« ZurückWeiter »
brown. These three kinds of fies lay their eggs in the water, which produce larvæ that remain in the state of worms, feeding and breathing in the water till they are prepared for their metamorphosis, and quit the bottoms of the rivers, and the mud and stones, for the surface and light and air. The brown fiy usually disappears before the end of April, likewise the grannam; but of the blue dun there is a succession of different tints, or species, or varieties, which appear in the middle of the day all the summer and autumn long. These are the principal flies on the Wandle, the best and clearest stream near London. In early spring, these flies have dark olive bodies; in the end of April and the beginning of May they are found yellow; and in the summer they become cinnamon-coloured ; and again, as the winter approaches, gain a darker hue. I do not, however, mean to say that they are the same flies, but more probably successive generations of ephemeræ of the same species. The excess of heat seems as unfavourable as the excess of cold to the existence of the smaller species of waterinsects, which, during the intensity of sunshine, seldom appear in summer, but rise morning and evening only. The blue dan bas, in June and July, a yellow body; and there is a water-fly wbich, in the evening, is generally found before the moths appear, called the red spinner. Towards the end of August, the ephemeræ appear again in the middle of the day-a very pale, small ephemera, which is of the same colour as that which is seen in some rivers in the beginning of July. In September and October, this kind of fly is found with an olive body, and it becomes darker in October, and paler in November. There are two other flies which appear in the end of September and continue during October, if the weather be mild ; a large yellow fly, with a flesby body, and wings like a moth; and a small fly with four wings, with a dark or claret-coloured body, that when it falls on the water has its wings, like the great yellow fly, flat on its back. This, or a claret-. bodied fy, very similar in character, may be likewise found in March or April, on some waters.
The Little Angler.
[By Mrs. C. C. Richardson.]
Inclining me to roam;
To ramble far from home.
An urchin troop 1 spied ;
One tiny angler tried,
The craftier minnow race,-
Still winnowing o'er his face.
Playmates were jeering him,--but no!
He would not be subdued;
My wanderings were pursued
When I this path retraced ;
Just where I left him placed.
And still the eager eye
And still the prey shot by.
Could rest upon no spot
Of loveliness was not ;
By that fair boy alone,
His every playmate gone;
Hopes baffled, ever new;
A faithful portrait drew.
How artlessly he played
But deeper musing swayed :
So persevering now,
When manhood shades thy brow?
Almost innumerable insects are to be seen in this and the succeeding month. In June we may observe the golden-green beetle; various kinds of flies; the cuckoo-spit insect, and the stag-beetle. The several species of the gadfly make their appearance in this month. The larvæ of the dragon-fly (Libellula), after a two years' submersion in stagnant water, ascend the stalks of plants and burst their shells.
The numerous species of Aphides are now found on many plants, bearing an appropriate name from each. Those which infest the rose-tree and bean are possibly most under observation. One is green, and scarcely distinguished from the colour of the young leaves; the other is black.
Tadpoles are now to be seen, in great swarms, in ponds and ditches. It is amusing to put a few of these in a basin or glass, and watch their transformations. When they first emerge from the frogspawn, they look like little fish with great heads and long tails. Legs, after a little time, make their appearance; the tails fall off, and then the young frogs forsake the water, and leap about.
Clover is now in blossom, and regales our olfactory senses with its delightful fragrance. The sweetscented vernal grass(Anthoxanthum odoratum), which is the cause of the very delightful scent in hay, flowers also in this month, and diffuses its fragrance through the country. About the beginning of June, the pimpernel, thyme, the bitter-sweet nightshade, white bryony, and the dog-rose, have their flowers full blown. The poppy is now in flower.-See an account of opium in T. T. for 1828, pp. 160-161.
The foxglove, which produces a beautiful flower, blossoms in this month as well as in the next. The elder tree is in flower.
The several kinds of corn come into ear and flower in June, as well as most of the numerous species of grasses.
Preserving Specimens of Plants. Let the specimens be gathered, if possible, when quite dry, and never, on any account, put in water, with a view to keep them fresh, after they are gathered, and previously to their being pressed between paper; a practice which would tend to inorease the quantity of moisture in the plants, and, consequently, add to the difficulty of drying them. Then take some leaves of coarse blotting-paper, the more bibulous the better, and beat them at the fire, till they become as hot as they can be made without scorching them. Place the specimens separately between two of these leaves so heated; lay them between boards or other flat surfaces, and press them with a heavy weight. This process of beating the paper, and shifting the specimens, should be often repeated,--twice, or, at least, once a day, till the juices of the plant are evaporated. In this manner the specimens, if not very robust or succulent ones, will generally be sufficiently dried in the course of a week, or even in less time. The advantages of this method are, not only that the specimens will be thoroughly dried in a short time, and therefore will be less liable to become mouldy or to decay, but also that they will génerally retain the colour, both of the flowers and leaves, much more perfectly than when preserved by means of a slower process, and without the aid of artificial heat. A few years ago, a Swiss botanist, of the name of Thomas, visited this country, bringing over with him extensive collections of dried alpine plants for sale: that eminent naturalist A. H. Haworth, Esq., was so struck with the beauty of these specimens, many of which retained the vivid ness of their colours almost as perfectly as when they were in a living state, that he was induced to ask M. Thomas what means he adopted in their preservation. Without making any mystery of the art, M. Thomas readily communicated to him the abovementioned process of heating the paper.-Communicated by the Rey. W. T. Bree to the Magazine of Natural History, No. 3.
In the months of June, July, and August, the Entomologist will find full employment in the woods. Most of the butterflies are taken in these months, flying abroad in the day-time only: moths will be found flying at break of day, and at twilight in the evening. The taking of them is termed MOTHING, and should be well followed up during the summer season. Many of the rarer Lepidoptera are never found but at these times.-See Samouelle's Introduction to British Entomology, and T. T. for 1826, pp. 169-171.
The fern-owl may be seen about the middle of the month, in the evening, among the branches of oaks, in pursuit of its favourite repast, the fern-chaffer.
- It may not, probably, be generally known to naturalists, that the common brown owl is in the habit, occasionally at least, of feeding its young with live fish; a fact which has been ascertained beyond doubt. Some years since, several young owls were taken from the nest, and placed in a yew tree in a garden: in this situation the parent. birds repeatedly brought them live fish (bull-heads and loch, or loach) which had doubtless been procured from the neighbouring brook, in which these species abound. The same fish, either whole or in fragments, was also lying under the trees on which the young owls were observed to perch after they had left the nest, and where the old birds were accustomed to feed them.
A singular species of owl, the Coquimbo owl, is mentioned by Captain Head as found all over the plains of the Pampas. Like rabbits, they live in holes, which are in groups in every direction, and which make galloping over these plains very dangerous. These animals are never observed in the day; but as