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NOTES ON THE MONTH. .
the blue slate mountains tower eighteen of small birds, like linnets, were flying thousand feet, in sharp, detached groups about, and beautiful locusts jumping or pinnacles, covered neither with vege- among the bushes. At times, the sun tation nor snow, and exhibiting decay shone like an orb of fire, without the and barrenness in its most frightful as- least haze ; the stars and planets with pect. Here was a Tartar village found, a brilliancy, only to be seen from such called Huns. Where the dell was nar- an elevation ; and the part of the horowest, there was so little space for the rizon where the moon was expected to river that the road continued but for rise could scarcely be distinguished bea small distance on the same side; and fore the limb touched it; the atmosover this frightful torrent, the English phere sometimes exhibited the remarktravellers had repeatedly' to cross on ably dark appearances witnessed in ropes, or sangas, loosely hung from rock polar latitudes. Vegetation and anito rock on either side. Messrs. Ger- mal life appear in far higher regions on rard, one while, picked their way upon the faces of these mountains toward the smooth surfaces of granite, sloping to north, than on the faces of the souththe raging torrent; at another time, the towards Tartary, than towards Hindosroute led among huge masses and an- tan.-Massie. gular blocks of rock, forming spacious caves, where sixty persons might rest : here the bank was composed of rough gravel, steeply inclined to the river; There the path was narrow, with preci
By a Naturalist. pices of five or six hundred fect below, whilst the naked towering peaks and August was emphatically called barnmural rocks, rent in every direction, month (arn monad) by our Saxon threatened the passenger with ruin from ancestors, because it is the season for above. In some parts of the road, reaping and gathering into barns. The there were flights of steps, in others harvest is already ripe for the sickle ; frame-work, or rude staircases, opening and the pious observer, as he contemto the gulf below. In one instance, the plates the waving sea of yellow corn, passage con
of six posts driven spreading wide around him, and holding horizontally into clefts of the rocks, out a goodly promise of "seed to the about twenty feet distant from each sower, and bread to the eater," will reother, and secured by wedges. Upon member the assurance of the Almighty, this giddy frame, a staircase of fir spars that “while the earth remaineth, seed was erected, of the rudest nature ; twigs time and harvest, and cold and heat, and and slabs of stone only connected them summer and winter, and day and night together,-no support on the outer side, shall not cease," Gen. viii. 22. Thus which was deep, and overhung the ter- has it been since that declaration of the rific torrent of the Tidung, the rapid Lord of the harvest ; and through a rolling and noise of which was enough long series of revolving years, nations, to shake the stoutest nerves. Some of too often forgetful of the Author of all these passages had been swept away, their benefits, have marked with anxand new ones had to be prepared on iety the return of this season, but withthe spur of the moment for the British out one spark of gratitude to Him who discoverers. From the confluence of has given to man “the kindly fruits of the Tidung with the Sutlege, the town the earth," that he " may enjoy them.” of Ribe has a charming appearance ; As we pass through these corn fields yellow fields, extensive vineyards, groves in our way to the shore, let us not of apricot, and large, well-built store forget the God of nature and of grace, houses, contrast with the neighbouring who“ giveth liberally," and who gigantic mountains." At Zinchin, six- eth the grass to grow for the cattle, and teen thousand one hundred and thirty- herb for the service of man: that he six feet above the sea, where their pro- may bring forth food out of the earth," gress was arrested by Chinese guards, Psa. civ. 14. the travellers observed about two hun- The harvest has already commenced; dred wild horses, sometimes feeding and the reapers are at their labour, and the sometimes galloping on the tops of the gleaners are picking up the scattered heights; eagles and kites were soaring ears of corn, which the benevolent will into the deep blue ether; “large flocks | not deny them. If he be a Christian,
causmals included in this section.
to whom the produce of these fields is The structure of the gelly fishes, or intrusted, he cannot deny them, for he medusæ, considering that they are living will remember, and remember with no beings, and capable of certain voluntary common feeling, the solemn injunction of movements, is most astonishing, when God, to the Jewish husbandman; “ And we reflect upon it, and proves to us when
ye reap the harvest of your land, how little we yet know of the recondite thou shalt not wholly reap the corners laws of organization. The present meof thy field, neither shalt thou gather dusa, for example, which belongs to a the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou section termed Rhizostoma, often atshalt not glean thy vineyard, neither tains to the weight of several pounds, shalt thou gather every grape of thy measuring from a foot to two feet in the vineyard ; thou shalt leave them for diameter of its umbrella-like surface; but the
poor and stranger: I am the if this animal be removed from the sea, Lord your God,” Lev. xix. 9, 10. and exposed to the sun and air, it seems Who can forget Ruth gleaning in to melt away, and it will be found that the fields of Boaz ?
