, but that, having been prevented by obstruc- 
tions in the river from entering the sea, they have become, by confinement, 
degenerated in size and quality, retaining only the color of the Mesh. In 
the interior lakes of New York, and in the great lakes of the West, the 
trout grows t<> a vast size ; but these lake trout, being coarse fish, and taken 
without skill, ia the winter only, are held in no estimation by the scientific 
angler. River or brook trout are common in the New England States ; but, 
much to the annoyance of the angler, they perceptibly diminish in propor- 
tion to the increase of mills and manufactories upon the various streams. 
The size of this class of trout, and the color of the skin and spots, are 
much alike in all, excepting that some are of a more silvery hue than others ; 
and the color of the flesh varies, perhaps, as it has been observed, according 
to their different food, being sometimes perfectly white, sometimes of a yel- 
low tinge, but generally [link. There are also trout in various small ponds, 
both natural and artificial, those taken from the latter being in all respects 
similar to the brook or river trout. This is to be understood of ponds in the 
interior, as there are many artificial ponds, situated near the sea-coast, at 
the head of inlets from the sea and tide water, where the fish are very little 
inferior in size and quality to those which are taken where the tide ebbs and 
Hows. Of the three classes of trout referred to, there is none so much 
esteemed as the sea trout, which may be called migratory, in distinction 
from those which have no access to the salt water. In the early spring 
months, they are taken in great abundance in the various salt rivers, creeks, 
and tide waters upon the shores of New England and Long Island, but 
more particularly in the waters of Cape Cod, where the celebrated Waquoit 
Bay, with other neighboring waters, has long been the favorite resort of the 
scientific fisherman. As the season advances, these fish repair to fresh 
water, at which time, as well as earlier, they afford great diversion to the 
angler, by whom they arc highly prized, not merely for their superiority of 
form, color, and delicious flavor, hut for the voracity witli which they seize 
the bait of the artificial fly, and their activity upon the hook. In the United 
States, as well as in Great Britain, this fish is the great object of the 
angler's art, the perfection of which is the use of the artificial fly. 

S. Fontinalis. — The Common Brook Trout. I do not feel it necessary 
to describe this beautiful species, which, "in speckled pride," flourishes in 
all of our streams, and is the angler's special delight. 

Osmekus. — This genus has two rows of teeth on each palatal, but only 



a few in front of the vomer. Form is like that of the trout, and the body 
is of a brilliant, silvery color, with some greenish reflections, but without 
sputs. The only species known in this country is 

0. Eperlanus. — The Smelt. This is a pretty and delicious table-fish, and 
millions of them, taken with scoop-nets, are brought into our markets. 

CLurEiD.E. Fifth Family of the Mjxlacopterygii Abdominales. 

The ClupeidoB have no adipose dorsal ; their bodies are always scaly, and 
most of them have an air-bladder. Several of the species ascend rivers, 
and all periodically approach the shores. It yields in commercial value only 
to the mackerel and the cod. We have, at the head of the family, the genus 

Clupea. — Yarrell uives the following characteristics of the genus : — 

" Body compressed ; scales large, thin, and deciduous; head compressed : 
teeth minute or wanting: a single dorsal fin; abdominal line forming a 
sharp, keel-like edge, which in some species is serrated." 

Q. Eloxgota. — This is the common English Herring of our markets. 
It is about a foot long, sometimes a little more. The color upon the back 
is of a deep blue, tinged with yellow, paler on the sides, and silvery on the 
belly. It is a fat, rich fish, and abounds in the Northern Atlantic, near 
the shores of both continents. Although the herring fishery in this country 
is of considerable importance, it does not hold the rank in our industrial 
and commercial affairs which it does in Europe. In a German work, I 
have found an article on this subject so interesting that I am tempted to in- 
troduce a synopsis of it here. 

" In mile-long shoals, often so thickly pressed that a spear cast into them 
would stand upright in the living stream, the common herring appears an- 
nually on the coasts of North-western Europe, pouring out the horn of 
abundance into all the lochs, lays, coves, and fiords, from Norway to Ire- 
land, and from Orcadia to Normandy. Sea-birds, without end, keep thin- 
ning their ranks during the whole summer; armies of rorquals, dolphins, 
seals, shell-fish, cods, and sharks devour them by millions, and yet, so 
countless are their numbers, that whole nations live upon their spoils. 

"As soon as the season of their approach appears, fleets of herring boats 
leave the northern ports, provided with drift nets, about twelve hundred feet 
long. The yarn is so thick that the wetted net sinks through its own weight, 
and need not be held down by stones attached to the lower edge, for it has 
been found that the herring is more easily caught in a slack net. The upper 
edge is suspended from the drift rope by various smaller and shorter ropes, 
called buoy ropes, to which empty barrels are fastened ; and the whole of the 
floating apparatus is attached by long ropes to the ship. Fishing takes place 
only during the night ; for it is found that the fish strike the nets in much 



greater numbers when it is dark than when it is light. The darkest nights, 
therefore, and particularly those in which the surface of the water is ruffled by 
a fresh breeze, are considered the most favorable. To avoid collisions, each 
boat is furnished with one or two torches. From off the beach at Yar- 
mouth, where often several thousand boats are fishing at the same time, 
these numberless lights, passing to and fro in every direction, afford a most 
lively and brilliant spectacle. The meshes of the net are exactly calculated 
for the size of the herring: — -wide enough to receive the head as far as be- 
hind the gill-covers, but too narrow to allow the pectoral fins to pass. 
Thus the pour fish, when once entangled, is unable to move backwards or 
forwards, and remains sticking in the net, like a bad logician on the horns 
of a dilemma, until the fisherman hauls it on board. In this manner, a 
single ii 'i sometimes contains so vast a booty, that it requires all the author- 
ity of* a Cuvier or a Valenciennes to make us believe the instances they men- 
lion. A fisherman of Dieppe caught in one night two hundred and eighty 
thousand herrings, and threw as many back again into the sea. Sometimes 
great -loops have been obliged to cut their nets, being about to sink under 
the superabundant weight of the fish. 

" The oldest mention of the herring fishery is found in the chronicles of the 
Monastery of Evesham, of the year 709, while the first Trench documents 
on the subject only reach as far as the year 1030. As far back as the days 
of William the Conqueror, Yarmouth was renowned for its herring fishery ; 
and Dunkirk and the Brill conducted it on a grand scale centuries before 
William Benkelaer, of Biervliet, near Sluys, introduced a better method of 
pickling herrings in small kegs, instead of salting them, as before, in loose, 
irregular heaps. It is very doubtful whether Solon or Lycurgus ever were 
such benefactors of their respective countries as this simple, uneducated fish- 
erman has been to his native land ; for the pickled herring mainly contrib- 
uted to transform a small and insignificant people into a mighty nation. 

"In the year 1603, the value of the herrings exported from Holland 
amounted to twenty millions of florins; and in 1(515, the fishery gave em- 
ployment to two thousand buvsens, or smacks, and to thirty-seven thousand 
men. Three years later we see the United Provinces cover the sea with three 
thousand buvsens (nine thousand additional boats served for the transport of 
the fishes), and the whole trade gave employment at least to two hundred 
thousand individuals. At. that time Holland provided all Europe with her- 
rings ; ami it may, without exaggeration, be affirmed that this small fish 
was their best ally and assistant in casting off the Spanish yoke, by provid- 
ing them with money, the chief sinew of war. Had the Emperor Charles V. 
been able to foresee that Benkelaer's discovery would, one day, prove so 
detrimental to his son and successor, Philip II., he would hardly have done 


the poor fisherman the honor to cat a herring and drink a glass of wine over 
his tomb. 

" But all human propensity is subject to change ; and thus, towards the 
end of the sixteenth century, a series of calamities ruined the Dutch fisher- 
ies. Cromwell gave them the first blow by the Navigation Act; Blake the 
second, by his victories ; in 1703 a French squadron destroyed the Greatest 
part of their herring-smacks; and finally, the competition of the Swedes, 
and the closing of their ports by the English, under the disastrous domina- 
tion of Napoleon 1., completed the ruin of that branch of trade which had 
chiefly raised the fortunes of their fathers. 

"In the vear 1814, when the Dutch first beffan to breathe, after having 
shaken off the yoke of the modern Attila, they made a faint attempt to 
renew the herring fishery with one hundred and six boats, which, up to the 
year 1823, had only increased to one hundred and twenty-eight ; since 1836, 
however, there 1ms been a steady progress, and herring catching in the Zuy- 
der Zee during the winter months is yearly increasing in importance. 

" 1 'tiling the second half of tin.' last, century, while the herrings began to 
desert the Dutch nets, they enriched the Swedes, who, during the year 1781, 
exported from Gottenburg alone one hundred an 1 thirty-six thousand six 
hundred and forty-nine barrels, each of them containing twelve hundred 
herrings. But, some years after, the shoals on the Swedish coasts began 
also to diminish, so that in 1799 there was hardly enough for home con- 
sumption. And now commenced the rapid rise and increase of the Scotch 
herring fisheries: and it is certainly remarkable that this should have taken 
place at so late a period, since the British waters are, perhaps, those which 
most abound in herring. When we think of the present grandeur of Brit- 
ish commerce, which furnishes the most distant parts of the globe with 
articles of every description, it seems almost incredible that, up to the mid- 
dle of the sixteenth century, the herring fishery on the British coasts was 
left in the hands of the Dutch and Spaniards, and that the enterprising Scots 
should have been so tardy in working the rich gold mines lying at their 
gates. But, if their appearance in the market has been late, they have 
made up for lost time by completely distancing all their competitors. In 
1826, the Scotch herring fisheries employed no less than ten thousand three 
hundred and sixty-three smacks, or boats, manned by forty-four thousand 
five hundred and ninety-five fishermen, who handed over the produce of their 
nets to at least seventy-six thousand picklers and curers ; and, in that same 
same year, the Scotch herrings were proclaimed superior to the Dutch by 
the connoisseurs of Hamburg. The English herring fishery is also ex- 
tremely important; for Yarmouth alone employs in this branch of trade 
about four hundred sloops, of from forty to seventy tons, the largest of 



which have ten or twelve men on board. Three of these sloops, belonging 
to the same proprietor, landed, in the year 1857, two hundred and eighty- 
five lasts, or three millions seven hundred and sixty-two thousand fishes ; 
and as each last was sold for fourteen pounds sterling, it is probable that 
no winder made a better business that season. The importance of the Yar- 
mouth herring fishery may be inferred from the fact, that it gives employ- 
ment and bread to about five thousand persons during several months of the 
year, and cn^a^es a capital of at least seven hundred thousand pounds. No 
wonder that, among the North seamen, the herring fishery is called the 
'great' fishery, while that of the whale is denominated only the 'small.' 

"I'.ut the herrin" is a very capricious creature, seldom remaining long in 
one place : and there is not a station along the British coast which is not 
liable to great changes in its visits, as well in regard to time as to quantity. 
The real causes of these irregularities arc unknown ; the tiring of guns, the 
manufacture of kelp, and the paddling of steamboats have been assigned as 
reasons : but such reasons are quite imaginary. 

"The supposed migration of herrings to and from the high northern lati- 
tude-, is not founded on fact ; the herring has never been seen in abundance 
in the northern seas, nor have our whale-fishers on Arctic voyages taken any 
particular notice of them. There is iiu fishery for them of any consequence 
cither in Greenland or Iceland. On the southern coast of Greenland the 
heiiing is a rare fish, and, according to Crantz, only a small variety makes 
its appearance on the northern shore. This small variety, or species, was 
found by Sir John Franklin on the shore of the Polar basin, on his second 
journey. There can be no doubt that the herring inhabits the deep water 
all round the coast, and only approaches the shores for the purpose of de- 
positing its spawn within the immediate influence of the two principal agents 
in \i\ ideation, — increased temperature and oxygen; and, as soon as that 
essential object is effected, the shoals that haunt the superficial waters dis- 
appear, but individuals arc found, and many are to be caught, throughout 
the year. So far are they from being migratory to us from the north only, 
that they visit the west coast of Cork in August, arriving there much earlier 
than those which come down the Irish Channel, and long before their breth- 
ren make their appearance at places much farther north. Our common 
herring spawns towards the end of October, or the beginning of Novem- 
ber : and it is for two or three months previous to this, when they as- 
semble in immense numbers, that the fishing is carried on, which is of 
such great and national importance. ' And here,' Air. Couch observes, 
'we cannot but admire the economy of Divine Providence, by which this 
and several other species of fish are brought to the shores, within reach of 
man, at the time when they are in their highest perfection, and best fitted to 


lie his food.' The herring, having spawned, retires to deep water, and the 
fishing ends for that season. While inhabiting the depths of the ocean, its 
food is said, by Dr. Knox, to consist principally of minute entromostraceous 
animals, but it is certainly less choice in its selection when near the shore." 

(J. Pilchard. — This species, in size and some other respects, resembles 
the herring. Its range, however, is farther south. It is not common in 
our waters, and, so far as I know, has never been an object of pursuit by 
our fishermen ; but to the poor people of the British and French coasts, it 
is of inestimable value. 

The older naturalists considered the Pilchard, like the herring, as a visitor 
from a distant region, and they assigned to it also the same place of resort 
as that fish, with which, indeed, the Pilchard lias been sometimes confound- 
ed. To this it will be a sufficient reply, that the Pilchards are never seen in 
the Northern Ocean. They frequent the French coasts, and are seen on 
those of Spain, but on neither in considerable numbers, or with much regu- 
larity ; so that few fishes confine themselves within such narrow bounds. 
On the coast of Cornwall, they arc found throughout all the seasons of the 
year, and even there their habits vary in the different months. In January they 
keep near the bottom, and are chiefly hauled up in the stomachs of ravenous 
fishes; in March they sometimes assemble in schools, but this union is only 
partial, and not permanent, and only becomes so in July, when they regu- 
larly and permanently congregate so as to invite the fisherman's pursuit. 
The season and situation for spawning, and the choice of food, are the chief 
reasons which influence the motions of the great bodies of these fish; and 
it is probable that a thorough knowledge of these particulars would explain 
all the variations which have been noticed in the doings of the Pilchard in 
the numerous unsuccessful seasons of the fishery. 

They feed with voracity on small crustaceous animals, and Mr. Yarrell 
frequently found their stomachs crammed with thousands of a minute species 
of shrimp, nut larger than a flea. It is probable, when they are in search 
of something like this, that fishermen report they have seen them lying in 
myriads quietly at the bottom, examining with their mouths the sand and 
small stones in shallow water. The abundance of this food must be enor- 
mous to satisfy such a host. "When near the coast," says the author of the 
History of British Fishes, "the assemblage of Pilchards assumes the ar- 
rangement of a mighty army, with its wings stretching parallel to the land, 
and the whole is composed of numberless smaller bodies, which arc perpetu- 
ally joining together, shifting their position, and separating again. There 
are three stations occupied by this great body, that have their separate influ- 
ence on the success of the fishery. One is to the eastward of the Lizzard, 
the must eastern extremity, reaching to the Bay of Bigbury in Devonshire, 
no xvi. 77 


beyond which no fishing is carried on, except that it occasionally extend; to 
Dartmouth ; ;i second station is included between the Lizzard and Land's 
End ; and the third is on the north coast of the county, the chief station 
bein" about St. Ives. The subordinate motions of the shoals are much reg- 
ulated by the tide, against the current of which they are rarely known to 
I'n, and the whole will sometimes remain parallel to the coast for several 
weeks, at the distance of a few leagues ; and then, as if by general consent, 
they will advance close to the shore, sometimes without being discovered till 
they have reached it. This usually happens when the tides are strongest, 
and is the period when the principal opportunity is afforded for the prosecu- 
tion of the seine fishery." The quantity of Pilchards taken is sometimes 
incredibly large. In IS 17 (a very productive year), forty thousand hogs- 
heads were cured in Cornwall alone, representing, probably, after all deduc- 
tions, a net value to the takers of eighty thousand pounds; of these, sixteen 
thousand were sold in .Naples, and ten thousand in the ports of the Adriatic 
— the two principal markets. The fish are cured simply by pressure in 
lavers strewn with bay Salt. 

Some investigations which we have made into the natural history and 
habits of the Pilchard serve to confirm our idea., that herrings of every 
description breed all the year round, and that there are spring, summer, 
autumn, and winter races of herring ever coming to maturity, as month 
follows month, with the greatest possible regularity. Some writers have 
indicated an opinion that fishes of the herring kind spawn twice a. year. 
We do not believe that, to be the case. The individuals of the herring kind 
that spawn in March are not the same fish that spawn again in August. They 
evidently belong to different varieties. Mr. Jonathan Couch, a distinguished 
naturalist of Polperao, i> of this opinion. 

The same idea prevails about this fish that used to prevail about the 
common herring; namely, that it is migratory, or, at least, that it roams 
about from place to place. An old poet says, — 

" Pilchards and shads in shoals together keep; 
The numerous fry disturbs the mantling deep; 
Nil home tiny know, nor can confinement love, 
But, fond lit hourly change, unsettled rove; 
Now choose the rocks, now seek the wider seas, — 
No place can long the restless wanderers please." 

We can only say of the Pilchard, as we have already said of the common 
herring, that it is not migratory in the sense meant. The fish gather to- 
gether from their feeding-grounds in order to spawn ; after that is accom- 
plished, they in all probability separate, and lead an individual life, till the 
reproductive instinct again seizes upon them. 


('. Sprattus. — This species may be considered a small herring. It is 
of great value to the common people of the Imti-li coasts, supplying tlicin 
during all the winter months with a cheap and agreeable article of food, and 
the farmers with an excellent and economical manure. 

( '. Sardina. — The Sardine is a .-■till smaller member of the same family, 
and is found in the Mediterranean, where the herring is not known. It is 
everywhere very much esteemed, and has become an extensive article of com- 
merce. It makes its appearance in the spawning season in countless multi- 
tudes along the shallow coasts. It is mostly caught in the neighborh 1 of 

Antibes, Frejus, and St. Tropez, and sent pickled in enormous quantities to 
the fair of Beaucaire, from whence it is transported in small tin boxes to all 
parts of the world. 

C. Minima. — This is a very numerous species in the waters along our 
coasts. The individuals are from one to four inches in length. The back 
is nearly black; the upper part of the sides is dark green, and the lower, 
silvery, with roseate and golden reflections. They are pretty fishes, but are 
of no value. 

Alosa. — The generic characteristics are the same as those of the preced- 
ing genus, with the exception of a deep notch in the upper jaw, in the 
centre. There are several very valuable species. 

A. I"< rnalis. — The Spring Herring, or Alewife. I am satisfied that this 
is the same fish which Le Sueur describes under the name of Clupect fascia- 
ta, and do not know why our ichthyologists give it a place in both genera. 

The old Indian name of the fish was Aloof, whence, by corruption, the 
common designation, Alewife. Although the numerous iron mills and 
manufactories of various kinds, which have rendered our streams impure, 
have considerably diminished the tribe, it still is plentiful along our coasts, 
ami, in numbers, equal to the demand. The length of the fish is about 
twelve inches ; the back is bluish-purple ; the sides light coppery, and the 
belly silvery. The head is small ; the eyes and mouth large. 

AIch ives are usually cured by drying or smoking, after being salted. They 
are highly valued as a relish. The fresh fish, when broiled or fried, forms a de- 
licious dish. In its dry state, it is an extremely cheap article of food, being 
now sold (1869) at eighteen cents per dozen. Taunton River, and all the 
streams that empty into Narragansett and Buzzard's Bays, produce immense 
numbers of them. 

^1. Yah/uris. — The Common Shad. This valuable and excellent tribe 
of fishes, although much reduced by the same causes which have restricted 
the salmons and alewives, is still sufficiently numerous to supply our markets. 
Thev approach the coasts in the poetic season of the year, and when the 
fields alonu' the rivers and streams are u;lorious and fragrant with the bloom 


of the orchards, they make their periodica] visit to the interior. The old 
Shad return in August ; the young at a later period. 

The species is usually from one to four pounds in weight, and has been 
known to attain the length of three feet. In its fresh state (broiled, baked, 
or fried) , it is an agreeable and wholesome diet. I have eaten it on the 
tables of fishermen, in its salted state, boiled, and found it excellent. 

A. Menhaden. — The Menhaden. This fish, sometimes called the Hard- 
head and Pauhagen, although it has many of the characteristics of Alosa, 
in other respects conies nearer to the herring, especially by its excessively 
oily flesh. As a general thing, it is larger than the alewife or the English her- 
rin"\ From May to November it throngs our waters in countless millions, 
and is used as bait, and manure for land. They are strewed by cart loads 
over the fields, and, as they decay, b< me a powerful fertilizer. One Men- 
haden is considered equal to a shovelful of barnyard manure. This method 
of using them, however, is open to many objections. The decaying fish fill 
the surrounding atmosphere with an intolerable stench, which is productive 
of dysentery and other diseases. To obviate this difficulty, factories have 
been established to manufacture the Menhaden into a kind of guano. 

"The net, with which the fish arc caught, is peculiarly managed; it is 
about one hundred and ten fathoms in length, and provided with corks on 
one side, and iron rings on the other. When a school of fish is discovered, 
two seine boats, each bearing its portion of the seine, are started off noise- 
lessly in opposite directions, and rapidly surround the fish. As soon as this 
is accomplished, the boats having formed a circle and coining together, the 
ends of the net are joined. The seine now encloses the fish, being kept in 
a vertical position by means of' the cork floats. Ropes pass through these 
rings, and are attached to a heavy leaden weight, which is thrown over- 
board, and, by drawing the ropes, purses the net. The fish an: thus brought 
near the surface, ami loaded on board the ' carry-aways,' to be taken to the 
factory's dock. At the factory, the fish are measured either in cars or 
boxes, and are drawn upon the railway to the tanks, where they are thrown 
into water, and a full head of steam turned on into the bottom of the tank, 
which contains some sixteen lo eighteen thousand fish. After thirty minutes' 
cooking, the water is drained off, and a man, getting into the tank, fills the 
curbs, which arc circular, and formed of strong, wooden slats, bound and 
lined with heavy iron. These are rolled under a solid, stationary head, fit- 
ting closely the inside of the curb, and against, which the fish are pressed, as 
the curb is slowly, but powerfully, raised by an hydraulic press. The oil and 
the water absorbed by the fish in boiling are pressed out through the slats, 
and carried by leaders to the tanks in the shed by the side of the factory, 
where the oil-man skims, boils, and otherwise prepares it for barrelling. As 


soon as the pressure is taken off, the curb slowly resumes its position on the 
railway, and is pushed to where a man stands ready to remove the cheese, 
as it tails from the curb, upon the opening of its hinged bottom. 

"This cheese, or scrap cake, is ground to different degrees of fineness to 
form the fish-guano ; this substance, being rich in ammonia-producing mate- 
rial, is used by some manufacturers of fertilizers to supply ammonia to 
phosphates that are deficient in that constituent." 


The fishes of this order have the ventral fins under the throat, and the 
pelvis suspended to the shoulder-blade, which gives them an advantage over 
the Abdominal Fishes in ascending and descending. 

Gadid.e. — First Family of Order III. 

This family of fishes far transcends all others in its importance to man. In 
countless millions, they range the cold and temperate seas, and, being gen- 
erally gregarious, rove in vast shoals, which renders the capture of immense 
numbers of them a comparatively easy task. They have a body moder- 
ately long, somewhat. compressed, and covered with very small, soft scales. 
All the fins arc soft. The head is well-proportioned and naked ; the jaws 
and front of the vomer have unequal -pointed teeth, of rather small size, 
disposed in rows, like a card or rasp ; the gill-openings are very large, and 
there are seven rays. Most of them have two or three fins on the back, 
some behind the vent, and a distinct caudal fin. The air-bladder is large 
and strong. Linnaeus included them all in the great genus Gaclus, but nat- 
uralists, since his day, have separated them into several genera, the most 
important of which is 

Morrhua. — The Cod. The ireneric characterestics are, — 

Body elongated, smooth, compressed towards the tail ; back furnished 
witli three dorsal fins ; ventrals pointed ; abdominal line with two fins behind 
the vent ; the lower jaw with one barbule at the chin ; seven gill-rays. 

M. Vulgaris. — The Common Cod. The back of this species is of a 
dusky hue, the sides lighter, and the belly is whitish. The whole of the 
upper part of the body is covered with brown and yellowish spots. I do 
not think the Cod admits of division into the numerous species which our 
naturalists have designated. The differences in appearance and quality are 
attributable to the nature of the ground where they feed, and other causes 
which might easily be specified. The Common Cod abounds in all European 


n:is from Ireland to Gibraltar, but appears most abundantly on the eastern 
side of the American Continent, and among its numerous islands from 40° 
up to GO north latitude, where it may be said to hold dominion from the 
outer ed"-e of the great hanks of Newfoundland, which are mure than three 
hundred miles from land, to the verge of every creek and cove of the bound- 
in" coast. To support such a mass of living beings, the ocean sends forth 
its periodical masses of other living beings. At one season, the Cod is ac- 
companied by countless myriads of the Capeliu (Suhno Arcticus) , and, at 
another, by equal hosts of a molluscous animal, the Cuttle-fish [Septa 
loliyo), called by the fishermen. Squid. The three animals are migratory ; 
and man, who stations himself on the shore for their combined destruction, 
conducts his movements according to their migrations, capturing millions 
upon millions of capelins and squids to serve as a bait for the capture of 
millions of cods. In the United Kingdom alone, this fish, in the catching, 
the curing, and sale, supplies employment, food, and profit to thousands of 
the human race; but the banks of Newfoundland are the chief scene of its 
destruction. As soon as spring appears, England sends forth two thousand 
ships, with thirty thousand men, across the Atlantic, towards those teeming 
shallows; France about one half the number ; and the Americans as many 
as both together. On an average, each vessel is reckoned to catch from 
thirty thousand to forty thousand fishes; and we may form some idea of the 
voracity, as well as of the numbers, ul' the cod, when we hear that, in the 
course of a single day, a good fisherman is able to haul up four hundred, 
one alter another, with his line, which is no easy task, considering that a 
single cod often attains a length of iron) two to three feet, and a weight of 
from twenty to sixty pounds. < )n the Grand Banks, I have frequently been 
obliged to pause for breath when drawing a huge specimen of forty or fifty 

I he waters along our coasts furnish the markets abundantly with fresh 
cod at all seasons of the year ; but the salted and dried fish, of which there 
is such an immense consumption throughout the country, are caught chiefly 
on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The vessels employed by Ameri- 
cans in this business are strongly built sea-boats, generally of from fifty to 
seventy tons burthen; the French and English, for obvious reasons, employ 
a much larger class. I cannot, perhaps, convey a clearer idea of the method 
of prosecuting this valuable industry on the Banks, than by giving a brief 
description of an actual voyage thither, and of the proceedings which ar 
usually adopted in taking and curing the cod. In 18.34, I visited these cele- 
brated fishing-grounds with Captain Philip Cook, in the Powhattan, a 
schooner of about sixty tons, belonging to Provincetown, Mass., and 
manned by a crew of nine persons. We arrived on the Banks a little 



after the middle of April. These vast shoals, hundreds of miles from land, 
and covered with a perpetual fog, thick as night, through which the sun 
scarcely makes an opening more than two or three times a week, are dismal 
enough. Yet they are rich in thousands of objects which interest the natu- 
ralist. The bottom swarms with Moral treasures of exceeding beauty, most 
brilliantly and delightfully tinted, rivalling the flowers which adorn the hills 
and valleys of the upper world, yet all are instinct with animal life. 

The first operation, after the anchor is dropped, is to prepare bins or pens, 
if this has not previously been done, for the reception of the fish as they are 
hauled in. Two of these are required on each side of the vessel, near the 
fishermen who tend the lines. These last are attached to cleats, fastened to 
the stanchions which support the bulwarks, over which they fall into the 
water, and are allowed to sink until the baited hooks are within a few inches 
of the bottom. If the cod are hungry, and bite briskly, a few hours fish- 
ing will fill the bins, when the labor of catching ceases, and preparations 
arc made for dressing them. 

The crew of a fishing-vessel is divided into two watches, which alternate- 
ly relieve each other, at intervals of two or four hours. That of the Pow- 
hattan consisting of eight, exclusive of the cook, each watch comprised four 
persons. In the dressing and salting of the fish, there is a curious division 
of labor, which necessitates a peculiar organization, in which each man is 
assigned to a particular office ; as, for example, our men were thus ar- 
ranged : Philip Cook and James M. Turner, splitters; Frederick Hunt and 
Thomas R. Whorf, jr., salters; Isaac Small ami Charles Cook, throaters; 
J. F. Witherel ' and A. C. L. Arnold, headers. The throater takes the cod 
from the bin, places it upon the table temporarily erected for the purpose, and, 
with a sharp knife, cuts the throat and the muscles of the neck to the bone, 
and splits open the belly, when he shoves it along to the header, who places 
the fish on its back, with the neck just on the edge of the table, and then, with 
a sudden movement or jerk, presses the head down, which breaks the neck, 
and easily severs the head from the Jjody. lie then draws out the viscera, 
which, after separating the liver, which slip? through a hole into a vessel 
prepared to receive it, he casts into a tub, and slides the fish down to the 
bottom of the table, when the splitter opens it upon the back, along the 
bone, the vertebra? of which he severs, as is seen in dried specimens, and flings 
it into the hold to the Salter. 

The catch for the time being thus disposed of, the table is unshipped, 
and the offal is cast into the sea, when the gulls, in numbers innumerable, 
commence their revels. These voracious birds, which can swallow a cod- 
liver as large as their own bodies, have no respect for each other's rights, 

* Afterwards a distinguished clergyman ut' Maine. 


and fifht with one another, with the most desperate fury, for the possession 
of dainty morsels, and continue their warfare with unabated violence, until 
the great Clack Sea-^ull (Hawk of the Sea) sweeps down among them, 
when they scatter like spray before the tempest. 

The cod on the Grand Banks sometimes exhibit peculiarities, for which, 
to my knowledge, no explanation is given. Schools are not iinfrequently 
met with, lean and lank', as if they had just arrived from a great distance, 
without stopping to take rest or fond. Others are often taken which have a 
considerable quantity of stones in their stomachs. In regard to this last 
phenomenon, the common opinion among fishermen is that these schools are 
about leaving the Banks, and the stones serve as a ballast to enable them 
more easily to descend into deep water. These fishes always dwell near the 
bottom, and require a comfortable degree of coldness, and, as the summer 
sun warms the northern seas, they naturally seek deeper and consequently 
cooler waters. 

A trip to the Grand Banks generally occupies from ten to twelve weeks, 
often more, rarely less. A "lull fare" having been obtained, the vessel 
returns to port, when the salted fish are transferred to the land, spread on 
"flakes," and carefully dried in the sun. 

Many fishermen now take the cod on the Banks by trawls instead of lines. 
These are ropes of great length, with hooks attached along the entire ex- 
tent. Properly baited, they arc laid either in a straight line or semicircle 
on the bottom of the sea, and retained there by suitable weights. These 
trawls are visited at intervals, drawn up, commencing at one end, the fish 
removed, if any have been caught, the hooks re-baited, and then they are 
replaced for a new set of victims. 

.Nearly every part of the cod is of service to man. The flesh, as an arti- 
cle of food, maintains the first place in the economy of all civilized nations. 
The head fresh, properly cooked, is an exquisite delicacy. The liver sup- 
plies an oil valuable in pulmonary diseases, and in the arts. The gall is a 
powerful alkali, ami softens the sea water so that the fishermen can wash 
their clothing in it as easily as if it were taken from the running stream. 
The tongues are well known to commerce, and the "sounds," besides being 
nutritious as food, furnish the isinglass with which cotton manufacturers 
size their yarn. 

M. JEglefinus. — The Haddock. In his report to the Massachusetts 
Legislature in 1839, Dr. Storer says, — 

" Immense shoals of this fish are found on our coast in the spring, and 
continue through the season until the autumn. Ten years since, this species 
\va comparatively rare at ('ape Cod ; now, it. is almost as common there as 
in any part of our bay. It is estimated that, in the warm season, about 

. , XXXI 



'■;' ■' 




4bM$k ■ 





twelve hundred- weight of Haddock are taken to one hundred-weight of 
Codfish in Massachusetts Bay ; and in the winter, about twelve hundred- 
weight of Cod to one hundred-weight of Haddock; but, as the Haddock 
fishery is of longer duration, the quantities through the year will average 
about the proportion of three Haddock to one Cod. Large numbers are 
sold in the market; and, during the entire summer, it is generally eaten by 
the poorer classes, who are often able to obtain a fine fish weighing several 
pounds for one or two cents. When taken in larger quantities than they 
can be disposed of in the market, they arc frequently strewed over the earth 
for manure. 

" The specimen before me is twenty-four inches in length. Length of the 
head, compared to the whole length of the body, exclusive of the caudal 
rays, as six to twenty inches ; depth of the body, across from the anus, less 
than the length of the head. Color, above the lateral line, a dark gray ; 
beneath this line, a beautiful silvery-gray, with a large, and in many speci- 
mens nearly a circular patch, on each side, on a line with the middle of the 
pectorals, its upper portion generally extending above the lateral line, its 
larger portion usually beneath it. Lack of the head very convex; gill- 
covers much lighter colored than the top of the head and snout; upper jaw 
projects beyond the lower; teeth in the upper jaw longer than in the lower, 
and nearly vertical ; a very minute barbule at the chin ; posterior nostril 
much larger than the anterior. Longest diameter of the eye more than one 
sixth the length of the head, pupils black, irides bluish; the distance be- 
tween the eyes equal to nearly one third the length of the head. The 
lateral line, commencing at a distance above the posterior angle of the 
operculum, equal to the length of the head, assumes the curve of the body 
until on a plane with about the middle of the second dorsal fin, from which 
point it runs on in a straight line to the base of the caudal rays; through 
its whole course, it is of a jet-black color." 

Dr. Storer's description of the species is correct ; but, regarding his esti- 
mate of the quality of the flesh, many people entertain a different opinion. 
I consider the Haddock as as far superior to the Cod, in its delicacy and 
wholesomcness, as the chicken is superior to the goose. 

The Haddock figures in the old Norse mythology. When the god Thor 
went in pursuit of Luke to bring him to justice, for encompassing the death 
of Balder the Beautiful, that evil spirit transformed himself into the form, 
or concealed himself in the body, of a Haddock, and sought refuge in the 
abysses of the ocean. The god pursued him to bis retreat, marching over 
the oceanic mountains, " as if they were rocks of little size," and seized the 
offender by the nape ; but the cunning and treacherous demon wriggled 
through his fingers, and escaped. The black lateral line, which adorns the 
NO. xvi. 7S 


fish from the head to the caudal rays, was believed by the Norsemen to be 
the finger-marks of the god. 

M. Tomcodus. — The Tomcod. This favorite species is found in all the 
streams, ponds, and creeks of this country. Angling for this fish is a prime 
amusement with our youth in winter, when it is taken with the hook through 
holes in the ice. At other times, it is caught with scoop-nets. It is about 
a foot long, of very variable colors, generally brown, yellowish-brown, 
greenish, with darker splashes and spots; lighter on the belly. 

Merlangus. — The generic characteristics are the same as those of the 
Morrhua, with the exception of the cirri. 

M. Merlangus. — The Whiting. This species is about a foot in length, 
of a pale reddish-gray above, and silvery below. Its flesh is light and 

M. < 'arbonarius. — The Coal-fish. This fish is two or three times the size 
of the Whiting. Its color is blackish-brown above; below the lateral line, 
which is straight, the body is of a bluish-white; the belly lighter than the 
sides. The flesh of the full-grown Coal-fish is coarse and tough, but will 
take salt, like the cod. 

.1/. Polachius. — The Pollock. The Pollock, in its dried state, is a 
well-known fish, and is esteemed by many above the cod. Its color is 
greenish-brown above, lighter on the sides, ami white on the belly. The 
sides are often spotted. Jt is about two feet in length. 

Merlucius. — This genus is characterized by a flattened head, an elon- 
gated body, two dorsal fins, the first short, the second long; and one 
anal fin, also very long. 

M. Vulgaris. — The Hake. This fish is quite as well known as the Pol- 
lock. It abounds in all parts of the Atlantic. It has no barbule, and the 
first dorsal fill is pointed. It sometimes exceeds two feet in length, and is 
of a brownish-gray color. It is captured in considerable quantities, and is 
cured like the cod, but the flesh is coarse. 

Lota. — The Ling, i. c, Long-fish, has two dorsals, one anal fin, and 
cirri at the mouth. L. molva attains a length of from three to four feet, 
and is said to be not inferior to the cod. The dorsals are equally high, the 
lower jaw is a little shorter than the upper, and adorned with a cirrus. 
The color is olive above, and silvery beneath. 

L. Lota. — The Burbot is from one to two feet long, has the dorsals of 
equal height, and one cirrus. The head is considerably depressed, and the 
body is cylindrical, of a yellow color, mottled with brown. This species 
ascends rivers, and its flesh is highly valued. 

L. Compressa (Eel Pout). — This small specimen was found in the 
Connecticut River, and differs from the Burbot in nothing but size, being 
but six inches in length. 


BROSNIUS. — An elongated body, one dorsal, extending the wliole length 
of the back, fleshy ventral tins, and one barbule at the chin, are the distin- 
guishing marks of the genus. 

B. Vulgaris. — The Cusk. This species is common in the Atlantic, and 
is about two feet in length. Color of the body an uniform dark slate ; 
head rather darker than the body. Head one fifth the length of the body ; 
width of the body, across the commencement of the anal fin, exclusive of 
the dorsal fin, equal to one sixth the length of the specimen; width of the 
head, across the posterior angle of the operculum, equal to two thirds its 
length ; the scales on the head present a peculiarly corrugated appearance. 
Mouth large. Jaws filled with sharp, recurved teeth. Upper jaw slightly 
longer than the lower. .V single barbule under the chin. In the spring 
of the year it is not unfreqiiently met with in the Boston market, and 
does not sell as readily as the cod ; in the winter season it is rare, and then 
sells readily for double the prices of that species. By many, as a fresh fish, 
it is considered quite a delicacy, and when salted, is thought preferable to 
the coil. 

The liver of this species contains a large quantity of oil, which is some- 
times preserved by the fishermen, who consider it an excellent application to 
a burned surface. 

PllYClS. — This genus has a single ray in each ventral, which is produced 
and forked ; two dorsal fins, the first shorter than the second ; and one bar- 
bule on the chin. 

P. Americcmus. — The Codling, or American Hake. This species often 
attains a length of three feet. The upper part of the body is grayish-brown, 
the belly lighter. They are taken chiefly at night, with the hook. The 
fishermen call it (erroneously) the "Old England Hake." It abounds in 
the vicinity of Cape Ann. I have found it served up on the tallies of the 
Pavilion House, at Gloucester, and of the Pigeon Cove House, Rockport, 
Mass., and can testify to its excellence. Corned and broiled, it is a popular 
item in the breakfast bill of fare. 

Pleuronectid.t:. Second Family of the Malacopterygii sub- 

" These are all included in the great genus Pleuronectes, which have a 
character quite unique among vertebrated animals : this consists in the want 
of symmetry in the head. An animal is said to be symmetrical when it is 
supposed to be divided in a mesial plane, or plane exactly along the middle, 
in a vertical direction, — the two sides being the exact counterparts of each 
other, and differing in nothing but in the one being turned to the right, and 
the other to the left. These fishes have both eyes on one side, and this side 



always remains uppermost when the animal is swimming, while all other 
fishes swim on the belly. The upper side is, in general, deeply colored, 
while the other side is whitish. The body, from the head backwards, though 
formed nearly as usual, partakes a little of this peculiarity. The two sides 
of the mouth are not equal, and the pectoral fins are rarely so ; the body is 
depressed, and elevated in the direction of the spinous processes ; the dorsal 
extends along the whole back ; the anal occupies the lower edge of the body, 
and the ventrals are sometimes united with it. The fins are thus lateral 
fins, in respect of the swimming of the fish when in motion ; and the action 
of the spine is vertical, in respect of that position, and not lateral, as in 
other fishes. They have six gill-rays; the abdominal cavity is small, but 
extends in a cavity embedded in the flesh on the two sides of the tail, for 
the purpose of containing some of the viscera ; they have no air-bladder, 
and they seldom rise far from the bottom. Notwithstanding the peculiarity 
of the cranium, by that twist of the neck which brings both eyes to one 
side, the bones are the same as in other families, but very differently pro- 
portioned. They are found along the shores of almost all countries, and 
are, generally speaking, wholesome and agreeable eating. 

" Some individuals have the eyes placed in the opposite side to that in 
which they are generally found in their species, and these are said to be re- 
versed. Others have both sides colored alike, in which case they are called 
' Doubles.' It is usually the colored side which is doubled, though occa- 
sionally it is the white one." 

P. Platessa. — The Plaice. These fishes have a row of sharp teeth in 
each jaw, and very often pavement teeth in the pharynx ; the dorsal does 
not advance more forwards than the upper eye, and both it and the anal 
terminate and leave smooth spaces before the base of the caudal ; they gen- 
erally have two or three small cceca, and six gill-rays. P. vulgaris (com- 
mon Plaice) has six or seven tubercles, forming a line between the eyes, and 
spots of aurora red over the brown on the upper side of the body. The 
height is but a third of the length ; and the flesh is soft, and soon decom- 
poses. P. flesus, the Flounder, similar, but witli the spots lighter ; some 
tubercles on the head, and some on the base of the dorsal and anal fins, and 
have rough scales on the lateral line. They ascend a considerable way up 
rivers, and reversed individuals are not unfrequently caught. P. limanda, 
the Dab, has the eyes large, the lateral line curved above the pectoral, the 
scales rough, and the upper side brown, with whitish spots. P. microceph- 
alia, the Laminder, with the eyes smaller, nearer each other, and the back 
finely mottled with brown and yellow. Both these are found in the salt 
water, as is also P. leminoides, the Long or Rough Dab, which has the 
body elongated, something like a saw, and it approaches that species in 


quality. I*. pola, the Crayed Fluke, has the head small, the right eye 
considerably in advance of the left, with the body yellowish-brown, and the 
fins darker. All these, and some other species, are found on our shores, 
chiefly on muddy or sandy bottoms. 

Hil'POGLOSSUS. — Shape and fins like a Flounder ; lateral line arched. 
The chief representative of the group is 

II. Vulgaris. — The Halibut. Dr. Storer says, "This well-known and 
excellent fish is taken in shoal water, in large quantities, during the summer 
months ; at other seasons, it inhabits deeper waters. Great numbers arc taken 
upon Nantucket Shoals, frequently weighing two hundred pounds each. The 
flesh of this species is rather coarse and dry, but is much esteemed by many ; 
the fins arc considered quite a delicacy. Fresh, this fish brings a higher price 
than the cod ; large quantities also are smoked ; and, occasionally, the dried 
flesh is eaten. Some years ago a Halibut was taken upon the South Shore, 
and brought to Boston market, which, after the head and bowels were re- 
moved, weighed four hundred and twenty pounds ; this specimen, when 
perfect, undoubtedly weighed as much as five hundred weight. The largest 
individual of which I have any certain knowledge, Mr. Anthony Holbrook, 
a fishmonger in Quincy Market, a man of unquestionable veracity, and 
whose knowledge of our fishes is equal to that of any of our fishermen, tells 
me was taken at New Ledge, sixty miles smith-east of Portland, Me., in 
1807 ; it weighed upwards of six hundred pounds. The voracity of this 
species is proverbial. Pennant cites two examples of ships' sounding- leads 
having been swallowed by them ; one of these individuals was afterwards 

A large fleet is fitted out every winter at Gloucester, Mass., for the cap- 
ture of this fish, which has became a favorite in the market. 

Biiombus. — The Turbot Genus. Teeth as in the Halibut, but the dor- 
sal advances in front of the eyes, and the anal comes to the edge of the 
jaws. The eyes are generally on the left, and in some they arc separated 
by a low crest. 

It. Maximus. — The Turbot is the most esteemed of the family. Its 
height is nearly equal to its length, its form a truncated rhombus, and with 
the lateral line much arched. The upper or left side is brown, and beset 
with tubercles ; but reversed specimens are sometimes taken. 11. vul- 
garis (Brill) is rounded on the sides, has the body without tubercles, and 
the first rays of the dorsal split into filaments. The eyes are usually on the 
left side. It is not so much esteemed as Turbot, still it is a good fish. 

R. Aquosus. — The Watery Flounder. This fish is known among us as 
the Turbot. It is frequently taken, when fishing for mackerel, quite near 
the shore. Its averaire length is about eighteen inches, and specimens 


vvei jliinfT twenty pounds are not un frequent. Body elongated, with small 
scales, perfectly smooth. Left side of a reddish-gray color, with large, cir- 
cular, oval, or oblong blotches of a darker color, surrounded with a lighter 
margin, and also numerous white spots, which are more obvious upon the 
fin-. Ri<dit .-side white, without spots. Upper eye slightly back of the 
under, in a vertical line. Eves moderate in size, oblong; pupils blue- 
black ; irides silvery ; distance between the eyes equal to the longest diam- 
eter of the eye. Orbits, space in front of the eyes, jaws, spotted with dull 
bluish spots, (iape of the mouth large; jaws equal in length, and armed 
with a single row of separated, quite large, sharp teeth ; the front ones 

i'Ii the largest. A protuberance at the chin. Nostrils three lines in front 

of the eyes. Gill-covers extend back of the eyes, nearly two and a half inches. 

The lateral line makes a high arch over the pectorals previous to assuming 
its straight course to the tail ; the top of this arch is more than one inch 
above the straight line. 

Ackivus. — In this group of the Pleuronectidcn both eves and color are 
on the right side; the mouth distorted on the side opposite the eyes; small 
teeth in both jaws, hut confined to the under side only; form of the body 
oblong: dorsal and anil tins extend to the tail ; there are no pectorals. 

A. Mollis. — The Sole. This species is called the New York Sole, and 
is found in the waters in the vicinity of that city. It is considered a nutri- 
tious and wholesome fish, and in color and size does not differ from the 
/S'. vulgaris (common Sole of Cuvier), being from six to eight inches in 
length, and of a dark-brown color, and white beneath. 

Discoboli. Third Family of Malacopterygii 8ub-brachiati. 

The two principal genera are the following, both of which are found in 
American waters : — - 

Limits. — -The head and body are thick and short; the back has an 
elevated ridge ; the pectoral fins unite under the throat, and, with the ven- 
trals, form a. single disk. 

L. Vulgaris. — The Lump-Sucker. This fish is remarkable for the 
affection, so unusual in fishes, which it manifests towards its progeny. The 
male keeps watch over the deposited ova, and guards them from every foe 
with the utmost courage. If driven from the spot by man, he does not go 
far, hut is continually looking back, and in a short time returns. Thus we 
arc constantly finding among the inferior animals glimpses of a higher 
nature, which prove that all created beings form a continuous chain, linked 
together by one all-pervading and all-mighty Power. 

The sucking organ, by which it adheres to foreign substances, is on the 
top of the head, and consists of several plates. 


Dr. Storer says the species is frequently seen in Massachusetts Bay, 
washed up oil our beaches after a severe storm. "Occasionally, it. is taken 
in fishing for cod, with the hook; generally, however, it is found attached 
to sea-weed and other floating substances near the shore. Richardson tells 
us that 'the Greenlanders cat its flesh, either cooked or dried, and its skin 
raw, throwing away only the tubercles;' and Dr. Ncal observes 'that it is 
purchased at Edinburgh for the table.' With us, however, it is not used as 
an article of food. The common weight of this fish is from three to four 
pounds, and six to twelve pounds. The whole appearance of this fish is 
very forbidding, being, in young specimens, a soft, gelatinous, tremulous 
mass ; in older specimens, it is much firmer ; but in both, is covered entirely 
with firm, horny spines. My description is taken from a specimen seven- 
teen inches in length. 

