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Title: Stories of the Universe: Animal Life
Author: Lindsay, B.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of the Universe: Animal Life" ***

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[Transcriber's Notes

Emphasis is denotes as _Italic_ and =Bold=. Most small caps text
has been converted to ALL CAPS; but where some may have been
rendered as Mixed Case letters where it seemed appropriate.]

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--THE SCALLOP SHELL, _Pecten Opercularis_ (see


Animal Life









_All rights reserved_


Of the diagrams which illustrate this little volume, the majority were
College, Cambridge): the sketches were made from specimens in the South
Kensington Museum of Natural History, which has kindly granted
permission for their use. In addition to these, there are several
figures that are taken from specimens in my possession, photographed by
the publishers; two or three cuts are diagrammatic; and I owe to the
kindness of Mr. J. Craggs, formerly president of the Northumberland
Microscopical Association, the drawings of Polycystina and of the scales
of the Sole.

    B. L.


    CHAPTER                                                     PAGE

       I. THE STORY OF ANIMAL LIFE                                 9



      IV. THE ONE-CELLED ANIMALS, OR PROTOZOA                     45

       V. THE COELENTERATA                                        53

      VI. THE SPONGES                                             63

     VII. THE VERMES OR WORMS                                     68


      IX. THE MOLLUSCA, OR SHELL-FISH                             98

       X. THE BRACHIOPODA, OR LAMP-SHELLS                        117

      XI. THE MOSS-CORALS, OR POLYZOA                            119

     XII. THE ECHINODERMATA                                      122

    XIII. THE CHORDATA                                           135

     XIV. THE VERTEBRATA                                         138

      XV. MAN                                                    167

     XVI. HOW ZOOLOGISTS DO THEIR WORK                           180

          INDEX                                                  193


    FIGURE                                                      PAGE

     1. The Scallop-Shell                             _Frontispiece_

     2. Limpets and Periwinkles                                   19

     3. Diagram of _Amoeba_                                       35

     4. Section of _Hydra_                                        36

     5. Diagrammatic Section of Earthworm                         38

     6. Diagram of a Gastrula                                     41

     7. Diagram of a Trochosphere                                 42

     8. Shells of Radiolarians (Polycystina)                      47

     9. A Coralline                                               58

    10. Gorgonia                                                  59

    11. Corals                                                    60

    12. Marine Worms                                              73

    13. A Centipede                                               77

    14, 15. Shells of Barnacles                               79, 80

    16. Hermit Crabs                                              81

    17. A Land Crab                                               82

    18. A Sand-hopper                                             83

    19. A Spider                                                  84

    20. Nest of Trap-door Spider                                  85

    21. _Galeodes_                                                86

    22. A Tick                                                    87

    23. A Scorpion                                                88

    24. Larvæ of Insects                                          90

    25. Larva of the Bee                                          92

    26. Ants                                                      92

    27. White Ants                                                93

    28. Cocoons of Moths                                          94

    29. A Moth and its Larva                                      95

    30. Nest of a Gregarious Caterpillar                          96

    31. Development of an English Water-beetle (_Dytiscus_)       96

    32. Insect Pests                                              97

    33. Branchy Murex                                            102

    34. Shell of the Common _Venus_                              104

    35. Eggs of Molluscs                                         115

    36. The Five-holed Sand-Cake                                 125

    37. A Brittle-Star                                           129

    38. A Sea-Cucumber                                           130

    39. A Stone-Lily or Encrinite                                131

    40. A Feather-Star                                           132

    41. Sections showing Position of the Vertebrate Notochord    139

    42. Scales of a Sole                                         143

    43. Tadpoles                                                 153

    44. Eggs of Reptiles                                         155

    45. Skull of Kangaroo                                        162

    46. Skull of Rodent                                          163

    47. Slide with Rows of Sections for the Microscope           185




If the microscope had never been invented, the Story of Animal Life, as
it is related by modern science, could never have been told. It is to
the microscope that we owe our knowledge of innumerable little animals
that are too small to be seen by the unassisted eye; and it is to the
microscope that we owe the most important part of our knowledge about
the bodies of larger animals, about the way in which they are built up,
and the uses of their different parts. The earlier opticians who toiled,
one after another, to bring the microscope to perfection, never dreamed,
in their most ambitious moments, of the value of the gift that their
labour was to confer upon mankind. For the microscope alone has made it
possible for men of science to study the world of living things. This is
the value of honest and thorough work in almost every department of
intellectual labour; that it builds a firm and sure though perhaps
hidden foundation for the loftier and more perfect work of after days.

The microscope has shown us the intimate structure of every organ of
the animal body; and thus, in most cases, the uses of the organ, and
the steps by which it performs its tasks, have been made clear. The
microscope has also shown the true nature of the sexual functions, and
all the steps of the processes of growth in young animals. None of these
things could ever have been rightly understood without the microscope,
for all their most important details are invisible to the naked eye.
To the microscope, too, we owe our knowledge of the essential kinship
between plants and animals; to it, also, our understanding of the
oneness, the "solidarity," as the French would say, of the animal
kingdom, for it is in the structure of microscopic parts that
resemblances are revealed under the most strikingly different
circumstances of outward form.

Let us inquire a little into the history of the animals that can only
be seen by the aid of the microscope. Most of them live in water,
especially dirty water, containing decaying remains of plants or
animals. The naturalists who first discovered them studied them in
"infusions" of hay, and so on, and hence these little creatures were
named Infusoria--a name that has since been somewhat restricted in its
application. By an "infusion" is meant that water is poured on some
substance and allowed to stand; the more ancient and evil-smelling the
infusion becomes, the more of these little animals do you find living in
it. Nature provides dirty water ready made, in ditches and in ponds, and
these are full of microscopic animals. And not only do they appear in
dirty water, but kindred kinds appear in clean water also, and many in
the waters of the sea.

It will easily be understood that when the existence of microscopic
animals was discovered, zoologists had greatly to modify their ideas of
the animal world. Still more was this the case afterwards, when it was
found that all animals were built up of minute parts much resembling
these microscopic animals in their main features. To these unit parts,
of which all animal bodies are composed, the term "cell" is applied.
The name of cell is not very descriptive of these units in the animal
body, but correctly describes the unit of plant structure. In certain
important essential particulars both, however, are alike. Nowadays we
are not content to describe the grouping and external features of cells;
their minute structure also is made a subject of research and inquiry,
and affords a field for most of the fashionable speculations of our own

How great has been the progress made by the science of zoology since the
eighteenth century may be estimated from the following quotation:--

"I remember," says the late George J. Romanes (in his book called "The
Scientific Evidences of Organic Evolution"), "once reading a very
comical disquisition in one of Buffon's works on the question as to
whether or not a crocodile was to be classified as an insect; and the
instructive feature in the disquisition was this, that although a
crocodile differs from an insect as regards every conceivable particular
of its internal anatomy, no allusion at all is made to this fact, while
the whole discussion is made to turn on the hardness of the external
casing of a crocodile resembling the hardness of the external casing
of a beetle; and when at last Buffon decides that, on the whole, a
crocodile had better not be classified as an insect, the only reason
given is, that as a crocodile is so very large an animal it would make
'altogether too terrible an insect.'"

How different is the state of knowledge now, when every part of a
crocodile or a cockroach is described in print in the minutest detail,
and set before even the beginner in zoology as a necessary lesson.

But in spite of the labour necessary to master such detailed lessons,
the study of the animal world is far from prosaic. The Story of Animal
Life, indeed, bids fair to be the only element of romance left in the
modern world for those who stay at home in their own land. The traveller
of days of yore, when he ventured into the woods and fields, or upon
the water, expected to meet with all sorts of strange things--fairies
and elves and ugly gnomes; giants, ogres, and dragons; mermaids and
water-witches. With the spread of education all these things have
vanished now; it is quite certain that no Board-School-boy has ever met
any of them: and one's walks abroad would be in these days as prosaic as
they are safe, but for the world of animal life. If you have eyes for
this, every field has its inhabitants, and every hedge its marvels.
Instead of a fairy, you may be well contented to meet a dragon-fly with
shining wings; instead of an ogre you will find the fierce spider, which
not only makes away with every harmless fly that blunders into her net,
but in many cases destroys her own kind also. Many a plant may be met
with which has its own special caterpillar or other dependent insect,
with ways of its own, which may amuse your idle hours. As for the change
of a caterpillar or a tadpole into its adult form, it would be taken for
a miracle if it were observed for the first time.

The reader may have noticed that there are some unfortunate people who
have no eyes for these things; from childhood upwards they have been so
absorbed in money-making or in reading books--the one case is as bad as
the other--that they have never learnt to observe the facts of nature.
Some cannot even recognise the different kinds of plants that they see
in the hedges, or in a country walk. Such natures are intellectually
defective; they are much to be pitied, and require a special training to
remedy their stupidity. I mention this, because the occurrence of this
form of stupidity is one of the dangers resulting from town life and
bookish education, which we have to guard against at the present time.

But for all healthy people accustomed to the outdoor world, the study of
animal life has always possessed an interest. Its interest has, however,
been increased a hundred fold by the progress of modern discovery, which
has taught us to see in the animal kingdom one large family, working its
way upwards from humble beginnings, to more perfect structure of body,
and more complete intelligence of mind.



We all know what it is to adapt ourselves to circumstances. Suppose two
lads, fresh from school, go out into the world to earn their living;
one becomes a navvy and one a clerk. In five years' time these two young
men will probably be very different in appearance from one another.
The navvy will have developed his muscles; he will be broad-built,
broad-chested, and strong. The clerk, on the other hand, will probably
be comparatively weak and slim, his chest will not be so broad, his
muscles will not be so well developed. The navvy, too, will probably
be of a fresh complexion, while the clerk will be pale. All these
differences are due to the fact that their bodies have adapted
themselves to circumstances. Both men may be equally healthy, and
equally long-lived. Let us take another example. Let us compare two
other youths, of whom one becomes a cobbler and one an Alpine guide.
The latter, in five years' time will have become a perfect specimen
of muscular humanity--active, agile, and hardy. The cobbler will be
comparatively stiff in his limbs and unable to undertake any singular
feat of muscular exertion, although he may be able to do a very hard
day's work at his own trade. The mountaineer, too, will probably differ
in disposition from the cobbler. He will be daring, resourceful, and not
afraid of danger under circumstances which would terrify the cobbler.
Now let us suppose that the sons and grandsons of the navvy are brought
up to be navvies, and the sons and grandsons of the clerk are brought up
to be clerks;--that the children and grandchildren of the Alpine guide
follow his own calling, and the children and grandchildren of the
cobbler do the same;--we shall probably have four families differing
very much in type of physique from one another. Yet take one of the
navvy's sturdy grandchildren and bring him up as a clerk, and he will
lose much of his sturdiness. Let the mountaineer's grandsons be brought
up as cobblers, and by the time they are thirty they will not be
remarkable for their muscular capabilities.

Just in a similar way the bodies of animals adapt themselves to
circumstances. It is not always possible to trace the steps by which
this has been done. But sometimes it is so; and we may find a whole
series of varieties that are plainly due to adaptation. When we see an
animal which is in some way especially fitted for its surroundings, we
are therefore justified in concluding that it has become so by degrees.

The way in which animals adapt themselves to their surroundings in the
matter of colour would afford material for several volumes each as large
as this one. Those who have not travelled in foreign countries may
perhaps find it difficult to realise that brilliant colouring and showy
patterns can ever enable an animal to hide itself successfully. But an
instance may be taken from an animal common on our own shores which will
illustrate how this principle works.

In the spring there may be found in large numbers upon our rocky coasts
a little oval shell-fish, about one-third of an inch long, sticking to
the fronds of the tangle and other broad-leaved seaweeds. The animal is
of a very pale brown colour; its shell brownish and semi-transparent,
with several stripes of brilliant turquoise blue down the back. These
stripes are not continuous, but interrupted at intervals so as to give
them a beady look. Taken in the hand and looked at closely, the shell,
with its contrast of blue stripes on a brown ground, is extremely
conspicuous; brown being, in fact, the contrast-colour which shows blue
in its greatest brilliancy. Yet, when perched upon the tangle, the
creature is almost invisible, and might easily be mistaken for a natural
irregularity of the surface of the seaweed. While the brown is the
colour of the seaweed itself, the brilliant blue is indeed the exact
colour of the spring sky at that season, everywhere reflected from the
sea-water and from the wet surface of the seaweed. By matching that
brilliant colour the animal therefore is rendered invisible. This
little creature is the young of the Semi-transparent Limpet, _Patella
pellucida_. This, at least, was the old-fashioned name for it, though
it has received others. Its young and its adult form are so different
in the appearance of the shell, that they have been described under
different names. English readers who search for it in the spring will
learn by experience that bright colouring may help to make a creature
invisible. But this is not all that is to be said about the protective
colouring of this little shell-fish. There are many creatures whose
young live at the surface of the sea, and afterwards migrate to deeper
water as they attain adult age. In early life they are transparent,
because thus they best escape notice in the clear water of the surface,
especially when seen from below, by the many enemies on the watch to
devour them. But in their later life they become opaque, because thus
they best escape notice from enemies watching from above, as they crawl
along the bottom of the sea. Now this is the case with the little
Patella. For this also migrates to the bottom--in this instance a
comparatively short journey--when it is ready for adult life. Both
shell and animal, therefore, are at first nearly transparent, but in
older life both become more opaque; the blue stripes, too, are almost or
quite obliterated in the after-growth of the shell, slight traces of
them alone remaining at its apex. This change of colour fits the animal
for the new home in which it settles, for it moves down from the leaf
of the tangle to its root, and there finds a snug shelter among
the coral-shaped branches of which the root is composed. Not many
reflections of the blue sky are likely to reach the recesses of the
tangle-root, so the creature has no longer any need of its protective
colouring of blue.

The adult shell, however, retains a certain degree of translucency,
which matches very well with the colouring of the tangle-root; and thus
presents a great contrast to the shell of the common Limpet, which is
found on rocks. The rugged surface of the latter is usually more or less
irregularly speckled in harmony with the surfaces on which it lives,
though this shell also presents when young occasional touches of blue,
which suggests a family likeness in colour tastes on the part of the two
kinds of Limpet. The blue in this case, however, is of the dullest and
dingiest shade. The _Patella pellucida_ is common on the more rocky
portions of our coasts; in spring the young may be seen in thousands on
the seaweeds of the Isle of Man; here its habits were first observed and
described in detail by the Manx naturalist Forbes, who noticed its
peculiar way of finding a hiding place among the roots of the tangle.
The same shell-fish, in contrast with the commoner Limpet of the rocks,
affords another instance of the way in which shells adapt their forms
to their surroundings. In each case the shell is a plain conical cap,
and the animal within keeps the shell firmly attached to the base on
which it rests. The Limpet can move about at a very creditable snail's
pace when it wishes to do so, and at low-water mark, when the tide is
beginning to rise, you may easily find them moving about and off their
guard; but during many hours of the day, when the tide is out, the main
object of the Limpet is to keep its shell as firmly fixed to the rock as
possible. It will at once be seen that if the margin of the shell were
smooth like that of a tea-cup, and the surface of the rock to which it
clung very irregular, many chinks would be left between the margin of
the shell and the surface of the rock through which unwelcome visitors
might find entrance. The loss of moisture through the crevices, too,
would be a serious thing to the animal during the hours when the shell
is uncovered by the tide and exposed to the rays of a hot sun. On the
other hand, if the margin of the shell were irregular, and the surface
on which it rested smooth, unprotected crevices would in the same way
be left. So the Limpets adapt the shape of their shell to their
surroundings; the _Patella pellucida_, which lives on the smooth
branches of the tangle-root, has a shell with a smooth regular edge;
while the _Patella vulgata_, which lives upon rocks, has a shell with an
irregular, indented edge, whose irregularities fit into those of the
rock on which it rests. (See Fig. 2.)

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--Shells mentioned in Chap. II. 1, Common Limpet,
old and young; 2, Semi-transparent Limpet, old and young (the remains
of the young shell may be seen crowning the adult shell); 3, Common
Yellow Periwinkle; 4, Common Edible Periwinkle; and 5, High-tide-mark
Periwinkle, both with a sharp spire, for comparison. One specimen of
the latter stands among group 3.]

Probably every reader will be able to appreciate the above instances of
creatures adapted to their surroundings. For there are few people who
are not familiar with the common Limpet of the shore between tide-marks,
and with the great seaweed called Tangle, which has its habitat a little
lower down, and forms great sea-meadows, whose upper limits alone are
ever laid bare by the tide. The _Patella pellucida_, too, is fairly
common, and the dead shell may be found on most rocky parts of our coast
all the year round. As for the blue-striped young shell, floating on the
blades of the tangle, those who have leisure to visit the seaside during
the months of spring and early summer, may have seen it as I have
described it; and the mention of it will recall pleasant memories of
clear spring skies, and fresh sea-winds, and fields of heavy tangle
swaying gently on the swell that comes in from the open sea. It is
interesting to know something of the habits of the creatures whose forms
we study, and we have already spoken of the snug little hiding-place
that the Semi-transparent Limpet finds for itself in the tangle-root.
It is of interest to remember that the Common Limpet, too, is a
home-loving creature, which knows and prefers the spot of rock on which
it habitually rests; and can find its way back to it, aided by its two
eyes and two smelling patches. This has been proved by Professor Lloyd
Morgan, who has recorded the result of his observations, made on the
coast of Dorsetshire. It is not easy to detach a Limpet from the rock
without injuring or exhausting it, but these specimens were caught when
moving of their own accord, and were therefore uninjured and brisk. They
were removed to short distances, and the following table shows the
result of the experiment, clearly proving that the Limpet prefers home,
but regards a distance of two feet as a very long journey.

              |             |  Number  |         |
      Number  | Distance in | Returned | In Four | Later.
     Removed. |   Inches.   |  in Two  | Tides.  |
              |             |  Tides.  |         |
        25    |      6      |    21    |    0    |   0
        21    |     12      |    13    |    5    |   0
        21    |     18      |    10    |    6    |   2
        36    |     24      |     1    |    1    |   3

Similar observations were made at an earlier date, by Mr. George
Roberts, at Lyme Regis.

Let us now take an instance of adaptation in form. And this time we will
take a shell so common that everybody will know it.

Everyone who has spent a little time in naturalising on the shore, has
noticed how often you may find univalve shells, such as those of the
whelk and periwinkle, with the top of the shell knocked off. This is
nearly always the case with the dead shells that you find strewn along
the tide-line; and after a storm, on a rocky coast, you may find shells
that still contain the living tenant, in the same sad condition. And you
may also meet not infrequently with shells, dead or living, that bear
evidence of the owners' efforts to repair them after an accident to the
spire. A piece has been broken, and you find it cemented on again by a
patch of shell, serviceable no doubt to the owner, but crooked and
unsightly in appearance. Now there is a very common shell, the little
yellow periwinkle, which has practically done away with its spire, the
coils of the shell being so curved that the earlier part of the spire
does not project beyond the later-formed coils, and the whole shell has
a rounded outline. This little creature lives on the long seaweeds which
grow at low-water mark or near it; and when the sea is rough it is
obviously liable to be dashed from its foothold on the seaweed and flung
violently down, as the huge seaweeds sway about in the shallow waves. We
may easily satisfy ourselves that this is an accident that frequently
happens, by examining the shore when the tide is going out, on some
stormy spring or autumn day. Numbers of the yellow periwinkles are then
to be found crawling on the sand, and striving to regain their place in
the seaweedy rocks as soon as possible. On a calm day you will rarely
see one crawling on sand above low-water mark, for it is a place they do
not choose by preference; those that are to be found there on the stormy
day have lost their foothold, and have been washed about by the tide.
Had they, like some other kinds of periwinkle, a sharp spire, how many
would be the casualties under these circumstances! But as it is, you do
not see a single specimen with a broken top: the rounded spire is an
adaptation to circumstances, required for the protection of the tenant
of the shell. (See Fig. 2.)

It may be added that the yellow Periwinkle is not only protected from
mechanical sources of danger by its form, but is also in some degree
protected from living enemies by its colour. This, at first sight, seems
exceedingly conspicuous. We must remember, however, that the animal
often lives in that part of the shore where the Bladder Seaweeds, or
Fuci, are extremely abundant. The flowering ends of these are of a
yellow colour, fairly bright. When seen from below, with the sunlight
streaming through them, they no doubt appear much brighter than when
seen, as we see them, from above, with the sunlight falling on them.
Now protection from foes below is what the yellow periwinkle needs
most: for fishes are quite ready to swallow it whole, and are not in
any way deterred by the thickness of the shell, which is (by-the-way)
in a measure a protection against birds when the tide is out; fishes
habitually swallow shell-fish whole, although the inmate only is
digested. The bright yellow, then, that seems to us so conspicuous, is
probably a good means of hiding for the periwinkle when under water. Its
common variations in colour, too, are probably protective in their use:
some are a dull purplish brown, some drab. These are good colours in
which to lie hidden, respectively, under darker tracts of seaweed, or
upon the rock itself. This little shell is so abundant on rocky coasts
that on some beaches the dead shells are as numerous as pebbles. No
wonder, with all these adaptations for protection!

Another instance of adaptation to circumstances is described in the
sea-urchin shown on p. 125. This is one among many instances where
animals that live on sand or mud acquire a flattened shape, so that
their weight is distributed, and the danger lessened, of their sinking
in a quick-sand. The flat-fish, such as soles and flounders, are a
familiar example; and the same principle is illustrated by the flattened
forms of many of the bivalve shell-fish, whose flat shell, when closed,
can lie safely on the loosest sand. Equally is their form adapted for
their circumstances, when, in their slow way, they begin to move. For
the flat valves of the shell are placed to the right and left of the
animal's body. So that when it stirs, or floats quietly in the current
of the tide, the shells present their sharp edges to the resistance of
the water, thus enabling the creature to move like a ship through the
sea, or like a knife-blade through bread, with the least possible
friction: and specially is this provision for the lessening of friction
important, when we consider that many of these bivalve shell-fish have
to move, not only through water, but also through sand and mud.

It may be assumed that every reader is familiar with the common forms of
the bivalve shell-fish. The frontispiece shows one of them, considerably
flattened in shape.

So far, however, we have not explained _how_ animals adapt themselves to
circumstances; we have only pointed out the fact that they do so.

Take the case of our little Limpet. It cannot say: "I will paint myself
with blue and brown, so as to be mistaken for a bit of seaweed
reflecting the blue sky"; nor can the periwinkle say: "I will paint
myself with yellow, so as to pass unnoticed among the yellow ends of the
_Fucus_; and I will build my spire low, so that it will not be broken."
The bivalve shell-fish and the Sand-Cake sea-urchins do not say to one
another, "Let us alter our shells, and build them a little flatter, so
that we shall not sink in too deep when we lie upon the ooze and sand of
the sea."

How then do these adaptations take place? Darwin has explained this for
us. Individuals often have some little peculiarity, in which they differ
from the average of their kind. The establishment of such little marks
of individuality is spoken of as Variation. If among these individual
peculiarities there is one which is in any way disadvantageous, _e.g._
one which tends to make the creature conspicuous in the sight of its
foes, the owner will be quickly eaten, and of that peculiarity there
will be an end. If, on the contrary, the peculiarity gives the owner
some advantage over its fellows, that individual will survive, and
probably transmit its peculiarity to some of its descendants.

We have seen, for instance, that it is of advantage to our little
periwinkle to be yellow, when it lives in certain situations; and that
it sometimes presents other colours, likely to be favourable in other
cases. If we gather together a large number of specimens, we shall find
a surprising range of variation in colour. Some present a tint of bright
orange, nearly red; some are a dull brown; the dark purple shade and the
drab have been already referred to. The very young shell usually
presents an unmistakable shade of pink; and we may find innumerable
half-grown specimens in which we may trace the gradual establishment of
the advantageous yellow colour, from an original shade of unmistakable
pink, presented by the earlier whorls. Kindred varieties of the shell,
too, may be found with stripes or speckles. Since this very common shell
may be found in abundance on any rocky shore in the British Isles, the
reader may easily study its colour-variations, both in the dead and the
living shell. Study also the ground on which the creature lives, with
its sharp colour-contrasts of rock and seaweed patches, and it will be
easy to understand why the colours are thus varied, with a
preponderance, on the whole, of the yellow shades. It is all a question
of the survival of the fittest--the unfit being represented by colours
too easily seen, and therefore quickly snapped up. As for the spire, it
has already been shown how that is adapted to circumstances. It is
worthy of remark that in the kindred Edible Periwinkle, _Littorina
littorea_, which has a sharp spire, elderly specimens may be seen with
the end of the spire damaged.

Turn again for a moment to our first instance--the adaptation of men to
a sedentary or an outdoor occupation. Here we dwelt upon the change
produced by their mode of life; we left out of sight the "survival of
the fittest." Yet here it is equally surely at work. How often does the
young mountaineer, less agile than his fellows, come by a violent death?
Only those who are equal to the necessities of the life survive--many
are lost. How often does the clerk, tied to his desk, fail in health
and die? How often, hating a sedentary life for which he is unfitted,
does he throw his energies into athletics, lose interest in his office
work, and get dismissed? Here again comes in "the survival of the
fittest"--for a desk: alas! perhaps the only means of livelihood.

But _why_ do variations occur? This is the question first asked by a
child, when you try to explain the working of "natural selection." It is
also the last question asked by scientists, who are still industriously
engaged upon studying the problem.

In the above instances from human life, we have considered the
occurrence of changes brought about in the organism by the circumstances
of life; or as scientists say, by the "environment." Scientific men are
busily hunting for instances of variation of this sort. Take for
example, an animal which lives sometimes in salt water, sometimes in
water that is only brackish; there are cases in which small differences
can be noticed, according to the difference in the habitat. Notice the
marine shell-fish, for instance, near the estuary of a river: they are
often less robust specimens than are found at a point free from the
influence of fresh water.

Not until the effect of known causes on the rise of variations has
been studied much more fully than at present, will it be possible to
judge regarding the nature of those variations which _appear_ to be
spontaneous; for which, at present, no predisposing cause can be

A very large number of variations, however, fall into the class of
"Atavistic" variations; that is to say, those which show a return to an
ancestral type. These are variations which are very rarely welcome. If,
for instance, a boy has a pair of handsome black rabbits, he is not much
pleased to find among their progeny, every now and then, one of the
colour of the original wild Bunny. The probability, in this case, is
that the atavistic variety will find its way into a pie, instead of
being kept as a pet. Equally unsatisfactory to the owner, is the
incorrigibly savage and intractable dog or horse--a reversion to the
mental type of an ancestor which knew not the authority of a master.

Atavistic variation often occurs when members of two well-marked
varieties are mated; so that in some of the offspring produced, each
parent seems to cancel out the more extreme characteristics of the
other, leaving only the characteristics of the more generalized
ancestral type, from which both parents have alike been derived.