its ordinary bulk and weight are owing But come; the shore is our destination, to the presence of sea water with which and though wild flowers are blooming numberless filmy cellules are replete, around us, and though the sky-blue corn and which drains off gradually in a clear flower, (Centaurea cyanus,) 'the scarlet unaltered state; in a short time, this pimpernel, (Anagallis arvensis,) and fluid will entirely escape, and leave only the corn sowthistle, (Sonchus arvensis,) a delicately fibrous, or rather filmy tiswith its large, golden corolla, which sue, so inconsiderable in quantity, as folds at noon ; together with the yellow to weigh but a few grains. This algoat's beard, (Tragopogon pratensis) most imperceptible tissue is then the and other wild plants now in bloom, solid matter of the animal, or rather and profusely scattered over the banks, the animal itself, which may
be and along the sides of the fields, of garded as a maze of filmy cells, in which the small bindweed (Convolvulus which the sea water, by some mysarvensis) is peculiarly graceful,—though terious process, becomes an efficient in these may make us linger, yet let us the maintenance of the creature's vihasten on, the tide is retiring, and many tality, and instrumental in the pera nook beneath the cliffs, many a little formance of the various functions conpool among the jutting rocks, which nected with its economy. they enclose and overhang, shadowing The usual form assumed by the medusæ the placid water, will present us with | (see engraving) resembles very closely subjects of the highest interest.
Observe those floating masses of jelly; who would suppose that they were living animals ! Here one is left on the shore; let us examine it: it is one of the medusæ, the blue gellyfish. The acritous* division of the animal kingdom comprehends, among others, a class of animals, termed acalephe, (sea nettles,) so called from the stinging sensation which most of them produce on the hand or any part of the skin that comes in contact with them; and hence the title of urtice marine (also meaning sea nettles,) given to them by the older naturalists. The acalepha form several groups, and of these, one, the pulmonigrada (from pulmo, a lung, and gradior, to advance,), is represented by the medusæ, that of a mushroom ; they consist of a of which there are various species, popu- large, circular gelatinous disc, or umbrella, larly termed gelly fishes, or sea gelly. convex above, somewhat concave on the
under surface, from which various pro* From two Greek words, a (a) not, and κρινω, cesses hang in a pendent manner, and (krino,) to perceive, in allusion to the absence of any apparent nerves in the composition of the ani
are organs for the absorption of nutriment. The nutritive apparatus is simple
in the extreme, and appears to serve | bodies, having no external orifices, both for the purpose of aëration, and connected with the commencement of the absorption of aliment. In the rhi- the radiating tubes: these are by some zostoma, there is placed beneath the disc regarded as organs for the secretion of a pendent peduncle, or footstalk, which is a fluid analogous to bile ; that is, as divided into eight foliated laminæ, or pro- biliary organs in their lowest stage of cesses, and each of these processes is developement: but others, and among found to contain numerous canals, open- them Eschscholtz, consider that the ruing on the external surface by minute diments of a biliary system are to be absorbing orifices; these canals ulti- found in certain little glandular, or apmately merge into four large trunks, parently glandular bodies, placed in decommunicating with a central cavity in pressions round the margin of the disc, the disc, which is the stomach, or di- and asserted, by the above-named writer, gestive cavity. It is then by the ab- to communicate by means of very misorption of fluid, containing myriads of nute tubes with the nutritive canals. It animalcules, through the minute aper- is evident, however, that these are mere tures of the foliated peduncle, (this opinions, based upon no satisfactory fluid being conveyed to the stomach,) foundation. that the nutrition of the animal is pro- The disc of the rhizostoma, and of other vided for; hence its name rhizostoma, medusæ, is an organ of locomotion, an (from 'Pisa, rhiza, a root, and otója, apparatus for enabling the animal to float stoma, a mouth.)
steadily on the surface. Gelatinous as is The stomach, it may be observed, is a its texture, it is nevertheless capable of cavity of considerable size in the centre certain contractile movements; and these of the inferior surface of the disc, at its are essential to the swimming of the aniunion with the peduncle, and it is either mal on the surface, for on suspending really or apparently divided into four them it immediately sinks. The movecompartments, by means of a filmy ments in question are an alternate conmembrane; it is usually found to con- traction and expansion of the disc, retain a yellowish and almost fluid pulpy sembling the partial opening and shutmatter, which is regarded as the di- | ting of an umbrella, and are repeated gested aliment, destined to supply the with great regularity ; about fifteen demands of the system through which flapping, or contractile movements takit circulates, traversing certain large ing place every minute. If the surface tubes or vessels, which radiate from the be calm, this extraordinary animal can stomach towards the circumference of the propel itself along in any direction, for disc, subdividing into smaller branches, it can strike the water obliquely; but and forming numerous junctions with it is generally seen floating in shoals, each other, so that upon the margin a passively carried onwards by the wind or complete mesh of tubes is established.