"Length of the specimen, exclusive of the tail, fourteen inches; color 
of all the upper part of the body a bluish-slate ; beneath, yellowish. The 
whole surface of the fish is covered with an immense number of small stel- 
lated tubercles, studding even the rays of all the fins. Three rows of 
tubercles, much larger than those which are universally distributed over the 
fish, are observed projecting from either side." 

EcilENEiS. — This genus has the body elongated, covered with very small 
scales; a single dorsal fin placed opposite the anal; the head Hat, covered 
with an oval disk, formed by numerous transverse, cartilaginous plates, the 
edges of which are directed backwards. 

E. JWaucrates. — The Indian Remora. This curious fish, which is about 
twenty inches in length, has a propensity for attaching itself, by the ad- 
hesive organ on the top of its head, to whatever object with which it comes 
in contact, and therefore has the rare distinction of being employed by man 
as a hunting-fish. When Columbus first discovered the West Indies, the 
inhabitants of the coasts of Cuba and Jamaica made use of the Remora to 
catch turtles, by attaching to its tail a strong cord of palm-fibres, which 
served to drag it out of the water along with its prey. By this means they 
were able to raise turtles weighing several hundred pounds from the bottom ; 
"for the sucking-fish," says Columbus, "will rather suffer itself to be cut 
to pieces than let go its hold." In Africa, on the Mozambique coast, a sim- 
ilar method of catching turtles is practised to the present day. Thus a 
knowledge of the habits of animals, and similar necessities, have given rise 
to the same hunting artifices among nations that never had the least com- 
munication with each other. Everybody knows the fables that have been 
related of the small Mediterranean Remora ( Echeneis Remora). It even 
owes its Latin name to the marvellous story of its being aide to arrest a ship 
under full sail in the midst of the ocean ; and from this imaginary physical 


power a no less astonishing moral influence was inferred, for the ancients 
believed that tasting the Remora completely subdued the passion of love, 
and that if a delinquent, wishing to gain time, succeeded in making his 
judge cat some of its flesh, lie was sure of a long delay before the verdict 
was pronounced. 


The fishes of this order compose but one family, — the Murcenidce, — 
which are lengthened in form, have the skin thick and soft, the scales almost 
imperceptible, and but few bones. There are numerous genera. 

MuRJSNA. — This well-known genus, which contains our common Eels, 
has a long, slender, cylindrical body, scales nearly invisible, no ventral fins, 
and tli</ vent far backwards. 

M. Vulgaris. — 31. Bostoniensis (Le Sueur). — The Common Eel. 
The common Eel is most frcquently^found in rivers and lakes, but also in- 
habits salt water, and h sometimes taken on our shores in incredible num- 
bers. Its ordinary size is from two to three feet, though it has been known 
to attain the length of six feet, and to weigh fifteen pounds. Though im- 
patient of heat and cold, the Eel can live longer out of the water than any 
other fish, and not rarely creeps upon the meadows and humid fields to 
catch snails or worms — a faculty for which it. is indebted to the small open- 
ing of its gill-covers. It is abundant in all our rivers and ponds, and is much 
prized as an article of food. Its color is a grayish-brown above, and yel- 
lowish-white beneath, with a reddish tinge about the tail. In the winter, 
it is speared through holes in the ice ; at other seasons, it is taken in 

31. Argentea. — The Silver Eel. This fish differs from the former chiefly 
in color, which is silvery-gray, darker upon its upper portion, with a clear 
satiny-white abdomen. "It is taken in pots in October, when it leaves the 
ponds, and seldom at any other time." 

31. Helena. — This Eel is common in the Mediterranean, and was cele- 
brated among the ancients, who carefully fed it in ponds. The color is 
mottled-brown and yellow, and length from three to four feet. These fishes 
have a very ferocious temper, and are extremely voracious. Va?dius Pollio 
amused himself and his friends by casting his offending slaves into the 
ponds where these 3furce?ice were kept, and witnessing their destruction by 
these slimy monsters. 

AmmodtteS. — Head and body as in the former, but the gill-openings 
are large, and the dorsal fin extends nearly the whole length of the back. 


This genus comprises A., tobianus, the Sand Eel, and A., lancea, the 
Sand Lance, species which burrow in the sand, and are supposed to consti- 
tute, in part, the food of salmon. 

Gyjinotus. — The gills of this genus are partially covered by mem- 
branes, but opening before the pectorals ; vent far forward ; anal fin occu- 
pying the under line of the body. It has no dorsal. The true Electric 
Eels have no caudal or dorsal fin, nor visible scales ; moderate intestines, 
with several flexures, and numerous coeea ; stomach short, and plaited on 
its inner surface. One long air-bladder extends in a cavity of the abdomen ; 
the other, in two lobes, is placed over the gullet. Found only in the rivers 
and stagnant fresh waters of tropical America. 

G. Eleclrlcus. — The Electric Gymnotus, called from its form the Elec- 
trical Eel. It attains the length of five or six feet, and communicates shocks 
so powerful that men and horses have been stunned by them. This power 
is voluntary, and can be sent in a particular direction, and even through the 
water, the fish in which are killed, or stunned, by its shocks. By giving 
these, it is greatly exhausted, and requires both rest and nourishment before 
it can renew them. The immediate organ of this power extends along the 
whole under side of the tail, occupying about half its thickness. It consists 
of two large longitudinal fasciculi above, and two smaller ones below, rest- 
ing on the base of the anal fin. Each fasciculus is composed of numerous 
parallel membranes, nearly horizontal, and close to each other, one end 
being attached to the skin, and the other to the mesial plane. They are 
joined by numerous transverse and vertical membranes ; and the canals and 
cells thus formed are filled with gelatinous matter. The whole apparatus is 
largely supplied with nerves, affording one striking instance of the intimate 
connection between electric or galvanic action in matter, and nervous action 
in animals. 


The name of this order (Lophobranchii) signifies fishes with their gills 
in tufts. " All the fishes of the preceding four orders not only have a skele- 
ton of fibrous bones, and the jaws complete and free, but their gills are 
always in fibres or fringes, like the teeth of a comb ; but those of the pres- 
ent order, while they have the jaws complete and free, have the gills not in 
equal laminre along the arches, but in small round tufts, disposed along the 
arches in pairs — a structure of which there is no instance in other fishes. 
These are defended by a large operculum, attached by membranes on all 
sides, except one small hole for allowing the water to escape ; and mere 
NO. xvi. 79 


vestiges of rays are shown in the substance of the operculum. These fishes 
arc also distinguished by shields, or small plates, which cover the body, and 
often give it an angular form." 

There are two genera : — 

Si \< in vi 'iirs. — The Pipe-fishes. They have the tubular snout of the 
FistulariddB. The gill-opening is near the nape, and there are no ventral 
fins. They have a striking analogy to the Marsupials, in the Class Mam- 
malia, in having a pouch under the belly in some, and at the base of the 
tail in others. The eggs slide into this pouch, which is formed by inflation 
of the skin, and remain there till they are hatched. There are several spe- 
cies, of which S. fuscus, the Brown Pipe-fish, and S. Peckianus, Peck's 
Pipe-fish, are found in our waters. S. acus, the Great Pipe-fish, and 
S. ophidian, the Snake Pipe-fish, and some others, are foreign. These all 
have the pouch under the belly. In these fishes, the order oi' Nature, in 
regard to reproduction, seem-- to be reversed; for it is the male, and not 
the female, which has the pouch, and hatches the eggs. 

Hippocampus . — The jaws of this group are like those of the preceding; 
mouth placed at the end ; the margins of the scales are formed into ridges, 
and the angles into spines. There is no fin in the tail, but that organ is 
prehensile, and enables the fish to climb or hold on by the stalks of marine 

11. Breviroslris. — The Short-nosed Sea-horse is sometimes found on our 
shores. It is about five inches long, and of a yellowish-brown color. 


This order is composed of those fishes which have the maxillary soldered 
to the side of the intermaxillary, which constitutes the jaw, and the palatal 
arch connected with the cranium by an immovable suture. The differences 
in the character of their teeth divide them naturally into two families. 

The First Family comprises the Gymnodontes, i. e., fishes with naked 
teeth. They have the jaws covered with a substance like ivory, laminated 
internally, and resembling the beak of a parrot. This structure is really 
composed of teeth united, which are reproduced as soon as they are de- 
stroyed by using. They live on Crustacea and sea-weed, and their flesh is 
mucous and inedible. 

Ietraodon. — Each jaw is marked with a suture, so as to give the ap- 
pearance of four teeth, and the spines arc small and low. 

T. Turgidus. — The Swell-fish. This singular fish, which is common in 
Buzzard's Bay and the Vineyard Sound, has the faculty of blowing itself 


up like a balloon, by filling- with air a thin, membranous sac, which adheres 
to the peritoneum, the whole length of the abdomen. When thus inflated, 
it rolls over, and floats witli belly uppermost. The length of this species 
is about nine inches. The color on the upper part of the body is yellowish- 
white, with innumerable minute black spots. The abdomen is white. 

Okthagohiscus. — The Sun-fish has the body compressed, spineless, and 
incapable of inflation. 

O. Mola. — The Short Sun-fish. This is rather a rare fish in our waters. 
Dr. Storer gives the following description of one harpooned in Boston 
Bay : - 

"The body is oval; its whole surface a fine, unyielding, granulated cuti- 
cle, covered with a thick, adhesive mucous ; back dark gray. Abdomen 
nearly white; the right side of the body rather darker than the left; both 
sides of a dirty-white color, with silvery reflections. Length, fifty-four 
inches ; depth across, from the middle of the pectorals, two and a half feet : 
from the top of the dorsal to the extremity of the anal fin, six and a halt' 
feet. Weight, about two hundred pounds. Length of the head, from the 
tip of the snout to the base of the pectoral fin, seventeen inches; flattened 
over the snout, which is obtuse, and projecting about an inch in front of the 
upper jaw. Eyes rather large, convex, very movable in their orbits; pupils 
black ; hides a dark brown, encircled within by a silvery ring. Nostrils 
double, just in front of the eves. Mouth small. Jaws armed with a 
broad, bony plate, sharp at the edges. Upon the top of the head, an 
arched ridge commences on a line with the anterior angle of the eyes, and 
is continued to a line above the origin of the pectorals, then a straight line 
is continued to the dorsal fin. The sides of the head project, out from the 
body quite prominently over the eyes to the branchial aperture. Operculum 
directly in front of the pectorals, three inches in its greatest diameter. Its 
motions are very sluggish, and it swims near the surface of the ocean. On 
account of the great elasticity of its flesh, it is captured with great diffi- 
culty ; it is generally gaffed at or near the branchial aperture. Its flesh is 
sometimes used for balls. Its liver is very oily, furnishing two or more 
quarts of oil, which is used by the fishermen to grease their masts with, and it 
is also by many of them considered a valuable application in cases of sprains 
and bruises." 

The Second Family of the Plectognathi (Sclerodermi) is composed of 
fishes with hard and granulated skins. They have a conical muzzle, which 
is prolonged forwards from the eyes, and terminates in the mouth, with dis- 
tinct teeth in both jaws. The skin is either rough or covered with very hard 
scales. Some of the species abound in the warm seas, near rocks, or on the 


surface of the water ; and their brilliant colors sparkle in the waves like 
those of the Chetodons. 

The genera found on our shores are Monocanthus, the File-fish ; Aluteres, 
the Unicorn File-fish ; and Ostracion, the Trunk-fish. They are all small 
fishes, of singular appearance, but of no value to man. 

CHOXDROPTERYGII. (Second Series of Fishes.) 

This series comprises the Cartilaginous Fishes, that is, those whose skele- 
ton has no bony fibres, but the calcareous matter disposed in grains. The 
cranium is always formed of a single piece, without sutures. The Chon- 
dropterygii divide into two orders — those with" free gills, like all other 
fishes, and those with fixed gills, which are so attached to the skin by the 
internal edges that the water cannot escape from their intervals except by 
holes in their surface. 


This order is composed of those fishes which "have in their gills a single 
wide opening, and a gill-lid, like the Bony Fishes, but they have no gill- 
rays. There are two genera : — 

" Accipenser. — The Sturgeon. General form like that of the Shark, but 
the body more or less covered with bony plates in longitudinal rows, and 
the head externally armed with the same. Their mouth, placed under the 
muzzle, is small and toothless ; and the palatal bones, soldered to the max- 
illaries, form the upper jaw, while there are vestiges of the intermaxillaries 
in the thick lips. Placed upon a pedicle of three articulations, this mouth 
is more protractile than that of the Shark ; the eyes and nostrils are on the 
sides of the head, and barbules are suspended from the muzzle ; the laby- 
rinth within the cranial bones is perfect, but there is no external ear, the 
hole behind the temple leading merely to the gills. The dorsal is behind 
the ventrals, and has the anal directly opposite to it ; the caudal surrounds 
the extremity of the spine, and terminates in the upper lobe of the tail, but 
an under lobe gives the tail the appearance of being forked. Internally, we 
find the spiral intestinal valve, and the single pancreas of the Shark family ; 
and there is a very large air-bladder, which communicates with the gullet 
by a large opening. Sturgeons ascend some rivers in vast numbers, and 
are the object of valuable fisheries. The flesh of most is agreeable." 

A. Oxyrinchus. — The Sharp-Nosed Sturgeon. This is the name applied 


by Dr. Mitchell to an American species, a little over two feet in length. As 
this eminent naturalist says that the Sturgeon " grows seldom to a greater 
length than five feet," I conclude that he was not acquainted with all of our 
species. I have seen specimens in eastern rivers at least ten feet long, 
sporting, like the whales, in the exercise of breaching, shooting out of the 
water, and falling upon the side with a noise that could be heard at a great 

A. Sturio. — The Common Sturgeon has a pointed muzzle, and five rows 
of plates, with strong spines. It abounds in the Northern seas of Europe, 
where extensive fisheries are established for its destruction. Caviar is made 
of the roe of the female, isinglass from the membrane forming the air- 
bladder ; and the flesh, besides being preserved by salting and pickling, is 
in request for the table -while fresh, being generally stewed with rich gravy, 
and the flavor considered to be like that of veal. It is, however, far from 
enjoying the same repute as with the Romans, among whom it was brought 
to table with much pomp, ornamented with flowers, the slaves who carried 
it being also ornamented with garlands, and accompanied by music. 

Some species attain a length of eighteen feet, and a weight df five hun- 
dred pounds. The body is elongated from the shoulders backward, some- 
what pentagonal in shape, with five longitudinal rows of flattened plates, 
with pointed central spines directed backwards. The skin makes a good 
covering for carriages. 

The smallest, but most delicate, of the sturgeons is the Sterlit of the 
Volga, which sometimes fetches such extravagant prices, that Prince Potem- 
kin has been known to pay three hundred roubles for a single tureen of 
Sterlit soup. 

A. Huso. — The Great Sturgeon, has blunter plates, a smoother skin, and 
shorter snout and cirri than the common Sturgeon. It is frequently found 
more than twelve, or even fifteen, feet in length, and weighing more than 
twelve hundred pounds. One specimen is mentioned which weighed near 
three thousand pounds. Its flesh is not much esteemed, and it is sometimes 
unwholesome ; but its air-bladder yields the very finest isinglass. It is 
found in the Po as well as in the northern rivers. 

CnuiiERA. — This second genus of Cartilaginous Fishes, witli free gills, 
closely resembles the sharks in form, and in the disposition of the fins ; but 
the gills open externally by one apparent hole in each side, though, if we 
examine more closely, we find great part of their edges attached, and that 
there are five separate holes terminating in the common aperture ; still they 
have a vestige of an operculum concealed in the skin. Their jaws arc more 
reduced than in the sharks, for the palatals and temporals are mere simple 
vestiges suspended to the sides of the muzzle, and the upper jaw is repre- 


sented by the vomer only ; hard and undivided plates supply the place of 
teeth, four of them above, and two below. 

This o-enus is not, to my knowledge, represented in American waters. 

C. Monstrosa, sometimes called the King of the Herrings, inhabits the 
Northern seas of Europe. It is three feet long, and of a silvery-color, 
spotted with brown. 


This order is separated into (wo families, — Selachi, the Sharks and 
Kms; and Cyclostomata (fishes with the mouth formed into a sucker) , the 

Carcharios. — The Sharks. The members of this noted tribe have 
trenchant, pointed teeth, usually serrated in the margins; the first dorsal 
before the ventrals ; the second nearly opposite the anals. They have no 
spiracles ; the nostrils are in the middle of the snout, and the last gill- 
opening extends over the pectorals. 

('. Vulgaris. — Th • White Shark. This much-dreaded species is some- 
times twenty feet lung; mouth, isosceles triangular, ragged at the sides. It 
is found in most seas, and its prodigious strength may be judged of from 
the fact that a young shark, only six feet in length, is able to break a man's 
leg by a stroke of its tail. 

Thus, when a shark is caught with a baited hook at sea, and drawn upon 
deck, the sailors' first act is to chop oil' its tail, to prevent the mischief 
otherwise t(,> he apprehended from its enormous strength. An anecdote re- 
lated by Hughes, the well-known and esteemed author of the "Natural 
History of Barbadoes," gives a good idea of the savage nature of this mon- 
ster. " In the reign of Queen Anne, a merchant ship arrived at that island 
from England ; some of the crew, ignorant of the danger of the recreation, 
were bathing in the sea, when a large shark appeared, and swam directly 
towards them ; being warned of their danger, however, they all hurried on 
board, where they arrived sai'e, except one poor fellow, who was bit in two 
by the shark, almost within reach of the oars. A comrade and intimate 
friend of the unfortunate victim, when he observed the severed trunk of his 
companion, vowed his revenge. The voracious monster was seen traversing 
the bloody surface of the waves in search of the remainder of his prey, 
when the brave youth plunged into the water. He held in his hand a long, 
sharp-pointed knife ; and the rapacious animal pushed furiously towards him. 
It had turned on its side, and opened its enormous jaws, when the youth, 
diving dexterously, seized the shark with his left hand, somewhere below 


the upper fins, and stabbed it repeatedly in the belly. The animal, en- 
raged with pain, and streaming with blood, attempted in vain to disengage 
itself. The crews of the surrounding vessels saw that the combat was 
decided; but they were ignorant which was slain, till the shark, exhausted 
by loss of blood, was seen nearer the shore, and along with it his gallant 
conqueror, who, flushed with victory, redoubled his efforts, and, with the 
aid of an ebbing tide, dragged it to the beach. Finally, he ripped open 
the stomach of the fish, and buried the severed half of his friend's body 
with the trunk in the same grave." 

It is no uncommon thing for the negroes, who arc admirable divers, thus 
to attack and vanquish the dreaded shark ; but success can only be achieved 
by consummate dexterity, and by those who arc armed for this express 

Ordinary swimmers are constantly falling a prey to the sharks of warm 
climates. Thus .Sir Brooke Watson, when in the West Indies, as a youth, 
was swimming at a little distance from a ship, when he saw a shark milking 
towards him. Struck with terror at its approach, he immediately cried out 
for assistance. A rope was instantly thrown, but, even while the men were 
in the act of drawing him up the ship's side, the monster darted alter him, 
and, at a single snap, took off his leg. 

C. Glaucus. — The Blue Shark. This species lias curved-sided teeth 
above, inclining outwards, and straighter ones below, all ragged on the 
edges. It does not appear to frequent American waters, but is particularly 
mischievous on the coasts of Great Britain. It does not attempt the fisher-; 
man's life, but is extremely troublesome and injurious to him, by hovering 
about his boat, and cutting the hooks from the lines in rapid succession. 
This, indeed, often leads to its own destruction ; but when their teeth do 
not deliver them from their difficulty, the Blue Sharks, which hover about 
the Cornish coast during the pilchard season, have a singular method of 
proceeding, which is by rolling the body round so as to twine the Hue about 
them throughout its whole length; and sometimes this is done in such a 
complicated manner, that Mr. Yarrell has known a fisherman give up an 
attempt to unroll it as a hopeless task. To the pilchard drift-net this shark 
is a still more dangerous enemy, and it is common for it to pass in succes- 
sion alon->" the whole length of the net, cutting out, as with shears, the fish 
and the net that holds them, and swallowing both together. 

C. Vulpes. — The Thresher, or Fox Shark. This is a powerful fish, 
with a most savage temper. It has triangular teeth in both jaws, and is 
remarkable for the extraordinary length of the upper lobe of the tail, which 
equals that of the whole body. It attains a length of twelve feet or more, 
and a weight of two hundred pounds. It derives its name from the power- 


ful blows it deals with its tail when attacked. It often visits our waters, 
and feeds on mackerel and menhaden. 

Lamxa. — This genus has the point of the nose conical, the nostrils 
jiierccd on its under surface, and the five gill-openings before the pectorals. 

L. Punctata. — The Mackerel Shark. This is the most common shark 
of the Atlantic, and abounds on the American coasts, where it exercises its 
mischievous propensities among the lines of the fishermen, often biting them 
oil', and thus rubbing them of their prey. Its length is from six to ten feet, 
and its weight from three to four hundred pounds. Like the other sharks, 
it appears In have little sensibility, and is very tenacious of life ; I have seen 
one of these fishes eat its own liver, which protruded through a wound made 
by a harpoon, 

Spixax. — Two dorsal fins, with a strong spine at the anterior edge of 
each ; absence of the anal tin ; teeth in several rows, small and cutting, dis- 
tinguish this genus. 

S. Anthias. — The Dog-fish. This is a common species well known to 
our fishermen, and resembles the shark, botli in appearance and in its sav- 
age temper. The English call it the Piked Dog-fish, from the spines of 
the dorsal fins. The length is from two to three feet; the body is slender. 
Dr. Storer furnishes the following description : — 

"All the upper part of the body of a slate-color, which is deeper upon 
the head; lighter below the lateral line; beneath, white; just under the 
lateral line, a row of circular white spots ; a few similar spots irregularly 
distributed upon the back. Length of the head to the whole length of the 
fish, nearly as four to nine ; the head flattened above, tapering to a blunted 
snout. Eyes horizontally elongated ; their longest diameter nearly equal 
to one fourth the length of the head; pupils small, black; irides silvery, 
with a cupreous tint. Orbit large, allowing great motion to the eye. The 
distance between the eyes equal to more than half the length of the head. 
Between the eyes, two longitudinal patches of numerous mucous glands, 
which are indistinctly continued nearly to the extremity of the snout. Tem- 
poral orifices back of the eye, and just above the line of the eye ; their 
length is equal to the short diameter of the eye. All the lower portion of 
the head, in front of the mouth, sprinkled over with mucous orifices. 

"In the spring and autumn, the Dog-fish appear in shoals in our bay; 
they arc frequently met with in immense numbers. At their appearance, 
smacks are fitted out at Truro and Provincetown for their capture, to the 
neglect of other fishing, for the oil they furnish ; and it is said to be quite a 
valuable business. The fishes themselves are dried for food for the cattle, 
and their skin is considerably used for polishing by the mechanic. They 
average about eight or ten pounds weight ; sometimes they weigh fifteen 


pounds. They arc readily caught with the hook. These shoals seldom 

remain in shallow water, or near the shore, more than three or four days ; 
they teed upon the offal and garbage thrown upon the bottoms by the fish- 
ermen, and so perfectly do they clean the ground, that it is observed by old 
fishermen, that when the spring shoal of Dog-fish has been unusually large, 
the cod-fish are found in much larger numbers upon the same localities 
afterwards. In Scotland, the flesh of this fish is much eaten by the lower 
classes, and the refuse portions afford a valuable manure." 

Zygjexa. — In this genus is found that singular-looking fish, the Ham- 
mer-headed Shark. The snout of this fish is singularly produced, forming 
two pieces, like a double-headed hammer, with an eye in the middle of each 
extremity. Some of the species attain a very large size. 

NoTlDAMUS. — In this genus are found the largest specimens of the Shark 
family. They have six gill-openings, triangular teeth above, and like a saw 
below. Some species, among them the Squalus maximus, are between 
thirty and forty feet in length. They are harmless fishes. 

.V remarkable specimen was exhibited in Boston in 1868, under the sen- 
sational name of Sea Serpent. It was thirty feet long, and had all the 
characteristics of a shark, but in addition a pair of legs, which appeared to 
grow forward from the base of the ventral fins. Those who had it in 
charge asserted that it made frequent excursions upon the land, and was 
shot in a meadow between two ponds. I was not, however, able to extract 
from them anything reliable, and have found it utterly impracticable to 
obtain an authentic history of this really curious animal. 

PEISTIS. — The Saw-fishes. They have a long body, like the sharks, 
with the gill-openings below ; the snout extended like the blade of a sword, 
and with strong, trenchant teeth on both edges, which give it the appearance 
of a saw, whence the popular name of the fish. This singular weapon is 
probably a provision of nature for the defence of the animal against the 
attacks of more powerful foes. I am obliged to destroy another "romance 
of the sea" in which the Saw-fish figures as engaging in frightful duels with 
the gigantic Mysticetus, or uniting with the Sword-fish and Grampus in 
making war on that mighty denizen of the ocean ; the Saw-fish is a shore fish, 
and does not frequent the deep waters which the larger whales inhabit, and 
we must, therefore, consider such battles as inventions of the novel writers. 

Raia. — The Rays. These singularly unsightly fishes resemble the 
side-swimmers by the flatness of their form, but differ widely from them in 
many other particulars. Like the sharks and sturgeons, they are cartilagi- 
nous fishes, and as their branchia> adhere to the cells, these respiratory mem- 
branes are not furnished with gill-covers, but communicate freely with the 
NO. xvi. 80 


water by means of five spiracles on either side. The rhomboidal, broad 
body, the long, narrow tail, frequently tarnished with two, and sometimes 
three, broad fins, and mostly armed witli one or more rows of sharp spines 
along its whole length, the dirty color, and thick coat of slime witli which 
it is covered, render them pre-eminently disgusting. Their mode of defend- 
ing themselves is very effectual, and forms a striking contrast to the help- 
lessness of the flat-fish. The point of the nose and the base of the tail arc 
bent upwards towards each other, and, the upper surface of t lie body being 
then concave, the tail is lashed about in all directions over it, and the rows 
of sharp spines frequently inflict severe wounds. 

Two species are found in our waters : — 

R. Ocellata. — The Ocellated Kay. This species weighs about two hun- 
dred pounds ; the upper part of the body is of a light brown, sprinkled with 
circular, black spots of various size; the belly is white. 

11. Units. — The Skate. This species is about (he size of the last. The 
flesh is hard, but not unwholesome, and is highly prized by some. Thomas 
A\ illoughby makes .mention of a single Skate of two hundred pounds 
weight, which was sold in the fish market at Cambridge, England, to the 
cook ol St. John's College, ami was found sufficient to dine the whole so- 
ciety, consisting ol more than a hundred and twenty persons. 

1 lie Skates are very voracious ; their food consists of any sort of fish, 
mollusk, annelid, or crustacean, that they can catch. So powerful are their 
muscles and jaws, that they are able to crush the strong shell of a crab with 
the greatest ease. 

"But our Atlantic Rays are far from equalling the colossal dimensions of 
the Sea Devil of the Pacific. Tins terrific monster swims fast, anil often 
appears on the surface of the ocean, where its black, unwieldy back looks 
like a huge stone projecting above the waters. It attains a breadth of twelve 
or fifteen feet, and Lesson was presented, by a fisherman of Borabora, with a 
tail five feet long. The Society Islanders catch the hideous animal with 
harpoons, and make use of its rough skin as rasps or files in the manufac- 
ture of their wooden utensils. 

Creatures so voracious and well armed as the Rays would have attained 
a dangerous supremacy in the maritime domains had they equalled most 
other fishes in fecundity. Fortunately for their neighbors, they seldom 
produce more than one young at a time, which, as in the shark, is enclosed 
in a four-cornered capsule ending in slender points, but not, as in the for- 
mer, produced into long filaments." 

Tuvgon. — The Sting Hays. They have on the tail a strong spine, 
notched on both sides. 

The South American Sting Ray causes the most excruciating tortures with 


his lung, serrated, and barbed sting. An Indian, who accompanied Rich- 
ard Schomburgh on his travels througli Guiana, being hit by a Sting Ray 
while fording a river, tottered to the bank, where he tell upon the ground, 
and rolled about on the sand, with compressed lips, in an agony of pain. 
But no tear started from the eye, no cry of anguish issued from the breast 
of the stoieal savage. An Indian boy wounded in the same manner, but 
less able to master his emotions, howled fearfully, and flung himself upon 
the sand, biting it in the paroxysm of his anguish. Although both had been 
hit in the foot, they felt the severest pain in the loins, in the region of the 
heart, and in the arm-pits. So general a shock of the nervous system can- 
not possibly proceed from the sting alone, but is no doubt caused by sonic 
poisonous secretion. A robust man, wounded by a Sting Kay, died in 
Demarara under the most dreadful convulsions. 

The genus Trygon is represented by several species on our coasts. 
Le Sueur has described five. Their sting is very poisonous, though not 
often, if ever, fatal in its effects. 

TORPEDO. — A short, fleshy tail and circular body are the distinguishing 
marks of the genus. The electric apparatus consists of numerous cells, like 
those of the honeycomb, and subdivided by lateral diaphragms, the intervals 
of which contain a mucous fluid. It is situated between the pectoral fins 
and the head, and is well furnished with nerves. The electric shocks given 
by the Torpedo are not so powerful as those of the Grymnotus, but are suffi- 
ciently so to enable it to stun its prey. 

The "Cramp-fish" of Cape Cod is, without doubt, a Torpedo. This fish 
has been found at Wellfleet and Truro, and formerly was quite common. A 
gentleman, residing at the former place, had a dog trained to fish in shallow 
water for flounders, which he seized with his mouth. In one of his fishing 
excursions, he attempted to take a Torpedo, which gave him such a shock 
that he dropped his prey, and ran howling away ; and nothing could ever 
induce him again to resume his fishing. 

Cyclostomata. Tlie Second Family of Chondi'opterygii Fixis. 

This family comprises those fishes which have the mouth formed into a 
sucker. They have no pectorals or ventrals. "Their body ends in a cir- 
cular, fleshy lip, with a cartilaginous ring supporting it, and formed of the 
soldered palatals and mandibularies. The substance of all the vertebral is 
traversed by a single tendinous cord, filled internally with a mucilaginous 
fluid, without contractions and enlargements, which reduces the vertebrae to 
cartilaginous rays not easily distinguishable from each other. The annular 
portion is rather more solid than the rest, but not cartilaginous through its 
whole circle. They have no ordinary ribs, but the gill-ribs, noted as rudi- 


mental in the sharks and rays, are more developed, and united with each 
other in this family into a kind of cage, but there are no solid gill-arches. 
Instead of being comb-shaped, as in other fishes, the gills have the appear- 
ance of sacs produced by the union of the faces of the proximate ones. The 
labyrinth of the ear is embedded in the cranium, and the nostrils opened by 
a single orifice, in front of which is a blind cavity, improperly thought a 
spiracle. The intestine is straight and slender, with a spiral valve." 

PetromyzON. — The Lampreys. They have seven gill-openings on each 
side, and the skin on the upper and under parts of the tail is formed into 
fin-like crests, which, however, have no rays. They have strong teeth in 
the maxillary ring, and the inner disk of the lip, which is circular, is cov- 
ered with tubercles, hard and crusted, like teeth. The tongue also, which 
moves backwards and forwards like a piston, and performs the suction, has 
two rows of small teeth. 

P. America ii/is. — Le Sueur gives this name to the common Lamprey 
Eel, as it is commonly called, of our rivers. The color of the species varies 
somewhat, being generally an olive brown, of lighter or darker shades. 
''All the upper portion of the body, mottled with dark brown, almost black, 
(•(influent patches; beneath, of* a uniform dull olive. Anterior portion of 
the body cylindrical ; posterior compressed. A slight keel upon the back. 
Head rounded, somewhat flattened on the upper portion in front of the eyes. 
Eyes moderate in size ; pupils black; irides golden. Distance of the eyes 
from the snout, two inches. A tubular orifice is seen in front of, between 
the eyes, a line in its longest diameter. Seven large branchial apertures 
back of each eye, passing backward in nearly a straight line ; the first small- 
est. "When this species is unattached, the mouth is a longitudinal fissure. 
"When attached, it is circular, the lip forming a ring; within, furnished with 
hard, horny teeth, of a yellow color. Teeth on the roof larger than those 
upon the sides of the mouth ; lower margin of the mouth furnished with a 
semicircular row of compact teeth ; teeth on the lip small ; mucous pores 
obvious in front of the eyes, passing towards the snout, and almost back 
of the eyes. Two dorsal fins ; the first commencing back of the middle of 
the body, three inches long, nine inches high. Between this and the second 
dorsal, one inch. Second dorsal, six inches long; more than one inch high 
in its highest part. Anal fin, a mere fringe. Caudal fin appears like the 
extremity of the solid portion of the body, very much compressed." 

This fish is about two feet in length at maturity, and weighs from three 
to four pounds. In the spawning season, it ascends our various rivers, and 
I have seen it, in countless numbers, far in the interior of "Maine, building 
its mounds of stone in the clear streams. According to Dr. Bartlett, "they 
ascend the rivers a little earlier than the shad, and move mostly in the night. 



It is not known by the fishermen when they return, as they nre never seen. 
There is a notion that they all die. They are often seen, in (he summer, in 
pairs, at work together, constructing a little mound of .-tones. They build 
this about three feet in diameter at the base, and about two feet hi<di, of 
stones from the size of an ounce bullet to that of the fist. They often 
aid each other in carrying the same stone. The young go down the river 
when the water begins to freeze. They are then from six to ci'dit inches 

The prevailing opinion that these fishes do not return to the sea, but die 
at the end of the season, is, I believe, correct. I have seen them in various 
stages of decay, and in such numbers as to be very disagreeable to bathers. 

The remaining species are /'. marinus, two or three feet long, marbled 
with brown, and a yellow ground ; P. jluviatilis, silvery, witli olive or 
blackish spots on the back ; P. planerii, a small river species, eight or ten 
inches long; P. nigricans, t lie Bluish Lamprey, and some others. They 
are all generally rejected as food in this country, though highly esteemed in 
the Old World. 

Ammocetus. — These fishes have the skeleton so soft and membranous 
that there is not a bone in the whole, not even a tooth ; the}' have the ex- 
ternal form and gill-openings of the Lampreys, but their fleshy lip forms 
only a semicircle on the upper part of the mouth, which is furnished with 
numerous cirri. A., branchialis is from six to eight inches long, about the 
thickness of a goose-quill, and of no use but as bait for other fish. It has been 
accused of sucking the gills of other fishes, but perhaps falsely. It is found 
in the sand and mud of small streams ; preys on worms, insects, and dead 
matter, and is, in return, preyed on by the eel. 

A-. Bicolor. — The Mud Lamprey. This is an American species, found 
in the Connecticut River, and is thus described by Le Sueur : — 

"Dorsal fins low, separated ; the second united with the caudal fin, which 
is rounded ; back and sides reddish; abdomen white; the color separated 
by an undulating line. Anterior part of the body sub-cylindric, posterior 
part compressed, and tapering to the tail ; nape of the neck elevated ; head 
declivous, prolonged into a snout furnished with a lip having two short, 
rounded lobes ; these lobes, when the mouth is closed, embrace and conceal 
the lower lip, which is very short ; the nostrils are small, and placed in the 
centre of a white oval, pellucid disk, easily movable ; on the inside of the 
upper lip, there are small granules, and at the opening of the throat small, 
ramified papillae ; the branchial apertures are placed in a longitudinal de- 
pression, oblique and a little curved ; the first aperture is above the angle 
of the mouth ; on each side of the head there is a whitish spot, which should 
seem to indicate the position of the eyes, that this species is deficient of, 


in common with the P. ruber of Europe. The annular or ribbed appear- 
ance of the sides of this fish is owing to the muscles, which are endued wilh 
great strength, in order to enable it to burrow in the muddy sands of rivers, 
where it penetrates, in a serpentine manner, by means of the snout, the large 
lip of which performs the functions of a terrier. The European species is 
generally taken when the small rivers arc cleansed of the superabundant 
sand and mud which obstruct their channels. This last is much sought after 
for food ; but the American species is commonly rejected, as is almost every 
animal that either has a real or fancied resemblance to a snake. This fish is 
used lor bait." 

The genera Muxine, Ileptratremus, and Gastrobanchus all resemble the 

AJIPIIIOXUS. — This is a singular creature, and of doubtful character. 
It lias the body compressed, the surface without scales, and both ends 
pointed. It has a dorsal along the whole line of the back, but no other 
this. The mouth is on the under side of the body, opens longitudinally, 
and has a row of filaments on each side. A. lanceolatus, the Lancelet, is 
the only known species. It is an inhabitant of the sea, in which it is found, 

although very rarely, lurking under stones in [ Is left by the ebbing tide. 

Pallas considered it as a molluscous animal, and not a fish; but Mr. Yar- 
rell, in his British Fishes, argues that it is a fish, and that, in organiza- 
tion, it is the lowest of the class. "The form of the fish," says Mr. Yar- 
rell, "is compressed ; the head pointed, without any trace of eyes ; the nose 
rather produced ; the mouth, on the under edge, in the shape of an elon- 
gated fissure, the sides of which are flexible ; from the inner margin extend 
various slender filaments, which cross and intermingle with those on the 
opposite side. Along the sides of the body the muscles arc arranged in 
regular order, diverging from a.central line; one series passing obliquely 
upward and backward, and the other series as obliquely downward and back- 
ward ; the anal aperture is situated one fourth of the length of the fish in 
advance of the end of the tail ; the tail itself pointed ; from the nose to the 
end of the tail, a delicate membranous dorsal fin extends the whole length 
of the back, supported by very numerous and minute soft rays; the surface 
of the body smooth." These characteristics leave no doubt that the animal 
is a fish ; but that it ought to be classed with the Lamprey family is another 
matter. The specimen from which the description was made was not above 
an inch in length, very slender, and almost transparent. 

The Eyeless Fish of the Mammoth Cave — This curious fish must 
bear some relation to the preceding genus. The following description was 
given to me by the late X. P. Willis : — 

" We leached Lethe, with many stops and occasional drops of encourage- 


merit and water from Stephen's flask, and here we halted to catch one 
of the Eyeless Fish who swim in this river of forgetfulness. I held the 
lamp while the pole net was quietly slipped under the little victim of celeb- 
rity. He saw no danger, poor thing ! and stirred never a fin to escape 
being taken out of his element, and raised to a higher sphere. In size lie 
was like the larger kind of what the boys call a 'minim,' — say an inch and a 
half long, — but very different in construction and color. His body was 
quite white, translucent, and wholly without an intestinal canal. The stom- 
ach was directly behind the brain, and all the organs of the system were 
forward of the gills, the head alone having blood or other discoloration. 
Under the chin he disposed of what was superfluous in his nourishment. He 
was curiously correspondent, indeed, to the poetized character of the place 

— like a fish in progress of becoming a fish in spirit-land, his dis-animali- 
zation having commenced radically at the tail, and working upward. Noth- 
ing could lie more purely beautiful and graceful than the pearly and spotless 
body, which had heavenlified first, 'leaving the head to follow. I looked 
for some minutes at the others swimming in the stream. They idled about, 
with a purposeless and luxurious tranquillity, and 1 observed that they ran 
their noses against the rocky sides of the dark river with no manner of pre- 
caution. Unhurt and unannoyed, they simply turned back from the opposing 
obstacle, and swam slowly away. The scientific people tell us that these 
blind fish once had eyes, and that the microscope still shows the collapsed 
socket. The organ has died out in the darkness of the subterranean river 

— dwindled into annihilation with lack of using." 

The above is a poet's description of the fish, not that of a philosopher or 
man of science, who would sec in this animal not an imperfect and half- 
formed creature, but one plainly and perfectly adapted to its condition of 
existence. Nature does not indulge in superfluities, and has created these 
fishes without eyes, because those organs would be utterly useless in a state 
of eternal darkness. 

Professor Agassiz's Classification of Fishes. — The method of 
arrangement adopted by Agassiz is founded on the character of the scales. 
He divides the whole class into four orders : 1. Ganoideans ; 2. Placoi- 
deans ; 3. Ctenoideans ; 4. Cycloideans. The fishes of the first order 
have a bony armor, consisting generally of scales of small size, usually cov- 
ered by a coating of enamel, which gives them a peculiar brilliancy, whence 
the name Ganoideans, from the Greek word ganos — splendor. In some 
instances, as in the case of the Sturgeon, this armor is composed of plates 
of large size, with jagged edges, which lap together. 

In the second order, the fishes have a skin covered with hard, bony plates, 


which sometimes are of large size, but oftener are contracted to small points, 
-is seen on the skin of the Shark, and in the prickly tubercles of the Rays. 
Th name Placoidean is derived from the Greek word plax — broad plate. 

The fishes of the third order have the scales composed of horny matter, 
their posterior edges, i. e., the edges directed towards the tail, furnished 
with projections like the teeth of a comb. The order derives its name from 
this circumstance, the Greek kteis (Jctenos, gen.), a comb, suggesting the 
designation Ctenoidean. The Perch represents this order. 

The fourth order (the Cycloideans) derives its name from the Greek ku- 
klos — a circle. The Carp, Herring, and Salmon, whose scales have a 
rounded form, with smooth, simple edges, are examples which all can easily 

In regard to the above arrangement, Mr. Mudie well remarks, that, in 
comparing it "with that of Cuvier, we shall find that the Cycloid fishes of 
A» - assiz arc, for the most part, the Malacopterygii of Cuvier; and that the 
( 7' noid fr-hes of the former arc generally the Acanthoptei^ygii of the latter. 
Further, the I'l'icid fishes of Agassiz correspond with the principal section 
of the Cartilaginous fishes of Cuvier, the Sturgeons and Chimcvnc being 
alone excepted. The existing Ganoid fishes of Agassiz, however, were 
distributed by Cuvier amongst several different families. 

"The application of this method of arrangement to the various forms of 
extinct fishes, which geological research has brought to light, has given some 
extremely curious results. In the first place, it may be stated as a general 
fact, that of the Cycloid and Ctenoid orders, there are no remains what- 
ever in any formation anterior to the chalk, and that, consequently, the whole 
assemblage of existing fishes included in those two orders, probably about 
four fifths of those now living, had apparently no representative whatever in 
the more ancient seas. Even in the chalk, there seems to have been only 
two or three of the largest of the existing families — such as the Herring and 
Salmon Tribes, the Mackerel Tribe, and the Perch Tribe, which attained 
any considerable importance. The others are cither but slightly represented 
at that epoch, and have subsequently increased very considerably — such as 
the Eels ami the PleuronectidoB ; or first came in during the Tertiary period 
— such as the Carps and the Mullets ; or present themselves, for the first 
time, in our own epoch, which is the case (strange to say) with the large 
and important Cod Tribe. Further, no family belonging to these orders 
has disappeared from the ocean subsequently to its first introduction ; nor is 
there any that seems to have undergone any diminution. The other two 
orders, although they now form so small a part of the inhabitants of our 
seas, were once the sole vcrtebrated tenants of the globe." 


In addition to the extensive and interesting class of animals which we have 
just reviewed, the oceans, lakes, and rivers swarm with other forms of life, 
of almost infinitely-varied characteristics, some exhibiting aspects of remarka- 
ble beauty, while others are extraordinary for their grotesque ugliness; yet 
it will be seen that all are beautifully adapted, by their organizations and 
attributes, to the order of being where the Creator has placed them. 

Cuvier divides the Mollusca into six classes, as follows : — 

The Cepiialopods, whose body has the form of a sac, enclosing the 
branchiae, and open above, whence protrudes the head well developed, and 
crowned with certain strong, fleshy, elongated productions, by means of which 
the animals progress and seize upon objects. The Cuttle-fish is a represen- 
tative of this class. 

The PrEnorODS. — In these the body is not ojien, and the head has no 
appendages, or if any, they are very minute, locomotion being effected by 
two wings, or membranous fins, placed on the sides of the neck, and in 
which the branchial tissue is often spread. 

The GASTEiiorODS, which crawl on the belly, on a fleshy disk, sometimes 
compressed into a fin. Nearly all of them have a distinct head. 

The Acepiiales. — These have the mouth concealed in the base of the 
cloak, which also encloses the branchiae and the viscera, and opens either 
throughout its whole length, or at both its extremities, or at one only. 

The BRACinoroDS. — This class comprehends the species which, en- 
closed also in a cloak, and without an apparent head, have fleshy or mem- 
branous arms, garnished with cilia? of the same nature. 

The ClERHOPODS. — This class comprises those mollusks which have the 
attributes of the preceding classes, but differ from them in having numerous 
horny articulated members, and in a nervous system more allied to that of 
the Annulose animals. 

They all have a soft body, which is covered by a flexible skin (the so- 
called mantle) , under or over which calcareous or horny shells are formed 
by secretion. The chief organs are symmetrical and in pairs, generally 
disposed in a curve, so that the mouth is proximate to the opposite extremity 
of the intestinal canal. The blood is white, flows from the heart to all 

NO. XVII. 81 (221) 


parts of the body, and finds its way back again to that organ, after having 
been refreshed in the lungs or branchial apparatus. The nervous system 
consists of ganglions connected by nervous filaments. From the fishes, 
t lie mollusks arc distinguished by the absence of an internal skeleton and 
spinal marrow, and also by the great difference of their respiratory and 
locomotive organs. 


The members of this class manifest a most extraordinary structure. They 
consist of two distinct parts. The body, which, in form of a sac, opens to 
the front, encloses the branchiae and digestive organs, and the well-developed 
head, provided with a pair of sharp-sighted eyes, and crowned with a ring 
of feet, arms, or feelers. It is to this formation that the Cephalopod owes 
its scientific name ; for, as the feet grow from the circumference of the 
mouth, it literally creeps upon its head. 

The) compose but one order, which is divided into the following genera, 
according to the nature of the shell : OCTOPUS, the Poulpes ; AltGONAUTA, 

the Argonauts; Loligo, the Sleeve-fish; Sepia, the Cuttle-fish; and 


All the Cephalopods are marine animals, and breathe through branchiae 
or trills. These organs are concealed under the mantle, in a cave or hollow, 
which alternately expands and contracts, and communicates by two openings 
with the outer world. The one in form of a slit, serves to receive the water ; 
the other, which is tubular, is used I'm- its expulsion. 

The first four genera — and which comprises by far the great majority of 
living species — have only two sets of gills ; while the last genus, Nautilus, 
which in the present epoch is only represented by r a few species, has four, 
two on each side. 

According to the number of their arms or feet, — for these remarkable 
organs serve equally well for creeping or seizing prey, — the first group 
again divides into two classes, Octopods and Decapods ; the former hav- 
ing only eight sessile feet, the latter ten, two of which are elongated like 
feelers. The feet are studded on the inner surface with small circular disks 
or suckers, either sessile or pedunculated. The sessile cups of the Octo- 
pods serve them as suckers, by means of which they attach themselves so 
firmly to their prey, that once seized, it cannot possibly disengage itself 
from the murderous embrace. 

The stalked cups of the Decapods cannot, indeed, serve them as suckers ; 
but, to make amends for this want of adhesive powers, they are provided 
with a sharp 1 k fixed in the centre, and are the more formidable from 


being able to move upon their st:ilk in every direction. The Decapod can 
also voluntarily draw in or stretch out its claws like the cat, and thus runs 
no risk of entangling itself when shooting backwards through the water. 
The size of the arms and the arrangement of the cups differ very much in 
the various species. Thus, in the common Octopus, the arms are almost of 
equal length ; in the Philonexis there arc four long and four short ones ; and 
in the Argonaut two of them expand sail-like at their extremity, in the 
decapodal Calamaries and Sepias, the two feeler-like arms are considerably 
lengthened, and in the Loligopsis, the disproportion is so great that these 
organs are several times longer than the whole body. In the Octopods, 
which generally lead a more sedentary, creeping life, and clinging to stones, 
seize the passing prey, the arms, in accordance with their wants, are always 
longer, more fleshy, and stronger than in the actively swimming Decapods. 