When the ancestral type is in some way inferior to the modern one,
variation which consists in reverting to the former is often referred to
as Degeneracy. There is reason to believe that discomfort and hardship
of existence tend to produce variation of this kind--a fact of supreme
importance, when the problem of Degeneracy is considered in connection
with human life. When creatures begin to degenerate, it is, in fact, as
if the species were saying to itself, "I have gone astray; let me
retrace my steps along the road by which I came, and maybe I shall find
comfort and safety; step by step I will try to go back to my ancestral

Very rapid variation of any sort is indeed often a sign that the
struggle for existence is too hard for the type in question. The
palæontologist can tell us of types that present numerous variations
before becoming extinct; while others, comfortably holding their own in
the struggle for existence, remain practically unchanged during age
after age of the geological record, and survive even up to the present
day. We may borrow from commercial life a homely illustration that will
explain this aspect of variation. When competition in trade is keen, the
seller must have novelties; he will try all sorts, and find some good,
some bad, some indifferent. If he now revives an out-of-date pattern of
goods, for the sole sake of change, this is Degeneracy. But where, on
the contrary, competition is dull, the same firm will turn out the
same goods for a long period of time. There is an optimum in trade
competition: a reasonable competition results in the production of
sensible novelties, and consequent progress; but competition over-keen
results in the production of rubbish, leading to eventual failure. So in
the world of animal life; a certain degree of struggle for existence
results in variation, establishment of new varieties, progress. A
greater degree results in too rapid variation, new varieties that
speedily perish, and finally, the extinction of the type.

We have spoken of "varieties." Each of the domestic animals presents
varieties, which are the cumulative result of the breeder's artificial
selection of natural variations. Thus the Pug and the Collie for
instance, are varieties of the Dog; the Bantam and the Dorking of the
Fowl. Among wild animals, varieties are similarly produced by _natural_
selection, resulting from the "survival of the fittest." By degrees,
intermediate forms are lost; and new species are established by the
greater and greater divergence of varieties originally derived from one
ancestral type.


    =Phylum=     =MOLLUSCA=, or Shell-fish.

    =Class=      GASTEROPODA, or Snail-like Shell-fish.

    =Sub-Class=  ANISOPLEURA, or Unequal-sided Gasteropods.

    =Branch=     STREPTONEURA, or Unequal-sided Gasteropods with nerves
                   twisted into the shape of a figure of 8.

               /------------^-----------\  /--------------^--------------\
    =Order=      ZYGOBRANCHIATA,             AZYGOBRANCHIATA,
                 or Streptoneura with        or Streptoneura with
                 a pair of gills.            only one gill.

    =Genus=      _Patella_, the Limpet,      _Littorina_, the Periwinkle,
                 with gills obliterated,     or Shore Shell.
                 and only indirectly
                 represented; breathing
                 is performed by folds
                 of the mantle.

    =Species=    _Vulgata_, the Common       _Littoralis_, the (Yellow)
                 Limpet.                     Periwinkle that lives
                                             above low-tide-mark.



Give a child a few handfuls of shells. Probably the first thing he will
do with them is to sort out the various kinds and separate them from
one another. Each will go into a little heap by itself; and next, our
young friend will find names for them. These are Cap-shells and those
Sword-shells; these Saucers and those Plates; these Yellow-shells and
those Pink-shells--according as some special character or form or colour
strikes his fancy.

Now this is what zoologists have been doing with the animal kingdom
from the earliest days of science; trying to recognise each distinct
kind of animal form, and to give it a name of its own. Unfortunately for
the reader, zoologists have been obliged to choose names of Latin and
Greek origin, and therefore in writing about animals we are often
obliged to burden our pages with long words. This is a disadvantage, but
it is a very slight one compared with the great advantage gained by
using the learned tongues, which consists in this, that learned men from
all countries of the globe can equally understand the names thus brought
into use. One particular kind of creature may have one name in English,
another in French, another in German, and so on; but the learned world
does not trouble itself with this multiplicity of names--it gives the
creature a couple of names in Latin, and these names stand good for
learned readers in every part of the globe. The importance of this will
be fully realised when, in a later page, we shall have to speak of the
work done by zoologists, and the way in which they do it. Meantime we
must ask our readers to have patience if now and then some long names
must be used. These learned names sometimes convey a description of some
important characteristic possessed by the animal, and sometimes they are
merely fanciful names, such as the child we have spoken of gives to his
zoological playthings. It does not greatly matter whether the name is
descriptive or not; zoologists describe each animal kind in its most
minute details, and the most commonplace or inappropriate name serves
its purpose quite efficiently as a means of referring to published

We have spoken of sorting the animal kingdom into its various kinds.
But how do we know when a number of animals are all of one kind? No two
individual animals are ever exactly alike, any more than two persons are
ever exactly alike. "It is a matter of common observation that no two
individuals of a species are ever exactly alike; two tabby cats,
for instance, however they may resemble one another in the general
characters of their colour and markings, invariably present differences
in detail by which they can be readily distinguished. _Individual
variations_ of this kind are of universal occurrence" (T. J. Parker).

Among a host of animals that present so many differences, how do we
determine what shall be considered as belonging to one and the same
kind? This is a point that nature usually settles thus. If two varieties
when mated produce offspring which are perfectly fertile when mated
again with another set of offspring similarly produced, then the two
varieties, however differing in appearance, belong to one species. If on
the other hand, the two belong to a different species, the offspring
will be what is called a mule or hybrid, and will not produce offspring
if mated with another mule. One of the most familiar examples of a mule
is the animal, commonly so-called, which results from mating a horse and
an ass, and partakes of the characteristics of both.

Every animal receives two Latin or Latinised names, the first that of
the genus, the second that of the species; this system of naming, often
referred to as the "binary nomenclature," we owe to the industry of
Linnaeus the great Swedish botanist and zoologist. Genera are groups
consisting of a number of different species which closely resemble one
another. Similarly genera, which are somewhat alike, are again formed
into larger groups, and so on. The names of families, orders, and
classes used to be given to these groups in ascending order; but it is
now generally recognised that such names are arbitrary, and that the
divisions into which animals may naturally be grouped are altogether
irregular, and not comparable with one another. Those who know a little
of botany will readily understand, from their knowledge of wild flowers,
that natural groups cannot be arranged in a formal series.

The main branches of the animal kingdom, the largest groups of all, used
formerly to be called sub-kingdoms. Now the main divisions are often
spoken of as phyla or races. Classifications, although they differ much
in detail, according to the preferences of individual zoologists, yet
agree as to the main branches of the animal kingdom, the chief of these

     1. The Protozoa, or One-celled Animals.
     2. The Coelenterata or Two-layered Animals.
     3. The Sponges or Porifera.
     4. The Vermes or Worms.
     5. The Arthropods or Jointed Animals, viz., Insects and Crustacea.
     6. The Mollusca or Shell-fish.
     7. The Brachiopoda or Lamp-Shells.
     8. The Bryozoa or Moss-Corals.
     9. The Echinodermata or Sea-Urchins.
    10. The Chordata, including--(_a_) the Hemichordata;
          (_b_) the Ascidians; (_c_) the Vertebrata.

Within recent years an attempt has been made to express the relationship
these groups bear to one another, by placing them in separate divisions
or grades. The first grade includes only the Protozoa, or unicellular
animals. The position of second grade has been assigned to the
Coelenterata or diploblastic animals, whose bodies consist typically of
two layers of cells. A third grade includes only a few groups of the
lower worms, among which three body-layers may be distinguished, but no
body-cavity is present. While the fourth grade, including practically
the rest of the animal kingdom, have three body-layers (see p. 38), and
a body-cavity surrounding the internal organs (see p. 38).

This arrangement of groups is an extremely convenient one; all the more
convenient because it easily admits of modification. Already, indeed, we
might find room for a grade intermediate between I. and II., consisting
of what might be termed monoblastic animals, namely, animals consisting
of a single layer of cells. For the frequent occurrence of Larvæ of this
kind, consisting of a hollow ball of cells, renders zoologists on the
alert to find a grown-up organism built in the same way. It is doubtful
whether any of the forms that have been supposed to answer to this
description really do so. Certain forms of these often claimed as plants
by the botanists are, however, in the meanwhile, invited in to fill the

There are also animals in which the internal layer of the body is very
much reduced, consisting sometimes in fact of one cell only. Those are
the Dicyemidæ and Orthonectidæ, both of them parasitic forms. They
differ so completely from all other forms that it has been proposed to
make for them a special group, the Mesozoa, or Midway animals, between
the Protozoa and all the rest of the animal kingdom. It is, however,
possible to group them under the head of Diploblastic animals; but
nothing more different from the Coelenterata could well be imagined, and
some regard them as a degraded form of worm.

The animals which are higher in structure than the Protozoa, viz. our
divisions 2 to 10, are often grouped under the name Metazoa. The Metazoa
thus include Grades II., III., and IV.

The meaning of the division of the animal kingdom into grades will be
more apparent if we give an example of each.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--_Amoeba_, a typical unicellular animal: _n_,
nucleus; _cv_, contractile vacuole; _ps_, pseudopodia; highly magnified.
This represents Grade I. of animal existence.]

GRADE I. _The One-Celled Animals._--_Amoeba_, the Mobile animal, is
the typical example of these. It consists of a single microscopic cell.
In this cell is seen a dark irregular speck, the nucleus, which is an
essential character of cells, whether they are independent or form
part of the body of a larger animal. There is often visible also a
clear rounded space, called the "contractile vacuole," which squeezes
out fluid, disappears, and reappears again, serving the purpose of
excretion. The cell-substance, called protoplasm, is practically
identical in this and in cells of all other kinds. It is jelly-like, and
capable of a slow movement, which may be watched under the microscope.
It suggests the flowing of treacle or thick gum. The movement may be
traced by the change in outline of the cell and by the change in
position of any granules that it may have taken in; for particles which
touch the creature sink in and are surrounded; thus it obtains its food.
These slow flowing movements of the protoplasm result in continual
changes of shape; hence the name, Amoeba, the mobile animal. Sometimes
the island of protoplasm, as it changes its shape, throws out, as it
were, capes and headlands. These projections, which are presently drawn
in again, are called pseudopodia or false feet. They are characteristic
of the whole group of Amoeba-like animals, which are consequently called
Rhizopoda, the root-footed. The production of new individuals is
accomplished by the division of the old cell into two. Thus it may be
said that there is always a bit of the old cell remaining, though
divided into fragments; and for this reason the Amoeba-like Protozoans
have been fancifully called "immortal."

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--Section, highly magnified, of a two-layered
animal, _Hydra_ (Grade II.). _Ec_, outer layer of Ectoderm; _En_, inner
layer of Endoderm; _l_, lamella dividing the two, represented by a line;
_n_, nuclei of the cells; _v_, thin vacuoles of small interstitial
cells; _E_, the Enteron or digestive cavity.]

GRADE II. _The Two-layered, or Diploblastic Animals._--The type of
these usually chosen is _Hydra_, a two-layered animal, which is further
described on p. 54. A section through Hydra (Fig. 4) shows (1) the outer
or skin layer of cells, called the ectoderm, and (2) the inner or
stomach layer of cells, called the endoderm (literally outer skin and
inner skin). The clear recognition of the primary body-layers of the
simpler invertebrates as identical with the primary body-layers of the
embryo of higher forms, is largely owing to the teaching of Professor
Huxley, the importance of whose work on this and in many other respects,
is little guessed at by many readers who know his name merely as a
popular exponent of scientific ideas. The two-layered body of Hydra
encloses a hollow digestive space; from this the Coelenterata receive
their name, which means "possessing a hollow space only, by way of
intestines." The name of Acoelomata, animals without a body-cavity, has
therefore been given to the Coelenterata and sponges. The meaning of the
term body-cavity will be explained in the next paragraph but one. The
Hydra, like all animals of its grade, and all those of the succeeding
grades, reproduces itself by means of ova or egg-cells, and spermatozoa
which fertilize them.

GRADE III. _The Triploblastic Animals without Body-Cavity._--This is a
small section including only some of the lowest worms, such as the
forms called Planarians. Between the Ectoderm and Endoderm lies an
intermediate layer the Mesoderm. There are the beginnings of this in
the Coelenterata and Sponges, but here it is further established. It
includes a very thick layer of muscles.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--Diagrammatic plan of section cut through an
Earthworm to show the position of the three body-layers and the
body-cavity (Grade IV.). _Sk_, skin; _al_, glandular lining of the
alimentary canal; _w_, muscular wall of body; _w'_, muscular of
intestine, both belonging to the third layer or mesoblast; _b.c._,
body-cavity (shaded); _al.c._, cavity of alimentary canal (shaded); _n_,

GRADE IV. _The Coelomata or Triploblastic Animals with a
Body-Cavity._--This grade includes all the remainder of the animal
kingdom. As an example of it, we may take the Common Frog. If we open
from the lower surface the dead body of a frog, we first cut through
the skin, next the muscles; then we come to the viscera, lying neatly
packed in a cavity from which we can dislodge them. This cavity is the
Body-Cavity. The skin corresponds with the ectoderm of Hydra, although
it is a vastly more complicated affair. The glandular lining of the
alimentary canal corresponds with the endoderm of Hydra; although this,
too, is a more complicated affair. The mass of the body, lying between
these two layers, is considered to correspond somewhat with the mesoderm
of Grade III., and has received the collective term of Mesoblast. This
description applies equally to the earthworm, for the higher worms
differ immensely from the lower worms, and stand on a level with more
important members of the animal kingdom (see Fig. 41, p. 139). The
body-cavity may be formed in different ways in different animal groups;
but there is reason to believe that in certain cases it originates by a
folding off of part of an original cavity corresponding with that of
Hydra; so that part went to form the intestine, and part the cavity
surrounding it.

The above arrangement of the main great groups of animals into four
grades is that given by Professor Arnold Lang.

It should be added, that there are a few exceptional forms that present
a departure from these broad rules of structure. They are, however, so
few that they need only be named as curiosities. For instance, there are
parasites in which the inner body-layer is practically done away with,
because they are fitted to absorb food through the outer layer. And in
one division of the Moss-Corals there is no body-cavity to be seen,
although it is to be found in the other division.

What is the outcome of all this sorting of the animal kingdom? This most
important result: that a classification of the animal kingdom into the
four grades we have named, presents, in serial order, the stages through
which young animals of the higher forms pass in the course of their
growth. Every creature begins as a unicellular organism--the fertilised
egg-cell. A vast number of creatures belonging to the higher groups
present, later on, a two-layered condition, comparable with that of
Grade II. Later on they acquire a third layer, and therefore correspond
with Grade III. By degrees the body-cavity is formed, and they then
present the adult body-structure of Grade IV. The development of the
chicken in the egg, for instance, presents these four stages.

It will be sufficiently apparent that this coincidence is too striking
to be without a meaning. Zoologists are all agreed in their
interpretation of this meaning: it is, that the history of the
individual presents a summary of the history of the race, and goes
through the stages of structure which its ancestors presented in their
adult forms. The story of the gradual upward struggle of the animal
kingdom, from its humble beginnings to its present wonderful complexity,
is written in the growing tissues of every young creature.

The principle that ancestral traits betray themselves is accepted as a
truism in common life. Do we see young people rude and stupid? We say,
perhaps, "No wonder; their grandfather was a drunken, worthless lout."
Do we see a family of the poorest class clever, and industrious, and
refined? We say, "They come of a good stock." When we speak in this way,
we reason from the common experience of mankind, that children resemble
their ancestors. Similarly, when zoologists find an embryo starting its
existence from one cell, they say, "No wonder; its ancestors were
unicellular." And when they find it assuming a two-layered form, they
say, "Its ancestors were two-layered creatures." So certain are
zoologists of the existence of an ancestral two-layered form, the parent
at once of the existing Coelenterata and of the higher forms, that
Professor Hæckel has given it a special name--Gastræa. The two-layered
young stage of higher creatures, when it has a free-swimming existence,
is called a Gastrula (Fig. 6). Both names, meaning stomach-animal, refer
to the structure, which is, in a still simpler form, that of _Hydra_--a
two-layered bag of cells, of which the inner layer, lining the cavity,
performs the work of digestion. The lowest of the Vertebrata, the
Lancelet (see p. 140), has a larva of this kind. The same reasoning
which suggests the existence of an ancestral Gastræa-animal, suggests
that of an ancestral Planula-animal; for the two-layered animals, on
their part, present us with a monoblastic larva of the form already
described (p. 34), called a Planula. Hence it is that zoologists look
with such eagerness for forms, of which it can be said that they consist
of one layer of cells only. The name Planula signifies "wandering
animal," because the Planula larva swims about by means of cilia.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--Diagrammatic representation of a typical
Gastrula, or two-layered larval form, highly magnified; optical section,
longitudinal. _Ec_, Ectoderm or skin layer; _En_, Endoderm or stomach
layer; _m_, mouth leading into the enteric cavity. The dots are the
nuclei of the cells.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--Diagrammatic representation of a typical
Trochosphere, or ciliated larva, considerably magnified. _M_ is
the mouth; the stomach and intestine are seen showing through the
transparent body.]

Mention has been made above of larval forms. It is perhaps advisable to
explain clearly what is meant by this term. It is a matter of every-day
knowledge that in some animals the young form presents an appearance and
structure very different from that of the grown-up form, and adapted for
a different mode of life; the commonest instances are the caterpillar of
the butterfly and the tadpole of the frog. We are apt to think of these
creatures as somewhat exceptional in this respect. But the zoologist, in
viewing the whole range of the animal kingdom, finds a vast number of
animals with larvæ, differing much from the adult, and adapted for a
different mode of life. It is, in fact, a very common arrangement; but
often these larvæ are very minute, perhaps absolutely microscopic,
therefore only known to the scientific observer. The two familiar
instances we have named are fortunately big enough to be known to
everyone. Now it is an axiom with modern zoologists (as has been
explained above), that the history of the individual is a summary of the
history of its ancestors; larval forms are therefore of special interest
in this connection. A very wide-spread form of larva, more advanced in
its structure than the little Gastrula that has been already named, has
received the name of Trochosphere or Wheel-ball (Fig. 7), because it
swims round and round, by means of cilia, usually distributed in bands.
Its inner or stomach-layer, forms a definite alimentary canal, and is
separated by a very simple mesoderm from the outside ciliated layer,
which presents certain differences in form, according as the creature
belongs to one group of animals or to another. The main characters of
the Trochosphere are, however, the same in very widely differing groups.
These little larvæ give rise to one of the most eagerly debated problems
of zoology. Are we to suppose that animals which possess a Trochosphere
larva are all descended from one common ancestor? Or are we to think
that the Trochosphere is a form of body very convenient for the
necessities of juvenile existence in the sea, and therefore
independently evolved by animals which are not directly related to each
other? Some authorities take the latter view; the former is perhaps more
widely accepted, and has even been expressed by the application of the
name Trochophora (Wheel-carriers), as a general term for those groups in
which such larvæ are found. These include some of the higher worms,
which present the typical Trochosphere, the Brachiopoda, and the
Polyzoa; while variations of the Trochosphere type are shown by the
earliest larvæ of Mollusca, the larvæ of the Echinoderms, and those of
the Hemichordata (see p. 33), the latter bringing us, as it were, within
eye-shot of the Vertebrata themselves. It will be seen, therefore, that
the range of the Trochosphere larva covers a large portion of the ground
occupied by our Grade IV. There is, however, one marked exception: the
Arthropoda, which seem to have a prejudice against cilia in any form
(since they include but one animal which possess any) have no example of
a ciliated larva. Even their simplest larval forms belong to a higher
type of structure, in which the shelly, jointed structure characteristic
of the group is already indicated.

When we speak, however, of the occurrence of the Trochosphere throughout
a wide range of animal life, it must be understood that its presence is
not necessarily uniform throughout a group in which it occurs. Larval
forms are adaptations which conform with the conditions of life for the
particular animal in question: and nearly related kinds of animal may be
without a larva. The Trochosphere larva is, of course, only adapted for
aquatic existence, and is necessarily absent in the case of terrestrial



                          (Intermediate forms, see p. 34.)

    =Grade II.=--TWO-LAYERED      { SPONGES.
    ANIMALS.                      { COELENTERATA.

    ANIMALS.                      { VERMES, THE HIGHER FORMS.

                                  { ARTHROPODA.
                                  { MOLLUSCA.
    BODY-CAVITY.                  { ECHINODERMATA.
                                  { TUNICATA OR ASCIDIANS. } =Chordata.=
                                  { VERTEBRATA.            }

[A] In the subsequent tables which show the respective sub-divisions of
these chief groups, the larger only of the sub-divisions are named.

When an animal has no free larva, but quits the egg in a form
practically identical with that of the adult, the development is said to
be "direct." But changes equally startling with those displayed when a
larva develops into the adult form, may take place while the young
animal is enclosed within the egg itself. To these also zoologists apply
the axiom referred to above, that the history of the individual
summarises the history of the race. Thus, for example, the Amphibian
larva, _e.g._ the tadpole of a frog (p. 153) has gills, which disappear
in the adult form: the young reptile, bird, or mammal, which has no
larval stage, has gills during a comparatively early stage; and loses
them at a later period of its development. In each case zoologists
conclude that the animal is descended from a fish-like ancestor, which
possessed gills all its life, and that the more immediate ancestors in
the family tree, have lost their gills by degrees.

The study of the progressive changes of young forms, whether larval, or
enclosed within the egg, is called Embryology, and constitutes, in these
days, the major branch of zoological science. That it is of paramount
importance to the student of classification, engaged upon the sorting of
the animal kingdom, will be apparent from what has been stated above.



Some idea of the general characteristics of the Protozoa has already
been given by the description of _Amoeba_. We may now say something
about special groups of the Protozoa, which have minor characteristics
of their own.

Amoeba belongs to the class Rhizopoda, as has been already stated; but
there are many of the Rhizopoda that greatly differ from Amoeba in
appearance. The possession of a shell or skeleton gives a special
importance to several groups. For, as the reader has no doubt already
learnt from an earlier volume in this series, such skeletons or shells
have played an important part in the history of the earth's surface,
building up geological strata of vast extent, by the accumulation of the
shells left after the decay of the owners' tiny bodies, during long
periods of time. The chalk rocks that form the "white cliffs of Albion,"
and that are so widely distributed in other parts of the globe, are
formed in this manner; while the ooze of the Atlantic and other oceans,
similarly composed of Protozoan _débris_, is now at the present time
building up what will be the chalk rocks of future ages. Some of these
Protozoans attain a remarkable size, instead of being microscopic, as is
the case typically with the one-celled animals. Some forms of the
Foraminifera found on the coast of North America measure as much as
one-fifth of an inch across, while in warmer seas there are kinds which
attain, as did the extinct Nummulite of Egypt, the size of a bean. Two
inches across is mentioned as the maximum diameter, however, of either
extinct or living forms. The Foraminifera are sometimes named
Reticularia, because their pseudopodia interlace.

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--Fossil Skeletons of Polycystina, from the
so-called "Infusorial Earth" of Barbadoes, highly magnified.]

The Foraminifera have shells composed of carbonate of lime, but there
are other forms that build up geological deposits, in which the shell
is flinty. The diagram (Fig. 8) shows some fossil shells of Protozoa
from the marl of Barbadoes. These constitute a deposit which was named
"Infusorial earth," in the earlier days of microscopic observation, when
all Protozoans were spoken of as Infusoria. The name, Infusoria, it must
be recollected, is now restricted to a special class, to which the forms
in question do not belong. These fossil forms were named Polycystina,
and are still often spoken of under that name, although the animals that
present the peculiar feature of possessing "more than one cyst" now are
called Radiolarians. The "cyst" consists of a basket-work supporting
skeleton of flint; there may be several, one inside the other, and
connected by radial bars. A living species named _Actinomma_ has three
such layers of basket-work, one in the outer layer of protoplasm, one in
the inner layer, and a central one. It will perhaps be remembered by the
reader that the animals of this group, Radiolaria, are forms described
in a previous volume of the series, as so curiously associated in
Symbiosis with the algæ known as Yellow Cells.

The famous polishing slate of Bilin in Bohemia consists of flinty
Protozoan shells; it is 14 feet thick, and a cubic inch has been
estimated to contain 41,000,000,000 of the shells.

While the Radiolarians are marine, the Heliozoa, a group in which
the skeleton is also present, but not usually so greatly developed,
are predominantly fresh-water forms. Both classes take their name
(Ray-animals, Sun-animals) from the stiff radiating rods of the

Strongly to be contrasted with the above groups belonging to the
Rhizopoda are the Infusoria proper, which are characterized by the usual
possession of cilia. Cilia (literally "eyelashes") are fine hair-like
processes of the protoplasm of the cell, which fringe its exterior; by
their constant movement they enable the animal to swim, and at the same
time they create a current in the water, which washes up to the region
of the mouth particles which may serve for food; for these creatures
have this very great advantage over Amoeba, and the other forms above
referred to, that they possess something which may be called a mouth.
That is to say, there is one particular spot of the surface where
particles are taken in. This may seem to be a restriction, when we
compare the Infusorian with Amoeba, which is apparently able to take in
food at any part of the surface. But it is a restriction which is
associated with an advantage; the Infusorian cell, namely, has a firm
exterior with a definite outline, instead of being soft and mobile all
over. The firmer exterior layer of protoplasm, which is in turn covered
by a thin cuticle or limiting membrane, is called the cortex or rind.
For this reason the name Corticata is sometimes given to the group,
_i.e._, Protozoa with a rind.

_Vorticella_, the Bell Animalcule, is a stalked form living in ditches,
which is usually selected as a typical form of the Infusoria. It
receives its name, the Whirlpool Animal, from the current which its
cilia create in the water. The purpose of this current is to wash food
particles into the mouth. Associated with the Infusoria under the name
of Corticata are the Gregarina and some other parasitic forms.

It is interesting to note that the main types of the unicellular animals
are repeated again in the cells of different parts of the bodies of
multicellular animals. Amoeboid cells, so called because of their
mobility and general resemblance to Amoeba, are found in various parts
of the higher animals. The lymph corpuscles of vertebrata, and the white
corpuscles of vertebrate blood, as well as the blood corpuscles of
invertebrates, are among the instances of this. There are cells, on the
contrary, such as those that line the mucous tracts, which are of a
Vorticella type, so to speak; fixed to their bases, and presenting cilia
on the free aspect.

Two things must be noticed before we leave the subject of the Protozoa.
One is, that some forms present the beginning of a multicellular
condition. Several units sometimes join together, and in this way a
complex object may be formed, in which there are several nuclei; or the
original unit may keep on growing till it consists of many successive
portions, and in some of them a fresh nucleus may arise. This occurs in
some of the Foraminifera.

The next thing to be noticed is, that there are a number of organisms
which constitute a debateable ground, and are claimed now by the
botanist, and now by the zoologist. While the latter insists on calling
them Protozoa (Primitive Animals) the former would have them Protophyta
(Primitive Plants). The fact is that in these organisms of the first
grade, the distinction between "plant" and "animal" has not become a
hard and fast line; and the disputed forms may be best described as
links between the two. The chemistry of nutrition is probably more to be
relied upon as a distinction, than the difference of structure. It is
here that the two groups, plants and animals, start upon different
roads, and many of the differences in structure must be regarded as the
direct result of the fundamental difference in the mode of nutrition.
The following very instructive remarks on the subject are taken from
Professor Hertwig's valuable book "The Biological Problem of To-Day,"[B]
pp. 111, 112.

[B] "The Biological Problem of To-Day, Preformation or Epigenesis," by
Professor O. Hertwig. Translated by P. C. Mitchell. Heinemann, 1896.

