Imágenes de páginas

pennsylvanicus of equal size ; posterior loop of last upper molar extremely small, enamel folding otherwise much as in pennsylvanicus.

Size: Average measurements of ten old adult topotypes—total length 189-4; tail vertebræ, 60:4; hind-foot, 22.4.-OUTRAM BANGS.

Zoological News.-CELENTERATA.—Mr. Whiteaves records the finding of a second specimen of the branching Alcyonarian coral, Primnoa reseda, in the Pacific waters, off the coast of British Columbia. This is the third species of large Alcyonaria now known to occur in this region, viz., Verrillia blakei Stearns, Paragorgia pacifica Verrill and Primnoa reseda Pallas. Fine examples of each of these are in the Museum of the Geological Survey of Canada. (Trans. Roy. Soc. Canada, Vol. I, 1895–'96.)

PISCES.-A new genus (Apogonops) of fishes from Maronba Bay, New South Wales, is described by Mr. J. D. Ogilby. The genus is founded on a single specimen to which has been given the species name, anomalus. At first glance this genus appears to belong with the A pogonidæ, but the absence of vomerine teeth and the number of dorsal spines preclude such a classification. (Proceeds. Linn. Soc. New South Wales, 1896.)

REPTILIA.-Dr. Alfredo Dugés has recently published in La Naturaleza, a useful list of the Batrachia and Reptilia of Mexico, with the localities in which they have been found. While a good many species are omitted, the lists of localities are of much value to the student of geographical distribution.

AVES.-From personal observation M. X. Raspail finds that the time occupied by the Magpie (Pica caudata) in the incubation of its eggs is from 17 days to 18 days and 13 hours. The young come from the egg entirely bare, without even a trace of down, and are cared for by the parents about 25 or 26 days before they attempt to leave the nest. (Bull. Soc. Zool. de France, Juillet, 1896.)

The birds collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith in Somaliland contain a number of species and genera which find their closest allies in the Cape fauna. In a notice of the collection, Dr. Bowdler-Sharpe states that they are more nearly related to the birds of the Cape than to the fauna of Abyssinia or East Africa. (Geol. Journ. Sept., 1896.)

The collection of birds made by Mr. Abbott in Central Asia has been presented to the National Museum. It numbers 210 specimens, representing 97 known species, and one new to science. The collection has been catalogued by Mr. C. W. Richmond, who embodies in his paper a number of interesting notes on many of the species. (Proceeds. U. S. Natl. Mus., Vol. XVIII, 1896.)

MAMMALIA.-Dr. C. H. Merriam has recently revised the Lemnings of the genus Synaptomys, giving descriptions of three new species. He finds that this genus instead of being monoty pic, comprises two well marked subgeneric groups-Synaptomys' proper and Mictomys; that the first of these groups in habits eastern Canada and northeastern United States from Minnesota to New Brunswick, and contains four fairly well defined forms; that Mictomys has a transcontinental distribution from Labrador to Alaska, and contains at least four species. (Proceeds. Biol. Sc., Washington, Vol. X, 1896.)

ENTOMOLOGY. A New Era in the Study of Diptera.--The work done on the classification of North American Diptera falls naturally into three periods. The first ended with the publication of the “Catalogue of North American Diptera,” by Osten Sacken, in 1859. The descriptive work of most value previous to this time was by Wiedmann and Say, and a little by Loew toward the last. Harris, Macquart and Walker had also published numerous species; but there had been little coöperation, and it was nearly impossible to determine from the descriptions the synonymis that had been created. Osten Sacken recognized this condition, and did not attempt to solve such problems in his catalogue.

The following nineteen years to the second edition of the catalogue in 1878 comprise the second period, characterized by the singular fact that the vast amount of work accomplished was almost wholly by Europeans. Walsh published some twenty species, Riley eight, and several others from one to four each—scarce forty in all-while Loew had in the same time performed the monumental work of describing at least 1300 North American species, Osten Sacken had added several hundred, and Schiner and Thomson a considerable nuniber. Moreover, the new edition of the catalogue was enriched with a vast fund of information gathered by the author in the study of American types in all the principal European collections, revising the synonymy and correcting the generic references as would have been impossible in any other way. About the time of the issuance of the catalogue, the collections of Loew and Osten Sacken were deposited in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, at Cambridge, Mass. This marked the conclusion of what may well be called the Loew-Osten Sacken period. Loew died, and Osten Sacken retiring from the diplomatic service, resumed his residence in Germany. His dipterological writings since 1878, while very important, include only one work which describes new North American species-Vol. I of the Diptera in Biologia Centrali-Americana.

1 Edited by Clarence M. Weed, New Hampshire College, Durham, N. H.

In 1879 appeared the first paper of S. W, Williston, inaugurating a new American period, which has continued to the present time. After a few years D. W. Coquillet began to publish, followed by C. H. Tyler Townsend, and he by others, until the number of those who publish occasional

papers is now ten or more. The recent appearance of Dr. Williston's Manual of North American Diptera' gives reason to hope that the immediate future will greatly increase the number of workers in this order, so that we will be justified in counting a new era from 1896. It is now possible to determine the genera of nearly all the flies of North America, including the West Indies, with no other work of reference than this volume. More than Cresson's Synopsis does for the Hymenoptera, or Leconte and Harris volume does for the Coleoptera, this book does for the Diptera, because it includes the territory southward to the Isthmus of Panama. Only the Tachinidæ and Dexiidæ are not tabulated and analytically reduced to genera, and in this confused mass a bibliographical generic list is given, extending to 272 numbers.

