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Title: Notes on Collecting and Preserving Natural-History Objects
Author: Crombie, Rev. Jas., Elwin, E. F., Rye, E. C., J. B. Bridgman., Tate, Professor Ralph, Southwell, Thos., Smith, Worthington G., Buckman, Professor, Grattann, W. H., Braithwaite, Dr., Knaggs, Dr., Taylor, J. E., Britten, Jas.
Language: English
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COLLECTING AND PRESERVING.



NOTES ON COLLECTING AND PRESERVING NATURAL-HISTORY OBJECTS.

  BY
  J. E. Taylor, F.L.S., F.G.S.
  E. F. Elwin.
  Thos. Southwell, F.Z.S.
  Dr. Knaggs.
  E. C. Rye, F.Z.S.
  J. B. Bridgman.
  Professor Ralph Tate, F.G.S.
  Jas. Britten, F.L.S.
  Professor Buckman, F.G.S.
  Dr. Braithwaite, F.L.S.
  Worthington G. Smith, F.L.S.
  Rev. Jas. Crombie, F.L.S.
  W. H. Grattann.

  EDITED BY
  J. E. TAYLOR, PhD., F.L.S., F.G.S., &c.

  _NEW EDITION._

  LONDON:
  W. H. ALLEN & CO., 13 WATERLOO PLACE. S.W.

  1883.

  (_All rights reserved._)



PREFACE.


The following Essays were originally contributed to the pages of
'Science-Gossip,' by the various writers whose names they bear.
From the constant queries relating to subjects of this kind, it was
deemed advisable to furnish young or intending naturalists with such
trustworthy information as would enable them to save time, and gain
by the experience of others. For this purpose, the articles have been
collected in their present portable form as a Handbook for beginners.

  _May, 1876._



CONTENTS.


      PAGE

Preface      v


CHAPTER I.

Geological Specimens, by J. E. Taylor, F.L.S., F.G.S.      1


CHAPTER II.

Bones, by E. F. Elwin      16


CHAPTER III.

Birds' Eggs, by T. Southwell, F.Z.S.      27


CHAPTER IV.

Butterflies and Moths, by Dr. Knaggs      44


CHAPTER V.

Beetles, by E. C. Rye, F.Z.S.      67


CHAPTER VI.

Hymenoptera, by J. B. Bridgman      95


CHAPTER VII.

Land and Freshwater Shells, by Professor Ralph
Tate, F.G.S.      102


CHAPTER VIII.

Flowering Plants and Ferns, by J. Britten, F.L.S.
(_First Part_)      117


CHAPTER IX.

Flowering Plants and Ferns, by J. Britten, F.L.S.
(_Second Part_)      131


CHAPTER X.

Grasses, &c., by Professor Buckman, F.G.S      139


CHAPTER XI.

Mosses, by Dr. Braithwaite, F.L.S      145


CHAPTER XII.

Fungi, by Worthington G. Smith, F.L.S      159


CHAPTER XIII.

Lichens, by Rev. James Crombie, F.L.S      181


CHAPTER XIV.

Seaweeds, by W. H. Grattann      195


Index      209



COLLECTING AND PRESERVING.



I.

GEOLOGICAL SPECIMENS.

By J. E. Taylor, F.L.S., F.G.S.


The great end of natural-history reading should be the development of
a love for the objects dwelt upon, and a desire to know more about
them. This can only be brought about by such practical acquaintance as
collecting and preserving them induces. At the same time we should be
sorry to see our young readers degenerate into mere collectors! It is
a great mistake to suppose, that because you have a full cabinet of
butterflies, moths, or beetles, therefore you are a good entomologist;
or that you may lay claim to a distinguished position as a geologist,
on account of drawers full of fossils and minerals. But this is a
mistake into which young naturalists frequently fall. We have seen
people with decided tastes for these studies never get beyond the
mere collecting. In that case they stand on a par with collectors of
postage-stamps. Nor is there much gained, even if you become acquainted
with English, or even Latin, names of natural-history objects. Many
people can catalogue them glibly, and never make a slip, and yet they
are practically ignorant of the _real_ knowledge which clusters round
each object, and its relation to others. Both Latin and English names
are useful and even necessary; but when you have simply learnt them,
and nothing more, how much wiser are you than before? No, let the
learning of names be the alphabet of science--the means by which you
can acquire a further knowledge of its mysteries. It would be just as
reasonable to set up for a literary man on the strength of accurately
knowing the alphabet, as to imagine you are a scientific man the moment
you have learned by heart a few scores of Latin names of plants,
fossils, or insects! Let each object represent so much knowledge, to
which the very mention of its name will immediately conjure up a crowd
of associations, relationships, and intimate acquaintances, and you
will then see what a store of real knowledge may be represented in a
carefully-arranged cabinet.

The heading of the present articles will have indicated the subject
chosen for brief treatment. We shall never forget the influence left
by reading such charming and suggestive books as Mantell's 'Medals
of Creation,' many years ago. Our mind had been prepared for the
enthusiasm which this little book produced by the perusal of Page's
'Introductory Text-book,' Phillips's 'Guide to Geology,' and several
others of a similar character. But we know of none which impels a
young student to go into the field and hammer out fossils for himself,
like Dr. Mantell's works. It is impossible not to catch the enthusiasm
of his nature. The first place we sallied out to, on our maiden
geological trip, was a heap of coal-shale, near a pit's mouth, in the
neighbourhood of Manchester. Our only weapon was a common house hammer,
for we then knew nothing of the technical forms which geological fancy
so often assumes. We had passed that same heap of coal-shale hundreds
of times, without suspecting it to be anything more than everybody else
considered it viz. a heap of rubbish. Why that particular spot was
selected, we cannot now say. We had seen illustrations of carboniferous
plants, shells, &c., in books, but we seemed to imagine their discovery
could only be effected by scientific men, and that it required a good
deal of knowledge before one should attempt to find them. Suffice it to
say we made the pilgrimage to the coal-shale heap in pretty much the
same mind as we should expect to get the head prize in some fine-art
drawing. The humble hammer was put into use, for a brief time without
much effect, as we could hardly have commenced on a more barren kind of
shale than we had chanced to hit upon. We imagined we could perceive
traces of leaves and slender stems, but were afraid to trust our eyes.
At any rate, there was nothing definite enough to raise our enthusiasm.
But by-and-by, as the hammer kept cleaving open the thin leaf-like
layers of shale, there appeared a large portion of that most beautiful
of all fossil plants, the _Lepidodendron_. Those who are familiar with
this object, with its lozenge-shaped markings running spirally up the
stem, will readily understand the outburst of pleasure which escaped
our lips! That was the first real fossil--a pleasure quite equivalent
to that of landing the first salmon. How carefully was it wrapped in
paper, and carried home in the pocket! There never was, and never will
be, another fossil in the world as beautiful as that insignificant
fragment of _Lepidodendron_.

We have seen a good many converts made to geology in a similar manner,
since first we laid open to the light this silent memorial of ages
which have passed away. Let a man have ever so slight acquaintance with
geology, and give him the chance of hammering out a fossil for himself,
and the odds are you thereby make him a geologist for life. There is
something almost romantic in the idea that you are looking for the
first time, and have yourself disentombed the remains of creatures
which probably lived scores of millions of years ago! We would strongly
advise our readers, therefore, not to fall into the error of supposing
that fossil-hunting belongs to highly-trained geologists. On the
contrary, it is by fossil-hunting alone that you can ever hope to be a
geologist yourself. Another mistake often made, is that of supposing
these rich and interesting geological localities are at a distance.
It seems so hard to suppose, after reading about typical sections,
&c., that under your very feet, in the fields where you have so often
played, there occur geological phenomena of no less interest. But it
is actually surprising what evidences of our earth's great antiquity,
in the shape of fossils, &c., may be studied and obtained in the most
out-of-the-way and insignificant places.

You say you have no _rocks_ in your neighbourhood--nothing but barren
sands, or beds of brick-earth or clay. Well, go to some section of
the latter, exposed, perhaps, in some tarn or stagnant pond in a
turnip-field. You examine the sides, and what do you see? Nothing, but
here and there a boulder-stone sticking out. Well, be content with
that. You said you had no rocks in your neighbourhood; how, then, has
that boulder, which is a rounded fragment of a rock broken off from
somewhere--how has it come there? Here is a poser at once. Examine
it, and you will perhaps see that its hard surface is polished or
scratched, and then you remember the theory of icebergs, and feel
astonished to think that you hold in your hand an undeniable proof
of the truth of that theory. Those very scratchings could have been
produced in no other way; that foreign fragment of a rock now only to
be found on some distant mountain-side could have been conveyed in no
other manner. Not content with the exterior examination, you break
the boulder-stone open, when you may chance to find it is a portion
of silurian, carboniferous or oolitic limestone, and that it contains
_fossils_ belonging to one of those formations. Here is a find--an
object with a double interest turning up where you never expected
to discover the slightest geological incident! You examine other
boulders, and find in them general evidences of ice-action in their
present re-deposition, and most instructive lessons as to the nature of
rocks of various formations, from the granite and trap series to the
fossiliferous deposits. In fact, there is no place like one of these
old boulder-pits for making oneself acquainted with petrology, or the
nature of stones.

[Illustration: Fig. 1. Pocket Trimming-hammer.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2. Duck's-head Hammer.]


And now, as to the _tools_ necessary to the young geologist. First
of all, he cannot take _too few_! It is a great mistake to imagine
that a full set of scientific instruments makes a scientific man.
The following hammers, intended for different purposes, ought to be
procured. Fig. 1 is an exceedingly useful weapon, and one we commonly
use, to the exclusion of all others. It is handy for breaking off
fragments of rock for examination; and, if fossils be included in them,
for trimming the specimens for cabinet purposes. As a rule, however,
field geologists are always divided over the merits of their hammers,
some preferring one shape and some another. Fig. 2 is generally
used for breaking up hard rocks, for which the bevel-shaped head is
peculiarly adapted. It is usually much heavier than the rest, and is
seldom used except for specific purposes. If our readers are inclined
to study sections of boulder clay, and wish to extract the rounded
and angular boulder from its stiff matrix, they cannot do better than
use a hammer like Fig. 3. This is sometimes called the "Platypus"
pick. Both ends can be used, and the pick end is also good for working
on soft rocks, like chalk. A little practice in the field will teach
the student how to use these tools, and when, much better than we can
describe on paper. The hammers can be obtained from any Scientific
instrument manufacturer, or from any of the dealers in geological
specimens. We have found that the best hammers for usage, however, were
to be made out of an old file, softened and well welded, rolled, and
then hammered into a solid mass. If properly tempered a hammer made in
this fashion will last you your life.

[Illustration: Fig. 3. "Platypus" Pick for clay, &c.]

So much for the rougher weapons of geological strife. Next, be sure
and provide yourself with _thick-soled_ shoes or boots. Geological
study will take you into a good many queer places, wet and dry, rough
and smooth, and it is absolutely necessary to be prepared for the
worst. Patent leather boots and kid gloves are rarely worn by practical
geologists. And we have heard it remarked at the British Association
meetings, that they could always tell which members belonged to the
Geological Section by their _thick-soled_ boots. A similar remark
applies to clothes. The student need not dress for the quarry as he
would for the dining room. Good, strong, serviceable material ought to
be their basis.

Secondly, as to the student's comforts and necessaries. These are
generally the last thing an ardent naturalist thinks about. For
ourselves, however, we give him ample leave to provide himself with
pipe and tobacco, should his tastes lie in that direction. _We_ never
enjoyed a pipe half so much as when solitarily disinterring organic
remains which had slumbered in the heart of the rock for myriads of
ages. As to the _beer_, we can vouch that it never tastes anything like
so good as during a geological excursion.

We have found the leathern bags sold for school-book purposes to be
as handy to deposit specimens in, during a journey, as anything else.
They have the merit of being cheap, are strong, and easily carried. If
not large enough, then get a strong, coarse linen haversack, like that
worn by volunteers on a field day. Paper, cotton _wadding_ (not wool),
sawdust for fragments of larger fossils, intended to be repaired
at home, wooden pill-boxes, and a few boxes, which may be obtained
from any practical naturalist, with _glass tops_, are sufficient
"stock-in-trade" for the young geologist. The wadding does not adhere
to the specimens as wool does, and the glass-topped boxes are useful,
as it is not then necessary to open a box and disinter a delicate
fossil from its matrix in order to look at it. Add a good strong pocket
lens, such as may be bought for half-a-crown, and your equipment will
be complete. If you intend to study any particular district, get the
sheets published by the Geological Survey. These will give you, on a
large scale, the minute geology of the neighbourhood, the succession
of rocks, faults, outcrops, &c. In fact, you may save yourself a world
of trouble by thus preparing yourself a week or so before you make
your geological excursion. The pith of these remarks applies with
equal force if you purpose, first of all, to examine the neighbourhood
in which you live. Don't do so until you have read all that has been
written about it, and examined all the available maps and sections.
This advice however, applies more particularly to _geological_
examination of strata. If you are bent chiefly on _palæontological_
investigation, that is, on the study of _fossils_, perhaps it will be
best just to read any published remarks you may have access to, and
then boldly take the field for yourself. In addition to a hammer, we
would advise the young student to take a good narrow-pointed steel
chisel, and a putty-knife. The former is very useful for working round,
and eventually obtaining, any fossil that may have been weathered into
relief. The latter is equally serviceable for clayey rocks or shales.

In arranging the spoils of these excursions for the cabinet, a little
care and taste are required. We will suppose you to possess one of
those many-drawered cabinets which can now be obtained so cheaply.
Begin at the bottom, so that the lowest drawers represent the
lowest-seated and oldest rocks, and the uppermost the most recent. If
possible, have an _additional_ cabinet for _local_ geology, and never
forget that the first duty of a collector is to have his own district
well represented! A compass of a few miles will, in most cases,
enable him to get a store of fossils or minerals which cannot well be
obtained elsewhere. Supposing he is desirous of having the geological
systems well represented, he can always do so by the insertion of such
paragraphs as those which appear in the Exchange columns of 'Science
Gossip.' It is by well and thoroughly working separate localities in
this fashion that the science of geology is best advanced. You hear
a good deal about the "missing links," and it is an accepted fact
that we, perhaps, do not know a tithe of the organic remains that
formerly enjoyed life. Who knows, therefore, but that if you exhaust
your district by the assiduous collection of fossils, you may not come
across such new forms as may settle many moot points in ancient and
modern natural history? The genuine love of geological study is always
pretty fairly manifested in a student's cabinet. Science, like charity,
begins at home. It impels a man to seek and explain that which is
nearest to him, before he attempts the elucidation of what really lies
in another man's territory!

It is not necessary that the student should waste time in the field
about naming or trying to remember the names of fossils, &c., on the
spot. That can be best done at home, and the pleasure of "collecting"
can thus be spun to its longest length. Box them, pack them well (or
all your labour is lost), and name them at home. Or supposing you do
not possess books which can assist you in nomenclature, carry your
fossils or minerals, just as you found them, to the nearest and best
local museum, where you will be sure to see the majority of them in
their proper places and with their proper names. Copy these, and when
you arrange your specimens in the cabinet, either get printed cards
with the following headings--

  _Genus______________________________________

  _Species____________________________________

  _Formation__________________________________

  _Locality___________________________________

(which can always be obtained at a cheap rate from the London dealers),
or else set to work and copy them yourself in a good plain hand, so
that there is no mistaking what you write. As far as possible, in
each drawer or drawers representing a geological formation, arrange
your specimens in natural-history order--the lowest organisms first,
gradually ascending to the higher. By doing so, you present geological
and zoological relationship, so that they can be taken in at a glance.
You further make yourself acquainted with the relations of the fossils
in a way you never would have done, had you been content to huddle
them together in any fashion, so that you had them all together.
Glass-topped boxes, again, are very useful in the cabinet, especially
for delicate or fragile fossils, as people are so ready to take them in
their hands when they are shown, little thinking how soon a cherished
rarity may be destroyed, never to be replaced. Pasteboard trays, made
of stiff green paper, squared by the student according to size, can
also be so arranged as that the drawer may be entirely filled, and so
the danger of shaking the contents about may be removed. Each tray of
fossils ought to have the above-mentioned label fastened down in such a
way as that it cannot by accident get changed by removal.

The spring and summer time are fast approaching, and we know of nothing
that will so much assist in their rational enjoyment as the adoption
of some study in natural science. Botany, entomology, ornithology,
geology, are all health-affording, nature-loving pursuits. We have
passed some of the very happiest moments of our lives in solitary
quarries, or on green hill-sides,

  "The world forgetting, by the world forgot!"

There, amid the wreck of former creations, and with the glory of
the present one around us, we have yielded to the delicious sense
of reverie, such as can only be begotten under such circumstances.
The shady side of the quarry has screened us from solar heat, and,
whilst the air has been melodious with a thousand voices, we have made
personal acquaintance with the numerous objects of God's creation,
animals and plants. How apt are the thoughts of the poet Crabbe, and
how well do they convey the feeling of the young geologist in such
places:

  "It is a lonely place, and at the side
  Rises a mountain rock in rugged pride;
  And in that rock are shapes of shells, and forms
  Of creatures in old worlds, and nameless worms;
  Whole generations lived and died, ere man,
  A worm of other class, to crawl began."