"The different mode of nutrition of animals results in a totally
different structural plan. Animal cells absorb material that is already
organised, and that they may do so their cells are either quite naked,
so affording an easy passage for solid particles, or they are clothed
only by a thin membrane, through which solutions of slightly diffusible
organic colloids may pass. Therefore, unlike plants, multicellular
animals display a compact structure with internal organs adapted to the
different conditions which result from the method of nutrition peculiar
to animals. A unicellular animal takes organic particles bodily into its
protoplasm, and forming around them temporary cavities known as food
vacuoles, treats them chemically. The multicellular animal has become
shaped so as to enclose a space within its body, into which solid
organic food-particles are carried and digested thereafter in a state of
solution, to be shared by the single cells lining the cavity. In this
way the animal body does not require so close a relation with the medium
surrounding it; its food, the first requirement of an organism, is
distributed to it from inside outwards. In its further complication the
animal organisation proceeds along the same lines. The system of
internal hollows becomes more complicated by the specialisation of
secreting surfaces, and by the formation of an alimentary canal, and of
a body-cavity separate from the alimentary canal. In plants it is the
external surface that is increased as much as possible. In animals, in
obedience to their different requirements, increase takes place in the
internal surface. The specialisation of plants displays itself in organs
externally visible--in leaves, twigs, flowers, and tendrils. The
specialisation of animals is concealed within the body, for the internal
surface is the starting-point for the formation of the organs and


    =Grade I.=                              { RHIZOPODA, OR
                                            {   GYMNOMYXA.
                                            { INFUSORIA, OR
                                            {   CORTICATA.



Next after the animals that consist of one cell only we have to consider
the group of animals among which the lower kinds, at any rate, consist
of a number of cells arranged in two layers. The representative of this
group that the reader is most likely to meet with is the Sea-Anemone,
the Coral animal probably he will be content to know from pictures.

Everybody who has been accustomed to take a little interest in natural
history, remembers the use of the old-fashioned term "Zoophyte." It was
a name given to animals like those named above, which have a flower-like
appearance, due to the possession of a set of petal-like arms or
tentacles, placed all round the mouth; its literal meaning was animal
plant, in allusion to the flower-like form. The great French zoologist,
Cuvier, gave the group name Radiata to animals of this kind. This name
is now not much used, because we have learnt to emphasize other
peculiarities possessed by these animals, as well as that of radial
symmetry, viz., their two-layered body-wall and simple digestive space
(see p. 36). The group called Radiata by Cuvier, included, too, a number
of animals which are widely separated from the "Zoophytes" in modern
systems of classification.

Sea-Anemones may be found on almost every rocky part of the English
shores. Look for them in pools towards low-tide mark; if uncovered by
the water, they will be found with the arms drawn in, so that the animal
looks merely like a small round knob of shiny opaque coloured jelly; if
covered by the water, they will usually be found open, that is to say,
with the arms (often called Tentacles) spread out. In the middle of the
circle of arms is the mouth; and the apparent "flower" possesses an
excellent appetite, as will readily be seen if any unfortunate little
shrimp or sea-snail should come within reach of the arms. The latter
will then at once contract upon it, and draw it into the mouth. Touch
any of the common Sea-Anemones, and you will find that it is firmly
fixed to the rock; at an early period of life it becomes fixed, and
practically it remains always in one place, although a slight movement
of the base is sometimes possible. Hence the advantage of the "radial"
structure, for the arms reach equally in all directions round that most
important centre of activity, the mouth. The most common kind of
Sea-Anemone is of a dull dark red colour, and small in size; but others
are large and brilliant in colouring. No uncoloured drawing would convey
much idea of their beauty: the reader should consult the works of the
late P. Gosse, an authority on Sea-Anemones, in whose books many
beautiful illustrations will be found.

A much smaller animal than the Sea-Anemone is found in fresh water and
is called _Hydra_. Its arms or tentacles are longer in proportion to its
body, especially in one species, than is the case in the Sea-Anemones.
Hence its name, fancifully derived from the seven-headed serpent of
Greek Mythology, the Hydra killed by Hercules, which may be supposed to
have presented a similar straggling appearance. The diagram on page 36
represents a section through the middle of the body, only without the

Unlike the Sea-Anemone, the Hydra can walk about. This it does in a very
awkward manner, much in the same way as the Caterpillar known as the
"Looper," clinging first with the front and then with the back extremity
of the body (for head and tail they can hardly be called in so simple an
animal as the _Hydra_, although the Looper caterpillar boasts both head
and tail).

The _Hydra_ is so small an animal that it appears to the unaided eye
merely as a tiny speck. It may be found anywhere in British ponds and
ditches, standing on water-weeds. Like the Sea-Anemone it preys on
animals smaller than itself. Nature has provided it with minute stinging
cells, which benumb its prey; and in this all the animals of the
Coelenterate group resemble it.

One of the most curious things about the Hydra is, that it often throws
out buds. It can, of course, produce eggs which are fertilized and
hatched in the usual way of eggs; the buds are an additional way of
multiplying itself.[C]

[C] We may recall in comparison the way trees may be propagated by slips
independently of flowers producing the seeds of the trees.

These buds are at first merely swellings, in which both of the layers
of the body join: they grow larger; become provided with tentacles and
a mouth, like the parent, and finally are cast off as independent

For this reason the group to which _Hydra_ belongs has received the name
of Eleutheroblasteæ, the animals with free buds. But Hydra has many near
relations in which these buds are not so cast off, but remain attached
to the parent; and they in turn may produce others which also remain

In this way, groups or colonies are formed, consisting of large numbers
of individuals, and possessing a common stalk or stock which is formed
by degrees as the process of multiplication goes on. The corals and the
corallines are familiar examples of this.

The matter is complicated by the fact that either the separate animals
or the flesh of the stock, or both, may secrete within themselves a hard
supporting structure forming what is known as Corals. This may be
developed in such a complicated manner, that instead of the coral
appearing to be the product of the animal, the animal seems to be
inserted in the coral, into which indeed it can retract itself for

The Corallines, on the contrary, secrete a leathery coating or sheath
outside themselves and the stock. The leathery case is fairly
transparent, so that on magnifying the creature the flesh of the common
stock, as well as of the stalks of individual animals, may be seen
inside. The "heads" of the animals poke out at the end of each branch
(see Fig. 9).

The _Hydra_, with which we started, had always the power of producing
eggs; each animal could do so, besides producing buds. But in our
Colonial Coralline this is not necessarily so. Some individuals lose the
power of producing eggs. Others can do nothing else, and become greatly
altered in structure, often losing the power of developing tentacles,
and exhibiting other changes. So much are they altered sometimes that
they seem to be mere buds, not separate animals at all.

In other cases a still more surprising thing happens. The bud that is
destined to produce eggs falls off, and becomes quite independent of the
colony; more than this, it becomes quite different in appearance from
the members of the colony: and instead of being a Hydra-like animal it
becomes a jelly-fish. But the eggs of this jelly-fish do not produce
jelly-fishes: they produce a more or less Hydra-like animal which gives
rise by budding to a fresh colony. This is what is known to Zoologists
as "alternation of generations."

Now comes a puzzling question--Which part of this family group shall we
select and call it an "animal"? Is each Hydroid of the colony an animal,
and the jelly-fish another animal? Zoologists say "No": from the
development of one egg, to the production of another, is the cycle that
constitutes an individual animal. So we have the puzzling result in
nomenclature, that an "individual" consists of a very large colony of
creatures in one place, together with a perfect shoal of creatures quite
unlike it, floating miles away from it on the ocean. What name must we
give to the units, so curiously connected with one another? Zoologists
call them "Zooids" (animal-like parts) or "persons."

This is the story of the jelly-fish as originally told. But there are
innumerable variations upon it. There are kinds of jelly-fish that
produce jelly-fish and have no Hydroid stage at all. Sometimes the
"persons" of the colony present many varieties, each taking up some
different task for the community. Some may be "nutritive persons,"
_i.e._ commonplace Zooids that have mouths and eat food; some
"protective persons," reduced to mere folds or sheathing processes to
guard the others; some are "stinging persons" armed with enormous
quantities of thread cells. Then the whole colony may be like the
jelly-fish, a floating affair, and not fixed at all.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--An example of the Hydrozoa. A, branch of a
Coralline, _Sertularia Ellisii_, magnified. B, the same, more highly

We have several times above referred to the animals known as corallines.
It may almost be assumed that the ordinary reader knows what these are;
if not, a little search among the treasures of the sea-shore will almost
certainly reveal some of them, living or dead. The texture and
appearance of the dead stems remind one of soft horn or dried gelatine;
the branching arrangement of the stems and the little cells disposed at
the ends of the branches will easily be shown under slight
magnification. Most people will remember the rage for dyed corallines,
by which all the fancy shops and florists were possessed a few years
ago. The corallines, dyed a bright emerald green, or a dull red, which
were used for decorations at that time, were usually a variety of the
Bottle-brush Coralline, found on English shores; but sometimes commoner
kinds were employed.

Fig. 9 shows an example of a coralline, slightly magnified in A, and in
B much more highly magnified, so as to show the individual hydra-like
zooids, each with its circle of tentacula.

The Sea-Anemone and the Hydra respectively represent the two great
groups of the Coelenterata, named after them, the Anthozoa
(Flower-animals), and the Hydrozoa (Hydra-animals). The corals are
forms of the Anthozoa, single or colonial, which possess a skeleton.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--_Gorgonia verrucosa_, from Guernsey, nearly
one-third of the natural size.]

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--Corals. _A_, _Acanthoporia horrida_.
_B_, _Meandrina strigosa_. _C_, _Madrepora divaricata_. _D_, _Fungia
papillosa_. _E_, Red Coral, _Corallium rubrum_. _F_, _Stylaster

The above diagram shows examples of the Anthozoa. Fig. 10 is _Gorgonia_,
the Sea-Fan; while Fig. 11 represents corals of six different kinds.

Besides the two great groups we have named, the Hydra-like animals
and the Sea-Anemone-like animals, the Coelenterata contain a third
group, the Ctenophora, or Comb-bearers, so called on account of their
possessing bands of cilia, fancifully compared to the teeth of a comb.
At first sight most of them somewhat resemble jelly-fishes, being
transparent forms swimming near the surface of the sea. They are
carnivorous, and some of them highly phosphorescent at night. The
gastric cavity is divided up into branches. The representatives of the
Ctenophores, most often seen on our own coasts, are small rounded forms.

Two remarks must be added before quitting the subject of the

Firstly, the description of them as two-layered Animals is one that only
applies typically and to the simpler forms. In others, such as the
jelly-fishes, there is an intermediate layer of jelly, which appears to
acquire a cellular structure by the immigration of cells derived from
the primary layers. Thus we see, within the group of the Coelenterata,
the gradual establishment of that third body-layer, which is found in
all animals of higher structure. Scarcely indicated in _Hydra_, as a
faint trace of a boundary-line (lamella) between the ectoderm and
endoderm, it attains a good thickness in the Jelly-fish and Ctenophora.
In animals of higher structure the third body-layer, being now fully
established, is cellular from its beginning in the embryo; in the
Coelenterata its gradual formation is to be traced.

Secondly, it must be remarked that the colonial structure and the
arrangement sometimes concomitant with it of "alternation of
generations," is by no means confined to the Coelenterata. Both are seen
in other forms of life, in which the units, or zooids, differ greatly in
structure from those of this group.


                                            { HYDROZOA, or
                                            {   HYDRA-LIKE
                                            {   ANIMALS.
    =Grade II.=                             {
    ANIMALS.                                {   SEA-ANEMONE-LIKE
                                            {   ANIMALS.
                                            { CTENOPHORA.



Many who are familiar with the domestic sponge have never seen a sponge
in a growing state, and would find it almost impossible to realise that
a sponge may be a thing of beauty. And yet sponges are quite common on
the rocky shores of our own country. It is true that they do not form
large masses, like the sponges grown in warmer seas, which we import;
but the smaller growths, massed together, often cover a considerable
space of rock, and are conspicuous by their beautiful colouring. Some
sponges are crimson, and some green; while one of the commonest is a
brilliant orange-yellow. The latter may often be found near low-tide
mark, on a shelf of rock under growing seaweed. If the explorer has
any doubt what the object is, it may easily be identified by the
touch, which though moist and firm in the growing state, is still the
unmistakable "feel" of sponge. Where the receding tide exposes a large
surface of steep rock, for instance in caves, sponges may be found
covering the rocks as thickly as mosses do on land. Masses of dead
sponge, consisting of branching parallel fingers a few inches long, may
often be found in the dead state, washed up on the shore; these are the
usual drab colour of a dead sponge.

The encrusting sponges which grow on rocks present a mass, so to speak,
of little hillocks: in kinds which attain a larger growth, these may
almost be described as branches. Each little hillock or branch has
a hole at the top; and on the exterior of the rounded mass of the
bath-sponge may be found numbers of such holes. We should naturally
suppose that these holes were the mouths of the various sponge branches,
especially since they lead to the central cavity of the branch, and thus
to that of the whole sponge; and indeed they are known by the Latin name
of "oscula," little mouths. They are, however, nothing of the sort;
the sponge once had a mouth, a single one, when it was young, but the
adult sponge has lost it. For the young sponge is at first a little
free-swimming, two-layered animal of the type which has been described
above as the gastrula larva. When it gets old enough to settle down in
life, it sinks upon some suitable surface, and becomes fixed to it,
mouth downward: the mouth is thus lost. How, then, is the animal to be
fed? As it grows, there is developed in its substance a system of hollow
spaces, which communicate with the exterior by means of microscopic
pores. Through the latter, water is drawn in, and passes, after devious
wanderings, to the central cavity of the animal, whence it is expelled
by the so-called osculum. At first, the young sponge has but one cavity
and one osculum; but by degrees the sponge branches and spreads, the
cavity of each new portion remaining in connection with the main cavity.
If, as they grow in size, the branches touch one another, they sometimes
coalesce--a fact which renders the growth of the sponge in some cases a
very complicated matter.

It will be seen from the above description that the sponge is a sort of
living filter. As the water passes in through the pores, it deposits in
the substance of the sponge all the little organisms that it contains;
on these the sponge feeds.

It will naturally be asked, how does this living filter work? Water will
not pass through small holes to flow out again at large ones in an
upward direction, unless helped by some mechanism. How is this supplied?
By the industry of the cells of the sponge. Its canal-system includes a
set of wide chambers, lined with cells which have long cilia, called
flagella. These flagella, constantly moving in one direction (like the
fan of a ventilator), create a current, which passes the water on with
such force that it reaches the central cavity, whence it is expelled
through the oscula. These chambers do not communicate directly with
the exterior. They are closed, except at certain small holes, the
"prosopyles," where they take in the water that enters from spaces
connected with the pores. At the main end of the chamber is an aperture
called the "apopyle," capable of being partly closed, and leading into
an excurrent passage. This last communicates with the central cavity of
the sponge.

It will be seen that the topography of the sponge is a very complicated
business. All its details have been studied by means of thin sections
specially prepared and placed under the microscope (see p. 183); in
these the labyrinth of canals and chambers is seen cut through at
various points; the cells lining them and dividing them may be
individually studied. The passage of water through the sponge was first
observed by Robert Grant; many of the most recent discoveries regarding
the structure of sponges we owe to Professor Sollas.

We have not yet explained what our living filter does with its food
when it gets it. The ciliated cells of the internal lining take in solid
particles just as Amoeba does; and from these they may be passed on to
the cells of the middle layer, amoeboid cells, which can move about.
These cells are considered to be derived from the primary layers of the
body, especially the inner one, and to have wandered into a cellless
middle layer, comparable in nature with that of some Coelenterates.

The sponge is full of firm or gritty particles, which form its skeleton,
and remain when the sponge is dead, and the softer parts decayed. These,
when magnified, often present beautiful and curious shapes. The use of
them is not only to support the body, but also to prevent the sponge
from being eaten by other animals.

There is found in the English canals and rivers a small, fresh-water
sponge, usually greenish in colour. This is named _Spongilla
fluviatilis_, the River-sponge, and affords an exception to the usual
marine distribution of sponges. In the winter it dies gradually away, at
the same time forming asexual buds, or "gemmules," in the interior of
its substance, which are liberated in the spring, and become young


                                       { CALCAREA, WITH CALCAREOUS
                   {      =PORIFERA.=  {   SKELETON.
    =Grade II.=    {                   {
    Two-Layered    {                   {
    Animals, or    {                   { NON-CALCAREA, WITH
    Acoclomata.    {                   {   SKELETON ABSENT OR
                   {                   {   FLINTY.
                   { =COELENTERATA.=

Some of the marine sponges are parasitic. Most people have doubtless
found on the sea-shore now and then a dead oyster-shell, completely
riddled with small round holes, very similar in appearance to those seen
in "worm-eaten" wood. These are the work of _Clione_, a parasitic sponge
which is very fatal to the oyster. At first sight it seems a puzzle how
the sponge made its way into the hard shell; it has no mouth to bite or
suck its way into the solid substance. The cells of the sponge, however,
wear away the lime of the shell by means of some acid chemical action.
Not only so, but they can attack stones as well, when these consist of
limestone; and on some parts of the coast bits of sponge-eaten limestone
washed up on the beach are quite common objects. They are pierced all
through by holes, so that their appearance would suggest a sponge carved
in stone, but for the fact that the holes are fairly uniform in size.
Such stones, lying on the shore, often puzzle the finder, when they
contain no apparent trace of the tenant that has worked its way through

The sponges have received the name of Porifera, on account of the
structure above described. They are often classed with the Coelenterata,
because, among other reasons, they practically belong to the two-layered
type of structure, and because they form a complex organism that may
almost be called a colony. But some prefer to place them in a group by
themselves, apart from the Coelenterata. The chief reason of this
is that the sponges, as compared with a primitive two-layered type
indicated by their own larvæ, are turned upside down, the mouth being,
as above stated, originally situated at the fixed end.



When the great naturalist, Linnæus, framed his classification of the
animal kingdom, he included in the division Vermes or Worms, nearly
everything except the vertebrates and insects.

This assemblage would have been more correctly styled if instead of
"Vermes" it had been described as "animals unsorted." Subsequent
zoologists have by degrees picked out and separated from the Vermes
first one group of animals and then another. But the process is still
going on, and several of the groups which are still classed under the
name of "worms" might, with very great justification, be separated from
each other; it is custom, rather than family resemblance, that accounts
for their being retained under one heading.

Widely although the various "worms" may differ from one another, one
thing may be stated regarding the most of them, and that is, that
they "crawl"; that is to say, they move along by means of successive
contractions of successive parts of the muscular wall of their elongated
bodies. This "crawling" mode of progress is the chief thing involved
in the popular idea of a worm; but the popular definition of a
worm includes also the larvæ of insects, such as caterpillars and
beetle-grubs. The latter, it must be noted, crawl with the assistance
of legs, while the true worms crawl without any such assistance. Any
adornments that they may possess, whatever else they may be, are not

The worms were formerly included along with the insects and lobsters, in
a division called Annulosa, or, Ring-bodied animals, but it has now long
been recognised that the latter are worthy of a division to themselves.
It will easily be seen, however, that the term Ring-bodied animals is
very appropriate to all of them. If we look at either an earthworm or
a lobster, we can but recognise that the body consists of a number of
successive parts very similar to each other; and since the body of
each is, in section, more or less round, these successive parts may
very aptly be termed rings. Modern writers, however, prefer to call
these parts not rings, but Metameres, _i.e._ successive parts. The
symmetrical arrangement of the body in a series of such parts is
called "Metamerism"; and the animals which possess it are said to be
"Metameric" in structure. Sometimes also the successive parts are spoken
of as "segments." Compare Fig. 12; _A_ and _C_ show the successive
body-rings of worms.

The earthworm, with its many rings, is one of the higher forms among
the worms. Among the lowest forms there are worms in which the ring
structure cannot be detected. Between the limits thus marked out, there
lies, so to speak, the battleground of modern zoology. For the origin of
metamerism, and the pedigree of vertebrates, are among the questions
that are being discussed in connection with various groups of the worms.

Among the lowest forms of worms are the Planarian worms, already alluded
to as examples of the third grade of animal existence. These belong
to the class Turbellaria, which is represented by plenty of both
fresh water and marine forms in our own country and on its coast. The
Turbellaria are divided into groups called Acoela, Dendrocoela, and
Rhabdocoela. These names allude to the intestine, which in the first
group is wanting, in the second branched like a tree, and in the third
straight. The Cestoda or tape-worms, which absorb nourishment through
the skin, and therefore need no alimentary canal, and possess none; and
the Trematodes, represented by the Liver-fluke, which infests sheep,
together make up the group of flat-worms (Platyhelminthes), of which
mention has already been made (p. 44). In all of them the body is more
or less flat, and the digestive cavity, like that of Coelenterates, has
but one opening, the mouth. The life-history of parasitic worms is
described in a well-known volume by Leuckart, which forms the basis of
our knowledge on the subject. Since its publication, discoveries
regarding parasites have been constantly added by other observers.

The history of the Liver-fluke is a most complicated example of
alternation of generations. The adult form infests the sheep's liver.
There it produces eggs, which afterwards find their way into water. Here
they die unless they find their way into a certain water-snail, which
many of them do. Within this snail--_Linnæa truncatula_--the egg
develops into a sac-like body, called a sporocyst. This produces within
itself numbers of a small creature which is called the Redia form. These
in turn produce a tailed form, called a Cercaria, which gets out of the
snail, swims in water, and finally settles down on some plant. Here it
is eaten by an unfortunate sheep, within which it develops into the
adult fluke.

The other great divisions of the Vermes are as follows: The Nematodes
or thread-worms, a group of parasites which includes the dreaded
_Trichina_; the Nemertines, a group mostly carnivorous, possessing a
curious proboscis, and often an armed skin; the Leeches or Hirudinea,
and finally, the Chætopods (Bristle-footed Worms), the highest group
of all, containing the forms often spoken of as Annelides--_i.e._
Ring-shaped Worms.

These last are again subdivided into the following: The Archiannelida or
Primitive Annelids, some of which have a curious ciliated larva, already
referred to (p. 42) as the typical Trochosphere or Wheel-ball; the
Oligochæta (Few-Bristles), which include the familiar earthworms; and
the Polychæta (Many-Bristles). Of the latter, some, the Tubicola, live
in tubes which may or may not be fixed to some object; while others, the
Errantia, or Wanderers, are free and very active. _Nereis_, the Rainbow
Worm (p. 159) may be named as an example. Our illustration shows
instances of each group. _A_ is the Sea-Mouse, a bristly creature so
named by some very imaginative person. It has two kinds of bristles,
long and short, the former being possessed of a peculiar lustre (see p.
73). _C_ is _Syllis_, one of a very curious family of worms. In both _A_
and _C_ are seen a row of paired appendages; these are not "legs," but
expansions called "parapodia" which serve the purpose of legs, besides
which they frequently act as breathing organs, a special part being
appropriated to this purpose. Each of these animals is active and
carnivorous, and has a head. The Syllidæ are remarkable for the very
peculiar way in which they divide, new individuals being formed and
cast off from the end of the body. There is, however, a deep-sea form
of _Syllis_ which divides in a very odd manner, giving rise to new
individuals placed transversely. The result is a most extraordinary
looking creature, a network of worms with numerous heads, each branch
being eventually provided with one of its own.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--Worms. _A_, a Sea-Mouse, _Aphrodite
aculeata_; _B_, _Terebella littoralis_; _C_, _Syllis_; _D_,
_Serpula vermicularis_; _E_, _Spirorbis nautiloides_, on a piece of

The tube-dwelling worms are represented in our picture by _Terebella_,
_Serpula_ and _Spirorbis_, all very common forms on the English coasts.
The _Terebella_ glues around its body a number of grains of sand and
bits of shell, thus forming a case; the projecting threads at the head
end are the gill-filaments, borne by the anterior segments of the body.
These are plumed; the thread-like structures which are seen to lie in
front of them are the tentacles or feelers. _D_, _Serpula_, is common
on shells and stones. The animal has a plumy bunch of gill-filaments,
brilliantly coloured, and a stopper with which it can close the mouth
of its tube. This precaution is necessary to keep out its predatory
cousins belonging to the Errantia, who poke in their heads and eat the
tube-dwelling worms. _E_ is _Spirorbis_, a minute form with a coiled
tube, which looks at first sight like a small univalve shell. It is
common everywhere, on shells and stones, and encrusting Fuci and other
seaweeds, which it sometimes covers almost completely. Spirorbis also
has plume-like gills and a stopper. In the latter is a cavity where the
creature's eggs are incubated for a time.

The reader will have no difficulty in finding and identifying both
_Serpula_ and _Spirorbis_. _Terebella_ is frequently washed up on a
sandy shore. On the Lancashire coast one may feel sure of finding this
and many other sand-dwelling animals, after an east wind. The east wind,
driving back the water at low tide, kills these creatures with cold,
and presently they are washed up dead or dying by the high tide.
_Pectinaria_, another worm with a tube of sand-grains, in which,
however, the body lies loosely within the tube, may also be found in
thousands under the same circumstances.


    =Grade III.=    {                  {
      BODY-CAVITY.  {                  { _C._ TREMATODA or FLUKE-WORMS.

    =Grade IV.=     { NEMERTINES.
      AND           { HIRUDINIA
                    {               {
                    { CHÆTOPODA.    { _B._ OLIGOCHÆTA.
                                    { _C._ POLYCHÆTA. { (_a_) Tubieola.
                                                      { (_b_) Errantia.

We must not forget to say something regarding the most commonly known
member of the Vermes, the familiar earthworm. The worms are the first of
the great group of animal life in which we find true land animals. There
are terrestrial forms among the lowest worms, at least forms that live
in earth that is damp; but the earthworm is in the strictest sense a
terrestrial animal. Darwin showed that it not only dwells in the soil,
but is in a sense the manufacturer of soil, since the fertility of the
earth depends greatly upon the work of earthworms. They pass the soil
through their bodies, digesting the organic particles they find in it,
and thereby loosen the soil, reduce it to a state of fine division, and
render it more fit to support the growth of plants. The "worm-casts"
formed by the soil that the earthworm has passed through its body may
not have been noticed by everybody. More obvious are the worm-casts in
sand left by the sand-dwelling marine annelids. These everyone must have
seen who has walked on a sandy shore at low tide.

The worms include many puzzling forms, which have not been alluded to
here. Among these must not be forgotten the Rotifers, or wheel-bearing
animals. These are of minute size, and when first discovered were
therefore placed amongst the Infusoria. They are common in ponds.



The above is a very descriptive name for a division which includes the
Crabs and Lobsters and the Insects. Formerly they were included, along
with the worms, under the name Annulosa, the Ringed Animals. They
resemble these as possessing what is termed metameric symmetry, but
they are distinguished from them as the Leggy Animals, a fact which is
explained in the name, Arthropoda, joint-footed. Worms, as we have seen,
have no true legs, but the Arthropods, theoretically, have a pair of
legs to every ring. In some of the lower members of the group this is
literally the case, the Centipedes, or hundred-footed animals, for
example (Fig. 13). In higher forms the number of legs is greatly
reduced; several successive rings may become merged with one another,
losing, along with their independence, their legs. The true Insects,
thus, have only three pairs of legs and the Spiders four.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--A Centipede, _Lithobius elongatus_, from Tunis,
slightly reduced in size.]