In some species we find the arms separated ; in cithers, they are united 
by a membrane. The Octopus has on each arm a double row of cups or 
suckers, the Sepia four rows, the Eledone hut one. So wonderful are the 
variations which nature, that consummate artist, plays upon a single theme ! 
so inexhaustible are the modifications she introduces into the formation of 
numerous species, all constructed upon the same fundamental plan, and all 
equally perfect in their kind ! 

"When a Cephalopod has got hold of a fish or crab, the arms, by sucking 
or hooking, instantly convey the helpless prey to the mouth, where it is 
pitilessly crushed by two powerful horny or calcareous jaws, fitting one 
over the other like the mandibles of a tortoise. 

Besides their arms, by help of which the Cephalopods either swim or 
creep, the forcible expulsion of the water through the air-tube serves them 
as a means of locomotion in a backward direction. By those which have 
an elongated body, and comparatively strong muscles, this movement is 
performed with such violence that they .--hoot like arrows through the water, 
or even, like the flying-fish, perform a long curve through the air. Thus 
Sir James Ross tells us, that once a number of cuttle-fish not only fell 
upon the deck of his ship, which rose fifteen or sixteen feet above the water, 
and where more than fifty were gathered, but even bolted right over the 
entire breadth of the vessel, like a sportsman over a five-barred gate ! 

Finally, the fin-like expansion of their mantle renders the nimble Deca- 
pods good service in swimming. In the Sepias, this finny membrane runs 
along the sides of the body ; in the Calamaries it is situated at its extremity. 

The skin of the Cephalopods offers some remarkable peculiarities. It is 
covered with variously-colored spots, which, as long as the animal is quiet, 
are nearly invisible, but as soon as it is excited, increase to about sixty 
times their former size ; and then, by alternate contractions and expansions, 


rapidly appear and disappear, so that the same Cephalopod is one moment 
white and the next yellow or brown. The surface of the skin also changes 
its nature under the influence of excitement. For instance, in the Octopus, 
when tranquil, it is perfectly smooth, but as soon as the animal is disturbed, 
the body, the head, and even the arms appear covered with tubercles and 
elevations, where an instant before nothing of the kind was to be seen. 

It might be supposed that the Cephalopods, by their swiftness, their arms, 
and their powerful jaws, were sufficiently provided with means of attack or 
defence ; but nature has besides favored many of them with a remarkable 
secretory organ, producing a black fluid, and opening into the air-tube 
When the animal is in danger, or wishes to avoid observation, it ejects a 
sufficient quantity of this inky liquid to form a thick cloud in the water, 
which serves to conceal it from its foe. This black sepia-juice is, as we all 
know, used as a pigment, the durability of which may be inferred from the 
fact that even the contents of the ink-bag of fossil species have still been 
found useful. It has been affirmed that grains of wheat, buried with Egyp- 
tian mummies three thousand years ago, have germinated ; but it is surely 
still more astonishing that an animal secretion, the origin of which is lost in 
the dark abyss of countless ages, should have remained so long unaltered. 

The Cephalopods are scattered in countless numbers over the whole ocean. 
Some, like the Argonaut, constantly frequent the high seas ; others, like the 
common Octopus, invariably cling to the coasts. Two pelagic species — 
Ommastrephes giganteus and sagittatus — leave annually, the first the South, 
the second the North Polar Sea, and wander in enormous shoals to the 
coasts of Chili and Newfoundland. The Sepias and Calamaries appear in 
spring along the coasts, where they tarry a shorter or longer time, according 
to the difference of species, and then withdraw again into the deep. 

Almost all Cephalopods are nocturnal or vespertine in their habits. At 
night they abound on the surface of the seas, but are not to be seen during 
the day. With the exception of the Foulp or Octopus, which leads a soli- 
tary life on rocky coasts, they love the society of their kind, and wander in 
troops along the shores and in the deeper ocean. They arc all of them 
extremely voracious, destroy on shallow banks the hopes of the fisherman, 
devour on the high seas countless myriads of young fish and naked mollusks, 
and kill, like the tiger, for the mere love of carnage. Thus they would 
become dangerous to the equilibrium of the seas, if nature, to counterbal- 
ance their destructive habits, had not provided a great number of enemies 
for the thinning of their ranks. They form the almost exclusive food of 
the sperm whales and dolphins, and various sea-birds love to skim them 
from the surface of the ocean. Tunnies and bonitos devour them in vast 
numbers, the cod consumes whole shoals of squids, and man catches many 
millions to serve him as a bait for this valuable fish. 

OEDEE I. THE SEriA.-Al.t_10X.VUT. 225 

At Teneriffe, in the Brazils, in Peru and Chili, various species of Ceph- 
alopods are used as food. Along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, 
the common Sepia officinalis is so numerous that the cuttle bones may he 
seen heaped by the waves into a ridge, which fringes the sea for miles. 
"As in ancient times," says Edward Forbes, " these mollusks constitute 
now a valuable part of the food of the poor, by whom they are mostly used. 
One of the most striking spectacles at night on the shores of the ^Egean is 
to see the numerous torches glancing along the shores, and reflected by the 
still and clear sea, borne by poor fishermen, paddling as silent as possible 
over the rocky shallows in search of the cuttle-fish, which, when seen 
lying beneath the water in wait for his prey, they dexterously spear, ere 
the creature has time to dart with the rapidity of an arrow from the weapon 
about to transfix his soft but firm body." 

Animals exposed to so many enemies must necessarily multiply in an 
analogous ratio. Their numerous eggs are generally brought forth in the 
spring. In the sjiecies inhabiting the high seas they float freely on the 
surface, carried along by the currents and the winds, and form large gelati- 
nous bunches, or cylindrical rolls, sometimes as large as a man's leg. The 
eggs of the littoral Cephalopods appear in the form of small transparent 
grapes, or black pear-shaped sacs, the stems of which are attached to alga', 
or any other convenient body. The young animals, hatched by the warmth 
of the sun, emerge from the husk perfectly formed, and give immediate 
proof of their social nature by herding together in large bodies. 

According to trustworthy testimonies, some species of Cephalopods attain 
an astonishing size. Thus Peron saw, near Van Diemen's Land, a Sepia 
as big as a tun, rolling about in the waters. Its enormous arms had the 
appearance of frightful snakes. Each of these organs was at least seven 
feet long, and measured seven or eight inches round the base. Not satis- 
fied with reality, some writers have magnified the size of the cuttle-fishes 
to fabulous dimensions. Thus Pernetti mentions a colossal cuttle-fish, 
which, climbing up the rigging, overturned a three-masted ship ; and Pliny 
notices a similar monster, with arms thirty feet long, and a corresponding 

All the Acetabuliferous , or cup-bearing Cephalopods, are destitute of an 
outward shell, with the sole exception of the Argonaut, which poets, ancient 
and modern, have celebrated as the model from which man took the first 
idea of navigation. Its two sail-like arms expanding in the air, and the 
six others rowing in the water, the keel of its elegant shell is pictured 
as dividing the surface of the tranquil sea. But as soon as a breath of 
wind curls the waters, or the least danger appears, the cautious Argonaut 
takes in his sails, draws back his oars, creeps into his shell, and sinks 
instantly into a securer depth. 


Unfortunately, there is not a word of truth in this pleasing tale. Like 
the commonest cuttle-fish, the Argonaut generally creeps about at the bot- 
tom of the sea, or when lie swims, lie places his sails close to the shell, 
stretches his oars right out before him, and shoots backwards like most of 
his class, by expelling the water from his respiratory tube. 

As he sits loosely in his shell, he was supposed by some naturalists to be 
a parasite, enjoying the house of the murdered owner; but this is perfectly 
erroneous, as the young in the egg already show the rudiments of the future 
shell, and the full-grown animal repairs by reproduction any injury that may 
have happened to it. 

The Nautili, which likewise are provided with an external shell, are 
Cephalopods of a very peculiar kind. Here, instead of mighty cup-bearing 
or sharp-clawed arms, we find a great number of contractile and slender 
tentacula. The handsome pearl-mother and spirally-wound shell is divided 
by transverse partitions, perforated in the centre into a large number of 
chambers. The animal takes up its abode in the foremost and largest, but 
sends a communicating tube or siphon, the use of which is as yet but little 
known, through all the holes of the partitions to the very extremity of the 
spirally-wound shell. Recent researches in the South Sea have brought to 
light three different kinds of Nautilus : the Pompilius, found at the New 
Hebrides and Feejee Islands ; the Umbilicated Nautilus of the Solomon 
Islands, New Georgia, New Breton, and New Ireland; and N~. Macropha- 
lus, found at the Isle of Pines and New Caledonia. 


This class, although multitudinous in individuals, comprehends but one 
order, and a small number of species. The Pteropods ( Wing-footers) are 
thus named from their peculiar organs of locomotion, which are fins placed 
like wings at each side of the mouth. Consequently they cannot creep, and 
therefore frequent the high seas, where they swarm in countless myriads. 
They are small creatures, not exceeding an inch in length, and yet their 
numbers are so vast that they constitute the principal part of the food of 
the gigantic whale. The genera are Clio, which has an oblong, membranous 
body, without a cloak, and a head formed of two rounded lobes ; Ctmbuli \, 
which has a cartilaginous envelope in the shape of a boat or shoe, and a 
body so transparent that we can see the heart, brain, and the viscera through 
the envelope ; PneumodermON, which has an oval body, and furnished with 
lips, and two bundles of numerous tentacula, terminated each by a sucker; 
Hyalea, the llyales, have two very large wings, no tentacula, and cloak 


slit on the sides, and a shell slit in a corresponding manner ; Cleodora, 

the Cleodores, are like the preceding genus, only their shell is not slit 
alon^' the margin. 

Some of these little animals are of a beautiful rose color, and others are 
blue and violet, variegated with spots of red. 

Godwin Austen describes the Pteropods as " the winged insects of the 
sea, reminding us, in their free-circling movements and crepuscular habits, 
of the gnats and moths of the atmosphere ; they shun the light, and if tiie 
sun is bright, you may look in vain for them during the livelong day — as 
davs sometimes are at sea; a passing cloud, however, suffices to bring some 
Cleodonc to the surface. It is only as day declines that their true time 
begins, and thence onwards the watches of the night may be kept by observ- 
ing the contents of the towing-net, as the hours of a summer day may be 
by the floral dial. The Cleodone. are the earliest risers; as the sun sets, 
Hyalcea gibbosa appears, darting about as if it had not a moment to spare ; 
and, indeed, its period is brief, lasting only fir the .Mediterranean twilight. 
Then it is that Hyalcea trispinosa and Oleodora subula come up; Hya- 
Icea tridentata, though it does not venture out till dusk, retires early, 
whilst some species, such as Cleodora pyramidata, are to be met with only 
during the midnight hours and the darkest nights. This tribe, like a higher 
one, has its few irregular spirits, who manage to keep it up through the 
whole night. All, however, arc back to their homes before dawn surprises 


This numerous class, well represented by the Snail and Slug, is interest- 
in"' from the exceeding beauty of the external covering which many of the 
genera provide for their protection. The greater portion of the sea-shells 
which adorn our cabinets are the productions of the Gasteropods. No archi- 
tect ever constructed such magnificent and elaborate palaces, and no artist 
ever blended such rich and glowing colors, or enlivened his works with tints 
of such exquisite delicacy. 

The animals of this class generally creep upon a fleshy disk under the 
belly, whence the name Gasteropoda — Stomach-footers. The back is cov- 
ered with a cloak, of greater or less extent, and of a various figure, which 
secretes a shell in the greater number of the genera. Their head, placed in 
front, is more or less distinct, according as it is more or less drawn in under 
the cloak. It is furnished with tentacula of comparatively small size, and 
which do not encircle the mouth, their number varying from two to six, 
although sometimes they are absent. They are organs of touch and smell. 


The eyes are very small, sometimes placed upon the head, sometimes at its 
base, either to the side, or at the tips of the tentacula. The class is divided 
into five orders, the characters of which are drawn from the position and 
form of the branchiae. 

"The PuLMOXEA breathe the atmosphere, receiving the air within a cavity 
whose narrow orifice they can open and close at will : they are hermaphro- 
ditical, with reciprocal copulation: some have no shell, others carry one, 
which is often truly turbinate, but never furnished with an operculum. 

"The Nudibranchiata have no shell, and carry their variously-figured 
branchiae naked upon some part of the back. 

"The Inferobranchiata are similar, in some respects, to the preceding, 
but their branchial are situated under the margins of the cloak. 

"The Tectibranchiata have their branchiae upon the back, or upon the 
side, covered by a lamina, or fold of the cloak, which almost always contains 
a .-.boll more or less developed; or sometimes the branchiae are enveloped in 
a narrow fold of the loot. 

"These four orders are hermaphroditieal. 

"The Heteropods carry their branchiae upon the back, where they form a 
transverse row of little tufts, and are, in some instances, protected, as well 
as a portion of the viscera, by a symmetrical shell. What, best distinguishes 
them is the foot compressed into a thin vertical fin, on the margin of which 
a little sucker often appears — the only trace left of the horizontal foot of 
the other orders of the class. 

"The Pectinibranchiata have the sexes separated: their respiratory 
organs consist almost always of branchiae composed of lamella} united in a 
pectinated form, and which are concealed in a dorsal cavity, opening with a 
wide gape above the head. Nearly all of them have turbinated shells, with 
the mouth sometimes entire, sometimes emarginate, sometimes produced into 
a siphonal canal, and generally capable of being more or less exactly closed 
by an operculum attached to the foot of the animal behind. 

"The SCUTIBRANCHIATA have branchiae similar to those of the Pectini- 
branchiata, but they are complete hermaphrodites, and require no union with 
a second to effect impregnation : their shells are very open, and in several 
like :i shield ; they never have any operculum. 

" The Cyclobranchiata arc hermaphrodites of the same kind as the 
Scutibranchiata, and have a shell, consisting of one or several pieces, but in 
no case turbinate nor operculate : their branchiffi lie under the margin of 
their cloak, as in the Inferobranchiata." 

"Nature," it bus been well remarked, "never passes abruptly from 
one type of organization to another;" and thus we find a long series ot 


intermediate and gradually-progressive forms, between the naked Gastero- 
poda and those that are covered with a perfect spiral shell. First, there is 
a rudimentary internal or external shell, nearly covering and protecting the 
most important organs ; by degrees it expands and shields the whole animal, 
and the first signs of a spiral development make their appearance ; and at 
last the snail's palace appears in all its perfection and beauty. 


These mollusks breathe the atmosphere through a hole which opens under 
the margin of their cloak, and which they can dilate or contract at pleasure. 
They have no branchia', but only a network of pulmonary vessels, which 
creep upon the walls, and more particularly upon the ceiling of their respira- 
tory cavity. Some are terrestrial, and others aquatic ; the latter are com- 
pelled, at intervals, to come to the surface to receive within their pulmonary 
cavity the air for respiration. They are all hermaphrodites. 

The terrestrial Pulmoneans are separated into several genera, the best 
known of which are the following : — 

Limax. — The Limaces have no apparent shell. The group comprises 
the family of slugs, one species of which, L. rufus, was once thought a 
valuable remedy for diseases of the chest, taken in the form of a broth. 
Vaginulus, Helix, Clausilia, and Aciiatina comprehend the common 
snails. Of the last, Somerby remarks, that they are, for the most part, 
African and West Indian species. Two species, A. zebra and A. vir- 
ginea, are distinguished for their beautiful shells. 

The aquatic Pulmoneans, as they are obliged to come to the surface to 
breathe, live in fresh waters, or near the shores and mouths of rivers. The 
genera are Onchididm, Planorbis, LiMNiEus, PHTSiB, Scarabes, Au- 
ricula, and Melajipes, the last two of which are noted for their magnifi- 
cent shells. 


Cuvier describes this family as having neither a shell nor pulmonary 
cavity, but their branchiae exposed naked upon some part of the back. 
They are all hermaphroditical and marine : they swim in a reversed posi- 
tion, the foot applied against the surface, and made concave like a boat, and 
use the edges of the cloak and the tentacula as oars to assist their progres- 
sion. The principal genera are Doius, found on the shores of all seas ; 
TniTONiA, a curious group, which has two rows of tufted branchiae along 
no. xvii. 82 


the back, ami upon the head a very large membranous fringed veil, which 
curves in its contraction under the mouth. T. fimbria is a beautiful Med- 
iterranean species, of a grayish color, spotted with white. The remaining 
wenera are Scyll.ka, Glaucus, Eolidia, and Tergipes. 

Nothing can he more elegant or various than the form and arrangement 
of the gills in most of the In the Glauci and Scyllai 
we see at each side of the elongated bo3y long arms, branching out into 
tufted filaments, and on the back of Eolides thy gills are arranged in rows, 
while in the Dorides they form a regular wreath, or garland, round the 
lower intestinal aperture. The beauty of these animals corresponds with 
their mythological names; for every part of them which is not sparkling 
like the purest crystal, shines with the liveliest colors. Some of them creep 
along the coasl : others seek the open sea, where they attach themselves to 
floating alga', or swim about upon their hack, by rapidly contracting the 
border of their mantle. 

Although they are represented in all seas, they delight particularly in the 
wanner latitudes. Though provided with no defensive weapons, they are 
not left altogether to the mercy of their enemies. Some conceal themselves 
under stones; and some, on contracting, cast off parts of their mantle, 
leaving it in possession of their hungry foe, while they themselves make 
their escape. 


The Inferobranchiates resemble the Dorides and Tritones in their habit 
and organization ; but their branchiae, instead of being situated upon the 
back, arc on the sides of the body, under the projecting margin of the 
cloak, where they form two long scries of leaflets. They are incapable of 
swimming. The genera are PhtllidIA and DlPHYlXIDES. The former 
grout > belongs to the Indian Ocean ; the latter lives in stagnant waters, and 
in rivulets, adhering to stones and aquatic plants. 


In this order the branchiae are attached along the right side, or upon the 
back, in the form of leaflets, more or less divided, are more or less cov- 
ered by the mantle, which generally contains a small shell. This order 
comprehends several groups, of which the most remarkable is the genus 

Aphtsia. — The mantle of this animal forms two wide folds on the back. 
When these are opened, the delicately-fringed branchiae appear in a deep 


hollow on the right side, covered by a thin, transparent, horny shell. 
These mollusks resemble a great naked snail. They dwell in every sea, 
frequenting chiefly rocky shores, where they creep along, feeding upon the 
algie. Some species, however, make use of their mantle folds for swim- 
ming. A peculiar gland pours out, through an orifice near the vulva, a 
limpid humor, which is said to be very acrid, if not absolutely poisonous, 
in some species. A purple liquid also oozes from the edges of the cloak, 
when they arc alarmed, which discolors the water, and conceals them from 
their foes. 


The Heteropods have the foot compressed into a vertical muscular lami- 
na, which they use as a fin, and on the edge of which, in several species, 

is a sucker, in the form of a hollow cone, that represents the disk of the 
other orders. The body, which is a transparent, gelatinous substance, is 
elongate, sheathed with a muscular layer, and terminated with a compressed 
tail. The mouth has a muscular mass, and a tongue garnished with little 
hooks. They have the power to inflate the body with water, the object of 
which is not known ; and they swim in a reversed position. The genera 
are Fieola, Atlanta, and Carinakia. 

The Carinariae are very curiously formed animals, carrying on their back 
a shell fastened to a stalk, under which the fringed branchite project. ( )n 
the under side of the body the foot forms a round disk, furnished with a 
sucking-cup. The whole animal seems to be made up of disjointed parts. 
The species live far away from shore, and are generally found swimming 
about, or attached by the foot to some floating objects. The most beautiful 
species inhabits the Indian Ocean, and produces a shell worth from two to 
three hundred dollars. 


This order is, beyond comparison, the most numerous of the class, since 
it comprehends almost all the univalve spiral shells, and several which are 
simply conical. The branchiae, composed of numerous leaflets or fringes, 
ranged parallelly like the teeth of a comb, arc affixed in one, two, or three 
lines, according to the genera, to the floor of the pulmonary cavity, which 
occupies the last whorl of the shell, and which communicates outwards by a 
wide gape between the margin of the cloak and the body. Two genera 


only — Cyclostoma and Helicina — have, instead of branchiae, ;i vascular 
network, clothing the ceiling of a cavity in all respects the same as that 
of the order ; and they are the only ones which respire the atmosphere, 
water being the medium of respiration to all the rest. 

All the Pectinibranchiata have two tentacula and two eyes, raised some- 
times on pedicles ; a mouth in the form of a proboscis, more or less length- 
ened ; and separate sexes. 

Cuvier divides the order into four families : the Trochoides, which have 
a shell with an entire aperture, without sinus, or canal for siphon, and 
furnished with an operculum, or some organ as its substitute; the Capu- 
loides, which have a widely open shell, without an operculum or emargi- 
native canal ; the Buccinoides, distinguished by a spiral shell, the mouth 
of which has, near the end of the columella, a sinus or canal, for the pas- 
sage of the siphon, which is formed by an elongated fold of the cloak ; and 
the Strombusidce, which comprise the shells, with a canal cither straight, or 
bent to the right, the external lid of the aperture becoming, at its maturity, 
more or less dilated, and always marked with a sinus near the siphonal 
canal, whence the head issues when the animal comes out. 

In the first family we find several fine shells, — as the Troclius turritus, 
Turbo, Ampulonia, and Nerita. To the third family belong those splen- 
did specimens, known as Cone*, Volutes, Buccinum, and Murex, all 
magnificent shells, beautifully colored. The last is remarkable for its 
elongate canal, and the numerous spines which cover the whole, giving it 
something of the appearance of a chevaux-de-frise. The fourth family 
contains the Pteroceras Scorpio, a shell highly valued by conchologists. 


These mollusks have a shell formed more or less like an irregular tube, 
spiral only at its apex, and fixed permanently to other bodies. There are 
three genera: Vermetus, which has a tubular shell, whose whorls, at an 
early age, form a kind of spine, and continued on in a more or less irregu- 
larly bent or twisted tube, like the tubes of. the Serpula; MAGILUS, with 
a tube at first quite regularly spinal, and then extended in nearly a straight 
line. It is common in the coral rocks of the Isle of France, and its tube 
sometimes reaches the length of three feet; and Siliquoiua, which has the 
irregular tube of the Vermetus, but there is a fissure on the whole length 
of the shell. 



Tliese Gasteropods are clothed with shells quite open, and the greater 
number are not in any degree spiral, and cover the animals in the manner 
of a shield. 

They are separated into two great genera: IIaliotis and Fissuuella, 
the first of which is the most richly embellished of the class. 


These animals have their branchiae in the form of little leaflets, or pyra- 
mids, attached in a circle, under the margins of the cloak. There are 
only two genera: Patella, the Limpets, and Chiton, the Chitons. 

The Limpets live on rocks or stones, to which they cling so fast by 
suction, that it requires the introduction of a knife between the shell and 
the stone to detach them. It has been calculated that the larger species 
are thus able to produce a resistance equivalent to a weight of one hundred 
and fifty pounds, which, considering the sharp angle of the shell, is more 
than sufficient to defy the strength of a man to raise them. They often 
congregate in large numbers in one place, and an old writer compares them 
to nail-heads stuck into the rock. They live upon the green sea-weed, that 
we find covering at ebb tide the stones with a thin emerald layer ; and when 
these are submerged by the flood, they creep along on the bottom, slowly- 
grazing on these marine pasture-grounds. 

The Gasteropods surpass all the Molluscous animals in the beauty of the 
form of the shells, and the splendor and delicacy of their colors. The 
Haliotides are handsome mother-of-pearl shells, frequently used for the 
inlaying of boxes. If the spiral shells could be drawn out, they would 
all be found to consist of a tube gradually widening from the apex to the 
base. " But," says an enthusiastic conchologist, " what an immense variety 
of forms and ornaments, what a prodigality of splendid tints, has not 
Nature spread over their countless species ! The same fundamental idea 
appears to us in a thousand different forms, one still more elegant, in com- 
parison, than the other. Thus the passion of the shell-collector is as con- 
ceivable as that of the lover of choice flowers ; and when we hear that rich 
tulip amateurs have given thousands of dollars for a single bulb, we cannot 
be surprised that hundreds are paid for the Scalar ia pretiosa, or the Cy- 
prcea aurora, which the New Zealand chiefs used to wear about their 


necks. The giant Nerite commands any price ; and many of the volute*, 
cones, mitres, and harps are purchased at a price exceeding several times 
their weight in gold." 

However different the form of the shell may be, its use is invariably the 
same, affording the soft-bodied animal a shield, or retreat from injuries. 
In this respect it is not uninteresting to remark, that those species which 
inhabit the coasts, and are more exposed to the rolling of the waves, have 
a thicker and stronger shell than those which live in greater depths, and 
that the fresh water mollusks have generally a much more delicate and 
fragile coat than those which live in the ocean. The greater the necessity 
of protection, the better has Nature provided for the want. Thus most of 
the larger sea-snails, besides possessing a stone-hard dwelling, are also 
furnished at the extremity of the foot with an operculum or calcareous lid, 
which (its like a door upon the opening of their house, and closes it like a 
fortress against the outer world. But no animal exists that is safe against 
every attack, for the large sea-birds sometimes carry the ponderous snails, 
whose entrance they cannot force with their beaks, high up into the air, and 
let them fall upon the rocks, where they are dashed to pieces. 

The ordinary mode of locomotion of the sea-snails is by creeping along 
mi their tout ; those that have a very heavy house to carry, such as the 
Cassis, or the Pteroceras, move along very slowly, while others, such as 
the Oliva?, that are possessed of a comparatively strong foot, have rapid 
and lively movements, quickly raise themselves again when they have been 
overturned, and are even able to swim a short distance. The swiftness of 
the sea-snails is not always in proportion to the size of their foot, as the 
patellcn creep but very slowly along on their broad disk. In some species, 
that remain fixed to the ruck to which they first attach themselves, as small 
free-swimming larva'', the foot is naturally reduced to the state of an adhe- 
sive organ. 

Most of the Gasteropods are so heavily clothed, that they are necessarily 
confined to the rocky or sandy sea-bottom. The Ianthina, however, has 
under its foot a vesicular organ, like a congeries of foam-bubbles, that 
.-ei\es as a buoy to support them at the surface of the water. When the 
sea is quiet, they appear in vast shoals on the surface, with their foot 
turned upwards; but as soon as the winds ruth'c the ocean, they empty 
their air-cells and sink to the bottom, pouring out at the same time a dark 
red fluid, which, according to Lesson, furnished the celebrated purple of 
the ancients. The transparent shell is also of a beautiful violet color. 

The sea-snails inhabit different zones of depth ; some live only within 
reach of the spring floods, and are therefore almost constantly out of the 
water ; others dwell a little lower, so as to be bathed at least by every flood ; 


and others, again, sojourn constantly near low-water mark. But by far 
the greater number dwell completely beyond the limits of the flood oscil- 
lations, at various distances from the surface, to a depth of five hundred 
feet and upwards. 

The sea-snails are either predaceous or herbivorous; the former bore 
through the shells of the sedentary mussels with their rasp-like tongue, 
or feast upon the dead animals which chance brings in their way. They 
seem to have very acute olfactory organs, for animal substances let down 
in a net to the bottom often draw thousands together in one night. In 
their turn, they serve as food to many other inhabitants of the ocean ; but 
their deadliest enemies are the sea-stars, that not only swallow the young 
fry, but also seize with their long arms the full-grown Gasteropods, and 
clasp them in a murderous embrace. 


The mollusks of this class owe their scientific name to the circumstance 
that they have no apparent head, the word being derived from the ( rreek 
a, no, and hephalee, head. Their mouth is concealed between the folds 
of their cloak, which latter is doubled in two, and encloses the body as a 
book is enclosed between its covers. A calcareous bivalve shell — some- 
times multivalve — covers the cloak. The brain is situated over the 
mouth, which is destitute of teeth, and can seize only such objects as the 
water floats into it. The class is divided into two orders — the Testaceous 
acephales, and the Shell-less. The first order is by far the most numerous, 
as all bivalves, and nearly all multivalves, belong to it. 


The Teatacca arc distinguished from the preceding mollusks by a more 
simple organization. The Gasteropod marches along by the aid of its 
powerful foot, and can thrust from its shell a well-developed head, while 
the Bivalve has neither foot nor head. Many of the bivalves, however, 
have eyes, or ocular spots, which enable them to distinguish light from 
darkness ; and some even possess auditory organs. 

When danger menaces the Sea-snail, it withdraws its head, and closes 
the entrance of its hermitage with a lid ; but the bivalve shuts its folding- 
doors when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable intruder. A strong elastic 
ligament connects the two valves, and opens them wide as soon as the 


muscular contraction which closed them ceases to act. In many the folds 
of the mantle are quite open in front, as, for instance, in the oyster, 
which, nn opening its shell, fully discloses its internal parts; in others 
they form a closed sack, with several openings — an anterior one for the 
passage of the toot, and two posterior ones for the ingress and egress of 
the water, which the animal requires for respiration. These posterior 
openings are often prolonged into shorter or longer tubes, sometimes 
separate, and sometimes grown together. 

The use or purpose of this formation becomes evident when we consider 
the mode of life of the animals thus endowed. Almost all of them live 
buried in the sand or mud, where they spend the whole or greater part of 
their life. AVere their mantle open, they would inevitably be suffocated — a 
danger against which their long respiratory tubes, emerging into purer 
water, effectually protect them. Their strong muscular foot serves them 
as an excellent spade for rapid concealment in the sand, when an enemy 
approaches, and some species make use of it for creeping or hojiping. 
The common cockle stretches it out as far as possible, presses it against 
the ground, springs up by suddenly contracting it, and hops rapidly along 
l>\ quickly repeating the same manoeuvre. In other species the movements 
are much more limited. Thus the SoJenucea, or Razor-sheaths, content 
themselves with moving up and down in the vertical holes which they have 
dug, and which they never leave. 

Most, of the siphonous bivalves inhabit sandy and muddy coasts in such 
vast numbers that the flat strand is often covered with their debris; but 
there are some which bury themselves in wood or stone. 

The Testaceous Mollusks are arranged in families, in the first of which 
is the genus 

Ostkea. — The Oyster. From its commercial value, and the rank it 
hold- in our dome-tie economy, the Oyster may be styled the chief of the 
Molluscous animals. Although it is a universal favorite, and is consumed 
in immense quantities by all classes, our coasts appear to be capable of pro- 
ducing an inexhaustible supply. Its fecundity is extraordinary, a single 
oyster reproducing itself by a progeny of more than twelve hundred 

The Roman naturalist Pliny called the oyster "the palm or glory of 
the table,"' and modern epicures will not question the excellence of his 
judgment. This valuable bivalve congregates in enormous banks, par- 
ticularly on rocky ground, though it is also found on a sandy or even a 
muddy bottom. In the tropical zone it frequently attaches itself to the 
roots and branches of the mangroves, and at ebb tide swings about as the 
wind agitates its movable support. It inhabits all the European seas as 




(Walking leaf.) 



far as the Westenfiord, where it finds its northern boundary, lat. 68° N. ; 
but the British waters may he considered as its headquarters, for nowhere is 
it found in greater abundance, and of a richer flavor. In the United States 
it abounds on the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to the extreme southern 
limit; but the Virginian and Carolinian oysters are the most esteemed. 

Three sorts of oysters are distinguished in the trade. The first com- 
prises those which are dredged from the deeper banks. These arc the 
largest sized, but also the least valued. The second consists of those that 
arc gathered on a more elevated situation. Being accustomed to the daily 
vicissitudes of .ebb and flood, they retain their water much longer, and can, 
therefore, be more easily transported to greater distances than the former. 
Those arc preferred that grow on a clean bottom, near the estuaries of 
rivers. The third and most valued sort of oysters are those that are 
preserved in artificial basins or parks. 

Oysteu Cultuke. — This branch of industry was known to the Romans ; 
and Pliny names Sergius Orata, a knight, as the first who established an 
oyster-park, and realized large sums of money by this ingenious invention. 
At present, England and France take the lead in this important business. 
Their oyster-parks, or gardens, are generally large walled basins, commu- 
nicating by sluices with the sea, so that the water can be let in and out. 
As infusoria and microscopic algae arc produced in much greater numbers 
in these tranquil basins than in the boisterous sea, the oysters find here a 
much more abundant food, and being detached one from the other, they can 
also open and close their shells with greater facility, so that nothing hinders 
their growth. 

Thus fostered and improved by art, they are vastly superior to the rough 
children of nature that are sent at once to market, and condemned to the 
knife immediately after having been dragged forth from their submarine 
abode. The highly-prized green oysters owe their color to the numbers 
of ulvse, enteromorpha, and microscopic alga; that are usually generated 
in these parks, and communicate their verdant tinge to the animal that swal- 
lows them. 

Considering the increasing wealth and luxury of our nation, which annu- 
ally raises the demand for oysters, the small number of artificial oyster-beds 
along our coasts, and, above all, the improvident and ruinous manner in 
which the delicate mollusks are collected on their native banks, it is very 
much to be feared that ere long both fisherman and consumer will have to 
deplore an exhausted supply. It is, therefore, extremely desirable that 
new natural banks should be created ; and fortunately the manner in which 
the mollusks are developed, and several successful examples, warrant its 

no. xvii. 83 


The oyster spawns from June to September. Instead of immediately 
abandoning' its eggs to their fate, as is the ease with so many sea-animals, 
it keeps them for a time in the folds of its mantle, between the branchial 
lamella; ; and it is oidy after having thus acquired a more perfect develop- 
ment that the microscopic larvae, furnished with a swimming apparatus and 
eyes, emerge by thousands from the shell, and are then driven about by the 
floods and currents, until they find some solid body, to which they attach 
themselves icr life. The oyster produces in one single summer a couple 
of millions of young, which, however, mostly perish during the first 
wandering staue of their existence. 

Thus we see what rich rewards the industry of man might expect to earn 
by protecting and fixing the oyster-larva; at an early date ; and that this 
could easily be done in many places, is proved to us by the artificial oyster- 
breeding that has now been successfully carried on for many ages in the 
Lake of Fusaro. 

Between the Luerinc Lake, the ruins of Cuma, and the promontory of 
Misenum, lies a small salt-water lake, about a league in circumference, gen- 
erally from three to six feet deep, and reposing on a volcanic, black, and mud- 
dy bottom. This is the old Acheron of Virgil, the present Fusaro. Over its 
whole extent are spread, from space to space, great heaps of stones, that 
have been covered with oysters brought from Tarentum. Round each of 
these artificial mounds stakes are driven into the ground, tolerably near each 
other, and projecting from the water, so as to be pulled up easily. Other 
stakes stand in long rows several feet apart, and arc united by ropes, from 
which bundles (if brushwood hang down into the water. All these arrange- 
ments are intended to fix the oyster-dust, that annually escapes from the 
parental shells, and to afford it a vast, number of points, to which it may 
attach itself. After two or three years the microscopic larvae have grown 
into edible oysters. Then, at the proper season, the stakes and brushwood 
bundles are taken out of the water, and after the ripe berries of the marine 
vineyard have been plucked, again immersed into the lake, until a new gen- 
eration brings a new harvest. Thus the indolent Neapolitans give us, in this 
case, an example which the men of the north would do well to imitate; 
for on many of our coasts numerous localities are to be found where a simi- 
lar exhibition of industry might convert worthless lagoons and creeks into 
rich oyster-fields. 

Pearl Oyster and Pearl Fishing. — "A shell nearly related to the 
oyster produces the costly pearls of the East, that have ever been as highly 
esteemed as the diamond itself. The most renowned pearl fishery is carried 
on in the Bay of Condatehy, in the Island of Ceylon, on banks situated a 
few miles from the coast. Before the beginning of the fishery, the govern- 


merit causes the banks to be explored, and then lets them to the highest 
bidder, very wisely allowing only a part of them to be fished every year. 
The fishing begins in February, and ceases by the beginning of April. 
The boats employed for tills purpose assemble in the bay, set off at night 
at the firing of a signal gun, and reach the banks after sunrise, where fish- 
ing goes on till noon, when the sea-breeze, which arises about that time, 
warns them to return to the bay. As soon as they appear within sight, 
another gun is fired to inform the anxious owners of their return. Each 
boat carries twenty men and a chief; ten of them row and hoist up the 
divers, who arc let down by fives — and thus alternately diving and resting, 
keep their strength to the end of their day's work. The diver, when he is 
about to plunge, seizes with the toes of his right foot a rope, to which a 
stone is attached, to accelerate the descent, while the other foot grasps a 
bag of network. With his right hand he seizes another rope, closes his 
nostrils with the left, and in this manner rapidly reaches the bottom. He 
then hangs the net round his neck, and, with much dexterity and all possi- 
ble despatch, collects as many oysters as he can while he is able to remain 
under water, which is usually about two minutes. He then resumes his former 
position, makes a signal to those above by pulling the rope in his right hand, 
and is immediately by this means hauled up into the boat, leaving the stone 
to be pulled up afterwards by the rope attached to it. Accustomed from 
infancy to their work, these divers do not fear descending repeatedly to 
depths of fifty or sixty feet. They plunge more than fifty times in a morn- 
ing, and collect each time about a hundred shells. Sometimes, however, 
the exertion is so great, that, upon being brought into the boat, they dis- 
charge blood from their mouth, ears, and nostrils. 

" While the fishing goes on, a number of conjurers and priests are assem- 
bled on the coast, busily employed in protecting the divers by their incan- 
tations against the voracity of the sharks. These are the great terror of 
the divers, but they have such confidence in the skill or power of their con- 
jurers, that they neglect every other means of defence. 

" The divers are paid in money, or receive a part vt' the oyster-shells in 
payment. Often, indeed, they try to add to their gains by swallowing here 
or there a pearl, but the sly merchant knows how to find the stolen property. 

"The oysters, when safely landed, are piled up on mats, in places fenced 
round for the purpose. As soon as the animals are dead, the pearls can 
easily be sought for and extracted from the gaping shells. After the 
harvest has been gathered, the largest, thickest, and finest shells, which 
furnish mother-of-pearl, are sorted, and the remaining heap is left to pollute 
the air. Some poor Indians, however, often remain for weeks on the spot, 
stirring the putrid mass in the hopes of gleaning some forgotten pearls from 


the heap of rottenness. The pearls are drilled and strung in Ceylon — 
a work which is performed with admirable dexterity and quickness. For 
cleaning, rounding, and polishing them, a powder of ground pearls is made 
use of. 

" The Pacific also furnishes these costly ornaments to wealth and beauty ; 
but the pearls of California and Tahiti are less prized than those of the 
Indian Ocean. 

" Pearl-like excrescences likewise form on the inner surface of our oysters 
and mussels, and originate in the same manner as the true pearls. The 
formation of the pearl, however, is not yet quite satisfactorily accounted 
for. Some naturalists believe that the animal accumulates the pearl-like 
substance, to give the shell a greater thickness and solidity in the places 
where it lias been perforated by some annellide or gasteropod. According 
to Mr. Philippi, an intestinal worm stimulates the exudation of the pearl- 
like mass, which, on hardening, encloses and renders it harmless. 

" Brilliancy, size, and perfect regularity of form are the essential quali- 
ties of a beautiful pearl. Their union in a single specimen is rare, but it 
is of course still more difficult to find a number of pearls, of equal size and 
beauty, for a costly necklace or a princely tiara." 

Pecten. — The Clam. This valuable mollusk, in its numerous varieties, 
is too well known to need description. It ranks next to the oyster, and is 
everywhere highly prized as an article of food. The shores and creeks of 
all seas supply inexhaustible quantities of clams, which not only furnish the 
inhabitants with a cheap and nutritious aliment, but are extensively used an 
bait for cod and other fishes. The fresh-water varieties are not edible. 

Spondylus. — Like the oyster, these animals have a rough, foliated shell, 
which, however, is often armed with spines, and is usually beautifully col- 
ored, for which reason it is highly valued. The shells often sell at enormous 
prices, and ornament the cabinets of wealthy amateurs. "A Parisian pro- 
fessor once pawned all his silver spoons and forks to make up the sum of 
six thousand francs, which was asked for a royal Spondylus ; but on return- 
ing home, he was so warmly received by his lady, that, overwhelmed by the 
hurricane, he flung himself on a chair, when the terrific cracking of the 
box containing his treasure reminded him too late that he had concealed 
it in his skirt pocket. Fortunately but two of the thorns had been broken 
off, and the damage was susceptible of being repaired ; his despair, how- 
ever, was so great, that his wife had not the heart to continue her reproaches, 
and in her turn began to soothe the unfortunate collector." 

Mytilus. — The Mussels. These mollusks have a cloak open in front, 
but with a separate excremental aperture. They have a foot with which they 
progress, and fix their byssus. Some of the species are smooth, others are 


striated. One curious species, M. lithophagus, suspends itself to rocks, 
like the common mussel, and then perforating it, buries itself in the excava- 
tion, and is a prisoner for life. 

The common Mussel (ilf. edulis) is found on every coast in extraordi- 
nary abundance, and on the Eastern Continent is much used as food. The 
clam, however, is preferred in this country ; but the coast inhabitants of 
France, .Spain, and Great Britain consume enormous quantities of them, 
and immense numbers are carried into the interior of the country, furnish- 
ing an equally cheap and agreeable food ; but it is not easy of digestion, and 
sometimes produces symptoms of poisoning, which have been ascribed to the 
eggs of asterias, on which it feeds during the summer. In the more north- 
ern countries of Europe it is also in great request as a bait for end, ling, 
rays, and other large fishes that are caught by the line. Countless millions 
of mussels are used for this purpose, and in many places they are enclosed 
in gardens, the ground of which is covered with large stones, to which they 
attach themselves by their byssus or beard. 

"It is a curious fact that the rearing of mussels should have been intro- 
duced into France, as far back as the year 1235, by an Irishman of the 
name of Walton. This man, who had been shipwrecked in the Bay de 
l'Aiguillon, and gained a precarious living by catching sea-birds, observed 
that the mussels, which had attached themselves to the poles on which he 
spread his nets over the shallow waters, were far superior to those that natu- 
rally grow in the mud, and immediately made use of his discovery by 
founding the first bouchol, or mussel park, consisting of stakes and rudely- 
interwoven branches. 

"His example soon found imitators, and, strange to say, the method of 
construction adopted by Walton six centuries ago has been maintained 
unaltered to the present day. It may give sonic idea of the immense 
resources that might be obtained from so many utterly neglected lagoon-;, 
when we hear that the fishermen of l'Aiguillon, although they sell three 
hundred-weight of mussels for the very low sum of five francs, or four shil- 
lings, annually export or send them into the interior to the amount of a 
million or twelve hundred thousand francs." 

Tkidacna. — The animals of this genus have in the front of the shell a 
large aperture with denticulated margins ; for the protrusion of the byssus, 
which is distinctly tendinous and continuous with the muscular fibres, and 
in some of them these tendinous fibres, which suspend the animal to rocks, 
are so hard and tough, that an axe is required to separate them. 

T. Gigas. — This species is peculiar to the Indian Ocean, and is famous 
for its enormous size. The giant clam-shell, which is now to be found in 
the shop of every dealer in shells, was formerly an object of such rarity and 


value, that the Republic of Venice once made a present of one to Francis 
I., who gave it to the Church of St. Sulpice, in Paris, where it is still 
made use of as a basin for holy water. The Tridaena attains a diameter 
of five feet, and a weight of five hundred pounds, the flesh alone weighing 

The muscular power is said to be so great as to be able to cut through a 
thick rope on closing the shell. It is found in the dead rocks on the coral 
reefs, where there are no growing lithophytes, except small tufts. Gener- 
ally only an inch or two in breadth of the ponderous shell is exposed to 
view, for the Tridaena, like the Pholas, has the power of sinking itself in 
the rock by removing the lime about it. Without some means like this of 
security, its habitation would inevitably be destroyed by the roaring break- 
ers. A tuft of byssus, however strong, would lie a very imperfect security 
against the force of the sea for shells weighing; from one to five hundred 
pounds. It is found in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, as far as the 
coral /inic extends. The animal of t lie Tridaena, and of the nearly related 
Bear's-paw (Hippopus), distinguishes itself by the beauty of its colors. 
'Flic mantle of the Tridaena safranea, tor instance, has a dark-blue edge 
with emerald-green spots, gradually passing into a light violet. When a 
large number of these beautiful creatures expand the velvet brilliancy of 
their costly robes in the transparent waters, no flower-bed on earth can equal 
them in splendor. 

PliOLAS. — The Pholades have two principal valves, wide and ventricose, 
on the side of the mouth, narrowed and elongated on the opposite side, 
and leaving at each end a large oblique opening; the foot issues by the 
opening at the side of the mouth, which is the widest, and from the opposite 
end there come out the two tubes united in one, and capable of being ex- 
tended in every direction. 

The Pholades secrete a corrosive juice, capable of dissolving calcareous 
rocks. With the assistance of the secretion, and the action of its sharp- 
edged valves, the pholas forms a pear-shaped cavern, in which it is con- 
demned to pass its whole life. The thicker part of the body, consisting 
principally of the very short but strong foot, fills the broad base of the 
hollow, while the long siphon is turned towards the narrow opening, from 
which it may be protruded at pleasure. All the movements of the animal 
are confined to a rising or falling in its narrow prison. 

Most of these animals are small, but some species attain a length of 
live inches. The fragile shell of the pholades seems to have prompted 
them to seek a better protection in hard stone. They are, consequently, 
noxious animals ; they perforate the walls and calcareous jetties which 
man opposes to the sea, or raises for the creation of artificial harbors and 


landing-places, and destroy their foundations, gradually causing their 

They have an agreeable taste, and in some countries are much used for 

Tekedo. — The Teredines. This genus is celebrated for its power of 
destruction. By means of its small rhomboidal valves it excavates wood 
with great rapidity. It is not much over six inches in length, but in tropical 
countries there are species of a larger size. "Its shells, which are only a 
few lines broad, are very small compared with the size of the vermiform 
body, and are, therefore, completely inadequate for its defence. For better 
security, it bores deep passages in submerged timber, which it lines with a 
calcareous secretion, closing the opening with two small lids. Unfortu- 
nately, while thus taking care of itself, it causes considerable damage to 
the works of man. It is principally to guard against the attacks of this 
worm that ships are sheathed with copper, and the beams of submarine 
constructions closely studded with nails. During the last century, the 
Teredo caused such devastations in the dikes which guard a great part 
of Holland against the encroachments of an overwhelming ocean, that the 
Dutch began to tremble for their safety ; and thus a miserable worm struck 
terror in the hearts of a nation which had laughed to scorn the tyranny 
of Philip II., and bade defiance to the legions of the no less infamous 
Louis XIV." 

But while blaming the Teredo for its damages, justice bids us not pass 
over in silence the services which it renders to man. If it here and there 
destroys useful constructions, on the other hand, it removes the wrecks 
that would otherwise obstruct the entrance of rivers and harbors ; and we 
may ask whether these services do not outweigh the harm it causes. 


This is a small order, divided into two families. The first family — 
Sesrrefata — embraces those jrenera whose individuals are isolated, and 
without mutual organic connection, although they often live in societies. 
The most remarkable genus of this family is 

Salpa. — The Salpas "have the cloak and its cartilaginous envelope oval 
or cylindrical, and open at the two extremities. On the side of the anus 
the aperture is transverse, wide, and furnished witli a valve, which allows 
the water to enter, but prevents its egress; on the side of the mouth the 
aperture is simply tubular. Muscular bands embrace the cloak and con- 
tract the body. The animal moves by forcing out from the anterior aperture 


the water which lias entered the body by the posterior, so that its motion 
is always retrograde, whence it has happened that some naturalists have 
mistaken the posterior aperture for the real mouth. It also generally swims 
with the back undermost. The cloak and its envelope exhibit in the sun 
the colors of the rainbow, and arc so transparent that the whole structure 
of the animal can be seen through them : in many they are furnished with 
perforated tubercles. The animal has been seen to come out from its 
envelope without apparently any injury. But a more curious fact in their 
history is that, during a certain period, they remain united together, as they 
were in the ovary, and float in the sea in long chains, the individuals being 
disposed, however, in a pattern different in different species. M. deChamisso 
a.-snre- us that he has ascertained a still more singular fact, which is, that 
the individuals that have issued from a multiplicate ovary have not an ovary 
of the same kind, but produce only isolated individuals of a form considerably 
different from their originals ; and these, again, give birth to others with 
ovaries similar to the parents of the first, so that there is, alternately, a 
scanty generation of separated individuals, and a numerous generation 
of aggregated individuals, and these two alternating generations do not 
resemble each other. These animals arc found in abundance in the Medi- 
terranean and the wanner portions of the ocean, and are frequently 

The second family — Aggregata — of this order is composed of animals 
united in a common mass, so that they seem to communicate organically 
with each other. This union, however, does not take place in the early 
stages of their existence, but at a later period. 