II.

BONES.

By Edward Fentone Elwin, Caius College.


Why is it that the students of Osteology are so few in number? It is
a branch of science which offers a wide field for original research,
and one in which at every step one's interest must get more and more
engrossed. It is a branch of science in which a sufficient portion
of its elements may be rapidly learned, in order to set the student
fairly on his road. The barriers which surround it are few: that is to
say, the _technical_ barriers are few. Many people who want to occupy
themselves with scientific study are deterred, because of the feeling
that there are so many laborious preliminaries to be gone through
before they can begin to take any real pleasure in the pursuit. Now,
in Osteology it is true that a wide and really almost unexplored field
lies open before one, but the equipments necessary to fit one for
one's journey are easily attained. The first step is to get thoroughly
acquainted with some one typical specimen, as a standard of comparison
for all future work. It matters little what species is taken;
whichever comes most convenient. Some familiar mammal of fair size is
the best. The dog is as good as any, and easy to obtain. There ought
never to be any real difficulty in getting a suitable specimen. If
expense is no object, the simplest way is to get a preparation, set up
so as readily to take to pieces, at any of the bone-preservers' shops
in London. One like this costs only a moderate sum, and is, of course,
the least trouble, although the manner in which professionals prepare
their bones is not altogether satisfactory. But we may regard this
as something in the light of a luxury; and it is not hard to prepare
one's own specimens, provided we do not mind a little manipulation with
unsavoury objects. I have given hints as to the best method by which
this may be done in various pages of 'Science-Gossip.'[A] Of course,
as one's work gets on, one needs further specimens, but I do not think
that anyone who keeps his eyes open need be at a loss in this matter.
I have picked up several admirable bones ready cleaned by the wind and
weather, and many slightly damaged ones may be got at naturalists'
shops for small sums, which are almost as good as the perfect ones for
an observer's purposes. Even single and isolated bones are often very
instructive.

[A] 'Science-Gossip' for 1873, p. 39; for 1874, p. 226.

But the first main point is that of getting the forms, peculiarities,
names, and positions of the bones of one skeleton fully impressed on
the student's mind. As to the books which are to help him to do this,
it is very hard to know what to recommend. As far as I know, there is
no really luminous book on osteology in existence. So far as learning
the names and peculiarities of the bones, nothing could be better
or more to the purpose than Flower's 'Osteology of the Mammalia';
but this treats only of one class, and does not get beyond technical
description. The first and second volumes of Owen's 'Comparative
Anatomy of Vertebrates' fill the gap the best of any, and yet these are
by no means what we really want. There is a good deal about bones in
Huxley's 'Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals,' but in such a fragmentary
and scattered form as to be of little use. The fact is, the field is
yet open for an Osteological Manual. Much has been written on the
subject. Pages of precise and accurate description, beautiful and
artistic sheets of plates of bones without number, can be seen in
any scientific library. But this is only half the matter. We want
to advance a step farther. It is the relation between structure and
function which needs working out.

When a new bone finds its way into the student's hands, he observes
some peculiarity in shape or structure in which it differs from the
bones he is already acquainted with; the question naturally occurs to
him, Why does this bone assume one shape in one animal, and in another
is modified into a different form? He may look in vain in his books for
an answer to his query. And yet it is points like these which, in my
opinion, make up the true science of Osteology. It is through careful,
constant, and intelligent observation, that these enigmas are to be
solved. Observation, indoors and out; close attention to the habits of
the animal in question, on the one hand, and careful consideration of
its anatomical peculiarities, on the other.

Let me give an instance of this, first of all taking it as an axiom
that everything has been done with a purpose. Take, then, the skull
of a crocodile. What do we find? The orbits of the eyes, the nasal
orifice, the passages leading to the auditory apparatus, all situated
on a plane, along the upper flattened surface of the head. What,
then, is the cause of this? Palpably to allow the crocodile to remain
submerged in the water, with its nose, eyes, and ears just above the
surface to warn him of the approach of enemies or prey, and the rest of
his carcase securely hidden beneath the waters.

Take another instance. Observe the habits of a mole. With what
rapidity it burrows underground, shovelling away the earth with its
fore feet. Then look at its skeleton. We find just what we should
have expected. The bones of its fore legs of astounding strength and
breadth, furnished with deep grooves, which, together with its sternum
or breastbone, which is furnished with a keel almost like that of the
sternum of a bird, afford attachment to the powerful muscles. Its hind
legs, being simply needed for locomotion, are of the normal size. So,
also, with the birds. The size of the keel of the sternum varies in
proportion to the powers of flight which each species requires, for it
is to the broad surfaces of the sternum that the great wing-muscles are
attached. Take the skeleton of a hummingbird, which spends its life
almost upon the wing. We find there a keel of so vast a size, that the
remainder of the skeleton is reduced to insignificance in comparison.
Of course, these instances that I have given are all of the most
obvious nature, but they serve to show my meaning; and the same line of
reasoning can, I am sure, be extended to all the more minute points in
osteological structure.

In these researches, one is soon struck by the fact that in the
modifications in various bones, or sets of bones, in accordance with
the habits of each animal, the original type is never departed from,
only modified. See, for example, the paddle of a whale. More like the
fin of a fish in general appearance, and yet the same set of bones
which are found in the arm of a man, are again found in an adapted form
in the paddle of the whale. So, also, the fore leg of a horse preserves
the same general plan. What is generally called its knee is in reality
its wrist. It is there that we find the little group of bones which
forms the carpus. All below it answers to our hand--a hand consisting
of one finger.

Take even a wider instance. Compare the arm of a man and the wing
of a bird. Still greater adaptations have taken place, and yet the
plan remains the same. We still find the clavicle or collar-bone, the
scapula or shoulder-blade, the humerus, ulna, and radius, answering to
the same bones of our arm, a small carpus or wrist, and finally the
phalanges or fingers, simplified and lengthened and anchylosed to form
but one series of bone, with the exception of a rudimentary thumb. It
is not uncommon to find a rudimentary bone like this which in some
allied species is fully developed. The leg of the horse again gives us
a very striking example of this. There is, so to speak, only a single
finger, but we find, one on each side of this single finger, two small
bones, commonly known only as splint-bones. These are the rudimentary
traces of the same finger-bones, which in the rhinoceros are fully
developed.

Now Osteology abounds in wonderful forms of structure like these. It
is a study pregnant with pleasurable results, and is a real profitable
study, and one in which each fresh student may do real solid work.
It is all the little facts observed by naturalists from time to
time all over the world, which on being collected together form the
nucleus of knowledge; for indeed all the scientific knowledge which
we possess is little more than a nucleus, with which we are supplied.
The mere collector of curious objects in no way furthers science.
Plenty of people have amassed beautiful collections of insects
interesting in their way, but of very transient interest if it goes no
farther. The collector possibly knows nothing at all of the wonderful
internal structure of the animals he preserves. His insects are to
him simply a mosaic--a collection of pretty works of art. So also
the shell-collector--for I cannot call such a one as I describe a
conchologist--has often, I believe, the most vague ideas of what kind
of animals they were that dwelt in the cases he so carefully treasures,
and his collection is consequently of a dubious worth to him. Now,
to those who study the anatomy of the mollusc as well as its shell,
such a collection is full of the deepest interest. He has learnt
from his dissections that the habits of every variety of mollusc are
accompanied by a variety of structure, which occasions a variety in
the shape of the case which envelopes it. It all blends together, and
forms a harmonious whole. With a real love for science, as doubtless
some of these collectors have, one is sorry to see so much time and
money wasted on a pursuit which in their hands yields no fruit of any
worth. The work of the mere collector can only be classed with that
of the compiler of a stamp-album. Whereas, collections of natural
objects, combined with intelligent study, are invaluable and almost
indispensable to the naturalist.

In Mr. Chivers's note on Preserving Animals, No. 117 of
'Science-Gossip,' the following passage occurs:--"The skeleton must
be put in an airy place to dry, but not in the sun or near the fire,
as that will turn the bones a bad colour." I cannot comprehend how
this idea should have arisen. Perhaps the most indispensable assistant
to the skeleton preparer is that very sun which Mr. Chivers warns
him against. The bleaching power of the rays of a hot summer sun is
astounding, and bones of the most inferior colour can rapidly be turned
to a beautiful white by this means. It is for want of time and care in
following out this method that the professional skeleton preparers in
London resort to the aid of lime, which, although it makes them white,
is terribly detrimental to the bones themselves. In a smoky city like
London, the principle of sun-bleaching would be hard to follow; but so
great is its value, that more than once I have had valuable specimens
sent down to me in the country, by a comparative anatomist in London,
to undergo a course of sun-bleaching; and a specimen which I have
received stained and blotched, I have returned of a beautiful uniform
white, a change entirely due to that sun which we are told to beware of.

The question, How are skeletons to be prepared? is one which is
repeatedly asked. People desire a method by which with little trouble
the flesh may be removed from a specimen, and a beautiful skeleton of
ivory whiteness left standing in its natural position. I can assure all
such inquirers that this cannot be accomplished by any method at all.
The art of preparing bones is a long, elaborate, and difficult one, and
he who wishes to become a proficient in it must be alike regardless to
the most unpleasant odours, and to handling the most repulsive objects.
Mr. Chivers's receipt for the maceration of specimens is about the best
which one could have, only I should not advise so frequent a change
of the water. What is needed is as rapid a decomposition of the flesh
as is possible, and then the cleaning of the skeleton just before the
harder ligaments have also dissolved. But this requires very careful
watching, and with the utmost pains it is almost impossible to get a
skeleton entirely connected by its own ligaments.

Another point which must be taken into consideration is this: What use
is to be made of the specimens after they are prepared? Are they for
purposes of real study, or simply as curious objects to look at? If the
latter is the purpose, I must confess I do not think they are worth the
trouble of preparing. If the former is the object for which they are
intended, then I think no care or pains are thrown away. But for the
real student of Osteology the separated bones, as a rule, are far more
valuable than those which are connected. He needs one or two set up
for purposes of reference, but the great bulk of his specimens should
be separate bones. Osteology is one of the most delightful branches
of comparative anatomy, and one not very hard to master. Let anyone
try the experiment by getting together a few bones--and those from the
rabbit or the partridge we have had for dinner are by no means to be
despised--and then, by purchasing Flower's 'Osteology of the Mammalia,'
which is a cheap and first-rate book, he will learn what the study
of the skeleton really is. And then let him be on the look-out for
specimens of all kinds on all occasions, bringing home all suitable
objects he meets with in his walks, however unsavoury they may be, and
he will be astonished to find how many specimens he will get together
in the course of a year. I have now myself upwards of seventy skulls of
various kinds, with often the rest of the skeleton as well, the greater
part of which were gradually collected, by keeping constantly on the
watch for them, within a year and a half.



III.

BIRDS' EGGS.

By Thomas Southwell, F.Z.S., etc.


I can imagine no branch of natural history more _fascinating_ in its
nature, or more calculated to attract the attention of the young,
than the study of the nests and eggs of birds; the beauty of the
structure of the one, and of the form and colour of the others, cannot
fail to excite wonder and admiration; and the interest thus excited,
if rightly directed, may, and indeed has, in many instances, led to
the development of that passionate love for all nature's works, that
careful and patient spirit of investigation, and that deep love for
truth which should all be characteristics of the true naturalist.
Who can look back upon the days, perhaps long passed away, when as a
school-boy he wandered through the woods and fields, almost every step
unfolding to him some new wonder, some fresh beauty--glimpses of a
world of wonders only waiting to be explored--who can look back to such
a time without feeling that in those wanderings there dawned upon his
mind a source of happiness which in its purity and intensity ranks
high amongst those earthly pleasures we are permitted to enjoy, and
which has influenced him for good in all the changes which have since
come upon him, lightening the captivity of the sick room, and adding
fresh brightness to the enjoyments of health.

Between the true naturalist and the mere "collector" there is a wide
gap, and I trust that none for whom I am writing will allow themselves
to drift into the latter class; the incalculable mischief wrought by
those who assist in the extermination of rare and local species by
buying up every egg of a certain species which can be obtained, for
the mere purpose of exchange, cannot be too much deprecated, and I
hope that none of my readers will be so guilty; to them the pleasures
of watching the nesting habits of the bird, the diligent search and
the successful find are unknown; the eggs in such a cabinet are mere
egg-shells, and not objects pregnant with interest, recalling many a
happy ramble, and many a hardly-earned reward in the discovery of facts
and habits before unknown. Every naturalist must be more or less a
collector, but the naturalist should always be careful of drifting into
the collector, his note-book and his telescope should be his constant
and harmless companions.

When the writer first commenced his collection, the mode of preparing
the specimens for the cabinet was very rude indeed, and the method of
arranging equally bad; he is sorry to say the popular books upon the
subject which he has seen do not present any very great improvement; in
giving the results of his own experience, and the plan pursued by the
most distinguished oologists of the day, who have kindly allowed him to
explain the methods they adopt, he will, he trusts, save not only much
useless labour, but many valuable specimens.

Before saying a word as to preparing specimens for the cabinet, I wish
to impress upon the young oologist the absolute necessity for using
the greatest care and diligence in order satisfactorily to identify,
beyond possibility of doubt, every specimen, before he admits it to
his collection. Without such precautions, what might otherwise be
a valuable collection is absolutely worthless; and it is better to
have a small collection of authentic specimens than a much larger
one, the history of which is not perfectly satisfactory; in fact, it
is a good rule to banish from the cabinet every egg which is open
to the slightest doubt. There are some eggs which, when mixed, the
most experienced oologist will find it impossible to separate with
certainty, and which cannot be identified when once they are removed
from the nest.

The difficulties in the way of authentication are by no means slight,
but space will not allow me to dwell upon them; the most ready means,
however, is that of watching the old bird to the nest, although even
in this, as the collector will find by experience, there is a certain
liability to error. In collecting abroad it will be found absolutely
necessary (however reluctant we may be to sacrifice life) to procure
one of the parents with the nest and eggs. As we are writing for
beginners at home, we trust such a measure will rarely be necessary;
but that an accurate knowledge of the appearance of the bird, its
nesting habits, the situation, and the materials of which the nest is
composed, will be found amply sufficient to identify the eggs of our
familiar birds. This knowledge of course is only to be obtained by
patient and long observation; but it is just by such means that the
student obtains the practical insight into the habits and peculiarities
of the objects of his study, together with the careful and exact method
of recording his observations, which eventually enables him to take his
place amongst the more severely scientific naturalists whom he desires
to emulate.

I will first describe the tools required, and then proceed to the mode
of using them.

[Illustration: Fig. 4. Fig. 5. Drills for perforating Birds' Eggs.]

Figs. 4 and 5 are drills used for making the hole in the side of the
egg, from which the contents are discharged by means of the blowpipe,
Fig. 6. Fig. 4 has a steel point, brass ferrule, and ebony handle, and
may be used for eggs up to the size of the wood-pigeon's; Fig. 5 is
all steel, the handle octagonal, to give a firm hold to the fingers in
turning it, and may be used for eggs from the size of the wood-pigeon's
upwards. The points of both are finely cut like the teeth of a file,
as shown in the woodcut. The blowpipe, Fig. 6, is about 5-1/2 inches
in length (measured along the curve), and is made of German silver,
which from its cleanliness, lightness, and freedom from corrosion, will
be found the most suitable: it should be light and tapering, and with
a ring at the upper end to prevent it from slipping out of the mouth
when used. A piece of thin wire, Fig. 7, should be kept in the tube
when not in use, to prevent it from becoming stopped up by any foreign
substance. A common jeweller's blowpipe may be used for large eggs,
such as those of gulls and ducks. Fig. 8 is a small glass bulb-tube,
which may be used for sucking out the contents of very delicate eggs,
and other purposes, which will be explained hereafter. The small drill
and blowpipe may be carried inside the cover of the note-books.

[Illustration: Fig. 6. German-silver Blowpipe.]

[Illustration: Fig. 7. Wire for unstopping ditto.]

[Illustration: Fig. 8. Glass Bulb-tube, for sucking eggs.]

The sooner a fresh egg is emptied of its contents after it is taken
from the nest the better. This should be done by making a hole in the
side with the drill (choosing the side which is least conspicuously
marked) by working it gently backwards and forwards between the
forefinger and thumb, and taking great care not to press too heavily,
or the egg will burst with the outward pressure of the drill: a very
small hole will generally be found sufficient. When this is done,
take the egg in the left hand with the hole _downwards_, introduce
the blowpipe, by blowing gently through which, the contents may soon
be forced out. Water should then be introduced by means of a syringe
or the bulb-tube, which may be filled and blown into the egg. After
shaking, blow the water out again by means of the blowpipe; repeat this
till the egg is free from any remains of the yolk or white: should
the egg not be quite fresh, it will require more washing. Care should
be taken to wet the surface of the egg as little as possible. After
washing the interior, lay the egg, with the hole downwards, on a pad of
blotting-paper to drain till it is quite dry. Should the eggs be much
incubated, I should recommend that the old birds be left to complete
their labour of love; but a valuable egg may be made available by
carefully cutting a piece out of the side, extracting the young one,
and, after replacing the piece of shell with strong gum-water, covering
the join with a slip of very thin silk-paper, which may be tinted so as
to resemble the egg, and will scarcely be noticed. This is a very rough
way of proceeding, however, compared with Professor Newton's plan of
gumming several thicknesses of fine paper over the side of the egg to
strengthen it, through which the hole is drilled: the young chick is
then cut into small pieces by means of suitable instruments, and the
pieces removed with others:[B] the paper is then damped and removed
from the egg.