What are theoretically regarded as legs, however, may practically be
turned to many other uses, according to the position of the particular
body-ring to which they are attached. Thus, in the case of a body-ring
near the mouth, we find such things as "jaw-feet," maxillipedes--that is
to say, legs used for jaws. It consequently results that zoologists are
sometimes driven to speak of "walking legs," or, hiding the tautology
under a Latin phrase, "ambulatory legs"; and absurd although this may
seem, it is sometimes quite necessary for the sake of accuracy. It is
therefore more convenient to speak of the "appendages" of a body-ring
than of its legs. For this vague term can be applied equally to all the
row, whatever their uses. Among the different forms taken by the
"appendages" are those of "antennæ," long, hair-like feelers attached to
the head; "chelæ," or claws, such as the large claws of the lobster;
"cheliceræ," or "claw-horns," tearing appendages attached to the head;
"mandibles," mouth appendages used for biting, etc., etc. The reader who
wishes to attain a clear idea of the structure of a segmented animal,
and of the ways in which its parts are modified, should consult Huxley's
classical study of "The Crayfish" (International Science Series).

The Arthropoda include two main groups--the Crustacea, or Jointed
Animals of the water, which breathe by gills; the Insects, or Jointed
Animals of the land, which breathe through tubes in their sides, called

The Crustacea include the familiar Crabs and Lobsters. These are among
their highest forms as well as their largest, and if we begin at the
beginning we must seek much smaller forms. The group called Entomostraca
include the so-called Freshwater Flea, a very active little thing found
in English ditches, and a great many other freshwater forms: also the
little Cypris, which has a shield forming a sort of bivalve-shell, and
is interesting from its wide occurrence as a fossil form. Most of the
Entomostraca have a larval form called a Nauplius; but this larva
refuses to tell us anything about the past history of the Arthropods. It
is itself already a jointed animal with legs. So we see that the
Arthropods, unlike the worms and the Chordata, have obliterated all
record of their poor relations. The parasitic "fish-lice," so-called,
are entomostracous Crustacea, often greatly degenerated in consequence
of their habit of life. Some live in the gill-chambers of a fish, some
on, or even embedded in the skin.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--Shell of the Bell Barnacle, _Balanus
tintinnabulum_, one-half the natural size. The figure shows several
successive generations, perched one upon another.]

Among the most curiously modified forms of the Crustacea are the
Barnacles or Cirripedia. These creatures, like the sponges, have a
free-swimming larvæ, which eventually fixes itself by its anterior end,
so that the adult animal passes its existence upside down. The young is
an ordinary little creature with jointed legs, but the adult protects
itself by a strange armour of shell. An intermediate stage exists in
which the creature eats no food; it has therefore been compared with the
chrysalis of insects. At the top of the adult shell two little valves
open and shut, allowing the legs to dart out and seize upon prey. These
legs, gathered into a bunch, and extended and retracted together, remind
one of the fingers of a hand opening and closing. They are clothed with
a fringe of "cirrhi" or small processes; hence the name of the group.
The Common Barnacle of our own shores, sometimes called the Acorn-Shell,
is found on shells and stones, and often on those that are left
uncovered between tides. In places where the rocks of the coast are
very steep, a belt of white, several feet or yards deep, may often be
seen above low-water mark. This white zone, when examined more nearly,
is found to consist of barnacles, so crowded together that they obscure
the natural colour of the rock. The Common Barnacle is one of the
smaller species of the genus: in warmer seas barnacles attain to a much
greater size (Figs. 14 and 15).

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--Shells of a Barnacle, _Balanus hameri_, found
in European and North American Seas, natural size.]

The higher Crustacea, Malacostraca, include the familiar Crabs and
Lobsters, Decapoda. The lobsters receive the name of Macrura or
Big-tails; associated with them are the Shrimps and the Hermit-Crabs
(Fig. 16). The latter are therefore not crabs at all, but somewhat
divergent lobsters. Their tails are soft, and they thus require
protection: they choose the dried shell of some univalve mollusc and
live in it (Fig. 16). How far the case is that they need a house because
their tails are soft, and how far the contrary is true that their tails
are soft because they live in a house, it would be difficult to say.
Readers of another volume in this series, Professor Hickson's "Story of
Animal Life in the Sea," will remember that the hermit-crab often offers
a curious instance of "commensalism" or partnership with other animals.
The hermit-crab was, in fact, one of the earliest instances in which
such a partnership was observed, the companion being in this case a
sea-anemone perched on the shell in which the crab lives.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--Hermit Crabs. _A_, _Aniculus typicus_, from
the Indo-Pacific Seas, one-half of the natural size. _B_, _Caternus
tibicen_, from the Indo Pacific Seas, slightly enlarged.]

The true Crabs are called Brachyura, or Short-tails; for obvious
reasons, the tail of a crab being very curiously modified and tucked in
under the carapace or "shell." A form exceptional in the fact that
frequents the land is the Land-Crab of the West Indies (Fig. 17).
Another land crustacean, _Birgus latro_, the Robber Crab, belongs to the
previous group.

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--Land Crab, _Gecarcinus ruricola_, from the West
Indies, one-half of the natural size.]

In addition to the above the Malacostraca include the Arthrostraca, or
crustaceans which have the front of the body jointed as well as the
tail, so that there is no large shield formed by the fused armour of
several segments (cephalo-thoracic shield, _cf._ Figs. 16 and 17), as in
crabs and lobsters. The Amphipoda, or Sand-hoppers, sometimes called
Sand-fleas, are familiar examples of these. There are several common
kinds found on our English shores, and sometimes they appear in such
numbers, hopping above sand or seaweed left by the tide, that they seem
to form a sort of cloud, every unit of which, however, is but in the air
an instant, falling and giving place to some other, while it prepares
for a fresh hop. The so-called Freshwater Shrimp, _Gammarus_, is another
common member of the Amphipoda. Fig. 18 shows the general form of a
Sand-hopper. Nearly allied are the Isopoda or Wood-lice, interesting
because they are among the few terrestrial forms of the crustacea; they
live, however, in damp places, and are but too well-known in gardens,
where the gardener often mis-names them "insects."

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--A Sand-hopper, _Pallasea Cancellus_, from
Siberia, natural size.]

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--A South American Spider, _Ctenus ferus_, from
the Amazon region, natural size.]

The mention of terrestrial forms would naturally bring us to the
discussion of the true Insects. In the Arthropoda we for the first time
meet with terrestrial animals except in scattered instances, and the
true Insects are the largest and most important group of these. There
are, however, various creatures belonging to the Arthropoda which are
neither Crustacea nor yet Insects. Among these is the familiar spider,
an "insect" in popular language, but not so described by the zoologist.
Among other differences, the true spiders have eight legs, whereas the
true insects have only six. Fig. 19 shows a typical spider; the eight
jointed legs are attached to the thorax ("breastplate"); with the latter
the head is united. The abdomen, as in insects, is formed by the fusion
of several segments, and has no legs, but it has, however, out of sight,
the spinning legs or "spinnerets," out of which the thread of the
spider's web is spun. The venom of the spider is not a fable; spiders
have poison-glands with ducts which open on the tops of the cheliceræ.
They dispose of their prey by sucking it; they do not swallow solid
food. The habits and webs of spiders are familiar to every one: their
nests, as a rule, are only noticed by close observers. The nest is made
of spun threads closely felted together to form a round hollow ball.
This the house-spiders hang on a wall or among the rafters of a roof.
There are, however, spiders which build their nests under ground; and in
this case the nest may be conveniently furnished with a lid, which can
be pushed up when the animal wishes to come out. Fig. 20 shows the nest
of the Trap-door Spider, so called from the construction of its nest.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--Nest of the Trap-door Spider, from the South of
France, three-quarters of the natural size.]

Fig. 21 shows a spider-like animal which, at first sight, seems to have
five pairs of legs. In fact, however, it has only three pairs, thus
approaching the insects in structure. These three pairs of legs are
attached to the thorax, while the head, which is separate from the
thorax, unlike that of the true spider, bears two pairs of leg-like
appendages. This is the chief of a group which are sometimes placed in a
class by themselves, on account of their great differences from real
spiders. Their head is separated from the thorax; and the thorax is
divided into three segments; these, however, do not come out clearly in
the diagram. The head bears, posteriorly, a pair of appendages which
are practically legs; in front of these a pair of long "pedipalps" or
"foot-feelers"; and quite in front the comparatively short "cheliceræ."
These creatures are very venomous; they move about by night to seek
their prey.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--A venomous spider-like animal, _Galeodes
araneoides_, from North Africa, natural size (Diagrammatic).]

Another kind of spider-like animal is familiar in English fields and
waysides--the long-legged spiders, called Harvestmen or Phalangidæ,
which spin no web, but jump upon their prey. Unlike the last group, the
body differs from that of true spiders, in being more, not less,
compact: for not only is the head joined to the thorax, but also the
thorax is joined to the abdomen, the outline of the body being therefore
almost globular. They receive the name Phalangidæ, Joint-Spiders, from
the sharp joints in their long legs.

Allied also to the spiders are the Mites, Acarina, so destructive to
cheese, flour, and other eatables; and the Ticks, which infest the skins
of various animals Fig. 22 shows a specimen of the latter. They are
practically blood-sucking Mites. It is the female which attacks animals,
while the males live among vegetation.

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--The Tick which infests the Hippopotamus, from
South Africa, twice natural size.]

The Scorpions, also, are relatives of the Spiders. They are inhabitants
of hot countries, and highly venomous. They possess a jointed tail,
instead of an abdomen with fused segments, and a lobster-like pair of
appendages in front; these are the second pair of appendages, the
"pedipalps," while the short "cheliceræ" lie in front. In the living
animal the tail is often carried curled up over the back. The Mites,
Ticks, and Scorpions all agree with the true spiders in possessing eight
legs. The King-Crab, Limulus, has not hitherto been named, because,
though living in the sea, it is not a crab at all. It has been shown by
Professor Ray Lankester to be related to the spiders. It is a large
crab-like creature, which may be seen in museums and aquaria, and is
brought from the tropical seas.

[Illustration: FIG. 23. A Scorpion, _Buthus Kochii_, from India.]

Before passing to consider the true Insects, or Hexapoda, something must
be said about the discovery of _Peripatus_, a creature which comes from
Cape Colony. It has been called caterpillar-like in appearance, but its
structure is in many respects so peculiar, that it has been described as
a link between insects and the higher worms. Its legs, for instance,
although jointed, and much resembling those of insects in appearance,
are hollow, like the "parapodia" of worms.

The Centipedes have been already referred to. These, with the
Millipedes, form the group Myriapoda. In outward form, at any rate,
these suggest an intermediate position between Peripatus and Insects.

The true Insects have a definite head, separated from the thorax, and a
constriction between the thorax and the abdomen; this is why they are
called insects, "cut in two." The thorax bears three pairs of legs, the
mouth has typically three pairs of appendages, which may be altered and
modified in many different ways, according to the nature of the animal's
way of feeding. While the Crustacea are typically adapted for breathing
in water by means of their gills, the Insects are adapted for breathing
air. This they do by means of their air-tubes or tracheæ, the inlets of
which open on their sides. These are divided into fine branches, which
diffuse air through the body of the Insect. Two interesting points must
be noticed about insects. The first is that they were the first group in
which zoologists were able to study the nature of larval forms, long
before the microscope had revealed the larval forms of marine animals.
The changes undergone by insects are known as metamorphosis, or change
of form; and are typically represented by the life-history of a
caterpillar, which assumes during the winter a resting form called a
Chrysalis or Pupa, and finally emerges as a Butterfly. Insects have
sometimes been classified according to the greater or less completeness
of the metamorphosis they undergo, which in some cases is comparatively
slight. It has been mentioned elsewhere that larval forms usually exist
where the young animal is placed under very different conditions from
the adult. Fig. 24 shows two well-known instances of insect larvæ in
which this is strikingly the case, the larval form being a
water-dweller, and the adult a winged fly. Of these, one, the larvæ of
the Dragon-fly, crawls about free; while the other, the so-called
caddis-"worm," builds itself a case of grains of stone and shell
cemented together.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--Larvæ of insects. _A_, of a Dragon-Fly,
enlarged; _B_, House of the larva of the Caddis Fly, natural size; _C_,
the Caddis Larva itself, enlarged.]

The second point of interest is the wonderful part which has been played
by insects in modifying the world we live in. We owe the bright colours
and the sweet honey of flowers to the selection exercised by insects;
they carry the pollen of flowers from one plant to its neighbouring
kindred, thus securing cross-fertilization for the advantage of the
plant, and thereby perpetuating any quality, such as colour or
sweetness, which has originally attracted the insect to the flower.
While a few plants only are fertilised by means of the wind, a vast
majority depend entirely upon insects for the cross-fertilisation which
is so necessary for the production of healthy seeds. We have already
alluded to the part played by the earthworm in preparing the soil. If
the earthworm has been the ploughman the insect has been the more
intelligent gardener, who has filled the world with bright flowers.
The earlier forms of plant life had green and inconspicuous flowers
(Cryptogamia); the Phanerogamia, or showy-flowered plants, including all
those that bear what are popularly termed flowers, have been produced by
the artificial selection exercised by insects long before man was here
to admire the result, and to carry on the same work in his gardens. The
insect owes its food to the plant world; the plant world owes health and
beauty to the constant ministration of the insect; so marvellous is the
inter-connexion of one form of life with another.

The number of different kinds of insect is enormous; the number of named
species has been estimated at nearly a quarter of a million. It is
therefore no wonder that entomology, the study of insects, has claimed
the rank of a special science. We cannot here do more than refer in
passing to a few of the more familiar types. First of all, by right of
its work in fertilising flowers, let us take the Bee. Fig. 25 shows its
honeycomb and its larvæ. The bee-grub differs from the caterpillar in
its comparative helplessness. It is fed like a child by the worker bees,
which are undeveloped females; and it does not leave the cell in which
the egg is originally placed until it is ready to take on the adult
form. The metamorphosis is complete; that is to say there is a grub
stage and a pupa stage before the adult stage. There are three kinds of
bees--the workers, which are sexless; the drones, which are males, and
the queen, who is the sole female of the hive. The bee-grub may develop
into a worker or a queen, according to the food it receives as a grub,
the grubs that are intended to become queens being placed in a larger
cell. The bee-grub differs from the caterpillar in having no feet.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--_A_, Larva of the Bee, _Apis mellifica_; _B_,
Section of Honeycomb.]

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--Ants, _Formica rufa_, English, enlarged. _A_,
Female; _B_, Neuter, or Worker.]

The ants are nearly allied to the bees, and also have a complete
metamorphosis. Fig. 26 shows the English red ant, female and neuter. The
wings of the female drop off after the pairing season, a fact which has
given a name, Hymenoptera, to the whole group to which the ant belongs,
although the name is often quite inapplicable. A recent discovery in
entomology is the fact that ants have a voice. Dr. D. Sharp of Cambridge
has described their "stridulating," _i.e._ noise-producing, organs.
These consist of parallel ridges present on the sides of certain
segments. By working the body up and down, the insect scrapes these
ridges with the edge of the preceding segment, so that a musical note is
produced, intelligible to other ants. The question has also been
investigated by French observers. The principle involved will readily be
recognised by those who in childhood were guilty of trying to extract
music from a comb.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--White Ants, _Eutermes morio_, from Pernambuco,
twice the natural size. _A_, Soldier; _B_, Worker; _C_, Young male; _D_,

The white ants, so destructive in tropical climates, are not true ants,
but belong to a different order. These also live in colonies; like the
bees, they have an egg-laying queen. She has a partner, the king. There
are neuter soldiers and neuter workers, both wingless, while the male
and female have wings, afterwards lost.

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--Cocoons of Moths. _A_, Compound Cocoon of
_Coenodomuc hockingi_, from India, one-half natural size; _B_, of a
Silkworm, _Bombyx Japonica_, one-half natural size; _C_, of Green-shaded
Honey Moth; _D_, of Death's Head Moth, one-quarter natural size; _E_, of
_Metura Savendersii_, from New South Wales, natural size; _F_, of
_Castnia Endesmia_, from Chili, one-sixth of the natural size; _G_,
of _Attacus attas_ from Bombay, one-fourth of the natural size.]

The Lepidoptera or butterflies and moths receive their name,
Scaly-winged, from the beautiful microscopic scales with which their
wings are covered. Fig. 28 shows the cocoons which the larvæ of some of
the moths make for themselves in which to pass their pupa stage. Some
are made wholly of silk, others of dried leaves woven together. Fig. 29
shows a Moth with its caterpillar, cocoon, and chrysalis. The threads of
which a caterpillar weaves its cocoon are familiarly exemplified in the
silk of commerce. The caterpillar, in some cases, is gregarious, and
builds a common nest (Fig. 30).

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--A Moth, _Saturnia pyri_ (S. Europe), with its
Caterpillar, _A_; its Cocoon, _B_; Cocoon cut open to show Chrysalis,
_C_; Adult insect, _D_.]

The beetles, Coleoptera, are, like the butterflies, endlessly numerous.
They are characterised by the striking difference in their two pairs of
wings, of which the anterior pair is strong and horny, and forms, when
at rest, a sheath which covers the thinner posterior pair of wings. The
metamorphosis is complete in this group also. Fig. 31 shows an example
which is typical except in one respect--the adult form, namely, is one
of the comparatively few instances of adult insects that live in water.

[Illustration: FIG. 30.--Nest of gregarious Caterpillar of a Moth,

[Illustration: FIG. 31.--Development of an English Water-Beetle,
_Dytiscus_. Grub; Pupa; Adult insect.]

Much has been said above in praise of insects and their wonderful work
in selecting flowers. There is, however, another side to this, as the
gardener and farmer know too well. While the winged honey seekers help
the plants, their larvæ devour them, and so do many other forms of
insect. Fig. 32 gives us in miniature some of the most notorious insect
pests. The work of the locust has been dreaded since the days of the
Pharaohs and before: the Colorado beetle which infests the potato, is a
plague as terrible, if more modern. The weevils and caterpillars that
destroy trees, though not directly dangerous to our food supply, are
sufficiently destructive. The terror of insect pests lies in their vast
numbers, which may render an otherwise harmless creature dangerous. I
read last year of a curious railway mishap in the United States. A train
was brought to a standstill by the wheels sliding on something greasy
that covered the track. It proved to be a flock of the so-called "Army
worm," a variety of caterpillar which travels long distances in crowds,
when its numbers have become too many for the supply of food, or when it
is about to enter into the pupa stage. These covered the railway track,
and the whole country for a long distance; and the "greasiness" of
the rails was produced by the crushed bodies of the unfortunate
caterpillars. The train was delayed for hours, while a gang of men
with brooms cleared the way in front of it.

[Illustration: FIG. 32. Insect pests. _A_, Locust, _Acridium
peregrinum_, one-fourth natural size; _B_, Caterpillar of Wood Leopard
Moth, _Zeutzera Æsculi_, boring in wood, about one-thirtieth of natural
size; _C_, Colorado Beetle, one-fourth natural size; _D_, Leaf-rolling
Weevil of the Oak.]



The shell-fish are called Mollusca, the soft-bodied animals. It will
easily be seen that this name was intended to point out the distinction
between them and the Arthropoda, as regards the way in which the skin is
protected. In the latter, as we have seen, the skin itself is hardened.
In the shell-fish, the skin secretes a covering which lies outside it.
Just as our skins pass out superfluous moisture to the outside, in the
form of perspiration, so the skin of the mollusc continually passes to
the outside the solid substances which the body has taken in from the
sea-water; and by the continual accumulation of these, the shell is
formed. This, at least, is the view taken by modern authorities of the
formation of the shell in most instances.

The juvenile shell-collector usually begins his knowledge of the
classification of the Mollusca, by learning that shells are classified
as Univalves and Bivalves. This distinction is useful as a beginning.
Univalves, that is to say shells which consist of one piece, are those
of the snail-like animals, Gasteropoda, or Gastropoda, as some prefer to
spell it. Bivalves, or shells which consist of two flaps, are those of
the Lamellibranchiata or animals with plate-like gills, such as the
mussel or oyster.

Let us begin with the former. Everybody knows the snail. The snail
proper bears a typical univalve shell: though in its relatives (the
slugs), the shell is more or less suppressed. The name, Gasteropoda
(stomach-footed animals), is supposed to be descriptive of the way in
which a snail crawls. Half getting out of its shell, so to speak, it
does its best to lay its body to the ground, and its so-called "foot" is
an extensive muscular expansion underlying its body, not just a muscular
organ thrust out of the shell, as in some other groups. The shell, the
mode of crawling, and the "horns," tipped with eye-specks, and directed,
intelligently and inquisitively, towards things of interest--these make
up, for most people, the idea of Snail. But the most distinctive feature
of the class is a less obvious feature, namely, the structure of the
tongue. We may see, on any damp day or dewy evening, the snail working
away with its tongue at some tender leaf. Its tongue is practically a
file with which it files away the substance of the leaf, the resulting
green mash being thus made ready in minute quantities for the snail to
swallow. Thus are made the too familiar holes which disfigure the leaves
of plants in our garden. When seen under the microscope, the file-like
structure of the tongue is visible; indeed, in large tongues, it may, to
some extent, be made out with the naked eye. Across the tongue, which is
a flat ribbon-like structure, there runs a pattern of small teeth,
bilaterally symmetrical, and this pattern is repeated over and over
again throughout the whole length of the tongue. It might be thought
that snails' tongues, being so much alike in their mode of use, would
not need to be very various in pattern: but far from this, they vary in
appearance as much as the shell. Not only is there a different pattern
for every different order of the class, but a different pattern for
every genus; nay, there are even distinctions between the tongues of
different species in the same genus. Consequently some authorities on
shell-fish prefer to classify them by their tongues, a classification
which for the most part holds good. So characteristic is the tongue
of the Gasteropod, that when new animals have turned up which were
difficult to classify by means of the structure of the body, they have
been finally recognised as Molluscs, somewhat related to the snails, by
the tongue. This file-like tongue-ribbon of the snails is often called
the Odontophore or Tooth-Carrier; sometimes the part which actually
bears the teeth receives the name of the radula.

The snail and its relative, the slugs, belong to the Pulmonate (_i.e._
air-breathing) division of the Gasteropoda. The sea-slugs, in which,
like the land slugs, the shell is absent or reduced, are relatives of
the land snails. Some of those found on our own shores are handsome
creatures, brilliantly coloured. Both groups fall under the division
Euthyneura, while the majority of the marine univalves belong to the
division Streptoneura (_i.e._ Gasteropods with twisted nerves). The
Gasteropods, in the course of the evolution of their shell, have had
the body thrown crooked by the burden of carrying it; the Streptoneura
are the forms in which this crookedness is most pronounced; in the
Euthyneura it is less so. There are degrees of crookedness even among
the Streptoneura; and the limpet is less crooked than the periwinkle
(see Table, p. 30).

The older classifications of the Gasteropoda were largely founded on the
characters of the shell; but these, though in the main they hold good,
have required some modifications in recent times. Conchology, the study
of shells, was at one time the hobby of many collectors whose knowledge
of the animals possessing the shells was not of a very extensive kind;
and consequently the very name of conchology is often enough to ruffle
the feelings of the zoologist of the present day. Yet many interesting
problems of variation may be studied from shells alone, by those whose
circumstances forbid them to study the living animal. Nor is there any
branch of zoology which is more useful to the teacher who wishes to
catch the eye and the attention of the beginner in the study of natural
history, especially if the beginner is young, as beginners ought to
be. Therefore we must by no means undervalue the past labours of
conchologists, or the valuable collections which their industry has
brought together and set in order for the benefit of the world.

For example of the most crooked, or Azygobranchiate division of the
Streptoneura, turn now to Fig. 33, in which we see a typical Gasteropod
shell, _Murex ramosus_, the Branchy Murex, aptly enough named from the
many prickly branches which beset it. These rough points are probably
assumed for protective purposes; any animal that might wish to dine upon
the _Murex ramosus_ would think twice before trying to swallow it--the
morsel of shell-fish is so small, its shelly case so large and so
prickly. If we look for its nearest English relative, that is _Murex
erinaceus_, the Hedgehog Murex, or Sting-winkle. This, though a
comparatively plain shell, has still enough rough ridges upon it to have
secured it a comparison to the prickly hedgehog. Perhaps the most
prickly member of the genus, however, is _Murex tenuispina_, sometimes
called Venus' Comb, because the crowded parallel spines which decorate
the elongated front of the shell somewhat resemble the parallel teeth of
a comb.

[Illustration: FIG. 33.--The Branchy Murex, _M. ramosus_, a typical
specimen of the shell of the Carnivorous Gasteropods. _Sp._, spire or
posterior end of the shell; _S_, siphon or anterior end of the shell.
Fig. A, shows the mouth of the shell; Fig. B, the exterior only. Less
than one-half the natural size.]

How does the _Murex_ get its living? Let us notice the shape of the
shell, drawn out to a point, at the end opposite to the spire. According
to the older classification of the Mollusca, now somewhat fallen out of
use, this point marks the shell as belonging to one of the
Siphonostomata (shell-fish with a siphon at the mouth of the shell,
_i.e._). These shell-fish are, with few exceptions, carnivorous; not
that the siphon shape of the shell has any direct connection with the
animal's way of feeding. Just as the snail files among soft vegetable
substances, so the Murex and many of its relations file away much
harder things. A Sting-winkle, or a Dog-whelk, can sit down over a
helpless bivalve shell-fish, and patiently file away, until it has
worked a neat round hole in the protecting shell of the latter. You may
find, among the dead shells on any sandy part of the English coast, any
number of bivalve half-shells with a neat little round hole in them,
indicating unmistakeably how the tenant came to its death. There is some
controversy as to the spot chosen by the assailant for its attack. Some
authorities have stated that the predatory mollusc is so wise that it
knows where to find a weak spot, and makes a hole just over some vital
organ of the bivalve, or else above its adductor muscles, so that, when
these are cut, the half-shells cannot be drawn tightly together and kept
shut. Recently this has been denied, and statistics of the attacks of
_Purpura_, the common small whelk, a relation of the _Murex_, on
_Mytilus edulis_, the Common Mussel, have shown that the perforation
occurs in every part of the shell. It is possible, however, that the
Mussel, from the peculiar shape of its shell, offers an exceptional
case; and I am inclined to think that in the case of bivalves of a more
flattened shape, the earlier statement holds true. At South Shields,
England, perforated half-shells of the Common _Venus_ (Fig. 34) are so
abundant that the children string them for necklaces; yet I have never
been able, by the most industrious search, to find more than one or two
specimens in which the hole is at all near the lip of the shell. It is
possible that these exceptional instances were the work of a young and
inexperienced univalve mollusc, or a stupid one. It is possible, also,
that the mode of attack differs somewhat according to the species of
the assailant. (It should perhaps be explained, for the benefit of those
who have no experience in the ways of children or of shell necklaces,
that the hole must be moderately near the beak of the shell, to enable
the shell to "sit" properly on a string. Every unit in the necklace may
therefore be counted as one in favour of the older theory.) Many of the
Siphonostomatous molluscs are surprisingly active and strong, so that
they are well fitted for a predatory existence. In fact, they not only
eat bivalves, but occasionally attack the vegetable-feeding univalves
when nothing better is to be got, so that occasionally the shells of
these also may be found displaying the deadly little round hole we have

[Illustration: FIG. 34.--Half Shells of the Common Venus, several of
them perforated by carnivorous molluscs. From South Shields, England.]