Such is the substance of all But besides these, there is a large that is at present known respecting it. circular canal (of which a trace is seen After a storm, great numbers may be in the sketch) which runs round the often found dead on the beach ; disc, at a short distance from its margin, short time, however, they dry away, or establishing a direct communication be- are washed back into the sea by the next tween the main radiating tubes, for the tide. more free and unobstructed circulation Observe that singular creature, slowly of the nutritive material. This simple creeping at the bottom of a little basin arrangement seems to combine in itself in the rock, filled with clear sea water; the digestive, the arterial, and the aërat- and in which, until the tide returns, it ing organs of higher animals; the ra- is imprisoned, not because it cannot esdiating tubes being in the place of ar- cape, but because it will not voluntarily teries; while their delicate mesh or net- leave its native element. It is a star work, following the thin margin of the fish, (the asterias rubens,) and belongs disc, and permeated by fluids, exposed, to the class echinodermata ; let us take from the filmy nature of the tubes, to the it out, and examine it more attentively. action of the air contained in the water It consists of a central portion, or discin which the animal floats, fulfils the like body, from which five rays, capaoffice of a respiratory apparatus. ble of flexion and extension, branch out;
But besides the 'tubes already de- its external covering is a horny, or scribed, there is a cluster of tubular coriaceous integument, with calcareous
portions thickly interspersed throughout | become distended, and pass through the its texture, giving a roughness, or tubercu- ambulacral orifices; but on the expanlated structure to the surface, and form- sion of the sac, the fluid leaves the ing spinous processes around the mouth tubes, which contract so as simultaand along the rays. The integument is neously to expel it, and are immeditinted in various species with different ately withdrawn through their respeccolours ;
in the present with a red pig- tive apertures. The sacs in question dement, doubtless one of its secretions, rive their fluid from a system of vessels as is also a reddish fluid which exudes distinct, according to most physiologists, from the surface of this starfish, and from those of the arterial system ; but which is of a caustic nature, producing whether the fluid is a peculiar secretion, considerable irritation on the hands of or merely sea water, is a point not espersons who roughly grasp the animal. tablished.
The integument, horny as it is, is evi. The mouth of the asterias is seated dently sensitive and contractile, shrink- on the under surface of the central disc, ing on the application of stimuli, or of the or body, and the osseous or calcareous knife ; it can readily change its form, portions around it give firmness to its the rays can be bent or extended, or margin, and perhaps act to a certain turned in various directions, and these extent as teeth, or assist in the premotions appear to depend on the pre- hension of food; it leads into a very sence of fibrous bands, extending along wide esophagus, or gullet, longitudinally the covering of the rays, from the folded, and this expands into a capacious central body, or axis. Besides the stomach, which, instead of being confined investment described, and which pro- to the central portion or disc of the tects the internal parts, each ray is animal, is carried out by means of curifarther supported by a sort of rudiment- ously convoluted or arborescent tubes, ary skeleton, or calcareous framework, plaited on delicate membrane, composed of a series of distinct portions, which both lines the external investlike the spinal column of vertebrated ment of the animal, and is reflected animals; these portions are fitted to over all the internal organs. Each ray each other, and united by ligament, so contains two of these arborescent proas to produce a succession of joints, longations of the stomach, the nature extending down the under surface or and use of which do not appear to be floor of each ray, beginning from a clearly understood, though they are procircular framework of the same cha- bably destined, like the intestinal canal racter which encloses the mouth. The of higher animals, for absorption of the arrangement of each of these portions, nutritive particles of the digested food, or plates, is such as to admit of certain which is taken up by a system of veins, little apertures, like pin holes, between abundantly distributed like a fine net
and these apertures form four work them, throughout their rows extending down each ray in a groove, which groove is termed the am- The great sac of the stomach is furbulacrum, or avenue, and the holes, are nished at its base with a small biliary called ambulacral orifices.