[B] "Suggestions for forming Collections of Birds' Eggs." By Professor
Newton. Written for the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, and
republished by Newman, 9, Devonshire Street, Bishopsgate.

The old plan of making two holes in the side of the egg is very
objectionable: a hole at each end is still worse. Many eggs would be
completely spoiled by washing; none improved. There is no necessity
for washing at all, except such as are very filthy, and these eggs
(which you may be sure are not fresh) are not such as should be
willingly accepted as specimens: a _little_ dirt only adds to the
natural appearance of the egg; washing in most cases certainly does
not. Never use varnish to the shell; it imparts a gloss which is not
natural: all eggs should not have a polished appearance like those of
the Woodpecker. Should the yolk be dried to the side of the egg, a
solution of carbonate of soda should be introduced: let it remain till
the contents are softened, then blow out and wash well. Great care must
be taken not to allow the solution to come in contact with the outside
of the egg. Having blown the egg, and allowed the inside to become
quite dry, procure some thin silk-paper gummed on one side, and with a
harness-maker's punch cut out a number of little tickets suitable to
the size of the hole in the egg, moisten one of these, and place it
with the gum side downwards over the hole, so as to quite cover it;
cover the ticket with a coat of varnish, which will render it air-tight
and prevent its being affected by moisture. The egg thus treated will
have all the appearance of a perfect specimen, and if kept from the
light will suffer very little from fading.

The note-book has been mentioned. This should be a constant companion;
nothing should be left to memory. When an egg is taken, a temporary
pencil number should at once be placed upon it, and this number should
correspond with the number attached to an entry in the note-book,
describing the nest (if not removed), its situation, number of eggs,
day of month, and any other particular of interest. When the egg is
ready for the cabinet, as much of this information (certainly, name,
date, and locality) should be indelibly marked upon it as conveniently
can be done (neatly, of course, and on the under side); also the number
referring to the collector's general list of his collection, into
which the important parts of the entry from the note-book should be
copied. Never trust to gummed labels, which are always liable to come
off; by writing the necessary particulars upon the egg itself there
can be no confusion or mistake. Most collectors have their own plan of
cataloguing their collection. I have adopted the following, which I
find to answer very well. Obtain a blank paper book the size of common
letter-paper, rule a horizontal line across the centre of each page,
and make a complete list of British birds, placing only two names on
each page, one at the head of each division, prefixing a progressive
number to each name: this number is to agree with that marked on the
egg of the species named. Then follow the locality whence the egg came,
by whom taken (if not by myself), or how it came into my possession,
with any other particular worthy of note. With all eggs received in
exchange or otherwise, this note should, if possible, be obtained in
the handwriting of the person from whom they are received, and the
slip on which it is written be affixed in the book under the number.
When specimens of the eggs of the same species are obtained from
various localities, those from each locality should be distinguished by
a letter prefixed to the number. The plan will be better understood by
referring to the following extract:

  62. Great Sedge-warbler (_Sylvia turtoides_, Meyer).

  62. Received of ----, from the cabinet of Mr. ----.

  a62. Taken by ----, a servant of ----, on the banks of the river
  Tougreep, near Valkenswaard, in the south of Holland,
  on the 9th of June, 1855. The birds may be heard a long
  way off by their incessant "Kara, Kara, Kara." A few
  years ago not one was to be found near Valkenswaard.

    A. B----

  b62. Bought at Antwerp in August, 1865. X/

         *       *       *       *       *

  118. Mealy Red-pole (_Fringilla borealis_, Tem.).

  118. Nyborg, at the head of Mæsk Fjord (one of the two
  branches into which Varanger Fjord divides), East
  Finmark, Norway, July, 1855. The birds were very
  plentiful, and only one species seen, which appears
  quite identical with that which visits England every
  winter.

    C. D. E----

By means of these entries, and the corresponding number on the egg,
mistakes are impossible, and the name and history of each egg would be
quite as well known to a stranger as to the possessor. It needs not to
be said that this catalogue is replete with the deepest interest to
its compiler. In it he sees the record of many a holiday trip and many
a successful find. Some of the entries in my own register--the earliest
date back five-and-twenty years--are memorials of companions long since
dead, or separated by rolling oceans, but on whose early friendship it
is a pleasure to dwell.

Nothing can be more vexatious and disappointing than the receipt of a
box of valuable eggs in a smashed or injured condition from want of
care or knowledge of the proper method of packing. A simple method
is recommended by Professor Newton, which, from experience, I can
confidently recommend:--Roll each egg in tow, wool, or some elastic
material, and pack them closely in a stout box, leaving no vacant
place for them to shake; or a layer of soft material may be placed at
the bottom of the box, and upon it a layer of eggs, each one wrapped
loosely in old newspaper; upon this another layer of wool or moss, then
again eggs, and packing alternately until the box is quite full. Bran,
sawdust, &c., should never be used; and it should be ascertained that
the box is quite filled, so that no shaking or settlement can occur.

Almost every collector has his own plan for constructing his cabinet,
and displaying his collection. The beginner, if left to himself, will
find it a matter of no small difficulty, and many will be the changes
before he arrives at one at all satisfactory. Mr. Osbert Salvin has
invented a plan which I think as near perfection as it is possible
to arrive at, and through his kindness I am enabled to give a brief
description of it. In the first place, his cabinets are so constructed
that the drawers, of different depths, are interchangeable. This is
effected by placing the runners, which carry the drawers, at a fixed
distance from each other and making the depth of each drawer a multiple
of the distance between the runners. For example: if the runners are
three-quarters of an inch off each other, then let the drawers be
1-1/2, 2-1/4, 3, 3-3/4, 4-1/2, &c., inches deep. All these drawers
will be perfectly interchangeable, and a drawer deep enough to hold an
ostrich's egg can in a few moments be placed amongst those containing
warblers': every requirement of expansion and rearrangement will be
vastly facilitated, involving none of those radical changes so worrying
to a collector.[C] Mr. Salvin's plan of arranging the eggs is equally
simple, and admits of any amount of change with very little trouble.
Each drawer is divided longitudinally by thin slips of wood into three
or more parts, about 4 to 6 inches across, as may be convenient; a
number of sliding stages are then constructed of cardboard, by cutting
the cardboard half through, at exactly the width of the partition,
and bending the sides down to raise the stage to the required height.
A section of one of these stages will be seen in Fig. 9, and the
arrangement in the drawer at Fig. 10. A number of oval holes are then
to be cut by hand, or with a wadding-punch of suitable size (altered
in shape by hammering), and a thin layer of cotton-wool gummed on the
upper surface of the stage: the holes, of course, should be suitable
in size to the egg they are intended to receive. Between these stages
sliding partitions must be placed: these should be made of just
sufficient height that the horizontal part may fit closely on the wool,
as shown at Fig. 9. These partitions should be made of thin wood for
the upright part, along which a horizontal strip of cardboard is to be
fastened with glue, on which is to be placed a label bearing the name
of the species of egg displayed on the stage, as seen in Fig. 10. All
this will be better understood by referring to the figures.

[C] Of course, cabinets thus constructed will be found equally
convenient for collections of bird-skins, fossils, &c.

[Illustration: Fig. 9. Section of Sliding Stage.]

[Illustration: Fig. 10. Cabinet Drawer on Mr. Salvin's plan.]

Fig. 9 represents a longitudinal section of one of the stages in its
place, with the ends of the two next; 1, showing the cardboard stage;
2, the cotton-wool; 3, the sliding partition; and 4, the horizontal
slip of cardboard to carry the label.

Fig. 10 represents one of the drawers on Mr. Salvin's plan: it is
divided into three parts (1, 2, 3) by fixed partitions. No. 1 is
represented empty; No. 2 with the specimens arranged; No. 3 with two
stages and two of the movable partitions.

This may appear very complicated at first sight, but a few trials
will be sufficient to master the details, and the result will be very
beautiful if neatly carried out. The eggs are well shown, not liable to
fall out of their places, and it is very little trouble to alter the
arrangement, every part being movable. Each drawer should be covered by
a sheet of glass to exclude dust.

Mr. Salvin's cabinet is an excellent one for holding the nests of
birds, which should be removed with as little damage as possible, and
placed in the drawers, under cover of glass. Great care must be taken
to keep them free from moth, to which they are very liable; for this
purpose they should be dressed with the solution of corrosive sublimate.

The young collector should remember that what is worth doing at all is
worth doing well, and that the care bestowed upon his cabinet is not
labour in vain; habits of exactness and precision of arrangement are
absolutely necessary if he would make the best use of the materials
which come in his way; and, above all, never let him degenerate into
the mere collector: his collection should be for use, and not merely
ornamental.



IV.

BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS.

By Dr. Henry Knaggs.


The collector of Lepidoptera who aspires to success must read the
book of nature as he runs. If he have not the wit to note and turn to
account each little fact which may come under his observation, neither
he nor science will be the better for his collecting. He should,
whenever he makes a capture, _know the reason why_, or he will never
make a successful hunter. He should be ever on the alert: his motto,
_nunquam dormio_.

Some collect for profit, others for pastime; but the aim of our
readers, I take it, is not only to acquire a collection of really
good specimens, but also at the same time to improve their minds; and
the best way of effecting this purpose is to hunt the perfect insect,
not so much for itself as for the sake of the golden eggs, which,
with proper care and attention, will in due course yield the most
satisfactory results in the shape of bred specimens.

This being the case, and space being limited, it seems best to simply
touch upon the preliminary stages of insect existence, pointing out as
we go those methods of collecting and preserving which experience has
shown to be the most successful.

There can be no doubt but that egg-hunting is a very profitable
occupation, and far more remunerative than most people dream of,
particularly as a means of acquiring the Sphinges, Bombyces, and
Pseudo-bombyces. Eggs, speaking generally, are to be found on the
plants to which the various species are attached; and a knowledge of
the time during which the species remains in the egg state, as well as
the appearance of the eggs as deposited in nature, should if possible
be acquired previous to proceeding to hunt. The most practical way of
ascertaining the food and time is to watch the parent insect in the act
of depositing her ova; but when the plant has been thus discovered, the
best way is to capture her, and induce her to lay at our home. When
eggs are inconspicuous, of small dimensions, or artfully concealed, the
use of a magnifying glass is invaluable.

Eggs may be preserved by plunging them in boiling water or piercing
them with a very fine needle, or they may have their contents squeezed
out and be refilled by means of a fine blowpipe, with some coagulable
tinted fluid; but the shells themselves, after the escape of the larvæ,
form, when mounted, beautiful objects for the microscope.

The three most successful plans of obtaining caterpillars are
searching, beating, and sweeping. The first requires good eyesight and
a certain amount of preparatory knowledge; the others are a sort of
happy-go-lucky way of collecting, useful enough and profitable in their
way, but affording a very limited scope for the exercise of the wits.
In searching for larvæ, the chief thing is to observe the indications
of their presence. A mutilated leaf, a roughened bark, a tumid twig,
a sickly plant, an unexpanded bud, an abortive flower, or a windfall
fruit, should at once set us thinking as to the cause; or, again, the
webs, the silken threads, the burrowings and trails, or the cast-off
skins of larvæ, may first call our attention to their proximity. Of
course, larvæ may be found on almost all plants, as well as in the
bark, stems, or wood of many; but the collector should fortify himself
with a knowledge of what each plant is likely to produce, and hunt
accordingly; for though indiscriminate collecting may sometimes be
successful, it does not tend to improve the intellectual powers.

Beating is the more applicable method of working trees and bushes. It
is carried out by jarring the larvæ from their positions by the aid of
a stick or pole, in such a manner that they will fall into an inverted
umbrella, or net; or a sheet may be spread beneath for their reception.
Sweeping with a strong net, passed from side to side with a mower-like
movement, is better adapted for working low ground-herbage. The
umbrella net, shown in Fig. 11, is, perhaps, the best for the purpose.
It is constructed by hinging two lengths of jack-spring on two pieces
of brass, and adapting them to the stick of the net, the upper piece of
brass being fixed, the lower movable.

[Illustration: Fig. 11. Umbrella Net.]

When captured, larvæ should be transferred to chip boxes, or else to
finely and freely perforated tins, the latter better preserving the
food. A very handy box for the purpose is formed by fitting a second
lid on to the bottom of a chip box, and then cutting from the second
lid and bottom a hole, as shown in Fig. 12 (2); larvæ may then be
inserted through the hole; but when the lid is shifted round, and the
holes are not opposite, of course there will be no opening, as in Fig.
12 (1), and the contents are secured from escape.

[Illustration: Fig. 12. Collecting Box for Larvæ.]

Larva preserving is carried out by first killing, and then squeezing
and extracting the contents through the anal orifice by means of a
crochet hook.

When this has been done, the skin is inflated, but not to such an
extent as to distend the segments, and is kept thus inflated while it
is being dried in a heated metal chamber. Afterwards, if the colours
are observed to have faded, they may be cautiously restored by the
application of paint. These objects, mounted on suitable artificial
leaves, are then ready for the cabinet.

Chrysalis collecting is conducted according to the situation of the
object sought. Some are to be found in the chinks of bark or under
loose bark, which may be detached by means of a powerful lever. Some
are suspended from trees, bushes, copings, hanging head downwards,
or girded by silken threads to low plants or walls; others are to be
found in the stems or trunks of their food-plants; many are concealed
in cocoons of more or less perfect construction, others again amongst
fallen leaves, but the majority are to be met with under the surface of
the ground; in which case we shall have to dig for them by the aid of a
trowel or broad chisel. The best situations for subterranean pupæ are
open park-like fields, borders of streams, open spaces in fir woods,
and they are usually situated within a foot or so of the tree trunks,
at the depth of two or three inches, though sometimes considerably
deeper. Of course both larvæ and pupæ of aquatic species will have to
be sought for in their element, among the plants they frequent.

Chrysalis preserving is a simple matter: the pupæ may be killed by
plunging them into hot water or by baking; frequently, however, we
find that the natural polish disappears with death, and this may be
restored by varnishing. It is advisable that the cocoons also, where
practicable, should be preserved, to give a notion of their appearance
in nature.

Moths and butterflies may be sought for at rest or on the wing. They
may be disturbed from their hiding places or they may be attracted by
various alluring baits.

At rest on stems of grasses and other plants butterflies may be taken
on dull, sunless days; but it requires some experience to detect a
butterfly with its wings raised up over its back: the little "Blues"
may thus be freely boxed in their localities. Again, such butterflies
as hybernate may be found in old sheds and outhouses, or under stacks.

Moths may be taken at rest on tree trunks, palings, and walls, or
amongst foliage and ground herbage. Some species are to be freely
captured in this way after their evening flight is over. Of course, for
evening work, a lantern to assist our vision will be indispensable.

On the wing, some butterflies are exceedingly active, others
comparatively sluggish; some fly high, others low. In hunting them, the
chief points to be remembered are not to alarm, but rather cautiously
to stalk our game, and strike, when we have an opportunity, with
precision. It is important also to avoid throwing a shadow over them,
and it is a good plan to get to windward of them--anything like flurry
will be fatal to success.

Moths which fly by day may be chased in the same manner, but some
may be observed disporting themselves round trees; these must be
watched, and netted as they now and then descend. Others fly at a
very low altitude, and are only brought into the field of vision by
our assumption of the recumbent position. At night again, though we
watch for anything stirring the air, among the trees or the herbage,
our tactics are somewhat modified; for, if the insect be of whitish
colour, we should so place ourselves that its form will stand boldly
out against a mass of dark foliage, whereas, if it be dingy in hue, we
must take the sky for our background.

Disturbing insects, and thus causing them to start forth, and so render
themselves visible, is another method of collecting. This is carried
out in various ways.

First, the occupants of high trees may be expelled by jarring the
trunk with a heavily loaded mallet, or by thwacking the trunk with a
long hazel stick; but a sharp look-out must be kept, for some sham
death, and fall plump down, while others make off as fast as they can.
Other plans are to pelt the trees with stones, or pump on them with a
powerful garden engine, or beat them with a long pole; and of all tress
the most profitable for this purpose is the yew; though firs, oaks,
beeches, and other trees are not to be despised.

For beating bushes there is nothing better than a walking-stick, and
for low herbage a long switch passed quickly from side to side with a
tapping movement is best adapted. The tenants of tree trunks may be
disturbed by brushing the surface with a leafy little bough, or, better
still, by the use of a strong fan, with which a powerful blast may be
driven, the net being held in such a position as to intercept such
insects as are blown off.

Thatch-beating in the autumn is a very profitable employment,
particularly in the matter of _Depressariæ_. Sweeping need only be
mentioned here, for moths collected by the process are anything but
perfect insects.

There are various methods of attracting moths and butterflies. The
first is effected by confining a virgin female in a muslin cage, the
frame of which may be very readily formed by bending three pieces of
cane into circles, and fixing these together at right angles, as shown
in Fig. 13. When this baited cage is placed in a favourable position,
and the weather is propitious for the flight of the males, the latter
will, in some cases, congregate, and may be freely captured.

[Illustration: Fig. 13. Frame of Cage for Virgin Lepidoptera.]