Let us contrast with the _Murex_ one of the shells which are
"holostomatous," _i.e._ possessing an unindented shell-mouth--that is to
say, one without a "siphon." The common edible periwinkle, _Littorina
littorea_, may be taken as an example. No shell is more familiar; even
the town-dweller, who has never found it on the sea-shore, has seen it
often on stalls in the slums. The mouth of the shell is quite round and
unindented, and in this case the character holds good as the mark of a
vegetable-feeder--a non-predatory sea-snail. It is hardly necessary to
remind the reader that its name (the shore-shell) is given it because it
lives where the tide leaves the rocks exposed during part of the day.
Another common species of _Littorina_, which frequently lives a little
lower down, where the large sea-weeds grow, has been described in
Chapter II.; and another, _L. rudis_, lives a little higher up, so that
it spends most of its time in a dry state, and is fast on its way to
become a land-shell. At most of the familiar English seaside resorts one
may see dozens of it baking in a hot July sun on rocks where only the
highest tides can reach them: and yet under these conditions they
continue to live and flourish. The periwinkles are remarkable for the
great length of the tooth-ribbon, in comparison with the size of the
animal. The number of separate teeth upon it has been estimated at 3500.

A familiar feature of the common periwinkle is the lid or stopper
(Operculum), with which the animal can close the mouth of the shell.
This is developed and carried by the outside of the animal's foot. In
the periwinkle and other English molluscs it is comparatively soft and
semi-transparent, and reminds one of a thin slice of horn. In many
tropical molluscs, however, it is hard and shelly. The large tropical
shells named _Turbo_ have massive lids of considerable weight. These
shells, which are nearly allied to the pearly Top-shells (_Trochus_) of
the English shores, are sold as ornaments, the outer coat of the shell
being partly scraped off to show the inner coat of pearl: it is rarely,
however, that the purchaser obtains a lid, or even knows that the
creature had one. The reverse is the case with some of the smaller
kinds, the lids of which, being brightly coloured, are imported without
the shell, and sometimes set as articles of jewellery. Some of these are
of a bright green hue.

While the lids of the Holostomata are rounded in shape, those that
belong to the Siphonostomatous shells are necessarily more or less
modified so as to fit the mouth of the shell, and are consequently oval
or even claw-like in shape. The Sting-winkle already spoken of, the
common small whelk, _Purpura lapillus_, and the large whelk, _Buccinum
undatum_, are common shell-fish in which the elongated lid may be
studied. The lid is not, however, like the tongue-ribbon, an essential
feature of the structure of every univalve mollusc.[D] Not only are
there special instances in which it is greatly modified, but also
there are whole groups of univalve molluscs in which it is absent.

[D] There are one or two exceptional cases of gasteropod molluscs that
have no tongue-ribbon. The majority of these are parasitic forms, which
can get their food without the trouble of filing it down.

A curious suggestion has been made with regard to the lids of univalve
shell-fish; namely, that the snapping to of the lid is capable of
producing a sound, which may perhaps be audible at a distance under the
water. Various molluscs have been credited with producing sounds, either
by muscular movements or by the grating of the shell as the animal
walks. The common Tortoise-shell Snail, _Helix aspersa_, sometimes
makes a most alarming noise when crawling over a window. It has been
disputed whether the sounds thus made are produced by the grating of the
creature's tongue-ribbon on the glass, as it files off small particles
of algae and vegetable moulds, which are invisible to our eyes: or
whether they are sounds due to suction of the muscular surfaces, such as
may be produced by drawing a wet finger across glass. The noise, however
produced, is, as I can testify from experience, sufficiently loud and
weird to be very startling, if heard in the dead of night.

Turn now to the Bivalves or Lamellibranchiate molluscs, which include
the familiar oyster, cockle, and mussel. These are also known as the
Pelecypoda, and as the Aglossa, or molluscs without a tongue-ribbon. The
name Lamellibranchiate refers to the shape of the gills--"plate-like,"
or flat; the name Pelecypoda to the shape of the foot, "hatchet-foot."

The animal usually chosen as a type of these, the fresh-water mussel, is
rather a dull sort of creature, so we have chosen a prettier and more
lively specimen as a representative of the class; namely, one of the
Scallops, _Pecten opercularis_, sometimes called the Quin, the shell of
which is shown in the frontispiece of the book. This is one of the most
beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful, of the English shells. The
generic name, _Pecten_, the Comb-shell, probably refers, not to the
shape of the gills, which is somewhat peculiar, but to the marking of
the shell, which presents raised ridges, side by side. Anyone familiar
with shells will see at once that this is an unusual pattern. There are
plenty of bivalve shells with concentric ridge markings, comparatively
few with radiating ridges. We shall see presently that there is a good
reason for this. The specific name "opercularis," lid-like, refers to
the neat round shape of the shell. Each half of the shell has a pair of
"ears," so-called. The person who first gave this name to these flaps of
shell, three of which are three-cornered and the fourth nondescript,
must have been familiar in his youth with books afflicted with the
"dog's-ear" disfigurement; for certainly there is no other kind of ear
which greatly resembles these. The notch beneath the irregularly shaped
ear is called the "byssal notch": many Pectens spin a byssus or thread,
like that spun by the common Sea-Mussel, and thus anchor themselves to
fixed objects for a time; this notch is the place where threads of this
kind leave the shell.

The two valves of the shell differ in depth, one being flatter than the
other; and the "ears" of the two valves differ in shape. The inside of
the shell shows muscular impressions, but these cannot be seen in a
photograph. The picture, however, shows the strong hinge-ligament which
joins the halves of the shell, and the difference in depth and shape of
the two valves. The valve on which the animal usually lies is the
lighter in colour of the two, and has one ear much longer than the

The creature swims by means of the "mantle," or muscular margin of the
body. It contracts this suddenly, after first opening the shell and
taking in as much water as possible. Thus the water is squeezed out
again, and the effect of this is to propel the animal in an opposite

Now we are in a position to understand a little more about the shape of
the shell. These curious "ears" possessed by the two valves, together
form a straight, strong edge, which cuts the water as the animal flies
along. It reminds us of a ship's prow, and not without reason, for the
use of each is the same. A boat's sharp prow, compared with the rounded
front of a "tub," makes all the difference in the possibilities of
straight steering, and favours the putting on of speed: the ears of the
shell are not less useful to our Scallop. The following account of the
swimming powers of this species of Scallop, quoted by Woodward, was
given by the Rev. D. Landsborough, who observed young specimens, about
the size of the small ones in our picture, swimming about in a pool of
sea-water, left by the ebbing tide. "Their motion was rapid and zigzag;
they seemed, by the sudden opening and shutting of their valves, to have
the power of darting like an arrow through the water. One jerk carried
them some yards, and then by another sudden jerk they were off in a
moment on a different tack." To the sharp prow, the _Pecten_ owes this
capability of arrow-like flight. Its eyes are situated on the fringe of
its mantle, and consequently near the wide end of the shell; its
peculiar mode of progression, therefore, enables it to back away
instantly from any enemy it sees.

Something must be said regarding the interior of the shell. The majority
of bivalve shells have a complicated system of so-called "teeth," or
interlocking projections, at the hinges of the shell: these exhibit
great variety in different kinds of shell, and are therefore often a
ready means of distinguishing one shell from another. The Scallop,
however, is very deficient in this respect, as are also some of its near
relations, for instance the oyster and its family group. The Fresh-water
Mussel also gains its name, _Anodon_, or _Anodonta_, the Toothless One,
from the same circumstance. The name often puzzles the beginner, who
asks, bewildered, "But do Bivalves ever have any teeth?" True teeth, of
course, they have none--it is the shell-hinge that has teeth, not the
animal inside it. Not only have the bivalve shell-fish no teeth indeed,
or tongue-ribbon, but furthermore they have no head. For this reason the
group has not only received the name already mentioned, of Aglossa, the
Tongue-less Ones, but also that of Lipocephala, _i.e._ Molluscs in which
the head is not developed. The reason of its absence is not far to
seek--a head would be no use inside such a shell. The snail-shell, so
differently built, allows freedom for the head; the bivalve mollusc,
squeezed in between its valves, has room only for a mouth.

We have referred above to the ridges on the outside of the shell. Now
that we have learnt that the _Pecten_ is a very active animal, and moves
in the manner described, we see that these ridges run parallel to the
direction in which it moves as it darts away ears foremost. Let us try
to realise what is the effect of this.

Take a mat with parallel stripes and move it along the floor or table
in the direction of the stripes; then try moving it in an opposite
direction across the stripes. It is easy to perceive that in the former
case one's eye does not detect the movement nearly so soon as in the
latter case. To explain this would necessitate a lengthy digression on
the subject of optical illusions: that the fact is so everyone may
easily ascertain by experiment. The ridges, therefore, converging in the
direction towards which the shell is going, are a protective decoration,
enabling it to slip away more easily from under the eyes of its foes.
The reader will readily recall a parallel instance in the common Cockle.
This also is a very active creature; it takes leaps by means of a strong
muscular foot; and the ridges on the shell, like those of the Scallop,
converge towards the hinges, that is to say, in the direction in which
the shell moves. Another instance of a very active shell-fish with
similar markings is afforded by certain kinds of Lima, a near relative
of the Scallops. It may be added that all Scallops are not equally
active, nor all Limas; and various modifications of their form and
colour might be pointed out which lead us to suspect that in the less
active kinds the pattern of ridges is often somewhat obscured by means
of these differences.

Now, take up a comb and draw it over your fingers, firstly _along_ the
teeth, and secondly _across_ them, and you will be able to estimate the
gain in speed and comfort to the comb-shell, Pecten, and to the common
Cockle, from having its ridges set in the direction in which it is
going. Were the ridges concentric, as is so often the case in bivalve
shell-fish of a more sluggish disposition, the friction caused by the
ridges would seriously delay the progress of the shell.

Something must be added regarding the colouring of the shell, which is
vivid, corresponding with that of the animal within. It is capable of
great variety, though perhaps not so great as in some of the smaller
_Pectens_. The predominant shades are pink, crimson and yellow, either
separately or mixed; that is to say, some shells are pure pink, some
almost pure yellow, some almost pure crimson, while others present every
imaginable shade of pinkish yellow, reddish brown and brownish crimson.
Local variation of colour is so marked that we may suspect the
variations in tint to be in some degree protective. The shell also
varies considerably in size and strength according to the neighbourhood
in which it has grown.

This scallop-shell is but one of many: a number of other species are
found on our own shores, and many others again in foreign seas.

One shell of the English coast is very annoying to the juvenile
shell-collector who gathers specimens on the shore. This is _Pecten
pusio_, a very small and delicate kind, with a raised pattern of fine
markings upon the ridges, which are very narrow. A good specimen of the
deeper valve is common enough, but the shallow valve, if of any size, is
distorted into all manner of shapes, as if it had been squeezed and
crumpled. The disappointing character of these specimens, from an
æsthetic point of view, is explained when we learn that it not only lies
on its shallow valve, but becomes fixed in this position, instead of
hopping about freely like the _P. opercularis_. It therefore has
frequently to adapt its shape to the nature of the ground where it has
happened to fix itself. Thus arises the disfigurement of the shell.

So far we have only considered two great groups of the Mollusca, two
which are represented by common shells, familiar to everybody. We must
not leave the subject of the Mollusca without referring to their most
aristocratic group, the Cephalopoda. These are represented in museums by
the shells of the Pearly Nautilus, and of its not very near relative,
the Paper Nautilus; and they are represented on English shores by the
cuttle-fishes. All these agree with the Gasteropoda in the possession of
a tongue-ribbon, and in classification are therefore treated with them
under the name Glossophora.

With the Pteropods, transparent forms found swimming over the surface
of the deep sea, the reader is not likely to have much to do. In
classification they are now placed near the Sea-Slugs.

The Placophora, or Polyplacophora, wholly different from our usual idea
of a shell-fish, may be named as creatures which the reader is quite
likely to meet with. Though not very common, they are widely distributed
over our coasts, and may be found near low-tide mark clinging to stones.
Imagine a wood-louse without any apparent head which has taken to
clinging to the rock like a limpet, so that it cannot be removed without
injury, and you have a rough idea of their general appearance. _Chiton_
is the name of these animals, which have received the group name of
Polyplacophora, carriers of many plates, because their external covering
consists of an armour of successive shelly plates. These also belong to
the Glossophora or Tongue-ribbon Carriers, of which they present a
comparatively primitive form.

Reference has already been made to the labours of the earthworm and of
the insects, and to their important effects upon the vegetable world.
Although the Mollusca include but one terrestrial group, the Snails,
they, too, have played an appreciable part in modifying plant life. If
we owe our flowers to the insects, we have probably to thank the snail
for our medicines. For the snail dislikes bitter-tasting leaves, and
lets them alone, thus exercising an artificial selection in favour of
the survival of medicinal plants. In the same way the snail has favoured
the survival of hairy and thorny plants, upon which it cannot easily

The larval forms of the Mollusca differ considerably from the adult.
That of _Anodon_, the fresh-water mussel, at first received, in
consequence, a different name, that of Glochidium, by which it is still
known, although it has now been long identified as a larval form. It is
exceptional in the fact that it is parasitic on fish.

The usual Molluscan larva is a ciliated creature which has been compared
to a modified trochosphere. It is preceded by a gastrula stage, and it
develops later on into what is called a "Veliger," or "veil-carrying"
larva, so called because it has in front a broad two-lobed ciliated
expansion, the velum. This larva is adapted for swimming, which is
accomplished by means of the velum. In terrestrial molluscs, the
development is necessarily much more direct. It is worthy of note that
the periwinkle mentioned above, which lives high and dry (_L. rudis_)
has no larval form, while its relatives that live under water develop
in the usual way.

The eggs of Mollusca are often enclosed in tough cases, calculated to
resist waves and weather. Some of these are shown in miniature, in the
group of eggs of various kinds, Fig. 35.

[Illustration: FIG. 35.--Eggs (reduced to half the natural size).
_A_, Egg-Capsules of _Murex_. _B_, Frog's Eggs. _C_, Eggs of large
Land-snail. _D_, Eggs of Snail placed on a leaf. _E_, Cockchafer's Eggs.
_F_, Egg-case of Cockroach. _G_, Egg-cases of Locust. _H_, _I_, _J_,
Eggs of Gasteropod Molluscs. _H_, _Sycotypus_ (_Pyrula_). _J_,


                   { AGLOSSA: the LAMELLIBRANCHIATA, also called
                   {   CONCHIFERA, and PELECYPODA.
    =MOLLUSCA.=    {
                   { GLOSSOPHORA { GASTEROPODA.
                                 { CEPHALOPODA.



These were at one time included under the Mollusca, on account of
their possession of a bivalve shell. This shell, however, is placed
practically back and front of the animal, not to the right and left of
it, as is the case with the shells of the bivalve Mollusca.

The name, arm-footed, was given them in reference to a pair of special
structures called the arms, bearing a large number of tentacles; it is
now more frequently spoken of as the lophophore (see p. 122), and
regarded as comparable to the lophophore of the Polyzoa, spread out into
two portions. With the latter group the Brachiopods were formerly united
by Huxley, under the name of Molluscoidea. This name is now obsolete,
because it is understood that all these creatures are widely different
from Molluscs; but the theory of relationship of the Brachiopoda to the
Polyzoa, implied in it, still holds good.

The chief importance of this group lies in its fossil forms, which are
exceedingly numerous, particularly in the Mountain Limestone of the
Carboniferous Period; it is crowded with their shells, especially a form
named, from its elongated shape, Productus. The shells of Brachiopods
are equal-sided; that is to say, the right and left valves match; but
they are inequivalve, the ventral valve being much the biggest. It often
contains a foramen, or hole, at the beak, for the passage of the
pedicle, or stalk, by which the animal is attached to the ground (_e.g._
_Terebratula_, _Rhynchonella_). Sometimes, however, the pedicle passes
out between the valves (_Lingula_, _e.g._), in which case there is no
foramen; or it may be arranged in other ways. Sometimes the shell is
merely attached to the ground by its side, like an oyster. Some forms
are enormously widened in a lateral direction, _e.g._ _Spirifera_, and
the _Productus_ above named. _Lingula_, among others, is remarkable as
being a form that has survived from the earliest geological period to
the present day.


                      { TESTICARDINIS.--Shell Calcareous, with hinges.
                      {   Skeleton present in the arms.
    =BRACHIOPODA.=    {
                      { ECARDINES.--Shell comparatively soft, composed
                      {   of Chitin, only strengthened by deposits
                      {   of lime, without hinges. No skeleton in
                      {   the arms.

The larva, in its best known forms, passes through the typical larval
stages of the animal kingdom. It is first a one-layered larva, then a
two-layered form, and then becomes a ciliated animal. In this three
regions may be distinguished, representing respectively the head, body,
and pedicle.

The shells of the Brachiopoda, including the kinds above named, may be
seen by the reader in any geological museum.



We have already described the creatures which are popularly known
as Corallines. Modern zoologists have long separated off from the
Corallines of the older writers, a group of animals known as the
Sea-Mats, which also are colonies made up of unit individuals. The
common Sea-Mat, _Flustra foliacea_, may be picked up on almost any part
of the English coast, being often torn up "by the roots" and washed in
by the tide. When fresh it has a pleasant scent, which has been compared
to that of Lemon Verbena, and a pinkish colour, due to the presence of
the little inhabitants in their cells. When dry it has no odour,
the cells are empty, and the colour a pale drab like that of a dead
Coralline. Its texture is, however, much more crisp and brittle, and
less horny, than that of a dead Coralline: it grows in flat, forked
expansions, much resembling in outline the fronds of several common
seaweeds; and each side of these is covered with a diamond pattern of
little cells. This crowded arrangement of the cells, with a tendency to
assume a geometrical pattern, is the readiest feature by which the
beginner may distinguish a Sea-Mat from a Coralline. The latter arrange
their cells in a free-growing, tree-like or fernlike form, without any
crowding of the units into a geometrical pattern. The division of the
flat leaf-like colony by two, resulting in bifurcated branches, is
another obvious feature of the Sea-Mat.

Covering--and to the botanist's eye disfiguring--the branches of many
sea-weeds, and growing upon oyster-shells, tangle-roots, and other fixed
objects, we may find many little incrustations which remind us of the
lichens of the land: the diamond pattern of little cells shows us,
however, that these things are relations of the Sea-Mats. The name of
Bryozoa, Moss-Corals, was formerly given to these growths. Many of
them bear long hair-like processes at regular intervals; these, which
are large enough to be plainly seen with the naked eye, afford a ready
means of recognising these creatures.


                  { ECTOPROCTA, with excretory aperture outside
                  {   the ring of tentacles, _e.g._, _Flustra_.
    =POLYZOA.=    {
                  { ENDOPROCTA with excretory aperture inside
                  {   the ring of tentacles.

The Polyzoa include freshwater as well as marine forms. They have a
free-swimming larva, which becomes fixed after a time, and gives rise
to the adult Colonial forms. The zooids of the latter have each an
independent head with a crown of tentacles, called the Lophophore
(Crest-carrier); but the fixed ends of their bodies communicate with one
another. The hard covering of the colony, which retains its form after
the animal is dead, is a kind of hardened skin: the apparent "cells" are
the openings through which the individual zooids protrude themselves.
Sometimes certain of the zooids undergo modification for special
purposes: in this way are formed the "avicularia," snapping appendages,
probably defensive in purpose, so called because they open and shut like
a bird's beak. There are two divisions of the Polyzoa, the Ectoprocta
and the Endoprocta. Among the latter there is found a form which is not

_Phoronis_, a curious worm-like animal, which has a larval form called
_Actinotrocha_ is sometimes placed in classification near the Polyzoa,
which it resembles in possessing a crown of tentacles (Lophophore).



Everybody knows the Star-fish and many people know the Sea-Urchin.
An "urchin" is not a name for a naughty little boy, but the French
(_oursin_) for a hedgehog. A Sea-Urchin is therefore a "Sea-Hedgehog,"
a name very appropriate for a creature armed with prickles. The Greek
word _echinos_ also means a hedgehog, so that the long name given to the
group means simply hedgehog-skinned. The prickles attain their maximum
in the Sea-Urchin, but they are well represented in the Star-fish, while
in the Sea-cucumber the general tendency to "prickliness" is much
reduced, and represented only by "spicules" (needles) of shelly stuff
underneath the skin of the animal.

The largest and the most beautiful of the Sea-Urchins of the English
coast is known as the Purple-tipped Sea-Urchin, on account of the
beautiful colour of the spines. It lives on rocky coasts, and during
very low tides may be seen at home, although it usually takes care not
to stray above the water-line. It is a shelly ball with a flat base; its
surface is covered with long spines. Its mouth, which is in the centre
of the base, shows five wicked-looking teeth peeping out. The shell is
pierced by what look like hundreds of minute pin-holes, arranged in a
complicated pattern; these are the holes through which it pokes its
feet, which greatly resemble those of a Star-fish, being white suckers
with a disc at the end. When thrown out to their full length they are,
however, much longer than those of the Starfish, for they are naturally
obliged to be thrown out to a distance longer than the length of the
animal's own prickles. When moored by all its feet, extended from all
sides of the shelly ball, the animal presents a curious and pretty
sight. Large specimens are almost as big as a child's head, but smaller
ones are more common. There is a considerable range of variation
in colour; not only are various shades of purple found, but also
purplish-red and red. The spines are mounted on something resembling a
ball and socket joint, with a ring-shaped pad, so that they have a wide
range of movement; if any of the spines are touched they are immediately
set back over a considerable part of the neighbouring surface.

Other kinds may be found upon a more sandy shore. These are heart-shaped
and much lighter in colour. The shell is thinner and of less weight.
These adaptations for lessening the animal's weight enable it to move
over sand: the species above described has no occasion for such
precautions. When it crawls over rocks and the strong seaweeds that grow
on them, there is no fear of its sinking in. The sand-dweller, on the
contrary, must take care that it is not swallowed up.

[Illustration: FIG. 36.--The Five-holed Sand Cake, _Mellita pentapora_,
a flat sea-urchin from the east coast of tropical North America. _A_,
upper surface; =B=, lower surface; _C_, side view.]

There are Sea-Urchins that carry their precautions against sinking to an
extreme degree. These are the Shield-Urchins or Clypeastridæ, so-called
from their flat shape; they include the American forms popularly known
as "sand-cakes." The diagram (Fig. 36) shows one of the most curious of
these flattened forms adapted for moving over fine sand and ooze, and
literally "as flat as a pancake." The mouth is approximately in the
centre of the lower surface, _B_; the upper surface, _A_, shows a
rosette pattern on the top of the shell. This is formed by the rows of
holes for the very minute tube feet. In the English Sea-Urchin above
described, which is one of the group called (for that reason) Regulares,
the rows of holes are uniformly continued all along the rounded sides of
the body down to the neighbourhood of the mouth. Here they are much
restricted, forming merely a rosette at the top of the shell: hence
they are described as circumscript or "petaloid." The excretory aperture
is shown in the photograph as a smaller dot on one side of the mouth,
while in the Echinus, on the contrary, it is at the top of the shell.
The five odd-looking, elongated holes are a curious individual
peculiarity of this Sea-Urchin. It has already been explained that the
Shield-Urchins are flattened in order to distribute their weight; these
holes are a contrivance for still further reducing the weight in
comparison with the area. This is when the animal is lying quiet at the
bottom of the water, but when it moves about what effect will the
presence of the holes produce? Flattened animals are usually supposed
to derive an advantage from the fact that they sink more slowly
through depths of water; as in lying upon the ground, their weight is
distributed, and they float, as it were, in the same stratum of water
without sinking further down. This creature, on the contrary, has
apparently feared lest it should move too slowly when it moves in a
vertical direction, and it presents us with an arrangement by means of
which its sinking through water is facilitated. Water will pass readily
through the five holes as the animal goes either up or down, and the
resistance of the whole flat area to the water is thus reduced and
vertical movement rendered more easy. Thus, by one and the same
contrivance, the animal has lessened its weight when lying quiet, and
diminished the resistance it meets with when it moves. The distribution
of the holes, moreover, is such as to regulate the animal's position in
sinking, and to prevent it from falling "headlong." For although the
creature has, strictly speaking, no "head," yet the end nearest the
mouth is the thickest and heaviest part of the "cake," and would
naturally tend downwards. This tendency is counteracted by the fact that
the thicker end is unperforated, while the thinner and lighter end has a
large central hole to diminish its resistance and enable it to sink more

Adapted for living in sand rather than on rocks, but not so extreme
in the peculiarity of their form as the Shield-Urchins, are the
Heart-Urchins, already referred to, shaggy-looking creatures whose fine
yellowish-white spines give them almost the appearance of being clothed
with fur. The excretory aperture is at the narrow end of the "heart,"
and the mouth at one side of the lower surface towards the wide end. The
complicated apparatus of teeth found in other Sea-Urchins is absent in
these. They are abundant on sandy shores. During the severe winter of
1894-5, when the Mersey at Liverpool was frozen nearly for one memorable
day, and filled with floating ice for many more, I saw the shore beyond
New Brighton heaped all along with a bank, often two feet across, of the
common Heart-Urchin. These, which afforded a fine feast for the hungry
sea-gulls, had been killed by the intense cold, and afterwards washed
ashore by the tide. The vast numbers of this creature which exist on
that coast were thus unexpectedly brought to light.

These animals are sometimes described as "burrowing" creatures, because
they live covered in sand. The term is rather misleading. Far from
wishing to burrow, they spend their lives in a constant struggle with
sand that closes over them only too readily; and their whole structure
is adapted to prevent their sinking in a quick-sand.

We began our chapter with the Sea-Urchins, because they are the most
important members of the group to which they give their name; but there
are forms belonging to the Echinodermata that are more familiar to the
ordinary observer--the Starfishes. Those who take an interest in the
cultivation of the oyster find them far too familiar--for the starfish
is the oyster's deadliest foe, not even excepting man.

The common Starfish, _Asterias rubens_, may constantly be found among
stones, about low-tide mark. Its manner of walking is peculiar and
characteristic. On the under surface of each ray are rows of white
sucker-like tube-feet, which can either be drawn in or pushed out. By
doing each alternately the animal walks. First the feet are extended to
their full length; then the terminal sucking disc of each catches hold
of the ground. Then the feet are again retracted, while their discs
still cling; the effect of this is, naturally, to pull the ray onwards.
This process is repeated again and again, until some appreciable degree
of movement is effected. The tube-feet are in connection with a system
of vessels filled with fluid, known as the Water-vascular System of the
Starfish. The fluid is driven on by muscular contractions until the feet
are fully extended, and again driven back when the feet are retracted.
The Water-vascular System is a structure common to all Echinoderms; and
vessels of a comparable character are found in some worms.

How does the Starfish know where it is going? Underneath each ray, near
the tip, is a little feeler (or tentacle) and a little eye spot. By
means of these it gets an idea where each ray is going to; and, since it
often moves but one ray at a time, this is sufficient for it. When
necessary, however, the several rays can act in concert with one

The rayed form of the Starfishes led to their being at first included
in the group of Radiate Animals, along with the tentacle-bearing
Coelenterata; but it has long been recognised that they are animals of
much higher structure. Their very larvæ can barely be brought into
comparison with animals so simple as the true "radiates."

The Snake-Stars, or Ophiuroidea, are closely allied to the Starfishes.
In these the arms are thin and sharply defined from the little central
disc, instead of sloping gently out of it, as in the Starfishes. The
rapid wriggling movements of the arms have gained for them their very
appropriate name. They are also called Brittle Stars, because the arms
break off easily, sometimes at the will of the animal. Several kinds of
them are common on our shores, although they are not so common as the
ordinary Starfishes. Fig. 37 shows the general form of a Brittle Star.

