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drops of creosote have been added. Thus the growth of fungi is prevented, which would otherwise mar the appearance of the object very materially
To mount such bleached specimens, I proceed as follows. Those which have been set aside in creosote water may be, of course, put up permanently in that liquid, but those which have been preserved in spirits, I prefer to mount in creosote. A cell is procured of any suitable substance, as black varnish, gold size, marine glue, or other cement which will withstand the action of water, and a fragment of the Alga being placed in it in the usual manner, water is added, and a fine glass rod or stick of wood just moistened with creosote brought in contact with the liquid. In this way the water becomes sufficiently impregnated with the preservative to insure its antiseptic action. The cover is then put on and cemented down. Thus we have a specimen of the Alga in a transparent coudition, all colors which interferes with the observation of many points of structure being removed. In place of creosote water I have made use of camphor water, and found it to answer admirably. The camphor water I make by using distilled water, and just before placing on the cover, putting in a grain of gum camphor, which then remains in the cell, and if near the edge does not mar the appearance of the object in any way. Specimens can also be mounted in the glycerine-jelly of Mr. Lawrence, which preservative I find to be excellent for all kinds of Algæ and vegetable preparations generally; in fact after a little practice, the manipulation of it becomes almost as easy as that of balsam, and air bubbles, those torments of beginners, are the exception and not (as is the case for a long time generally after a tyro begins mounting microscopic objects) the rule. Of the use of this jelly, or rather a modification of it, I shall at some future time have more to say.- ARTHUR MEAD EDWARDS, New York.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. J.T., Tabor, Iowa. - The Land and Fresh-water Shells of the United States, by Binney, Prime and Tryon, published by the Smithsonian Institution, will be the most modern works for reference. Descriptions of Unios, etc., are mostly contained in the writings of Isaac Lea, of Philadelphia. The best way to procure specimens for your college, is to make good collections of your native animals and plants, and then exchange them with other parties. We will announce such desires to exchange free of cost.
E. G., Albion, Wis.- Your specimens considered as Ophioglossum reticulatum Fries., does not seem to differ from dwarf and depauperate specimens of 0. vulgatum, nor do the reticulations differ in any way that I can perceive, on comparison with British or with New England fornis. Never having seen either a description or authentic speci. mens, such as you say were collected by Prof. Kumlein, I have no means of speaking with any certainty. The same style of reticulation occurs in 0. bulbosum Michaux, à Southern variety; and as the species is very variable, it is probable that (. reticulatum is but a local variety, though the botanical authority of Fries is of great moment regarding any plant which comes under his observation.-J. L. R.
B.F. L., Concordville, Pa.- To your query, “How long will spiders live without eating ?” we would reply that adult spiders, like adult six-footed insects, will fast for months, though when young and growing they are usually voracious. How your Foung spiders lived twenty days after hatching without food, we do not understand, though we have observed that the young of the Moose tick lived nearly a month without food after hatching.
The Tarantula is confined to the Southern States, though the Editors of the “ American Entomologist" report the occurrence of Mygale Hentzii in Missouri. It may pos. sibly occur in Eastern Indiana. Spiders are well known to be cannibals, the females after their love passages with their partners, frequently falling upon them and devour. ing them. The Guide to the Study of Insects" will contain chapters on the Arachnida and Myriapods, with numerous illustrations.
C. E. R., Roxbury: - The field lies before you at low tide. The best books you can have are those exposed to you by nature. It will be impossible for you to study all until you have mastered some of the legding principles of zoology. And the best way to commence is to select some group, among the mollusca for example; collect all the species you can, study them, ascertain all you can regarding their habits. Work patiently from year to year; be sure you have a love for it at every step. If you choose the mollusca, Gould's Invertebrata is the best and only guide, a new edition of which will be out soon, in connection with Woodward's Manual of the Mollusca. 12mo, London. Should you study the radiates, Agassiz's Seaside Studies, published by Ticknor & Fields, is the best for reference. As for the crustacea and worms, their descriptions are scattered through many publications, especially the Journal, Proceedings and Memoirs of the Boston Society of Natural History.
