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THE WORM-EATING WARBLER.-- In looking over the description of the Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitherus vermirorus), in the “ Birds of New England " by Mr. Samuels, I see he describes it as nesting in bushes from four to nine feet from the ground, and making its nest with the blossoms of hickory and chestnut trees. I should like to know if these are the usual labits of this bird.
On the 6th of June, 1869, I found a nest of this species containing five eggs. It was placed in a hollow on the ground much like the nest of the Oven bird (Seirurus aurocapillus), and was hidden from sight by the dry leaves that lay thickly around. The nest was composed externally of dead leaves, mostly those of the beach, while the interior was prettily lined with the fine thread-like stalks of the hair moss (Polytrichium). Altogether it was a very neat structure, and looked to me as though the owner was habitually a ground-nester. The eggs most nearly resemble those of the White-bellied-Nuthatch (Sitta Carolinensis), though the markings are fewer and less distinct. So close did the female sit that I captured her without difficulty by placing my lat over the rest. — T. H. JACKSON, Westchester, Pa.
FALL OF SHELL-FISH IN A RAIN STORM. - Mr. John Ford exhibited to the Conchological Section, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, specimens of Gemma gemma, remarkable as having fallen accompanied by rain, in a siorin which occurred at Chester, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of June 6th, 1869. The specimens were perfect, but very minute, measuring one-eighth inch in length by three-sixteenths inch in breadth. Though most of the specimens which fell were broken, yet many perfect ones were collected in various places, sheltered from the heavy rain which followed their descent. A witness of the storm, Mr. Y. S. Walter, editor of the “Delaware County Republican,” assured Mr. F. that he noticed the singular character of the storm at its very commencement, and to use his own words, “it seemed like a storm within a storm.” A very fine rain fell rapidly, veiled by the shells, which fell slower and with a whirling motion. Judging from the remains of animal matter attached to some of the specimens, together with the fresh appearance of the epidermis, it is highly probable that many of them were living at the moment of transition. This minute species resembles a qualaug shell, and is cominon on the seashore between tide marks.
NYCTALE ALBIFRONS. – I do not kyow whether, since the discovery made by Dr. Hoy, of Racine, Wisconsin, in regard to Nyctale albifrons, another of this beautiful and rare species has been taken within the limits of the United States. A few days ago a live and well plumaged specimen was captured in the centre of the city of Buffalo, by George L. Newman, Esq., of that city, and presented to the Society of Natural Sciences. I am sorry to add that the bird lived only two days in captivity, and it forms now a very valuable addition to the ornithological collections of the Society. - CHARLES S. LINDEN.
A FIDDLER-CRAB WITH TWO LARGE HANDS. - A male “Fiddler” with nearly equal hands has recently been presented to the Museum of Yale College, by Mr. W. C. Beecher, who collected it near this city. It does not appear to differ from the common Gelasimus palustris except in the right cheliped. The left cheliped is exactly like the larger cheliped of ordinary specimens, while the right one differs only in being a very little smaller, and in having the fingers slightly more incurved at the tips. In this character of equal chelipeds it agrees with the genus Helæcius. The specimen was very lively, and used both hands with equal facility. - S. I. Smith, New Haven, Conn.
PROCEEDINGS OF SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES.
CHICAGO ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. Meeting of October 12th, 1869. – The President exhibited some implements of stone and shell, forming the surgical kit of an Apache Medicine-man, killed in a recent skirmish with United States troops. The stone implements were all of carbonate or lime cut from a beautifully striped stalagmite. Four of them apparently constituted a set of tamponers, the slender flattened ones being used for plugging wounds made by arrows, and a larger cylindrical one for gunshot wounds. The surgery of the Apaches is based upon the idea that the chief danger of a wound is from the loss of blood, and plugging, aided by incantations, etc., constituted the whole of their resources. One of the stones is probably a charm, as it represents an animal, probably the Texas Armadillo, and it is ingeniously cut, so that the bands of color correspond to the transverse rows of scales. The shell is a large Oliva from Lower California, perforated and suspended by a string.