[Illustration: FIG. 37.--A Brittle-Star, _Ophiopteris antipodum_.]

[Illustration: FIG. 38. A Sea-Cucumber, _Cucumaria Planci_, from Naples,
natural size.]

The Sea-Cucumbers, Holothuroidea, are another group of Echinodermata
that are represented on our own coasts; by small specimens, however,
while the Pacific Ocean furnishes instances of larger size--the
Trepangs--which are used by the Chinese as articles of food. The name
Sea-Cucumber is given in fanciful comparison to a small Gherkin;
presumably one that has been very badly pickled--for the colour of the
animal is brownish and by no means green. The mouth of a Sea-Cucumber is
surrounded by a circlet of tentacles (partially indicated in the
diagram, Fig. 38). The body is elongated and crawls along: the "star"
shape, so characteristic of the Echinoderms, is scarcely to be
recognised except in cross section, where the longitudinal rows
of tube-feet are seen to outline a pentagon. The skeleton of the
Sea-Cucumber is of a very meagre description. Instead of forming a
rounded case, as in the Sea-Urchin, it consists only of loose pieces
of very small size, situated below the skin. The Starfishes are
intermediate in this respect. Their "skeleton" consists of a vast number
of pieces or "ossicles," which are of fair size, but are not closely
united, as in the Sea-Urchin. They are, however, so numerous and so well
knit, that the skeleton of a dead Starfish presents the complete outward
form of the animal. It must be noted that the ordinary skeleton of the
Sea-Urchin is only _apparently_ exterior. As is the case with the
ossicles of the Starfish and Sea-Cucumber, the skin lies outside, and
the hard particles belong to the middle layer, or mesoderm. In this the
skeleton of Echinoderms differs from the "shell" of a crab or lobster,
which is formed by a hardening of the skin itself.

[Illustration: FIG. 39.--_A_, Head of a Stone Lily or Encrinite,
_Encrinus liliformis_, a fossil from the Muschelkalk of Brunswick,
natural size. _B_, Rock with stalks of encrinites. _C_, Section of a

The Crinoidea, Encrinites or Stone-Lilies, form another group of the
Echinodermata. Though still represented by living forms, they attained
their maximum development in past ages. The English "Mountain Limestone"
of the Carboniferous period is full of their fossilized remains, which
form a marble often used for ornamental purposes. The so-called "Stone
Lily" consists of a "head" comparable with the body of a Star-fish or
other Echinoderm, which is borne at the end of a long fixed stalk. The
marble above named owes its ornamental appearance to the presence of
these stalks, often very long, and cut through at every possible angle.
The Crinoids have their living representative in English Seas,
_Antedon_, the Feather-Star (Fig. 40). On the side opposite the mouth,
where, in the Encrinite, the stalk would be, there are a group of
elongated processes called cirrhi, by means of which the animal can
attach itself to stones or seaweeds. When not thus fixed, it swims
about, by moving its fringed arms, each of which is forked. It will be
seen that when the animal is fixed by its cirrhi, it stands mouth
upwards, so that its position compared with that of the Starfish or
Sea-Urchin is upside down. The young of the Feather-Stars have stalks by
which they are fixed, like the Encrinites; but afterwards the stalk is

[Illustration: FIG. 40.--A Feather-Star, _Antedon bifida_, British Seas,
three-quarters of the natural size. The short threads in the middle are
the cirrhi.]

Among fossil Echinoderms there are two groups of stalked forms which
have no living representatives. These are the Cystoidea and the
Blastoidea. In both of these the stalk bears, as in Encrinites, a calyx
or head, which is comparable, with the body of the free Echinoderms.

The Sea-Urchins possess a swimming larval stage, which goes through
remarkable changes after passing out of the two-layered (Gastrula)
form. It becomes provided with cilia, which are arranged in bands,
and outgrowths of peculiar form are established in the case of the
Sea-Urchins, while the larvæ of the other groups also present
characteristic shapes. Within the larva the adult form develops, the
outside of the larva being finally thrown off.

In the young Feather-Star, a subsequent stage of the young animal has a
stalk, by which, like the Encrinite, it is fixed. This animal therefore
is at first free-swimming, afterwards fixed, and again free in its final
stage--a remarkable series of changes.

These queer-shaped things, the Sea-Urchins and their allies, are perhaps
the last creatures amongst which we should think of looking for
relations of the Worms. Yet the earliest stages of the larva are
considered to present a certain amount of resemblance to the Wheel-ball
larva, which has been referred to elsewhere (pp. 42 and 72). Still more
startling fact, these larvæ have been compared to that of
_Balanoglossus_, the lowest member of the Chordata, and a relation of
the Vertebrates themselves (see p. 143).


                        { ECHINOIDEA, OR SEA-URCHINS.
                        { ASTEROIDEA, OR STAR-FISHES.
                        { CRINOIDEA, OR FEATHER-STARS AND
                        {   STONE-LILIES.
                        { HOLOTHUROIDEA, OR SEA-CUCUMBERS.



The older zoologists used to speak of Vertebrata and Invertebrata as
animals with a back-bone and animals without one, and everyone thought
it a very natural way of dividing up the animal kingdom. It never
occurred to anyone that it was possible to bridge the interval between
them and find a link between the two. But now the Vertebrata have been
compelled to give up their aristocratic pretensions, and own that they
have risen from the ranks of the common people of the animal world; in
other words, that they are descended from the Invertebrates. Their
family secrets have been published to the world, and now everybody knows
that they have poor relations. But how many, and how nearly related?
This we do not accurately know; consequently the whole zoological world
for many years has concentrated all its energies on attempts to find out
the truth about the matter.

A great sensation was caused by the first discovery of a poor relation
of the vertebrates among the Ascidians, or Leather-bottle animals. These
are named from their shape and texture, for they have a leathery skin.
Now some of these Ascidians have larvæ with a tail; and in the tail
there is a long cord-like structure, which in many essential particulars
resembles the cord which precedes the back-bone in the vertebrate
embryo. This structure is called the Notochord (a string down the back).
The credit of this great discovery belongs to Russia; for the presence
of the Notochord in the Ascidian larva was discovered by A. Kowalevsky,
in 1866.

To the present generation of zoological students, the Chordate
affinities of Ascidians are part of the ABC of knowledge; and it is
hardly possible for them to realise that it is only thirty years ago
since the idea was so new that Huxley, in his "Text-book of the
Vertebrata," only alluded to it in a footnote. Would-be zoological
critics, at a somewhat later period, met the theory with ridicule, for
want of better argument. For critics include not only "those who have
failed in literature and art," but also those who have failed in

The majority of the Ascidians are sessile animals, which fix themselves,
like Sea-Anemones, to some object when they have passed their earliest
stages of growth; and although there are many forms that swim freely,
most authorities are inclined to believe that these have arisen by
adaptation, and that the kinds that are fixed when adult are the
original type of the group.

Anything more unlike what we should expect to find as a relative of the
vertebrates could not possibly be imagined. What has been written about
these little animals by various observers would make a whole series of
volumes of the size of this one, so many are the puzzles afforded by
their internal structure. The arrangement of their organs is in many
respects very unsymmetrical. Their most striking peculiarity, perhaps,
is the nature of the gills. These form a kind of basket-work, consisting
of minute holes with intermediate supports; and they are associated with
a special cavity outside them called the Atrial chamber. Into this the
gills pass the sea-water which they have breathed.

The group, as a whole, is sometimes considered to present evidence of
having degenerated from a higher type; but whatever else may be doubtful
or obscure in its history, the nature of the larval notochord is quite
clear and certain; zoologists have never had any doubt about its nature
since the first few years after its discovery.

Ascidians are not at all uncommon animals on the English coast. Some of
them may be met with on stones near low-water mark, and I have often
seen them on the shells of oysters sold in the shops--for there the
town-dwelling naturalist may often find a good many interesting things
without much trouble. They are like little lumps of tough jelly; of
various colours, according to the kind, red being the most common, and
of very indefinite shape. You may see some of the colonial kinds forming
pretty star-shaped patterns, attached to various objects, such as stones
and the larger seaweeds.

The place of Ascidians in classification was a puzzle, until their
relationship with Vertebrates was discovered. At one time they were
placed with the Mollusca. Now they are grouped, together with the
Vertebrata and some other creatures that remain to be spoken of, under
the name of Chordata, or animals possessing a Notochord.

Some of the Ascidians present what has been already described in other
types (p. 57) as "alternation of generations." The discovery of this
fact was made by the poet Adelbert von Chamisso. Some of his verses are
known to English readers, for whom they were translated by Mary Howitt,
a poetess whose writings were popular with our grandmothers, and
deserved to be so. This is not the only case in which a poet has been
also a zoologist: Goethe studied the science, and framed a theory
regarding the vertebrate skull, which he regarded as consisting of a
series of vertebræ. In this he was less fortunate than the Italian
poet; for while Chamisso's observations were correct, and were confirmed
by subsequent writers, Goethe's theory of the skull is anything but
correct. It was made worse, too, by the speculations of subsequent
writers, who attempted to follow it into detail, with the result of
demonstrating its absurdity.



We have spoken of the Notochord as a structure which precedes the
formation of the spinal column in Vertebrates. This needs a little more
definite explanation. We all know that the spinal column of vertebrates
is formed to protect the spinal cord. This protection is, however, an
afterthought, so to speak, of the vertebrate structure; the lowest of
all vertebrates is quite without it; and in the lower groups of fishes
we may trace various steps of its formation. But in these cases where
the spinal column is absent or incomplete, there is a large and
well-developed notochord; and in the embryo of higher vertebrates, when
the spinal column has not yet begun to be formed, the notochord is
equally a conspicuous feature. It runs from the region known as the
mid-brain, to the end of the tail, and lies throughout just beneath the
spinal cord. Whatever its original use in the animal body may have
been, it undoubtedly acts now as a support to the spinal cord, and
indeed to the whole body. Bones, we must explain, do not exist either in
the lower vertebrate, or in the early embryo. In the latter they are
formed by degrees. The spinal cord and the notochord each begin to be
surrounded by rings of cartilage or gristle, which by degrees is changed
into bone. The rings surrounding the notochord, however, gradually
encroach upon it and obliterate it. The place where it has been becomes
the Centrum, or most solid part of each vertebra. The notochord at first
is continuous, and has no division into successive parts; but when the
bony spinal column is developed, it consists of a series of successive
vertebræ. Each of them is made up of several parts, which by degrees
become consolidated into the vertebræ.

[Illustration: FIG. 41.--_A_, The Notochord of Vertebrates. Section,
considerably magnified, through the middle of an embryo one inch long,
of Acanthias, one of the Spiny Dog-fishes allied to the sharks. 1,
Section through Spinal Cord; 2, Section through Notochord; below it lies
a bean-shaped space, which is a section through a large blood-vessel;
_sk_, epiblast or skin; _me_, mesoblast or middle layer of the body; the
dots represent the nuclei of its transparent cells. The intestine, _i_,
lined with hypoblast, is traversed by a spiral valve, and surrounded by
the horse-shoe shaped body-cavity. _B_, Diagram indicating the position
of the Notochord in the vertebra of an adult Common Dog-fish (_Scyllium
canicula_). 1, "Neural arch" of the vertebra, consisting of processes of
bone enclosing the central nervous system, or spinal cord; 2, bony
centrum of the vertebra, hollowed out into a cup, in which lies a soft
pad, the remains of the notochord.]

The lowest member of the vertebrate group, separated in fact from the
true vertebrates and placed in a lower division all by itself, is the
little animal called the Lancelet or Amphioxus. It is often spoken of as
a "fish"; but it is only by a stretch of our courtesy that it can
receive that name, being an animal of a much lower form than the fishes.
It was discovered in 1834, in the Mediterranean, and described as a
fish; but it had previously been discovered in 1778, by a German
naturalist who described it as a slug. The latter was misled by its
external shape. He had not the advantage of the modern methods of
preparing animals for examination under the microscope; in these days,
Amphioxus is cut into successive slices along its whole length, and each
of these carefully magnified, so that no detail of structure is lost.
The Amphioxus burrows in the sea-sand; it lies buried in it, with its
mouth just uncovered. Its food consists of microscopic vegetable
organisms. Its distribution is very wide; it is found in both the
Atlantic and Pacific waters. It occurs most abundantly in the salt-water
lakes of Sicily, and in the Gulf of Naples. The specimen first seen, in
1778, came from the coast of Cornwall. There are eight species; the one
which is found in the English Channel is the _Amphioxus lanceolatum_,
also found in the Mediterranean and on the shores of North America.

The classes of the Vertebrata are Fishes, Amphibia, Reptiles, Birds and
Mammals. We used to learn that of these, fishes had gills, and Amphibia
gills for a time; but, to be strictly accurate, we must say that fishes
have gills, and _all_ the rest of the Vertebrata have gills for a
time. There is no exception to this rule, not even among the highest
vertebrates of all. But in those vertebrates which stand higher in the
scale of life than Amphibia, viz., Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals, these
gills are never brought into use. They only exist in the early embryo,
and afterwards disappear, giving rise by their modification to other

Strange to say, one of these structures is the ear. This takes its
origin from one of the gill-"clefts" or spaces. The Eustachian tube,
which communicates between the ear and the nose, is part of this cleft;
and the little bones which are inside the ear represent the bones
of that gill-cleft. For, in fishes, bones support each gill, and
are connected together to form a complex arrangement. In the higher
vertebrates, which possess gills only in the embryo, this gill-skeleton
is much modified, and persists as a bone, the hyoid bone supporting the

The gills of vertebrates, arranged in successive pairs along the throat,
are "perforating gills"; that is to say, they consist essentially of
holes or spaces which pass right through the wall of the throat.

If we were to seek for a general character of the vertebrates, besides
those mentioned above, that they all possess a notochord and gills, we
might also find it in the character of the skin. Fishes, Reptiles, Birds
and Mammals, all agree in this, that they have a special clothing of the
skin--scales, feathers and fur, respectively. These three kinds of
structure, although so widely differing in appearance, are practically
formed all in the same way, viz., by alternate ingrowths and outgrowths
of the skin; the ingrowth forming the root of the scale, hair or
feather, and the outgrowth its projecting part. If these infoldings and
outgrowths of the skin could be straightened out into a plane surface,
the skin of a small vertebrate would cover an enormous area. The above
list excludes the Amphibia: in this class, it should be mentioned, the
scales have been lost, and are only found in one group.

The scales of Fishes were at one time proposed as a basis of
classification: large groups being characterized respectively by the
possession of plain rounded scales (cycloids), scales fringed at the
posterior end (ctenoid, or comb-like); placoid scales, consisting of
bony plates, and ganoid scales, large plates covered with shiny enamel.
These distinctions, however, were not found useful as a guide in
classification. The diagram shows the elaborate scales of the common

[Illustration: FIG. 42.--Scales of the Common Sole, highly magnified.]

Let us now consider some other creatures that resemble vertebrates in
some ways, and help to form the group of Chordata. Balanoglossus is one
of them, the Acorn-tongue Animal. This odd name is given to it on
account of a structure which is called (like the elephant's trunk) a
Proboscis; this may be compared with a tongue, so far as its use goes,
for it is thrust out to catch prey and again drawn in. It is oval in
shape, and therefore fancifully compared to an acorn. It is highly
sensitive, being richly supplied with nerves. The creature is to all
intents and purposes a kind of worm; and, like many of the higher
worms, it has a larva with bands of cilia. This larva, which is better
represented in some species than in others, was originally described
under the name of _Tornaeria_. It is considered to resemble, in some
degree, the larva of Echinoderms; on this hint, some zoologists have
sought to establish a connection between Vertebrates and Echinoderms,
and have been able to find other points of comparison besides the one
named. It remains to be seen whether this suggestion will lead to
further results. It may be added that the larva of Balanoglossus has
also been compared with that of Phoronis (p. 122), thus assuming a
relationship with the Polyzoa, and through them with the Brachiopoda. It
appears, therefore, that the subject of the possible relationships of
the Vertebrata is one of the greatest complexity. The last named theory,
however, has been adversely criticised by very high authority.

We have not, however, explained yet what is the claim of Balanoglossus
to be grouped with the Chordata. This consists in the fact that a
certain part associated with the interior of the proboscis has been
identified, from its structure, mode of origin, and relations with
the nerves, as a notochord. Balanoglossus also agrees with the true
vertebrates in possessing successive pairs of perforating gills (see p.
142), which are especially noticeable in the young animal. The presence
of this feature is important, in view of the fact that some authorities
have sought to throw doubt on the genuineness of the notochord of

Balanoglossus is not without relations, some of which have been
recently discovered, while others have been known for some time,
although their affinities were not at first recognised. Among these
the most remarkable are sessile forms which have received the names
respectively of _Cephalodiscus_ and _Rhabdopleura_. Both produce buds
and form a colony, and in both a notochord has been distinguished. The
former was procured from the Straits of Magellan, while the latter makes
its dwelling-place in a nearer region, having been found off the
Shetland Islands, and off the Lofoden Islands. Cephalodiscus, which is a
very curious creature, receives its name from a disc placed at the head
end. The use of this structure is believed to be as follows. The units
of the colony live inside a common system of tubes, which they secrete;
each unit, when adult, is independent, and can move about inside the
tubes; the disc is used as a means of attachment to successive spots of
the tube-wall, as the animal wanders from place to place. Above the disc
are twelve plume-like tentacles covered with cilia, which create a
current in the water surrounding the head, and wash food particles into
the mouth.

That these creatures are but distant relations of the true vertebrates
is a fact expressed by the names under which they are grouped in
classification. Those forms which we have just described have received
the name of Hemichordata--that is to say, Chordata which have but half a
notochord, since the notochord is very restricted in extent; while the
Ascidians are grouped under the name of Urochordata, or Chordata which
only possess a notochord in the tail. The name of Adelochorda, "with an
obscure chord," is sometimes applied to the Hemichordata.


                   { HEMICHORDATA, BALANOGLOSSUS, &c.

Let us return now to the Vertebrate. A character common to all the
groups of the Vertebrata is the possession of teeth. Readers of the
previous volumes of this series will recollect that, even among birds,
instances of the possession of teeth may be found among fossil forms,
although they are absent in the birds of the present day. In all the
other divisions of the Vertebrata, the presence of teeth is the rule,
their absence an exception so rare that we may easily note the chief
instances of it. Among Amphibia, there are Toads that have no teeth;
among Reptiles, the Tortoises and Turtles have none; among Mammals,
teeth are wanting in _Echidna_, the Spiny Ant-eater; and in the
Ant-eaters and the Whalebone Whales they are absent in the adult,
although present in early embryonic life.

The majority of people, if asked to give a definition of the meaning of
teeth, would reply that they are hard structures that grow in the jaw.
But this is an idea that requires very considerable modification from a
scientific point of view. In the first place, they are found in other
places besides the jaws; and in the second place, they are by rights
structures originally belonging to the skin. Both these important facts
must be illustrated by reference to the Fishes, which exhibit the
primitive types of teeth.

In fishes, not only are teeth found on the jawbone, but sometimes also
on other bones which border upon the cavity of the mouth; they are found
on the palatine bone, or roof-plate of the mouth, and, still more
strange, upon bones which belong to the "hyoid apparatus," or skeleton
of the gills (see above). The latter may form a set of throat-teeth,
which are used for grinders, while the jaw-teeth are used for biting.
Among the Carps, the jaw-teeth are reduced, and the fish depends upon
its throat-teeth only. In the Wrasses, one pair of the bones that bear
throat-teeth (the inferior pharyngeal bones) are fused, so as to form a
stronger apparatus: and from this circumstance, the group of Fishes to
which they belong has been given the name of Pharyngognathi, fishes
possessing throat-jaws. They have, however, biting teeth as well, in the
true jaws. The grinding teeth are apparently used for consuming the food
in a leisurely manner when once it has been taken into the mouth.

A curious circumstance in connection with these "throat-jaws" is, that
they produce musical sounds. Fishes have other means, however, of
producing a voice--usually by means of the swimming-bladder and muscles
in connection with it. Probably they are able, to some extent, to effect
communication with each other in this way.

It has already been stated that teeth, in their primitive form, are to
be regarded as skin-structures. Certain fish, which are looked upon as
ancestral types, have, dispersed throughout the skin, a number of bony
plates, or granules (placoid scales), more or less formidable, and
tipped with a hard enamel-like substance. Teeth are regarded as but a
special form of these. But if they are skin-structures, how come they in
the mouth and throat? Because the mouth and throat are lined by an
ingrowth from the external skin; the origin and growth of this is seen
in the embryo.

In the Mammalia the teeth, though restricted in number, attain the
greatest possible variety of form, so that the jaws of different but
allied species may be distinguished by their teeth.

Let us now return to the lowest vertebrate of all, which has a large
notochord and no bones. This is the _Amphioxus_, the Lancelet. Amphioxus
has no bones whatever, and no head, in the sense in which we usually
employ that term; that is to say, most of the structures which we see in
the vertebrate head are undeveloped. The peculiarities of the structure
of Amphioxus are many. Among them may be named the curious gills: these
form a sort of basket-work along the sides of the throat, which at first
sight bears little resemblance to the gills of fishes, and reminds us of
those of Ascidians. The gills lead also, as in Ascidians, to another
cavity, the Atrial chamber. This basket-work is formed, however, by the
subdivision of the primary pairs of gills. These are very numerous,
ninety pairs being sometimes named as the number. They cut up the wall
of the throat to such an extent, that additional supporting bars are
needed to strengthen it; and, by the formation of these, both in
parallel and in transverse directions to the primary partitions, the
"basket-work" is produced, as the growth of the animal proceeds.

The primitive nature of the notochord is, however, perhaps the most
striking feature of Amphioxus. The chord passes to the front of the
animal's snout--head it can hardly be called--instead of ending in the
middle of the brain, as in true vertebrates, for there is, indeed, no
"brain" of any extent to lie in front of it; and the notochord, together
with the spinal cord itself, have no other protection than a fibrous
sheath. The spinal column is thus entirely absent, except so far as it
may be regarded as represented by this thin sheath.

The Lancelet also differs from the true vertebrates, in that it has no
limbs. There is a fringing fin along the body, but it is not comparable
with the fins of fishes. It differs also in possessing no teeth.

In one respect, however, the Lancelet reminds us of a fish: and that is
in the arrangement of its muscles; these form a successive series of
overlapping masses on each side of the body, as in a fish.

The development of the Lancelet presents us with an instance of
the two-layered larva, or Gastrula. This shows that Amphioxus is a
comparatively primitive type. But it has been suspected that it is less
primitive than it looks, and that it has degenerated from some higher
form, owing to its preferring a dull mode of existence, half-buried in
sand or mud.

There is a huge gap between the Lancelet and the true vertebrates. The
lowest form of the latter is _Ammocoetes_, the larva of the Lamprey
(_Petromyzon_). The latter, even in the adult form, has no true limbs,
though there are fringing fins. The notochord sheath is supplemented,
however, by cartilage bars which are equivalent to the beginnings of the
vertebræ of the back-bone. The gills are very different from those of
other true vertebrates, and it has no jaws. Teeth it has, however, on
the tongue and the lining of the mouth. Probably this creature is
greatly altered by adaptation to its peculiar mode of life, so that no
certain conclusions can be drawn from it regarding the structure of
primitive fishes. It has a sucking mouth, by means of which it hangs on
to fishes, while it rasps away their flesh with its rough tongue. When
not thus engaged, it hangs on to a stone by means of its suctional
mouth, thus fixing itself at rest. The Hag-fish, _Myxine_, in many
respects similar, devours dead fishes chiefly. The Hag-fish is found on
English coasts: so is the Marine Lamprey; while two freshwater forms are
found in streams.

Leaving the Cyclostomata, as the above fishes are called, we reach the
true fishes, which have limbs and scales. Something has already been
said regarding their teeth and gills. The Cartilaginous fishes, in
which most part of the skeleton remains gristle and does not become
transformed into bone, include the Sharks, Rays, and Dog-fishes, all
savage animals with strong teeth. The common spotted Dog-fish of our own
shores is familiar to everybody: fishermen regard it with disgust, as it
is not eatable. The Rays are flattened fishes, which live at the bottom
of rather deep water, and attain enormous size even on our own coasts.
The Thornback Skate is covered with prickles (placoid scales). All these
fishes are grouped under the name of Elasmobranchii, the Strap-gilled,
so called from the structure of the gill-arches.

The majority of familiar fishes, such as the herring, mackerel, cod and
sole, belong to the group of _Teleostei_, or Bony Fishes, in which, by
contradistinction from the last group, as much of the skeleton as
possible becomes bone. Nevertheless, traces of the notochord persist in
the back-bone of these fishes. Break the back-bone across, of a cod or a
sole, and you will find between adjacent sides of the centra, or middle
parts of the vertebræ, a pad of gristly substance. This is the remaining
substance of the notochord, which finds room between the cup-shaped
sides of the centra. When the centrum, instead of being biconcave, is
solid, as in the higher Vertebrata, the notochord is obliterated by its

The Amphibia, familiarly represented by Frogs and Toads, receive their
name, "adapted for both lives," from the fact that they usually divide
their lives between land and water. They are, from one point of view,
the most interesting of the classes of the Vertebrata, for they form a
dividing line between the lower and upper Chordata. Below we have
Hemichordata, Ascidians, Amphioxus, Fishes; all water-dwellers,
breathing by gills. Above, we have Reptiles, Birds, Mammals,
air-breathers, never possessing gills, except for a short time, as
rudiments in the embryo, not brought into use. They are linked by the
Amphibia, in which we see the larva a water-dweller, breathing by gills;
the adult, an air-breather, adapted for life on land, and obliged to
come to the surface to breathe, even when it passes its time in the
water. The individual Amphibian tells us the past history of the higher
groups; once they had gills--but growing older, they lost them.

Fig. 43 shows us an outline sketch of Amphibian larvæ; we should require
an enlarged diagram of an earlier stage, to show the gills, which are
external and projecting at first, but afterwards are overgrown by the
skin with the exception of an orifice on each side. The diagram shows
the gradual change of form. The tails in these tadpoles will presently
be lost, for they belong to the Anura, or tail-less order of Amphibia
(Frogs and Toads). The tailed Amphibians, Urodela, are represented in
Great Britain by the Newts, _Triton_, popularly called Efts. Belonging
to the Tailed Amphibians also, is the Axolotl, a creature found in the
lakes of Mexico, and in those of the Rocky Mountains. It may or may not
retain its gills; and forms with gills, and forms without, may be found
in the same lake, each capable of laying eggs. The two forms were at
first described under two different generic names: but when specimens of
the gill-bearing _Siredon_, kept in confinement, lost their gills, it
was seen that they became _Amblystoma_. There are other cases of larval
forms that produce young, and this curious occurrence is known as

[Illustration: FIG. 43.--Tadpoles, three-quarters of their natural size.
_A_ to _D_, different stages of the Tadpole of the Common Toad, from
Epping Forest, England. _E_, Tadpole of _Pelodytes punctatus_, dorsal

The Amphibia include the curious creatures called Cæciliæ (blind
animals), or Gymnophiona. They are snake-like in form, and are without
limbs; they burrow underground. Their real place in classification was
not found out at first, but they were classed, by a wrong shot, with the
Reptiles. They are interesting as being the only Amphibians that have
scales. These are very minute, embedded in the skin, and arranged in
transverse rings. The name Gymnophiona, naked serpents, is therefore
doubly inapplicable: for they are not serpents, and not scaleless.