Then, the food-plant of the species is an attraction at which we stand
the best chance of procuring impregnated females.

[Illustration: Fig. 14. Lantern and Net.]

Various kinds of blooms possess alluring qualities for insects: of
these, sallow and ivy are the greatest favourites with collectors.
They should be worked after dusk by means of a lantern and net; but
the combination of a lantern fixed to a long stick, with a shallow net
beneath and a little in advance of it, as shown in the cut, is the
apparatus best adapted for the purpose; the object of the net being
to intercept any insects which may happen to fall under the stimulus
of light. These attractions should be first well searched over, and
afterwards, a sheet (split if necessary) having been carefully spread
below the bushes, a gentle shaking should be administered. Besides
these blossoms, heather, ragwort, bugloss, catchfly, bramble,
various grasses, and a vast number of other flowers, are wonderfully
attractive. In working patches of bloom we should remain stationary and
strike as the visitors arrive. Again, over-ripe fruit, the juicy buds
of certain trees, sap exuding from wounds in trees, are all more or
less attractive. The secretion of aphides, commonly called honeydew,
observable in hot seasons on the leaves of nettles and various other
plants and trees, is also well worth attention, and is at times very
productive of insects.

[Illustration: Fig. 15. Net for sugaring.]

[Illustration: Fig. 16. Box with linen joints.]

Sugaring is the next attraction, and a very important one it is.
"Sugar" may be prepared by boiling up equal quantities of coarse
"foots" sugar and treacle in a sufficient quantity of stale beer,
a small quantity of rum being added previous to use, and also, if
considered advisable, a flavouring of jargonelle pears, anise-seed, or
ginger-grass. This mixture should be applied by means of a small paint
brush to the trunks of trees, to foliage, flowers, tufts of grass, or
indeed to any object which may present a suitable surface; for in some
localities we are put to shift to know where to spread our sweets. This
operation should be performed just before dusk, and soon afterwards
the baited spots should be visited and, by the aid of a lantern gently
turned on them, examined, a net being held beneath the while. The
best form of net for the purpose is formed by socketing two paragon
wires into a Y-piece and connecting their diverging extremities by a
piece of catgut, as shown in Fig. 15. The catgut, being flexible, will
adapt itself (see the dotted line) to the surface of a tree trunk when
pressed against it. With regard to insects captured at sugar, they
are usually remarkably quiet, and may be boxed without difficulty,
and, with a few exceptions, may be conveyed home in the boxes, care
being taken to let each have a separate apartment. The boxes should be
strengthened with strips of linen pasted round the joints, as shown in
Fig. 16, otherwise accidents may occur, particularly on wet evenings
or on rough ground. The skittish individuals may be best captured by
means of the sugaring drum, of which a cut is given in Fig. 17. This
apparatus consists of a cylinder, one end of which is covered with
gauze, the other provided with a circular valve, which works in a slit.
For use, the valve is opened and the cylinder placed over the insect,
which naturally flies towards the gauze; then the valve is closed, the
corked piston, shown at the upper part of the cut, placed against it,
the valve re-opened, the piston pushed up to the gauze, the insect
pinned through the gauze, and the piston withdrawn with the insect
transfixed to it.

[Illustration: Fig 17. Sugaring Drum.]

[Illustration: Fig. 18. Cyanide Bottle and Ferrule.]

Light is another most profitable means of attracting. The simplest way
is to place a powerful moderator lamp upon a table in front of an open
window which faces a good locality, and then wait net in hand for our
visitors, which usually make their appearance late in the evening, and
continue to arrive until the small hours. Those who prefer it can use
the American moth-trap, which is self-acting, detaining such insects
as may enter its portals, or those who can afford the space may fit
up a room on the same principle. Street lamps are very profitable
certain localities, and amply reward the collector who perseveringly
and minutely examines them. The apparatus depicted in Fig. 18 is very
useful for taking off such insects as may be on the glass of the lamp:
it consists of a cyanide bottle attached by a ferrule to the end of a
sufficiently long stick. When placed over an insect, stupefaction is
quickly produced. A net of the shape represented in Fig. 19 is also
very useful for getting at the various parts of the lamp.

[Illustration: Fig. 19. Lamp Net.]

[Illustration: Fig. 20. Chloroform Bottle.]

The best methods of stupefying and killing insects on the field is the
cyanide bottle, prepared by placing alternate layers of cyanide of
potassium and blotting-paper in the bottom of a wide-mouthed bottle,
the mouth of which is accurately stopped with a cover, which is better
for the purpose than a bung. The chloroform bottle, which is generally
made with a little nipple, through which the fluid flows slowly out,
and covered with a screw-tap, as in the cut 20, is also handy. The
chloroform should be dropped over perforations in the box containing
our patient, these perforations having been previously made by a few
stabs of a penknife. After the fluid is dropped, our thumb should cover
it, when the vapour will quickly enter, and the inmate speedily become
insensible. Afterwards the _coup de grâce_ may be given to the insect
by pricking it under the thorax with the nib of a steel pen dipped in
a saturated solution of oxalic acid. If we are smokers, a puff of
tobacco may be blown into the box with like result. If we are destitute
of any apparatus, and brimstone lucifers for the purpose of suffocating
our captures under an inverted tumbler cannot be obtained at some
roadside inn, we must fall back on the barbarous practice of pinching
the thoraces of such as cannot be carried home in boxes. At home we
shall find the laurel jar and ammonia bottle the most useful. The
former is made by partially filling a large wide-mouthed bottle or jar
with cut and bruised dry leaves of young laurel: if any dampness hang
about them, we shall have the mortification of seeing our specimens
become mildewed. The latter consists in adding a few lumps of carbonate
of ammonia, or some drops of strong liquid ammonia, on a sponge, to the
bottle in which our captures, with each box lid slightly opened, have
been placed. But it must be borne well in mind, firstly, that ammonia
is injurious to the colours of most green insects; and secondly, that
if the specimens be not well aired after having been thus killed, the
pins with which they are transfixed will become brittle and break.
Insects should be left in the ammonia for several hours, and are then
in the most delightful condition for setting out.

To pin an insect properly is a most important procedure. The moth, if
of moderate dimensions may be rested or held between the thumb and fore
finger of the left hand, while the corresponding digits of the right
hand operate by steadily pushing a pin through the thorax, bringing
it out between the hind pair of coxæ until sufficient of the pin is
exposed beneath to steady the insect in the cabinet The direction of
the pin should be perpendicular when the insect is viewed from the
front, as in Fig. 21; but a lateral view should show the pin slightly
slanting forwards, as in Fig. 22. Pins made for the purpose in numerous
sizes are sold by Mr. Cooke, of New Oxford Street.

[Illustration: Fig. 21. Front View of properly pinned Insect.]

[Illustration: Fig. 22. Side View of ditto.]

[Illustration: Fig. 23. Cork Saddle for setting out Insects.]

[Illustration: Fig. 24. Braces for setting out.]

Setting out moths and butterflies is an operation which, if skilfully
performed, adds much to the beauty of the future specimens. The method
of setting most popular is carried out by means of saddles and braces.
These so-called saddles are pieces of cork rounded as in the sectional
figure, a groove being cut out for the reception of the bodies of the
insects: they are generally strengthened by a strip of wood, upon
which they are glued. Braces are wedge-shaped pieces of card or thick
note-paper, the thick end strengthened, if necessary, with a disc
of card fixed by shoemakers' paste, and pierced with a pin through
it, as shown in Fig. 24. The mode of application of these appliances
is beautifully shown in Fig. 26[D]. But before these straps can be
applied, the wings must first be got into position by means of the
setting needle and setting bristle, which are thus manipulated (the
setting bristle, by the way, being formed by fixing a cat's whisker and
a pin into a piece of cork, at the angle shown in Fig. 25):--After the
insect is straightly pinned upon the saddle, and the legs, antennæ,
and, if necessary, the tongue, got into position, the left fore-wing is
to be pushed or tilted into its place by means of the setting needle,
which is merely a darning needle with a handle; and simultaneously it
is to be held down by the bristle; then a small brace should be applied
to the costa of the fore wing. Next the hind wing should in like
manner be adjusted, and as many braces as are considered necessary to
keep the wings in their place should be added. Lastly, the right side
of the insect should be treated in a similar way.

[D] Figs. 26 and 27 have been kindly lent by Messrs. Reeve & Co.

[Illustration: Fig. 25. Setting Bristle.]

[Illustration: Fig. 26. Moth set out on Cork Saddle.]

[Illustration: Fig. 27. Four-strap setting.]

A very useful mode of setting, invaluable when we are destitute of
saddles, is known as "four-strap" setting, and is well explained in
Fig. 27. In this case the lower straps are first put into such a
position, that when the insect is placed over them the middle of each
of the costæ will rest upon them; then the wings are got into position,
and the second pair of straps are applied over the wings, the latter
retaining their position through the elasticity of their costæ: two
more straps are generally added to secure the outer borders of the
wings, as shown in the drawing; but these, though advantageous, are
not absolutely necessary. The saddles, with their contents, should be
kept in a drying house, which is a box adapted for their reception, and
freely ventilated, until the specimens are thoroughly dry, when the
latter may be cautiously removed, and transferred to the collection.

To preserve our collection from decay, considerable care and attention
is necessary. In the first place no insect which is in the least degree
suspected of being affected by mites, or mould, or grease, should on
any account be admitted to our collections. It is best to be on the
safe side and submit every insect received from correspondents, whether
mity or not, to quarantine, by which is meant their detention for a few
weeks in a box the atmosphere of which is impregnated with some vapour
destructive to insect life; such as that of benzole. Our own specimens
we should kyanize by touching the bodies of each with a camel's-hair
brush dipped in a solution of bichloride of mercury of the strength six
grains to the ounce of spirits of wine,--no stronger.

As for mould, it is best destroyed by the application of phænic
or carbolic acid, mixed with three parts of ether or spirit. As
preventives, the specimens should be kyanized as above. Caution in the
use of laurel as a killing agent must be exercised, and the collection
must be kept in a dry room.

Grease may be removed by soaking the insects in pure rectified naphtha
or benzole, even by boiling them in it if necessary. When the bodies
only are greasy, they may be broken off, numbered, and treated as
above. After the grease is thoroughly softened, the insects should
be covered up in powdered pipeclay or French chalk, which may be
subsequently removed by means of a small sable brush. As a precaution
against grease, it is advisable to remove the contents of the abdomina
by slitting up the latter beneath with a finely pointed pair of
scissors before they are thoroughly dry, and packing the cavities with
cotton wool. The males, especially of such species as have internal
feeding larvæ, should be thus treated.

Some prefer to keep their collections in well-made store boxes, which
possess many advantages over the cabinet; for example, they may be kept
like books in a bookcase, the upright position rendering the contents
less liable to the attacks of mites; they are more readily referred to,
and are more portable, and they admit of our gradually expanding our
collections to any extent. Cabinets, on the other hand, are preferred
by many, for the reasons that they are compact and generally form
a handsome article of furniture; moreover, good cabinets are made
entirely of mahogany, which is the best wood for the purpose; deal, and
other woods containing resinous matter, having a decidedly injurious
effect on the specimens. As a preservative, there is, after all,
perhaps nothing better than camphor; but it should be used sparingly,
or its tendency will be to cause greasiness of the specimens.



V.

BEETLES.

By E. C. Rye, F.Z.S., etc.


The general rules, so ably expounded by Dr. Knaggs in his instructions
for collecting _Lepidoptera_, as to constant alertness and making "the
reason why" the starting-point of investigation, apply with equal force
to the collector of _Coleoptera_, and need not be here recapitulated.
But they do not, in the instance of the latter, require generally to
be observed, except as to the perfect state of beetles; for, owing
to the hidden earlier conditions of life of most of those insects,
and to the long period during which these conditions exist, it is but
seldom that the pursuit of rearing them, so universally and profitably
adopted by the Lepidopterist, is found of much use to the collector
of beetles. And this is very much to be regretted; because, in the
majority of cases, if the latter succeed in rearing a beetle from its
earliest stage, and keep proper notes of its appearance and habits,
he will probably be adding to the general stock of knowledge, as the
lives of comparatively few, even of the commonest species, are recorded
from the beginning. It may be, also, in addition to the reasons above
mentioned, for the usual want of success attending the rearing of
beetle larvæ, that the fact of bred specimens being frequently (from
the artificial conditions attending their development, and from their
not being allowed that length of time which, in a state of nature,
they require after their final change before they are ready to take an
active part in their last stage of life) not nearly so good as those
taken at large, militates considerably against the more general use
of this method of adding to a collection. In this respect, of course,
the Lepidopterist is actuated by precisely opposite motives; as for
him, a bred specimen is immeasurably superior to one captured. And the
fact of so few beetle larvæ being known at all, or, if known, only
to the possessor of somewhat rare books, renders it very likely that
a mere collector, finding a considerable expenditure of patience and
trouble result in the rearing of a species of which he could at any
time readily procure any number of specimens, may very probably abandon
rearing for the future.

These observations, however, are not in the least intended to dissuade
anyone from breeding or endeavouring to breed beetles. On the contrary,
it is obvious from them that it is precisely by attending to these
earlier stages that the earnest student (novice or expert) has the
most chance of distinguishing himself, on account of the more open
field for discovery. And in the instance of many small, and especially
gregarious, beetles, breeding from the larvæ is frequently very easy,
if only the substances (fungus, rotten wood, roots, stems of plants,
&c.) containing them be carefully left in precisely the state as when
found, and be exposed to the same atmospheric or other important
conditions. In fact, to ensure success and good specimens, it is best
that in their early stages beetles should be "let alone severely."

It may be here observed that we have been lately in this country
indebted to the minute observations and great tact of some of our best
students of _Micro-Lepidoptera_ (in which branch of entomology we are
second to none in Europe) for some most interesting additions to our
knowledge of habits, and for long series of beetles usually rare in
collections.

Dismissing then the earlier stages of beetles, the following
observations will apply only to the imago, or "beetle proper." And here
I would repeat how evident it is that the knowledge of "the reason
why" is especially indispensable to the beetle collector, judging from
the extreme rarity of the occurrence of any new or valuable insect
in the stores of a mere random collector or a beginner. For him, no
old hand detects an equivalent to _Daplidice_ or _Lathonia_ in his
duplicate boxes; whereas, among Lepidopterists, "school-boy's luck" is
proverbial. I can give no reason for this statement, founded on my own
(by no means trifling) experience in the way of examining specimens.
And in this idea I think I am corroborated by the very great rarity in
old collections and records of many species now universally common;
the directions in older manuals, as to looking under stones, on walls,
paths, &c., pretty clearly showing that the majority of captures in
the olden time were what are now irreverently designed as "flukes."
Still, it is astonishing to what good account a sharp observer may turn
these casual meetings, often to him resulting in the discovery of "the
reason why" as to the particular species accidentally found, and to the
correlative increase of his collection. And, apart from captures during
collecting expeditions, good things will at times occur to the alert
entomologist: one, for instance, who will startle his friends in the
streets by suddenly swooping with his hat after an atom flying in the
sunshine, or who is not too proud to pick up another, racing on the hot
pavement, during those days of early spring, when the insect myriads,
revelling in warmth and light, after their long winters durance, may be
seen madly dashing about, even in towns: on such a day, for instance,
as that whereon a certain well-known doctor among the beetles found
that living carabideous gem _Anchomenus sexpunctatus_, far from its
native _Sphagnum_ and heath, wandering on the flagstones of the W.C.
district.

But, before referring to special modes of hunting, it may be as well
to mention the _instrumenta belli_ required for the equipment of the
Coleopterist in this country. These are but few, and of the simplest
kind; indeed, in entomology, as in the gentle art of angling, it
is often the most roughly accoutred that secures the best basket.
The umbrella net, figured at p. 47, used both for beating into and
sweeping, cannot be dispensed with, and a beating stick can be cut
out of the nearest hedge. The net itself should be of fine "cheese
cloth," or some strong fabric that allows the passage of air, but not
of beetles; otherwise, if of too close a fibre, it is apt to "bag"
with the inclosed air, and reject its contents during the operation
of sweeping. The net being of course used with the right hand, its
left top edge especially bears the brunt of the attendant friction,
and gets soon worn; it is consequently advisable to have an outer
strip of stout "leather-cloth" sewn strongly over the rim there for
some little distance, extending that protection also to the right top
edge, though not for so long a space. The curved handle of the stick
should be sawn off as soon as possible; it frequently catches in the
pockets of the sweeper, causing a jerk to the net, and dispersal of its
contents. For a similar reason, the ferruled apex may well be removed.
Some collectors keep the sharp cutting edge of the spring sides of the
net uncovered, sewing the net itself to holes drilled at intervals on
the lower side of the springs: a net of this kind cuts very close,
and where there is much herbage soon gets full of fragments, taking a
long time to examine. It will be found handy if the bag of the net be
cut to a point from the front towards the handle side: this causes the
contents to gravitate to the bottom, as far as possible from the point
where the rim meets the substance swept.

A common umbrella (easily slung by a stout string over the back when
not in use) is an admirable (some think, superior) substitute for
this net, as it can be held up higher by the ferrule, and tall bushes
and trees (of which the branches nearer the top are usually most
productive) can be beaten into it with more certainty of their beetle
contents being caught. The steel frames will be found in the way when
the beetles are being bottled; consequently, a good large gingham may
be consecrated to collecting, and its inside (not merely the outer
ribs) covered all over up to the middle (leaving no aperture there if
possible) with thin white calico, stitched _over_ the frame.