Dr. Stimpson gave an account of his experiments, during the last three months, upon a solution of carbolic acid as a substitute for alcohol in the preservation of wet specimens. The results had been gratifying, and promised a relief from the chief burden of expense in carrying on large zoölogical museums. He found that deliquesced crystals of the acid dissolved in forty times its bulk of water gave a fluid which equalled alcohol, in its preservative qualities, at less than one-twentieth the cost, with the additional advantage of keeping the specimen far more nearly in its original condition, as to the color, etc. And very curiously (this is, however, not enumerated among the advantages) the peculiar smell of the fresh fish is retained in specimens of trout which had been kept for several weeks in the fluid. The qualities of the substance (more properly an alcohol than an acid), which is a great enemy of all protozoic and protophytic life, depend upon its powerful action in destroying the germs associated with, if not the cause of, decomposition. ' In a solution of
twice the strength above mentioned — the saturated solution, the speci. men itself is soon destroyed. Specimens should be first placed in a very weak solution, say one-half per cent., but as the action of the acid is very rapid, it may be daily changed for a slightly stronger one, until the full strength (two and one-half per cent.) is reached. This should be done to prevent the cortraction resulting from the sudden contact of a strong solution, and preventing endosmosis. Fluids once used will be found to have lost their preservative power in a considerable degree far more than in the case of alcohol, and must be strengthened before being used again. After specimens have been completely permeated with the solution, say in three or four weeks, they may be kept in pure water for a considerable length of time without showing signs of decay. A fluid containing one
t. of the acid will probably be found sufficiently strong for the permanent preservation of specimens previously prepared in the stronger solutions and kept in tightly closed jars. The freezing of the fluid may be prevented by the addition of one-eighth part of alcohol, which will be found sufficient for the extreme of temperature to which museum rooms are ordinarily subject in this country. If the smell of the carbolic acid, which is very slight in the weak solutions, should be objected to, the addition of a minute quantity of the oil of wintergreen will cover it completely.
Carbolic acid will be found valuable on expeditions for zoological purposes, where the transp tation of the necessary alcohol has heretofore formed a heavy item of expense. A few pounds of the crystals may be carried in a trunk, and be always at hand for use. Large fishes, etc., should be injected with the fluid in the mouth, intestine and cavity of the abdomen, and if possible in the larger blood-vessels. Inferior qualities of the acid may be obtained at a low price, and a clear solution obtained therefrom by filtering. The solution is an excellent thing for filling up old specimen jars from which the alcohol has nearly evaporated. All germs of mold are instantly killed, and the specimen needs no other preservative.
The experiments mentioned above were to be continued, with the view of ascertaining whether the solution was equally reliable for a longer period.
Specimens were exhibited illustrating the preservative qualities of the fluid.
Dr. Stimpson also made some remarks upon the shell-mounds of West Florida, particularly those of Tampa Bay, which he had examined during the past winter and spring. These mounds were of great extent, some covering many acres of ground, and reaching a height of forty or fifty feet. Some of them were distinctly stratified, which characteristic has probably misled the only scientific writer* who has as yet mentioned them, and caused them to be regarded as of natural formation.
* Conrad, American Journal of Science,  I. 1846. () p. 44,
The largest of these mounds are peculiar in their character, differing from any shell-mounds yet described. They are not kjøkkenmaddings, i.e., simple accumulations of kitchen refuse, of shells rejected after the consumption of the soft parts, but seem to have been built for a purpose; shells being used as the most convenient materials at hand. They have even been increased in size, and raised in height from time to time, as evidenced by the occurrence at different levels of dark colored strata of true kjøkkenmeddings; charcoal, bones, pottery, such as implements of shell, etc. The masses of shells between these strata are entirely free from such materials, and are always four or five times as thick as the dirt bed. The shells, too, are not such as indicated merely the rejectmenta of aboriginal feasts, being of all sizes from that of Littorina to that of Busycon, and often showing evidence of having been dead when placed in the mound; some, indeed, showing remains of barnacles attached to their inner surfaces. Dr. S. believed these mounds — some of them at least to have been built as places of refuge during the great inunda- Fig. 84. tions of the sea to which the coast region of West Florida, for miles inland, is even now subject in violent storms. The additions to the mound made by the people who dwelt upon them may have been occasioned by the occurrence of an inundation of greater height than was known in their previous experience.