Botrtllus. — The Botrylli have an oval form, adherent to various 
foreign bodies, and are united by tens or twenties, like the rays of a star. 
They form gelatinous crusts bespangled with stars on the leaves of alga\ 
Every star-ray is the body of one of the individuals of which the extraordi- 
nary colony is composed ; and in the centre lies the common intestinal 

Pykosoma. — The ryrosomai unite in great numbers, so as to form a 
large hollow cylinder, open at one end and closed at the other, which 
swims in the ocean by the alternate contraction and expansion of the 
individual animals composing it. They sparkle during the night with 
all the brilliancy of phosphorus. 

The two remaining classes of this division, — the Brachiopods, or arm- 
footers, and Cirrhopods, or beard-footers, have nothing interesting to 
offer, and we therefore pass them by without further notice. 


The Articulata have no internal skeleton, the articulated rings which 
surround the body, and usually the limbs, in some measure supplying its 
place. In the Annelides these rings arc nearly the sole means of locomo- 
tion, as they have merely a soft and membranous body. The term articu- 
lated signifies jointed, and the division embraces those animals, the various 
pieces of whose bodies are joined together by muscles or flexible membranes. 
Some of the families have a soft, membranous body, like the common 
earth-worm, and others have a hard, bony covering, like the lobster. There 
are four classes: 1st. The Annelides, or Red-blooded Worms; 2d. The 
Crustaceans, or Lobsters and Crabs; 3d. The Akaciinides, or Spiders; 
and 4th. Insecta, embracing more species than any other class of the ani- 
mal kingdom. 


The class of the Annelides, or annulatcd worms, to which also our com- 
mon earth-worm and the leech belong, peoples the seas with by far the greater 
number of its genera and species. All of them are distinguished by an 
elongated and generally worm-like form of body, susceptible of great exten- 
sion and contraction. The body consists of a series of rings, or segments, 
joined by a common elastic skin ; and each ring, with the exception of the 
first or foremost, which forms the head, and the last, which constitutes the 
tail, exactly resembles the others, only that the rings in the middle part of 
the body are larger than those at the extremities. The head is frequently 
provided with eyes, and more or less perfect feelers ; the mouth is armed, in 
many species, with strong jaws, or incisive teeth. The blood is red, and 
circulates in a system of arteries and veins. 

We are accustomed to associate with the idea of a worm all sorts of dis- 
gusting and revolting impressions ; and yet an examination of many of the 
Aquatic Annelides will show us that it is not without some reason that 
M. De Quatrefages remarks, — 

" Talk no more of the violet as the emblem of modesty. Look rather at 
our Annelides, that, possessed of every shining quality, hide themselves 
no. xvii. 84 («5) 


from our view, so that but few know of the secret wonders that are hidden 
under the tufts of algffi, or on the sandy bottom of the sea."' 

And if we look to outward appearance, we shall find that many of the 
marine Annelides may well be reckoned among the handsomest of crea- 
tures. They display the rainbow tints of the humming-birds, and the 
velvet, metallic brilliancy of the most lustrous beetles. The vagrant spe- 
cies that glide, serpent-like, through the crevices of the submarine rocks, 
or, half creeping, half swimming, conceal themselves in the sand or mud, 
are pre-eminently beautiful. The delighted naturalists have consequently 
given them the most flattering and charming names of Greek mythology — 
Nereis, Euphrosyne, Eunice, Alciope, &c. 

In the most of the wandering Annelides, cadi segment is provided with 
variously-formed appendages, more or less developed, serving for respira- 
tion and locomotion, or for aggression and defence ; while in some of the least 
pci feet, of the class, not a trace of an external organ is to be found over the 
whole body. Almost all of them, however, feed on a living prey, — Plana- 
rias and other minute creatures, — which they enclasp and transpierce with 
their formidable weapons. Some, lying in wait, dart upon their victims as 
they heedlessly swim by, seize them with their jaws, and stifle them in their 
deadly embrace : others, of a more lively nature, seek them among the 
thickets of corallines, millepores, and alga 1 , and arrest them quickly ere they 
can vanish in the sand. 

But the Annelides also are liable to many persecutions. The fishes arc 
perpetually at war with them ; and when an imprudent Annelide quits its hid- 
den lurking-place, or is uncovered by the motion of the waves, it may reckon 
itself fortunate, indeed, if it escapes the greedy teeth of an eel or a fiat- 
fish. It. is even affirmed of the latter, as it is of the whelks, that they know 
perfectly well how to dig the Annelides out of the sand. The sea-spiders, 
lobsters, and other Crustacea arc the more dangerous, as their hard shells 
render them perfectly invulnerable by the bristling weapons of the An- 


While the greater part of these worms lead a vagrant life, others, like 
secluded hermits, dwell in self-constructed retreats, which they never leave. 
Their cells, which they begin to form very soon after having left the egg, 
and which they afterwards continue extending and widening, according to 
the exigencies of their growth, generally consists of a hard, calcareous 
mass ; but sometimes they are leathery or parchment-like tubes, secreted by 
the skin of the animal, not, however, forming, as in the mollusks, an in- 



tegral part of the body, but remaining quite unconnected with it. Thus 
these tubicole Annelides spend their whole life within doors, only now and 
then peeping out of their prison with the front part of their head. 

As they lead so different a life from their roaming relations, their internal 
structure is very different. Thus we find here no bristling feet or lateral 
respiratory appendages ; but, instead of these organs, which in this ease 
would be completely useless, we find the head surmounted by a beauiful 
crown of feathery tentacula, which equally serve for breathing and the 
seizing of a passing prey. Completely closed at the inferior extremity, the 
tube shows us at its upper end a round opening, the only window through 
which our hermit can peep into the world, seize his food, and refresh his 
blood by exposing his floating branchiae to the vivifying influence of the 

"Do not, therefore, reproach him with vanity or curiosity if you see him 
so often protrude his magnificently decorated head ; but rejoice rather that 
this habit, to which necessity obliges him, gives you a better opportunity 
for closer observation. Place only a shell or .-tone, covered with serpulas or 
cymospiras, in a vessel filled with sea-water, and you will soon see how, 
in every tube, a small round cover is cautiously raised, which hitherto her- 
metically closed the entrance, and prevented you from prying into the 
interior. The door is open, and soon the inmate makes his appearance. 
You now perceive small buds, here dark violet or carmine, there blue 
or orange, or variously striped. See how they grow, and gradually expand 
their splendid boughs! They arc true (lowers that open before your eye, 
but (lowers much more perfect than those which adorn your garden, as they 
are endowed with voluntary motion and animal lite. 

"At the least shock, at the least vibration of the water, the splendid tufts 
contract, vanish with the rapidity of lightning, and hide themselves in their 
stony dwellings, where, under cover of the protecting lid, they bid defiance 
to their enemies." 

Not all the tubicole Annelides form grottos or houses of so complete a 
structure as those I have just described. Many content themselves with 
agglutinating sand or small shell fragments into the form of cylindrical 
tubes. But even in these inferior architectural labors of the Sabellas, 
Terebellas, Amphitrites, &c, we find an astonishing regularity and art; 
for these elegant little tubes, which we may often pick up on the strand, 
where they lie mixed with the shells and alga 1 cast out by the flood, consist 
of particles of almost equal size, so artistically glued together, that the 
delicate walls have everywhere an equal thickness. The form is cylindrical, 
or funnel-shaped, the tube gradually widening from the lower to the up- 
per end. 


Some of these tubieoles live like solitary hermits, others love company ; 
for instance, the Sabella alveolaris, which often covers wide surfaces of 
rock near low-water mark witli its aggregated tubes. When the flood 
recedes, nothing is seen but the closed orifices ; but when covered with the 
rising waters, the sandy surface transforms itself into a beautiful picture. 
From each aperture stretches forth a neck ornamented with concentric rings 
of golden hair, and terminating in a head embellished with a tiara of deli- 
cately-feathered, rainbow-tinted tentacula. The whole looks like a garden- 
bed enamelled with gay flowers of elegant forms and variegated colors. 

The principal genera arc Seubula, Sabella, Tehebella, Amphitrite,, and Dentaliuji. 


This order comprises those Annelides which have their gills distributed 
throughout the whole length of the body. It is divided into twenty-four 
genera. These are, for the most part, creatures of wonderful structure; 
and as our space will not allow us to refer to them all, we will introduce 
two of the groups which, we think, will serve best to represent the whole. 

Genus Eunice. — These animals arc furnished with tuft-like "ills, and 
the trunk is strongly armed with three pairs of horny jaws, while each of 
their feet has two cirrhi and a bundle of bristles. 

With the idea of worms we generally connect the notion of incomplete- 
ness ; we are apt to consider them as beings equally uninteresting and ugly, 
and disdain to inquire into the wonders of their organization. But a cursory 
examination of the Eunice gigantea, a worm about two and a half feet 
long, and frequently occurring on our coasts, would alone suffice to give us 
a very different opinion of these despised, but far from despicable creatures. 
The whole body is divided into segments scarce a line and a half long, and 
ten or twelve lines broad, and thus consists of about three hundred rings, 
a brain, and three hundred ganglions, from which about three thousand 
nervous branches proceed, regulate the movements, sensations, and vegeta- 
tive functions of a Eunice. Two hundred and eighty stomachs digest its 
fooil; fir, hundred and fifty branchice refresh its blood; six hundred 
hearts distribute this vital fluid throughout the whole body, and thirty 
thousand muscles obey the will of tin- worm, and execute its snake-like 
movt ments. Surely an astonishing profusion of organs ! 

IIalitiiea. — This animal has three leaflets in its branchiae, between two 
of which is a very small crest: it has no jaws. There is one species — 
Aphiodita aculeata, Linn. — quite common, which is among the most beau- 


tifully colored of animals. "Its form is oval, six or eight inches long, and 
two or three broad. The scales of its back are covered and concealed by a 
substance resembling tow, which originates at its sides : the latter have also 
groups of stout spines, which partly pierce the tongue, together with 
bundles of flexible bristles, as brilliant as gold, and changeable to every hue 
of the rainbow. The colors they present are surpassed in beauty neither by 
the scale-like feathers of the humming-bird, nor by the most brilliant gems. 
Below them is a tubercle bearing three groups of spines, of three different 
thicknesses, and finally a fleshy cover. There are forty of these tubercles 
on each side, and between the two first are two little fleshy tentacles ; be- 
sides which there aVe fifteen pairs of broad scales, which are sometimes 
bulged upon the back, and fifteen small branchial crests on each side. 

"The animals of this group, which greatly resemble, in form, the Ea- 
phrosine laureata, are well known under the name of Sea Mice, and are 
often thrown upon the beach after a gale of wind. In some species the 
lateral seta? exhibit a beautiful structure, admirably fitting them for weapons 
of defence, being barbed on each side at the tip ; but, in order to prevent 
the injury which might occur to the animal in consequence of the power it 
possesses of retracting these seta}, each is enclosed in a smooth, horny sheath, 
composed of two blades." 


These Annelides have no respiratory organs appearing externally, and 
seem to breathe either, as in the earth-worms, over the whole surface of the 
skin, or, as in the leeches, by internal cavities. Some have bristles, which 
serve for locomotion, and others are not thus furnished ; and from this 
peculiarity they are divided into two families — the Bristled and the Uh- 

First Family. — -This comprises the Earth-worms, or Nereides of Lin- 
nscus ; they are provided with silky bristles, have a long, cylindrical body 
divided by transverse furrows into a great number of rings, and a mouth 
without teeth. The genus 

Lumericus may be regarded as a fair representative of the whole family. 
L. terrestris, the common Earth-worm, is a well-known species, which 
often attains to quite a foot in length, with one hundred and twenty rings. 
There are two pores under the sixteenth ring, the purpose of which has not 
been discovered. It mines the ground in all directions, piercing it with 
great ease, in search of the roots and animals on which it subsists. In the 
month of June it seeks the upper world at night, and searches for a com- 


panion. "It is especially in rich and well-manured soils that the Earth- 
worm delights, particularly in gardens and meadows; they arc extremely 
sensitive to movements of the earth; and anglers, knowing well their 
temerity in this respect, take advantage of it, in order to obtain a supply of 
these animals for baits, by introducing a spade or fork into the ground, and 
Stirling the soil, when they soon appear on the surface. AVe are indebted 
to Charles Darwin, Esq., tor a remarkable and interesting memoir on the 
utility of this animal, read before the Geological Society of London. The 
worm casts, which so much annoy the gardener by deforming his smooth- 
shaven lawns, are of no small importance to the agriculturist; and this 
despised creature is not only of great service in loosening the earth, and 
rendering it permeable by air and water, but is also a most active and pow- 
erful agent in adding to llt<: depth of the soil, and in covering compara- 
tively barren tracts with a superficial layer of wholesome "mould. The 
author's attention was directed by Mr. Wedgwood, of Maer Hall, Stafford- 
shire, to several fields, sonic of winch had, a few years before, been covered 
with lime, and others with burnt marl and cinders, which substances in 
ever) case are now buried to the depth of some inches below the turf, just 
as if, as the farmers believe, the particles had worked themselves down. 
After showing the impossibility of this supposed operation, the author affirms 
that the whole is due to (lie digestive process by which the common Earth- 
worm is supported, since, on carefully examining between the blades of 
grass iu the iields above mentioned, he found that there was scarcely a space 
ol two inches square without a little heap of the cylindrical castings of 
worms ; it being well known that worms swallow earthy matter, and that, 
having separated the serviceable portion, they eject at the mouth of their 
burrows the remainder in liltle intestine-shaped heaps. Still more recently 
Mr. Darwin lias noticed a more remarkable instance of this kind, in which, 
in tin; course of eighty years, the Earth-worms had covered a field, then 
manured with marl, with a bed of earth, averaging thirteen inches in 

Second Family. — This comprises the unbristled or smooth animals. 
There are two genera, and numerous species, all which are aquatic. 

IIiKUDO. — The Leeches have an oblong body, .sometimes depressed and 
wrinkled transversely, the mouth encircled by a lip, and the posterior 
extremity furnished with a flattened disk, both ends being adapted to fix 
upon bodies by a kind of suction, by means of which these animals move; 
for, having fixed their anterior extremity, they draw the other up to it, and 
fix that, and then re-advance the first; besides which, they swim with 
facility. Several have a double series of pores underneath the body, which 
are the orifices of little internal pouches, considered by some naturalists as 


organs of respiration, although they are generally filled with a mucous fluid. 
The intestinal canal is straight anil swollen at intervals, extending for two 
thirds the length of the bod} - , where there are true cceca. The blood they 
swallow continues red, and without alteration for several weeks. The gan- 
glia of their nervous system are much more separated than those of the 
earth-worms. They are hermaphrodite; and several accumulate their eggs 
into cocoons enveloped by a fibrous excretion. 

On opening the Leech shortly after it has gorged itself with the blond of 
its prey, it will be found that nunc of the blood has passed into the intes- 
tines. The operation of digestion is extremely slow, notwithstanding the 
rapid and excessive manner in which the Leech fills its stomach : a single 
meal of blood will suffice for many months; nay, more than a year will 
sometimes elapse before the blood has passed through the intestines in the 
ordinary manner, during all which period so much of the blood as remains 
undigested in the stomach continues in a fluid state, and as if just taken 
in, notwithstanding the vast difference in the heat of the body of a inam- 
miferous animal and that of a Leech. 

From differences discovered in the organization of the mouth, several 
subgenera have been established, of which the following deserve a brief 
notice : — 

Sanguisuga. — This is the Leech (//. medicinalis, Linn.) so well 
known in pharmacy as an instrument for local blood-letting. 

Gokdius. — The hair-worms so often seen floating in the water belong 
to this group, and also the great Band-worm (JVeme7*tes gigas) — a very 
singular animal, which has many of the characteristics of the Entozoa. It is 
from thirty to forty feet long, about half an inch broad, flat like a ribbon, 
of brown or violet color, and smooth and shining like lackered leather. 
Among the loose stones, or in the hollows of the rocks, where it principally 
lives on Anomiae, — minute shells that attach themselves to submarine 
bodies, — this giant worm forms a thousand seemingly inextricable knots, 
which it is continually unravelling and tying. When, after having devoured 
all the food within its reach, or from other cause, it desires to shift its 
quarters, it stretches out a long, dark-colored ribbon, surmounted by a head 
like that of a snake, but without its wide mouth or dangerous fangs. The 
eye of the observer sees no contraction of the muscles, no apparent cause 
or instrument of locomotion ; but the microscope teaches us that the Xe- 
mertes glides along by help of the minute vibratory cilia' with which its 
whole body is covered. It hesitates, it tries here and there, until at last, 
and often at a distance of fifteen or twenty feet, it finds a stone to its taste ; 
whereupon it slowly unrolls its length to convey itself to its new resting- 
place ; and while the entangled folds are unravelling themselves at one end, 


they form a new Gordian knot at tlie other. All the organs of this worm 
are uncommonly simplified ; the mouth is a scarce visible circular opening, 
and the intestinal canal ends in a blind sac. 


This large class is divided by modern naturalists into two families — the 
Malacostraca and Entomostraca. The first is distinguished by a solid, 
ealcai-eous covering; ten or fourteen legs, with hooked tips; mouth placed 
in the ordinary situation ; eyes, in most species, supported on a movable 
foot-stock, articulated at its base ; and branchial or gills, which are hidden 
beneath the lateral margins of the shell ; in some, however, they arc placed 
beneath the abdomen. This section is separated into five orders, founded 
mi differences in the situation and character of the feet, viz., 1. Decapoda; 
'J. Stomapoda; •'>. Lcemodipoda ; 4. Amphipoda, and, 5. Isopoda. 

The second section (Entomostraca) comprises the genus Monoculus of 
Linnreus, or the Shell-insects of Muller. "The envelope is corneous, very 
slender, and the body in the majority is covered by a shell, composed of two 
pieces, not unlike that of the bivalve Mollusca. The eyes are ordinarily 
sessile, and often there is but one of these organs. The legs, of which the 
number varies, are, in the majority, fitted only for swimming, without any 
terminal honk. Some of them arc most nearly allied to the preceding 
"roups by having the mouth anteriorly situated, and composed of a labrum, 
tu«> mandibles (rarely palpigerous) , a tongue, and at most two pair of max- 
illa", the outer ones not being covered by foot-jaws. In the others, which 
appear to approach the Arachnida in many respects, the organs of mastica- 
tion sometimes merely consist of the coxa^ of the legs, advanced and lobe- 
like, armed with numerous small spines, and surrounding a large central 
pharynx ; whilst in others they form a small siphon or beak, used as a sucker, 
as in many Arachnida and insects; and even sometimes they are not, or 
scarcely, visible on the exterior of the body, the siphon itself being either 
internal, or the action of suction being performed by a kind of sucking-cup." 

The Crustacea — lobsters, crabs, shrimps — were reckoned by Linnaeus, 
along with the centipedes and spiders, among insects ; but they differ so much 
from them all, and are so important from their great numbers, that modern 
naturalists have raised them to the dignity of a separate class. They have, 
indeed, in common with insects, an annular type of body, covered more or 
less with a hard crust: are, like them, provided with tentacula or feelers, 
and similarly-formed organs of mastication ; but insects breathe atmospheric 
air through lateral pores and tracheae, while the Crustaceans, with the 


exception of the land Onisci, respire in the water. The perfect insect 
undergoes no further change; the Crustacean, on the contrary, increases in 
size with every successive year. The Crustacean possesses a heart, which 
propels the blood after it has been aerated in the gills ; in the insect the 
circulation of the blood is by no means so highly organized. Xo insect has 
more than six legs, no Crustacean less than ten. 

The centipedes respire air like the insects, and are distinguished by their 
elongated form of body, and the great number of their legs, far surpassing, 
in this respect, the most richly-endowed Crustacean. 

Spiders, and particularly scorpions, have undoubtedly the greatest out- 
ward resemblance to the Crustaceans; but all spiders have only eight legs, 
and are generally provided with eight eyes ; while the Crustaceans have 
only two of these organs of vision, which, in the higher species, are gen- 
erally fixed on stalks. The claws of the crab or lobster are properly fire 
feet, and serve for creeping, or the seizure of prey ; while the claws of the 
scorpion are nothing but peculiarly-formed feelers, which do not in the least 
contribute to locomotion. Besides, the scorpion inhabits the dry land, while 
the Crustacea, with the exception of a few species that dwell in humid places, 
inhabit brooks and rivers, but principally the ocean, where their legions are 
found along the coasts, or people, far from any land, the deserts of the 
high seas. 

The respiratory apparatus of the Crustaceans exhibits many interesting 
particulars. In some of the lower orders it is seated in the legs, whose 
extremely thin and delicate teguments allow the complete aeration of the 
blood. To move and to breathe are with these nimble animals one and the 
same thin 11- . In others the branchiae appear in the form of floating feathery 
plumes, or as membranous vesicles attached to the basis of the fore feet. 
In the most developed Crustaceans, finally, the crabs and lobsters, they arc 
enclosed in two chambers, situated one at each side of the under surface of 
the carapace, or broad, shelly plate, which covers the back of the animal. 
Each of these chambers is provided with two openings, one in the front, 
near the jaws, the other behind. In the long-tailed species, the posterior 
opening is a wide slit at the basis of the feet ; in the short-tailed kinds, a 
small, transverse aperture before the first pair of feet. By means of this 
formation the short-tailed crabs, like those fishes that are provided with a 
narrow opening to their gill-covers, are enabled to exist much longer out of 
the water than the long-tailed lobsters. Some of them even spend most 
of their time on land, and, still better to adapt them for a terrestrial life, 
the internal surfaces of the branchial caverns are lined with a spongy tex- 
ture, and the gill-branches separated from each other by hard partitions, so 
no. xvii. 85 


as to prevent tlicm from collapsing after a long penury of water, and thus 
completely stopping the circulation. 

While in fishes the water that serves for respiration flows from the front 
backward, so as not to impede their motions, the stream of water traversing 
the gill of the Crustaceans is made to flow from behind forward, and thus 
harmonizes perfectly with their retrograde movements. So wonderfully has 
the anatomical structure of these animals, like that of all other living things, 
been suited to their peculiar mode of life. 

All Crustaceans, however different their external aspect may be, are 
formed according to the same plan or fundamental idea. Among the lower 
orders the body consists of a number of almost equal-sized rings, each 
furnished with a pair of crawling or swimming legs. But as we ascend in 
the scale, we find the rings coalescing more or less to larger pieces, particu- 
larly in the crabs, whose broad, chalky carapace indicates its compound 
nature only by the number of pairs of logs which rise from its lower 

OKDEE I. DECAPODA (Ten-footed). 

The animals of this order have a shell or covering, which envelops the 
body, limbs, and head, the latter of which is fixed compactly to the thorax. 
They are slow of growth, and of long life. Some of the species attain the 
length of a loot. "Their claws, as is well known, are extremely powerful. 
They ordinarily reside in the water, but are not immediately killed by being 
removed into the air: indeed, some species pass a considerable part of their 
existence out of the water, which they only seek in order to deposit their 
eggs in it. They arc, nevertheless, compelled to reside in damp situations 
and burrows. They are naturally voracious and carnivorous: some species, 
indeed, are said to frequent the cemeteries in order to feed upon dead bodies. 
Their limbs are renewed, when injured, with great quickness ; but it is neces- 
sary that the fracture should have been made at the junction of the joints : 
they, however, have the instinct to effect this if the wound has been of a 
different nature. When desirous to change their skins, they seek for some 
retired spot, where they may be at rest and secure from their enemies. The 
moulting then takes place, the. body being at first soft and of a delicate 
flavor, as in the case of the Black Crab of the West Indies, which is kept 
in cages expressly for the table. The chemical analysis of the old shell 
proves that it is formed of carbonate of lime and phosphate of lime in differ- 
ent proportions. By the action of the heat the epidermis assumes a bright- 
red color, the coloring principle being decomposed by the action of boiling 


The order is divided into two families — Brachyura (Short Tails), and 
Mar, ■mi (Long Tails). The first comprises the genus 

Cancer. — The Crabs. The distinguishing characteristics of the genus 
are, the tail shorter than the thorax, triangular in the male, and rounded in 
the female; small antennas ; the peduncles of the eyes larger than in the 
second family ; and branchiae arranged in a single row in pyramidal plates, 
composed of a great number of minute leaflets spread one upon the other. 

Crabs are completely wanting in the high northern seas; their number 
increases with the warmer temperature of the waters, and attains its maxi- 
mum in the tropical zone. Here we find the most remarkable and various 
forms; here they attain a size unknown in our seas; and here they do not, 
as with us, inhabit solely the salt waters, but also people the brooks and 
rivers, or even constantly sojourn on land ; as, for instance, the Thelphusas 
and Gecarcini. There are even some species of land crabs that suffocate 
when dipped into water. They breathe, indeed, through branchise, but the 
small quantity of oxygen dissolved in water does not suffice for the wants 
of their active respiration. They generally live in the shades of the damp 
forests, often at a great distance from the sea, concealing themselves in holes. 
At breeding-time they generally seek the shore for the purpose of washing 
otf their spawn, and depositing it in the sand ; and no obstruction will then 
make them deviate from the straight path. 

They feed on vegetable substances, and are reckoned very excellent food. 
When taken, they will seize the person's linger with their claw, and en- 
deavor to escape, leaving the claw behind, which, for some time after it 
has been separated from the body, continues to give the finger a friendly 
squeeze. In the dusk of the evening they quit their holes, and may then 
be seen running about with great swiftness. 

('. Pagurus. — This is the common edible crab. It lias a very broad 
shell, and arched for a great distance along the sides; the claws are large, 
and the fingers are black, armed with obtuse points. It is captured by 
sinking pots or baskets, properly prepared and baited, to a considerable 
depth in the ocean along the rocky coast. It is the most abundant in the 
summer. At low tide these crabs are found among the rocks in pairs, and 
if the male be taken away, another will be found in its [dace at the next 
recess of the tide. In winter they either burrow in the sand or withdraw to 
deeper waters. 

PoktunaS. — The Portuni have the ordinary crab-like form, but the ocu- 
lar peduncles are very short, and the terminal joint of the hind legs is much 
narrower than in the Paguri. They are abundant in the Venetian lagoons, 
and the catching of them affords a profitable employment to the inhabitants 
of those swampy regions. Whole cargoes are sent to Istria, where they are 


used for bait for anchovies. The fishermen gather them in a short time be- 
fore they cast their shell, and preserve them in baskets until the moulting 
process has been effected, when they are reckoned a delicacy even on the 
best tables. On attempting to seize this crab, it runs rapidly sidewise, and 
conceals itself in the mud; but when unsuccessful, it raises itself with a men- 
acing mien, beats its claws noisily together, as if in defiance of the enemy, 
and prepares for a valiant defence, like a true knight. 

The legs of the crabs are very differently formed in various species. In 
those which have been called sea-spiders they are very long, thin, and weak, 
so that the animal swims badly, and is a slow and uncertain pedestrian. 
For greater security, it therefore generally seeks a greater depth, where, 
concealed among the sea-weeds, it wages war with annelides, planaries, and 
small mollusks. Sea-spiders arc often found on the oyster banks, and con- 
sidered injurious by the fishermen, who unmercifully destroy them whenever 
they get hold of them. 

In other species the legs are short, muscular, and powerful, so as rapidly 
to cany along the comparatively light body. The tropical land-crabs and 
the genera ocypoda and grapsus, which form the link between the former 
and the real sea-crabs, are particularly distinguished in this respect. 

The rider or racer (Ocypoda cursor^, which is found on the coasts of 
Syria and Barbary, and abounds at Cape de Verde, owes its name to its 
swiftness, which is such that even a man on horseback is said not to be able 
to overtake it. The West Indian ocypodas dig holes three or four feet deep, 
immediately above high-water mark, and leave them after dusk. Towards 
the end of October they retire farther inland, and bury themselves for the 
winter in similar holes, the openings of which they carefully conceal. 

A strange peculiarity of many crabs is the quantity of parasites they carry 
along with them on their backs. Many marine productions, both of a vegetable 
and animal nature, have their birth and grow to beauty on the shell of the 
sea-spider. Corallines, sponges, zoophytes, algse, may thus be found, and 
balani occasionally cover the entire upper surface of the body of the crab. 
"All the examples of the Liachus Dorsettensis which I have taken," says 
the distinguished naturalist Mr. AY. Thomson, of Belfast, "were invested 
with sponge, which generally covers over the body, arms, and legs; alga' 
and zoophytes likewise spring from it." In this extraneous matter some of 
i lie smaller zoophytes find shelter, and, together with the other objects, ren- 
der the capture of the Inachus Dorsettensis interesting far beyond its own 
acquisition. In Mr. Hyndman's collection there is a sea-spider carrying on 
its back an oyster larger than itself, and covered besides with numerous 

Thelphusa. — The Thelphusa? have the ocular peduncles longer than 

Plate XXI. 

Piece of Maeriotfa fishe 

• - 


-r + 1 SPONGES. 

:1 llj> If 


iin SO fathoms ilr|iili in tin' neighbourhood of Calle 

7 T H ( C I 1) I A M L D I T r. B B A IJ E A 

•' IKTON', 3AMUKI. WALKER & ('( I 


the lateral antennas. The shell is nearly of a cordate truncate form. There 
are several species of this genus which reside in fresh water, but being able 
to exist for a considerable time out of their native element ; one noticed by 
the ancients occurs in the south of Europe ; it is the (Jancer faivialilis 
{ Belon. ) . It is often represented upon the ancient Greek medals. The Greek 
monks eat it uncooked, and it forms a common article of food in Italy during 
Lent. Delalande and De Latour discovered two other species, one in the 
south of Africa, and the other in the mountains of Ceylon. There is another 
species, Thelphusa cunicularis, discovered by Colonel Sykes, in the ghauts 
of the Deccan, where it occurs in great abundance, and of which Bishop 
Heber thus speaks in his Journal : "All the grass through the Deccan gen- 
erally swarms with a small land-crab, which burrows in the ground, and 
runs with considerable swiftness, even when encumbered with a bundle of 
food as big as itself: this food is grass, or the green stalks of rice : and it is 
amusing to see the crabs sitting, as it were, upright, to cut their hay with 
their sharp pincers, and then waddling off with their sheaf to their holes as 
quickly as their sidelong pace will carry them." Colonel Sykes found them 
on the table-lands at an elevation of nearly four thousand feet above the sea ; 
and as they are met witli of all sizes, he believes that their productive pro- 
cess is completed without the crab having to undertake any annual journey 
to the sea, their migrations having never been noticed. To this section also 
belong other species of laud-crabs, composing the genera Gelasimus ocij- 
puda and mictyris. The first of these genera has the carapax solid, and nearly 
quadrilateral, but rather broader in front; one of the claws is generally 
much longer than the other, the fingers of the smaller claws being spoon- 
shaped. The animal closes the mouth of its burrow, which it makes near 
the shore, with its larger claw. These burrows are cylindrical, oblique, and 
very deep, each having a single inhabitant. It is the habit of this crab to 
hold up the large claw in the front of the body, as though beckoning to some 
one ; whence they have obtained the name of Calling Crabs. The species 
of Ocypoda has the eyes extended along the greater length of the foot- 
stalks. Their claws are also unequal, but not to the same extent as in the 
Gelasimi. During the day they sit in their burrows, venturing forth only 
after sunset. The type Cancer cursor (Linn.) inhabits Syria and Northern 
Alrica. Other species of land-crabs are of a truncate cordate form, with 
the shell rounded and dilated at the sides. They inhabit tropical climates, 
and are called by the inhabitants painted crabs, land crabs, violet crabs, 
&c, which names seem to be applied indiscriminately. There are few 
travellers who have not mentioned their habits, often mixing up much 
fiction in their accounts. They pass the greater part of their lives in 
the earth, hiding themselves by day and coming abroad only at night. 


Sometimes they frequent cemeteries. Once ;i year, as the period for 
depositing their eggs draws near, they assemble in numerous companies, 
and, following the must direct line, seek the coast without permitting any 
obstacle to intercept them in their way. After laying their eggs in the 
water, they return, greatly enfeebled. It is said that they close the month 
of their burrows at the period of moulting; after which operation, and 
whilst still soft, they are reckoned a great delicacy. 

Another interesting group constitutes the genus Pinnotheres (Latr. ). 
These are of very small size, of which there are several species, named 
pea-crabs, and which reside, during a portion of the year at least, inside 
various bivalve shells, such as mussels, &c. The earapax of the females is 
suborbicular, very thin and soft, whilst that of the males is firmer and 
nearly globular, and rather pointed in front ; the legs arc of moderate length, 
and the claws of the ordinary form ; the tail of the female is very ample, 
and covers the whole of the under side of the body. The ancients believed 
that the pea-crabs lived upon the best terms with the inhabitants of the 
shells in which they were found, and that they not only warned them of 
danger, lint went abroad to cater for them. 

Second Family of Decapoda, Macruea. — In the genera composing 
this family, the tail and antenna' are much longer than in the former, and 
the shell is narrower and more elongate. With few exceptions the Macrura 
are all marine animals, and never quit the water. 

Birgus. — This genus appears to be a connecting link between the short 
and long tailed crabs. On account of their large size, the solidity of their 
integuments, and the form of the tail, these crabs are not able to lodge in 
shells, but must retire to crevices in the rocks, or hide themselves in burrows 
in the earth. 

B. (_'<ih-u. — This species is of a large size, and inhabits the Isle of France, 
where it is called the Purse Crab. It is said to climb the palm-trees for the 
sake of detaching the heavy nuts ; but Mr. Darwin, who attentively observed 
the animal on the Keeling Islands, tells us that it merely lives upon those that 
spontaneously fall from the tree. To extract its nourishment from the hard 
case, it shows an ingenuity which is one of the most wonderful instances of 
animal instinct. It must first of all be remarked, that its front pair of legs is 
terminated by very strong and heavy pincers, the last pair by others narrow 
and weak. After having selected a nut fit for its dinner, the crab begins its 
operations by tearing the husk, fibre by fibre, from that end under which 
the three eye holes are situated ; it then hammers upon one of them with its 
heavy claws until an opening is made. Hereupon it turns round, and, by 
the aid of its posterior pincers, extracts the white, albuminous substance. 
It inhabits deep burrows, where it accumulates surprising quantities of 


picked fibres of cocoa-nut husks, on which it rests as on a bed. Its habits 
■are diurnal ; but every night it is said to pay a visit to the sea, no doubt for 
the purpose of moistening its branchiae. It is very good to eat, living as it 
does "u choice vegetable substances ; and the great mass of fat accumulated 
under the tail of the larger ones sometimes yields, when melted, as much 
as a quart of limpid oil. 

PaGURUS. — The Hermit Crabs. The Pagurians have the four hind 
legs much smaller than the preceding. The tail is long, soft, and narrowed 
at the tip. As Nature has provided them with no sufficient covering or 
protection, they have "to look about them for some shelter; and this is af- 
forded them by several conchiform shells, buccina, neritce, in which they 
so tenaciously insert their hooked tails, as if both were grown together. So 
Ion- as they are young and feeble, they content themselves with such shells 
as they find empty on the strand ; but when grown to maturity, they attack 
living specimens, seize with their sharp claws the snail, ere it can withdraw 
into its shell, and, after devouring its flesh, creep, without ceremony, into 
the conquered dwelling, which fits them like a coat when they take a walk, 
and the mouth of which they close, when at rest, with their largest forceps, 
in the same manner as the original possessor used his operculum or lid. 
How remarkable that an animal should thus find in another creature, belong- 
ing to a totally different class, the completion, as it were, of its being, and 
be indebted to it for the protecting cover which its own skin is unable to 
secrete ! 

" When the dwelling of the Pagurus becomes inconveniently narrow, the 
remedy is easy, for appropriate sea-shells abound wherever hermit crabs 
exist. They are found on almost every coast, and every new scientific 
voyage makes us acquainted with new species. According to Quoy and 
Gaimard, they are particularly numerous at the Ladrones, New Guinea, 
and Timor. The strand of the small Island of Kewa, in Coupang Bay, was 
entirely covered with them. In the heat of the day they seek the shade of 
the bushes ; but as soon as the cool of evening approaches, they come forth 
by thousands. Although they make all large, snail-houses answer their 
purposes, they seem in this locality to prefer the large Sea Xerites." 

The manoeuvres of several species, when they have outgrown their habi- 
tation, are quite ludicrous. Crawling slowly along the line of empty shells 
thrown up by the last wave, and unwilling to part with their now incom- 
modious domicile until another is obtained, they carefully examine, one by 
one, the shells that lie in their way, slipping their tails out of the old bouse 
into the new one, and again betaking themselves to the old one, should not 
this fit. In this manner they proceed until they have found a home to 
their liking. 


Astacus. — This genus is distinguished by having the lateral plates of the 
swimmerets broad and rounded at the extremity. The two filaments of the 
intermediate antenna 1 are longer than their peduncles. 

A. Marinus. — The Lobster. This valuable crustacean, which is cele- 
brated everywhere for the delicacy of its flesh, is, in this country, an article 
of extensive trade. Many millions are taken annually along our coasts, and 
distributed by railroad, packed in ice, through all the States. Like the 
edible nab. it is taken in pots, baskets, or nets. 

The lobster breeds in the summer months, depositing many thousands of 
e<rgs in the sand, and leaving them there to be hatched by the sun. l>ut 
few, as may easily be imagined, live to attain a size befitting them to appear 
in red livery on our tallies. Like all crustaceans, the lobster casts its shell 
annually, and with such perfection, that the discarded garment, with all its 
feet and feelers, perfectly resembles the living animal. The process is 
curious enough to deserve a few lines of description. When, towards 
autumn, the time of casting the shell approaches, the lobster retires to a 
silent nook, like a pious hermit to his cell, and fasts several days. The 
shell thus detaches itself gradually from the emaciated body, and a new and 
tender cuticle forms underneath. 

The eld dress seems now, however, to plague the lobster very much, to 
judge by the efforts he makes to sever all remaining connection with it. 
Soon the harness splits right through the back, like the cleft bark of a tree, 
or a ripe seed-husk, and opens a wide gate to liberty. After much tugging 
and wriggling, the legs, tail, and claws gradually follow the body. The 
claws give the lobster most trouble; but he is well aware that perseverance 
generally wins the day, and never ceases till the elastic mass, which can be 
drawn out like india-rubber, and instantly resumes its ordinary shape, has 
been forced through the narrow passage. It can easily be supposed that, 
after such a violent struggle for freedom, the lobster is not a little exhausted. 
Feeling his weakness, and the very insufficient protection afforded him by 
his soft covering, he bashfully retires from all society until his hardened 
case allows him to mix again with his friends on terms of equality, for he 
well knows how inclined they are to bite and devour a softer brother. 

In the seventh and last order of the class Crustacea is placed a curious 
group of animals forming the genus 

Limulus. — King Crabs, or Crabs of the Moluccas. These animals have 
twenty-four legs; the ten anterior, with the exception of the two anterior 
in the males, are terminated by a two-fingered claw, and inserted, as well 
as the two following, beneath a large semilunar shield; the latter are in the 
form of large leaves, as well as the ten following, which are branchial, and 
annexed to the under side of a second, which is terminated by a horny, 


movable style like a sword. One species, L. Polyphemus, is often found 
near our coasts ; and we have frequently seen numerous specimens, after a 
storm, strewn lifeless along our shores. It is from one to two feet in 

As the other orders of this class contain nothing of peculiar interest, we 
close our observations on the Crustaceans with a few general remarks. 

The facility with which the Crustacea cast off their legs, and even their 
heavy claws, when they have been wounded in one of these organs, or 
alarmed at thunder, is most remarkable. Without the least appearance 
of pain, they then continue to run along upon their remaining legs. After 
a time a new limb grows out of the old stump, but never attains the size 
of the original limb. 

The wonderful metamorphoses of the insects are universally known, but 
the changes which the young crabs have to undergo ere they assume their 
definitive form are no less astonishing. We are indebted to Mr. Vaughan 
Thompson for the first discovery of the metamorphoses of the Common 
Crab ; and since then the evolutions of many other Crustaceans have been 
observed by other naturalists, so that most likely all the more perfect Crus- 
taceans undergo analogous changes. 

Before Mr. Thompson's observations, the small creatures, which he proved 
to be young oralis, were considered as belonging to a distinct genus, called 
Zoca. " On creeping out of the egg, these larva?, look very strange indeed. 
Fancy a preposterously large helmet-shaped head, ending behind in a long- 
point, and furnished in front with two monstrous sessile eyes, like the win- 
dows of a lantern. By means of a long, articulated tail, the restless chi- 
mera continually turns, so to speak, 'head over heels.' Claws are wanting; 
while the old crabs have eight legs, the young have only four, armed at the 
extremity with four long bristles, that are continually pushing food towards 
the ciliated and ever active mouth. Who could imagine that a creature like 
this should ever change into a crab, with which it has not the least resem- 
blance? But time does wonders. Immediately after the first casting of the 
skin, the body makes an approach to its future permanent form ; the eyes 
are raised on stalks ; the claws and feet begin to develop themselves ; but as 
yet the metamorphosis is incomplete, for the tail remains long, like that of 
the lobster, and is used by the young crab to swim about merrily in the 
water. It is not before the next stage, when the little creature measures 
about one eighth of an inch in diameter, that the crab form is complete- 
ly developed by the tail shortening, and finally disappearing under the 

"In these successive metamorphoses, we seethe peculiarities of several 
stages of formation. In the first, the crab is like one of the lowest and 
no. xviii. 86 


most, incomplete Crustaceans ; farther on it resembles the lobster, and at last 
it, appears in the compact shape which constitutes the highest perfection of 
crustacean life." 


This class embraces the Spiders and Scorpions. Like the preceding 
class, it is composed of species which are, in a manner, not liable to 
change their form, not undergoing metamorphosis, hut simple sheddings 
of the outer covering of the body. But they differ from these animals, 
as well as from the true insects, in many respects. As in the latter, 
the .surface of their bodies exhibits orifices or transverse slits, named 
stigmata (but which it would be better to name pneumostomes, — mouth 
fur the air, — or spiracles, that is, respiratory orifices), serving for the 
entry of the air, but being few in number (eight at most, generally only 
two), and situated only on the under side of the abdomen. Respiration is 
effected either by means of aerial branchiae serving as lungs and enclosed 
in bags, to which these spiracles form the entry, or by means of radiating 
trachea?. The organs of sight consist only of minute simple ocelli, grouped 
in different positions when there is a number of them. The head, generally 
united to the thorax, merely exhibits at the place of the antennae two articu- 
lated pieces, like small didactyle or monodactyle claws, which have been 
injudiciously compared to the mandibles of insects, and so named; but they 
move in a direction opposed to the motion of mandibles, or up and down, 
assisting, nevertheless, in eating, and replaced, in those Arachnida which 
have the mouth firmed into a siphon, or sucker, by two pointed plates, used 
as lancets. A sort of lower lip (labium, Fab.), or rather tongue (lan- 
giiette), funned by a pectoral elongation; two maxilhe, formed of the basal 
joint of two small feet or palpi, or of an appendage or lobe of the 
same joint; a piece concealed beneath the mandibles, and called the sternal 
tongue by Savigny in Phalangium capticum, and which is composed of a 
beak-like prominence, produced by the union of a very small epistome or 
clypeus, terminated by a very small triangular upper lip, and of a longi- 
tudinal lower rib (careree), generally very hairy. These, together with the 
pieces called the mandibles, generally constitute, with certain modifications, 
the mouth of the majority of the Arachnida. 

"The majority of the Arachnida feed upon insects, which they seize alive, 
or upon which they fix themselves, and from which they suck their juices. 
Others live as parasites upon the bodies of vertebrated animals. There are, 
however, some which arc found only in flour, cheese, and upon various vegc- 


tables. Those which subsist upon other animals often increase in a very 
great degree. In some species two of the legs are not developed before a 
change of skin, and in general it is not until alter the fourth or fifth moult- 
ing that these animals become fitted for reproduction." 


This order comprises those species which have pulmonary sacs, a heart 
with distinct vessels, a system of circulation, and six or eight eyes. 

Aranea. — The Spiders. There arc no creatures more common than 
these curious beings, and few that are not looked upon with more favor ami 
less disgust. Every morning the housewife has to clean with brush or 
broom numerous corners and by-places of the "filthy cobwebs," placed there 
the previous night by these indefatigable workers. There is no place secure 
from their intrusion, no part of a human dwelling where they do not at 
times pursue their wonderful labors. The spider has eyes like those of a 
cat, and sees in the night as well as in the day, and while we are sleeping, 
may be constructing its marvellous palace on the very ceiling of our parlor. 
The white, silky masses seen floating in the air in spring and autumn 
mornings are evidences of its nocturnal industry. 

It is probable that many of the spiders, not having a sufficient supply of 
silk, merely emit single threads — such, for instance, as those made by 
young Lycosa\ which are to be seen in great abundance, crossing from 
ridge to ridge, in cultivated lands, when they reflect the sun's rays. When 
chemically analyzed, they are found to exhibit precisely the same charac- 
ters as the silk of spiders, and are, therefore, not formed in the air, as has 
been conjectured by Lamarck. Gloves and stockings have been made of 
spiders' silk ; but these attempts, not being capable of a general application, 
and being subject to great difficulties, are more curious than useful. The 
material is, however, far more important for the spiders themselves. It is 
by its means that the sedentary species, or those which do not chase after 
their prey, construct their webs of a more or less firm texture, capable, in 
some exotic species, of holding small birds, and of which the forms and 
positions vary according to the habits peculiar to eaeli species, and which are 
so many snares in which the insects which serve them for food are captured. 
Scarcely is one caught by the hooks of the tarsi, than the spider, sometimes 
placed in the centre of its web, or in a cell near one of its angles, darts 
forth, approaches the insect, uses all its efforts to wound the captive with its 
murderous darts, and to discharge into the wound an active poison. When 
it opposes too strong a resistance, and a struggle may be dangerous to the 


spider, tlic latter retires for a time, until it has lost its strength, and be- 
comes still more entangled in its ineffectual efforts to escape, when, there 
hciiK'- no longer cause for alarm, the spider returns, and endeavors to twirl 
it round, weaving at the same time around it a strong, silken web, in which 
it is sometimes entirely encased. Lister states that the spiders discharge 
their threads in the same manner as the porcupine is fabulously asserted to 
do, with this difference — that the threads of the spider remain attached to 
its body. This fact has been considered impossible. We have, however, 
seen the threads issue from the nipples of some Thornisi, extending in a 
straight line, and forming movable rays when the animal moves them circu- 
larly. Another use of silk common to all female spiders is for the con- 
struction of cocoons destined for the enclosure of the eggs. The contexture 
and the form of these cocoons are varied according to the habits of the vari- 
ous races of spiders. They are generally spheroid ; sonic have the shape 
of a cap or a flat sphere ; some are placed on a peduncle, and others are 
terminated by a chili. Other matters, such as earth, leaves, &c, sometimes 
cover them, or at least partially ; a finer tissue often envelops the eggs in 
the inside, where they are loose or agglutinated together, and are more or 
less numerous. 

