« PreviousContinue »
respiratory capacity of that cavity increased more rapidly than that of the lungs, which is the easier to understand, as the air breathed must first pass through that cavity, and because the cavity is rather large. When this capacity had developed to a certain extent, the lungs were no longer needed, and gradually atrophied from disuse. All the salamanders examined lead a more or less terrestrial life; but the peculiar characteristic of reduction of lungs is not confined to terrestrial forms. (Zool. Anz. XIV, Bd., No.494, 1896.)
Batrachia Found at Raleigh, N. C.—Necturus maculatus. Water Dog. This species is caught by anglers in the spring, and seems scarce, as I have only seen eight specimens so far, none of which measured over 74 inches in total length. Some of them were evidently breeding females. Amblystoma opaeum. Marbled Salamander. Common. They lay their eggs in dry season under logs on the edges of dried-up pools, and the eggs hatch out quickly when the pools fill up again from rain; whether they do this in wet seasons I do not know. Sometimes the larvae are very abundant, sometimes very scarce. This winter, after a dry autumn, they are abundant. Last winter, after a wet autumn, I found difficulty in securing any. The eggs are laid in October and November. Amblystoma punctatum. Quite rare here. Plethodon glutinosus. Viscid Salamander. Very common under rotten logs in woods. Manculus quadridigitatus. Tolerably common. This species enters the water in December to breed, and retires to dry land again about February. It seems entirely terrestrial, except when breeding. I took nearly full grown larvae in May, 1895. Spelerpes bilineatus. Striped Salamander. Common. This salamander is found in the water, breeding from December to March; the larvae first appear in May, and do not attain their full growth till a year or more afterwards. Except in the breeding season I believe it to be entirely terrestrial. Spelerpes guttolineatus. Tolerably common. Found mostly in or around rocky springs or on the edges of rocky brooks, or of the larger streams. They can be taken containing eggs in November; but I have never seen any larvae that had any sign of belonging to this species. Spelerpes ruber. Red Triton. Aquatic, though like the next species sometimes found under logs not far from the water. Judging from the varying size of larvae taken at the same time of year, I think it probable that this species spends at least one whole year, and possibly two, in the larvae state. Desmognathus fusca. Brown Triton. Found in all brooks, and is very common. The larvae attain the adult condition in a shorter time than those of Spelerpes bilineatus, as though they are both hatched about the same time; the larvae of this species complete their metamorphosis in the autumn or winter following their birth, being then only about one-half the size of larvae Spelerpes bilineatus of the same age. We get specimens of very varying coloration; some being nearly black, some very light. Diemyetylus viridescens. Newt. Common in weedy pools. Amphiuma means. Rare. I know of eight adults and twenty-two larvae having been taken here, all being two-toed specimens. Bufo americanus. Common Toad. Very abundant. Breeds in spring and summer. Scaphiopus holbrookii. Last May I collected fifty breeding in a pool only a few yards from my house; in every case the grasp of the male was inguinal. The cry was not much louder than that of the common toad. I have occasionally dug them out of the ground. Hyla versicolor. Common. Hyla pickeringii. Abundant. Breeds in March and April. Chorophilus feriarum. Abundant. Breeds in February and March. I have never seen this species except at the breeding season. Acris gryllus. Cricket Frog. Abundant. Active all the year round except in the severest weather. This species breeds from April through most of the summer. Engystoma carolinense. This species is very abundant in the breeding season, which is in July and August, and possibly the two preceding months. Have never seen any except when breeding; I think they are nocturnal. Rana pipiens. Leopard Frog. Abundant. Breeds in March. Rana clamata. Spring Frog. Common. Rana catesbiana. Bull Frog. Not as common as the preceding two breeds in February and March. Rana palustris. Pickerael Frog. Rare. Only four specimens so far. —C. S. BRIMLEY.
The Frilled Lizard.—The report that the Frilled Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) inhabiting the tropical parts of the Australian continent, is in the habit of running erect on its hind legs, receives confirmation from W. Saville Kent. Specimens in captivity were seen by him to run thirty or forty feet at a stretch, in an erect position on their hind legs, and when after resting momentarily on their haunches, to resume a running course. The conformation of the hind foot is such that when running only the three central digits rest upon the ground. Consequently the track made by this lizard in passing erect over wet sand would correspond with such as are left in mesozoic strata by various Dinosauria (Nature, Feb., 1896). Mr. Kent suggests affinities with the latter order; but these do not exist, as Chlamydosaurus is a typical Lacertilian. It is not the only lizard that progresses on its hind legs, as Mr. Francis Sumichrast pointed out several years ago that a species of the Iguanid genus Corythophanes found in Mexico has the same habit.—(Ed.)