apparatus, opening into it by a frec Through these orifices the animal is orifice, whence issues the bilious fluid. capable of protruding small, fleshy The veins collect into a large circular suckers, or feet, (each terminating in vessel, a sort of common trunk sweepa sucking disc,) which are the prin- ing round the central disc, which comcipal agents of locomotion, and also of municates with another vascular tube securing the prey within the folds of encircling the mouth, by means of a the rays. The manner in which these large canal; this canal is highly irrisuckers are protruded and withdrawn table, and is probably analogous in its is very curious, and yet extremely function to a heart; the oral circle simple: they are muscular and tubular, being the commencement of the arclosed at their extremity by a disc; terial system, whence vessels are disbut internally they communicate each tributed to every part of the system. with a sac, or reservoir of fluid, itself Besides these vascular tubes, there is being muscular and contractile. When a calcareous tube, connected with the the animal wishes to protrude these circular oval vessel, and called the sand suckers, it contracts these sacs, forcing canal, within which are two convoluted the fluid into the tubes, which thus laminæ of the same calcareous texture ;
but of its use nothing positive is as- protruded, and fixed tenaciously upon certained. The aëration of the circu- it; its efforts are in vain, and struggle lating fluids of the sea star is effected as it may, it is dragged closer and closer, by the free admission of sea water into and forced into the mouth, which closes the general cavity of the animal through over it. In a short time, all the soft multitudinous minute tubes which open parts of the prey are dissolved, the hard externally, protruding through pores, and shelly portions being rejected. Crabs upon the outer surface; through these and shell fish of a considerable size are the water passes into the membranous swallowed entire, for the stomach is cavity, and bathes all the viscera, its amazingly dilatable; but shell fish of oxygen acting upon the fluids circulating great size, as large oysters, etc. are not in their vessels.
the less its victims, though it cannot The membrane which lines the horny swallow them whole. covering, and that investing the viscera, The destruction which the sea star are covered with multitudes of minute commits among oysters was indeed well fibrils, or cilia, the continual action of known to the ancients, who believed which produces currents in the sea water that it obtained the mollusk by insertabsorbed ; these cilia, however, are not ing one of its rays between the valves limited to the general lining, or as it of the shell, when the creature hapmay be termed, peritoneal membrane, pened to lie wit them partially open, but are also distributed over the ca- and that it then gradually forced it. vities of the suckers, or feet, over the self in, till its prey became in contact inside of the stomach, and its prolong with its mouth. Though the fact of ations, and over the external surface its destroying large shell fish is unquesof the body. Of the purpose which tionable, the mode by which it obtains these cilia serve in the economy of the the mollusk, shut up in its strongly asterias, a presumption only can be closed shell, is not easy to be underformed; it is, that they are agents in the stood : certainly it is not by the method aëration of the vital fluid, and by their which was supposed by the ancients. action ensure a perpetual change in the Some degree of light, however, has water, so that every part may be sup- been thrown on the subject, by M. plied with it fresli, and unexhausted of Deslongchamps, (see Bullet: des Sciair.
ences de M. le Baron Ferussac, vol. We might here enter into other mi- x. p. 296,) who on one occasion saw nutiæ respecting the organization of on the shore (when the tide having these creatures ; but enough has been retired, had left only a few inches of said to show how wonderful their structure clear water on the sand) considerable is, and how much yet remains to be in- numbers of this species, (Asterias ruvestigated. A few words with regard bens,) rolling about in compact balls, to their habits and manners will not five or six being fastened together by prove uninteresting. It may be observed, the interlacement of their rays. Not ihen, that they are highly carnivorous; a little astonished at this, he proceeded they feed upon putrescent substances, to examine these balls, and found that and make shell fish, crustaceous ani- | in the centre of these knots of star mals, (as crabs,) and small fishes their fishes, there was a large, bivalve molprey; they are very voracious, and, lusk, (Mactra stultorum, Linn.) grasped ihough apparently inert, are capable of closely round by their united rays; the overpowering the struggles of the most valves were partially open, the mouth active of their victims.
of each asterias was in contact with When watching for their prey, they their edge, while between the valves rest with the rays gently bent towards were introduced large rounded vesicles the mouth; and these, when a crab or of a thin membranous texture, and shellfish is within their range, are filled with a transparent fluid. folded closely over it, drawing it to- On examining these vesicles more atwards the mouth, which is dilated 10 en- tentively, it was found that they were gulph it: still, if active, it might escape, ranged round the mouth of the asterias, or, by dint of strength, force itself from being attached by peduncles, and were the grasp of its deadly antagonist; but no, five in number, but of unequal sizes, no sooner do the rays fold over it, than two being as large as filberts, the other all the suckers, to the amount of more three not larger than peas. At the ex. than three hundred in each ray, are tremity of each was an aperture, through