The spider's web is undoubtedly one of the most curious and extraor- 
dinary objects in nature. Most wonderful is the tenuity of these fairy-like 
lines, yet strong enough to enable the aerial voyager to run through the air, 
and catch his prey which ventures within its domain. It is so fine that, 
in the web of the Gossamer .Spider, the smallest of the tribe, there are 
twenty tubes, through which arc drawn the viscid globules, the gummy mat- 
ter it employs in spinning. It takes one hundred and forty of these 
globules to form a single spiral line : it has twenty-four circumlocutions to 
go through, which gives the number of three thousand three hundred and 
sixty. We have thus got the average total number of lines between two 
radii of the circle ; multiplying that number by twenty-six, the number of 
radii which the untiring insect spins, gives the total amount of eighty-seven 
thousand three hundred and sixty viscid globules before the net is com- 

The dimensions of the net, of course, vary with the species. Some will 
be composed of as many as one hundred and twenty thousand lines ; yet 
even to form this net, the spider will only take five minutes ! Wonderful, 
indeed, is the process by which the spider draws the thread from its body — 
more wonderful than any rope or silk-spinning. Each of these spinnerets 
is covered with rows of bristle-like points, so very fine that a space about 
the size of a pin's head will cover a thousand of them. From each of these 
points or tubes issues a small but slender thread, which unites with the other 



threads, so that from each spinneret proceeds a series of threads forming 
one compound whole ; these are situated about one third of an inch from 
the apex of the spinnerets ; they also unite and form one thread, six hun- 
dred and twenty-four of which are used by the spider in forming his net. 
With the instrument which nature has given him, — the claws of his feet, 
— the spider guides and arranges the glutinous thread as this seemingly in- 
exhaustible fibre is drawn from his body, and interweaves them with each 
other until the web is complete. In this way spiders are weavers of a 
supple line, whose touch, for quickness and fineness, surpasses that of any 

A. Domestica. — These animals are found everywhere. They construct 
in our houses, in the angles of walls, upon plants and hedges, in the ground 
or under stones, large webs nearly horizontal, at the upper end of which is 
a tube in which they station themselves. 

A. Aquatica. — The Water Spider. This animal is blackish-brown, 
with the abdomen darker colored, silky, and with four impressed dots on 
the back. It resides in standing water, in which it swims with the abdomen 
encased in a bubble of air, and in which it forms for its retreat an oval cell 
filled with air and formed of silk, from which threads proceed to the different 
adjacent water plants in all directions. Here it devours its prey, constructs 
its egg-case, which it carefully guards, and where it passes the winter, hav- 
ing first closed the cell. 

Another species of weaving-spider (Epeira diadema, Linn.) is of a 
large size, with the abdomen marked with a triple cross formed of small 
white spots. It abounds most in autumn. The eggs, which the parent 
deposits at the commencement of the cold weather in angles of the ceilings 
of rooms, in passages, near gardens, and in walls, enveloping them with a 
loose, white silken web, are hatched in the spring of the following year. 

Another singular species is described by Dufour under the name of Uroc- 
tea mctculata. "It is about half an inch long, of a brown maroon color, 
w ith the abdomen black, marked with five yellowish spots. Found in the 
south of Europe and Egypt. Dufour has made some curious observations 
on its habits. It constructs on the under side of stones, or in crevices of 
rocks, a cocoon in the shape of a cap or patella an inch in diameter, its cir- 
cumference having seven or eight festoons, the points alone being fixed to 
the stone by means of threads, whilst the edges of the festoons are free. 
This singular tent is of an admirable texture, the outer surface resembling 
the finest taffety, and composed of a number of folds. AVhen young it only 
constructs two layers, between which it takes its station. But subsequently, 
perhaps at each moulting, it adds additional folds, and when the period of 
reproduction arrives, it weaves another apartment, expressly for the reception 


of the sacs of eggs and young when hatched, of a softer texture. The 
inside of its habitation is always singularly clean. The bags in which the 
eggs arc placed arc four, five, or six in number in each habitation ; they are 
about one third of an inch in diameter, and of a lenticular form. It is not 
until the end of December or January that the eggs are deposited, and they 
are enveloped in fine down to guard them from the cold. The edges of the 
festoons not being fastened together, the insect is able to creep in and out at 
will by lifting them up. When the young arc able to dispense with the 
maternal cares, they quit their common habitation, and form separate abodes, 
and their parent dies in her tent, which is thus the birthplace and tomb of 
the Uroctea." 

The effects of changes of temperature and weather on the proceedings of 
these creatures, and the appearance of their webs, very early attracted the 
attention of mankind, and gave rise to the art of A.raiieology — a method of 
deciding on the changes of the weather from the motions and works of spiders. 
Intimations of it appear even in Pliny (II. N., book xi., sect. 28). It is 
also treated of in the " Ewigwahrenden Practica" (Things of Everlasting 
Value), which appeared at Gorlitz in 1588. In later times Quatremere 
Disjonval, member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, during an eight 
months' imprisonment, in which some spiders were his only companions, 
made various observations on the subject; and in 17!>7, at Paris, made 
known his discovery of the close connection existing between the appear- 
ance or disappearance, the labor or rest, the greater or less circumference 
of the webs and fibres, .if spiders of different sorts, and the atmospherical 
changes from fair weather to rain, from dry to wet, and particularly from hot 
to cold, and from frost to a milder temperature. In the genus 

Lycosa is the celebrated Tarentula, so named from the city of Tarentum, 
in Italy, in the environs of which it is common. These spiders live on the 
ground, and run with great swiftness. They dwell in holes, lining the in- 
side with silk, and increasing the size as they grow. Some inhabit the holes 
of walls, where they make silken tubes, the outside of which they cover with 
earth or sand, and in which they moult and hibernate. It is the opinion of 
the vulgar that the venom of the Tarentula occasions dangerous wounds, 
often fatal, or followed by a singular kind of delirium called tareiitism, 
which can only be cured by music and dancing. All spiders arc, in a degree, 
poisonous, we believe, but not to the extent ascribed to the Tarentula, and 
the medical art supplies effective remedies. 

Mygale. — In this genus are some of the largest species of the family. 
They have eight eyes, and form their nests in the slits of trees, beneath the 
bark, in the cavities of stones, or on the surface of leaves of various vege- 
tables. They feed on crickets, cockroaches, and, according to M. Moreau 


de Jonnes, the young of humming-birds. One species, the Mason, or Min- 
ing .Spider, constructs, in dry, shelving situations exposed to the sun, sub- 
terranean, cylindrical galleries, often two feet deep, and so tortuous that 
traces of them are often lost. They also construct, at the entrance, a mov- 
able lid of silk and earth, fixed by a hinge, which, by its exact. size, in- 
clination, and weight, so closely shuts the opening that it can scarcely be 
distinguished from the neighboring soil. In these hidden retreats it secretes 
itself, and waits for its prey. A very large species of Mining Mygale is 
found in Texas. 

Scourio. — The Scorpions. These animals arc all peculiar to hot cli- 
mates, and in all ages have been objects of dread. The agony caused by 
their sting has, from the earliest times, been employed by the poets as a 
figure of mental anguish, or of the torments of conscience. The great 
dramatist makes Macbeth thus describe the tortures of his soul: "O, full 
of scorpions is my breast, dear wife ! " 

The body of the Scorpion is elongated, and terminates abruptly in a 
jointed tail, armed at the extremity with a curved and very acute spine ; 
under the point of this spine are two very small orifices, which serve to give 
passage to a poisonous fluid. The anterior pair of feet, or palpi, are very 
large, resembling those of the lobster in form, and serve to seize and bear 
to the mouth of the animal the various insects on which it feeds ; the other 
feet do not differ essentially in form from those of the spider. At the junc- 
tion of the thorax and abdomen are two movable plates, having the form 
of combs, the use of which is not well understood. Several species of 
scorpions are known — all inhabiting the warmer parts of the globe. They 
shun moisture, living on the ground in places exposed to a hot sun, and 
hiding under stones or in crevices, and, when disturbed, run rapidly, with 
their tails curved over their backs. The species of the south of Europe are 
little more than an inch in length, while some of the tropical species exceed 
five inches. The sting of the larger ones is very much dreaded, and is said 
frequently to cause death. In some places they arc so numerous as to 
become a constant object of apprehension to the inhabitants, and even force 
them to abandon their habitations. The Scorpions may be divided into two 
sections, viz., those with eight eyes, and those which have only six, like 
the species which inhabit the Southern States. The poison increases in 
power according to the age of the animal, but may be neutralized by the 
application of volatile alkali, either internally or externally. 



This order is divided into three families, the first of which is composed of 
the JPseudo- Scorpiones — False Scorpions. With the exception of one or 
two species discovered in Cuba, they inhabit the hot countries of the Old 
World. They are small animals, having from two to four eyes, can run 
with considerable swiftness, often sidewise, like the crab, dwell beneath 
stones, decaying bark, and sometimes in old books and herbariums. 

In the second family are the Pijcnoyonides. These are marine animals, 
found among marine plants, under stones near the shore, and sometimes on 

In the third family are several genera, which contain a large number of 
well-known species. The most of them have eight legs, although some have 
but six. 

Piialaxoitj.m. — This genus comprises those singular-looking animals 
called Harvest Men. They have eight very long legs, which, when de- 
tached from the body, exhibit, for some time, signs of life. Most of them 
live on the ground at the routs of trees, and are very active ; others conceal 
themselves beneath stones, or in the moss. 

Tkombidium, Fabr., has the eheliccne terminated by a movable claw; 
palpi projecting, pointed at tip, with a movable appendage or finger beneath 
the extremity ; two eyes, each at the top of a small, fixed peduncle. T. 
holosericeum, Fabr., very common in gardens during spring, of a blood- 
red color, with the abdomen nearly square, and narrowed behind. A much 
larger species (2'. cinctorium, Fabr.) inhabits the East Indies, and emits 
a red dye. 

Ertthe^EUS, Latr., has the chelicerre and palpi of Trombidium, but the 
eyes are sessile, and the body not divided. 

Gamasus, Latr., has the chelicene didactyle, and the palpi projecting, 
distinct, and filiform. In some the body is covered entirely, or in part, by 
a scaly skin, but in others it is entirely soft. Some of the latter species live 
upon different birds and quadrupeds ; others, as the Acarus telarius, Linn., 
or the Red Spider of the hot-houses, form upon the leaves of various vege- 
tables, especially upon those of lime trees, very fine webs, which injure 
them greatly. This species is reddish, with a black spot on each side of 
the abdomen. 

Acarus. — The Acarides are universally distributed. Some are wander- 
ers ; and, amongst these, some are found under stones, leaves, the bark of 
trees, in the ground, the water, or upon provisions — such as flour, dried 
meat, old dry cheese, and upon putrid animal matters. Others subsist as 


parasites upon the skiu and in the flesh of different animals, often greatly 
weakening them by their excessive multiplication. The origin of certain 
diseases is attributed to them. Other sorts of mites are also found upon 
insects; and many beetles, which subsist upon cadaverous substances, are 
often entirely covered with them. They have even been observed in the 
brain and eyes of man. The mites are oviparous, and exceedingly prolific. 
Many of them are born with only six feet, and the two others are devel- 
oped a short time afterwards. It has been asserted that they produce 
the disease called itch, by insinuating themselves beneath the skiu. This, 
however, is an erroneous opinion. They are found, it is true, in the pus- 
tules of the itch, as a result of the disease, and not its cause. They are 
created, and make their appearance, only after the pustules are formed. 

A.. Domesticus. — The most of these animals are very small, or almost 
microscopic. They occur everywhere, some being of a wandering character, 
and to be found under stones, leaves, the bark of trees, or in provisions, as 
meal, cheese, pepper, &c. ; others are stationary and parasitic, on the skin of 
various animals, sometimes proving of serious injury to them. The mites in- 
habiting cheese are so minute, that, to the naked eye, they appear like moving 
particles of dust. They are very quick-sighted, and when once they have been 
touched with a pin, it is curious to observe the cunning which they display to 
avoid a second touch. They are extremely voracious, and will even prey on 
each other, and are so tenacious of life that they have been kept alive for many 
months between the object-glasses of a microscope. The species which is 
found in meal occasions considerable injury. Leuwenhock states that they 
may be expelled by placing a few nutmegs in the vessel or sack containing 
the meal. A German writer, named Funke, advises a cheaper remedy, 
which consists of the decorticated, thick branches of the lilac, or elder, 
which are to be put ill the Hour, and will, it is said, completely prevent 
their depredations. 

Ixodes. — This genus comprises the Ticks. They have no perceptible 
eyes ; the palpi are in the shape of valves, dilated at the tip, serving as a 
sheath' to the sucker, of which the parts are horny and toothed ; the body is 
clothed with a corneous skin, or at least with a scaly plate in front. These 
ticks are parasites, sucking the blood of various vertebrated animals ; and, 
although at first very much flattened, they acquire, by suction, a very large 
size, and become swollen out like a bladder. They are round or oval. 
They are found in thick woods, abounding in brushwood, briers, &c, at- 
taching themselves to low plants by the two fore legs, extending the other 
feet. They fasten upon dogs, cows, horses, and other quadrupeds, and even 
upon the tortoise, burying their suckers so completely in their flesh that they 
can hardly be detached by force, and by tearing away the portion of skin 
NO. XVIII. t>7 


to which they are fastened. They deposit a prodigious number of eggs, 
discharging them from the mouth, according to M. Chabrier. Their mul- 
tiplication upon the ox and horse is sometimes so great that these animals 
perish from exhaustion. The tarsi are terminated by two ungues inserted 
upon a plate, or are united at the base upon a common peduncle. The 
ancients appear to have known these animals under the name of Ricini. 
They are our well-known Ticks, one species of which attaches itself to 
sheep, and another to oxen. It is sometimes found embedded in the skin, 
and I have seen them over a half inch in length. 


There is no department of the animal kingdom which offers a more varied 
and interesting field for investigation than the Insect World ; nor is there 
any class of animated creatures that exhibits, in a more wonderful manner, 
the wisdom, and condescension, and benevolence of the Almighty, than those 
tiny beings that creep and flutter through their little life, fulfilling, for the 
most part, in a few months, the mission and end for which Nature called 
them into existence. The gorgeous and beautiful colors of some, the 
extraordinary intelligence of others, and the remarkable structure and hab- 
its of all, always excite sentiments of admiration, and often feelings of 

SI. Louis Figuier furnishes the following brief but very correct descrip- 
tion of the class : — 

"If we wish to characterize insects by their exterior aspect, we might 
consider them as articulate animals, whose bodies, covered with tough and 
membranous integuments, are divided into three distinct parts : the head, 
provided with two antenna'', and eyes and mouth of very variable form; a 
trunk, or thorax, composed of three segments, which has underneath it 
always six articulated limbs, and often above it two or four wings; and an 
abdomen composed of nine segments, although some may not appear to 
exist at first sight. 

" If, in addition to these characteristics, one considers that these animals 
are not provided with interior skeletons ; that their nervous system is formed 
of a double cord, swelling at intervals, and placed along the under side of 
the body, with the exception of the first swellings, or ganglions, which are 
under the head ; that they are not provided with a complete circulating sys- 
tem ; that they breathe by particular organs, termed tracheae, extending 
parallel to each other along each side of the body, and communicating with 
the exterior air by lateral openings termed spiracles ; that their sexes are 


distinct; that they are reproduced from eggs; and, in conclusion, that the 
different parts we have mentioned are not complete until the creature has 
passed through several successive changes, called metamorphoses, — a gen- 
eral idea may be formed of what is meant in zoology by the word ' in- 

There are but few vegetable substances which do not fall under the attacks 
of insects ; and as those which are useful or necessary to man are not less 
liable to them than the others, they often cause great damage, especially in 
seasons favorable for their multiplication. Their destruction depends greatly 
on our knowledge of their habits, and on our own vigilance. Some are 
omnivorous, such as the White Ants, Ants, &c, of which the ravages are 
too well known. Many among these are carnivorous ; and the species which 
feed upon carcasses or excrement are a benefit conferred on us by the Author 
of Nature, and compensate, in some respect, for the losses and inconven- 
iences which the others cause to us. Some species are employed in medi- 
cine and in the arts, as well as our domestic economy. They have also 
many enemies : fishes destroy a great quantity of aquatic species ; many 
birds, bats, lizards, &c, rid us of many of those which live upon the 
ground or in the air. The majority strive to avoid the dangers which 
menace their existence, by flying or running away ; but there are some 
which employ for this purpose particular stratagems or natural arms, and 
exhibit reasoning powers of a most extraordinary character, as will appear 
as we place under examination the several genera. 

"Like vegetables, the species of insects are subject to geographical limits. 
Those, for example, of the New World (with the exception of a small num- 
ber of the northern species) are essentially peculiar to it : it also possesses 
many genera equally peculiar. The Old World, on the other hand, pos- 
sesses others unknown in America. The insects of the south of Europe, 
North Africa, and the west and south of Asia, have great general resem- 
blance. It is the same with those of the Moluccas, and the more eastern 
islands, including those of the South Sea. Many species of the north are 
found in the mountainous regions of more southern climates. Those of 
Africa differ greatly from those of the opposite countries of America. The 
insects of Southern Asia, commencing from the Indus, or Sind, and going 
to the east as far as the confines of China, have features greatly resembling- 
each other. The intertropical regions, covered with immense damp for- 
ests, are the richest in insects ; and in this respect Brazil and Guiana are 
the most highly favored. 

"Arrived at their last transformation, and enjoying all their faculties, they 
hasten to propagate their race ; and when this is performed, their existence 
soon terminates. Thus, in our climate, each season of the year (winter 


excepted ) presents to us many species which is peculiar to it. It nevertheless 
appears that the females, and neuters of those which live in society, have a 
longer existence. Many individuals bred in the autumn conceal them- 
selves during the rigors of winter, and reappear in the following spring." 

M. Lacordaire, in his "Introduction <t I'Entomologie," makes some 
interesting observations in regard to the eyes of insects. 

They arc of two kinds, called compound eyes, or eyes composed of many 
lenses, united by their margins, and forming hexagonal facettes; and simple 
eyes, or ocelli. The exterior of the eye is called the cornea, each facette 
being a cornea ; but the facettes unite and form a common cornea ; these 
facettes, however, vary in size even in the same eye. 

Tin' facettes are the most numerous in the insects of the Beetle tribe, 
a beetle's eye having twenty-five thousand and eight ; and least in that of 
the Ant, whose eye has only fifty facettes. On the under side of each 
facette we find a body of gelatinous appearance, transparent, and usually 
conical, the base of which occupies the centre of the facette in such a man- 
ner as to leave around it a ring to receive the pigment. This body dimin- 
ishes in thickness towards its other extremity, and terminates in a point, 
where it joins a nervous filament, proceeding from the optic nerve. These 
cones, agreeing in number with the facettes, play the part of the crystalline, 
or lens, in the eyes of animals. They are straight and parallel with each 
oilier. A pigment fills all the spaces between the cones, between the ner- 
vous filaments, and covers the under side of each cornea, except at the 
centre. This pigment varies much in color. There are almost always two 
layers, of which the exterior one is the more brilliant. In truth, these eyes 
often sparkle with fire, like precious stones. 

Of the wings of insects I shall speak when describing the typical species 
of the Winged Insects, merely mentioning here one extraordinary character 
of them. The buzzing and humming sounds produced by winged insects are 
not, as might be supposed, vocal sounds. They result from sonorous un- 
dulations imparted to the air by the flapping of their wings. This may be 
rendered evident by observing that the noise always ceases when the insect 
alights on any object. The sirene has been ingeniously applied for the pur- 
pose of ascertaining the rate at which the wings of such creatures flap. 
The instrument being brought into unison with the sound produced by the 
insect, indicates, as in the case of any other musical sound, the rate of 
vibration. In this way it has been ascertained that the wings of a gnat flap 
at the rate of fifteen thousand times per second. The pitch of the note 
produced by this insect in the act of flying is, therefore, more than two 
octaves above the highest note of a seven-octave piano-forte. 

Some curious researches have been lately made on the strength of insects. 


M. Felix Plateau, of Brussels, has published some observations on this 
point, which we think of sufficient interest to be reproduced here. 

In order to measure the muscular strength of man, or of animals, — as the 
horse, for instance, — many different dynamometric apparatus have been in- 
vented, composed of springs, or systems of unequal levers. The Turks' 
heads which are seen at fairs, and on which the person who wishes to try 
his strength gives a strong blow r with the fist, represent a dynamometer of 
this kind. The one which Buffbn had constructed by Rcgnier's Dynamom- 
eter is much more precise. It consists of an oval spring, of which the two 
ends approach each other ; when they are pulled in opposite directions, a 
needle, which works on a dial marked with figures, indicates the force exer- 
cised on the spring. It has been proved, with this instrument, that the 
muscular effort of a man, pulling with both hands, is about one hundred 
and twenty-four pounds, and that of a woman only seventy-four pounds. 
The ordinary effort of strength of a man in lifting a weight is two hundred 
and ninety-two pounds ; and a horse, in pulling, shows a strength of six 
hundred and seventy-five pounds; a man, under the same circumstances, 
exhibiting a strength of ninety pounds. 

Physiologists have not as yet given their attention to the strength of in- 
vertebrate animals. It is, relatively speaking, immense. Many people 
have observed how out of proportion the jump of a flea is to its size. A 
flea is not more than an eighth of an inch in length, and it jumps a yard ; 
in proportion, a lion ought to jump two thirds of a mile. Pliny shows, in 
his "Natural History," that the weights carried by ants appear exceedingly 
great when they are compared with the size of these indefatigable laborers. 
The strength of these insects is still more striking when one considers the 
edifices they are able to construct, and the devastations they occasion. The 
Termes, or White Ant, constructs habitations many yards in height, which 
are so firmly and solidly built, that the buffaloes are able to mount them, 
and use them as observatories; they arc made of particles of wood joined 
together by a gummy substance, and are able to resist even the force of a 

Thei - e is another circumstance which is worth being noted. Man is proud 
of his works ; but what are they, after all, in comparison with the ant, tak- 
ing the relative heights into consideration? The largest pyramid in Egypt 
is only one hundred and forty-six yards high, that is, about ninety times the 
average height of man, whereas the nests of the Termites are a thousand 
times the height of the insects which construct them. Their habitations are 
twelve times higher than the largest specimen of architecture raised by 
human hands. We are, therefore, far beneath these little insects — as far 
as strength and the spirit of working go. 


The destructive powers of these creatures, so insignificant in appearance, 
are still more surprising. During the spring of a single year, they can 
effect the ruin of a house by destroying the beams and planks. The town 
of La Rochelle, to which the Termites were imported by an American ship, 
is menaced with being eventually suspended on catacombs, like the town 
of Valencia in New Grenada. It is well known what destruction is caused 
when a swarm of locusts alight in a cultivated field ; and it is certain that 
even their larvae do as much injury as the perfect insect. All this sufficiently 
proves the destructive capabilities of these little animals, which we are ac- 
customed to despise. 

M. Plateau has studied the power of traction in some insects — the power 
of pushing in the digging insects, and the lifting power of others during 
flight. lie has thus been able to make some most interesting comparisons, 
of sonic of which we will relate the results. The average weight of man 
being one hundred and forty-two pounds, and his power of traction, accord- 
ing to llegnier, being one hundred and twenty-four pounds, the proportion 
of the weight he can draw to the weight of his body is only as eighty-seven 
to a hundred. AVith the horse the proportion is not more than sixty-seven 
to a hundred — a horse thirteen hundred and fifty pounds in weight only 
drawing about nine hundred pounds. The horse, therefore, can draw little 
more than half his own weight, and a man cannot draw the weight of his 
own body. This is a very poor result, if compared with the cock-chafer. 
This insect, in fact, possesses a power of traction ecpjal to more than four- 
teen times its own weight. If you amuse yourself with the children's games 
of making a cock-chafer draw small cargoes of stones, you will be surprised 
at the great weight which this insignificant looking animal is able to ac- 

To test the power of traction in insects, M. Plateau attached them to a 
weight by means of a thread fastened to one of their feet. The Coleoptera 
(Beetles) arc the best adapted for these experiments. 

The following are some of the results obtained by the Belgian physician : 
Carabus auratus can draw seven times the weight of its body; J\ T ebria 
brevicollis, twenty-five times ; Wecrophorus vespillo, fifteen times ; Tri- 
chius fasciatus, forty-one times ; and Orystes nasicornis, four times only. 
The bee can draw twenty times the weight of its body ; Donacia nympkece, 
forty-two times its own weight. 

From this it follows that if the horse possessed the same strength as this 
last insect, or if the insect were the size of the horse, they would either of 
them be able to draw one hundred and fifty-five thousand two hundred and 
fifty pounds ! Experiments have been made on the lifting power of insects 
by fastening a ball of soft wax to a thread attached to the hind legs. The 
proportion of the weight lifted has been found equal to that of the body. 


The class Insecta is divided into twelve orders, as follows : — 
I. Myriapoda; II. TJnjsanoum ; III. Parasita; IV. Suctoria; 
V. Coleoptera; VI. Orthoptera; VII. Hemiptera; VIII. Neurop- 
tera; IX. Hymenoptera ; X. Lepidoptera ; XI. Strepsiptera ; and 
XII. Diptera. 


This order has twenty-four or more legs, arranged along the whole length 
of the body, upon a series of rings, each of which bears one or two pairs, 
and of which the first, and also the second in many species, appear to form 
part of the mouth. They are apterous — that is, without wings. 

The Myriapodes resemble generally small serpents, or Nereides. They 
are commonly called Centipedes — hundred-footers. They are found every- 
where in decayed wood, beneath stones and bark, and in moist places. 
In the Linna;an System, they form the single genus lulus. 


The insects embraced in this order have six feet, and the abdomen fur- 
nished at the sides with movable pieces, in the form of false legs, or termi- 
nated by appendages fitted for leaping. They compose the two genera of 
Linnanis — Lepisma and Podura. They inhabit houses, under damp 
boards, or beneath stones, and some dwell on trees, or beneath bark. Some 
of the species, as the P. villosa, live in society in the gravel or sand, re- 
sembling gunpowder ; sometimes they are seen on the snow after a thaw. 


These creatures are destiture of wings ; have six legs ; have no organs of 
sight except ocelli ; the mouth is intei-ior, and only consists of a muzzle 
enclosing a retractile sucker, or of a slit situated between two lips, with two 
hooked mandibles. They compose but one genus — 

Pediculus. — The Lice. "The body is flattened, nearly transparent, 
divided into eleven or twelve distinct segments, of which three, forming the 
trunk, have a pair of legs attached to each. The first of these segments 
often forms a kind of corselet. The spiracles are very distinct. The an- 
tenna? are short, of equal thickness throughout, composed of five joints, 
and often inserted in an excavation. Each side of the head exhibits one or 


two minute ocelli. The legs are short, and terminated by a very strong 
nail, or by two opposing hooks, whereby these animals easily fasten them- 
selves to the hairs of quadrupeds, or feathers of birds, of which they suck 
the blood, and upon the body of which they pass their lives, and there mul- 
tiply, attaching their eggs to those cutaneous appendages. Their generations 
are numerous, and succeed eacli other very rapidly. Particular causes, 
unknown to us, are very favorable to their production ; and this is especially 
the case in respect to the common Body Louse, in the disease named phthi- 
riasis, and also in infancy. They always live upon the same quadrupeds 
and birds, or at least upon the animals of those classes which have analogous 
characters and habits. One bird, however, often supports two kinds of 
lice. They generally crawl very slowly." 

Man supports three kinds, their eggs being known under the name of 
Nits. The Body Louse (P. humanus corporis, De Geer), white, without 
spots, which multiplies excessively in the disease called phthiriasis, and the 
Head Louse (P. humanus capitis, De Geer), ashy color, with darker 
spots, found only on the head of man, and especially of children, form 
Leach's genus Pediculus, having the thorax quite distinct from the abdo- 
men. The Pediculus pubis, Linn., or Morpeon Crabs, or Crab-lice, forms 
Dr. Leach's genus Phthirus. 

The lice are chiefly found among filthy persons, but sometimes, by acci- 
dent, afnict respectable people. They are easily destroyed by applying oil 
to the head, or parts which they have attacked. 


This order, like the preceding, has six legs, and is destitute of wings, and 
the mouth is composed of a sucker. The animals, however, undergo meta- 
morphosis, which those of the former do not, and acquire thereby locomotive 
organs which they did not at first possess. The order comprises but one 
trenus — 

Pulex. — The Fleas. The body is oval, compressed, enclosed in a 
tough skin. The head is small, very compressed, rounded above, truncate, 
and ciliated in front. It has on each side a small, round eye, behind 
which is a cavity, in which is placed a small, movable body, furnished with 
minute spines. The legs are robust, particularly the posterior, fitted for 
leaping. The two fore legs are inserted almost beneath the head, and the 
beak is placed between them. 

The female lays about a dozen white, slightly viscid eggs, whence emerge 
small larvae, destitute of legs, very much elongated, resembling minute 

Plate VIII. 








worms, very active, coiling themselves up in a circle or spire, serpentine in 
their progress, at first white, and afterwards reddish. Their body is com- 
posed of a scaly head, without eyes, bearing two very minute antennae and 
thirteen segments, with small tufts of hair and a pair of little hooks at the 
tip of the last. The mouth exhibits a few small, movable parts, of which 
the larvae make use in pushing themselves forwards. After living about 
twelve days under this form, these larvae enclose themselves in a small 
silken cocoon, where they become pupae, and whence they make their escape 
in the perfect state at the expiration of a similar period. 

P. Irritans. — The Common Flea feeds on the blood of man, the dog, 
and cat. Its larva lives amongst dirt, and beneath the nails of filthy persons ; 
also in the nests of birds, such as pigeons, attaching itself to the necks of 
the young, and gorging itself till it becomes red. 

P. Penetrans. — The Chigoe, or Jigger, forms a peculiar genus. Its 
beak is of the length of the body. It inhabits the Jropieal regions of 
America, where it is the terror of the natives. It introduces itself beneath 
the nails of the feet and the skin of the heel, where it soon acquires the 
size of a small pea, by the quick growth of the eggs, which it bears in a 
large membranous bag beneath the abdomen, the numerous family from 
which occasions, by remaining in the wound, an ulcer very difficult to heal, 
which even sometimes becomes mortal. Frequent washings, and rubbing 
the feet with fresh tobacco leaves, or those of other bitter plants, are pre- 
ventives against its attacks. The negroes, or more commonly the negresses, 
are in the habit of extracting the insect, with great skill, from its lodgment. 

These singular little creatures appear to possess no small degree of intel- 
ligence, and are capable, strange as it may seem, of some education. Geof- 
frey (" Ilistoire abregSe des Insectes") mentions that an Englishman 
succeeded in making a gold chain the length of a finger, with padlock and 
key to fasten it, not exceeding a single grain in weight. A flea attached to 
the chain pulled it easily. He relates another fact still more wonderful. An 
English workman constructed a carriage and six horses of ivory. The coach- 
man was on the box, with a dog between his legs ; there were also a 
postilion, four persons in the carriage, and two servants behind, and the 
whole drawn by one flea. 

Baron Walchenaer, author of the "Ilistoire JSTaturelle des Insectes Ap- 
teres" is responsible for the following remarkable account. In 1825, an 
extraordinary exhibition amazed the people of Paris ; it was no less than a 
company of trained fleas. The learned baron says, "I saw and examined 
them with entomological eyes, assisted by a glass." To enable an assem- 
blage of persons to witness the performance of these diminutive creatures 
in a large room, the spectators were seated in front of a curtain, provided 
no. xviii. 88 


with magnifying glasses, through which they looked, as they would at a 
diorama, at landscapes, or buildings. 

At this exhibition thirty jlcas went through military exercises, and 
stood upon their hind legs, armed tvith pikes, formed of very small 
splinters of /rood. 

"Two fleas were harnessed to and drew a golden carriage, with four 
wheels and a postilion. A third flea was seated on the coach-box, and held 
a splinter of wood for a whip. Two other fleas drew a cannon on its car- 
riage. These and other wonders were performed on polished glass. The 
flea-horses were fastened by a gold chain attached to the thighs of the hind 
legs, and which was never taken off. They had lived thus two years and a 
half, not one having died, and appeared to enjoy their mode of life. They 
were fed by being placed on a man's arm, which they sucked." 


This order derives its name from the character of its wings, Coleoptera 
being a compound Greek word, — lcoleos, sheath, and pteron, wing, — 
sisrnifyinrr sheath-wings. These insects have four winsrs, of which the 
upper pair is crustaceous, and constitute the elytra or sheath. 

" The elytra and wings arise upon the lateral and superior margins of the 
hinder division of the thorax. The elytra are crustaceous, and in repose 
arc applied one against the other in a straight line along the inner margin, 
or suture, and are always in a horizontal position. In almost every instance 
they hide the wings, which are large, and folded transversely. Many spe- 
cies are wingless ; but the elytra are always present. The abdomen is 
sessile, or united to the thorax by its greatest width : it is composed on the 
outside of six or seven segments, membranous above, or of a consistence 
less firm than on the under side. 

" These insects, generally known under the English name of Beetles, are 
the most numerous and the best known of the insect tribes. Their singular 
forms, the brilliant colors exhibited by many of their species, the size of 
their bodies, the more solid texture of their teguments, which renders their 
preservation much more easy, and the numerous advantages to be derived 
from the investigation of such a variety of forms of their external organs, 
have merited for them the particular attention of naturalists. 

"The head is provided with two antenna; of variable form, and of which 
the number of joints is generally eleven ; two facetted eyes ; no ocelli ; and 
a mouth composed of an upper lip, two mandibles, mostly of a scaly con- 
sistence, two lower jaws (maxilla''), each bearing one or two palpi, and a 


lower lip formed of two pieces, namely, the mentum and the tonguelet (lan- 
guetle), and accompanied by two palpi, generally inserted upon this latter 
piece ; those of the maxilla?, or the outer maxillary palpi (when they bear 
two), have never more than four joints, whilst those of the lower lip have, 
ordinarily, only three joints. 

* The anterior segment of the trunk, or that which is in front of the wings, 
or elytra, and which is commonly named the corselet, and which bears the 
first pair of feet, greatly surpasses in extent the two other segments, 
which are compactly united together, as well as to the base of the abdomen : 
their under part, or the sternum or breast, serves as a point of attachment 
to the two other pairs of feet. The second of these segments, upon which 
is placed the scutcllum, is narrower in front, so as to form a short peduncle, 
which is received into the inner cavity of the first segment, and which serves 
as a pivot to assist in all its movements. 

"Beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis. The larva resembles a 
worm, with a scaly head and mouth, analogous in the number and functions 
of its parts to that of the perfect insect, and also with six legs : some spe- 
cies, however, few in number, are destitute of these appendages, or have 
only simple fleshy tubercles. 

" The pupa is inactive, and does not take any nourishment. The habita- 
tion, mode of life, and other habits of these insects, both in their immature 
and perfect states, vary very much." 

The immense multitude and variety of the genera and species, which 
compose this order, compel us to select certain typical groups, exhibiting 1 
the most prominent and remarkable characteristics and habits of the family 
to represent the whole. It is estimated that there are over one hundred 
thousand different species, besides many that have not yet received examina- 
tion and a name from naturalists. 

The first division of this order is well represented by the genera Cicin- 
dela and Carabus. 

Cicindela. — These insects have a robust head, with great eyes, and 
jaws very advanced and toothed. Some of the species are of a green color, 
of various shades, with shining metallic tints, and with white spots upon 
the elytra. They choose their dwelling in dry, sunny situations, run with 
considerable swiftness, and when alarmed, fly off, but alight at a short 

The larva of some have very singular habits. They form a round hole in 
the earth, of considerable depth, in the construction of which they employ 
their feet and jaws. They detach the grains of earth, and place them on 
the concave back of their head ; and when their load is as large as they can 
carry, they ascend backwards, resting at intervals against the inner walls 


of their burrow. When they have arrived at the surface, they cast off their 
burden, with a jerk, to a considerable distance. While lying in ambush for 
prey, the Hat plate of the head just (its the mouth of the hole, forming a 
Hat surface with the surface of the surrounding soil. They seize their 
victim with their jaws, and even rush upon it, precipitating it to the bottom 
of their burrows, with a see-saw motion of their head. They descend then 
with equal quickness at the least danger. They close the orifice of their 
dwelling when they change their skin, or undergo their change to the pupa 

Cahabus. — Many of the species of this group are destitute of wings, 
and have only elytra. They often emit a fetid odor, and discharge an acrid 
and caustic liquid. The Carabici are very active insects, and live in the 
earth, under stones, or the bark of trees. Some of them secrete a very 
caustic fluid, which they discharge with an explosion. If the fluid falls 
upon the skin, it produces a stain like that made by nitric acid, and some- 
times a painful burn. Some species are social, and live in societies under 
stones. One species (C sycophanta) is three fourths of an inch in length, 
of a velvet black, with the elytra golden-green, or brilliant copper, finely 
striated, each having three lines of line, impressed dots. Its larva lives in 
the nests of the processionary caterpillars, upon which it feeds, devouring 
many in the course of a day. Other larvae of its own species, smaller and 
younger, attack and devour it when its voracity has overcome its activity. 
They arc black, and are sometimes found running on the ground, or upon 
trees, especially the oak. 

A second family of the Coleoptera is represented by the genera Dytiscus 
and Gyrinus, and is called HydkOCANTHAKI — the Swimmers. Their feet 
arc formed for swimming. They pass the first and last state of their exist- 
ence in fresh water. They swim well, and rise to the surface of the water, 
from time to time, to respire, ascending easily by holding their feet still, and 
suffering themselves to float. The body being turned upside down, they 
slightly elevate the tip of the body above the surface of the water, raising 
the extremity of the elytra, or bending down the abdomen, so that the air 
introduces itself into the spiracles, which they cover, and thence into the 
tracheae. They are very voracious, and feed upon small animals, which 
ordinarily reside in the water, which the Hydrocanthari only leave during 
the night. They emit a very disagreeable odor. Sometimes they are at- 
tracted by light into the interior of houses. Their larva; have a long, 
narrow body, composed of twelve segments, of which the first is the largest, 
with the head strong, and armed with two powerful mandibles. 

Dytiscus. — The larvae of this genus suspend themselves at the surface 
of the water by means of two appendages at the sides of the tail, which 


they keep dry by raising them above the surface. When they wish to 
change their place suddenly, they give their body a quick and vermicular 
movement, beating the water with the tail. They especially feed upon the 
larva 1 of dragon-Hies, gnats, tipulse, aselli, &c. When the period of then- 
transformation has arrived, they quit the water and bury themselves under 
the earth of the adjacent banks, keeping, however, in very damp situations, 
where they form an oval cavity in which they enclose themselves. Accord- 
ing to Roesel, the eggs of the Dy/iscus marginalis hatch ten or twelve 
days after being deposited : at the end of four or five more, the larva is 
already four or five lines long, and moults for the first time. The second 
change of skin takes place at the expiration of a similar interval, and the 
animal is now as large again as it was before : when full grown it is two 
inches long. In summer it has been observed to become a pupa at the end 
of fifteen days, and a perfect insect in fifteen or twenty more days. 

D. Marginalis. — This is a common species, an inch and a quarter long, 
being of a dark-olive color, with a buff-colored margin entirely round the 
thorax, and a line of the same color on the outer margin of the elytra, which 
are not dilated at the sides ; those of the female are furrowed from the base 
about two thirds of the whole length. Fabrieius says that the species when 
laid upon its back gains its ordinary position by taking a leap. Esper kept 
a specimen of this insect for three years and a half in good health in a large 
bottle of water, feeding it every week, and sometimes oftencr, with bits of 
raw beef about the size of a walnut, upon which it precipitated itself and 
sucked the blood entirely from it. It was able to fast for a month at a 
time. It killed a specimen of Hydrophilus piceus, although as largo again 
as itself, by piercing it between the head and thorax, the only part of the 
body without defence. According to Esper, it is sensible to the changes 
of the atmosphere, which it indicates by the heights at which it keeps in the 

Gyrinus. — According to Cuvier, this genus comprises those insects which 
have the antenna; in a mass, and shorter than the head ; the two fore legs 
are long, advanced liked arms, and the four others very short and depressed, 
broader and oar-like. The eyes are four in number ; the body is oval, and 
generally very shining ; the antenna;, inserted in a cavity before the eyes, 
have the second joint exteriorly elongated, like an ear, and the following 
joints (of which seven are only distinctly visible) very short, and closely 
united into a mass nearly like a spindle, and rather bent; the head is in- 
serted into the thorax as far as the eyes, which are large, and divided by a 
ridge on the sides, so that there appear two above and two below; the 
upper lip is rounded, and very much ciliated in front ; the palpi are very 
small, and the inner pair of the maxillary are wanting in many species. 


The thorax is short and transverse ; the elytra are obtuse or truncated at 
the posterior extremity; the two fore legs are slender, long, folded up, 
and held nearly at right angles with the body when shut up, and terminated 
by a very short, compressed tarsus, of which the under side is clothed with 
fine plush in the males. The four other feet are broad, very thin, like mem- 
brane, and the joints of the tarsi form small leaves. 

The insects, which are called Whirlwigs, or Whirligigs, from their peculiar 
motions, are, in general, of small or but moderate size. They are to be seen, 
from the first fine days of spring till the end of autumn, on the surface of quiet 
waters, and even upon that of the sea, often assembled in great numbers, 
and appearing like brilliant points. They swim or run about with extreme 
agility, curvetting in a circular or oblique, or indeed in every direction, 
whence their ordinary French name of Tourniquets, or their English name 
given above. Sometimes they remain stationary, without the slightest mo- 
tion ; but no sooner are they approached than they escape by darting under 
the surface of the water, and swimming off with the greatest agility. The 
four hind legs are used as oars, and the fore ones for seizing the prey. Or- 
dinarily stationed upon the surface of the water, the upper side of the body 
is always dry ; and when they dart down, a bubble of air, like a silvery ball, 
remains attached to the hind part of the body. When seized, they discharge 
a milky fluid, which spreads over the body, and probably produces the dis- 
agreeable odor which they then emit, and which lasts a long time upon the 
fingers. Sometimes they remain at the bottom, holding upon plants, where 
also they possibly hide themselves through the winter. 

In the third family are found the following interesting genera : Buprcstis, 
Lampyris, Ptinus, and Elater. 

The BuprestidcB are noted for their splendid colors, some of which have 
spots of gold on emerald ground, while others exhibit a variety of metallic 

Lampyris. — The Lampyridae have the elytra weak and soft, like the 
insects of the preceding tribe. In their perfect state, they frequent flowers. 
Their larva* are carnivorous, attacking other insects or worms. It is to 
this group that the Lampyris noctiluca, or Glow-worm, which one sees 
shining during summer nights on grass and bushes, belongs. The lumi- 
nous properties with which these insects are endowed have for their object 
to reveal their presence to the opposite sex ; for the females alone pos- 
sess these properties. In the same way as sounds or odors exhaling from 
some insects attract the one towards the other sex, so with the Lampyris a 
phosphorescent light shows the females to the males. The seat of the 
phosphorescent substance varies according to the species. It exists gener- 
ally under the three last rings of the abdomen, and the light is produced by 


the slow combustion of a peculiar secretion. It has been stated that it is 
evolved quickly when the animal contracts its muscles, either spontaneously 
or under the influence of artificial excitement. Some chemical experiments 
have been made to ascertain the nature or the composition of the humor 
which produces this strange effect ; but, up to this moment, they have only 
enabled us to discover that the luminous action is more powerful in oxygen, 
and ceases in gases incapable of supporting combustion. In the most com- 
mon species, the JSToctiluca, or Glow-worm, the phosphorescence is of a 
greenish tint ; it assumes at certain moments the brightness of white-hot coal. 

The females have no wings, while the males have them, and possess very 
well-developed elytra. The females resemble the larva; much, only they 
have the head more conspicuous, and the thorax buckler-shaped, like the 
male. The larva; feed on small mollusks, hiding iu the snail's shell after 
having devoured the inhabitant. They also possess the phosphorescent 
property in a less degree than the adult females. The female pupa resem- 
bles the larva; the pupa of the male, on the contrary, has the wings folded 
back under a thin skin. The perfect insect appears towards the autumn. 

The Glow-worm (£. noctiluca) is of a brownish-yellow. It is a common 
insect. In a kindred species, the Luciola Italica, the two sexes are winged, 
of a tawny-brown, and equally phosphorescent. They are met with in 
great numbers in Italy, and the lawns are covered with them. Other in- 
sects of this family are without the faculty of emitting light ; as, for exam- 
ple, the genus Lycus, of brilliant colors, which is met with in Africa and 
India. One of the finest is the L. latissimus. 

Drilns is another genus, comprising insects of very singular habits. The 
type is the 1). flavescens. The male, — a quarter of an inch long, black 
and hairy, with elytra of a testaceous yellow, and with pectinated anten- 
na;, — for a long time, was alone known. The female — from ten to fifteen 
times as large, without wings and elytra, of a yellowish-brown — was not 
discovered till much later, having apparently nothing in common with the 
male in shape or color. The metamorphoses of these curious insects are 
now perfectly understood. Mielzinsky, a Polish naturalist established at 
Geneva, found the Drllus in the larva state in the shell of the Helix nemo- 
rails. These larva; devour the snail whose dwelling they occupy, as do the 
larva; of the Lampyris. Mielzinsky saw them emerge, but obtained only 
females, which differed scarcely at all from the larva; from which they 

Ptinus. — The Ptiniores are all curious little insects. When touched, 
they counterfeit death by lowering the head, enclosing their antenna;, and 
contracting their feet, in which position they remain some time. Their 
larvae are very injurious. Many of the species inhabit the interior of our 


houses, where they do much injury, in the larva state, by gnawing furniture, 
books, &c, which they pierce with little round holes, like those made by a 
fine drill. Their excrement forms the fine white powder observed in the 
holes of worm-eaten wood. Other larva; feed upon flowers, wafers, collec- 
tions of birds, insects, &c. The two sexes, when calling each other during 
the period of their amours, beat with their jaws upon the wood- work on 
which they are stationed, for a succession of times, mutually replying to 
each other. This is the cause of the noise, similar to the quickened ticking 
of a watch, which is often heard, especially in old houses, and which has 
received from the superstitious the name of the Death-watch. Anobium 
striatum, Oliv. (^1. pertinax, Fabr.), is of a uniform brownish-black 
color, and is very common in houses. A., pertinax, Linn., derives its spe- 
cific name from the pertinacity with which it maintains its attempt at decep- 
tion, preferring, according to Dc Gccr, to suffer death under a slow fire, 
rather than give the least sign of life. 

Elatek. — The Elateridae are rather large insects, often of hard texture, 
having the presternum prolonged into a point, and the antennas indented 
saw-wise. They have the power of jumping when placed on their bocks, 
and of alighting again on their legs : hence their name of Elater (derived 
from the same root as the word elastic). They produce, in leaping, one sharp 
rap, and often knock many raps when they are j>revented from projecting them- 
selves. This is the mechanism which permits the Skip-jack to execute these 
movements. It bends itself upwards by resting on the ground by its head and 
the extremity of the abdomen, and then it unbends itself suddenly, like a 
spring ; the point at the end of the thorax penetrates into the hollow of the 
next ring ; the back then strikes with force against the plane on which it 
rests, and the animal is projected into the air. It repeats this manoeuvre till 
it finds itself on its belly ; for its legs are too short to allow of its turning 
over. Its structure supplies it with the means and the strength of rebound- 
ing as many times as it falls on its back, and it can thus raise itself more 
than twelve times the length of its body. 