Another good form of net for sweeping or dragging in long grass or
herbage, is of the common fishing landing-net description, made of
very stout wrought-iron or steel wire, either in a simple hoop, if a
moderate size only be required, or with a single hinge to fold into
two, or with three such hinges, folding into four, as may be desired.
I have used one of these four-folding nets for years, and never found
it fail. One end is hammered out flat and perforated, the other forming
a male screw (1-1/2 inch long), bent at right angles with the body
of the frame, passes through the hole, and fits into a female screw
in a strong and long ferrule, fixed in the usual way to the end of
a stout oaken walking-stick. As the power exerted in sweeping with
such a net is great, and the action continuous, the simple screw
is not enough, and a small screw hole is drilled right through the
ferrule and the screw end of the net; a small thumb-screw, in shape
like an old-fashioned clock key, going transversely through both, and
effectually hindering lateral displacement. The framework of the net
and the ferrule are better made of the same metal, because, if made
of two metals of different density, the stronger soon wears away the
weaker; and the stick must be inserted deeply into the ferrule, and
held on with _two_ deep pins or small screws on opposite sides (not on
the same level, however, as the wood is in that case weakened), one
being insufficient to stand the strain. The net, of the same substance
as that above mentioned, is made with a loose "hem" to slip on the
frame before screwing it in the ferrule. A leather-cloth edging all
round is advisable, and the bag should be cut long enough to prevent
the possibility of the contents jerking out. Another very good plan for
securing the frame to the ferrule is to have both ends of it soldered
together into a deep square-sided plug, fitting into a corresponding
square hole in the ferrule. The small cross-screw or pin is here also
to be used; but the angles of the plug naturally keep a much tighter
hold than the worm of a screw. Such a frame as this cannot, of course,
be folded.

For water beetles, a similar net to that last mentioned is effective,
but it should be stouter and with a flat front, for dredging closely
against the sides and bottoms of ponds. The best substance for its
bag is fine sampler canvas; and a very large, stout bamboo cane is at
once light and strong for its stick. To avoid friction the bag may be
affixed to small wire rings let into holes on the lower edge of the
frame, or running on the frame itself.

A sieve is one of the most remunerative implements, and may be procured
either simple or folding. It consists of a stout wire-framed circle,
connected by a strong linen band, six inches deep, with the bottom of
an ordinary wire sieve, the meshes of which are wide enough to allow
any beetle to pass through. Leaves, grass, flood refuse, ants' nests
materials, cut grass, seaweed, haystack and other _débris_, are roughly
shaken in this over a sheet of brown paper, which should invariably
form part of a Coleopterist's apparatus. A stout piece of double
waterproof material may be substituted; and, in marsh collecting, must
be used as a kneeling pad.

For ordinary bark collecting, a strong ripping chisel (of which the
blade is well collared, so as not to slip) is as useful a tool as
can be procured; but for _real_ tree working, no ordinarily portable
instrument is thoroughly effective. Light steel hammers with a lever
spike may delude the collector; but a woodman's axe, a saw, a pickaxe
or crowbar, will often be found not too strong. For cutting tufts,
&c., a strong garden pruning-knife is good, and an old fixed-handled
dinner-knife (carried in a sheath) better. For holding the results of
the operation of these instruments, the collector needs but one or two
collecting bottles--one rather small and circular, of as clear and
strong glass (_not_ cast) as can be got, with a wide mouth and flat
bottom. Its neck should not slope, but be of even width, or the cork
will often get out of itself. This cork should be a deep one, and
be perforated longitudinally by a stout and large round quill, the
bottom of which should be level with the bottom of the cork, the top
projecting some inch and a half, with the upper orifice not cut off
straight, but slightly sloped diagonally, so as more easily to scoop
up beetles from the net or hand. It is closed with an _accurately
fitting_, soft, wooden plug, rather longer than the quill, reaching
exactly to the bottom of it, but with its top projecting above the top
of the quill, and broader than it, so as to be easily pulled out by
the teeth when the hands are occupied. The bottle should be secured
by stout twine to the buttonhole, enough play being left for it to
reach the net in any ordinary position. I usually secure the external
junction of quill and cork with red sealing-wax, and have more than
once found the bright red catch my eye when I have lost my bottle.
[N.B. This loss will always happen to every collector; generally after
a peculiarly lucky day's work: so use the string-preventive.] The body
of the bottle may usefully be half covered with white paper gummed on.
A few stout, plain glass tubes, papered in like way, and with plain
corks, should be carried for special captures; and a cyanide bottle,[E]
as mentioned at p. 57, or one containing bruised and shredded young
laurel shoots, will be found useful for safely bringing home larger
species, or such as would devour their fellow-captives. When put into
these, beetles almost instantly die and become rigid, needing a stay
of two days or so to become relaxed, in which condition they will then
safely remain for a considerable period. In the first collecting bottle
a piece of muslin should be put, to give the contents foothold: these
are brought home alive, and killed by bodily immersion in boiling
water, after which they are placed on blotting paper to drain off
superfluous moisture.

[E] "Killing bottles," containing cyanide of potassium under a layer of
gypsum, may be bought at most natural-history apparatus dealers, and
are useful as relaxing dépôts.

Good things should always, when practicable, be set out at once, as the
pubescence is apt to get matted if they are consigned for too long a
period to the laurel or cyanide bottle; but such as remain unmounted
can be put in a little muslin bag, and deposited in laurel until a
more convenient opportunity. Beetles also, when taken in large numbers
during an expedition into a productive locality, may be collected
indiscriminately into a bottle containing sawdust (sifted to get rid
both of large pieces and actual dust), slightly alcoholized, or with
a small quantity of carbolic acid or cyanide of potassium in it. Each
night, on reaching home, these will be found to be dead, and they can
then be transferred to a larger bottle or air-tight tin can, partially
filled with the same materials and a little carbolic acid to check
undue moisture. Filled up with sawdust, this will travel in safety for
any distance, and almost any time.

Species of moderate size, say up to that of an ordinary _Harpalus_, are
in this country usually mounted on card. Much is to be said both for
and against this practice: it enables the proportions and formation of
limbs to be well appreciated, and it preserves the specimens securely;
but there can be no doubt that it prevents an inspection of the under
side, except at the slight trouble of extra manipulation in floating
off in cold water and reversing, and that the gum used clogs the
smaller portions of the insect that come in contact with it. Specimens
larger than those mentioned should be pinned through the centre of
the upper third of the right wing-case (never through the scutellum
or thorax), and the limbs extended in position with pins on a setting
board, made of a flat strip of cork glued on deal. Both these and the
mounted examples must be left to dry, for a week at least, in the open
air: if the boards are fitted in a frame, they can be reversed (as soon
as the gum is dry in mounted specimens), so that the specimens are
bottom upwards--dust cannot then collect on them, and there is less
chance of mites attacking them. Specimens dry more rapidly in spring
and summer than at any other time, and of course more readily in dry
weather.

For mounting specimens, five or six small pieces of the finest and
most transparent gum tragacanth, or "gum dragon," with rather less
than the same number of pieces of clear gum arabic, are to be put in
a wide-mouthed bottle with about a large wine-glassful of cold water.
In a short time (twenty-four hours at most) the gum absorbs the fluid
and swells; then add half as much more water, and stir the mixture,
which, on being left for another twenty-four hours at most, will be
ready for use. The mixture should be dull white, of even texture,
and not quite fluid. Never make a large quantity at one time, or be
persuaded to put _anything_ else into it. Card for mounting should be
the whitest, smoothest, and best that can be procured. "Four-sheet
Bristol board" for large specimens, and three-sheet for ordinary use,
are about the proper degrees of thickness. Robersons, of Long Acre,
artists' colourmen, have promised the writer to turn out cardboard of
this kind with an extra milling, to ensure a good surface. Upon strips
of this card, pinned on a setting board, the insects to be set out are
mounted, one at a time, and not too close to each other, each on a
separate "dab" of the gum, the limbs being duly set out with a fine pin
or needle mounted in a paint-brush stick. A pin with the point very
finely turned, so as to form a minute hook, is very useful; and for
extremely minute work a "bead-needle" is valuable. The gum-brush should
not be used in setting, but one or two very fine-pointed camel's-hair
brushes may be found of advantage. Before mounting, reverse the
specimen on the blotting-paper, and brush out its limbs as far as
practicable with a damp flat brush. Very refractory individuals may
require to be gummed on their backs; as soon as the gum is dry, their
limbs can be more easily got into position, and they can then be gently
damped off their temporary mount, and treated as above.

A small pair of brass microscope-forceps, ground or cut to a minute
point, will often materially assist in getting refractory limbs into
position. French white liquid glue (not made of shell-lac) is useful
for fastening down larger specimens, as it is very strong and dries
readily; and with a very small quantity of it rows of specimens can
quickly and securely be roughly mounted, in the Continental way, which
is preferable in many cases to leaving the insects for a long time
in laurel before setting them out. Such specimens can afterwards, if
desired, be relaxed by leaving them on damp sand, or in the cyanide or
laurel bottle, and be then set in the way above indicated.

Care must be taken, in setting, not to put the specimen lop-sided
on the card, or to distort its segments unnaturally by pulling them
out of position, &c., and not to allow gum to lodge anywhere on
the upper surface. It is easy, soon after a specimen is securely
mounted, to remove with clean water and brush any superfluous gum. In
preparing such insects as are liable to "run up" in drying (e.g. the
_Staphylinidæ_), the abdomen should be duly pulled out by a bead-needle
inserted at its apex; and to prevent the contraction of the internal
muscles in drying, this part may be held with the liquid glue above
mentioned. Usually, by putting these insects as soon as mounted into
a box and keeping it closed for a few hours, while the first drying
takes place, the proper dimensions of the abdomen may be preserved,
and thus the natural facies of the insect retained. The contents of
the bodies of very large insects may well be removed, either by the
anal orifice, or by an incision on the lower side of the abdomen. The
Oil-beetles (_Meloë_) alone require careful stuffing. This is best
done by separating the entire abdomen from the metathorax, beneath the
elytra, and close to their point of insertion: the body is then easily
emptied and washed out, and may be filled with cut-up wool, which packs
closely; when gummed on again, the junction is not visible, and the
entire insect preserves its wonderfully obese appearance.

To save time, in mounting many specimens, it is better to merely gum
straight on the strip of card as many specimens as can be managed
at a sitting. The left side of each of these can then be slightly
damped with clear cold water, and its left limbs set out: when all
are thus done, the first one will be nearly, if not quite, ready to
have its right side treated in like manner; and so on to the end. Very
refractory specimens will sometimes require to be even held down with
little braces of card on pins, and to have each limb damped and set out
by a separate operation. The card of large specimens will often curl
upwards in drying, owing to the amount of damp: to counteract this,
the lower face of the card may be washed with a wet brush, just before
gumming its surface.

Before putting insects away, when dry, the individual specimens should
be cut off the strips of card by a straight cut on each side, one at
right angles to the sides in front, and another behind, all (except the
last) close to the tips of the limbs as set out, so that the whole card
forms a parallelogram. A very little practice will enable the operator
to do this both certainly and quickly. No two individuals (save perhaps
a male and female, of whose sexual relations there can be no doubt, or
an example mounted on its back, to show its under side, along with a
member of the same species) should be allowed to continue on one card;
much less should a row be left together. The reason of this is, that in
many cases species closely resembling each other often get confused;
and it is, moreover, difficult to get a glass of anything but a very
low power to bear upon all parts of the individuals without injuring
some of them. Each specimen should have sufficient card left _behind_
it to allow of a glass of high power being passed between it everywhere
and its pin. The pin should perforate the card in the middle of, and
close to, its hinder margin; and the whole card be lifted three-fourths
up the pin, to keep it from mites and dirt as much as possible. Proper
entomological pins can be obtained of all sizes at the agents of
Edelsten, 17, Silver Street, St. Martin's-le-Grand; also (with all
other apparatus) of any natural-history agent or dealer in London;
such as Mr. E. W. Janson, 28, Museum Street, or Cooke, New Oxford
Street. "No. 8" pin is, perhaps, the most useful size. In removing many
specimens, proper insect forceps will be found handy: these can be
obtained at the two last addresses; or of Buck, cutler, Tottenham Court
Road.

Specimens will occasionally become discoloured with grease, usually
from defective drying, though many water beetles and internal feeders,
and most autumn-caught specimens, are specially liable to this defect.
Benzine is an effectual remedy for it and for mites, and can be
liberally applied with a brush. Carbolic or phænic acid, dissolved in
that fluid (or alone, see p. 64), is an effectual safeguard against
mould from damp; and when in solution with water, this acid has been
found useful as a wash for card and boxes, which then are not attacked
by mites. To re-card a specimen that has become discoloured (whether
from either of these causes, or from age), it is only necessary that
it should be floated in cold water for a few minutes; the insect can
then be dried, well saturated with benzine, and again mounted, looking
as fresh as ever. But, in re-carding specimens, it is necessary to be
very careful with such as were originally kept too long in a laurel or
cyanide bottle, as they are apt to become so rotten that a little damp
will cause a "solution of continuity."

As to storing the specimens when quite dry, I can add nothing to the
excellent observations of Dr. Knaggs, at p. 65; the same remarks
applying with equal force to _Coleoptera_; except, perhaps, that, even
when the collector has (and is satisfied with) a cabinet, he is likely,
in proportion to the _real_ work done by him, to establish type-boxes
of all the difficult groups.

For the examination of insects, readily manipulated by being pinned
singly on a square, flat, thick piece of cork or bung, a pocket
glass is, of course, necessary. In this case, the best instrument is
the cheapest in the long run, whatever its cost; and one by a good
maker, such as Ross, with modifications of four powers, will suffice
for any ordinary work. For very small species, a Coddington, of the
clearest definition and highest power attainable, is of immense help.
But when the collector finds that he needs a compound microscope
to separate species, it is the firm opinion of the present writer
that that collector had better take to some other pursuit than
studying _Coleoptera_. To anyone, however, whose researches entail an
examination of the minute cibarian and other organs of beetles, whether
for purposes of classification or otherwise, the compound is absolutely
necessary; though even then the lower powers are usually sufficient.
For rough dissection, all that is needed are an oculist's very small
lance-headed dissecting-knife and a stout and fine needle. With these,
under a lens mounted on a little stage to allow the free use of both
hands, much may be done. The writer, however, has seen and used a very
pretty (and comparatively inexpensive) dissecting-stand, with various
powers and much latitude of motion, by Ross.

After mentioning that, in sending mounted beetles by post to
correspondents, it is far more practical to use a _strong_ box, not too
deep, to fasten the pins securely, with a layer of manufactured wool in
the lid (glazed side towards the beetles, so as not to catch limbs),
and to put more wool outside, and write the address and affix the stamp
on a label attached, than it is to pack carelessly, write "With care"
outside,[F] and then grumble at the post-office because the insects are
broken,--I think I cannot, with use, say anything more upon beetles in
their preserved condition; and I will therefore now give some hints as
to their haunts when alive.

[F] It is, however, always as well to write "Insects," signifying
contents that are "caviare to the million," and therefore not likely to
be appropriated en route.

To exhaust the accidental-capture system above alluded to, mention must
first be made of sand-pit collecting, a most profitable employment,
especially in spring and early summer. A clean, straight-sided
silver-sand pit is the best, and if in or near a wood its attractions
will be at their highest. Beetles, flying of an evening and by night,
dash against the pit sides and fall to the bottom; others merely crawl
in for shelter, or tumble over the sides, and many seem attracted by
the mere damp at the bottom or in the corners. Old collectors used
to recommend a sheet spread out to attract insects; and there is no
doubt that a certain number can be found by such means, just as they
can be picked up floating on horse-troughs or on ponds. Artificial
traps exist in the corridors of the Crystal Palace, some half-inclosed
country railway stations, and such places; crawling up the windows of
which many specimens are to be found. But these can only be considered
as indications of what species occur in the district, as they are
mere stragglers. Deliberately laying traps in sand pits, on commons,
&c., will be found most productive. Small dead animals, fir branches,
dead leaves, &c., can be examined time after time with profit in such
situations. Burying a stout branch with the bark on, leaving the top
above the soil, and periodically examining it when damp and nearly
rotten, has been found effective; many insects collecting beneath the
loose wet bark.

After heavy floods, as during severe droughts, beetles may be found
in great profusion; in the former case, by sifting the refuse left by
the water; in the latter, by diligently examining the damp residuum
of former ponds, and if no damp be found, by even searching below the
surface where it last occurred.

The wet hay, often decayed and mouldy, at the bottoms of stacks, which
bad farmers have placed directly on the ground, will be found to teem
with beetle-life; as will the margins of dung and vegetable-refuse
heaps, wood-stacks, cut grass, &c.; and many good things may be taken
by gently waving a light gauze net to and fro, just before sunset,
close to such places, whither the instinct of nature impels the flight
of myriads.