The Reptiles and Birds at first sight seem to be widely different. The
latter are the warmest blooded of all vertebrates, the former are
coldblooded. The one wear feathers, the other scales. Nevertheless,
there is an intimate connection between them; the reader has doubtless
already learned from other sources the facts about their relationship,
so we will not here do more than recall a few of these facts. One is,
that the birds of earlier times had teeth in their beaks, and possessed
jointed tails. Another, that the Reptiles of earlier times included
forms that were able to fly. A third notable fact is the presence of
claws on the wings of some birds, showing that the wing of the bird was
not always wholly specialised for use in flight.

We owe to Professor Huxley, the recognition of the close relationship of
Birds and Reptiles, and the name Sauropsida (Reptile-like animals),
under which both are included. They agree in being air-breathers and
never having gills, except the rudiments present in the early embryo:
this distinguishes them from Amphibia. They agree in having the skull
set on to the back-bone by a single articulating surface or condyle; and
thus differ alike from Amphibia and from Vertebrata. They agree in
having the red corpuscles of the blood nucleated; and in this differ
from the Mammalia, in which the red corpuscles are non-nucleated discs.
From a popular point of view, we may say that the striking distinction
between birds and reptiles lies in beauty and ugliness. Even in their
eggs, the reptiles display no love for adornment, no colouring or
pattern. Fig. 44 shows the eggs of some reptiles.

[Illustration: FIG. 44.--Eggs of Reptiles, half the natural size.
_A_, of African Cobra. _B_, of Common English Snake. _C_, of Common
English Lizard, _Lacerta agilis_. _D_, of Elephantine Tortoise. _E_,
of Crocodile.]

The five chief groups of existing reptiles are the Chelonia (Tortoises
and Turtles); the Rhyncocephala, represented only by _Hatteria_, a
lizard found in New Zealand; the Lacertilia or Lizards; the Ophidia, or
Snakes and Serpents; and the Crocodilia.

Perhaps the most interesting point regarding the reptiles that can be
mentioned in brief space, is the fact that they present traces of a
median third eye, which have been described by Baldwin Spencer, in the
New Zealand Hatteria, and in other reptiles. It is situated on the roof
of the brain. While the structure in Hatteria shows it to be an eye, its
position corresponds with that of the pineal gland of vertebrates
generally; so that we find, in fact, the trace of a third eye in all
vertebrates, including ourselves. It is, however, a trace only. In the
Lamprey fishes as well as in _Hatteria_, it reaches a further degree of
development. This pineal eye has been compared in structure to the eye
of Ascidians.

The Birds, excluding the extinct form with teeth and a jointed tail,
to which the group name of Archæornithes is given, fall into two
groups. These are the Ratitæ, or Birds with Raft-like, _i.e._ flat,
breast-bones, and the Carinatæ, or Birds with keeled breast-bones. The
former include the African Ostrich (_Struthio_), the American Ostrich
(_Rhea_), the Australian Emu, the Cassowary of New Guinea, and the Kiwi,
or Apteryx of New Zealand; all of them birds that cannot fly. The
vast majority of birds belong to the Carinatæ, characterised by the
projecting keel (Carina) in the middle of the breast-bone. The presence
of this, which affords a safe attachment for strong muscles, is
associated with the power of flight. It is impossible to treat the birds
more fully in the space allotted to this little story, but a few words
about feathers, however, may find a place here.

The colour of feathers is a subject of much interest. Everyone is
familiar with the brilliant tints often presented by the feathers of
birds, and everyone who is a close observer of natural objects knows
that there are some feathers which are iridescent, changing colour
according to the direction in which light falls on them. It has been
shown by Dr. Gadow that this variation of the colour of a feather is due
to its structure; this may be described as prismatic, for the small
divisions of the feather present acute angular edges, which reflect the
light like the edges of a prism. These are symmetrically repeated all
along the feathers, so as to reflect the same colour throughout. Thus in
the plumage of the common red and green parrot, we see feathers that are
red when held in one position, and yellow when shifted to another
position; while there are also feathers that are blue when seen in one
position, and green when seen in another; the alternative colour being
the one next in order in the rainbow.

Another point regarding the colours of feathers has no doubt puzzled
many of our readers; and that is, the metallic quality of the colouring
in some exceptional feathers, and in these only. The feathers of the
parrot just referred to, are, for instance, simply red and yellow, or
blue and green; but the feathers of the peacock, though displaying the
same colours, show a metallic lustre which is wanting in the other case.
The feathers of the starling, the blackbird, and the black hen of the
farmyard, though not so brilliant as those of the peacock, are the same
as regards the quality of the light they reflect. The secret of the
difference lies in the greater opacity of the feathers named; they are
_black_ feathers, while those of the parrot are light-coloured. Now
after the metals themselves, there are few objects in nature so opaque
as the black pigment of a black feather. If a thin section through
the roots of young black feathers is cut for examination under the
microscope, the pigmented parts, although cut so very thin, appear
completely opaque. And just as a glass gives a better reflection when
backed by something opaque, so does the reflecting surface of the
feather. Hence it is that the quality of the colours reflected by these
feathers is what we call "metallic." If we ask for a definition of this
metallic brightness, other than the accepted fact that it resembles the
light reflected from metals, the artist will reply that it consists in
two things--(1) the greater brilliancy of the light reflected, that is
to say the greater completeness of the reflection; and (2) the entire
absence of those gradations of light which are afforded by the
reflections from any object, however dark, that possesses a surface
translucent, even in the smallest degree. "Metallic" reflections, in
fact, may be defined as those in which the greatest amount of light is
reflected, and the reflected sunlight receives from the reflecting
surface the least possible degree of modification. While the actual tint
of the colour reflected by a black feather, then, is determined by the
form and position of its angular ridges, the quality of the reflection
is determined by the opacity of the substance itself. It is interesting
to note that the opacity necessary for reflecting a "metallic" lustre,
may be produced by means of pigment, in the vegetable as well as in the
animal organism; for instance, in the dark centres of _Coreopsis_ (the
Beetle Flower), and several other fashionable garden plants belonging to
the Compositæ or Daisy family. Within the animal kingdom, we may note
that the metallic lustre is almost entirely confined to land animals;
their dry skins have more chance to develop opaque parts, than the moist
tissues of creatures that live in the water. The most familiar exception
to this rule is the Sea-Mouse, an Annelid worm found on English coasts
(p. 73), which receives its odd name because it is a fat oval creature,
covered with bristles, thus greatly differing in appearance from most
worms. The larger bristles, which are of a dark purplish-black colour,
have a bronze or golden metallic lustre. Various other annelids exhibit
brilliant rainbow colours; for example, _Nereis_, the Rainbow Worm, also
found on English shores; but without the underlying black opaque
pigment, the reflections from the surface fall short of absolutely
metallic brightness. On land, we see among the insects innumerable forms
which present a metallic lustre, the beetles being the most notable in
this respect. To return to the vertebrates, from which we started,
everybody must have noticed that the fur of a clean well-kept black cat,
when lit up by the bright sunlight in which the animal loves to bask,
shows little rainbow reflections of red and green. These are due to the
presence of little grooves and irregularities on the surface of the
hairs, which play the same part in breaking up the light which they
reflect, as do the sharp angles of iridescent feathers. Like the
iridescence of the Rainbow Worm, they fall short of absolutely metallic
brightness; the fault in this case being due not to the nature of the
underlying stratum, so much as to the incomplete development of the
light-reflecting grooves. Yet this instance serves to show the part
taken by the dark pigment; for while the play of colours is perfectly
obvious in the fur of a black cat, it is almost impossible to
distinguish it in the case of cats with fur of lighter shades.

The Mammalia, or animals that suckle their young and produce them by
birth, were formerly considered to be sharply defined from animals that
lay eggs, such as the birds and reptiles. But in 1884 Mr. Caldwell
confirmed the statement which had been made previously, yet hardly
credited by the scientific world, to the effect that the lowest form of
mammals lays eggs. This, the Duck-Mole or _Ornithorhyncus anatinus_
(Bird-billed animal much like a goose), is a native of Australia and
Tasmania. It lives on the banks of rivers, and burrows in the bank. It
has webbed feet, and therefore sometimes receives the name of Platypus
(flat-foot). It lays eggs two at a time, in its burrow; and these eggs,
like those of other egg-laying vertebrates, have a yolk.

A kindred form, _Echidna hystrix_ or Spiny Ant-eater, is found in
Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The _Echidna_ hatches its young
in a temporary pocket, which appears in the neighbourhood of the
breasts, and disappears after the young are old enough to take care of
themselves. The _Ornithorhyncus_ has fur, the _Echidna_ has spines, with
hairs between them. Neither bears the slightest resemblance to a bird;
the comparison suggested in the name of _Ornithorhyncus_ is fanciful,
and depends chiefly on the flat beak-like mouth; these egg-laying
quadrupeds may, however, be reasonably brought into comparison with
Reptiles. Neither of them has any teeth; the _Echidna_ has no teeth at
all; the _Ornithorhyncus_ loses them at an early stage of growth, and
develops instead hard horny patches in each jaw. With these it crushes
its food, which consists of small insects, worms, etc. The _Echidna_, on
the contrary, lives in rocky places, and feeds on ants, which it
searches for with its long-pointed snout. These two genera are grouped
under the name of Prototheria or Primitive Mammals.

The pocket in which _Echidna_ hatches its young, suggests a relationship
with the next group, the Metatheria or Marsupialia, which are the
characteristic mammals of Australasia. These are distinguished by the
possession of a permanent nursery-pocket, the "marsupium." In this they
put their young, which are born, like those of other mammals, not
hatched from eggs like those of the last group. They are, however, born
in a very backward condition, and therefore require to go through a
further period of incubation, so to speak, in the marsupium. Here each
one attaches itself to a teat, to which it remains fixed. But it cannot
suck as a new-born kitten or puppy does; and the milk is forced down its
throat by the muscles of the teat.

[Illustration: FIG. 45.--Skull and Lower Jaw of Great Kangaroo,
_Macropus giganteus_, much reduced.]

The Marsupialia are not entirely confined to Australasia; a few occur
in South America, and in North America they are represented by the
"'possum," _i.e._ Opossum, of American stories. The Marsupials seem
almost to mimic the forms of ordinary quadrupeds. Thus _Notoryctes_, a
form discovered a few years ago, mimics a mole. The fact is that, just
as among the Eutheria, or higher mammals, special types have become
established, possessed of certain habits, and especially of certain
habits with regard to food, and modified in accordance with those
habits. Thus there are among them savage carnivora, harmless herbivora,
and rodents; and these respectively share certain characteristics in
common with the carnivora, herbivora, and rodents, belonging to the
Eutheria. One of the herbivorous marsupials is the Great Kangaroo,
_Macropus_. It gets its name, Large-foot, from the size of its
hind-paws; on these it stands, and by their aid it takes remarkably long
leaps. Its skull is shown in Fig. 45; this, however, has not the full
set of teeth, some of which are soon shed. It crops the herbage with its
front teeth, and grinds it with its back teeth, like other herbivora.

[Illustration: FIG. 46.--Skull and lower jaw of Rodent; _i_, _i_,
incisor teeth, separated by a long interval from the molars. About
one-half the natural size.]

The study of the teeth is of great help in the classification of the
Mammalia. Of the eight orders of the Eutheria, two alone, the Sloth
order and the Whale order, show a tendency to the suppression of the
teeth. Those of the herbivora and carnivora may easily be compared by
anyone, in the sheep and the dog respectively. Fig. 46 shows the skull
of a Rodent, with elongated front teeth, adapted for that persistent
gnawing which makes the animals of the order, such as the Rat and
Rabbit, so terribly destructive.


                   { 1. PROTOTHERIA, or EGG-LAYING MAMMALS.
                   {      One order, the MONOTREMATA.
    =MAMMALIA.=    {
                   { 2. METATHERIA, or MARSUPIAL MAMMALS.
                   { 3. EUTHERIA, or HIGHER MAMMALS.

The Mammalia are a terrestrial group. Exceptions are the Cetacea
(Whales), Sirenia (Dugongs), and Seals or Sea-Carnivora, but all of
these are air-breathers; even the Whale can only stay under water for a
limited period of time. Hence we see that none of them are really
animals belonging to the water; they are land animals adapted for life
in the water.

This brings us very near to the last chapter in the Story of Animal
Life. We have seen that our story began with the One-celled Animals, and
went on with the tale of the Two-layered Animals, in which each layer
was built up by cells in partnership. From Two-layered Animals we passed
to Three-layered Animals, and from them to Three-layered Animals with a
"body-cavity." When we reached the latter, we found amongst them traces
of the ancestry of the vertebrates. From the lowest of the Vertebrata,
the Lancelet, we passed on to the Lamprey, and from that to the true
fishes. In the latter we found the parent type of all the other
Vertebrata, possessing gills in the adult, while the latter only possess
them, or traces of them, in early stages of growth. The Amphibia formed
a group to themselves, in which we traced the loss of gills in the
adult. In the Reptiles, four-legged egg-laying animals, we found not
only a close relationship with birds, but also, through the four-legged
egg-laying _Ornithorhyncus_, a relationship with the Mammalia. The last
group comprises all the furry animals, and culminates in the order
Primates, in which the great Cuvier included Man.


                                                          KEY TO TABLE:

                                                          A ARTHROPODA.
                                                          B VERTEBRATA.
                                                          C CHORDATA.

               LAND                         WATER

    Except a few forms living  --All the PROTOZOA.
      living in damp
      places, or as
                               --All the SPONGES.
                               --All the COELENTERATA.
    Except a few forms         --VERMES.
      terrestrial, and
      many parasitic

    Insects, except            --A very few adult forms and }
    Except Wood-lice and           a few larvæ.             }
      a very few others        --CRUSTACEA.                 } A
    Spider-like animals,                                    }
      except                   --_Limulus._                 }
                               --All the BRACHIOPODA.
                               --All the POLYZOA.
                               --All the ECHINODERMATA.
    Except the Land-snails     --MOLLUSCA.
                               --HEMICHORDATA.                      }
                               --UROCHORDATA, or Ascidians.         }
                               --All the Fishes: (some few can      }
                                    exist in damp places)      }    }
                      Amphibia belong to both.                 }    }
    All the Reptiles           --Except swimming forms,        }    }
                                   which are nevertheless      }    }
                                   air-breathers, only         }    }
                                   partially adapted for       }    }
                                   water life: Tortoises       }    }
                                   and Turtles, Crocodiles     }    }
                                   and Water-Snakes, _e.g._    }    } C
                                                               }    }
    All the Birds: swimming and                                } B  }
     diving forms are only adapted                             }    }
     for temporary visits to the                               }    }
     water                                                     }    }
    All the Mammals            --Except Whales, Sirenia,       }    }
                                   and Seals, which are        }    }
                                   nevertheless                }    }
                                   air-breathers, only         }    }
                                   partially adapted           }    }
                                   for water life.             }    }

Another volume of this series, "The Story of the Earth," has already
dealt with the distribution of animal life in time; while "The Story of
Animal Life in the Sea" tells about the present inhabitants of the
ocean. It is therefore unnecessary to say much in this volume regarding
the distribution of animal life. A table is, however, appended, which is
not without interest. It shows how the chief great groups of animals are
divided between land life and water life, whether in fresh water or
salt. It will be seen that the terrestrial animals are much in a
minority, and that they belong, for the most part, to the higher types.
They are, in fact, stragglers, bold emigrants from the early home of
animal life, which lies in the more shallow parts of the waters of the



If we are to accept the opinion of Dr. Isaac Watts, man, as a moral
being, is distinctly inferior to the "birds in their little nests," who
live in harmony with one another; and, again, if we are to believe
Solomon, he is by no means always the equal in intelligence of the Ant.
Yet somehow it came as a shock to many who had been accustomed to revere
both these authors, when they were asked, early in the latter half of
the nineteenth century, to regard man, from a zoological point of view,
as just a little superior to the Apes.

Then arose a great agitation as to the possibility of finding the
Missing Link. We shall see later on in this chapter, that if Research
had been content, like Charity, to begin at home, its industry would
have been duly rewarded.

But inquiry, carried far afield in time and place, has not been without
result. For it is generally believed that the remains found in 1894 in
Java by Dr. Eugène Dubois, are veritably those of the Missing Link.
These remains, which consist of the top of a skull, two teeth and a
thigh bone, belong either to the oldest Pleistocene age, or to the upper
Pliocene; they are found in association with the remains of other
animals, among which are included some forms now extinct, or absent from
that region. These ape-like remains have been carefully compared with
those of the lowest races of man which have hitherto been found in a
fossil state, and the result of the comparison is as follows: Of twelve
experts present at the Zoological Congress held at Leyden, "three held
that the fossil remains belonged to a low race of man, three declared
them to be those of a man-like ape of great size; the rest maintained
that they belonged to an intermediate form, which directly connected
primitive man with the anthropoid apes" (Haeckel). To the creature
represented by these bones has been assigned the name of
_Pithecanthropus erectus_, the Upright Ape-Man.

Let us now return from the subject of the Java fossil to those inquiries
which, as we have above suggested, begin at home. We have already
referred to the great principle of modern zoology, that the history of
the development of the individual sums up the history of the development
of the race. Of late years it has occurred to scientific men to apply
this principle in the case of human beings, and to ask, "What can the
baby teach us?"

The Baby, for one thing, has a very small nose, insignificant compared
with the size of its jaw. At least scientists find that this is the case
with their babies--if would, of course, be invidious to make such a
remark regarding their friends' children; and still more so to add, that
in this the Baby differs from the human adult, and somewhat resembles
the Ape, in which the nose is still less prominent, and the jaw still
more so. Observations have been made, too, regarding the Baby's
remarkable power of "holding on" with its hands. While a Baby is, in
most respects, a very weak creature, yet its powers of grip have been
favourably compared with those of adult human beings. No one who has
ever tried to rescue his watch or his hair from the clutches of a
friend's Baby, will feel inclined to doubt the conclusions of scientific
observers regarding the point in question.

The observations above referred to were made by Dr. Louis Robinson. He
drew his conclusions from the study of sixty cases, all of them infants
less than a month old; and of these at least half were tested within an
hour of their birth.

In every instance except two, says Dr. Robinson, the child was able to
hang on by its hands to the finger, or to a small stick three quarters
of an inch in diameter, and to sustain the whole weight of its body for
at least ten seconds. "In twelve cases, in infants under an hour old,
half a minute passed before the grasp relaxed, and in three or four
cases nearly a minute." In infants of about four days old, increased
strength was shown, and "nearly all, when tried at this age, could
sustain their weight for half a minute. At about a fortnight or three
weeks after birth the faculty appeared to have attained its maximum,
for several at this period succeeded in hanging for over a minute and a
half, two for over two minutes, and one infant of three weeks old for
_two minutes thirty-five seconds_!" "Thus," says Dr. Robinson, "a
three-weeks-old baby can perform a feat of muscular strength that would
tax the powers of many a healthy adult. If any of my readers doubt
this," he adds, "let them try hanging by their hands from a horizontal
bar for three minutes."

In these facts Dr. Robinson finds something to remind us of the
ape-babies that owe their safety to their capability of holding on to a
tree-climbing mother; and also something to suggest connection with an
ancestor which, although well accustomed to the use of its hands, had
yet to learn the use of its feet for walking on flat ground.

The same author, in discussing the "Meaning of a Baby's Footprint," has
shown that the foot of a young child bears traces of adaptation to a
state of existence in which it was used for purposes other than that of

"The toes of infants," says Dr. Robinson, "are much more mobile than
those of adults. The great toe is shorter than the second and third,
and is often separated from the second by a considerable interval.
The four outer toes can be, and frequently are, bent downwards so as
to show a distinct knuckle on the upper aspect of the foot at the
metatarso-phalangeal joint, and when at the same time the great toe is
flexed and turned inwards towards the sole, the front part of the foot
makes a very respectable fist. The great and little toes are often made
to approach one another beneath the rest, and I have seen one child who
could almost make them touch, and who habitually would endeavour to make
the great toe oppose the others when any graspable object was brought
into contact with the front part of the sole."[E]

[E] _Nineteenth Century_ for May, 1892.

Regarding the lines in the sole of the foot, Dr. Robinson says: "The
sole is covered with lines of a character exactly similar to those on
the hand; and when the toes are bent downwards these become deep
creases, showing that they are, like the palmar lines, the natural
folding-places of the integument to facilitate the action of
grasping.... The lines are scarcely visible at fourteen months old, and
are only present in a few cases after the age of two years. In adults no
trace of them can be seen when the foot is at rest, and only the
faintest indication at one or two spots when the toes are flexed to the
utmost. The obliteration is doubtless owing to the foot being used as an
organ for progression rather than prehension, and it will be seen that
the most distinct line crosses the sole at the spot where the epidermis
is always dense and callous, and the subcutaneous tissues thickened into
a cushion-like pad by the pressure and friction consequent on walking.
This line undoubtedly marks the place where the chief fold in the skin
was situated, when the toes were habitually clasped round some object
such as the branch of a tree." It has been pointed out by other writers
that the lines of the sole of the foot can plainly be seen in the adult
foot of some savage races. It must be added, however, that the survival
of the lines in the adult civilised foot is by no means so rare as Dr.
Robinson's remarks would lead one to suppose. I have seen instances in
which they were quite clearly marked. It must be added that anyone who
wishes to confirm my observations in this respect must be careful not to
mistake lines of disfigurement, caused by the pressure of boots, which
are sufficiently common, for the primitive lines of the foot.

The child, as it grows, ceases to remind us of the ape. Its nose gets
bigger as its toes cease to wriggle and learn to stand. But, for years
of its life, it is only too apt to remind us of the savage. How greedy
it often is! How readily it snatches that which does not belong to it!
How quick it is to quarrel with its playmates, and to fight! How noisy
when at play! How cross when it meets with disappointment! How fond of
tawdry things! In all these qualities we see the history of the race,
repeating itself in the life of the individual. The savage has preceded
the civilised family--the child shows us the faults of a lower race.
With the elapse of years they disappear, and are replaced by the more
amiable and gracious manners of the adult human being.

Nor do we need to go into the nursery to find links with our inferiors.
Much, indeed far too much, has been written of late years about
"atavistic degeneracy"; that is to say, degeneracy which imitates the
characteristics of our forefathers. Many things which are classed as
diseases, whether of the body, mind, or moral nature, may be explained
in this way. Take the gills, which, as we have stated, exist in all
vertebrates, but not in the adult of the highest groups. In a sickly
individual, even among the highest vertebrates, traces of these are
sometimes seen existing in the adult, as a gap or open space in the
neck, called by the medical man "cervical fistula": this is an instance
of degeneracy in the body. Take, for another instance, the kleptomaniac,
who snatches up everything he takes a fancy to, although he is not in
want. This is degeneracy of the mind, a relic of savage nature out of
place in civilised man. Yet the gill-space is an ancestral feature which
has its right time to appear, though it is out of place in the adult;
and the "want-to-snatch" stage, as we have already seen, is quite
natural in the young child. A parallel instance to the last is that of
the hysterical girl who invents all sorts of tales about her harrowing
adventures, weaving in stories she has heard of other people, with an
account of her own life. She is an impostor; but her instinct for
weaving yarns is that of the savage, who is the more admired by his
fellows the more he can show himself a liar. Even the dangerous
criminal, such as the Anarchist assassin, is comparable with the
treacherous savage, who stabs his guest, and with the fierce animal that
bites the hand that feeds it.

The causes of degeneracy may seem obscure. But if we turn to our
gardens, how easily is the process understood! Leave a cultivated plant
to look after itself; neither watered, nor manured, nor weeded; and how
long will it be before the plant resembles its wild ancestors? The
flower will be less fine, the leaves more weedy; the whole aspect of the
plant is changed. The causes: insufficient food and water, and the
struggle for root space, standing-room, and light, with the weeds
around it. Just in like manner the human being, when unfed, unwashed,
and untaught, begins to degenerate. The want of fresh air and light
associated with slum life, and even in the country, associated with the
homes of the poor, are factors in the case that are not to be forgotten.
Add to these drink, and the other sins of the fathers which are visited
on the children. All these are among the causes of degeneracy.

Nay more, the very virtues of the parents, as we account them, may lead
to the degeneracy of the offspring. Overwork, either physical or mental,
causes the deterioration of the family, and in our days nearly every man
successful in any career, either commercial or intellectual, is guilty
of overwork. The "haste to be rich," equally with the haste to be
famous, tells on the next generation. Those who are fond of moralising
at the expense of their neighbours, enjoy pointing out the
unsatisfactory careers of the sons of men who have become rich. Almost
invariably such a one is idle, we are told, and fond of pleasure.
Good cause has he to be so. He comes into the world with weakened
constitution, owing to his father's strenuous career; and if he were to
work as hard as his father, he would probably soon be dead; or at least
his children, in their turn, would be miserable and diseased. Nature
guides his inclinations, and whispers "Do not work too hard," "Do not
deny yourself too much"; and thus, so long as his father's money
maintains him, his life is preserved.

What is the kind of degeneracy that overtakes the family of the
brain-worker? The modern world is full of it. We owe to the unamiable
genius of Max Nordau a criticism of the intellectual world of the
present day, which attributes well-nigh all the follies of intellectual
cliques to degeneracy. Poetry, which is "full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing," rich in rhyme and alliteration, but wanting in
sense; art which seeks effect by loud and inharmonious colours; music
which rejects "mere melody": in these the critic sees the taste of the
savage, fond of a jingle of words, fond of bright colours, and ignorant
of middle tints; and fond of noise without a tune.

The so-called æsthetic movement which, a few years ago, wrought such
marvels in decoration and in dress, comes in for a share of the critic's
analysis. The dull senses of the degenerate cannot appreciate the soft
colours which ordinary persons like to look at; to attract his attention
and to please his fancy, he must have staring red, or staring blue. Or,
if he possesses an object which is of special interest, he must bring
this into contrast with a very sombre background, lest by chance it
should miss being seen.

I met with an amusing instance the other day which is much to the point.
In a remote part of the British Isles, two friends, immigrants from the
world of "culture," had been criticising the landscape. It was a pity,
they agreed, that everything was so grey and dull; otherwise the
neighbourhood might have been pretty. If only the cottagers could be got
to grow something in their gardens that would give a touch of _colour_
to the scene! These poor creatures had before their purblind sight all
Nature's rich harmony of colour, which affords such pleasure to persons
of true taste. Green fields, brown rocks, blue sea, and blue sky, all
were dull to them. Wild flowers of a score of kinds, and bright with
every colour--these were too insignificant to be visible. They wanted
some big patch of vivid colour, perfectly inappropriate to the climate
and surroundings. Some exotic plant was needed, in their opinion, to
give a touch of brightness. The harmony of colour and beauty of form in
our native plants, and in the common flowers of cottage gardens, were
imperceptible to their unobservant eyes. Their intelligence was on a
level with that of the savage, who is impressed by new and striking
objects, and delighted by gaudy colours, but finds no beauty in wild
nature or in accustomed things. These people were typical specimens of
the degenerate of the book-reading classes; dull of understanding and
wanting in taste, as the result of mental overwork in several successive
generations; immeasurably inferior in æsthetic capabilities to the
untaught peasants and fishermen of the district they would fain
enlighten--for these appreciate the beauty of their country, and love
its flowers.