In America are found phosphorescent Elateridae. These are the Py- 
rophori, which the Spaniards of South America call by the name of Cucuyos. 
They have at the base of their thorax two small, smooth, and brilliant spots, 
which sparkle during the night ; the rings of the abdomen also emit a light. 
They give light sufficient to enable one to read at a little distance. The 
Pyrophorus noctilucris is very common in Havana, in Brazil, in Guiana, 
in Mexico, &c, and may be seen at night in great numbers in the foliage 
of trees. At the time of the Spanish conquest, a battalion, just disem- 
barked, did not dare to engage with the natives, because it took the Cu- 
cuyos, which were shining on the neighboring trees, for the matches of the 


arquebuses ready to fire. "In these countries," says M. Michelet, "one 
travels much by night to escape from the heat. But one would not dare to 
plunge into the peopled shades of the dorp forest if these insects did not 
reassure the traveller. He sees them shining afar off, dancing, twisting 
about ; he sees them near at hand, on the bushes by his side ; he takes them 
with him; he fixes them on his boots, so that they may show him his road 
and put to flight the serpents ; but when the sun rises, gratefully and care- 
fully he places them on a shrub, and restores them to their amorous occu- 
pations. It is a beautiful Indian proverb that says, ' Carry away the fire-fly, 
but restore it from whence thou tookest it.' " 

The Creole women make use of the Cucuyos to increase the splendor of 
their toilets. Strange jewels ! which must be fed, which must be bathed 
twice a day, and must be incessantly taken care of, to prevent them from 
dying. The Indians catch these insects by balancing hot coals in the air at 
the end of a stick to attract them, which proves that the light which these 
insects diffuse is to attract. Once in the hands of the women, the Cucuyos 
are shut up in little cages of very fine wire, and fed on fragments of sugar- 
cane. When the Mexican ladies wish to adorn themselves with these living 
diamonds, they place them in little bags of light tulle, which they arrange 
with taste on their skirts. There is another way of mounting the Cucuyos. 
They pass a pin, without hurting them, under the thorax, and stick this pin in 
their hair. The refinement of elegance consists in combining with the Cucuyos 
humming-birds and real diamonds, which produce a dazzling head-dress. 
Sometimes, imprisoning these animated flames in gauze, the graceful Mexican 
women twist them into ardent necklaces, or else roll them round their waists, 
like a fiery girdle. They go to a ball under a diadem of living topazes, of 
animated emeralds, and this diadem blazes or pales according as the insect 
is fresh or fatigued. When they return home, after the soiree, they make 
them take a bath, which refreshes them, and put them back again into the 
cage, which sheds, during the whole night, a soft light in the chamber. In 
1766, a Cucuyo, brought alive from America to Paris, probably in some 
old piece of wood which happened to be on the vessel, caused great terror 
to the inhabitants of the Faubourg St. Antoine when they saw it flying in 
the evening, glittering in the air. In 18G4, a number of Cucuyos were 
brought from Mexico to Paris by M. Laurent, captain of the frigate La 
Floride. An experiment, made in the laboratory of the Ecole Normal, 
showed that the spectrum of their light is continuous, without any black 
rays ; it differs, besides, from the spectrum of the solar light by a greater 
intensity of the yellow color. The light is produced probably, as it is in 
the case of the Lampyris, by the slow combustion of a substance secreted 
by the animal. The Cucuyo can, nevertheless, at will, increase or diminish 
NO. xvm. 89 


the splendor of this light by means of membranes, which it superposes, like 
screens, in front of the phosphorescent bumps which it lias on its thorax. 

In the Indies, and in China, the women use for dressing their hair, or as 
ear-rings, another Coleopteron of the same tribe, winch begins even to be 
employed for this purpose by the women of the south of France. It is a 
Buprestis, of splendid colors, and of metallic brightness. 

In the fourth division of this order, we find the singular genus 
Necrophorus. — These insects derive their generic name from the pecu- 
liar habit they have of burying small animals. They are sometimes called 
Sextons, Burying Beetles, and Undertakers. 'When they have discovered a 
dead mouse or mole, they creep beneath it, and dig away the earth until a 
grave, sufficiently large to receive the body, has been excavated, when they 
place the carcass therein, after having deposited their eggs within it ; their 
larvifi feed on the decaying body. All the species have a strong smell of 
musk. Their power of scent is extraordinary ; they smell the dead nearly 
as soon as killed, from an immense distance, and hasten to perform their 
funeral rites. 

As the fifth family presents no prominent characteristics, we pass on to 
the sixth division, which contains the great and interesting groups Scara- 
bceus, Melolontha, and Cetonia. 

ScAi;.\i'..i:rs. — This genus is composed of species peculiar to the Old 
World. They have a rounded body, depressed above, with antenna;, nine- 
jointed, and with a leaf-like club. They enclose their eggs in balls of 
excrement, like large pills, — whence they are called Pill-makers, — which 
they roll along with their hind feet until they reach the hole where they are 
to be deposited. In this labor they often work in company. 

S. Sacer. — This species and one other were known to and worshipped 
by the ancient Egyptians, who introduced them into their hieroglyphical 
writings. Their effigies are represented on all the monuments, and models 
of them, executed in the most precious materials, were worn as amulets around 
the neck. 

Melolontha. — The most commonly known insect of this genus is the 
Cock-chafer. The French word for Cock-chafer, Hanneton, according to 
M. Mulsant, comes from the Latin Alitonus (sonorous wings), which first 
became Ilalleton. Linnaeus gave these insects first the name of Melolontha, 
which they probably had among the Greeks, and which seems to be the case 
from this passage in Aristophanes, in his comedy of "The Clouds : "' "Let 
your spirit soar ; let it fly whither it lists, like the Melolontha tied with a 
thread by the leg." We see that the habit of martyrizing Cock-chafers is of 


very early date. The Common Cock-chafer is one of the greatest pests to 
agriculture. In its perfect state it devours the leaves of many trees, princi- 
pally those of the elm ; and so children, in some countries, call the fruit of the 
elm tree by the name of "Bread of the Cock-chafer." But the destruction 
which they occasion in their perfect state is little when compared with that 
which is caused by their larvae — those white grubs so dreaded by agriculturists. 

Cock-chafers make their appearance in the month of April if the season 
is warm. But it is in the month of May that they show themselves in great 
quantities. And so they are called in Germany Maikafer (May-chafer, or 
May-bug). They are met with also in June. The duration of their life as 
a perfect insect is six weeks. They fear the heat of the day, and the bright 
sunshine ; so, during the day, they remain hooked on to the under surface 
of leaves. It is only early in the morning, and at sunset, that one sees the 
Cock-chafers fluttering around the trees which they frequent. They fly witli 
rapidity, producing a monotonous sound by the friction of their wings. 
But the Cock-chafer steers badly when it flies. It knocks itself at each 
instant against obstacles it meets with. It then falls heavily to the ground, 
and becomes the plaything of children, who are constantly on the lookout 
for them. There is a saying, "stupid as a May-bug." 

What contributes still more to render the flight of these insects heavy and 
sustained only for a short time together, is, that they are obliged to inflate 
themselves, like balloons, in order to rise into the air. It is a peculiarity 
which they share with the migratory locusts. Before taking its flight, the 
Cock-chafer agitates its wings for some minutes, and inflates its abdomen 
with air. The French children, who perceive this manoeuvre, say then that 
the Cock-chafer " compte ses ecus" (is counting his money), and they sing 
to it this refrain, which has been handed down for many generations : — 

" Hanneton, vole, vole ! 
Va-t'en a 1 'eeok- '. " 

" May-bug, fly, fly ! 
To the school hie ! " 

During the day the Cock-chafers remain under the leaves in a state or 
perfect immobility ; for the heat, which gives activity to other insects, seems, 
on the contrary, to stupefy them ; and it is during the night only that they 
devour the leaves of elms, poplars, oaks, beeches, and birches. In years 
when their number is not very great, one hardly perceives the damage done 
by them ; but at certain periods they appear in innumerable legions, and 
then' whole parts of gardens or woods are stripped of their verdure, and 
present, in the middle of summer, the appearance of a winter landscape. 
The trees thus stripped do not in general die ; but they recover their former 


vinor with difficulty, and, in the case of orchard trees, remain one or two 
years without bearing fruit. It is principally the trees skirting woods, and 
situated along cultivated fields, which are exposed to the ravages of the 
Cock-chafer, because the larva* of these insects are developed in the fields. 
In the interior of forests they arc never met with in great numbers. 

In certain years Cock-chafers multiply in such a frightful manner that they 
devastate the whole vegetation of a country. M. Louis Figuicr, in his 
"Insect World,"' says that, in the environs of Blois, fourteen thousand 
( lock-chafers were picked up by children in a few days. At Fontainebleau 
they could have gathered as many in a certain year in as many hours. 
Sometimes they congregate in swarms, like locusts, and migrate from one 
locality to another, when they lay waste everything. To present an idea 
of the prodigious extent to which Cock-chafers increase under certain cir- 
cumstances, we will give a few statistics. In 1 "> 7 4 , these insects were so 
abundant in England that they stopped many mills on the Severn. In 
1G88, in the county of Galway, in Ireland, they formed such a black cloud 
that the sky was darkened for the distance of a league, and the country 
people had great difficulty in making their hay in the places where they 
alighted. They destroyed the whole of the vegetation in such a way that 
the landscape assumed the desolate appearance of winter. Their voracious 
jaws made a noise which may be compared to that produced by the sawing 

of a large piece of w 1: and in the evening, the buzzing of their wings 

resembled the distant rolling of drums. The unfortunate Irish were reduced 
to the necessity of cooking their invaders, and, for the want of any other 
food, of eating them. In 1804, immense swarms of Cock-chafers, precipi- 
tated by a violent wind into the Lake of Zurich, formed on the shore a thick 
bank of bodies heaped, one on the other, the putrid exhalations from which 
poisoned the atmosphere. On May 18, 18.32, at nine o'clock in the evening, 
a legion of Cock-chafers assailed a diligence on the road from Gournay to 
( iisors, just as it was leaving the village of Talmontiers ; the horses, blinded 
and terrified, refused to advance, and the driver was obliged to return as far 
as the village to wait till this new sort of hail-storm was over. M. Mul- 
sant, in his "Monographic des Lamcllicornes de la France," relates that, in 
May, 1811, clouds of Cock-chafers traversed the Saone, from the south-east 
in the direction of the north-west, and settled in the vineyards of the Macon- 
nais ; the streets "of the town of Macon were so full of them that they were 
shovelled up with spades. At certain hours, one could not pass over the 
bridge unless he whirled a stick rapidly round and round to protect him- 
self against their touch. 

This is a remarkable statement, but the French imagination is very 


Cetosta. — One of the most pleasing specimens of this group is the 
C. aurata, or Rose Beetle. It is nearly an inch in length, of a shining- 
green color above, coppery-red beneath, with white marks on the elytra. 
It frequents flowers, and has a special fondness for the rose, whence its 
name. In Russia the Rose Beetle is considered a very efficacious remedy for 
hydrophobia. In the governorship of Saratovv, which is traversed by the 
Volga, hydrophobia is very frequent on account of the heats which reign 
during the whole summer in its arid steppes. The inhabitants, incessantly 
exposed to be bitten by mad dogs, have tried in succession a great many 
preparations to remedy the results of these terrible accidents. It appears 
that the Cetonia, dried and reduced to powder, has produced on many occa- 
sions good effects. This is the recipe which an inhabitant of Saratow pub- 
lished in a Russian journal, adding that he had employed it for thirty years, 
that not one of the patients treated by him had died, and that his remedy 
could be employed with success in all the phases of the disease. In spring 
they search at the bottom of the nests of the wood-ant for certain white 
larva?, which they carefully preserve in a pot, together with the earth in 
which they were found, till the moment of their metamorphosis, which takes 
place in the month of May. The insect, which is the common Rose Beetle, 
is killed, dried, and kept in pots hermetically sealed, so that it may preserve 
the strong odor which it exhales in spring, which seems to be a necessary 
condition of the remedy proving efficient. When a case of hydrophobia 
presents itself, they reduce to powder some of these, and spread this powder 
on a piece of bread and butter, and make the patient eat it. Every part 
of the insect must enter into the composition of this powder, which, for this 
reason, cannot be very fine. During the whole time a patient is under treat- 
ment, he must avoid drinking as much as possible, or, if his thirst is very 
great, he must only drink a little pure water ; but he may eat. Generally, 
this remedy produces sleep, which may last for thirty-six hours, and which 
must not be disturbed. When the patient wakes, he is, they say, cured. 
The bite must be treated locally, with the usual surgical appliances. 

As to the dose of the remedy, that depends on the age of the patient and 
the development of the disease. They give to an adult, immediately after 
the bite, from two to three beetles ; to a child, from one to two ; to a per- 
son in whom the disease has already declared itself, from four to five. 
Given to a person in good health, the remedy, however, would be the least 
dangerous. In cases in which the symptoms of hydrophobia show them- 
selves some days after the employment of the remedy, they recommence the 
treatment. They have also tried to prepare this remedy with insects col- 
lected, not in their larva, but in the imago state, by catching them on 
flowers ; and it seems that these attempts have succeeded. According to 


M. Bogdanoff, in many governorships of the soutli of Russia, the lovers of 
sporting are in the habit of making their dogs, from time to time, swallow 
(as a preservative) half of a Cetonia, with bread or a little wine. 

Every one in those countries is persuaded of the efficacy of this means 
for stopping the development of the disease. One ought not, perhaps, to 
reject a belief so wide-spread and deeply rooted without some experiments 
to guarantee us in doing so ; for medicine does not yet possess any remedy 
against hydrophobia. It might not, then, be useless to try this. 

Two smaller species than the liose Beetle, the C. stictica, and the C. hir- 
tella, which has yellowish hairs, live on the flowers of thistles. Western 
Africa, the Cape, and Madagascar are very rich in species of Cetonia 1 . 
Among the Cetoniadce is the genus Goliathus — gigantic insects, which inhabit 
Africa. Their total length sometimes attains from three to five inches. 
Their colors are generally a dull white or yellow, which lias nothing metallic 
about it, with spots of a velvety-black ; these are due to a sort of a down, 
of an extreme thinness, and which very easily comes off. The head of these 
enormous Coleoptera is generally cut or scooped out, and is adorned some- 
times with one or two horns. Their legs, strong and robust, are armed 
with spurs, and sometimes present on their exterior sharp indentations, 
which give to these insects a crabbed physiognomy, which their inoffensive 
habits are far from justifying. All these horns, and all these teeth, which 
look so terrible, are nothing, in fact, with a great number of these insects, 
but simple ornaments. They compose the picturesque uniform of the males. 
It is equivalent to the bear-skin caps, the flaming helmets, and the bullion- 
fringed epaulets of our soldiers. The dress of the female Goliathus is much 
more modest, as is becoming to the sex. 

Gestijupks. — As the name indicates, these insects make holes in the 
ground, which they scoop out in fields, generally under the excrement of 
beeves, which has grown dry. They fly at night with a dull, drowsy, buzz- 
ing sound. The 

G. Stercorurius, the Shard-borne Beetle, has been immortalized by the 
great dramatic poet, who makes Macbeth exclaim, — 

" Ere, to black Hecate's summons, 
The Shard-borne Beetle, with his drowsy hums, 
Hath run;; night's yawning peal, there shall be done 
A died of dreadful note ! " 

In the section of Coleoptera named Ileteromera are found the Can- 
tharidice, or Blistering Beetles. There are several genera, possessing, in 
various degrees, the same habits and vesicating qualities. They counterfeit 
death when seized, and many of them at such times emit a yellowish liquid 


from the joints of the feet, which is caustic and of a penetrating odor. The 
most important group of the Cantharidice is the genus 

Canthakis. — The Cantharides of commerce ( Oantharis vesicatoria) 
are of a beautiful green, attain to a size of four fifths of an inch, and 
are found on ash trees, lilacs, and other shrubs. Commerce, for a long 
time, brought them from Spain, and some still come from that country : 
hence the common name of Spanish Fly. As they live in great numbers 
together, collecting them is easier and less expensive than would be that of 
other species of the same family which are not gregarious, but which have 
the same medicinal properties. The presence of the Cantharides is mani- 
fested by the strong odor which they diffuse to some distance. When, by 
aid of this smell, they are discovered, generally settled on an ash, they are 
collected in the following manner : Very early in the morning, a cloth of 
li'dit tissue is stretched out at the foot of the tree, and the branches are 
shaken, which causes the insects to fall. These, numbed by the cold of the 
night, do not try to escape. When there is a sufficient quantity, the four 
corners are drawn up, and the whole plunged into a tub of vinegar diluted 
with water. This immersion causes the death of the insects. They then 
carry them to a loft, or under a very airy shed. To dry them they spread 
them out on hurdles covered with linen or paper; and, from time to time, 
to facilitate the operation, they are moved about, either with a stick, or with 
the hand, which is more convenient ; but it is then necessary to take the pre- 
caution of putting on gloves ; for, if touched with the naked hand, they 
would cause more or less serious blisters. The same precaution must be 
observed in gathering them. 

When the Cantharides are quite dry, they put them into wooden boxes, 
or vessels of glass or earthen ware, hermetically sealed, and preserve them 
in a place protected from damp. Witli these precautions they may be kept, 
for a long while, without losing any of their caustic properties. Dumeril 
made blisters of Cantharides which had been twenty-four years in store, and 
which had lost none of their energy. When dry, they are so light that a 
kilogramme contains nearly thirteen thousand insects. Aretius, a phy- 
sician who flourished in Eome in the first century of our era, seems to have 
been the first to employ Cantharides, reduced to powder, as a means of ves- 
ication. Hippocrates administered them internally in cases of dropsy, 
apoplexy, and jaundice. But it is pretty nearly established that the Can- 
tharides of the ancients were not the same species used at the present day. 
They were probably a kindred species — the Mylablis chicorii. A blister- 
ing principle has been extracted from these insects, called " Canthandine." 
This organic product presents itself under the form of little shining flakes, 
without color, soluble in ether or oil. One atom of this matter applied to 


the skin, and particularly to the lower lip, makes the epidermis rise instan- 
taneously, and produces a small blister tilled with watery liquid. In spite 
of the corrosive principle which the Cantharis contains, it is attacked, like 
other dried insects, by the Dermestes and the Antlirenus, which feast on 
them without suffering the smallest inconvenience. 

C. Vittata is a species peculiar to our own country, and quite equal to 
the foreign insect in vesicating power. It inhabits the stocks and leaves of 
the potato. 

In the last tribe of Coleoptera is placed the genus 

( i k'CINELLA. — These very diminutive insects appear to inhabit all parts of 
the world. They live upon trees and plants, and beneath the bark of decay- 
ing trees, and under stones. They arc easily known by the hemispherical form 
of their bodies, the number and arrangement of the spots on the elytra, 
which resemble a kind of inlaid work of black upon yellow or orange, and 
also by the quickness of their motions. These little insects are not only 
inoffensive, but extremely useful to man, as they destroy large numbers of 
plant lice and other small animals injurious to vegetation. They are the 
delight of children everywhere, by whom they are called Lady-birds. In 
the United States and England, the children greet the appearance of one 
with the couplet, — 

"Lady-bird! Lady-bird! fly away homo! 
Your house is on fire ! your children cry, ' Come ! ' " 

In France they call it the "Bite d bun Dieio," i. e., " the creature of the 
{rood God." 


The name of the Order Orthoptera signifies "straight wings," and refers 
to the manner in which the wings are folded on the back of the insect. All 
orthopterous insects undergo a semi-complete transformation, the metamor- 
phosis consisting merely of the increase and development of the wing-covers 
and wings, which are seen in a rudimentary form in the pupa. In all other 
respects the pupa and larva resemble the matured insect, eating and walking 
in the same manner. They are wholly terrestrial, and mostly vegetable 
eaters, although some are omnivorous. 

They arc divided into two families — Cursoria (Runners) , and Saltatoria 
(Leapers) . The first section comprises three genera. 

Fokficula. — The lower wings of this insect are very broad, and fold at 
the same time like a fan, and doubled up. The abdomen terminates in a 


kind of pair of pincers, resembling those which the jewellers used formerly 
for piercing the ears, preparatory to inserting ear-rings, whence the French 
name of this creature, Perce Oreille, or Ear Piercer, and the English name 
Earwig. These insects live chiefly on the petals and stamens of flowers. 
They shun the light, and dwell in the cracks of trees, or under bark and 
stones. The female guards her eggs with much care, and watches over her 
larvae, for a considerable time, with maternal solicitude. 

Blatta. — These Orthoptera have a flat, broad body, the thorax very 
much developed, the antenna 1 very long, and the legs thin but strong, which 
enable them to run with remarkable quickness. They diffuse around them 
a sickening odor, which often hangs about objects they have touched. Aris- 
tophanes, the comic Greek poet, mentions this peculiarity in his comedy of 
"The Peace." They come out mostly at night, and hide themselves during 
the day. They are the most cosmopolitan of all insects. Carried over in 
ships, they perpetuate everywhere, like weeds ! Persian powder, com- 
posed of pulverized pyrethra, is an excellent means to employ for their 
destruction. A jjaste made of sugar of lead, flour, and molasses will also 
destroy them. 

The generic name Nulla, is derived from the Greek word Blapiein, which 
signifies to damage, and well indicates the destructive character of these 
insects. These disagreeable animals devour our eatables, abounding in 
kitchens, in bakers' shops, on board merchant vessels, &c. Their flattened 
bodies allow them easily to introduce themselves into the cracks of cases or 
barrels; so that, to be safe against their attacks, it is necessary, on long 
voyages, to shut up the goods in ziuc-lincd boxes, or cases made of sheet 
iron well soldered together. 

Chammisso relates that the sailors having opened some barrels, which 
should have contained rice and wheat, found them filled with German 
Cockroaches — Blatta Germanica. This transubstantiation was nut very 
agreeable to the crew ! Other naturalists have seen this insect invading by 
millions bottles which had contained oil. The Cockroach is very fond also 
of the blacking on boots, and devours leather and all. One pupa eats the 
skin cast off by another pupa ; but a Cockroach has never been known to 
attack another with a view to eating him afterwards. 

The Kaherlac Americana is from one inch to one inch and a quarter 
long. It infests ships, running about at night over the sleeping passengers, 
and devouring the food. They are to be met with in all parts of the world. 
They abound particularly in the warm parts of America. 

The Blatta Oriental is is more commonly met with than the above. It 
swarms in kitchens, and bakers' shops, provision shops, &c, where it hides 
NO. xvm. 90 


in the cracks of the walls, or against the hinges of the doors. It is a small, 
hideous animal, of a repulsive smell, and of a reddish-brown color. It is a 
little larger than the Blatta Americana. 

In France it is called by various names, such as Cafard, T'anetiere, 
N'oirot, and Bete noir. If, in the middle of the night, you suddenly enter, 
with a light, into the down-stairs kitchen, you will often see these little 
beasts running about on the table, and devouring the remains of the food 
with astonishing rapidity. 

The largest specimens of the "■onus of which we arc now treating is the 
Kakerlac insignis, which inhabits Cayenne and, and in length some- 
times exceeds an inch and three quarters, and in the extent of its wings four 
inches and a half. 

It is principally in hot countries that the Cockroaches do the greatest 
damage. In the Antilles, of which they are the pest, it is affirmed that they 
can, in one single night, bore holes through trunks, through cases, and 
through bags, and destroy objects which were supposed to be in perfect 
safety. Sometimes the walls, the flours, the beds, the tables, everything, 
in short, is infested by them ; and it is impossible to find a way of preserv- 
ing the food from their repulsive touch. 

Mantis. — These insects are inhabitants of temperate or hot climates, 
and reside chiefly on plants, the leaves of which they resemble in color. 
They are pretty insects, of very different habits from the preceding. They 
alone of the Orthoptera are carnivorous. They eat live insects, seizing their 
prey as it passes by them. They rest generally on shrubs, remaining for 
hours together perfectly motionless, the better to deceive other insects which 
are to become their victims. "It is this fixed, and, as it were, meditative at- 
titude which has gained for them the name of Mantis, a Creek word, signi- 
fying 'diviner,' as it was imagined that in this attitude they interrogated 
the future. The manner in which they hold their long front legs, raised like 
arms to heaven, has also contributed to make this superstitious notion be- 
lieved, and sufficiently explains the names given to diverse species of Man- 
tida\ — such as JShin, iSui/it, Preacher, Suppliant, Mendicant, &c. 
Caillaud, the traveller, tells us that, in Central Africa, a Mantis is an 
object of worship." 

According to Sparmann, another species is worshipped by the Hotten- 
tots. If by chance a Mantis should settle on a person, this person is con- 
sidered by them to have received a particular favor from Heaven, and from 
that moment takes rank among the saints ! 

In France the country people believe that these insects point out the way 
to travellers. MoufFet, a naturalist of the seventeenth century, says on this 
subject, in a description of the Mantis, — 


" This little creature is considered of so divine a nature, that to a child 
who asks it its way, it points it out by stretching out one of its legs, and 
rarely or never makes a mistake.'' 

In the eyes of the Languedoc peasants the Mantis religiosa is almost 
sacred. They call it Prega Diou (Prie Dieu), and believe firmly that it 
performs its devotions — its attitude, when it is on the watch for its prey, re- 
sembling that of prayer. Settled on the ground, it raises its head and 
thorax, clasps together the joints of its front legs, and remains thus motion- 
less for hours together. But only let an imprudent fly come within reach 
of our devotee, and you will see it stealthily approach it, like a cat who is 
watching a mouse, and with so much precaution that you can scarcely see 
that it is moving. Then, all of a sudden, as quick as lightning, it seizes its 
victim between its legs, provided with sharp spines, which cross each other, 
conveys it to its mouth, and devours it. Our make-believe Nun, Preacher, 
our Prega Diou, is nothing better than a patient watcher and pitiless de- 

Allied to the above is the subgenus Phasma — the Spectres. They have 
a very curious, filiform body, resembling a stick. Some species are a foot 
in length, and, notwithstanding their remarkable and monstrous shapes, are 
very harmless creatures. They love to repose in the sun, with their long 
stick-like legs stretched out in front. From their extraordinary appearance 
they are called "Devil's Horses," "Phantoms," and "Walking-sticks." 

The second family of Orthoptera comprises the Saltatoria, or Leapers 
— the Crickets, Grasshoppers, and Locusts. 

All these insects resemble each other in the disproportion which exists be- 
tween their hind legs and the other pairs. Another characteristic which is 
common to them consists in the song of the males. This song, so well known, 
which seems to have for its object to call the females, is nothing but a sort 
of stridulation, or screeching, produced by the rubbing together of the wing 
cases, or elytra. But the mechanism by which this is produced varies a 
little in all the three kinds. With the Crickets, the whole surface of the 
wing cases is covered with thick nervures, very prominent and very hard, 
which cause the noise the insect produces in rubbing the elytra one against 
the other. With the Locusts, there exists only at the base of the elytra a 
transparent membrane, called the mirror, which is furnished with prominent 
nervures, and produces the screeching noise. And, lastly, in the Crickets, 
the thighs and elytra are provided with very hard ridges. The thighs, be- 
ing passed rapidly and with force over the nervures of the elytra, produce 
the sound in the same way as a fiddle-bow when drawn across a violin. 
With all these insects the male alone is cudowed with the faculty of pro- 
ducing sound. 


The ('rickets and Grasshoppers have very long, thin antenna?, whilst the 
Locusts have short antenna}, and cither flattened or filiform, or swelling out 
at one extremity, like a club. The female of the first two is provided with 
an ovipositor in the shape of an auger. 

In the Linnsean system these insects composed the single genus 

Grylltjs. —Although later systemists have separated them into several 
genera, yet, as the nomenclature of the Swedish naturalist, for the most 
part, still prevails, I shall consider them according to his arrangement. 

G. Cuiiijirstris. — The Field Cricket. This insect loves dry and hot 
situations, where it constructs its dwelling, in which it lies in wait for its 
prey. It leaves this retreat only at night. It is very timid, and at the 
least noise ceases its song. If it is stationed on the side of its hole, it re- 
treats into it the moment any one approaches. 

The holes of these crickets are well known to country children, who take 
these insects by presenting a straw to them. The pugnacious cricket seizes 
it directly with its mandibles, and lets itself be drawn out of its hole. It 
is this which has given rise to the saying, "J greater fool than n cricket." 
It is very susceptible of cold, and always makes the opening of its hole 
towards the south. It lives on insects and herbs. 

G. Domesticus. — The House Cricket. This species is about half an 
inch long, of an ashy color, and is to be met with principally in bakers' 
simps and country kitchens, where it hides itself, during the day, in the 
crevices of the walls, or at the back of the fireplaces. It eats Hour, and 
also, perhaps, the little insects which live in flour. 

"The habits of the House Cricket are nocturnal, like those of its congener 
of the fields. It is only at night that it leaves its retreat to seek its food. 
When it is exposed against its will to the light of day, it appears to be in 
a state of torpor. This insect reminds one of the owl, among birds, not 
only from its habit of avoiding the light, but also from its monotonous song, 
which the vulgar consider — one docs not know why — a foreboding of ill-luck 
to the house in which it is heard. Formerly this singular prejudice was 
much deeper rooted than it is at present. The song of the cricket has merely 
the object of calling the female." 

G. Sylvestris. — Cricket of the Woods. This insect is much smaller 
than the above, and is met with in great numbers in the woods, where its 
leaps sometimes produce the noise of drops of rain. 

G. Vulgaris. — ■ The Mole Cricket. This species is an inch and a half 
Ling, and of a brown color. These crickets are distinguished from all other 
insects by the structure of their fore legs, which are wide and indented in 
such a manner as to resemble a hand, analogous to that of the mole. This 
hand betrays its habits much better than our hands betray ours. One need 





not be much of a fortune-teller to read on it its digging habits. They make 
use of their hands, indeed, as spades, with which they hollow out subter- 
ranean galleries, and accumulate at the side of the entrance-hole the rubbish 
thus drawn. Their French name comes from the old French word courtil/e, 
which means garden. It reminds one that these are the favorite haunts of 
these destructive insects. 

If the Mole Crickets have spades to their front legs, their hind legs are 
very little developed, so that it would be perfectly impossible for them to 
jump, particularly as their large abdomen would hinder their so doing. The 
wings are broad, and fold back in the form of a fan ; they make little use 
of them, and it is only at nightfall that the Mole Cricket is seen to disport 
himself, describing curves of no great height in the air. It is found princi- 
pally in cultivated land, kitchen gardens, nursery gardens, wheat fields, &c, 
where it scoops out for itself an oval cavity communicating with the surface 
by a vertical hole. On this hole abut numerous horizontal galleries, more 
or less inclined, which permit the insect to gain its retreat by a great many 
roads when pursued. 

It is easy to understand that an insect which undermines land in this way 
must cause great damage to cultivation. Whether the crops serve it for 
food or not, they are not the less destroyed by its underground burrowings. 
Lands infested by the Mole Cricket are recognizable by the color of the 
vegetation, which is yellow and withered ; and the rubbish which these 
miners heap up at the side of the openings leading to their galleries, resem- 
bling mole-hills in miniature, betrays their presence to the farmer. To 
destroy them, they pour water or other liquids into their nests, or else they 
bury, at different distances, vessels filled with water, in which they drown 
themselves. From the month of April the males betake themselves to the 
entrance of their burrows, and make their cay of appeal. Their notes are 
slow, vibrating, and monotonous, and repeated, for a long time, without 
interruption, and somewhat resembling the cry of the owl or the goat- 

dr. Viridissima. — The Great Green Grasshopper. This insect is two 
inches in length, entirely green, and without spots. 

G. Locusta. — The Locusts. The Locustidce are an exceedingly numer- 
ous family, and have been arranged by naturalists in numerous genera. 
Several varieties are peculiar to this country ; one of the most remarkable 
is the " Seventeen-Year Locust," so called from the circumstance that they 
appear once in seventeen years. They sometimes fill the air, like clouds, 
and devour every green thing in their way. They emerge from the ground 
near the first of May, in the night, and in the pupa state. They begin to 
lay eggs about the first of June, on the twigs of trees ; and as soon as the 


young attain their growth in the grub state, they fall to the ground, and 
make their way two or three feet under the surface, to undergo their change 
into the pupa form. As soon as they undergo their last metamorphosis, 
they make their appearance, and commence their destructive career. 

Many of the grasshopper tribe, especially of the musical kinds, are erro- 
neously designated, by the common people, by the name of Locust. These 
musical insects are usually of a green color and nocturnal habits. They 
conceal themselves, during the day, in the grass, or foliage of trees ; but at 
night they quit their hiding-places, and the exhilarated male makes the air 
resound with the song of love, by which he seeks to charm his silent partner. 
One of the best known of the insects is the "Katydid" (Locusta concava, 
Say). Its large, oblong-oval, concave wing-cases enwrap the abdomen, 
and meet at their edges, above and below, very like the two sides of a pea- 
pod. Perched on the topmost twig of a tree, the insect begins its nocturnal 
call by separating, closing, and reopening his wing-cases. The friction of 
the tabouret frames upon each other thrice produces three distinct notes, 
which is the usual number, although sometimes only two are given. The 
mechanism of these organs reverberates and increases the sound to such a 
degree, that it may be heard, in the stillness of the night, a quarter of a 
mile. At intervals of three or four minutes, the joyous insect repeats his 
sonorous chant, while rival songsters echo the notes, and the woods resound 
with the cry of " Extty did! Katy didn't!" through the entire night. 

The most destructive variety is the Migratory Locust, which is very 
common in Africa, India, and throughout the whole of the East. This 
insect is greenish, with transparent elytra of dirty gray, whitish wings, and 
pink legs. A second variety (the Italian Locust) also does a great deal of 
damage in the South. All these locusts undergo five moults, which take 
six weeks each ; the last takes place at the end of the hot weather, towards 
the autumn. 

It is especially in warm climates that they become such fearful pests to 
agriculture. Wherever they alight, they change the most fertile country 
into an arid desert. They are seen coming in innumerable bands, which 
from afar have the appearance of stormy clouds, even hiding the sun. 

As far and as wide as the eye can reach, the sky is black, and the soil is 
inundated with them. The noise of these millions of wings may be com- 
pared to the sound of a cataract. When this fearful army alights upon the 
trees, the branches break, and in the course of a few hours, and over an 
extent of many leagues, all vegetation has disappeared ; the wheat is gnawed 
to its very roots ; the trees are stripped of their leaves ; everything has been 
destroyed, gnawed down, and devoured. When nothing more is left, the 
terrible host rises, as if in obedience to some given signal, and takes its de- 


parture, leaving behind it despair and famine. It goes to look for fresh food — 
seeking whom, or rather, in this case, what, it may devour ! During the 
year succeeding that in which a country has been devastated by showers of 
locusts, damage from these insects is the less to be feared; for it happens 
often that, after having ravaged everything, they die of hunger before the 
laying season begins. 

But their death becomes the cause of a greater evil. Their innumerable 
carcasses, lying in heaps and heated by the sun, are not long in entering 
into a state of putrefaction ; epidemic diseases, caused by the poisonous 
gases emanating from them, soon break out and decimate the population. 
These locusts are bred in the deserts of Arabia and Tartary, and the east 
winds carry them into Africa and Europe. Ships in the eastern parts of 
the Mediterranean are sometimes covered with them at a great distance from 
the land. "Pliny relates that, in many places in Greece, a law obliged the 
inhabitants to wage war against the locusts three times a year ; that is to 
say, in their three states of egg, larva, and adult. In the Isle of Lemnos 
the citizens had to pay as taxes so many measures of locusts. In the year 
170 before our era, they devastated the environs of Capua. In the year of 
our Lord 181, they committed great ravages in the north of Italy and in 

"In 1G90 locusts arrived in Poland and Lithuania by three different ways, 
and, as it were, in three different bodies. 'They were to be found in cer- 
tain places where they had died,' writes the Abbe" Ussares, an eye-witness, 
lying on one another in heaps of four feet in height. Those which were 
alive perched upon the trees, bending their branches to the ground, so great 
was their number. The people thought that they had Hebrew letters on 
their wings. A rabbi professed to be able to read on them words which sig- 
nified God's wrath. The rains killed these insects ; they infected the air ; 
and the cattle, which ate them in the grass, died immediately.' 

"In 1709 locusts stopped the army of Charles XII., King of Sweden, 
as it was retreating from Bessarabia, on its defeat at Pultowa. The king 
thought that he was assailed by a hail-storm when a host of these insects 
beat violently against his army, as it was passing through a defile, so that 
men and horses were blinded by this living hail, falling from a cloud which 
hid the sun. The arrival of the locusts had been announced by a whistling 
sound like that which precedes a tempest ; and the noise of their flight quite 
overpowered the noise made by the Black Sea. All the country round about 
was soon laid waste on their route. During the same year a great part of 
Europe was invaded by these pests, the newspapers of the day being full 
of accounts relating to this public calamity. In 1755 Portugal was attacked 
by them. This was the year of the earthfpiake of Lisbon, and all sorts of 
plagues seemed at this time to rage furiously in that unfortunate country." 



The Hemiptera are furnished with a mouth fitted only for sucking. • The 
delicate threads, of which the sucker is formed, enable them to pierce the 
vessels of plants and animals ; and the nutritive fluid extracted is drawn 
up the main canal into the oesophagus. Most of these insects have coria- 
ceous or crustaceous wing-covers, with the posterior extremity membranous, 
or semi-membranous. They undergo no transformation except in the de- 
velopment of wings and an increase of the size of the body. 

The name of the order, Hemiptera, signifies half wings, and refers to. 
the peculiar structure of those organs. The family is divided into two sec-* 
tions — the Heteroptera (different wings), and the llomoptera (similar 
wings). The insects of the first section have the wings and wing-covera 
always horizontal, or slightly inclined, and compose the two divisions Geo- 
corisoe (Land Bugs), and Hydrocorisce (Water Bugs). 

The first division, Land Bugs, compose the three genera — Cimex, liedu- 
vius, and Hydrometra. 

Cimex. — Some of the species have the sheath of the sucker composed of 
four distinct and exposed joints, and the upper lip prolonged beyond the 
head, like an awl. They suck other insects, and emit a very disagreeable 

C. Ornatus, known as the Red-Cabbage Bug, is very commonly found 
on the cabbage and most of the cruciferous plants. It is variegated with 
red and black, and its colors are subject to numerous variations. 

C. Griseus ( Raphigoster griseus) is common throughout all the tem- 
perate regions of the world. In autumn, these bugs are frequently to be 
found on raspberries, to which they impart their disagreeable smell. They 
are also to be found in quantities on the mullein when that plant is in 
flower. The upper parts of the head are of a grayish-brown, sometimes 
slightly purple. The coriaceous part of the hemelytra is of a purple tint, 
but the membranous part is brown. All these parts are covered with black 
S2)ots, which are only to be seen with a magnifying glass. The wings are 
blackish. The under part of the whole body and the feet are of a light and 
rather yellowish-gray, with a considerable number of small, black spots. 
The abdomen is black above, and it is bordered with alternate black and 
white spots. 

O. Lectularius. — The Bed-bug. This extremely offensive insect abounds 
in dirty houses, principally in towns, and, above all, those in warm coun- 
tries. It lives in beds, in wood-work, and paper-hangings. There is no 
crack, however narrow it may be, into which it is unable to slip. It is 


nocturnal, shunning the light. " JVbcturnum foetidum animal" says Lin- 
naeus. Its body is oval, about the fifth of an inch in length, flat, soft, of 
a brown color, and covered with little hairs. Its head is provided with two 
hairy antennae, and two round black eyes, and has a short beak, curved 
directly under its thorax, and lying in a shallow groove when the animal is 
at rest. This beak, composed of three joints, contains four thin, straight, 
and sharp hairs. The thorax is dilated at the sides. The abdomen is very 
much developed, orbicular, composed of eight segments, very much de- 
pressed, and easily crushed by the fingers. The hemelytra are rudimentary. 
It has no membranous wings. The tarsi have three articulations, of which 
the last is provided with two strong hooks. 

"These animals," says Moquin Tandon, in his " Zoiilogic Medicate," 
"do not draw up the sanguineous fluid by suction, properly so called, as 
leeches do. The organization of their buccal apparatus does not allow of 
this. The hairs of the beak, applied the one against the other, exercise a 
sort of alternate motion, which draws the blood up into the oesophagus, very 
much in the same manner as water rises in a chain pump. This rising is 
assisted by the viscous nature of the fluid, and, above all, by the globules 
it contains." The part of the skin which the bug has pierced, producing a 
painful sensation, is easily recognized by a little reddish mark, presenting 
in its centre a dark spot. Generally a little blister rises on the point 
pierced; and sometimes, if the bug bites are numerous, these blisters be- 
come confluent, and resemble a sort of eruption. These disgusting insects 
lav, towards the month of May, oblong, whitish eggs, having a small aper- 
ture, through which the larva comes out. The larva differs from the insect 
in its perfect state, in its color, which is pale or yellowish, and in having no 
hemelytra or wings. This insect exists in nearly all countries, although it 
is rare or almost unknown in the coldest regions. In the United States 
it is a universal pest. The towns of Central Europe arc the most infested 
by this parasite, but those of the north are not completely free from its 
presence. The Marquis de Custine assures us that, at St. Petersburg, he 
found them numerous. It is found also in Scotland ; is very rare in the 
south of Europe, and seldom seen in Italy, where it is, however, replaced 
by other insects, more dangerous or more annoying. 

It has been said that this bug was introduced into Europe from America ; 
but Aristotle, Pliny, and Dioscorides mention its existence. It is certain, 
however, that it was unknown in England till the beginning of the sixteenth 
century. The celebrated Spanish naturalist, Azara, lias remarked that the 
bug does not infest man in his savage state, but only when congregated to- 
gether in a state of civilization, and in houses, as in Europe and America. 
From this he concluded that the bug was not created till long after man, 

NO. XIX. 91 


when, after many centuries had elapsed since his appearance on the globe, 
men formed themselves into societies, into republics, or little states. 

The bug is not a gluttonous insect, always bloodthirsty ; on the contrary, 
its sobriety is remarkable. It is only after a prolonged fast that it bites 
animals ; and Andouin has stated that it can live a year, and even two 
years, without food. 

Reduvids. — This genus has the proboscis short, very acute, and capable 
of pinching strongly. Some of the species produce a noise similar to that 
made by the Capricorn Beetle. 

It. Personatus. — This insect inhabits the interior of houses, where it 
lives upon Hies and other insects. 

"This bug," says Charles de Geer, "has, in the pupal condition, or 
before its wings are developed, an appearance altogether hideous and revolt- 
ing. One would take it, at the first glance, for one of the ugliest spiders. 
That which above all renders it so disagreeable to the sight is, that it is 
entirely covered, and, as it were, enveloped with a grayish matter, which 
is nothing else but the dust which one sees in the corners of badly-swept 
rooms, and which is generally mixed with sand and particles of wood, or 
silk, or other similar matters which come from furniture and clothes, render- 
ing the legs of this insect thick and deformed, and giving to its whole body 
a very singular appearance. 

"What instincts! what habits! Under this borrowed costume, under 
this cloak, which is no part of itself, the insect, as it were masked, has 
become twice its real size. What becomes of its disguise ? and how dues 
it manage to walk? Of what use to it is this dirty and grotesque fancy 

"It walks as last, when it likes, as other bugs ; but generally its walk is 
slow, and it moves with measured steps. After having taken one step for- 
ward, it stops for a while, and then takes another, leaving, at each move- 
ment, the opposite leg in repose : it goes on thus continually, step after step 
in succession, which gives it the appearance of walking as if by jerks, and 
in measure. It makes almost the same sort of movement with its antenna 1 , 
which it moves also at intervals and by jerks. All these movements have 
a more singular appearance than it is possible for us to describe." 

By means of this disguise, it can approach little animals, which become 
its prey, such as fleas, spiders, and bed-bugs. 

To see what a curious appearance the Reduvius presents, one should take 
off its borrowed costume. Then it will be seen to be an entirely different 
animal, and one which has nothing repulsive about it. With the exception 
of the hemelytra anil wings, which it has not yet got, all its parts have the 
form which they are to have later, after the wings are developed. 


Hydrometea (from hudor, water, and metrein, to measure). — Tliese 
insects have linear bodies ; the head, which forms nearly a third of the 
entire length, is furnished with two long antennas, and armed with a thin, 
hair-like beak. The legs are long, and of equal length. 

11. Stagnorum. — The body and legs of this species are of a ferruginous 
color, the hemelytra a dull brown, and the wings hyaline, or glassy, and 
slightly blackish. Geoffrey says that it resembles a long needle, and calls 
it the Xeedle Bug. The reader may have often seen the Stagnorum walk- 
ing by jerks on the surface of the water in a manner not unlike the move- 
ments of skaters. 

The second family of the Heteroptera is composed of the Water Dugs. 
These insects have the antennae inserted beneath the eyes, by which they are 
concealed, being shorter than the head. They are all aquatic and carnivo- 
rous, seizing other insects with their fore legs. Their proboscis is sharp, 
and is a powerful weapon ; their eyes are of remarkable size. They coin- 
pose the two genera — JVejKi (Water Scorpions), and JS^otone.cta (Boat- 
men) . 

The second section of the Hemiptera (IIoMorTEKA) differs considerably 
from the foregoing. The proboscis arises from between the two fore feet. 
The wing-covers are roof-like, semi-membranous, and throughout of the 
same consistence. All the insects of this section feed entirely on the fluid 
of vegetables. They are divided into three families — Cicadarice, Aphidii, 
and Gallinsecta. 

Cicada. — The animals comprised in this group have transparent wing- 
covers, and veined. The species arc numerous, especially in the warmer 
regions of the globe, where the males fill the air with their noisy music. 
Some are adorned with brilliant hues, while others are destitute of color. 
Their song is monotonous and disagreeable, and yet the ancient Greeks 
revered the insect as the most mellifluous of singers, and poets and philos- 
ophers united in celebrating its musical qualities. It was with them a 
symbol of nobility, and Cicadas of gold ornamented the hair of those who 
laid claim to high birth. 

The musical apparatus of the Cicada is somewhat remarkable, and we 
are indebted to a French naturalist (Reaumur) for the discovery of its 
exact mechanism. He shows us that it is not in the throat that the Cicada's 
organ of sound is placed, but on the abdomen. ''On examining the abdo- 
men of the male of a large species of Cicada one remarks on it two horny 
plates, of pretty good size, which are not found on the females ; each plate 
has one side straight ; the rest of its outline is rounded. It is by the side 
which is rectilinear that the plate is fixed immediately underneath the third 
pair of legs. It can be slightly raised with an effort by two spine-like 


processes, each of which presses upon one of the plates, and, when it is 
raised, prevents it from being elevated too much, and causes it to fall back 
again immediately. 

" If the two plates arc removed and turned over on the thorax, and "the 
parts which they hide laid bare, one is struck by the appearance which is 
presented — one cannot doubt that all one sees has been made to enable the 
Cicada to sing. When one compares the parts which have been arranged 
so that it may be able to sing, as we may say, from its belly, with the organs 
of our throats, one finds that ours have not been made with more care than 
those by means of which the Cicada gives forth sounds which are not always 

" We here perceive a cavity in the anterior portion of the abdomen, and 
which is divided into two principal cells by a horny triangle. The bottom 
of each cell offers to children, who catch the Cicada, a spectacle which 
amuses them, and which may be admired by men who know how to make 
the best use of their reason. The children think they see a little mirror of 
the thinnest and most transparent glass, or that a liltle blade of the most 
beautiful talc is set in the bottom of each of these little cells. That which 
one might sec, if this were the case, woidd in no way differ from what one 
actually sees ; the membrane, which is stretched out at the bottom of t ho 
cells, does not yield in transparency either to glass or to talc ; and if one looks 
at it obliquely, one sees in it all the beautiful colors of the rainbow. It 
seems as if the Cicada has two glazed windows through which we can see into 
the interior of its body." 

The Cicadas remain on trees, whose sap they suck by means of their 
sharp-pointed beaks. It is difficult enough to catch them, for, owing to 
their large, highly-developed wings, they Hy rapidly away on the slightest 

They inhabit the south of Europe; the whole of Africa, from north to 
south; America, in the same latitudes as Europe; the whole of the centre 
and south of Asia, Xew Holland, and the islands of Oceanica. The Cicada, 
which in hot climates always exposes itself to the ardor of the most scorch- 
ing sun, is not found in temperate or cold regions. The consequence is, 
that the southern nations know it very well, whilst in the north the large, 
green grasshopper, which is so common in those regions, and whose song 
closely resembles that of the Cicada, is commonly taken for it. 