In winter, isolated tufts of grass in wet places, on the margins of
streams, the crests of banks, &c., must be cut close to the ground, and
gently torn in pieces over brown paper. Wherever many insects seem to
be found, it will in most of these cases be found advisable to sift the
fragments, and bring home the beetles and small stuff unexamined in a
bag with a string at the neck to prevent their escape. Moss should be
treated in this way, and the layers of black and rotting leaves found
in woods, especially at their outskirts. Beech leaves usually produce
many species, and the autumn and spring are the best times for hunting
for them.

In winter, also, many species will be found hybernating in grass at the
roots of trees, under bark, &c., in conditions not usual with them at
other times.

In autumn, fungi, in woods especially, will be found most productive.

General sweeping, except during the winter, will always be more or
less remunerative. No general rules can be laid down for this; in a
good neighbourhood (on chalk or sand, or, better still, in a district
where both these soils are found) beetles will swarm almost anywhere
in due season, and the most unlikely-looking spots will frequently be
found the best in the end. In luxuriant herbage, among low shrubs,
in the close-growing vegetation of hill-sides, the sweeping net may
be plied with success; but the best way, with all _Phytophaga_ at
least, is to start with a fixed idea as to catching certain definite
species, and then, at the right time, to hunt for such plants as these
are known or supposed to frequent; and, such failing in the district,
to try their allies. Of course, the collector will not fail to sweep
flowers in woods and lanes, whereon, in the hot sunshine, many showy
beetles bask. Many good things will be found by sweeping under fir
trees, especially towards evening, and even by night; in many places,
especially marshes, nocturnal feeders may be secured by the vague use
of this net. By night, also, many species may be found at sugar put on
trees for moths, and on ivy or sallow-blossom.

Beating is most productive in early summer, especially in the second
year's growth of young cuttings in woods; and the oak, hazel, and
poplar will generally yield many species to the tap of the stick.
Good thick, and especially _old_ hedges, must also be always carefully
thrashed into the net; very many good things, otherwise not procurable,
will reward this toil. Another scheme for getting rare species is to
beat the tops of trees with a long pole, placing beneath a sheet or
tent covering.

Breaking away the extreme edges of banks, throwing water on them,
treading heavily on the margins, diligently examining grass and roots
close to the water, reeds (especially if cut and on the ground in
heaps), &c., will bring to light great numbers of wet-loving beetles.
Water beetles, pure and simple, must be dragged and dredged for,
especially round water plants beneath the surface, and along the sides
of ponds, in eddies of running streams, in the moss on stones in them,
and on the stones themselves, &c.

The _Coprophaga_ will be found readily in the droppings of various
_Mammalia_, and also in holes bored in the ground beneath, often
to a great depth. An easy and clean way to secure them is to throw
droppings, ground and all, into water, the beetles coming to the
surface.

As to wood beetles, they must be sought for under and in bark, in solid
wood, in decaying branches, and such places; a rule to be remembered
is, that most of these occur at the _tops_ of trees: hence the paucity
of so many species in collections. Indeed, to properly hunt for the
majority of them, it is necessary to obtain _carte blanche_ and a
ladder, if any success be hoped for. Felled trunks are, of course, easy
to manipulate; and their freshly-cut stumps, exuding either resin or a
peculiar and often sweet _mucor_, are very attractive to many beetles,
as is freshly-cut sawdust, and most especially the (to us) fetid and
acrid juice resulting from the attacks of the larva of the Goat-moth.
Rotten fruit, &c., are also not to be passed by without examination.
Many small species occur in, or can be obtained from, the topmost twigs
of trees blown down by the wind.

Dead animals, as before mentioned, must be examined, as must the
vegetation and soil near them. A keeper's tree in a wood will always
produce something for the collector, who need only hold his net
beneath the gibbeted _feræ_ and bang their hides and bones with
his beating-stick. During different stages of decomposition and
desiccation, beetles of widely varied affinities will result from this
method of collecting.

Ants' nests would require a special notice, so productive are they:
their material can be sifted and their neighbouring "runs" or paths
examined, traps laid near or on them, and periodically cleared out,
&c. Bees' and wasps' nests also produce good, though fewer species,
and are, moreover, not quite so easy of access. The nests of birds,
especially if the latter are gregarious, and, indeed, the habitations
of any animals, will be found to harbour many beetles, amongst other
insects.

In gardens, the beetle collector should lay cunning traps of cut grass,
twigs, planks, bones, &c.; by a periodical examination of which he will
secure many good things. If there be a hothouse about the premises, it
and its belongings will always act as a bait.

Large tracts of waste land and commons, though superficially apparently
unproductive, often contain congregations of good species, in some
little oasis of damp or vegetation; moreover, on them several peculiar
beetles occur. Hills and mountains will often suddenly repay the toil
of the collector, who has despondently worked his way up, turning over
stones, and finding comparatively nothing. The moss, &c., attending the
channels of any streams in such places should be carefully searched,
and the stones on the top especially not neglected. River banks and
salt marshes are invariably frequented by good insects, and the very
heaps of seaweed, dry or wet, on the shore harbour countless beetles.
In such places small sand-loving plants should be pulled up by the
roots, and, with the neighbouring soil, shaken over brown paper. The
sand itself may in many instances be scraped, and burrowing beetles
brought to light; but if the hunter comes upon a dead fish or bird, a
full bottle will be his.

Thus it will be seen that almost every locality contains beetles,
if the collector can only detect them (and it may be as well here
to impress on him that it is better to bottle a dubious insect and
examine it at home, than to reject it for being _apparently_ common).
Still there can be no doubt that certain soils and districts are much
more productive than others; for instance, most of the midland and
western counties, and some of the south-western, are not by any means
so prolific as the eastern, southern, and many parts of the northern
districts of Great Britain; clay being the worst of all soils for the
Coleopterist.

The collector will do well, after a first hurried "burst" at all
beetles that come in his way, to select a special group, and lay
himself out to work it carefully, buying or borrowing the works
of authorities upon it, and making himself master of the _botany_
connected with it, if it be a group of plant-frequenting habits. By
such a way of working, he will more quickly, though step by step,
acquire a good collection, and a stock of useful knowledge, than by
any other. He will of course keep a register of the date and place of
capture, and any peculiarity of habit of each insect he takes. Figures
of the date of the year (usually the last two are sufficient), followed
by another set, commencing with 1, will generally be quite enough;
corresponding entries being made in the first column of a ruled diary.
These figures may be written in ink on the under side of the card of a
mounted specimen, or on a circular disc of paper, pierced by the pin of
one too large to be carded.



VI.

HYMENOPTERA.

By John B. Bridgman.


Having been asked to give some instructions as to the method of setting
and preserving the aculeate _Hymenoptera_, it is with great pleasure I
comply, and I hope it may be the means of inducing others to collect
these insects. To begin at the beginning, it is almost needless to
state that the females of all of them (a few of the ants excepted)
are furnished with stings, but with very little care one need never
be stung. As Mrs. Glass says, "First catch your hare": so first I
shall give a few instructions where to look for and how to catch these
insects. All the apparatus necessary is a gauze ring-net, a cyanide
bottle, and a pocket full of small card pill-boxes; the cyanide bottle
is best made by wrapping a small piece of cyanide of potassium in two
or three thicknesses of blotting-paper, tying it round with cotton to
prevent it shaking out, then fixing it to the bottom of a wide-mouthed
flat bottle with sealing-wax, which is made to adhere firmly to the
glass by heating the glass carefully over a lamp, and then corking
it up. The pill-boxes ought to have the tops and bottoms fastened in
with liquid glue (a preparation of shell-lac). These are all that are
required to catch and bring home the game; which is to be looked for
at the flowers of trees, bushes, and plants--one season's experience
will teach the best, as some species frequent one, some another, and
some almost all. The flowers I have found the greatest favourites are
sallows, willows, sycamore, holly, blackthorn, bramble, hawkweeds,
ragwort, thistles, and umbelliferæ. Some bore in putrescent wood,
and must be looked for on or in the neighbourhood of old posts and
palings; some are to be found flying about dry banks, hard-trodden
pathways, on heaths, while old sand pits are favourite places; but
they should be sought for in any warm, rough, weedy spot; and some may
be obtained by digging them out of their burrows with a trowel. My
plan of proceeding, after having got one in the net, is to catch hold
of the net so that the insect is inclosed in a sort of sack, I then
uncork the cyanide, and introduce that into the sack, holding the net
firmly round the neck of the bottle, so that there is no other escape
for the insect from the net but into the bottle, then gradually work
the insect into the bottle and close the mouth with several folds of
the net, watch my opportunity and insert the cork: when the insect is
stupefied, which happens in a few seconds if the bottle is slightly
warm, I turn it into the pill-box. A word of caution: it is necessary
to be methodical in carrying the boxes. I always keep the empty ones in
my right-hand pocket, and the filled ones in the left-hand one, as, if
they are carried sometimes one way, sometimes another, sooner or later
a previously filled one will be opened to put an insect in, which will
result in the former tenant speedily making room for the new comer; and
my experience has been, if you do lose anything it is generally your
best capture.

Having got home with the left-hand pocket more or less filled, turn
the boxes out, preparatory to killing the contents, which must be done
with burnt sulphur. My mode of proceeding is as follows:--I stupefy
the contents of each box with chloroform, in a manner I will describe
farther on. Having stupefied them, I empty them all into a short,
wide-mouthed, round bottle, having a piece of glass tube put through
the cork; the mouth of the tube is plugged with cotton wool, not too
tight, to act as a strainer. I then put this in a Nabob pickle-bottle
(any other bottle will do as well), through the stopper of which I have
drilled a hole about a sixteenth of an inch in diameter, in which is
fixed a copper wire, having a shallow tin cup at the end. In this tin
cup is placed the sulphur. The tin cup is then held over the flame of a
lamp, gas, or candle, till the sulphur is burning, then put it into the
bottle and press it down. When all the oxygen is consumed the sulphur
goes out. Leave them for about three hours, take them out, and put
them into a damp box for twelve or more hours: they will then be in a
splendid condition for setting. To stupefy the insects I tip the lids
on one side, put them into the sulphur bottle, pour a drop or two into
the tin cup, and put it into the bottle. Be careful not to chloroform
them too much, as if killed so they become so rigid that it is with
difficulty they can be set.

Having killed them, there only remains to pin and set them. There are
various sizes of pins used; most collectors have fancies of their
own on this subject; I shall therefore only say what is my practice.
The pins I use are D. F. Tayler & Co.'s, New Hall Works, Birmingham;
No. 15 for bumble-bees only; the other sizes I find most useful are
15, 10, and 18. Some pin the insects straight, and some with the pin
inclining forward. Having pinned them, the next thing is to set them.
There are two ways of doing this; one is, cut an oblong square of stout
cardboard, and put a pin through one end; after the legs are stretched
out, this is put into the cork, one on each side, till the upper
surface of cork is just below the level of the wings, which are then
laid out on the card, and held there by a brace the same shape as the
table (see Fig. 28). If the insect has been properly killed, the legs
and antennæ will keep set out without the aid of pins; if not, this is
done with bent or straight pins, as may be necessary. The other way is
a "hymn of my own composing."

[Illustration: Fig. 28 Insect set with Table Braces.]

[Illustration: Fig. 29 Wood, with the Strips glued on.]

First take one of the strips of cork as sold at the shops, paper it on
both sides with thin soft paper; then take a piece of wood a little
larger than the cork, about half an inch thick; on this I glue strips
of cardboard, or thin wood, according to the size of the insect, side
by side, and as far apart as necessary (see Fig. 29). These being dry,
I glue the sheet of cork on to the top of the strips, which leaves it
looking like a succession of bridges. When this is dry the cork must be
cut through between the pieces first fastened on the wood. These pieces
are then taken out and glued to the wood (see Fig. 30); this leaves
many setting boards, something similar to the single rounded ones used
by Lepidopterists; but these are flat--they want to be just deep enough
for the insect and wide enough to allow the legs to be stretched out. A
little practice will soon determine the size. The wing I hold down with
small triangular braces. Each board will hold about seventy or eighty
insects; beneath I put the date they were set, and leave them on the
board about a month to dry, as if taken off too soon the wings spring.
Always put a label to each specimen, either with the date or a number
corresponding to one in a book, in which enter the date and locality.

[Illustration: Fig. 30. Ditto, side view. A, the same with the cork
glued on; B, cork; C, the same with the cork cut through at the dotted
lines in A, and fastened down.]

One more observation and I have done. Sometimes one comes across an
insect whose rigid wings seem to defy all attempts to set; in such
cases just press firmly at the back part of the thorax, between that
and the abdomen, towards the pin, and the wings will sometimes fly open
of their own accord, or will allow of their being easily set in the
required direction, which should always be set well forward.



VII.

LAND AND FRESHWATER SHELLS, ETC.

By Professor Ralph Tate, F.G.S., etc.


A young friend, desirous of entering upon one of the most accessible
natural history pursuits, that of the study of Land and Freshwater
Molluscs, begged of me some practical hints on the collection
and preservation of these objects of our woodlands, waysides,
and watercourses. Believing that this kind of work offers a good
stepping-stone to the study of nature in its more extended forms and
complicated relations, I was most anxious to help my tyro naturalist,
and that beyond his utmost expectations, as I made a few initiatory
trips with him in a search for the coveted treasures.

Our equipment was simple and inexpensive, consisting of a block-tin
saucepan finely perforated at the bottom, about six inches across, and
having a hollow handle of a size to receive firmly the end of a common
walking-stick--such a _dredge_ or a _sifter_ will cost ninepence or a
shilling at a tinman's; secondly, of a pocket lens; and lastly, of a
variety of boxes, and a bag to contain specimens of different sizes.
Thus provided, our first excursion had for its object an examination
of certain neighbouring ponds and streams. My pupil, guessing the use
of the perforated saucepan, makes his way to the nearest pond, fixes
the improvised handle, dashes in the _sifter_ with impatient ardour,
and having brought up a quantity of mud from the bottom, looked upon
the oozy mass with despair. Patience, my lad! Remember that the
pleasure of success in science is the higher the greater the labour
expended in obtaining the objects of our search. Expect failure now
and again, but do not be disheartened. _Ohne Hast ohne Rast_, should
be the motto of every naturalist. Now, shake the tin in the water,
keeping its rim just out of the water, dipping it down now and then.
That is well; thus you see that you have cleared off the mud, and what
you want is probably left behind along with the rubbish. What, nothing!
Come, try again; but this time scrape the sifter along the surface of
the mud, and I am confident that you will find something to reward you,
and with much less trouble and display of temper. In this way, after
repeated trials, a number of shells were secured and transferred to
the boxes. Then, after the first gush of excitement is over, we retire
to an adjoining bank to con over the spoils, and I to make mention
of the various habits of freshwater snails, and consequently of the
different modes of search. My young friend's enthusiasm is aroused by
the mention that a few large mussel-like shells are inhabitants of our
fresh waters, and great is his haste to be up and again doing, in the
hope of adding some of them to his stock. But in vain were his many
attempts to find them in the pond which had already yielded us such a
variety. "Do they live here?" is at last the anxious question. "No; but
let us away to yon sluggish brook, for it is in such that we may expect
to meet with them." "Now I see them. Are not those their ends just
peeping above the mud?" And full of eagerness he dashes in the dredge,
but with little result, excepting that of a dead shell or two. "Oh! how
can I get them? Shall I take off my shoes and socks and wade for them?"
"Well, you might secure them that way, and sometimes it is the only
way, but on this occasion I do not think it necessary. Come, we will
move a little higher up, where the stream is clear, and the shellfish
undisturbed. Observe the gaping ends of the shell, and thus I push the
end of the stout rod between the partially-open valves; now they close
upon the stick, and so we bring our prize holding on to the stick to
the bank."

"You will recollect," addressing my companion, "that in the muddy pond
we have just left, we chiefly got small bivalves and only a few snail
shells. I have already told you that water shells differ much in their
habits, and that consequently our search for any particular species, or
set of species, can only be successfully carried on when that knowledge
is our guide. Those little bivalves, and a few of the snails that we
have gathered, habitually live at the bottom, and will of course be
brought up in the dredge when that implement is dragged over it; but
there are many shells which live at or near the surface, and which
feed on the submerged and floating plants. Therefore we must seek out
a weedy pool if we would increase the variety of our collection." Such
a spot is reached; and the dredge is brought into requisition, anon
to snatch up a floating snail, or again to sweep over and through the
plants, varying our occupation by dragging to the margin the tangled
masses of weeds; by all of which means a considerable number of the
class of air-breathing water snails was obtained--admonishing my young
friend that this last plan does very well when the plants grow in dense
masses, because when thus interlaced they form a natural net to catch
those snails which on the slightest disturbance lose their hold upon
the weeds, and which would otherwise fall to the bottom.

Yet another plan remains to be pursued, one by which the few small
shells hiding among the roots of the plants may be secured. Obviously
the dredge misses such; but by pulling up the plants by their roots,
and well shaking them in the half-sunken sifter, we yet after all
obtain them.

From causes which need not be explained here, the shells living in some
ponds are all much eroded, or coated with a ferruginous deposit; it
will be desirable therefore to find out the localities where specimens
are in the best condition, so that you may have typical specimens for
comparison before an extensive collection is made.

Our experience is, that though a considerable number of species may
be obtained from a ditch or pond, yet a few are found as the sole
molluscan tenants of particular sheets of water; that lakes exhibit a
dearth of life, and that the greatest variety is often to be met with
in canals; but should a search be carried on in them, avoid the towpath
side, for reasons that a little thought will readily suggest.