The Palatine Process of the Mammalian Premaxillary.— While engaged in the study of the comparative anatomy of Jacobson's Organ, Mr. R. Broom came across some interesting facts in connection with the palatine process of the mammalian premaxillary, which he puts on record in the Proceeds. of the Linnean Soc., N. S. W., Vol. X, 1895. From his observations he concludes that the os paradoxum in Ornithorhyncus, the anterior vomer (Wilson) in Ornithorhynchus, the anterior paired vomer in foetal Insectivora, etc. (Parker), the prepalatine lobe of vomer in Caiman (Howes), and the vomer in Lacertilia and Ophidia (Owen, Parker, etc.), are homologues or synonyms of the process under discussion. He therefore suggests the name prevomer, to cover all the designations which the different forms of this ossification has received. (Proceedings of the Linnaean Soc. of N. S. Wales).
New formation of nervous cells in the Brain of the Monkey, after the complete cutting away of the occipital lobes.—It is known that the noviformation in the nervous cells in the nervous centres and above all in the brain has not yet received a definite solution. There has been made, however, a number of researches on this important question, but the contradictory results arrived at, have not as yet advanced our knowledge on this subject. On the contrary, the conclusions arrived at by M. G. Marinesen, presented to the Society of Biology in 1894, are that the cells and nervous fibres of the nervous centres do not grow again after their destruction.
In pursuing his studies on the physiology of the occipital lobes, M. Alex. N. Witzou has discovered the presence of cells and of nervous fibres in the substance of noviformation, in the Monkey, two years and two months after the complete cutting away of the occipital lobes. The entire extirpation of these lobes results, as is known, in a total loss of sight in both monkeys and dogs. The experience of the author, concerning this point agrees with that of M. H. Munck and confirms his conclusions. The later researches of different scientists have confirmed the facts which he demonstrated. Repeating the experiment of total extirpation of the two occipital lobes of monkey, February 19, 1893, M. Witzou noticed that during the fourth month the animal commenced to perceive persons and objects, but with great difficulty. At the end of fourteen months, the ability to perceive was greatly increased. The monkey could avoid obstacles, which he could not do during the first months following the operation. On the 24th, of April, 1895, Mr. Witzou repeated the operation upon the same animal. After denuding the skull he found the orifices of trepanation closed by a mass of rather firm connective tissue. On lifting this mass with care, to his astonishment and that of the assistants standing about him, he found the entire space which had formerly been occupied by the occipital lobes completely filled with a mass of new formed substance. This he proceeded at once to examine. A portion was taken from the centre of the mass closing the orifice of trepanation, and another from the posterior part of the new formed substance found in the skull. Employing both the rapid method of Golgi and Ramon y Cajal, and the method of double coloration with hematoxyline of Erlich and eosine in aquous solution, M. Witzou demonstrated the presence of pyramidal nervous cells and of nerve fibres. The nerve tissue was present in large quantities and the nerve cells less numerous than in the occipital lobes of the adult animal, but their presence in the new formed mass was constant. In brief the conclusion from the preceding experiment is that the new substance occupying the place of the occipital lobes, was of nerve nature, and that it was due to a new formation of cells and of nerve fibres in the brain of the monkey. Here is a fact, says the author, which demonstrates the possibility of regeneration of nerve tissues in the brain, as well as, what was previously known, that active nutrition is maintained in the rest of the organ. Moreover, we find in the presence of cells and nerve fibres in the new formed mass an explanation of the fact concerning the betterment, although slight, of the sense of sight. This explains also contradictory facts presented by different scientists, in the case of partial extirpation of the brain followed by an amelioration of the functions lost during the first operation. M. Witzou adds that the monkey having been subjected to a second operation lost the sight from both eyes for three months and a half, at the end of which time he gave signs, although somewhat-uncertain, of recovering his vision. The animal is well cared for in order that the author may continue his observations for some time to come; then later, he will be sacrificed in order that a complete study may be made of the new formation. (Revue Scientif. 1895, p. 406.)
Domestic Economy of Wasps.-Much attention has recently been given to the biology of wasps. One of the most interesting accounts is that of M. Paul Marchal” summarized in the Annals of Magazine of Natural History. The investigator studied the earth-burrowing wasps (Vespa germanica, V. vulgaris). The fully-formed nests contain small and large cells, the latter constituting two or more of the lowest combs, while the others make up the six to ten upper combs. The large cells, built only by the workers in August, may, at an early period, receive indifferently either females or males, the former being either queens or very large workers, the latter always in small proportion ; after the first of September these cells are entirely set apart for the queens, so that in October no males are to be found in them. The small cells, from the time that the laying of eggs for males has begun, contain indifferently up to the end of the season either workers or males. The proportion of males in the combs of small cells decreases from below upwards, with this remarkable exception—that if there be a mixed comb containing both large and small cells, the small cells are influenced by the proximity of the large cells, and contain very few males. The beginning of the period for laying males coincides very nearly with the time of appearance of large cells, early in August. The curve which represents their production rises suddenly in an almost vertical manner to reach its maximum ; it then descends gradually with or without oscillations to the end of the reproduction. The queen takes a prominent part in this great production of males, because the laying workers have already long since disappeared, whilst the young male larvae are still to be found in great numbers in the nest. The queen has then (at least after the early days of September) the power to determine with certainty the female sex of the eggs which ! Edited by Clarence M. Weed, New Hampshire College, Durham, N. H. * Comptes Rendus, t. cxxi, pp. 731–734.