Another remarkable group of the Cicadariace is the genus 

FuLGOEA. — There are several species, some of which, especially in South 
America, are very large. They have very large, elongated heads, which 
nearly equals three quarters of the rest of the body. This prolongation is 
horizontal, vesiculous, enlarged to about the same breadth as the head, and 


presents above a very great gibbosity. The antennae are short, with a 
globular second articulation, and a small terminal hair. 

F. Lantemaria. — The Lantern Fly is yellow, varied with black. The 
elytra are of a greenish-yellow, sprinkled with black ; the wings, of the 
same color, have at the extremity a large spot, resembling an eye, which is 
surrounded by a brown circle very broad in front. It inhabits Guiana. 
This remarkable insect enjoys a great renown on account of its luminous 
properties. Madame De Merian thus speaks of this peculiar character : — 

" Some Indians having one day brought me a great number of the Lan- 
tern Flies, I shut them up in a large box, not knowing, then, that they gave 
light in the night. Hearing a noise, I sprang out of bed, and had a candle 
brought. I very soon discovered that the noise proceeded from the box, 
which I hurriedly opened ; but, alarmed at seeing emerging from it a flame, 
or, to speak more correctly, as many flames as there were insects, I at fust 
let it fall. Having recovered from my astonishment, or rather from my 
fright, I caught all my insects again, and admired this singular property of 

The second family of the Homopterous Hemiptera, the Aphidii, contains 
some singular groups, one of the most extraordinary of which is the genus 

Anns. — The Plant Lice. These insects are small, and have the wing- 
covers and wings oval or triangular, the antennas longer than the thorax, 
and the posterior portion of the abdomen furnished with two horns. They 
live chiefly in society, upon trees and plants, which they suck with their pro- 
boscis. They are not organized for leaping, and crawl but slowly. They 
multiply with astonishing fecundity, and often are very injurious to vegeta- 
tion, covering the leaves of the rose, oak, ajiple, and other trees and plants 
by millions. The two horns at the extremity of the body, in several of the 
species, are tubes, from which they have the power of ejecting, at will, small 
drops of a transparent, honey-like fluid, of which the ants are very fond, 
and which they appear voluntarily to yield to them, whence they are some- 
times called the "Ants' Cows." M. Iluber describes the manner in which 
these insects are milked, so to speak, by the ants : — 

"It had been already noticed," says this celebrated observer, "that the 
ants waited for the moment at which the Plant Lice caused to come out of 
their abdomen this precious manna, which they immediately seized. But I 
discovered that this was the least of their talents, and that they also knew 
how to manage to be served with this liquid at will. This is their secret — 
a branch of a thistle was covered with Brown Ants and Plant Lice. I ob- 
served the latter for some time, so as to discover, if possible, the moment 
when they caused this secretion to issue from their bodies ; but I remarked 
that it very rarely came out of its own accord, and that the Plant Lice, 


which were at some distance from the ants, squirted it out with a movement 
resembling a kick. 

"How dkl it happen, then, that the ants wandering about on the thistle 
were nearly all remarkable for the size of their abdomens, and were evi- 
dently full of some liquid? This I discovered by narrowly watching one 
ant, whose proceeding I am going to describe minutely. I saw it at first 
passing, without stopping, over some Plant Lice, which did not seem in the 
least disturbed by its walking over them ; but it soon stopped close to one 
of the smallest, which it seemed to coax with its antennas, touching the 
extremity of its abdomen very rapidly, first with one of its antenna:, and 
then with the other. I saw with surprise the liquid come out of the body 
of the Plant Louse, and the ant forthwith seize upon the droplet, and con- 
vey it to its mouth. It then brought its antennae to bear upon another 
Plant Louse much larger than the first : this one, caressed in the same man- 
ner, yielded the nourishing fluid from its body in a much larger dose. The 
ant advanced and took possession of it. It then passed to a third, which it 
cajoled as it had the preceding ones, giving it many little strokes with its 
antenna' 1 near the hinder extremity of the body ; the liquid came out imme- 
diately, and the ant picked it up. A small number of these repasts are 
sufficient to satisfy the ant's appetite. 

"It does not appear that it is out of importunity that these insects obtain 
their nourishment from the Plant Louse. 

"The neighborhood of ants is agreeable to Plant Lice; since those which 
could get out of the way of their visits, viz., the Winged Plant Lice, prefer 
to remain amongst them, and to lavish upon them the superabundance of 
their nourishment." 

The third family of the Homopterous Ilemiptera (Gallinsccta) is com- 
posed of the genus 

COCUS. — Scale Insects. The males are destitute of a proboscis, and 
have only two wings, which shut horizontally upon the body. The females 
are without wings, but arc furnished with a proboscis. Many of the spe- 
cies are very injurious to trees, puncturing the bark, and causing a too 
abundant overflowing of the sap, which occasions those warty appearances 
which are often seen on many kinds of trees. Several of the species are 
valuable in a commercial point of view. An East Indian species produces 
the gum lac, and another is employed in China for the manufacture of wax 

C. Ilia's lives on a small oak in the south of Europe, and was formerly 
used as a dye ; it is still employed in medicine. 

C Polonicus, found in Poland, lives upon the roots of the scleranthus 
perennis, and was also once valued for its coloring qualities. 


C Cacti. — This species exceeds all others in importance, inasmuch as 
it furnishes the cochineal of commerce, and constitutes one of the chief 
riches of Mexico. The female is of a dark-brown color, covered with a 
white down. The male is of a dark-red, with white wings. 

These insects are rather remarkable, in that the male and female are so 
unlike, that one would take them for animals of different genera. 

The male presents an elongated, depressed body, of a dark-brown red. 
Its head, small, furnished with two long, feathery antenna!, has only a rudi- 
mentary beak. The abdomen is terminated by two fine hairs, longer than its 
body. The wings, perfectly transparent, reach beyond the extremity of its 
abdomen, and cross each other horizontally over its back. It is lively and 
active. The female presents quite a different appearance. It is, in the first 
place, twice as large as the male, convex above, flat below. The larvae are 
born in the dried-up body of their dead mother, the skeleton of the mother 
serving as a cradle. The eggs are attached to the lower part of the moth- 
er's body. 

" When the abdomen of the mother is empty, its lower side draws up 
towards the upper side, and the two together form a pretty large cavity. 
When the mother dies, which is not long in happening, her abdomen dries 
up, her skin becomes horny, and forms a sort of shell. It is in this mem- 
branous cradle that the larva! of the cochineal insect are born. The cochi- 
neal insect in its wild state lives in the woods. But it can, without difficulty, 
be reared artificially. 

"Every one knows that the little insect, called the cochineal, furnishes, 
when its body has been dried and reduced to powder, a coloring matter of 
a beautiful red, peculiar to itself. This circumstance has saved the cochineal 
from the persecution to which so many other kinds of insects have been devoted 
by the hand of man. In hot climates, in which the cochineal insect de- 
lights, it has been preserved, and is cultivated as an article of commerce. 
This is how the cochineal is reared in Mexico : An open piece of laud is 
chosen, protected against the west wind, and of about one or two acres in 
extent. This is surrounded with a hedge of reeds, planted in lines, distant 
from each other about a yard, with cuttings of cactus at most about two 
feet apart. The cactus garden made, the next thing is to establish in it 
cochineals. "With this object in view they are sought in the woods, or else 
the females of the cochineal insect, which are gravid, are taken off plants 
which have been sheltered during the winter, and placed in dozens in nests 
made of cocoa-nut fibres, or in little plaited baskets made of the leaves of 
the dwarf palm, and hung on the prickles of the cactus. These are very 
soon covered with young larvae. The only thing now required to be done 
is to shelter them from wind and rain. 


"The larvae are changed into perfect insects, which take up their abode 
permanently on the branches of the cacti. The Mexicans gather them as 
soon as they have readied the perfect state. The harvest cannot be difficult, 
considering the immobility of these little creatures. When collected, the 
cochineals are killed, packed in wooden boxes, and sent to Europe, to be 
used in dyeing." 


The fore wings of the Neuroptera are membranous, naked, transparent, 
and furnished witli a very fine network of lines like nerves, whence the name 
of the order, Neuroptera — nerve-wings. The mouth is fitted for biting, 
the mandibles and maxillae being corneous and very strong. 

These insects constitute the genera Libellula (the Dragon-flies), the 
Ephemera, Panorpa, Mi/rmeleon, Hemerobius, Termes, and Phryganea, 
which again are divided into many subgenera and numerous species, as 

Libellula. — These insects are well known under the name of Dragon- 
flies. They are distinguished by their large, gauze-like wings, which enable 
them to fly with great swiftness in the pursuit of their prey ; their varied 
and often brilliant colors ; their slender body ; large, rounded head, and 
great eyes. 

L. Depressa, — The typical species, L. cancellata, are distinguished by 
the fine leaden-blue color of the abdomen. 

L. Grandis is two and a half inches in length, is swift of flight, and 
skims near the surface of the water, and through the air, in the manner of 

L. Virgo is of a golden-green color, with wings of blue, and sometimes 
of a pale-brownish yellow. 

All the Dragon-flies have similar habits. 

The author of " MSmoires pour servir a VHistoire des Iusectes" furnishes 
the following interesting facts regarding them : — 

Nothing is prettier than a troop of Dragon-flics taking their sport on the 
side of a pond, or on the banks of a river, on a fine summer's day, when a 
burning sun causes their wings to shine with most vivid colors. 

In the perfect state, as well as in that of the larva and the pupa, the Libel- 
lulas are carnivorous. Their rapid flight makes them expert hunters, and 
their enormous eyes embrace the whole horizon. They seize, while on the 
wing, flies and butterflies, and tear them to pieces immediately with their 
strong mandibles. Sometimes, the ardor of the chase leading them on far 
from the streams, they are met with in the fields. 

The female lays her eggs in the water, from which emerge larvaJ which 


remind one somewhat of the form of the insect, only their body is more 
compact and their head flattened. The larva; and pupae inhabit the bottom 
of ponds and streams, where, keeping out of sight in the mud, they seek 
for insects, mollusks, small fish, &c. If any prey passes within their reach, 
they dart forwards, like a spring, a very singular arm, which represents the 
under lip. It is a sort of animated mask, armed with strong, jagged pin- 
cers, and supported by strong joints, the which, taken together, is equal to 
the body itself. This mask acts at the same time as a lip and an arm; it 
seizes the prey on its passage, and conveys it to the mouth. " When any 
insect approaches them at a time when they are in a humor for eating," says 
Charles De Geer, " they shoot the mask forward very suddenly, and like a 
flash of lightning, and seize the insect between their two pincers; then, 
drawing back the mask, they bring the prey up to their mandibles, and 
begin to eat. I have remarked that they do not spare those of their own 
kind, but that they eat each other up when they can ; and I have also seen 
them devouring very small fish which I put by them. It is very difficult 
for other insects to avoid their blows, because, walking along generally in 
the water very gently, and, as it were, with measured steps, almost in the 
same way a cat does on the lookout for birds, they suddenly dart forward 
their mask, and seize their prey instantaneously." 

The respiration of these larva; is very singular. Their abdomen is termi- 
nated by appendages, which they open to allow the water to penetrate into 
the digestive tube, whose sides are furnished witli gills communicating with 
the tracheae. The water, deprived of oxygen, is then thrown out, and the 
larva advances thus in the water by the recoil. It lias no tufts of external 
lateral gills, which, in the case of the Ephemera', do the duty of fins. The 
pupa already presents stumps of wings. To effect its metamorphoses, it 
drags itself out of the water, where it has lived for nearly a year, climbs 
slowly to some neighboring plant, and hangs itself there. Very soon the 
sun dries and hardens its skin, which, all of a sudden, becomes crisp, and 
cracks. The Dragon-fly then sets free its head, its thorax, and its legs ; 
its wings, still and wanting in vigor, gain strength by coming in contact 
with the air, and, after a few hours, they have attained their full develop- 
ment. Immediately the insect abandons, like a worn-out suit, the dull, 
slimy skin which had covered it so long, and which still preserves its shape, 
and dashes off in quest of prey. 

Ephemera. — The generic name of these insects, known as May-flies, 
indicates the short duration of their life, which, in their perfectly developed 
form, is limited to a day, and often to a lew hours. Their larva and pupa 
life extends through two or three years, during which they reside in the 
water, where they swim with great ease, concealing themselves at times 
no. xix. 92 


beneath the pebbles, or in galleries which they hollow out in the beds of 
rivers and ponds. They feed on insects. When about to undergo their last 
metamorphosis, they come out of the water and attach themselves to plants. 
The transformation is accomplished in a few hours, when they flutter in un- 
numbered millions in the sunbeams, apparently in the possession of a joyous 
though brief existence ; for they hatch their eggs at sunset, and, having 
fulfilled the purpose of their being, at sunrise have ceased to live. 

Panorpa. — The Panorpas form a curious little group, having a peculiarly 
shaped head, which is prolonged to a kind of long, slender beak. They 
live on hedges and plants during the summer. Their bodies are slender, 
marked with yellow and black spots ; and their wings, which are four, are 
also spotted with black. The abdomen of the male is terminated by a long, 
jointed, recurved tail, with a claw at the tip. 

Myrmeleon. — The insects of this genus have the antenna? gradually 
thickened, curved at the tips, and much shorter than the body, and the body 
is long and linear. The destruction which the larva? of several species 
make among the ants lias given the insect the name of Ant Lion. 

The larva 1 of the Ant Lions live on the land, and are carnivorous. When 
about to undergo their transformation into pupa?, they spin for themselves a 
silky cocoon. The pupa?, as well as the larva?, of these insects breathe by 
means of gills. 

The Ant Lion is an elegant insect, resembling the dragon-fly, but is dis- 
tinguished from it. by its antenna?. Its larva is of a rosy, rather dirty gray, 
with little tufts of blackish hair on its very voluminous abdomen. Its legs 
are lather long and .slender ; the two anterior pairs of legs are directed for- 
wards, whilst the hind legs are fixed against the body, and only permit the 
animal to walk backwards. These larva? are met with in great abundance 
in sandy places very much exposed to the heat of the sun. There they con- 
struct for themselves a sort of funnel in the sand by describing backwards 
the turns of a spiral, whose diameter gradually diminishes. Their strong, 
square head serves them as a spade with which to throw the sand far away. 
They then hide themselves at the bottom of the hole, their head alone being 
out, and wait, witli patience for some insect to come near. Scarcely has the 
Ant Lion perceived its victim on the borders of its funnel, when it throws 
at it a shower of dust to alarm it, and make it fall to the bottom of the 
precipice, which does not fail to happen. 

Then it seizes it with its sharp mandibles, and sucks its blood ; after which 
it throws its empty skin out of the hole, and resumes the lookout. Ants 
especially become its prey, whence its name of Ant Lion. Towards the 
month of July, the larva? make themselves a spherical cocoon, mixed with 
grains of sand, in which they are transformed into pupa?, which are hatched 


towards the end of August. The perfect Ant Lions diffuse an odor of 
roses; their flight, which is weak, distinguishes them from the dragon-flies. 

Terjies. — The animals constituting this group are noted for their ex- 
traordinary characteristics and habits. Like the bees and ants, they organ- 
ize a kind of political society, live under established rules, keep standing 
armies, and make war, and construct fortifications, on scientific principles. 
As miners, masons, and architects they exhibit remarkable skill and ingenu- 
ity ; and, according to Mr. Smeathman, they form gardens for the cultiva- 
tion of a minute fungus/ With this insect-people royalty, caste, and 
slavery are everlasting and immutable laws. There are three distinct ranks 
or orders among them, constituting a well-regulated community. These are, 
first, the laborers, or working insects; next, the soldiers, or fighting order, 
who abstain from all labor, and are about twice as long as the former, and 
equal in bulk to about fifteen of them ; and, lastly, the winged, or perfect 
insects, which may be styled the nobility, or gentry, of the state ; for they 
neither labor nor fight, being scarcely capable even of self-defence. These 
alone are capable of being elected kings or queens ; and it has been so 
ordained by nature, that they emigrate within a i'uw weeks after they are 
elevated to this state, and either establish new kingdoms, or perish in the 
space of one or two days. 

The first order (the working insects) ai - e most numerous, being in the 
proportion of one hundred to one of the soldiers. In this state they are 
about a quarter of an inch long, and twenty-five of them weigh about a 
grain, so that they are not so large as some of the ants. 

The second order, or soldiers, have a very different form from the labor- 
ers, and have been by some authors supposed to be the males, and the former 
the neuters ; but they are, in reality, the same insects as the foregoing, only 
they have undergone a change of form, and approached one degree nearer 
to the perfect state. 

The third order, or the insect in its perfect state, varies its form still more 
than ever, differing, in every essential part, from the laborers and soldiers ; 
besides which, it is now furnished with four fine, large, brownish, transparent 
wings, with which it is, at the time of emigration, to wing its way in search 
of a new settlement. The difference is, indeed, so great, that these perfect 
insects have not, until recently, been supposed to belong to the same com- 
munity with the others, and are not to be discovered in the nest until just 
before the commencement of the rainy season, when they undergo the last 
change, which is preparative to the formation of new colonies. They are 
equal in bulk to two soldiers and about thirty laborers ; and, with the aid 
of their wings, roam about for a few hours, when their wings fall off, and 
they become the prey of innumerable birds, reptiles, and insects. Hence 


it happens, that scarcely a pair of the many millions of this unhappy race 
find a place of safety to fullil the first law of nature, and lay the foundation 
of a new community. In this state, many fall into the neighboring waters, 
and are eaten with avidity by the Africans, who roast them in the manner 
of coffee, and find them delicate, nourishing, and wholesome. 

The few fortunate pairs who survive this annual massacre and destruc- 
tion, being casually found by some of the laborers, who are constantly run- 
ning about on the surface of the ground, are elected kings and queens of 
new states. Those who are not so elected and preserved, certainly perish, 
and most probably in the course of the following day. By these industrious 
creatures, the king and queen elect arc immediately protected from their 
innumerable enemies, by enclosing them in a chamber of clay, where the 
propagation of the species soon commences. Their voluntary subjects then 
busy themselves in constructing wooden nurseries, or apartments, solely 
composed of wooden materials, seemingly joined together with gums. Into 
these they afterwards carry the eggs produced by the queen, lodging them 
as fast as they can obtain them from her. Plausible reasons are given by 
Mr. Smeathman for t lie belief he entertains, that they here form a kind of 
garden for the cultivation of a species of microscopical mushroom ; and in 
this belief he is supported by Mr. Konig, in his essay on the East Indian 
Termites, by whom also this is conjectured to be the food of the young 

These wonderful creatures construct works which surpass those of the 
bees, wasps, beavers, and other animals, as much at least as those of the 
most polished nations excel those of the least cultivated savages. Even 
with regard to man, his greatest works, the boasted pyramids, fall com- 
paratively far short, even in size alone, of the structures raised by these 
insects. The laborers among them cnqiloyed in this service are not a 
quarter of an inch in length ; but the structures which they erect rise, as 
has already been observed, to the height of ten or twelve feet and upwards 
above the surface of the earth. Supposing the height of a man to be six 
feet, this author calculates that the buildings of these insects may be con- 
sidered, relatively to their size, and that of a man, as being raised to nearly 
five times the height of the greatest of the Egyptian pyramids ; that is, 
corresponding with considerably more than half a mile. It may be added, 
that, with respect to the interior construction, and the various members and 
dispositions of the parts of the buildings, they appear greatly to exceed that 
or any other work of human construction. 

The most striking parts of these structures are the royal apartments, the 
nurseries, magazines of provisions, arched chambers and galleries, with 
their various communications ; the ranges of the Gothic-shaped arches, 


projected, and not formed by mere excavation, some of which are two or 
three feet high, but which diminish rapidly, like the arches of aisles in per- 
spectives ; the various roads, sloping staircases, and bridges, consisting of 
one vast arch, and constructed to shorten the distance between the several 
parts of the building, which would otherwise communicate only by winding 
passages. In some parts near Senegal, the number, magnitude, and close- 
ness of these structures make them appear like the villages of the natives. 

Authors relate many extraordinary particulars in regard to the great devas- 
tations wrought by this powerful community, which constructs covered roads, 
diverging in all directions from the nest, and leading to every object of 
plunder within their reach. 

These destructive animals advance by myriads to their work under an 
arched incrustation of fine sand, tempered with a moisture from their body, 
which renders the covered way as hard as burnt clay, and effectually conceals 
them in their insidious employment. 

Mr. Forbes, on his departure from liis residence at Anjengo, to pass a 
few weeks at a country retirement, locked up a room containing books, 
drawings, and a few valuables ; as he took the key with him, the servant 
could not enter to clean the furniture ; the walls of the room were white- 
washed, and adorned with prints and drawings in English frames and glasses : 
returning home in the evening, and taking a cursory view of his cottage by 
candle-light, he found everything in apparently the same order as he had left 
it ; but on a nearer inspection the next morning, he observed a number of 
advanced works, in various directions, towards his pictures ; the glasses 
appeared to be uncommonly dull, and the frames covered with dust: on 
attempting to wipe it off, he was astonished to find the glasses fixed to the 
wall, not suspended in frames as he had left them, but completely surrounded 
by an incrustation cemented by the White Ants, who had actually eaten up 
the deal frames and back-boards, and the greater part of the paper, and left 
the glasses upheld by the incrustation, or covered way, which they had formed 
during their depredation. From the flat Dutch bottles, on which the draw- 
ers and boxes were placed, not having been wiped during his absence, the 
ants had ascended the bottles by means of the dust, eaten through the bot- 
tom of a chest, and made some progress in perforating the books and linen. 

The different functions of the laborers and soldiers, or the civil and mili- 
tary establishments, in a community of White Ants, arc illustrated by Mr. 
Smeathman, in an attempt to examine their nest or city. On making a 
breach in any part of this structure with a hoe or pickaxe, a soldier imme- 
diately appears, and walks about the breach, as if to see whether the enemy 
is gone, or to examine whence the attack proceeds. In a short time he is 
followed by two or three others, and soon afterwards by a numerous body, who 


rush out as fast as the breach will permit them, their numbers increasing as 
lung as any one continues to batter the building. During this time, they 
are in the most violent bustle and agitation, some being employed in beating 
with their forceps upon the building, so as to make a noise, which may be 
heard at three or four feet distance. On ceasing to disturb them, the sol- 
diers retire, and are succeeded by the laborers, who hasten in various direc- 
tions towards the breach, each with a burden of mortar in his mouth, ready 
tempered. Though there are millions of them, they never stop or embarrass 
each other ; and a wall gradually arises to fill up the chasm. A soldier 
attends every six bundled or one thousand laborers, seemingly as a director 
of the works ; for he never touches the mortar, either to lift or to carry it. 
One in particular places himself close to the wall under repair, and fre- 
quently makes the above-mentioned noise, which is constantly answered by 
a loud hiss from all the laborers within the dome ; and at every such signal, 
they evidently redouble their pace, and work as fast again. 

The work being completed, a renewal of the attack constantly produces 
the same effects. The soldiers again rush out, and then retreat, and are 
followed by the laborers loaded with mortar, and as active and as diligent 
as before. Thus the pleasure of seeing them come out to fight or work 
alternately, Mr. Smeathman observes, may be obtained as often as curiosity 
excites, or time permits ; and it will certainly be found the one order never 
attempts to light, nor the other to work, let the emergency be ever so great. 
The obstinacy of the soldiers is remarkable : they fight to the very last, dis- 
puting every inch of ground so well as often to drive away the negroes, who 
are without shoes, and make white people bleed plentifully through their 
stockings. Such is the strength of the buildings erected by these puny 
insects, that, when they have been raised to little more than half their 
height, it is the constant practice of the African wild bulls to stand as sen- 
tinels upon them, while the rest of the herd are ruminating below. When 
at their full height of ten or twelve feet, they are used by Europeans as look- 
out stations, whence they can see over the grass, which, in Africa, is, on an 
average, of the height of thirteen feet. But perhaps the most wonderful, 
and, at the same time, best authenticated, part of the history of these curious 
insects is, that which relates to the queen, or mother of the community, in 
her pregnancy. 

After impregnation, a very extraordinary change begins to take place in 
her person, or rather in her abdomen only. It gradually increases in bulk, 
and at length becomes of such an enormous size as to exceed the bulk of the 
rest of her body fifteen hundred or two thousand times. She becomes two 
thousand times heavier than her consort, and exceeds twenty thousand or 
thirty thousand times the bulk of one of the laborers. In this state eighty 


thousand eggs — for they have been counted — are protruded in twenty-four 
hours. They are instantly taken from her body by the attendants, — a suffi- 
cient number of whom are constantly in waiting in the royal chambers and ad- 
jacent galleries, — and carried to the nurseries, which arc sometimes four or 
five feet distant in a straight line. Here, after they arc hatched, the young 
are attended and provided with everything necessary until they are able to 
shift for themselves, and take their share in the labors of the community. 

Phryganea. — Reaumur, De Geer, and M. Pictet have thoroughly inves- 
tigated this group, and contributed many interesting particulars to its natu- 
ral history. 

R'aumur classed them as Aquatic Moths. The soft and delicate body of 
the larvae is protected by a case to which it clings by two hooks placed at 
the extremity of the abdomen. *They are called by different names, in 
allusion to their habits ; as, for instance, Case Worms, from their living in 
a case covered with little bits of wood or sand, which they draw after them 
as they go. Their scientific name, Phryganea, signifies fagot. The Phry- 
ganea;, in the adult state, very much resemble moths. They approach 
them in having rudimentary mouths, and wings without articulations, but 
furnished with small hairs analogous to the scales of Lepidoptera. They 
may be said to form a sort of connection between the Lepidoptera and Neu- 

They have been called Mouches papilionacSes, or Papilionaceous Flies. 
The eggs laid by the female Phryganea are enclosed in gelatinous capsules, 
which swell in the water and attach themselves to stones, &c. The larva 
has the appearance of a little worm without feet. It is soon hatched, and 
resembles at first a little black line, and may be easily reared in an acaia- 
rium. The operation of making the silky case which it draws after it, and 
which protects its abdomen, may then be observed. When it is disturbed, 
it retreats entirely within its case. The interior is smooth, and lined with 
mud ; on the exterior it is fortified with stones, &c. 

The P. Rhombica furnishes its case with bits of wood or grass. Some 
species arrange these bits of wood and grass in spiral, others in parallel, 

The P. Flavicornis covers its dwelling with little shells. " These kinds 
of dress," says Reaumur, " are very pretty, but they are also excessively 
singular. A savage, who, instead of being covered with furs, should be 
covered with muskrats, moles, or other entire animals, would have on an 
extraordinary costume ; this is, in some sort, the case of our larvae." Other 
Phryganea; employ for constructing the case, which serves them as a dwell- 
ing, sand and small pebbles, each species always employing the same mate- 
rials, unless they are entirely deprived of these, and obliged to employ 


others. These cases protect the lame against the voracity of their enemies. 
The larva have a seal}' head, and the three first rings of their body are 
harder than the rest. They live in water, and breathe by means of branchi- 
ous sacs arranged on the abdomen in soft and flexible tufts. They eat 
everything that is presented to them — leaves, and even insects, and the 
larvae of their own kind. The pupae are motionless. They stay about a 
fortnight in their case, whose orifice is closed by gratings of silk, then break 
through the gratings, and leave their prison. In this state they swim on 
the water until they meet with an object to which they can attach them- 
selves, and so get out. Then they swell till they crack their skins over the 
back, when the perfect insect emerges. 

ORDER IX. IIYMENOPTERA (Membrane-wings). 

The Ilymcnopterous insects are furnished with four membranous, naked 
wings, and a mouth with mandibles, maxillae, and two lips; the females are 
armed with a sting, placed at the extremity of the abdomen. They all 
undergo a complete metamorphosis. In their perfect state they subsist on 
flowers ; their existence, including all their states, is limited to a year. 

The order is divided into two sections — the Terebrantia and Aculectta, 
in the first of which is placed the great genus 

Ichneumon. — As the Mammalian Ichneumon was supposed to destroy 
the crocodile by depositing its eggs in its entrails, so the Ichneumonides 
destroy the caterpillars of Lepidoptcrous insects, which arc so injurious to 
vegetation. They deposit their eggs in or upon the bodies of naked cater- 
pillars, or pupa? ; and, when hatched, the larvae kill their victim, and under- 
go their changes in its body. It is an extremely numerous family, there 
being not less than six thousand species. 

('v\irs. — This genus comprises several species known as Gall Insects. 
A globular excrescence is often observed on the leaves of the oak, called 
by children Oak Apple, and which they often eat on account of its pleas- 
ant, acid taste. This " apple " is produced by these insects, which deposit 
their eggs in the leaf, where they increase in size and consistence ; in the 
mean while the excrescence grows, and becomes the temporary home of 
the larvae. 

C. Gallce Tinctoriae produces the nutgall of commerce, which is a chief 
ingredient in the manufacture of black ink. 

Chrtsis. — This genus comprises the Golden-tailed Flies, which, in the 
richness of their colors, rival the sorgeous hues of the humming-birds. 

The second section of the Hymenoptera (the Aculeata) contains the 
well-known and remarkable genus 


Formica. — The Ants. The whole animal kingdom presents nothing so 
extraordinary and mysterious as the habits, instincts, intelligence, domestic 
character, and social polity of these diminutive creatures. Man stands awe- 
struck and perplexed as lie contemplates their wonderful ways, plainly 
revealing as they do the possession of intelligence and reasoning powers, 
which he, in his pride and vanity, has always arrogated to himself as 
a peculiar inheritance. In regard to them the late Professor Godwin 
well remarks : — 

"The history of a tribe of insects so long celebrated for their industry 
and frugality, and for the display of that sagacity which characterizes some 
of the higher orders of animals, is peculiarly calculated to occupy the atten- 
tion of modern naturalists. Ants possess the remarkable peculiarity of a 
threefold distinction of sex — a circumstance which is met with in no other 
order of the animal kingdom, and which appears, as far as observation has 
extended, to be totally excluded from the plan of the vegetable creation. 
Besides the males and females, there exists an apparently intermediate order 
of neuters, which are also denominated laboring or working ants. The 
neuters, thus exempted from every sexual function, exercise, on the other 
hand, all the offices necessary for the existence and welfare of the community 
to which they belong. It is they who collect supplies of food, who explore 
the country for this purpose, and seize upon every animal substance, whether 
living or dead, which they can lay hold of and transport to their nest. It 
is they who construct every part of their dwelling-place, who attend to the 
hatching of the eggs, to the feeding of the yountr, and to their removal, as 
occasion may require, to different situations favorable to their growth and 
development ; and who, both as aggressors and as defenders, fight all the bat- 
tles of the commonwealth, and provide for the safety of their weaker and 
more passive companions. Thus all the laborious ami perilous duties of 
the state are performed solely by this description of ants, who act the part 
of helots in these singularly constituted republics of insects." 

The domestic life of the different species is nearly the same. The birth 
and rearing of the little ones, and the duties of the adults, do not differ 
perceptibly from each other in the various species of ants. The females 
live together in harmony. They lay, without ceasing to walk about, white 
eggs, of cylindrical form and microscopic dimensions. The workers pick 
them up, and carry them to special chambers. In a fortnight after the lay- 
ing, the larva appears. Its body is transparent. A head and wings can 
be made out, but no legs ; the mouth is a retractile nipple, bordered by 
rudimentary mandibles, into which the workers disgorge the juices they 
have elaborated in their stomachs; and as they lay by no provision, they 
no. xix. 93 


are obliged to gather each day the sugary liquids destined for the food of 
the larva 1 . 

From their birth a troop of nurses is charged with the care of them. 
They put them out in the open air during the day. Hardly has the sun 
risen, when the ants, placed just under the roof, go to tell those which are 
beneath, by touching them with their antenna}, or shaking them with their 
mandibles. In a few seconds all the outlets are crowded with workers 
carrying out the larva 1 in order to place them on the top of the ant-hill, 
that they may be exposed to the beneficent heat of the sun. When the 
larvae have remained some time in the same place, their guardians move 
them away from the direct action of the solar rays, and put them in cham- 
bers a little way from the top of the hill, where a milder heat can still reach 

Nothing is more amusing than to observe the shifts ants are put to in 
transporting objects of great size. They stumble; they tumble "head over 
heels;" they roll down precipices; but, in spite of all accidents, return to 
their task, and always accomplish it. 

The tranquil inhabitants of these subterranean republics are bound together 
by a mutual affection in a devoted fraternity, which makes them ever ready 
to assist each other. They are a real Essenean or Masonic order. They 
all help one another as much as they can. If an ant is tired, a comrade 
carries it on its back. Those which are so absorbed with their work that 
they have no time to think of their find, are fed by their companions. 
AVhcn an ant is wounded, the first one who meets it renders it assistance, 
and carries it home. Latreille, having torn the antennas from an ant, saw 
another approach the poor wounded one, and pour, with its tongue, a few 
drops of a yellow liquid on the bleeding wound. 

Iluber the younger one day took an ant's nest to populate one of those 
glass contrivances which he used for making his observations, and which 
consisted of a sort of glass bell placed over the nest. Our naturalist set at 
liberty one part of the ants, which fixed themselves at the foot of a neigh- 
boring chestnut tree. The rest were kept, during four months, in the appa- 
ratus ; and at the end of this time Huber moved the whole into the garden, 
and a few ants managed to escape. Having met their old companions, who 
still lived at the foot of the chestnut tree, they recognized them. They were 
seen, in fact, all of them, to gesticulate; to caress each other mutually with 
their antenna ; to take each other by the mandibles, as if to embrace in 
token of joy ; and they then reentered together the nest at the foot of the 
chestnut tree. Aery soon they came in a crowd to look for the other ants 
under the bell, and in a few Ik airs our observer's apparatus was completely 
evacuated by its prisoners. AVhen an ant has discovered any rich prey, far 



from enjoying it alone, like a gourmand, it invites all its companions to the 
feast. Community vt' goods and interests exists among all the members of 
this model society. It is the practical realization of the dream formed by 
certain philosophers of our day, who were only able to conceive the idea, 
the possibility, the project of such a community of goods and interests, 
which is among ants a reality. 

How do these insects manage to make themselves understood in such vari- 
ous ways — ask for help, give advice and invitations? They must have 
a language of their own, or else they must communicate their impressions 
by their antenna;. 

"When an ant is hungry, and does not wish to be disturbed in its work, 
it tells a foraging ant as it passes by touching it with its antenna; ; the latter 
approaches it immediately, and presents it, on the end of its tongue, some 
juice it has disgorged for this purpose. 

The antenna', then, are used by the ants for the purpose of making them- 
selves understood by each other. Dr. Ebrard, who studied these insects 
attentively, is of opinion that they use them in the same way as a blind man 
does his stick, to feel their way with, for their sight is not good. The age 
to which ants live is not well known. It is believed that the workers live 
many years. 

Ants are also very fond of a peculiar liquid which the plant lice secrete 
from a pouch in the abdomen. When they have got possession of a plant 
louse, they excite it to secrete this liquid, but without doing it any harm. 
They carry the plant lice into the ant-hill, or into private stables. 
There they keep them, give them their food, and suck them. We have 
already mentioned these curious relations which are established between ants 
and plant lice. The Gallinsccta also furnish the ants with sugary liquids. 

During the cold of winter the ants sleej) at the bottom of their nests, 
without taking any food. A small number of species only hold out through 
the severe season by shutting themselves up in the ant-hill with a number 
of plant lice. It is thus that they pass the winter with a supply of food. 
We must mention, however, that in warm countries the ants do not hi- 

The Ants as Soldiers. — "Two species," says a pleasing author, "con- 
stitute the warrior tribes which form societies mixed with the species they 
reduce to slavery. They are the Russet Ant and the Blood-red Ant. They 
always attack the nests of the Ashy-black (Formica fusca) and the Miners. 
The Russet Ant has mandibles made for war ; they appear cut out for strug- 
gling and fighting. The Blood-red Ants are less ferocious. They work 
themselves, and make none of those sweeping raids by which the Russet 
Ants depopulate the neighboring ant-hills. 


"On the 17th of June, 1804," says he, "as I was walking in the environs 
of Geneva, hetween four and five in the afternoon, I saw at my feet a legion 
of largish Russet Ants crossing the road ; they penetrated through a very 
thick hedge, and went into a meadow, whither I followed them. They 
wound their way along the turf without straying, and their column remained 
always continuous, in spite of the obstacles which they had to surmount. 
Very soon they arrived near a nest of Ashy-black Ants, whose dome rose 
among the grass, at twenty paces from the hedge. A few ants of this spe- 
cies were at the door of their habitation. As soon as they descried the 
army which was approaching, they threw themselves on those which were 
at the head of the cohort. The alarm spread at the same instant in the 
interior of the nest, and their companions rushed out in crowds from all the 
subterranean passages. The Russet Ants, the body of whose army was 
only two paces distant, hastened to arrive at the foot of the nest ; the whole 
troop precipitated itself forward at the same time, and knocked the Ashy- 
black Ants head over heels, who, after a very short but very smart combat, 
retired to the extremity of the habitation. The Russet Ants clambered up 
the sides of the hillock, flocked to the summit, and introduced themselves 
in great numbers into the first avenues ; other groups worked with their 
teeth, making a lateral aperture. In this they succeeded, and the rest of 
the army penetrated through the breach into the besieged city. They did 
not make a long stay there ; in three or four minutes the Russet Ants came 
out again in haste, by the same adits, carrying each one in its mouth a pupa 
or larva belonging to the conquered. They again took exactly the same 
road by which they had come, and followed each other in a straggling man- 
ner ; their line was easily to be distinguished on the grass by the appearance 
which this multitude of white cocoons and larvce, carried by as many Rus- 
set-colored Ants, presented. They passed through the hedge a second time, 
crossed the road, and then steered their course into a field of ripe wheat, 
whither, I regret to say, I was unable to follow them." 

Iluber adds that, having returned to the pillaged nest to examine it more 
closely, he saw some Ashy-black workers bringing back to their home the 
few larva? which they had succeeded in saving. Having later discovered the 
nest of these Amazons, — which is the name he gives to the warrior ants, — 
he found there many of the Ashy-black Ants living on very good terms with 
their kidnappers. 

The Amazons begin their expeditions at the end of June, during the hot- 
test hours of the day. They come out in long files, eight or ten abreast, 
preceded by their scouts. These columns start at a run, in a straight line, 
and without feeling their way. They have no chieftain. The van is re- 
formed every moment. 


Those who are in front do not remain there ; at the end of a certain time 
they go and range themselves in the rear, and are replaced by those which 
were behind. The whole troop is thus in constant communication through- 
out its entire length. Rarely does the expedition divide into two bodies. 
Arrived under t lie walls of the fortress, the column halts and masses itself 
into one corps. The assault is made with incredible impetuosity. In the 
twinkling of an eve the place is cscaladed, taken by storm, and pillaged, 
and the Ashy-blaek Ants are either put to flight or led away into captivity. 
The same ant-hill may be invaded as many as three times running on the 
same day ; but then the Ashy-black Ants, on their guard, have barricaded 
themselves in, and in that case the aggressors return home without pillaging 

The Mining Ants are less timid than the Ashy-black, and, as they defend 
themselves with more energy, there are frequently deadly combats, and the 
field of battle is left covered with heads, legs, and limbs scattered about, 
here and there, with the dead and wounded. The Miners pursue the pil- 
lagers, and snatch their plunder from them. But they are sometimes driven 
back vigorously, and the Russet Ants gain their lair with their plunder. 

The tactics of the Red Ants (Formica sanguinea) differ from those of 
the Russet. They only sally forth in small detachments, which begin by 
engaging in skirmishes with the scouts thrown out round the enemy's ant- 
hill. Couriers, despatched from time to time to the camp of the Red Ants, 
bring up reinforcements. When the troop feels itself sufficiently strong, it 
invades the nest of the Ashy-black Ants, and carries off" their offspring, 
which the latter have not had time to secure. Sometimes, also, the Red 
Ants install themselves in the nest whose inhabitants they have ejected, and 
transfer their own population to it. The motive for this emigration is, that 
the old nest has become useless, or that it is exposed to some danger. The 
Red Ants are not the only ants which thus desert their birthplace. Many 
species abandon it likewise for analogous motives, and construct elsewhere 
another dwelling, to which they transport all the population of the first 

The species are very numerous. 

Yesi'A. — The Wasps. These insects inhabit all lands, and may be easily 
distinguished by having the upper wings longitudinally folded while at rest, 
and a pedunculated abdomen, terminated by a concealed sting. Their larvae 
resemble those of the bee, and their history is also similar in many respects. 
They live in societies ; the individuals share in common their labors and 
danger. In general they construct their habitations with a sort of paper, 
which they manufacture from vegetable fibres, agglutinated by a sort of 
gum. The cells, in form, are similar to those of the honey-comb, and are 


often disposed in several stories. They feed on animal substances, on dead 
insects, ripe and saccharine fruits, fragments of which they cut off with their 
mandibles, and carry to their young. 

V. Crabro. — The Hornet, — a large species, — and 1^. vulgaris, the 
common Wasp, are too well known to require a special description. 

Bombus. — The Bumble Bee. It is difficult to conjecture how the name 
of this insect came to be corrupted to "Humble Bee." The Bumble Bee 
has a robust body and very hairy, the hairs being often arranged in colored 

B. Lapidarius. — This is the common species of our fields and stone 
walls. It builds its nest under stones, or in piles of stone, constructing it 
of earth and moss, which the insects card with their hind legs. They live in 
societies of fifty or sixty, and sometimes of several hundred. They have a 
sharp and strong sting, notwithstanding which, children often hunt for their 
nests, to rob these poor creatures of their winter store of honey. 

Apis. — The Bee family comprises a great number of species, which were 
all arranged by Linnanis under the single genus Apis. We are obliged to 
pass by several groups, having only space left for a description of the most 
useful and remarkable member of this tribe. 

A. Mellifica. — The Common Hive Bee. We arc indebted to Huber for 
a great number of most interesting facts hitherto not noticed, and Cuvier, 
Reaumur, and Dc Gecr have added many important particulars to the natural 
history of this insect. It was well known to the ancients, and its praise is 
celebrated in the poetry of all nations. Virgil elegantly describes its habits 
as far as they were known at his time. 

Three sorts of individuals form a community of Honey Bees, viz., the 
female, mother, or queen ; the males, or drones ; and the working bees, erro- 
neously called neuters, as they are really females, although witli imperfect 
organs. A hive consists generally of one queen, about eight hundred males, 
and twenty thousand working bees. The last are the smallest, having 
twelve joints to their antenna, and six abdominal rings. They are armed 
with stings. The mandibles are spoon-shaped and indentated. There is on 
the outside of the hind legs a smooth hollow, edged with hairs, denominated 
the basket. The queen is of a larger size, especially in the abdomen ; she 
has a shorter sucker, and the mandibles grooved and velvet-like beneath the 
tip. The males, or drones, differ from both the preceding by having thirteen 
joints to the antenna;, a rounded head, with larger eyes, and shorter anterior 
feet, the two first of which are arched. 

The wax, of which the combs are formed, is elaborated from honey. The 
pollen collected from flowers, mixed with a small quantity of wax, consti- 
tutes the food of bees and their larvae ; and this food appears to be modified 


in its composition according to the sort of individuals it is intended for. 
Another substance collected by bees from the opening buds of poplar and 
other trees, and used by them for lining their hives and stopping holes, is 
called propolis.. 

The working bees, according to Huber, are of two kinds — one whose 
duty it is to gather the food and materials for the hive ; the other, composed 
of smaller and feebler insects, which are employed exclusively in the care 
of the young within the hive. 

The comb is always built from above downwards. The cells, with the 
exception of those for the female larvae and nymphs, arc nearly of equal size, 
some containing the progeny, and others the honey and pollen of flowers. 
The regal cells are greatly superior in size, and are from two to forty in 
number. The season of laying commences early in summer, and continues 
till autumn. 

The female lays as many as twenty thousand eggs in twenty-four days. 
Each sort of egg she places in the appropriate cell. The eggs laid at the 
beginning of summer all belong to the working sort, and are hatched in 
four days. The larva; are regularly fed by the workers for about seven 
days, when they are enclosed in their cell, spin a cocoon, and become 
nymphs ; they become perfect bees in about twelve days. These consecu- 
tive generations form so many distinct communities, which leave the parent 
hive to found new colonies elsewhere. This operation is called swarming, 
at which time the community, including the queen, appears to be seized with 
a kind of delirium, and the bees execute a number of extraordinary manceu- 
vrea before the colonization is fully effected. 

A swarm of bees weighs about eight pounds. 

The honey which fdls the store cells is intended for daily consumption, 
and also as a reserve for the period when the flowers furnish no more. 

The empty cells are left open, the workers making use of them when they 
want them, particularly during rainy days, which keep them at home. But 
the cells which contain the honey put by in reserve are closed. "They are," 
says Reaumur, " like so many little pots of jam or jelly, each one of which 
has its covering, and a very solid covering it is too." 

Reaumur, the Hubers, father and son, and other observers have collected 
an immense mass of curious and surprising facts regarding the bees, which 
would fill many volumes. We must be contented with the introduction 
here of a few of the most striking. 

Their Mode of Labor. — The exterior of a hive — we employ in part 
the words of M. Victor Rendre — gives the best idea of this laborious peo- 
ple. From morning till night all is movement and industry. Hundreds of 
bees are constantly arriving from the fields laden with provisions ; others, 


having discharged their burden, are departing for the country for a new 
store. Here cautious sentinels scrutinize every fresh arrival ; there purvey- 
ors, in a hurry to Le back at work again, stop at the entrance of the hive, 
where other bees unload them of their burdens ; elsewhere a working bee 
engages in a battle with some rash intruder ; at another point the workers 
are occupied in drawing out the dead body of one of their companions ; at 
the same time the surveyors of the hive clear it of everything which inter- 
feres with their labors, or is prejudicial to health. The most admirable 
order presides over all these movements, and a most perfect division of labor 
is maintained. 

They assist each other. — "When a bee meets," says Ee"aumur, "any 
of its companions who want food, and who have not had time to go and <^et 
any, it stops, erects and stretches out its trunk, so that the opening by which 
the honey may be taken out is a little way beyond the mandibles. It pushes 
the honey towards this opening. The other bees, who know well enough 
that it is from there they must take it, introduce the end of their trunk, and 
suck it up. The bee, which has not been stopped on its road, often goes 
to the places where other bees are working, that is, to those places where 
other bees are occupied, cither in constructing new cells, or in polishing or 
bordering the cells already built ; it offers them honey, as if to prevent them 
from being under the necessity of leaving their work to go and get it them- 

The Queen subdues her rebellious Subjects by her Eloquence. 
— In the process of swarming, the colony sets forth under a new queen, 
who often finds it difficult to establish her authority over the community. 
When the bees become violent in their mutiny, the young queen harangues 
them in a musical speech, which has the effect to stop the wild commotion, 
and compel the rebels reverently to bow their heads before her. The song 
resembles that of the grasshopper. Francis Iluber, speaking of a queen 
which had just been hatched, and which was trying in vain to satisfy her 
jealous instincts, says, — 

"She sang twice. When we saw her producing this sound, she was 
motionless ; her thorax rested against the honey-comb, her wings being 
crossed on her back, and she moved them about without uncrossing them, 
and without opening them. Whatever cause it was that made her choose 
this attitude, the bees seemed affected by it ; all of them now lowered their 
heads, and remained motionless. Next day the hive presented the same 
appearance ; there remained still twenty-three royal cells, which were all 
assiduously guarded by a great number of bees. The moment the queen 
approached these, all the guards were in a state of agitation, surrounded 
her, bit her, hustled her in every way, and generally finished by driving her 


off. Sometimes, when this happened, she sang, resinning the attitude which I 
just now described ; from that moment tin; bees became motionless. But 
the fever which had seized on the young queen ended by communicating 
itself to her subjects, and, at a particular moment, they set out under her 

The Queens as Duellists.. — When the emigration is effected, the 
workers which had remained at home set free another female. This one 
acts in the same way as the first. She tries to get at her rivals still impris- 
oned, and whom she can smell in their cradles ; hut the guard repel her with 
vigor, and defeat all her attempts, till she makes up her mind to emigrate 
with a new swarm. This curious scene is repeated, with the same circum- 
stances, three or four times in the space of a fortnight, if the weather is 
favorable, and the hive well-peopled. In the end, the number of bees is so 
much reduced, that they can no longer keep such vigilant guard round the 
royal cells, and it then happens that two females come out together from 
their cradles. Immediately the two rivals look for each other, and light, 
and the queen that comes off victorious out of this duel to the death reigns 
peaceably over the people she has won for herself. If, in the tumult which 
precedes the swarming, a female escapes from her prison, it may happen that 
she is carried away in the swarm. In this case the deserters divide into two 
bands ; but the weakest in numbers are not long in breaking up, the desert- 
ers going to swell the principal swarm. At last all the troop is reunited, 
and it then contains two queens. As long as the swarm remains fixed on 
its branch, all passes quietly in spite of the presence of a second queen. 
But as soon as it has become domiciled, the affair becomes serious ; a duel 
to the death takes place between the two aspirants to the command. Two 
queens cannot exist in the same hive. 