H. G., Detroit, Mich. - The specimens boring the hickory were Clytus pictus in the larva, pupa and beetle stage; the other larva also found in the hickory log, seems to be ine larva of one of the Cleridæ. We should be greatly obliged for any specimens of Coleopterous larvæ for the Museum of the Academy, which already has a good collection of the early stages of insects. ill not all our friends, who perhaps do not usually preserve larvæ in their entomological expeditions, send them to us, especially the larvæ of Carabidæ, and those injurious to fruit and forest trees. If possible, put the larvæ, pupæ and beetle together in a vial, with whiskey. Will our Southern friends, as the season opens, remember that we want specimens of the Cotton Ball Worm and Army Worm, in all their stages, including the Moths, which can be sent in folded papers, by mail, though better in stout chip or pasteboard boxes.
R. S., Waverly, N. Y. - In order to reply to your question as to the locality where the stone used by the Indians for making arrowheads was obtained, it will tirst be neces. sary to know the exact species of mineral your arrowheads are made of, as several minerals were in common use for the purpose, and many arrowheads, knives, etc., were undoubtedly made from minerals only existing in localities far distant from the spot where the manufactured articles were found. The hornstone (a mottled drabcolored stone), which was in very common use for arrowheads, etc., has generally been supposed to have been taken from Mt. Kineo, on Moosehead Lake, in Maine, but that it also occurs in other places, is evident from the fact that Prof. Wyman has in his cabinet a stone which he picked up at a gravel bank in Cambridge, identical with the mineral from Mt. Kineo. Several characteristic varieties of jasper occur in Lynn and Saugus, and were much used for arrowheads, etc. Dr. True has a short paper in the Proceedings of the Portland Society of Natural History, Vol. I, p. 165, on this subject, but suficient attention has not yet been given to this very interesting subject to enable one to trace the source of all the minerals used. We are receiving specimens of arrowheads, knives, axes, gouges, pottery, etc., etc., from various parts of the country, and hope in time to add our mite to the general stock of information on this subject. We should be pleased to receive any specimens you could obtain for us from your own or other localities, to add to the Academy's collection.
W. E. E., Dorchester, Mass. — The shells from a spring are Pisidium variabile.
SCIENCE GOSSIP. – Our subscribers (before February 15th) should have received their copies of Science Gossip by this time. If not received please informs us, as we have notice from the Editor that they have been mailed. We receive subscriptions for the “Gossip” at any date, and can secure back numbers.
A. S.J., Iowa City:- Lectures on Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Vertebrate Animals. Part I. FISHES. By Richard Owen. London, 1846. Longman, Brown, Green & Longman.
J. H. B., Richmond, Va.-Lippencott & Co., of Philadelphia, have published an illustrated work on the Birds of North America, by Baird, Cassin & Lawrence. 2 vols., 4to, with one hundred colored plates. Price $22.50. Atlas sold separate for $17. Prof. Baird's Report on the Birds of North America (ninth volume of the Pacific Railroad Surveys) is now the standard work on American Ornithology. We can furnish copies of either works.- Cooke's Fern Book, $1.00.
SEVERAL CORRESPONDENTS hare asked questions regarding the use of Carbolic acid as a substitute for alcohol, etc., to which we answer that Carbolic acid in water alone will not preserve animals, but pure Glycerine, with a very small amount of Carbolic acid (say about three or four.drops of acid to 2 oz. of Glycerine) answers admirably for some delicate animals. But the best thing for preserving most animals is alcohol. The contraction of animals put into alcohol (complained of by some correspondents) is caused by the alcohol being too strong. All animals should be put into weak alcohol at first (not over twenty-five or thirty per cent.), and after remaining a few hours should be transferred to about seventy-five or eighty per cent. alcohol. A very five article for preserving the tissues of animals, and for soft animals like mollusks, actinias, worms, insect larvæ, etc., can be made after a few experiments, of Glycerine, a little of the strongest alcohol, and a very small portion of Carbolic acid. This preparation will preserve the colors as well as the tissues. A little fine soap (white castile is the best) put into alcohol will prevent most colors from fading, unless exposed to direct sunlight.