Dr. S. exhibited a number of specimens taken from a dirt-bed in the mound at the mouth of the Manatee River. This bed was three feet in thickness, and indicated a long residence of the aborigines upon that level of the mound. The bed occurred about midway between the base and the summit of the mound, which was over thirty feet in height. The specimens consisted of bones of fishes, of loggerhead turtles, and of manatees; pieces of coarse, unadorned pottery, and implements made of shell. One of the most curious of the latter was a kind of augur, more than a foot in length, made of the axis of Fasciolaria gigantea, by knocking or grinding off the whorls and planing down one side of the handle. The use of this kind of implement is difficult to conjecture. Six of them were found lying together in a kind of pocket beneath a mass of charcoal. An interesting point is that no stone implements occurred in this dirt bed, while they did occur in another bed near the summit of the mound, perhaps indicating an advance in civilization. For the specimens exhibited the Academy was indebted to Mr. E. W. Blatchford, who had defrayed the expenses of excavation.
In the shell-strata of the mound the most abundant species were Ostrea Virginica, Callista gigantea, Mercenaria præparca. Mactra Ravenelii, Cardium isocardia, Busycon perversum, B. pyrum, Strombus alatus, Natica duplicata, Cassidulus corona, Fasciolaria tulipa, F. gigantea and Oliva litterata. Some of these shells now occur rarely if at all in the vicinity of the mound, while they are very abundant on the barrier islands of the coast, and in the purer waters of the open gulf. These islands, doubtless, at the epoch of the building of the mounds were of smaller extent, and formed a less considerable bar to the approach of pure sea-water to the coast of the main land.
Major Powell then gave a brief account of his recent exploration of the grand Cañon of the Colorado River, and of the language of the Ute Indians, promising a more detailed account at some future meeting.
Dr. Durham exhibited under the microscope the tongues of several species of aquatic gasteropods found in the vicinity of Chicago, and described the habits of the animals.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. E. S. M., Wading River, N. Y.-Your plant appears to be Epiphegus Virginiana Bart., known as Beech-lrops or Cancer-root. It is certainly rare, exiept in the shadle of beech woods, where it is usually common enough. It will be interesting to note whether you found it under this or some other tree, as it is supposed to be para-itic on the roots of the beech only. This species is E. Americana Sutt., and there is another related plant known also as Cancer-root, and found under the oak.-C. M. T.
W. W. B., Indianapolis, Ind.-Your No 9 is Pteris critica variety albo-lineata; No. 10 is Pteris serratu'; the fertile frond, No. 11, is Adiantum pubescens. – J. L. R.
E. L. G., Decatur, Ill. – To form a satisfactory judgment upon your oak from the leares only, is perhaps hardly possible. You omit to state what is the form of the acorns, and particularly whether they ripen the first or second year, which is a very important character. The size of the tree, and the nature of its liabitat, as wet or up lane, would be valuable criteria. In the absence of these facts, we should suspect, it the fruit ripens the first year, that it was a form, peculiar perhaps, of Q. castaneu, Willd.; or, possibly, it may be 'Q. monticola, Mx. If the acorns remain over, then it may be a hybridl, as you suggest; and perhaps the curious Q. tridentata, Eugelmann, though this we should loubt. The stuly of these natural hybrids is very mteresting, and we would recommend you to make your observations as careful and coinprehensive as possible.-C. M. T.
Transactions of the American Entomological Society. Vol. II, No. 2. October, 1869. Phlladelphia.
Popular Science Rerier. No. 33. Oct. 1869. London. B. Hardwicke.
Conchological Memoranda No. 4. On a New Species of Pedipes from Tampa Bay, Florida. By
Land and Water March 6 to May 29. London.
Journal for the Popular Diffusion of Natural Science. Vol. I, No. 3, 4, New Ser. Copenhagen, 1869.
Canadian Naturalist and Quarterly Journal of Science. Montreal. March, 1869. $3.00.
Catalogue of the General Species and Varieties of recent Jollusca, described prior to Jan. 1, 1867. Part 4. Porcellinida, Amphiperasidie', by S. R. Roberts, Philadelpliia. Published by the Conchological Section of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Nov. 1869. 8vo, pp. 18-211,
American Bee Journal, Nov., 1869.
Agricultural Qualitatire and Quantitatire Chemical Analysis. Edited by G. C. Caldwell. New York. 0. Judd & Co. 1869. 12mo, pp. 307. $2.00.