« AnteriorContinuar »
Journal” for 1832 and 1833, by Treviranus, he says the cuticle does not cover the glandular surface; it is, however, very easy to demonstrate that it is reflected down over each gland, and whatever liquid is excreted must filter through this cuticular covering before it falls into the pitcher.
By referring again to Fig. 1, it will be seen that a thickened margin or frill surrounds nearly the entire top of the pitcher. Now, embedded in this fleshy frill, lie many elongated, cylindrical glands, like guns on a fortification, all opening on its inner side by minute ducts which lead up to Fig. 4.
the glands. The size of these very peculiar organs varies, as shown in Fig. 4 (magnified eighty diameters), and sometimes they are united at the ends, though this can be regarded only as a curious malformation. The drawing shows the union of the ducts with each gland, and also their cellular structure, better than many
words could describe it. In a side view of one of these glands, we see it is somewhat crescentic in shape; the orifice of the duct is apparent, and also the position of the gland with respect to the epidermis which covers the frill. This second series of organs lies embedded in a tissue, made up chiefly of large, isolated, spiral cells, developed to a degree not found probably in any other plant. Treviranus seems not to have been aware of these upper glands in Nepenthes, nor have we seen them noticed by any authority before.
In describing the structures alluded to in this paper, we have used the term gland for want of a better one, but we do not therefore assume any speciality of function. This is a point about which we are ignorant. The structure of an organ will not enable us to predict its fuuction, though it may afford rational ground for guess-work. Will not some one having the opportunity make observations on these singular organs in the living plant, in order to settle their function? We know not anywhere else in the vegetable kingdom organs more apparently set apart for a special purpose, and yet we are in doubt about their meaning.
Our native Sarracenia growing abundantly in swamps. with its cups, often the graves of drowned flies, is also called a pitcher plant, but differs widely in structure and habit from the Nepenthes. We allude to it now only to express our intention, if opportunity should offer, to illustrate its singular structure, as well as that of others of these remarkable plants, which nature seems to have appointed to set their traps among the swamps, but for what purpose, perhaps, we are not ready to explain.
We have been assisted in illustrating this paper by Miss Mary Peart and Miss Emma Walter, and the drawings were made from specimens in our possession.
THE COMPRESSED BURBOT OR EEL-POUT.*
BY WILLIAM WOOD, M. D.
Of the genus Lota, there are several species. The English Burbolt (Burbot), as described by Yarrell in his work on British fishes, and by Couch, belongs to this genus, yet probably is a different species from any in our lakes and rivers. Couch says, "the Burbolt (Burbot) is the only one of the extensive family of the codfishes which has its residence in fresh water, where it is distinguished by exhibiting some of
* Lota compressa Lesueur, AMER. NATURALIST, VOL. III. 3
the manners of the eel, by which it has obtained the name of the eel-pout."
In this country, according to DeKay, we have three species: the Plain Burbot (Lota inornata) which is rare, the Spotted Burbot (Lota maculosa) which is abundant in our lakes, and the Compressed Burbot (Lota compressa) which is very rare.* DeKay, when he published the Fauna of New York, in the Natural History of that State, says, "the only two specimens described are from the Connecticut River and its tributaries. I know it only through the descriptions of Lesueur and Storer.”
This species was first described by Lesueur from a specimen taken at Northampton, Mass. The second description was by Dr. D. Humphreys Storer, of Boston, from a specimen taken in the Ashuelot River. In his report on the Fishes of Massachusetts, page 134, published in 1839, he says, "the only specimen I have been able to see was sent me from Keene, N. H., taken in the Ashuelot River.” In the Catalogue of the Fishes of Connecticut, by Rev. James H. Lindsley, in the American Journal of Science and Arts (Vol. 47, page 71) he says, "I obtained a fine specimen (Lota compressa), taken a few years since in New Canaan, Conn.” In Dr. Storer's article on the fishes of Massachusetts, published in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (new series, Vol. 6, part second, page 360, published in 1858) he says, "the one from which this description was taken, was brought from the Connecticut River by Thomas M. Brewer, M. D., of Boston.” If Dr. Storer refers to two specimens in his reports of 1839 and 1858, we have four specimens described ; if to but one, only three specimens have ever been described so far as I can learn.