MANY persons are repelled by scientific nomenclature. Let not such, however, turn away from this article when I say that the name of the genus I write of is Botaurus, for the English term "bittern” is the same word, only in a dif
ferent shape, and comes from the Latin Botaurus (i.e., boatus taurinus), through the French butor, or Spanish bitor. Botaurus, butor, bitor or bittern, it is all one, and means * bull-voiced.” The popular local names the bird has received are nearly all from the same characteristic: these are Stake-driver, applied to our own bird, and Mire-drum, Bull of the Bog, Butter-bump and Bog-blutter (i.e., bleater), applied to the European species.
* Botaurus lentiginosus Stephens; from Tenney's Zoology. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by the PEABODY ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. AYER. XATURALIST, VOL. III. 22
Australia is a land of anomalies; a kingfisher lives there which avoids the water, dwells in arid wastes, living on lizards and snakes, and has his home in a tree; and possibly some unknown species of bittern may belong there which flutters about the upland fields and lives on seeds, and will be held in high tepute as a warbler when he shall, hereafter, be found, and will be kept in a gilded cage with a cuttle-fish bone. That would indeed be a sight worth going half-way around the world to see. I dare prophesy, however, that that island's vast unknown interior will produce no such wonder, but that all unknown bitterns will be found to agree in character with the known. What that character is, how it differs from our supposed songster, let us now consider.
The prophets use its name in foretelling desolation. Says Isaiah, of Babylon, "I will make it a possession for the bittern;" and Zephaniah says of Ninevah, “The cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it.” Hear also what Mudie, who was not a prophet, says of the European species. "It hears not the whistle of the ploughman nor the sound of the mattock; and the tinkle of the sheep bell or the lowing of the ox (although the latter bears so much resemblance to its hollow and dismal voice that it has given foundation for the name) is a signal for it to be gone. Places which scatter blight and mildew over every herb more delicate than a sedge; which are the pasture of those loathsome things which wriggle in the ooze, or crawl and swim in the putrid and mantling waters; places which shed murrain over the quadrupeds, or chills which eat the flesh off their bones; places from which even the raven, lover of disease and battener upon all that expires miserably and exhausted, keeps aloof (for 'the reek o' the rotten fen' is loathsome even to him), are the chosen habitation, the only loved home of the bittern. He is a bird of the confines, beyond which we can imagine nothing but utter ruin.”
This picture is, I think, somewhat overdrawn; moreover, no naturalist ought to speak of the waste places of Nature in that disapproving way. We might pardon a mere collector for writing so of bogs and wilds, he knows no better; to him, a natural history store, where he may buy his eggs, his shells, his bird-skins, or his sea-mosses, is preferable to the swamps he must struggle through, the thickets he must thread, the plains he must traverse, and the sandy or muddy sea-beaches he must frequent if he would be a student of Nature. Dry feet, untired limbs, clothes and flesh untorn by briar and bramble, are not for the naturalist at all hours, nor should he complain ; a new plant, a rare mollusk, a bird till now unseen, an egg till now unknown, repay such trials as these ; and, if he find no such prize, his tramp, like virtue, is its own reward. That there is something about the fowl, of which Mudie thus speaks, that appeals strongly to the imagination is not to be denied; but the bird is, nevertheless, a reputable bird, although he is the one which ignorant peasants in the old countries know by the name of "night raven,” believing that disaster or death must needs follow when they have heard his voice booming over the fens on a warm cloudy night, as they staggered their drunken way home from the ale-house. Terrible as the voice sounds to their dull senses, it is sweetest music to the bittern's mate, sitting among the grasses below him, or with him circling the sky just under the cloud.
On this side of the Atlantic we have no superstitious fear of the fowl, and do not think the swamps accursed by his presence. He is a lovely bird in unprejudiced, discriminating eyes; he has no gaudy colors, but his blacks, his browns and yellows, of many shades, all of them pleasing, are so blended as to produce a beautiful, harmonious effect. He loves waste places, for they furnish him safety and food; safety, because his enemy, man, is fond of a dry foot ; and