Living near the sea, and within a short distance of wooded hill-sides,
we had within a limited area such a variety of physical features that
we were led to infer the existence of a rich molluscan fauna for the
neighbourhood. Our second excursion was devoted to a search for snails
along the sea margin and shores of the estuary. Proceeding along the
low sand-dunes--at first sight a most uninteresting spot--_Helix
caperata_, _H. virgata_, _Bulimus acutus_, and a few other snails, were
found clustering upon the low stunted vegetation in such numbers, that
handfuls might have been gathered within an area of a few square feet.
Leaving the seashore, our way led us over the foreshore of the mouth
of the river, crushing under our feet at every step shells of _Cardium
edule_, _Scrobicularia piperata_, and a few other bivalves which find
a congenial habitat in such situations. Gaining the muddy margins of
the higher part of the estuary, _Conovulus_ was looked for, and found
under the stones along the high-water mark. Higher up the river the
rejectamentum on its banks was carefully turned over, and we were
successful in securing a number of land shells. The animals, of course,
do not live in such places; but their empty shells, which alone were
found, had been brought down from the land surface by the agency of
the streams and tributaries of the river. Nevertheless such an _omnium
gatherum_ should demand attention, as its contents give an insight
into the character of the land and freshwater forms within the area of
drainage of the river.

The number of estuarine species which have a place in our works devoted
to British land and freshwater snails is very few, and the majority,
moreover, are confined to the margins of the tidal rivers in the south
of England. Thus _Assiminea Grayana_, _Hydrobia ventrosa_, and _H.
similis_, live on the mud banks beneath the shade of sedges and rushes,
skirting the Thames below Greenwich. To gather these small shells
singly is a tedious operation; but if a thin piece of flat wood, or
other substitute as the ingenuity of the collector suggests, be used to
scrape lightly over the surface of mud, transferring the mass to the
_dredger_, and washing in water, a number of specimens sufficient to
stock every private cabinet in the country may be obtained in a short
space of time.

For the third initiatory excursion our steps were directed inland, and
as we proceeded the hedgerows, mossy banks, and margins of watercourses
were diligently searched, finding a _Helix_ here, a _Pupa_ or a
_Succinea_ there. Gaining the woods, we turn over the damp leaves, grub
under the clumps of ferns and wood-rushes for small Helices, Pupæ, and
the like; scan the trunks of the trees for the climbing _Clausiliæ_,
_Bulimi_, and _Helices_, not unmindful that each little dirt-like mass
is probably a _Bulimus obscurus_, which, by covering its shell with
mud, thus exhibits a protective faculty, and often escapes detection.
Raise the rotting bark for _Balia_; lift the stones at our feet, or
roll away a log for _Helicella_, and other small shells which usually
live in such situations.

From all this we learn that each species affects certain stations, and
therefore, with the knowledge of the circumstances in which they are
found, we may set out with some definite idea as to what we are likely
to meet with; and, in consequence, when to collect and where to collect
are regulated by the unvarying habits of the objects of our search.

Now, a large portion of the life of most land snails is passed in a
state of sleep. Those living in open situations are inactive during the
heat of a summer's day, and when there is continued drought; but on the
first shower, or after the fall of dew at night, they recover and move
about in search of food. Cold acts much in the same way as heat, and
with the fall of the leaf they retire to winter quarters in crannies of
rocks, crevices of walls, under heaps of decaying vegetation, &c., or
bury themselves in the soil, there to hybernate till the genial showers
of spring awaken them.

The best time of the year for collecting is in the autumn, when the
shells are full-grown. Those collected in spring have lost much of
their original beauty by exposure to the rains and cold of the winter
months.

As regards the particular time of day to collect with advantage, it
has already been implied that a search in an open country should be
prosecuted after a shower of rain, or during early morn. In damp woods,
where throughout the day the air is sufficiently moist to maintain the
animals in full activity, no such considerations determine the best
time for collecting. In such places, light is usually the desideratum,
and consequently I have found that a search conducted at midday in a
clear sky has been amply rewarded.

Land snails exhibit a partiality for calcareous soils, not only by
those living on downs and hill-sides, but also by the woodland species.

Having spent the forenoons of three days in gathering slugs and snails
as before detailed, one evening was devoted to the preparation of the
specimens for the cabinet.

The first step was to remove the animals, and, as all know, it is
neither an easy nor a clean task to separate the living snail and
its house; but kill your snail, and the muscular connection with the
shell being severed, its whole body is readily taken out by means of a
pin--why, it is just like picking periwinkles; and if the proclivities
of our childhood's days are not entirely obliterated, cleaning out
larger snails from their shells will be a task requiring no teaching.
But, with regard to the smaller kind, it is another matter, and it will
be my duty to show you how to set about the work.

Now pick out those shells, the apertures of which are wide enough, as
it seems to you, to permit the removal of the dead body of the snail
by a pin. You may also place with them the larger bivalves. All these
we will boil to kill the animals; then strain off the water, and wash
with cold water. By this means the bodies contract, and being firmer
are not so liable to be broken in the process of removal. Shake the
water out of the empty shell, and place them before the fire to dry;
do not rub them, but particles of dirt may be gently flicked off by
the aid of a camel-hair brush. Thus we treat the larger snails. Now
for the mussels. Doubtless most of the dead bodies will have fallen
out between the open valves while in the water; should any remain, a
slight shaking of the shell held by the hand in the water will remove
the contained body. Taken from the water, the valves gape widely; dry
the inside and outside with a cloth, and having tape or cotton at
hand, close the valves by the pressure of the thumb and fingers of the
one hand, and with the end of the thread between your teeth, wind the
thread two or three times around the shell with the other; now tie the
thread as tight as you can. "Yes, I have done so, but still the valves
are not closed." True, this is because of the elasticity of thread. If,
however, you will take the precaution to wet the thread before tying,
you will find that the tie is more secure, and that there is less
difficulty in making the second knot.

With patience and a little skill, bivalves as small as _Cyclas cornea_
may be treated in this way. But the smaller _Pisidiums_, and some
of the minute snails, as _Carychium minimum_, may be prepared for
the cabinet by gently drying them in sand; too great a heat causes a
transfusion of the carbonaceous matter of the animal into the substance
of the shell, which is thereby discoloured.

There still remain for treatment such shells as _Clausilia_, _Bulimus_,
_Helicella_, some Helices, &c., the animals of which retreat, on the
least irritation, beyond the reach of a pin, and whose shells, indeed,
will hardly bear the rough handling almost necessary when a pin is
used. Their bodies might be dried within the shells, but if it be
possible to remove some portion only of the animal, an attempt should
be made to do so.

Land snails, when placed in water, do their best to effect an escape
from a medium so fatal to them; their efforts are usually exhibited by
stretching out their bodies to the utmost, swaying them to and fro
as if in search of a foothold. Taking advantage of this propensity,
the snails should be immersed in tepid water, because the majority,
after a day or two's confinement in the collecting boxes, will be in a
dormant condition, and warm water has a greater resuscitating effect
than cold. When all the snails are struggling to find a way out of
their unpleasant situation, gradually add hot water so as to kill or
paralyze them while in an extended state. They may now be thrown into
boiling water, the better to relax the muscular attachments, and the
bodies, or so much as will come away, dragged out by forceps, or a pin
passed through the foot. The shells may now be dried in sand, as before
mentioned.

In cleaning the shells of some species, great care is needed, so as
not to remove the hairs or bristles which clothe the surface of the
epidermis.

The shells of such snails as _Paludina_, _Cyclostoma_, &c., &c., would
be imperfectly illustrated without the opercula or lids which close the
apertures of their shells. Each one should be detached from the foot of
the snail, the interior of the shell plugged with cotton wool, and the
specimen gummed down in its natural position.

The preservation of slugs requires separate treatment, and I can give
but little additional information to that published in my 'British Land
and Freshwater Molluscs' an extract from which is subjoined:--

"As regards the internal shell, it may be obtained by making a conical
incision in the shield, taking care not to cut down upon the calcareous
plate, which can then be removed without difficulty. The animals
can only be conserved by keeping them in some preservative fluid;
but the great object to keep in view is to have the slug naturally
extended. Most fluids contract the slugs when they are immersed in
them. The slugs should be killed whilst crawling, by plunging them
into a solution of corrosive sublimate, or into benzine. Models in
wax or dough are sometimes substituted for the animals. A writer in
the 'Naturalist' gives a process for the preservation of slugs, which
he states to answer admirably, and to be very superior to spirit,
glycerine, creosote, and other solutions:--'Make a cold saturated
solution of _corrosive sublimate_; put it into a deep wide-mouthed
bottle; then take the slug you wish to preserve, and let it crawl upon
a long slip of card. When the tentacles are fully extended, plunge it
suddenly into the solution; in a few minutes it will die, with the
tentacles fully extended in the most life-like manner; so much so
indeed, if taken out of the fluid it would be difficult to say whether
it be alive or dead. The slugs thus prepared should not be mounted
in spirit, as it is apt to contract and discolour them. A mixture of
one and a half parts of water and one part of glycerine, I find to
be the best mounting fluid. It preserves the colour beautifully, and
its antiseptic qualities are unexceptionable. A good-sized test-tube
answers better than a bottle for putting them up, as it admits of
closer examination of the animal. The only drawback to this process
is, that unless the solution is of sufficient strength, and unless the
tentacles are extruded when the animal is immersed, it generally, but
not invariably, fails. Some slugs appear to be more susceptible to the
action of the fluid than others; and it generally answers better with
full-grown than with young specimens. But if successful, the specimens
are as satisfactory as could be desired; and even if unsuccessful, they
are a great deal better than those preserved in spirit; for, although
the tentacles may not be completely extruded, they are more or less
so'".

The Testacellæ I have treated in the following manner: by partially
drying them in sand, and removal of the soft parts through a cut in the
length of the foot, filling up with cotton wool and a renewal of the
drying.

Our land and freshwater snails have other structures besides their
shells which should claim our attention. These, which include their
jaws, tongues, and some other minute parts, are not so inaccessible
as one is at first too apt to consider, and are deservedly in favour
as microscopic objects requiring a low power. I shall assume that
the collector has preserved the bodies or the heads of the snails
in spirit, which he has removed from their shells in the process of
preparing them for his cabinet. He will take care to keep separate the
animals of each species.

A last word upon the mode of displaying the shells in the cabinet. Here
one has considerable choice, as they may be kept in open card trays,
or in glass-topped boxes, or gummed on cards, papered boards, or glass
tablets. Loose specimens admit of ready examination, whilst the method
of mounting permits an arrangement of individuals according to size and
locality, and is much to be preferred.



VIII.

FLOWERING PLANTS AND FERNS.

By James Britten, F.L.S.


PART I.

The kindred subjects of the collecting of plants and their arrangement
in the herbarium have been treated of over and over again, and it might
almost seem as though nothing further need be said upon the matter. But
in spite of all that has been written, it cannot be said that anything
like uniform excellence has been attained, either in the collecting
or drying of specimens: on the contrary, much carelessness is still
exhibited in both particulars, and the following remarks on the subject
may therefore be useful to some, at any rate, among the readers of
'Science Gossip.' It has been found impossible to treat both points
adequately in one paper, so, on the present occasion, we shall devote
ourselves to collecting, leaving the arrangement and matters connected
therewith for another occasion.

[Illustration: Fig. 31. Young Plant of _Ipomæa Quamoclit_
(from Decandolle's 'Organographie').]

The great aim to be kept in view in collecting is to obtain as perfect
and comprehensive a specimen as possible; that is, one showing every
part of the plant--root, leaves, flowers, and fruit. It is not always
practicable to show all these upon one specimen, and in such cases such
a number must be selected as will carry out this plan. The wretched
scraps with which some collectors content themselves are not only
useless to their owners, but annoyances to everyone who has to do with
them, or who is requested to pronounce an opinion upon them. Anyone
who has had anything to do with naming plants for 'Science Gossip' or
any other journal, which in this manner supplies information to its
subscribers, will be able to testify to the large number of persons who
do not scruple to send for determination single leaves, or a terminal
shoot of a flowering plant, or a pinnule of a fern without fruit;
a proceeding which is unfair to those to whom they are submitted,
inasmuch as they either have to risk their reputation for accuracy,
or to appear uncourteous by refusing to have anything to do with such
specimens.

[Illustration: Fig. 32. Lime (_Tilia Europæa_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 33. Beech (_Fagus sylvatica_).]

[Illustration: Fig. 34. Sycamore (_Acer pseudo-platanus_),
showing cotyledons and first and second pair of leaves.]

To begin at the beginning, How rarely do we find the embryo of any
species represented in a collection of dried plants? It ought to be
there, not only as essential to the complete presentment of the history
of the species, but as in certain cases indicating relationships which
are not apparent when the plant is more advanced. Those who have not
observed them would be surprised to find how much variety of form
exists in the cotyledons alone, from the fleshy cotyledons of many
of the Leguminosæ, the horse-chestnut, &c., to the foliaceous ones,
or seed-leaves, of other plants. Among the latter may be noted and
compared the lobed or palmate cotyledons of the lime (Fig. 32); the
glossy dark green, somewhat kidney-shaped ones of the beech (Fig.
33); and the pinnatifid ones of the common garden cress (_Lepidium
sativum_); the obcordate ones of the mustard or radish; the long,
narrow, thin ones of the sycamore (Fig. 34); the sinuous or corrugated
and bilobed ones of the walnut, and many more which will occur to the
observant reader, or which may be collected by anyone who will take
the trouble to watch the germination of plants. And by making such
collections, unexpected discoveries may arise, which will yet further
confirm what has been said about the variety in form and structure
even in these beginnings of growth. Plants which are, on account of
their general affinities, reckoned among the dicotyledons, may be found
on investigation to have but one cotyledon, as Dr. Dickson observed
to be the case with two of our butterworts, _Pinguicula vulgaris_
and _P. grandiflora_, the third species, _P. lusitanica_, being
dicotyledonous; or even to be acotyledonous, as is the case with the
dodder (_Cuscuta_). In the latter-named genus, it is of importance to
collect young specimens, as showing that the plant, although parasitic
as soon as it comes in contact with a suitable foster-plant, is of
independent origin. A search among young plants will no doubt lead to
the discovery of some abnormalities, such as tricotyledonous embryos
and other irregularities. Of some plants, such as the furze, the true
leaves can only be found at an early stage of growth; in others, much
variation may be noted in many points between the first leaves and
the more perfect ones which succeed them; some, as the holly, at once
developing leaves similar to those which are produced throughout the
life of the plant, and others going through many modifications before
the ultimate shape is attained, as in the ash, elder, ivy, maple, &c.

The roots or rhizomes also require to be much more fully represented
and carefully collected than is usually the case. In every instance
where the size of the plant does not prevent, the subterranean and
subaqueous parts should be carefully procured and preserved.

Dr. Trimen has lately directed attention to the corm-like tubers of the
water plantain (_Alisma_),[G] closely resembling those of the arrowhead
(_Sagittaria_), which have been described and figured by Nolte, but
"do not seem to have been observed, or at least properly understood,
in this country. They are buds remaining dormant through the winter,
and containing a store of nutriment, to be employed in the development
of the new plant from the tuber in the next year." Similar bulbs are
developed by the frogbit (_Hydrocharis_). In determining many grasses
and rushes, it is of importance to ascertain whether the rhizome is
creeping or cæspitose, and it is therefore essential to collect good
specimens. In the case of such plants as the coral-wort (_Dentaria
bulbifera_) and toothwort (_Lathræa squamaria_), the root-stocks
are eminently characteristic. Of such parasites as the broomrapes
(_Orobanche_), some care is requisite in obtaining specimens in which
the connection between the parasite and its foster-plant may be
preserved and shown. The absence or presence of tubers should also be
noted, and if present, they must be represented.

[G] 'Journal of Botany,' 1871, p. 306.

Passing on to the leaves, we may note the importance of obtaining
in every case the root-leaves of each species. These are often very
different in form from the stem-leaves, as in such species as the
harebell (_Campanula rotundifolia_), _Pimpinella saxifraga_, the
earth-nut (_Bunium flexuosum_), and many more; in some instances, as in
the Jersey bugloss (_Echium plantagineum_), they at once characterize
the species. Still more important are these lower leaves in the case of
water-plants: in the arrowhead (_Sagittaria_), for example, they are
narrow, and resemble those of the bur-reed (_Sparganium_); and in the
water plantain (_Alisma plantago_), the submerged leaves are equally
different from those which rise out of the water. This difference is
still more noticeable in the case of the aquatic _Ranunculi_, where a
knowledge of the submerged leaves is essential to the discrimination of
the various forms or species.

Where practicable, the whole plant should be collected for the
herbarium; but when, from its size, this cannot be accomplished, leaves
from the root, the centre of the main stem, and the lateral branches,
should be taken. As to the stem itself, that must be represented: in
the _Rubi_, indeed, it is essential. "To judge properly of a bramble
from a preserved specimen," says Professor Babington, "we require a
piece of the middle of the stem with more than one leaf; the base and
tip of the stem are also desirable, likewise a piece of the old stem
with the flowering shoot attached to it; the panicle with flowers,
and the fruit. We likewise want to know the direction of the stem
throughout, of the leaflets, and of the calyx; also the shape of the
petals and the colour of the styles: a note of these should be made
when the specimen is gathered."