The specimen which I have before me was taken in Scantic River, a tributary of the Connecticut, about four miles from East Windsor Hill, May 22, 1868, and was brought to me in a tub of water, which gave me a good opportunity to examine it in its natural state. There was one taken in the Farmington River, some six miles from this place, in an eel-pot a few years since, and was kept alive for several weeks.
*All these species have been considered by Dr. Günther, in his Catalogue of Fishes in the British Museum, as one and the same species with the European Burbot. Lota maculata and L. inornata are undoubtedly synonyms, but until farther comparisons have been made we are inclined, with Dr. Wood, to leave L. compressa as a distinct species, and also to question the uniting of the European and American species.EDITORS,
The description given by Dr. Storer, in the two reports referred to, is so full that but little which is new can be added. The length of those described by Lesueur and Storer, were six and eight inches; by Lindsley, eleven and a quarter inches. The one before me is eleven inches long.
Color. — The back and sides are yellowish brown, with irregular patches of a darker color, marked somewhat like our pickerel, only a shade darker; the gill covers and snout are dark brown, the belly is of a light color in place of the yellowish on the sides ; the first dorsal fin is lighter than the body; the second dorsal and caudal fins are dark at the base, yellowish in the middle, with the edge margined with black or dark brown; the anal fin is similarly marked, though a little lighter; the black margin is not as wide as on the dorsal.
Description. — The body is shaped very much like an eel, being cylindrical ; the abdomen rather more prominent than in the eel. The head measures one and three-quarter inches in length and is compressed above. The sides begin to be compressed at the tip of the pectorals, and continue to be more so until it terminates in the caudal fin, which
appears like a membranous continuation of the body; the tail fin is fan shaped, and measures one and a half inches in length at its longest point. The first dorsal is quite small, and is two inches from the head. The second dorsal is situated a quarter of an inch back of the first dorsal, and terminates at the base of the tail, and is rounded at its posterior extremity. The anal fin commences an eighth of an inch lower down than the dorsal, and terminates in the same manner. The ventral fins measure seven-eighths of an inch in length, and are composed of two free rays, one ray measuring fiveeighths, the other one-fourth of an inch. These free rays are used by the fish as feelers, in the same way as the barbel on the chin. The pectoral fins measure one and an eighth inches in length, and have one very minute free ray. On the chin is one barbel half an inch in length. The nostrils are double ; from the back of the anterior nostril is a minute barbel. The eyes are circular, and three-quarters of an inch apart. Both upper and lower jaws are armed with minute teeth. The whole surface is covered with exceedingly small cup-shaped scales, which are not plainly visible except by the aid of a magnifying glass.
In the description given by Lesueur, Storer, Lindsley and DeKay, no mention is made of the free rays of the ventral fins. They are as distinct and noticeable as the barbel on the chin, and more so when swimming.
It is thought by some that Lota compressa and Lota maculosa are identical. I am not sufficiently versed in ichthyology to be a dictator or judge in the matter, yet the habits and dimensions of the two are so dissimilar as to lead me to suppose that they are two distinct species. The Lota maculosa is two feet in length at maturity. The largest Lota compressa ever known was the one described by Lindsley, eleven and a quarter inches. The Lota compressa probably visits the salt water, as it is taken in ascending the Connecticut or its tributaries in the spring of the year, in company with fish from the salt water ascending to spawn. So few have been taken that it may not be wise to be positive in this assertion, yet I have no doubt, in my own mind, that it is a fact. Four have been taken to my knowledge within six miles of my office, within a few years, and all have been taken in the spring. Three of them were taken in company with the Lamprey eel (Petromyzon Americanus), in pots set for them, and the fourth (the one in my possession) was caught in a fine net with a promiscuous collection of fish.
The Spotted Burbot, on the contrary, lives exclusively in fresh water.