Francis Iluber was the first to describe these duels between the queens. 
He describes a combat which he watched on the 12th of May, 1790 : "Two 
young queens came out on that day from the cells, almost at the same mo- 
ment, in one of our smallest hives. As soon as they saw each other, they 
dashed one against the other with every appearance of the greatest rage, and 
put themselves in such a position that each one had its antenna} seized be- 
tween the teeth of its rival; the head, the thorax, and abdomen of the one 
were opposite to the head, the thorax, and abdomen of the other ; they 
had only to bend round the posterior extremity of their bodies, and they 
would have stabbed each other with their darts, and both engaged in the 
combat would have been killed. But it is as if Nature would not allow 
this duel to end by the death of the combatants. One would say that she 
had ordained that those queens, finding themselves in this position (that is 
to say, face to face and abdomen to abdomen), should retreat that very 

NO. XIX. i'-l 


instant with the greatest precipitation. And so, as soon as the two rivals 
felt that their posterior parts were about to meet, they let go of each other, 
and each one ran away in an opposite direction. A few minutes after they 
had separated from each other, their fear ceased, and they recommenced look- 
ing for each other. Very soon they perceived the object of their search, and 
we saw them running one against the other. They seized each other as at the 
first, and put themselves exactly in the same position. The result was the 
same ; as soon as their abdomens approached each other, they only thought 
of getting free, and ran away. 

"The working bees were very much agitated during the whole of this 
time, and their tumult seemed to increase when the adversaries separated 
from each other. We saw them on two different occasions stop the queens 
in their flight, seize them by the legs, and keep them prisoners for more 
than a minute. At last, in a third attack, the queen which was the most 
infuriated, or the strongest, rushed upon her rival at a moment when she 
did not see her coming, seized her with her jaws by the base of her wing, 
then mounted on to her body, and brought the extremity of her abdomen 
over the last rings of her enemy, whom she was then able to pierce with 
her sting very easily. She then let go the wing which she held between 
her teeth, and drew back her dart. The vanquished queen dragged herself 
heavily along, lost her strength, and expired soon afterwards." 

Execution of the Drones. — The drones (that is to say, the males) 
arc now no longer wanted in the colony ; their mission is over. By an 
inexorable law of nature, they must be got rid of, and the working bees 
proceed to make a general massacre of them. It is in the months of July 
and August that this frightful carnage takes place. The workers may then 
be seen furiously giving chase to the males, and pursuing them to the 
extremity of the hive, where these unfortunate insects seek a place of safety. 
Three or four workers dash off in the pursuit of the male. They seize hold 
of him, pull him by his legs, by his wings, by his antennas and kill him 
with their stings. This pitiless massacre includes even the larvae and pupaj 
of the males. The executioners drag them from their cells, run them through 
witli their stings, greedily suck the liquids contained in their bodies, and 
then cast their remains to the winds. 

This slaughter goes on for many days, continuing till the males have been 
completely got rid of, they not being able to defend themselves, as they 
have no stings. 

The Bees reason. — Francis Huber relates that he saw bees propping 
up with pillars and flying buttresses of wax a piece of the honey-comb which 
had fallen down. At the same time, put on their guard by this sad acci- 
dent, they set to work to fortify the principal framework of the other combs, 


and to fasten them more securely to the roof of the hive. This took place 
in the month of January, and, therefore, not during the working season, 
and when to provide against a distant eventuality was the only question. 
M. Walond has reported an analogous observation. Is there not here, in 
the first place, a true and excellent reasoning, then an act, an operation, a 
work executed as the result of this reasoning? Xow, an operation which is 
performed as the result of reasoning is attributable to intelligence. Again, 
the bees give different sorts of food to the different sort of lame. They 
know how to change this food when an accident has deprived the hive of its 
queen, and it is necessary to replace her: this is another proof of intel- 

"But it is, above all, in the face of an enemy that the intellectual facul- 
ties of these insects show themselves. There are always at the entrance 
of every hive three or four bees, which have nothing else to do but to guard 
the door, to keep a watch over incomers and outgoers, and to prevent an 
enemy or an intruder from slipping into the community. When one of 
them perceives an enemy on the borders of the hive, it dashes forwards 
towards it, and, by a menacing and significant buzzing, warns it to retire. 
If it does not understand the warning, which is a rare occurrence, — for men, 
horses, dogs, and animals of all kinds know perfectly well the danger to 
which they expose themselves by approaching too near to a hive in full oper- 
ation, — the bee gets a reinforcement, and very soon returns to the combat 
with a determined battalion. All this is, it seems to us, intelligence." 


These insects, most of them beautiful, and many of them dressed in the 
most corireous and brilliant manner, have four wings, covered on both sur- 
faces with small, colored scales, resembling a farinaceous powder, which 
come off at the slightest touch, whence the name of the order — a Greek 
word signifying scale-ivings. Their proboscis is rolled up in a spiral direc- 
tion between two palpi, clothed with scales or hairs, and forms the most 
important part of the mouth, and with which they draw up the nectar of 
flowers, which is their sole food. The antenme arc composed of a great 
number of joints. 

The larvse of these insects are those ugly and repulsive-looking creatures 
called Caterpillars. They have six scaly feet, corresponding with those 
of the perfect insect, besides four to ten membranous feet, of which the two 
last are situated at the posterior extremity of the body. Those which have 
only ten or twelve feet are called Geometers, or Loopers, from their pecu- 
liar mode of walking. 


There are few persons who have not observed this caterpillar moving 
along' on a twig or slender branch of shrubs, plants, and trees, and been 
struck by the curious operation. It seizes hold of the twig with its six fore 
legs, and then elevates the intermediate segments of the body into an arch, 
until the hind ones are brought close to the others, when it disengages its 
fore feet, and thrusts forward the body its full length, and then repeating the 
operation till the journey is ended. 

Most caterpillars are vegetable-eaters; but some feed on the hard and 
solid parts (>!' wood, which they soften with a secretion discharged from the 
mouth, and others attack cloths and furs, — as the moths, — and do great 
injury. Some of the caterpillars are social, and live together under a shelter 
they construct together ; others make cases to dwell in, and still others make 
galleries in the pulp of green leaves. Some of them make their appearance 
in winter, and we have often seen one of the moth species, in its furry coat 
of black and reddish-brown, moving along on a sunny bank, in the coldest 
weather. They generally moult four times before passing to the chrysalis 

This order is divided by systemists into three families, and these again 
into many genera ; but the three great genera of Linnanis — Papilio, 
Sphinx, and Phalcena, represent the tribe with sufficient fulness for our 

Papilio. — The Butterflies. These are diurnal insects, which delight in the 
sunshine, and flutter, apparently with great pleasure, through the sunny hours 
of the summer day. The Papiliones are remarkable for their beauty, and 
for the scries of transformations they undergo before reaching the perfect 
state. The female lays a great quantity of eggs, which produce the cater- 
pillars so destructive to the foliage of vegetables. After a short period the 
caterpillar becomes a chrysalis. These chrysalides are of various forms, 
and sometimes adorned with bright golden or silvery spots. Here the cat- 
erpillar closes its career, and the gorgeous and brilliant butterfly, born of 
its decay, comes forth in glory and splendor, the admiration and wonder of 
all beholders. It is not strange that this great marvel of nature should have 
suggested to the poetic mind of the Greeks their most expressive and elo- 
quent symbol of immortality, viz., the butterfly emerging from the 

The most splendid specimens of the genus are the Eijuitcs, or Knights, of 
Linnreus, the most beautiful of which are found in South America, espe- 
cially Brazil, where they cover the groves, gardens, and fields with their 
luxuriant glory. 

The species arc too numerous to be recorded here. P. macliaon, or 
Swallow-tailed Butterfly, is a splendid insect. P. Danai candidi and P. 

Pi iii'. wxrx 

Samurf U'.ilker&Cu Boston 

IfewEni! Lijh l'u 109 Summer ■;; Boston 


brassicce are the common whitish butterflies of our gardens and fields. 
P. nymphali8 lias the under side of the wings ornamented with silver or 
yellow spots on a buff ground. Among the most elegant of the family are 
P. Io, the Peacock; P. cardui, the Painted Lady ; P. Atalanta, the Red 
Admiral; P. iris, the Purple Emperor; and P. C— album, the Common 
Butterfly. The chrysalis of this last bears an extraordinary resemblance to 
the human face. 

This genus constitutes the family Diurna of the authors. 

Another tribe of Lepidopterous insects reposes during the day and night, 
and becomes active in the twilight of morning and evening, whence these 
insects are called Crepuscular ice. They compose the genus 

Sphinx. — The Sphinges have the antennae prismatic, and a distinct pro- 
boscis. They feed on leaves, and undergo their changes in the earth without 
weaving a web. They fly with great swiftness, hovering over flowers, with 
a humming sound like that of the humming-bird. The chrysalides have 
generally the langue-case exserted, like a nose. 

S. Atropos. — The Death's-head Moth. This is one of the largest of 
the species, and is regarded with superstitious fear by the ignorant on 
account of the funereal emblem — a skull-like patch — it bears upon the 
back of the thorax, and the dismal cry it utters when disturbed. This noise 
is produced, it is supposed, by rubbing the palpi against each other. 

This curious moth is not very common ; the only specimen I have been 
able to obtain was procured at Mattapoisett, Mass., by Mr. J. C. Forbes, 
to whom I am indebted for it. The front wings of this insect are of a 
blackish-brown, varied with brown and gray above and below. On the 
middle of the front wing there is a distinct white dot. The hind wings 
have two black bands, the upper narrower than the lower one; the rest of 
the wing is a fine yellow. The abdomen has likewise from five to six yel- 
low, and as many black, bands, and a long, blackish, longitudinal one in 
the middle. 

The Death's-head Moth is very fond of honey, and consequently often 
steals into bee-hives, to feast on the sweet stores which the bees have ac- 
quired by their industry and skill. The poor bees are no match for this 
powerful enemy, whose thick skin is invulnerable to their stings, and they 
soon flee in consternation before it. 

The members of another section of this order shun equally the glare of 
day and the milder glimmer of twilight, and prosecute their labors and pur- 
sue their enjoyments by night, on which account they are denominated JVbc- 
turna. They constitute the genus 

Phal^NA. — The Moths. These insects have the wings bridled, when 
at rest, by a bristle or bunch of hairs arising at the base of the outer edge 


of the lower pair. The wings are horizontal, or deflexed, and sometimes 
rolled round the body. The antennae gradually diminish to the tips. Some 
of them are destitute of a proboscis, and many of the females are 'without 
■wings. The caterpillars generally spin a cocoon, and have from ten to six- 
teen feet ; the chrysalides are always rounded. To this group belongs one 
of the most important and valuable animals known in the kingdom of nature, 
and, at the same time, it contains some of the most mischievous and de- 

The Linnaean genus Phalazna embraces a vast number of families and 
varieties, and consequently later naturalists have separated it into several 
sections and numerous genera, not, however, without introducing consider- 
able confusion. 

Hepialus (Fabricius). — The hind wings of this genus are destitute of 
a bridle. The caterpillars live in the earth, and eat the roots of plants. 
The Ghost Moth, //. humuli, is a well-known species. The males have 
silvery-white wings, and the females bull', with reddish marks. 

CoSSUS (Fabr.). — The caterpillars of this genus live in the interior of 
trees, and form their cocoons of the sawdust they make. The chrys- 
alis, immediately before undergoing its final change, works itself to the 
outer opening of its cell, to make its escape. 

C. Ligniperda. — The Goat Moth. This is a handsome species, of a 
white color. Its larva is like a thick, short, red worm, and lives in the 
interior of various trees. When alarmed, it discharges a fetid liquor, which 
softens the wood. 

Bombyx. — The insects of this group have the proboscis very short; the 
wings are extended and horizontal, or roof-like. The larva) are exposed, 
and feed upon the tender parts of vegetables ; they generally make a cocoon 
of pure silk. All the species are, more or less, silk-makers, such are the 
Great Atlas Moth of China, B. cecropia; the Great Peacock, B. pavonia 
major; and the Emperor Moth, B. pavonia initio?-, of Europe. B. N~eus- 
tria, the Lackey Moth, is so named from the color of the caterpillar, which 
has longitudinal lines of various hues, and a blue head. Its larvae live in 
society, upon fruit trees, under webs of large size. They are very injuri- 
ous to fruits. 

B. Processionea. — The Processionary Moth. The caterpillars of this 
insect are also social, and often change their abode, marching in procession, 
one being in front, serving as a guide, followed by two, and then by three, 
four, five, and so on. 

" I kept some for a little time in my house in the country," says Reaumur. 
" I brought an oak branch which was covered with them into my study, where 
I could much better follow the order and regularity of their march than I 


could have done in the woods. I was very much amused and pleased at 
watching them for many days. I hung the branch on which I had brought 
them against one of my window shutters. When the leaves were dried up, 
when they had become too hard for the jaws of the caterpillars, they tried 
to go and seek better food elsewhere. One set himself in motion, a second 
followed at his tail, a third followed this one, and so on. They began to 
defile and march up the shutter, but being so near to each other that the 
head of the second touched the tail of the first. The single file was through- 
out continuous ; it formed a perfect string of caterpillars of about two feet 
in length, after which the line was doubled. There two caterpillars marched 
abreast, but as near the one which preceded them as those who were march- 
ing in single file were to each other. After a few rows of our procession- 
ists, who were two abreast, came the rows of three abreast; after a few of 
these came those which were four abreast ; then there were those of five, 
others of six, others of seven, others of eight caterpillars. This troop, so 
well marshalled, was led by the first. Did it halt, all the others halted : 
did it again begin to march, all the others set themselves in motion, and fol- 
lowed it with the greatest precision. . . . That which went on in my study 
goes on every day in the woods where these caterpillars live. . . . "When 
it is near sunset you may see coming out of any of their nests, by the open- 
ing which is at its top, which would hardly afford space for two to come out 
abreast, one caterpillar. As soon as it has emerged from the nest, it is 
followed by many others in single file ; when it has got about two feet from 
the nest, it makes a pause, during which those who are still in the nest con- 
tinue to come out; they fall into their ranks, the battalion is formed ; at 
last the leader sets off marching again, and all the others follow him. That 
which goes on in this nest passes in all the neighboring nests ; all are evacu- 
ated at the same time." 

But the most interesting and important member of this genus is 
B. Mori. — The Silk-worm Moth. This seemingly insignificant insect 
has now become one of the most important to man of all domestic animals. 
It was originally a native of China, and the neighboring parts of Asia, and 
was there bred and domesticated for a long time before it was known in Eu- 
rope. Now, the manufacture of silk is one of the most important sources 
of wealth to many parts of that continent. At first, silk stuffs were sold 
for their weight in gold ; but they are now comparatively cheap. The Silk- 
worm is a caterpillar, which, in due time, undergoes its metamorphoses, and 
becomes a moth, like others of the genus. At birth, and for the first ten 
days, the color of the worm is blackish or obscure. As it grows, it casts 
its skin at stated periods, and turns whitish or bluish, and, when ready to 
spin, becomes yellow. It is covered with scattering hairs, and has a little 


fleshy tubercle on the upper part of the last ring. It feeds on the mulberry. 
Before spinning, it fasts for thirty-six hours, voids all its excrements, becomes 
soft and flaccid, and seeks a suitable place for the construction of its cocoon. 
Two or three days are occupied in this work ; and the thread is stated by 
Count Dandolo to be sometimes six hundred and twenty-five yards in length. 
The worm then changes to a chrysalis, and, after remaining twent} r days, 
the moth comes out, forcing its way through the cocoon. The males first 
appear, and are very brisk in their motions, but do not fly, at least in cold 
climates. They live but a few days, and the females perish also as soon as 
they have deposited their eggs. The eggs are attached, often to the number 
of five hundred or more, by means of a gummy substance, and hatch in the 
ensuing spring. The successful rearing of silk-worms is a distinct art, and 
requires peculiar attention. They are subject to a variety of maladies. 
In many places it is usual to import the eggs from some district that has 
acquired a reputation for their production. These are packed like grain, 
and arc chosen much in the same manner. The eggs arc in many places 
hatched by the human body. The silk is contained, in the form of a fluid, 
resembling varnish, in long, cylindrical sacks, many times the length of the 
animal, and capable of being unfolded by immersion in water. The fluid 
is easily forced out, and advantage is sometimes taken of this circumstance 
to procure threads much coarser than usual, which are extremely strong, and 
impermeable to water. 

According to P. Mailla (" L'Histoire ginSrale de Id Chine"), the vir- 
tues of the Silk-worm were first discovered in that ancient empire. He 
remarks, — 

''The Emperor Hoang-ti, who lived two thousand six hundred years be- 
fore our era, wished that Si-ling-chi, his wife, should contribute to the hap- 
piness of his people ; he charged her to study the Silk-worm, and to try to 
utilize its threads. Si-ling-chi caused a great quantity of these insects to be 
collected, which she fed herself in a place destined exclusively for the pur- 
pose ; she not only discovered the means of rearing them, but, still further, 
the manner of winding off their silk and of employing it in the manufacture 
of fabrics." 

Upon this statement, M. Duhalde, in his " Description de la Chine," 
thus comments : — 

"Up to the time of this queen (Si-ling-chi), when the country was only 
lately cleared and brought into cultivation, the people employed the skins of 
animals as clothes. But these skins were no longer sufficient for the multi- 
tude of the inhabitants ; necessity made them industrious ; they applied 
themselves to the manufacture of cloth wherewith to cover themselves. 
But it was to this princess that they owed the useful invention of silk stuffs. 


Afterwards, the empresses, named by Chinese authors according to the 
order of their dynasties, found an agreeable occupation in superintending 
the hatching, rearing, and feeding of silk-worms, in making silk, and work- 
ing it up when made. There was an enclosure attached to the palace for the 
cultivation of mulberry trees. 

"The empress, accompanied by queens and the greatest ladies of the 
court, went in state into the enclosures, and gathered with her own hand the 
leaves of three branches which her ladies in waiting had lowered till they 
were within her reach ; the finest pieces of silk which she made herself, or 
which were made by her orders and under her own eye, were destined for 
the ceremony of the grand sacrifice offered to Chang-si. 

"It is probable," adds Duhalde, "that policy had more to do than any- 
thing else with all this trouble taken by the empresses. Their intention was to 
induce, by their example, the princesses and ladies of quality, and the whole 
people, to rear silk-worms ; in the same way as the emperors, to ennoble in 
some sort agriculture, and to encourage the people to undertake laborious 
works, never failed, at the beginning of each spring, to guide the plough in 
person, and with great state to plough up a few furrows, and there sow some 

" As far as concerns the empresses, it is a long time since they have ceased 
to apply themselves to the manufacture of silk; one sees, nevertheless, in 
the precincts of the imperial palace, a large space covered with houses, the 
read leading to which is still called the road which leads to the place des- 
tined for the rearing of silk-worms for the amusement of the empresses and 
queens. In the books of the philosopher Mencius is a wise police rule, 
made under the first reigns, which determines the space destined for the cul- 
tivation of mulberry trees, according to the extent of the land possessed by 
each private individual." 

Silk commanded for centuries a prodigiously high price. In the time of 
Alexander its value in Greece was exactly its own weight in gold, and so it 
was very parsimoniously employed in silk tissues. These were so transparent 
that women who wore them were scarcely covered. 

Silk was unknown to the Romans before Julius Cassar. It was to him 
that Rome owed its acquaintance with this new material. He introduced it, 
moreover, in a singularly magnificent manner. One day, at a fete given in 
the Coliseum, — a combat of animals and gladiators, — the people saw the 
coarse tent of cloth, intended to keep off the rays of the sun, replaced by a 
magnificent covering of Oriental silk. They murmured at this gorgeous 
prodigality, but declared Cassar a great man. The introduction of silk 
among the Eomans was the signal for luxurious expenditure. The patri- 
cians made a great display with their silk cloaks of incalculable value ; so 
NO. xix. 95 


that, from the time of Tiberius, the senate felt itself called upon to forbid 
the use of silk garments to men. Examples of simplicity are sometimes 
set in high places ; thus the Emperor Aurclian refused to the Empress Sev- 
crina a dress so costly. 

As one of the most useful animals to man is found in the preceding group, 
so one of the most mischievous constitutes the following genus : — 

Tinea. — These insects are small, but have a remarkable power of de- 
struction. They have a short proboscis, formed of two membranous fila- 
ments, and a very hairy head. There are several species, all bavin"- the 
same destructive habits — feeding on furs, clothes, woollen stuffs, and grains 
of wheat in granaries. These moths are a constant nuisance and pest. 

T. Tapezella. — The Woollen Moth is one of the most destructive. Its 
caterpillar has the form of a worm, and is of a glossy whiteness, with a few 
hairs thinly sprinkled over it, and a gray line on its back. It is enclosed in 
a tube, or sheath, open at both ends, in the interior of which is a sort of 
tissue of wool, sometimes blue, sometimes green, sometimes red, according 
to the color of the stuff to which the insect attaches itself, and which it 
despoils. The exterior of this sheath is, on the contrary, formed of silk, 
made by the insect itself, of a whitish color. 

The caterpillars are hardly hatched before they begin to clothe themselves. 
Re'aumur observed one of these worms during the operation of enlarging its 
case. To do this it put its head out of one of the extremities of its sheath, 
and looked about eagerly, to the right and to the left, for those bits of wool 
which suited best lor weaving in. 

"The larva changes its place continually and very quickly. If the threads 
of wool which are near it arc not such as it desires, it draws sometimes 
more than half its body out of its case to go and look for better ones farther 
oil'. If it finds a bit that pleases, the head remnins fixed for an instant; it 
then seizes the thread with the two mandibles which are below its head, 
tears the bit out after redoubled efforts, and immediately carries it to the 
end of the tube, against which it attaches it. It repeats many times in suc- 
cession a similar manoeuvre, sometimes coming partly out of its tube, and 
then again reentering it to fix against one of its sides a new piece of wool." 

After having worked for about a minute at one end of its tube, it thinks 
of lengthening the other. It turns itself round in its tube with such quick- 
ness, that you would imagine that it could not have had time to do so, and 
would think that its tail was formed in the same way as its head, and pos- 
sessed the same address in choosing and tearing out the bits of wool. 

"Furthermore, when the moth, which is working at elongating its case, 
does not find the threads or hairs of wool to its taste within reach of its 
head, it changes its place. Reaumur saw this insect walking, at some speed 


even, carrying with it its case. It walks on its six front legs. With the 
middle and hind legs it clings to the interior of its case. 

"At the same time that the larva becomes longer it becomes stouter. 
Very soon its garment will become too narrow for it. Will it enlarge its 
old coat, or will it make itself a new one? Reaumur discovered that it pre- 
ferred to widen its old coat. 

" This is what our naturalist saw when he placed larvae with blue cases, 
for instance, upon stuff of a red color. The bands, which extended in 
straight lines from one end of the case to the other, showed the part that had 
been added. 

" From watching them at different times," says this admirable observer, 
"I find that the means which they employ is precisely that to which we 
should have had recourse in a similar case. We know of no other way of 
widening a sheath — a case of any stuff that we find too narrow — than to split 
it right up, and to let in a piece of the proper size between the parts which 
we have thus divided ; we should let in a piece on each side if the shape of 
the tube seemed to require it. This is also exactly what our larvae do, with 
an extra, and which, with them, is a necessary precaution, so as not to re- 
main exposed whilst they are working at the enlargement of their garment. 
Instead of two pieces, which should each be as long as their case, they let 
in four, each of which is not longer than half the length of their case ; and, 
as they never split up more than half the length of the case at the same 
time, it has enough stuff left in it to keep it together while this opening 
is being filled up." 

The wools of our stuffs furnish the moths not only with clothing, but also 
with food. Their excrements are little grains, which are the same color as 
the wool they have eaten. 


The family of Strepsiptera, or Twisted Wings, is composed of some 
very singular insects, both in structure and habits. The wings are large, 
membranous, divided by longitudinal nervures, and folding lengthwise, like 
a fan, on which account Latreille names the order Rhipiptera, from the 
Greek word rhipis — a fan. They are mostly parasites, living in and on 
other insects. The genera are Xenos, Stylops, Elenchux, and llulic- 



This order comprises the two-winged flies, as its name, formed from 
the Greek words dis (two) and pteron (wing) implies. The dipterous in- 
sects have six feet, two membranous extended wings, having beneath them 
two movable slender bodies, called balancers, which the insect moves with 
great rapidity. The use of these appendages is not known. Many of these 
insects are extremely obnoxious and hurtful both to man and beast. Some, 
however, make partial compensation by consuming decaying animal matter, 
which otherwise would infect the air. 

The life of these insects, after arriving at the final state, is very brief. 
They all undergo a complete metamorphosis, but modified in two material 
ways. The larva? of many change their skin in order to undergo their trans- 
formation to pupa-, and some spin a cocoon. The larva; of dipterous insects 
arc destitute of feet, but some have appendages which resemble them. 
After passing through their various changes, and arriving at their perfect 
development, the Diptera spend no part of their limited life in idleness. 
They belong to every clime, and everywhere are disturbers of the peace, and 
a perpetual annoyance to all living things which are within their reach. 
"Besides their variety," says Figuier, ''and the number of their species, 
they are remarkable on account of their profusion. The myriads of flies 
which rise from our meadows, which fly in crowds around our plants, and 
around every organized substance from which life has departed, some of 
which even infest living animals, are Diptera. 

This order is divided into several families, the first of which, JYemoccra, 
lias the antenna-, in some, composed of from fourteen to sixteen joints, and 
in others of from six or nine to twelve. The body is elongated, witli the 
head small and rounded ; the eyes large ; the proboscis exserted, short, and 
terminated by two large lips, or extended into a beak. Many of these 
smaller Diptera often assemble in vast armies in the air, and disport them- 
selves in a kind of dance. They compose the genera Culex and Ttpula. 

Cl'lex. — The Gnats, Mosquitos. The body of the Gnat is long and 
cylindrical. When in a state of repose, one of its wings is crossed over the 
other. They present a charming appearance when seen through a micro- 
scope, their nervures, as well as their edges, being completely covered with 
scales, shaped like oblong plates, and finely striated longitudinally. These 
scales are also found on all the segments of the body. The antennae of the 
Gnat, particularly those of the male, have a fine, feathery appearance. 
Their eyes, covered with network, are so large that they cover nearly the 
whole of the head. 


Reaumur tells us that the sting of the Gnat is composed of five parts. 
He acknowledges, however, that it is very difficult to lie certain of the exact 
number of these parts, on account of the way in which they are united, and of 
their form. At the present day we know that there are six. Reaumur, as 
also Leuwenhoek, thought he saw two in the form of a sword-blade with 
three edges. These have the points reversed, and are serrated on the convex 
side of the bend. The prick made by so fine a point as that of the stint* 
of the Gnat ought not to cause any pain. "The point of the finest needle," 
says Reaumur, " compared to the sting of the Gnat, is the same as the point 
of the sword compared to that of the needle." So small a wound would 
heal at once, were it not that it has been imbued with an irritating liquid. 

This liquid may be seen to exude, under different circumstances, from the 
trunk of the Gnat, like a drop of very clear water. 

Reaumur sometimes saw this liquid even in the trunk itself. " There is 
nothing better," he observes, "to prevent the bad effect of gnat bites than 
at once to dilute the liquid they have left in the wound with water. How- 
ever small this wound may be, it will not be difficult for water to be intro- 
duced. By rubbing, it will at once be enlarged, and there is nothing to do 
but to wash it. I have sometimes found this remedy answer very well." 

When the insect is about to change from the pupa state, it lies on the sur- 
face of the water, straightening the hind part of its body, and extending 
itself on the surface of the water, above which the thorax is raised. Before 
it has been a moment in this position, its skin splits between the two breath- 
ing trumpets, the split increasing very rapidly in length and breadth. 

"It leaves," says Reaumur, "a portion of the thorax of the Gnat easily 
to be recognized by the freshness of its color, which is green, and different 
from the skin, in which it was before enveloped, uncovered. 

"As soon as the slit is enlarged, — and to do so sufficiently is but the 
work of a moment, — the fore part of the perfect insect is not long in showing 
itself; and soon afterwards the head appears rising above the edges of the 
opening. But this moment, and those which follow, until the Gnat has 
entirely left its covering, are most critical, and when it is exposed to fearful 
danger. This insect, which lately lived in the water, is suddenly in a posi- 
tion in which it has nothing to fear so much as water. If it were upset on 
the water, and the water were to touch its thorax or body, it would be fatal. 
This is the way in which it acts in this critical condition : As soon as it has 
got out its head and thorax, it lifts them as high as it is able above the open- 
ing through which they had emerged, and then draws the posterior part of 
its body through the same opening ; or rather that part pushes itself for- 
ward by contracting a little and then lengthening again, the roughness of 
the covering from which it desires to extricate itself serving as an assistance. 


"A larger portion of the Gnat is thus uncovered, and, at the same time, 
the head is advanced farther towards the anterior end of the covering ; hut 
as it advances in this direction, it rises more and more, the anterior and 
posterior ends of the sheath thus becoming quite empty. The sheath then 
becomes a sort of boat, into which the water does not enter ; and it would 
be fatal if it did. The water could not find a passage to the farther end, 
and the edges of the anterior end could not be submerged until the other 
was considerably sunk. The Gnat itself is the mast of its little boat. 
Large boats, which pass under bridges have masts which can be lowered ; 
as soon as the boat has passed the bridge, the mast is hoisted up by degrees 
until it is perpendicular. The Gnat rises thus until it becomes the mast of 
its own little boat, and a vertical mast also. 

"It is difficult to imagine how it is able to put itself in such a singular, 
though for it a necessary, position, and also how it can keep it. The fore 
part of the boat is much more loaded than the other, but it is also much 
broader. Any one who observes how deep the fore part of the boat is, and 
how near the edges of its sides are to the water, forgets, for the time being, 
that the Gnat is an insect that he would willingly destroy at other times. 
One feels uneasy for its fate ; and the more so if the wind happens to rise, 
particularly if it disturbs the surface of the water. But one sees with 
pleasure that there is air enough to carry the Gnat along quickly ; it is car- 
ried from side to side ; it makes different voyages in the bucket in which it 
is borne. Though it is only a sort of boat, or rather mast, because its 
wings and legs arc fixed close to its body, it is, perhaps, in proportion to 
the size of its boat, a larger sail than one would dare to put on a real ves- 
sel ; one cannot help fearing that the little boat will capsize. As soon as 
the boat is capsized, as soon as the Gnat is laid on the surface of the water, 
there is no chance left for it. I have sometimes seen the water covered with 
Gnats which had perished thus as soon as they were born. It is, however, 
still more extraordinary that the Gnat is able to finish its operations. Hap- 
pily they do not last long ; all dangers may be passed over in a minute. 

"The Gnat, after raising itself perpendicularly, draws its two front legs 
from the sheath, and brings them forward. It then draws out the two next. 
It now no longer tries to maintain its uneasy position, but leans towards the 
water, gets near it, and places its feet upon it ; the water is a sufficiently firm 
and solid support for them, and is able to bear them, although burdened 
with the insect's body. As soon as the insect is thus on the water, it is in 
safety ; its wings are unfolded and dried, which is done sooner than it takes 
to tell it ; at length the Gnat is in a position to use them, and it is soon seen 
to fly away, particularly if one tries to catch it." 

These troublesome creatures, during their season, allow us no repose. 


They enter our chambers at night, and their loud humming forewarns us 
of the bloody attack about to be made. Our only refuge is behind a bul- 
wark of gauze, or, in other words, mosquito-nets. In our newly-settled 
territories, where they most abound, the inhabitants are in the habit of driv- 
ing them out with smoke. The Laplanders secure themselves from their sting 
by greasing the exposed parts of their body. Yet, vexatious as they are, 
we recognize their right to existence, and to those enjoyments which the 
Universal Father has provided for them. v 

TiruLA. — The Tipulraice have the antenna; longer than the head, with 
from twelve to sixteen joints. The wings (although some species are ap- 
terous) are horizontal or roof-like, with but few nerves, and the feet are 
long and slender. They resemble the gnats, but their trunk is extremely 
short, terminating in two large lips ; and the sucker is composed of two 
fibres only. The species are very numerous. 

T. Culiciformis. — The Straw-colored Midge. These insects are of so- 
cial habit, and sometimes their immense multitudes fill the air like small 
clouds. They frequent streams, the borders of forests, and marshes. Their 
movements are rapid, and they seem to be constantly on the wing, rising 
and falling always in the same vertical line. 

A small black species of midges, frequenting damp places, is as trouble- 
some as the mosquito. In new and partially-settled countries, at some sea- 
sons, as in the spring and early summer, they are intolerable. Their bite 
is worse than the sting of the mosquito's lancet. They appear to be the 
most active and bite the most fiercely in the evening twilight. 

T. Oleracea. — Father Longlegs. The extraordinary proportions of this 
insect, which is common in fields and pastures, arrest the attention of all, 
and children probably gave it its popular name. Father Longlegs has a 
considerable power of flight, but does not go far at a time, generally skim- 
ming along near the earth, or the top of the grass. Its hind legs are three 
times the length of the body, and serve as stilts, to enable it to pass over 
high blades of grass. 

The second family of Diptera — the Tanystoma (Wide or Long Mouth) 
— comprises the seven following genera : Asilus, Empis, Oyrtus, Bom- 
bylius, Anthrax, Leptis, and Dolic/iopus. 

Asilus. — The insects composing this genus have the proboscis directed 
forward in front. They live by rapine and murder. The loud, buzzing 
noise they make in flying is the death-knell of innumerable flies, bumble 
bees, and beetles, which, with great adroitness, they catch and suck. Their 
larva; live in the earth, and are there transformed into pupse. 

Empis. — This group resembles the foregoing, but the proboscis is either 
perpendicular or directed backwards. The head is rounded, nearly globular, 


with the eyes greatly extended. The insects are small, and, while they are 
destructive to other species, have a taste for the honey of flowers. 

BoMBTiiiUS. — These insects have the antenna? close together, and the 
proboscis very long, and directed forwards. They make a loud, humming 
noise as they hover over flowers, the honey of which they suck up with their 
long proboscis. They fly with astonishing swiftness. 

The Bombylii are clothed with a black and yellow fur. The feet are of a 
light yellow, and the wings have the edges bordered with a sinuous brown 

Antiikax. — The antenna of these insects are always very short, as is 
also the proboscis. They are very hairy, but less so than the preceding. 
They often alight on the ground, and upon walls, where the sunbeams fall, 
along which they are frequently seen flying. The wings, which are very 
large, are clothed, at least in the principal species, in a garb of mourning, 
sufficiently remarkable, in which the combinations of black and white are 
admirably diversified. 

"Here," says M. Macquart, "the line which separates the two colors is 
straight ; there it represents gradations ; in other cases it is deeply sinuous. 
Sometimes the dark part shows transparent points, or the glassy part dark 

" This sombre garb, added to the velvet-black of the body, gives the An- 
thrax a most elegant appearance ; and, while resting on the corolla of the 
honeysuckle and hawthorn to suck the juice, forms a most striking contrast, 
and sets forth its beauty no less than that of those lovely flowers." 

DoLiciiorus. — The Dolichopi are insects of a green or copper color, 
with long and very delicate legs. They station themselves on walls, the 
trunks of trees, and leaves. Some run with celerity and grace on the sur- 
face of the water. 

The third family of the order — the Tabankles — comprises the genus 

Tabanus. — The Tabani are large flies, well known for the torments they 
inflict upon cattle and horses, the skins of which they pierce in order to suck 
their blood. Cuvier describes them as having a head as wide as the thorax, 
nearly hemispherical, and covered, particularly in the males, by the eyes, 
which are generally golden-green, with purple stripes. It is only the females 
which bite ; their sucker, enclosed in the proboscis, is armed with six lan- 
cets, with which they pierce the skin of man and beast. 

T. Bovinux. — The Common Gad Fly. This species is of a blackish- 
brown. The palpi, the face, and the forehead are yellow; the antenna? 
black, with a whitish base; the thorax, covered with yellow hair, is 
striped with black ; the posterior edges of the segments of the abdomen pale 
yellow; the legs yellowish, with the extremities black, and the exterior edge 
of the wings yellow. 


These insects are of a most ferocious character, and often leave cattle 
which they have attacked covered with blood. Those who keep horses gen- 
erally clothe them in summer with a net as a protection against these per- 
sistent and vexing foes. Even the lion himself flees in terror before an 
African species, which Bruce has described under the name of Tsaltsalyia, 
and Livingstone under the designation of Tst tse Fly. The latter affirms 
that, in traversing a certain region in Africa, he lost forty-three fine oxen 
by the bites of this fly. He remarks, — 

" A most remarkable feature in the bite of the Tsetse is its perfect harm- 
lessness in man and wild animals, and even calves so long as they continue 
to suck the cows. We never experienced the slightest injury from them 
ourselves, personally, although we lived two months in their habitat, which 
was in this case as sharply defined as in many others, for the south bank of 
the Chobe was infested by them, and the northern bank, where our cattle 
were placed, only fifty yards distant, contained not a single specimen. This 
was the more remarkable, as we often saw natives carrying over raw meat 
to the opposite bank with many Tsetses settled on it. 

" The poison does not seem to be injected by a sting, or by ova placed 
beneath the skin ; for, when one is allowed to feed freely on the hand, it is 
seen to insert the middle prong of three portions, into which the proboscis 
divides, somewhat deeply into the true skin. It then draws it out a little 
way, and it assumes a crimson color, as the mandibles come into operation. 
The previously shrunken belly swells out, and, if left undisturbed, the fly 
quietly departs when it is full. A slight itching irritation follows, but not 
more than in the bite of a mosquito. In the ox this same bite produces no 
more immediate effects than in man. It does not startle him as the Gad 
Fly does, but a few days afterwards the following symptoms intervene : The 
eye and nose begin to run ; the coat stares as if the animal were cold ; a 
swelling appears under the jaw, ami sometimes at the navel ; and, though 
the animal continues to graze, emaciation commences, accompanied with a 
peculiar flaccidity of the muscles, and this proceeds unchecked until, perhaps 
months afterwards, purging comes on, and the animal, no longer able to 
graze, perishes in a state of extreme exhaustion. Those which are in good 
condition often perish, soon after the bite is inflicted, with staggering and 
blindness, as if the brain were afleeted by it. Sudden changes of temper- 
ature produced by falls of rain seem to hasten the progress of the complaint ; 
but, in general, the emaciation goes on uninterruptedly for months, and, do 
what we will, the poor animals perish miserably. 

"When opened, the cellular tissue on the surface of the body beneath the 
skin is seen to be injected with air, as if a quantity of soap-bubbles were 
scattered over it, or a dishonest, awkward butcher had been trying to make 
NO. xx. 9G 


it look fat. The fat is of a greenish-yellow color, and of an oily consis- 
tence. All the muscles arc flabby, and the heart often so soft that the 
fingers may be made to meet through it. The lungs and liver partake of 
the disease. The stomach and bowels are pale and empty, and the gall- 
bladder is distended with bile. These symptoms seem to indicate, what is 
probably the case, a poison in the blood, the germ of which enters when 
the proboscis is inserted to draw blood. The poison-germ contained in a 
bull) at the root of the proboscis seems capable, although very minute in 
quantity, of reproducing itself. The blood after death by Tsetse is very 
small in quantity, and scarcely stains the hands in dissection. 

"The mule, ass, and goat enjoy the same immunity from the Tsetse as 
man and the game. Many large tribes on the Zambesi can keep no domes- 
tic animals except the goat, in consequence of the scourge existing in their 
country. Our children were frequently bitten, yet suffered no harm ; and 
we saw around us numbers of zebras, buffaloes, pigs, pallahs, and other 
antelope-,, feeding quietly in the very habitat of the Tsetse, yet as undis- 
turbed by its bite as oxen are when they first receive the fatal poison. 
There is not so much difference in the natures of the horse and zebra, the 
buffalo and ox, the sheep and the antelope, as to afford any satisfactory ex- 
planation of the phenomenon. Is a man not as much a domestic animal as 
a don? 

''The curious feature in the case, that dogs perish though fed on milk, 
whereas the calves escape so long as they continue sucking, made us imagine 
that the mischief might be produced by some plant in the locality, and not 
by Tsetse ; but Major Vardon, of the Madras army, settled that point by 
riding a horse up to a small hill infested by the insect, without allowing him 
time to graze ; and, though he only remained long enough to take a view 
of the country and catch some specimens of Tsetse on the animal, in ten 
days afterwards the horse was dead." 

The fifth family of Diptera — Athericea — comprises the genera Syiphus, 
(Estrus, Conops, and 3fusca. 

Syrphus. — This group is separated into a large number of subgenera, 
the most remarkable of which arc Syrphus proper, Vermilio, and Volu- 
cella. The Syrphi have the abdomen narrowed from the base to the apex. 
Their larva 1 feed solely upon aphides, which they often hold up in the air, 
and suck with great rapidity. 

Vermilio. — This insect has a white face; its forehead gray, bordered 
with black ; the thorax of a yellowish-gray, with four brown stripes in the 
male ; the abdomen light yellow, spotted with black ; and the wings glassy. 

The larva of the Vermilio has a thin, cylindrical body, capable of bending 
itself in every direction ; a conical head, armed with two horny points ; and 


the last segment elongated, flat, elevated, and terminated by four hairy ten- 
tacles ; at the sides of the fifth segment may be observed a little angle, from 
which projects a horny, retractile point. 

It is of very singular habits. It makes a small tunnel in the sand, having 
a conical mouth, where it waits, like the spider, immovable. As soon 
as an insect falls into the hole, it raises its head, and, squeezing its prey in 
the folds of its body, devours it, and afterwards throws out the skin. It 
lives in this way for at least three years before attaining the perfect state. 

Volucella. — The Volucellae have a strong resemblance to the bumble 
bee. Certain kinds make use of and abuse this resemblance to introduce 
themselves fraudulently into its nests, and to deposit their eggs therein. 
When these eggs have hatched, the larva}, which have the mouth armed 
with two mandibles, devour the lame of their hosts (the bees), which is the 
return they make for the hospitality they have received. 

CEstkus. — The Bot-Fly. In the whole insect world there is not a crea- 
ture so mischievous as this. It is the curse of the ox, horse, sheep, deer, 
and other animals during the summer. These creatures have an instinctive 
consciousness of its approach and sinister designs, and exhibit much rest- 
lessness and alarm. 

CE. Oris. — This species deposits its eggs in the nostrils of sheep, where 
the larva is hatched, and immediately ascends into the frontal sinuses, at- 
taching itself very firmly to the living membrane by two strong hooks situ- 
ated at its mouth. 

CE. Bovis. — This species deposits its eggs in the skin of young beeves. 
They arc soon hatched, and the larva, or worm, pierces the skin, making a 
considerable hole therein, which it makes its temporary dwelling-place. 
The back of the afflicted animal becomes covered with lumps, like tumors, 
or boils, which are filled with a purulent matter, upon which the larva? feed. 
When their probation in this strange abode is completed, they creep out, fall 
to the earth, and make their way into the ground from one to two feet. 

CE. Equi. — The Bot Fly of the horse deposits its eggs upon such parts of 
the skin as are liable to be much licked by the animal, and thus they are 
conveyed to the stomach, where the heat speedily hatches the larva?, which 
are so well known as Bot-worms. After fulfilling their destiny here, they 
pass out with the excrement, and undergo their other change in the air. 
Although they are not always hurtful to horses, they sometimes prove 

These insects, in their perfect state, are not often seen, as they take no 
nourishment, and as soon as they deposit their eggs die. 
• Coxops. — In this group the insects have the antennae much longer than 
the head, and the last two joints form a mass, with a terminal style. 


C. Rufipes. — This species experiences its transformations in the bodies 
of living bumble bees, escaping between the segments. 

('. Calcitrana resembles the Domestic Fly : it is often seen on windows, 
and is very troublesome, before :t rain, by its pricking bite, generally upon 
one's legs. 

Musca. — The Flies. These insects have the antenna? inserted near the 
forehead, the palpi placed upon the proboscis, and transverse nerves to the 

M. Grossa. — This is the largest species known, being nearly, if not 
quite, the size of the bumble bee. The body is very bristly and black ; the 
head is buff; the eyes brown ; and the base of the wings reddish. It makes 
a loud, buzzing noise, and settles upon flowers in the woods. 

M. Vomitoria is the Common Meat Fly, with a fulvous forehead, black 
thorax, and blue abdomen, with black marks. Its sense of smelling is very 
keen, and it soon finds meats which are exposed to its attacks, and covers 
them with its eggs. 

M. Carnaria. — The Executioner Fly is rather larger than the Meat 
Fly. It is of a dark, metallic, green color, with a slight ash-colored down. 
It attacks oxen, and deposits its eggs on meat, and often in the wounds of 
animals. m 

M. Domestica. — The House Fly. This insect has an ash-colored body ; 
the face black, and also the feet; the sides of the head yellow; and the 
forehead likewise yellow, with black stripes. This fly is common to all 
countries, invades all houses, and soils, with its dark-colored exudations, 
walls, ceilings, windows, mirrors, and all light-colored objects. It feeds on 
sweet substances and the fluids that are diffused by perspiration over the 
bodies of man and beast. In the early part of the season it does not bite 
or sting ; but towards the end of summer, it becomes nearly as annoying as 
the mosquito. 

After the Muscides, the remaining Diptcra, composing the sixth family 
of the order, are all parasites — a kind of lice, living on the bodies of vari- 
ous animals, birds, and cither insects. They are sometimes called Spider 
Flies; they run swiftly, and fly sidewise. They constitute the genus Hlp- 
pobosca. 11. equina (the Forest Fly). This insect, in some places, is 
very troublesome to horses, attaching itself in great numbers beneath the 
tail. II. avicularia lives on various species of birds. II. ovina infests 
sheep. Other species live on bats ; one is the torment of the stag, and 
another makes its home on the honey-bee. 

The Dipterous insects, for the most part, are a very ferocious class of 
creatures. They delight in blood, and live by robbery and murder ; other 
insects, all kinds of beasts, and even man, sutler from their attacks. Yet 
in the great economy of Nature they are not without their use. 


These animals, according to Cuvier, have no mesial planes, but may be 
variously divided into symmetrical parts, radiating from one or more axes. 
Their organs of motion, when they have any, are movable spines attached 
to the skin, or flexible papillae, capable of inflation. Some are of distinct 
sexes, some bisexual, and some are produced by buds. They constitute a 
wonderful and mysterious order of life, situated on the outer limit of the