While the book purports to be a second edition of the small one published by the same author in 1888, it is practically a new work, having been entirely rewritten, greatly enlarged, and extended to include the entire order with the exception noted. The bibliography since 1878 is given, and all genera not found in Osten Sacken's catalogue have references (in the index) to their descriptions.

The external anatomy of Diptera is very fully treated. Dr. J. B. Smith's interpretation of the mouth parts is given in addition to the usual one, the author not assuming to decide between them. Professor J. H. Comstock's system of wing nomenclature, as used in his manual, is given a place for comparison, but is not used in the work " for two reasons: First, that it has not yet been fully crystallized into pernianent shape ; second, because nearly all the existing literature has the nomenclature here employed, and to use a new one would largely defeat the object of the work in the hands of the beginner.” Baron Osten Sacken's system of bristle-naming or chætotaxy is quite fully set forth. Each family table is preceded by a full exposition of the family characters and a description of the larva, its mode of life, food, etc. (where known).

2 Manual of North American Diptera. By Samuel W. Williston, M. D., Ph. D. Pp. LIV, 167. James T. Hathaway, New Haven, Conn., 297 Crown St. Paper, $2.00; cloth, $2.25.

The family known heretofore as Blepharoceridæ appears as Liponeuridæ. This change of name was made by Osten Sacken several years ago. He has more recently abandoned the change in a published paper, and there seems no reason why the old name should be displaced.

The families Xylophagida and Cænomyidæ are united with Leptidæ, thus simplifying the family and generic diagnoses. This seems a rather surprising arrangement, yet may be logically defended.

The family Lonchæidæ is united with the Sapromyzidæ. Aside from these changes there are no important differences in the higher categories between the last catalogue and the present work.

While the printing and binding are excellent, there are a number of typographical errors especially in the spelling of generic names, as for instance in Subulomyia, p. 43, the list of lepidopterous genera on p. 146 (five mistakes) and the list of Tachinid and Dexiid genera, p. 147 (four mistakes). But few of these, however, are more than the interchanging or omission of a letter.

This book is Dr. Williston's most important single contribution to dipterology thus far, and it worthily exhibits the industry, experience and ability of the author, which have secured for him world-wide recognition as a dipterist of the highest rank.-J. M. ALDRICH, Moscow, Idaho.

Color Variation of a Beetle.-Mr. W. Baterson gives an account of his statistical examination of the color variations of the beetle Gonioctena variabilis, which appears to be abundant in hilly places in the south of Spain. He finds that we have here to do with a species whose members exhibit variation in several different respects, and that the variations occur in such a way that the individuals must be conceived as grouped round several special typical forms. There is thus not one normal for the species but several, though all live in the same localities under the same conditions, and though they breed freely all together these various forms are commoner than the intermediates between them. Some time since, when calling attention to the excessive variability of the color of Coccinella decempunctata and the no less striking constancy of C. septempunctata which lives with it, Mr. Bateson remarked that to ask us to believe that the color of the one is constant, because it matters to the animal, and that the other is variable because it does not matter, is to ask us to abrogate reason. Mr. Wallace, it seems, is of this very opinion; but he does not explain how it is that the color of one is so important, and the color of the other unimportant to the beetle. (Journal Royal Microscopical Society.)

American Nematinæ.-The third of the technical series of bulle tins from the U.S. Division of Entomology is entitled “Revision of the Nenatinæ of North America, a Subfamily of Leaf-feeding Hymenoptera of the Family Tenthredinidæ." It is by Mr. C. L. Marlatt, and extends over 135 pages, with one excellent plate and several illustrations in the text. We quote from the introduction as follows:

“The subfamily Nematinæ of Thompson or Nematina of Cameron (Konow's subtribe Nematides) comprises a very large group of closely allied species, distributed in the classification adopted by the author among nearly a score of genera. They range from very small insects to medium sized, but include no very large species, or in length from 2 to 12 mm. They are for the most part smooth, shining, and rather soft bodied, and are variously colored, but yet presenting frequently a confusing similarity in general form, and particularly in coloration, rendering their generic and specific references in some cases difficult. In point of number of species and abundance of individuals this subfamily far exceeds any other of the corresponding groups in the family Tenthredinide, and in variation and peculiarities in larval habits and in economic importance many of the species belonging to it bave a very great interest.

Geographical Distribution.—The Nematinæ are distinctly northern in their range, reaching their greatest development in abundance of species and specimens in the transition and boreal zones, and extend northward into the circumpolar regio18—species occurring abundantly in Greenland, Iceland, and Spitzbergen. Southward they become less and less numerous, and are particularly wanting in tropical countries. - This is illustrated very forcibly in Europe by the occurrence of over 70 species of the old genus Nematus in Scotland (Cameron) and 95 in Sweden (Thompson) as against 12 about Naples, Italy (Costa); and the same discrepancy exists between the temperate and subarctic region of America and the Southern States and Mexico.

Food-plants. Their food-plants cover a wide range, some species affecting grasses, one or two very destructive to the grains, others various deciduous trees and sbrubs, and still others conifers. The majority of the species occur, however, on plants of the families Salicaceæ, Betulaceæ, Rosaceæ, and Coniferæ, in the order given.

Life history and habits.—The Nematines are among the first sawflies to appear in spring, occurring abundantly on trees on the first appearance of the leaves. They do not often frequent flowers, except, at least, those of the plants upon which their larvæ feed. Many willow species, for example, occur abundantly on the earliest spring bloom of the

« AnteriorContinuar »