Much might be added regarding atavistic degeneracy, as an explanation of
the mental and moral defects of human beings. Its most frequent form,
perhaps, is that of mere laziness. The Ape does not work; nor does the
savage, if he can possibly help it. Civilised man, if thoroughly sound
in mind and body, likes activity, and activity with a purpose. The poor
man takes a pride in his labour; the rich man takes a pride in his skill
in games, his learning, or his efforts to benefit others. The idler,
disinclined for either hearty work or hearty play, is a Degenerate. Of
late there has been much discussion of a plan for treating the confirmed
idler as a criminal. It will be seen from the remarks made above, that
there are equally good reasons for treating him as an invalid. In
criticising the plans of would-be reformers, this fact should not be
forgotten. He was a wise man who said "You cannot, by passing an Act of
Parliament, make a Vice into a Crime."

It must, however, be remarked that the doctrine of degeneracy has lost
both in force and in usefulness, by the treatment it has received at the
hands of those who have constituted themselves its popular exponents.
Some of these writers have made it but too evident that their criticisms
are often captious, and that their definition of degeneracy includes all
human failings--except their own. The reader who devotes a little
attention to the subject will, however, readily find an explanation
of this: for he will easily recognise, in the popular writers on
Degeneracy, the characteristics of the Degenerate, as described by

First, the choice of a disagreeable subject, when the whole field of
science lay open to them: for the Degenerate prefers a disagreeable
subject. Secondly, the almost universal discovery of causes of
dissatisfaction, in every possible direction: for the Degenerate is
always vexed with everybody--except himself. Again, the want of
principle shown in appealing to the morbid tastes of the public,
by laying before it information on disagreeable subjects: for the
Degenerate is lacking in principle; what does it matter to him how much
harm is done to weak minds by his writings, so long as he sees in such
writings a safe means of securing eager readers and liberal pay? Again,
the Degenerate seeks notoriety; and this is easily secured by writing
books that discuss the morbid side of life.

Above all, the habit of carrying the war of criticism into regions of
art and culture with which the writer is obviously unfamiliar: this
also marks the tendency of the writer's mind. To criticise the doing of
that which he can by no means do; to destroy that which he can by no
means make; to leave no margin of leniency in his judgment, for the
imperfections which disfigure all human work: these are the familiar
failings of youth, of the unripe mind. They are also those of the
type of mind that never attains ripeness--of the Degenerate: we are
forbidden, on high authority, to apply to our brethren a shorter and
less modern term.

But although the doctrine of Degeneracy has thus found its way to the
general reader in a form which is often much to be regretted, it is
nevertheless a doctrine which, if wisely used, may lead to the most
beneficial results. Already it is widely recognised, by the thinkers of
all nations, that the theory of degeneracy, when thoroughly understood,
must revolutionise our treatment of the criminal classes. Instead of the
attempt to punish, civilised legislation must eventually, in many cases,
substitute a system of restraint.

It is useless to try to reform the idler or the thief, whose instinct
for idling or thieving is as imperative as a cat's instinct for catching
mice. So long as he goes free, so long will the instinct reassert itself
at every renewal of opportunity. Repeated punishment of the offender,
who is powerless against his own impulses, is frequently a mere cruelty;
while his repeated release, at the termination of every punitive
sentence, is, on the other hand, still more certainly, a cruelty to the
community at large, which he afflicts by his presence. Public opinion is
gradually becoming awake to the necessity for fresh methods of dealing
with these problems; it is by the patient investigations of scientific
men that it has been enlightened.


    =Grade IV.=  TRIPLOBLASTIC Animals with a BODY-CAVITY.

    =Group.=     CHORDATA; Animals with a Notochord.

    =Phylum.=    VERTEBRATA; Animals with a Back-bone.

    =Class.=     MAMMALIA; Animals that suckle the young.

    =Order.=     Primates.

    =Genus.=     Homo, i.e. man.

    _Species._   Sapiens (possessed of sense).

Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that the theory of degeneracy
has its cheerful aspect. It enables us to look at the offending
fellow-creature who belongs to the criminal classes, as an incomplete
development rather than as a hardened sinner. It reminds us, too, that
the criminal and the idler of to-day are now, what in the times of
savagery and animalism, every man once was. The degenerate criminal, in
fact, stands as a landmark, to point out the progress which has been
made by the human race. This was the starting-point, where now he
stands. How great the progress that is measured by the distance between
him, and the orderly, kindly-hearted citizen of the present age!



It is one of the most well-worn of commonplace sayings, that "one half
the world does not know how the other half lives." It is equally true
that one half the world does not know how the other half works; and
especially is this the case when one of the world's halves is its
learned, and the other its unlearned, half. The average business man
probably has an idea that the man of learning has a pretty easy time of
it, and that his most arduous occupation is to enlighten an attentive
world by reading papers at the meetings of the British Association
and the Royal Society. He has a vague idea that the man of learning
sometimes uses midnight oil, but it would surprise him to be informed
that the man of learning often sets to work at five o'clock in the
morning--as is actually the case. And well he may, considering the
magnitude of the task he has in hand, and the variety of the odds and
ends of labour that it includes.

_Firstly_, how does he obtain the raw material for his work? The
scientist, like the cook, must "first catch his hare" before any further
details of work can be arranged. He does not, as a rule, do this in
person, except when an animal of unusual interest is concerned. An army
of collectors, all the world over, are constantly busy in searching for
material for the zoologists, on land and sea. They look for employment
and pay to the museums and laboratories of the learned world. When the
specimens arrive, what is to be done with them? Some arrive alive, and
may be dismissed from present consideration. The dead specimens give
employment to a number of workers who are under the command of the man
of learning. There are skins to be mounted and stuffed, bones to be
articulated and set up, each practically the work of a different trade.
There are drawings to be made of all important specimens, a task which
affords employment for the artist and the photographer. There are
carcases large and small, to be immersed in preservative fluids until
they can be thoroughly examined in detail. And woe betide the zoologist
who allows any of these tasks to be performed without his own personal
supervision. He will realise, as all careless masters do, that blunders
may be made in an hour, which cannot be repaired in a day. But when all
is done that servants and helpers can accomplish, the real business
remains to be done. Is there among the specimens one which has not been
thoroughly overhauled by other writers, one whose every detail of
structure is not already to be found printed in a book? That one must
be examined with the utmost accuracy. If it is big enough, it must
be dissected, and every part recorded and figured in diagrams. But
suppose it is a small creature, whose parts can only be seen under the
microscope, a long series of processes are necessary before it is ready
for use. In its fresh state, it contains a quantity of water, and if
left to itself would shortly decompose. Even if already immersed during
carriage in various preservative fluids, it still contains much water,
and, if so, neither will it keep for an indefinite length of time, nor
could it be satisfactorily examined under the microscope. It must be
soaked in one of various chemical solutions, to harden and preserve
it. If very small indeed, a mere speck, it perhaps only needs to be
transferred to a fluid in which it can be "mounted" and placed under the
microscope. But with the vast majority of specimens, an immense amount
of labour is needed before they are ready for inspection under the

This will easily be understood if we reflect for a moment on the way in
which objects are examined under the microscope. For purposes of
scientific investigation, they are rarely looked at under light that
falls upon their surfaces, that is to say, by reflected light; for this
method can show nothing but details which are external and comparatively
unimportant. They are seen by light placed behind them so as to shine
through them, _i.e._ by transmitted light. If the object is not
extremely thin, it will shut out too much light, and thus it cannot be
clearly seen, therefore all objects, except the most minute, must be
divided into thin slices, technically known as "sections."

If we want to know not only the microscopic structure of organs, but
also their shape and position in the body, and their relations with
other parts, we must have every successive section carefully preserved,
and the whole row arranged in correct successive order; the physiologist
may often content himself with single sections; the zoologist must have
rows and rows of them. What a task this was, a quarter of a century ago,
for scientists who cut their sections by hand!

Let us, however, describe first the way in which objects are prepared
for section-cutting--whether by hand or by machine. It has already
been noticed that animal substances contain a quantity of water, and
therefore will not keep. The same circumstance renders them soft and
squashy, so that the sharpest razor in the world, in cutting a section,
must necessarily do more or less damage to the structure of the delicate
tissues. The water is held in the meshes of the tissues just as it is
held, for example, in the meshes of a sponge. Now, if we were dealing
with the sponge, we could get it to absorb any other fluid substance
besides water; we might choose one that would prevent decomposition; we
might choose one that would go harder by cooling; so as to change the
sponge into a strong solid block that could be knocked about without
sustaining any damage. This is exactly what we must do with our animal
tissue to prepare it for section-cutting; and the most convenient fluid
for the purpose is melted wax. But whereas we might take our sponge
out of water, squeeze it dry, and dip it straight into melted wax, we
can by no means do so with our animal tissues. For one thing they
usually cannot be squeezed, and where they can, they would of course be
irretrievably ruined by such a rough process. Even the transference of
the specimen from one fluid to another of very different qualities and
density, would deface the tissues. Cells would burst, or be squeezed out
of shape, and organs would be loosed from their right position by the
currents set up in all parts of the specimen, under such circumstances.
We must, therefore, try to get rid of the water by degrees. This may be
done by gradually adding alcohol, a fluid which may be diluted with
water in any proportion. We begin with a comparatively weak solution of
alcohol, say about fifty per cent., and immerse the specimen in this for
some little time. The time required depends somewhat upon the size of
the specimen; if a large one, a new fluid will take longer to filter
through it. Then we must change this solution of alcohol for stronger
ones, say seventy per cent. and ninety per cent. successively, and
finally to absolute alcohol. By this time the alcohol will have removed
almost nearly all trace of water from the specimen. The latter is now
nearly but not quite ready to be imbedded in melted wax; but first we
must soak it for a while in a fluid intermediate in thickness between
the alcohol and the wax, and capable of mixing in a friendly manner with
both. Then it goes into a bath of melted wax, and is kept for hours at a
stated temperature until the wax permeates it thoroughly. Then the
melted wax and the specimen along with it is poured into a little mould
and left to cool. The block of wax containing the specimen is cut down
to a quadrangular shape, and is now ready for section cutting. In old
days the block was placed in a stand, and successive sections were cut
from it by hand with a razor. But this process is much too slow for
modern days. Machines called microtomes (_i.e._ cutters of small parts)
have been invented, and of these there are several kinds--in all,
however, the razor is worked by machine and not by hand, so as to secure
steadiness and a uniform thinness of the sections. The old microtomes
threw off each section separately; but now matters are so arranged that
the wax of each section adheres to that of the next, and the whole
series of sections forms a continuous ribbon of thin wax. A large
specimen, affording a number of sections, thus results in a ribbon of
considerable length. Further processes are now required to fit the
sections for the microscope. The ribbon must be divided into successive
pieces of a length determined by that of the slides to be used. These
are mounted in order on the slides, steps are taken to melt away the
wax from the sections, the latter are covered with Canada Balsam
surmounted by a glass cover slip, and left for some time to dry. After
this they are ready for examination, and it is only now that the work
really begins. All that has gone before is mere handicraft; it is time
now for science to be called into play.

[Illustration: FIG. 47.--Sections of Embryo Chick, eight days old. A
slide mounted for microscopic examination, showing sections arranged in

The sections must be compared with others of the same kind which have
been cut before. Do they entirely resemble these, or is there a
difference somewhere? Happy the man who finds that his sections
represent a fresh stage, perhaps older or younger than any that has been
seen before in the history of the particular animal which is under
investigation. Happier still the man who has succeeded in getting hold
of an animal which has not been described before. He will make haste to
write a full description of it, illustrated by drawings; to found a new
theory on it, if that can possibly be done; and to publish it to the
world. It will go all over the globe. To every country in Europe; to the
centres of learning in the United States; to universities in New Zealand
and Australia, and our other colonies; and perhaps even to "Far Japan."

When in his turn he receives publications from all countries, written in
all languages, he is in a position to realise the very great advantage
(referred to in an earlier page, p. 31) that results from the use of the
learned tongues, in the terminology of zoological science. For the
educated classes in all countries are equally acquainted with these; and
when half of a sentence consists of words of Greek or Latin derivation,
the labour of translation from a foreign tongue is necessarily greatly
lightened. To no writer is this advantage of so great importance as to
the Englishman, who is usually less familiar with the tongues of other
nations than his colleagues abroad. It will easily be understood that in
the world of zoology, there is no "predominance of the English-speaking
races." Far from it. German is the language which supplies the fullest
literature of every scientific subject; and in England even our
text-books are, for the most part, translated from the German. German,
in short, is to the seeker after Knowledge, what English is to the
seeker after Money.

Let us now pause a moment to consider how large a number of different
industries profit by the labour of the zoologist. First there is the
shipping trade; for, of course, all specimens from foreign lands are
brought by sea. The chemist supplies preservative substances, and
reagents used in the preparation of objects for the microscope. The
construction of microscopes is a profession in itself, and one which
employs many industries; for the making of a microscope includes not
only the work of the optician, but also that of the artificer in brass,
and of many other handicraftsmen. The glass-worker supplies "slides,"
that is to say, the thin pieces of glass upon which objects for the
microscope are placed, and "cover-slips," the little sheets of thinner
glass which are laid over them; and, besides these, the bottles in which
specimens are placed. Then comes the microtome, already spoken of, by
means of which sections for the microscope are cut; how many skilled
workmen have been engaged in the construction of its parts! Sheffield,
perhaps, has supplied the razor which it holds, as well as the
instruments for the dissection of the larger zoological specimens. We
have already spoken of the laboratory servants, and the
bone-articulators and skin-stuffers, who are personally and directly
employed by the zoologist; and of the artists and photographers who
depict his specimens, or perhaps copy his drawings. We must add to the
list of the zoologist's helpers, last, but not least, the printer who
"sets" the learned treatise in which the final result of his work is
usually embodied; and attendant on the work of the printer is that of
the bookbinder. With the bookseller the zoologist has but little to do;
the general public, even the reading public, has no knowledge whatever
of the writings of the zoological specialist. They are addressed to his
equals and co-workers, not to critics and reviewers. Their publication
is provided for, not by the law of supply and demand, but by the funds
of the learned societies and the universities. It is only occasionally
that a writer arises who is able and willing, like Huxley or Darwin, to
express himself in a book that the general public can read; and it is
only after a lifetime of detailed work, such as is understood only by
the specialist, that writers like these think it fitting to lay the
results of their labour before outsiders.

The librarian, finally, must not be forgotten, in making up our list of
the zoologist's helpers. The preservation and cataloguing of zoological
literature is obviously a task all the more important, because, as we
have already stated, zoological writings are not regulated by the law of
supply and demand. A very little paper, read to a very small meeting of
a learned society, and wholly ignored by the world at large, may
contain facts priceless to the world of science. It is on the accurate
and painstaking work of the librarian, who preserves and catalogues
small things as conscientiously as large ones, that we rely for the
completeness of our record of zoological knowledge. Such work has at all
times been carried on in the libraries of our universities; but at the
present time there are in existence libraries specially devoted to
zoological literature alone.

The museum, again, must not be forgotten, in which our man of learning
stores his specimens, duly labelled and arranged. Here, again, is a
staff of curators and sub-curators; and, under their direction, work for
various workmen, and for perhaps even a humble charwoman to dust the

Turn now to another aspect of the zoologist's work--that of teaching. We
should think it very wrong to turn men loose on the world to practise in
the professions of law or medicine without a long and careful training
to fit them for their task. No less impossible is it for anyone to
become a man of science without a similar training; for the profession
of the man of science, whether zoologist, chemist, botanist, or expert
in whatever branch, if defined in plain English, is the profession of
seeking after knowledge of the order of things in which we live; and
what profession can be more important to the world than this? To attain
a scientific degree of any value, years of study are therefore required,
and a series of examinations tests--or is supposed to test--the success
of the student. Both the work of teaching and the work of examining must
be the tasks of the scientist who has attained a position of eminence
in the world of learning. The preparation of lectures, with their
accompanying illustrations of diagrams and lantern slides: the guiding
of classes engaged in the actual work of making acquaintance with animal
specimens--these are the labours of the great man who is at the head of
things. His task is carried out with the aid of junior helpers of his
own profession--the demonstrators, who "point out" detail after detail
of the work described in the lectures. Another helper, more esteemed by
the students than by the professor who teaches them, is the "coach" who
prepares them directly for their examinations. His aid, in the shape of
extra teaching, given at the last moment, will often secure for the
careless and inattentive pupil, better success than is the lot of the
painstaking and industrious one, who cannot afford to pay extra fees.

Few, however, of all the many pupils who crowd the lecture room of the
zoologist, will ever become zoologists themselves. A vast proportion of
them are students of medicine, of whom some knowledge of the subject is
required. Others are preparing to be schoolmasters or schoolmistresses,
and seek just such an amount of knowledge as they expect to find useful
in teaching pupils of their own. To the students who are preparing to be
doctors or teachers, circumstances often assign a limit--"thus far and
no farther"--when they would fain bring their knowledge to a higher
standard. But the time they have spent already has not been wasted. How
keen an observer of animal life is the country doctor! How often,
isolated from the world of learning, and ill-provided with books, he
finds in this his chief recreation! As for the schoolmaster, how is the
routine of school-work relaxed, and labour changed into pleasure, when
he lets his boys exchange grammar and Euclid for zoology, and the
lessons of the schoolroom for lessons in the fields!

The most important part, however, of a zoologist's work is not the
giving of instruction, but the labour of original research, to which we
have already alluded; not the mere communication of information, but the
task of adding to the general store of knowledge; not teaching, but
discovery. The work of the man of science is, in fact, within the limits
of his own department, the work of seeking after truth.



    Acoelomata, 37.
    Adaptation, 13.
    Alternation of Generations, 57, 137.
    Amoeba, 35, 45.
    Amphibia, 152-154.
    Ancestors, 40, 42.
    Animalcule (minute animal), 49.
    Anisopleura, 29.
    Annelids, 72.
    Annulosa, 69.
    Ants, 92.
    Appendages, 77.
    Arachnida (spiders), 84.
    Arthropoda, 33, 76.
    Ascidians, 33, 44, 135.
    Asexual reproduction, 55.
    Atavistic variation, 27.
    Azygo-branchiata, 29.


    Balanoglossus, 133, 143.
    Barnacles, 79, 80.
    Bees, 91.
    Beetles, 95.
    Bell Animalcule, 49.
    Birds, 156.
    Bivalve shell-fish, 23, 27, 107.
    Body-cavity, 34, 37, 38.
    Body-cavity (diagrams), 38, 139.
    Body-rings, or "segments," 69.
    Brachiopoda, 33, 43, 44, 117.
    Bryozoa, 33, 44, 119.
    Buds, 55.
    Butterflies, 89, 93.


    Cat, fur of black, 160.
    Cell, 11.
    Cell-types, 49.
    Cephalodiscus, 145.
    Cephalopoda, 113.
    Centipedes, 77.
    Chætopoda, 71.
    Chalk, 46.
    Chordata, 33, 44, 135, 143-146.
    Cilia, 42, 43, 48, 65.
    Classes, 33.
    Classification, 30.
    Classification, tables of, 30, 44, 52, 62, 67, 75, 116, 118,
      121, 134, 146, 164, 179.
    Coelenterata, 33, 44, 53.
    Coelomata, 37, 44.
    Cockle, 111.
    Colony, 57.
    Corals, 59.
    Corallines, 56, 58.
    Corticata (or Infusoria), 47.
    Crabs, 81.
    Crocodile, 11.
    Crustacea, 78-83.
    Ctenophora, 60, 62.


    Degeneracy, 28, 172-180.
    Development by metamorphosis (change of form), 41, 89.
    Development, direct, 45.
    Dicyemidæ, 34.
    Diploblastic (two-layered), 34, 36.
    Diploblastic larva, 41.
    Duck-mole, 160.


    Earthworm, 74.
    Earthworm, diagrammatic section of, to show position of body-cavity, 38.
    Echinodermata, 33, 43, 44, 122.
    Ectoderm, outer or skin-layer of adult animals and larvæ
      (corresponding with the epiblast of embryos in the egg),
      34, 37, 41, 139.
    Eleutheroblasteæ (hydroid animals which throw off "free buds"), 56.
    Embryology, 45.
    Encrinites, 131.
    Endoderm, inner or digestive layer of adult animals and larvæ
      (corresponding with the hypoblast of embryos in the egg),
      37, 41, 139.
    Enteron, 36.
    Environment, 26.
    Errantia, or Wandering Annelids, 72.
    Euthyneura, 100.


    Families, 33.
    Fertility, 32.
    Feathers, 157.
    Feather-stars, 132.
    Fishes, 150-152.
    Flagella, 65.
    Flat-fish, 23.
    Foraminifera, 46.
    Frogs, 38, 152.


    Galeodes, a spider-like animal, 85, 86.
    Gasteropoda, 29, 98-107.
    Gasteropoda, classification of, 29.
    Gastræa, 40.
    Gastrula, larva, 41, 150.
    Genus, 32.
    Gills, 45, 141, 149.
    Grades, 34, 35-38.
    Gregarina, 49.


    Heliozoa, 48.
    Hemichordata (or Adelochorda), 33, 43, 145.
    Hermit Crabs, 80.
    Holostomata, 105.
    Hybrid, 32.
    Hydra, 36, 41, 54, 59.


    Infusoria 10, 47.
    "Infusorial earth," 47.
    Insects, true, 88-97.


    Jelly-fish, 57, 58.


    Kangaroo, 163.


    Lamellibranchiata, 107.
    Lamp-shells, 119.
    Land Animals, 166.
    Larvæ, larval forms, 40, 41.
    Larvæ of Brachiopods, 119.
    Larvæ of Insects, 90.
    Larvæ of Molluscs, 115.
    Lancelet (Amphioxus), 41, 140, 149.
    Leeches, 71.
    Limpet, Common, 17, 19, 20, 29, 30.
    Limpet, Semi-transparent, 15-20.
    Liver-fluke, 71.
    Lobsters, 80.
    Lophophore, 117, 122.
    Lustre, metallic, of feathers, 157.


    Mammalia, 160.
    Man, 13, 26, 167-180.
    Mantle (of bivalve molluscs), 108.
    Marsupialia (or Metatheria), 161.
    Marsupium or nursery-pocket, 161.
    Mesoblast, 38.
    Mesoderm or middle body-layer, 37, 61.
    Metameric symmetry, 70.
    Mesozoa, 35.
    Metazoa, 35.
    Microscope, 9, 10, 182.
    Microscope, Sections for the, 182.
    Microtome, 185.
    Mites, 87.
    Mollusca, 29.
    Mollusca (classification of Gasteropod), 29.
    Moths, 93.
    Monoblastic, 34.
    Moss-Corals, 33, 39, 119.
    Mule, 32.
    Mussel, Common, 103.


    Nematodes, 71.
    Notochord, 135, 139, 145, 149, 151.
    Nucleus, 35.
    Nummulite, 46.


    Odontophore, 100.
    Operculum (of univalve molluscs), 105.
    Opossum, 161.
    Orders, 33.
    Orthonectidae, 34.


    Pelecypoda, 107.
    Perforating gills (of vertebrates and other chordata), 142, 144.
    Peripatus, 88.
    Periwinkle, Common or Edible, 19, 26, 105.
    Periwinkle, High-tide-mark (_L. rudis_) 19, 105, 114.
    Periwinkle, Yellow, 19, 21, 23, 25, 30, 105.
    "Persons" of a colony, 58.
    Phoronis, 122.
    Phylum, pl. phyla, 33.
    Placophora, 113.
    Planarian Worms, 37, 70.
    Planula Larva, 41.
    Platyhelminthes, 44, 71.
    Polycystina, 47.
    Polyzoa, 119.
    Porifera, 33, 63, 68.
    Protective Coloration, 15, 25.
    Protophyta, 50.
    Protoplasm, 35.
    Prototheria, 161.
    Protozoa, 33, 44, 45.
    Pseudopodia, 36.


    Radial Symmetry, 53.
    Radiata, 53.
    Radiolarians, 47.
    Rainbow Worm, 72, 159.
    Reptiles, 154-156.
    Rhabdopleura, 145.
    Rhizopoda, 36, 46, 48.
    Rodent, Teeth of, 163.
    Rotifers, 76.


    Sand-hoppers, 83.
    Sauropsida, 154.
    Scales of fish, 142, 143.
    Scallop, 107-112.
    Scorpion, 87, 88.
    Sex, 10.
    Sea-Anemone, 54, 59.
    Sea-Cucumbers, 129, 130.
    Sea-Fan, 59.
    Sea-Mats, 119.
    Sea-Mouse, 72, 159.
    Sea-Urchins, 23, 33, 122.
    Shell-fish, 33.
    Siphonostomata, 102, 106.
    Skin of Vertebrates, 142.
    Snail, 98, 114.
    Snake-Stars, or Brittle-Stars, 128.
    Species, 30.
    Spiders, 84.
    Spiny Ant-eater, 160.
    Sponges, 33, 44, 63, 68.
    Sponges, Parasitic, 68.
    Starfishes, 127.
    Streptoneura, 29, 100.
    Symbiosis, 48.


    Teeth, 147, 163.
    Tentacles (arms or feelers), 54.
    Ticks, 87.
    Trichina, 71.
    Triploblastic (three-layered), 37.
    Trochophora, 43.
    Trochosphere larva, 42, 43, 72.
    Tubicolous (tube-dwelling) Annelids, 72, 74.
    Tunicata, 33, 44, 135.
    Turbellaria, 70.
    Two-layered animals, 34, 36.


    Unicellular animals, 11, 34, 35, 39, 44.
    Univalve shell-fish, 98.
    Urochordata, 145.


    Vacuole, contractile, 35.
    Variation, 24, 26, 28, 32.
    Varieties, 29.
    Vermes, 33, 44, 68.
    Vertebrae (joints of the backbone), 138, 139.
    Vertebrata, 33, 44, 138.


    Water Animals, 166.
    Wheel-ball larva, 42, 43.
    White ants, 93.
    Wood-lice, 83.
    Worms, 33, 44, 68.


    Zooids, 58.
    Zoologists (_see below_).
    Zoophyte, 53.
    Zygobranchiata, 30.
    Zoologists, names of--
      Buffon, 11.
      Caldwell, 160.
      Chamisso, 137.
      Cuvier, 54.
      Darwin, 24, 76.
      Dubois, Eugène, 168.
      Forbes, 17.
      Gadow, 157.
      Gosse, P., 54.
      Grant, Robert, 65.
      Hæckel, 40, 168.
      Hertwig, O., 50.
      Huxley, 37, 78, 136, 154.
      Kowalevsky, 136.
      Landsborough, W., 109.
      Lang, A., 39.
      Linnaeus, 32, 68.
      Leuckart, 71.
      Morgan, Lloyd, 20.
      Parker, T. J., 32.
      Roberts, G., 21.
      Romanes, G. J., 11.
      Sharp, D., 92.
      Sollas, 65.
      Woodward, 109.

Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Original published
spelling and hyphenation have been retained as they appear in the
original publication, including "debateable" and "cellless". A possible
missing "wall" has not been added to the caption for Fig. 5 ("--muscular
of intestine"; and reference to "the Italian poet" on Page 138 of the
original publication has been preserved. Where figures or tables cut
paragraphs, they were moved above or below the paragraph.

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