Passing on to the flowers, we shall find it necessary to represent
them in almost every stage, from the bud to the perfecting of the
fruit. It is of course in most cases possible to select an example
in such a state as to show upon the same plant buds, flowers, and
fruits; but where this is not the case, each of these particulars must
be supplemented by additional specimens. The turn which botanical
investigation has recently taken towards the study of the phenomena
connected with fertilization has given the collector another subject to
which his attention may be profitably directed. It has been observed
that in some plants the stamens are developed before the pistils;
in others, the pistils are matured before the stamens; while in
yet a third set, stamens and pistils are simultaneously perfected.
These three groups of plants are termed respectively protandrous,
protogynous, and cynacmic, and a very little observation will show that
examples of each are sufficiently common.

Then in dioecious and monoecious plants, both male and female
flowers must be collected, and in some cases, as in the willows, four
specimens are necessary to the complete presentment of the species,
showing respectively the male and female catkins, the leaves, and
the fruit. Some plants produce two distinct forms of blossom, as is
noticeable in the violets and the woodsorrel, one being conspicuous
and usually barren, the other insignificant and often apetalous, but
producing perfect fruit. The pollen will afford occupation to the
microscopist: the researches of Mr. Gulliver and Mr. Charles Bailey
have demonstrated that important distinguishing characters are in some
instances furnished by it. While on this point it may be suggested
that it is convenient in many cases to collect several specimens of
the flowers alone, which, when dried, should be placed in a small
envelope or capsule, and attached to the sheet on which the plant is
represented. In the event of any examination which may be requisite
after the plant is dried, these detached blossoms will be found very
useful, and will prevent the necessity of damaging the specimen. In
the case of such plants as shed their corollas very readily, as the
speedwells, it is as well to put them in press as soon as collected;
and the colour of many may be retained by the same means.

The fruits and seeds of plants are too generally neglected by amateur
collectors, but are essential to the completeness of a specimen. It
may be found practically convenient to keep these in a separate place,
and detached from the plant; and in many cases of dried fruits it is
advisable to sort them into their places without previous pressing.
By this means the modes of dehiscence will readily be seen: pulpy and
succulent fruits should be preserved in spirit. In such plants as the
species of sea sandwort (_Lepigonum_), and some Chenopodia, important
specific characters are drawn from the seed; as they are from the pods
of _Melilotus_ and the fruits of _Agrimonia_. In collecting ferns,
well-fruited fronds must be selected, as it is impossible to determine
specimens without fructification. Grasses should be selected when in
flower and fruit, but must not be allowed to attain too great an age
before they are collected.

We have been speaking so far of the things to be collected, and space
will not allow us to dilate at any length upon the apparatus necessary
to that end. Nor indeed is this necessary; a good-sized vasculum, with
one or two smaller boxes for the pocket, in which the more delicate
plants may be preserved; a strong pocket-knife or small trowel, for
procuring roots, and a hooked stick wherewith to fish out water-plants,
or pull down branches, are the principal things required. To anyone
residing for any length of time, or even only for a few days, in a
district, a "London Catalogue" is an important acquisition, in which
should be marked off all the species met with; by this means the flora
of the neighbourhood is ascertained at a very slight expenditure of
time and trouble. It is not advisable to collect too many plants at
once, or to crowd the vasculum, unless under exceptional circumstances;
nor should the desire to possess rare plants tend, as is too often the
case, to the neglect and exclusion of commoner ones.

A careful and observant collector will frequently meet with forms
which deviate more or less from the accepted type of a species. When
these appear to offer any marked characters, they should be noted; and
in all cases it is well to preserve any forms which, from external
circumstances, have a different appearance from the normal state. The
differences produced by soil and situation alone are very considerable;
and though the essential characters are usually to be discerned,
the interest and value of a herbarium are very much increased by a
selection of examples showing the range of a species. _Campanula
glomerata_ offers a good example of this. In damp meadows it is from
one to two feet high, with a large spreading terminal head of blossoms,
while on chalk downs it does not attain more than as many inches, with
only one or two flowers; in this state it was described by Withering as
a gentian, under the name of _Gentiana collina_; and the same author
gives as _Campanula uniflora_ a one-flowered mountain state of the
harebell (_C. rotundifolia_).

The collector will also do well to keep a look-out for deviations in
structure, which are often of great interest. In short, nothing should
be neglected which can tend to the perfect presentment of a species in
the herbarium: its utility is commensurate with its completeness. The
mere collector may be satisfied with scraps of a rare plant and the
absence of commoner species; but the real worker will pride himself
rather upon the possession of instructive examples, which may be of
assistance to himself, as well as to all those who may consult them.



IX.

FLOWERING PLANTS AND FERNS.

By James Britten, F.L.S.


PART II.

We will assume that our collecting for the year has come to a close;
that the long evenings are beginning, and that our dried plants have
been brought together from their temporary resting-places to be revised
and selected from, so that they may be intercalated in their places in
the herbarium, if we already possess one, or, if we are as yet quite
novices, that they may form a nucleus around which the whole British
flora shall be gathered in due course. First of all, we must make all
necessary preparation for--

_Mounting_, the first essential to which is paper. Much of the neatness
of a herbarium depends upon its uniformity, so that it is desirable
to lay down a definite plan at the beginning and to act up to it
consistently. Amateurs often spoil specimens which they have collected
and preserved with considerable care by transferring them from one
sheet to another; from books--but it is only _very_ amateur botanists
who keep their plants in this way!--to loose sheets, from small paper
to large, and so on; each change being attended with some slight damage
to the specimen so treated. It is, I believe, the common practice on
the Continent to keep the specimens loose in folded sheets of paper;
but this plan is not followed in England, and although advantageous,
as permitting the fullest examination of the plant, it is attended
with much risk to the specimens in the way of breakage; so that we
may consider it settled that we are going to fasten our plant down
upon a sheet of paper. This must be rather stout, and large enough
to admit the full representation of the species. The sheets used at
the Kew Herbarium are 16-1/2 inches long by 10-1/3 inches wide; those
employed at the British Museum are 17-1/2 inches by 11-1/4 inches; but
the former will be found amply sufficient for our purpose. The next
consideration is the means by which the specimens are to be secured,
which are more various than might at first be supposed. Some persons
sew them to the paper; others place straps over them, which are secured
with small pins; but the choice practically lies between fixing the
whole specimen to the paper with gum, paste, or glue, or securing it
with straps of gummed paper. The former plan, which is that adopted at
our great public herbaria, is certainly better for specimens which
are likely to be much consulted; but the latter is in some respects
more satisfactory, if somewhat tedious, as it admits the removal of the
plant to another sheet if necessary, and delicate portions, such as
thin petals or leaves, are not injured as they are when gummed down. At
the British Museum and Kew a mixture of gum tragacanth and gum-arabic
(the former dissolved in the latter), in about equal parts, is used for
this purpose; but very coriaceous specimens are secured with glue at
the last-named establishment, while in the former the stems and ends
of branches are usually also secured with straps. When the specimen is
entirely gummed down, it is a good plan to keep a few extra flowers or
fruits in a small capsule attached to the sheet: these will be useful
if it is required to dissect such portions, and the specimen need not
be injured for such purpose.

_Poisoning._--Some persons are in the habit of employing a solution of
corrosive sublimate for the purpose of washing over their plants when
mounted, and so preventing the development of animal life. The solution
in use at the Kew Herbarium is composed of one pound of corrosive
sublimate, and the same quantity of carbolic acid to four gallons of
methylated spirit; this fulfils the purpose for which it is intended
very well, but is somewhat disagreeable to use. At the British Museum
it is found that the presence of camphor, frequently renewed in each
cabinet, is sufficient to prevent the attacks of insects. It will soon
be discovered that some plants, such, for example, as the _Umbelliferæ_
and _Grossulariaceæ_, are peculiarly liable to such attacks; and these
orders must be inspected from time to time, so that any insect ravages
may at once be checked. Damp is to be avoided in the situation of the
herbarium, as it favours the development not only of insects but of
mould, and renders the specimens rotten.

The question of _labelling_ is of some importance, especially to those
who value neatness and uniformity in the appearance of their herbarium.
One or two sets of printed labels for this purpose have been issued,
but they cannot be recommended. They give more than is necessary, e.g.
the English, or, more correctly, the book-English names, the general
habitats, and definite localities of rare species, and allow very
insufficient space for filling in the date and place of collecting,
the name of the collector, and such remarks as occasionally occur.
The plan of writing all necessary information upon the sheet itself
is a good one; but those who prefer a uniform series of labels will
find that a form like the following is as useful as any which they can
adopt, and includes all necessary information. The size here given
will be adequate for almost all requirements, and is a "happy medium"
between the small tickets upon which we have animadverted, and the
enormous ones with which some botanists think it necessary to accompany
their specimens. Care should be taken to avoid the possibility of a
misplacement of labels; many serious blunders have arisen from the
neglect of due precaution in this matter.

  Herb. John Smith.

  Ranunculus acris, L.

      & R. Steveni, Reich.

  Loc. Meadows near Barchester.

                  Date, June 30, 1874.

  Coll. John Smith.

_Arrangement._--The plants, being now affixed to their respective
sheets and duly labelled, are ready to be placed in covers, and
rendered available for ready reference. Each genus will require a
separate cover, which may well be of somewhat stouter paper than
that on which the plants are mounted; the name of the genus should
be written at the left-hand corner, followed by a reference to the
page of the manual by which the plants are arranged, or to the number
which it bears in the "London Catalogue," if that be employed in
their arrangement--a purpose for which it is very suitable. Should
the species be represented by more than one sheet, it is convenient
to inclose each in a cover of thinner paper, which may bear the
number assigned to the plant in the right-hand corner; and it is
also convenient to write the name of the plant at the bottom of each
sheet, and to number it also in the right-hand corner. These details
may appear trivial, but they in reality affect in no small degree the
readiness with which any species may be referred to. Should the plants
be arranged in accordance with the "London Catalogue," a copy should be
kept with the herbarium, in which the plants should be ticked off, so
that it may serve as a catalogue of the species represented.

_Cabinets._--It will of course be necessary to provide some
accommodation for our specimens, and for this purpose we shall find
no better model than the cabinets in use in the Botanical Department
of the British Museum. The accompanying figure (drawn to scale) is an
exact representation of one of these. The measurements can of course
be modified so as to suit the size of the herbarium sheets. Each
shelf is a separate drawer, which with its contents can be taken out
and replaced at will. Two cabinets such as that figured will be found
amply sufficient to contain a very good British herbarium. At Kew the
cabinets employed are somewhat similar, but their height is greater and
the shelves are fixed.

[Illustration: Fig. 35. Cabinet for Herbarium Sheets.]

The above are the principal points connected with the arrangement of a
herbarium, considered as distinct from the work of collecting. It is
possible that I may have omitted to touch upon certain details which
may occur to the amateur; should such be the case, I may add that I
shall be happy to supply any additional information, either by letter
or by word of mouth; or to show the system adopted at the British
Museum to anyone who may call upon me there for further hints upon the
subject.



X.

GRASSES, ETC.

By Professor Buckman, F.G.S., etc.


Grasses form such a distinct group of plants, and their study is so
often undertaken for special purposes, that a few remarks upon their
collection and preservation can hardly be considered as out of place in
this little manual.

Delicately as grasses are formed, yet it cannot be said that their
tissues are so liable to injury, or their colours so evanescent, as
those of the flowering plants which the botanist ordinarily delights
in. Nor indeed are the grasses so succulent as many other herbs. In
this respect they may be said to hold a place between ferns and those
plants which usually are called flowers.

Again, in the dried state their organs are generally so well preserved
as to present all that a botanist can wish for, for identification
as well as arrangement; and the student of grasses ever finds his
collection to contain beauties not only in point of rarity, but as
regards delicacy of structure and grace of outline.

Viewing them in this light alone, we have often been astonished that
so many students of plants pay so little attention to them, and this
feeling is enhanced when the great value of the grasses is considered.

If then a few simple directions for preserving these plants shall have
the effect of winning a convert to these views, we shall be delighted;
and to this end we shall make our descriptions as plain as our process
has ever been easy and simple, and yet complete.

In collecting grasses, as in other tribes of plants, it will be
necessary that our specimens should be chosen with the view to exhibit
every feature of interest. With this aim, then, it will be best in the
general way to obtain as much of the plant as possible, so that it
may be necessary to get them up by the roots. Still, in many species
the root is not of much importance: but there are a few which possess
rhizomata, or underground stems; such as the _Triticum repens_, _Poa
pratensis_, _P. compressa_, _Holcus mollis_, _Agrostis stolonifera_,
and others. These should always exhibit these parts; and as such
examples are usually agrarian, it is easier to mark down desirable
specimens and seek a fork at the neighbouring farm-buildings wherewith
to completely get them out, than to carry any substitute in a smaller
and less perfect implement.

Haying made these remarks, we will suppose that we are now about to
sally forth in search of grasses; in which case we make the following
preparations.

As we do not file our copy of the 'Times' we make use of it as
collecting-paper as follows:--Each side of the paper is cut in two,
or, as a Cockney would say, "in half." Each half is then folded into
a double collecting-sheet, and as many of these are taken as are
likely to be useful. In each of these papers is put a small slip of
writing-paper, on which to note the locality and any other noteworthy
fact connected with a specimen when put in the paper. These papers,
separately folded, are placed with the open ends inwards in a
convenient portfolio, and the collector is ready to take the field.

Of course there will be those who will advocate Bentall's drying-paper,
blotting-paper, and so on, and we would not have it supposed that we
despise these luxuries; but as we have found the plan advocated always
to answer the purpose for grasses, we have felt independent of the more
refined collecting-papers.

Now let us suppose that we have gathered fifty specimens, and have
returned home. The next thing will be to put them as soon as may be in
a position for drying.

Our drying apparatus then consists of half-a-dozen smoothly planed
deal boards, and for our first collection we take two of these, and
upon one we lay some few folds of our old 'Times' then a specimen
in their papers (having previously improved their arrangement, when
necessary), and then some more folds of paper, and proceed as before,
until all the specimens have been placed; then put a board on the top
sheet, and upon that a stone, or a 7 or 14 lb. weight, according to
the size and quantity of the specimens. If another day's collection of
specimens be made before the foregoing are dry, they may be arranged in
the same way on the top board, and another board used and the weight
replaced. The object of this is to keep partially dried from fresh
specimens, the putting together of which is a fertile source of mildew
and decay.

In arranging our specimens for the herbarium, we procure sheets of
cartridge paper 18 inches long by 11 inches wide, using a folded sheet
for each species.

In these papers the specimens are fastened down in the following manner:

Gum over a portion of the cartridge paper (so as to have the same
colour) with two consecutive coats of a clean solution of gum-arabic.

This can be cut into slips of any length and breadth, making them as
narrow as possible for the sake of neatness, and when the specimen is
placed in its paper, a few of these slips may be made to confine it in
the desired position. Each example is then to be labelled at the bottom
of the sheet, and each label should set forth--_a_, Its botanical
name; _b_, its trivial or local name; _c_, the locality whence it was
obtained; _d_, the date when gathered; added to which, if presented,
the donor's name.[H]

[H] Printed herbarium labels may be got at Messrs. Hardwicke and
Bogue's, the publishers.

The sheets so prepared may be arranged in groups or genera, each being
folded in convenient paper or cloth wrappers, and the whole arranged in
volumes of stiff covered portfolio.

This, then, is all that seems to us necessary in the collection and
preservation of grasses; but we would recommend the student, if an
artist, to make a typical specimen of each sit for its portrait. In
this way we have made drawings of all the species and varieties that
have come in our way.

Our drawings are life-size, usually lined in with Indian ink with a
fine "lithographic pen." These we partially colour on the spot.

The anatomical details are much enlarged and always fully coloured.
To this end our _impedimenta_ for a day among the grasses consist of,
besides the collecting portfolio, a sketching block, large octavo size,
and a small box of soft colours. Armed with these we have made many a
drawing of a grass under the shade of a tree, or in the parlour of some
contiguous inn.

Lastly, we would venture to remark, if, besides the interest which
grasses should have for the student of botany, these plants be viewed,
as they have ever been by us, as indicators of the nature of soil
and the value and capabilities of the land on which they grow, the
collector should not fail to make notes connected with the soil,
situation, and other practical facts connected with the habitats of
Grasses.



XI.

MOSSES.

By Dr. Braithwaite, F.L.S., etc.


In making a collection of the vegetable productions of a country we
find considerable differences in the structure of the various groups
of plants, and in the tissues of which they are composed; and hence
special manipulation is requisite in dealing with certain orders.
Some are of so succulent a nature, or have a framework so easily
disintegrated, that they contain within themselves the elements of
destruction, and present the greatest difficulty in satisfactory
preservation, while others are so slightly acted on by external agents,
that little trouble is required to prepare specimens of permanent
beauty.

The Ferns and Lycopods, being generally appropriated by the collector
of flowering plants, will be treated on with the latter, and following
these come the Mosses, to which we will now direct attention, taking
the alliance in its broadest sense, as including the three groups of
Frondose Mosses, Bog Mosses, and Liver Mosses, or Hepaticæ, all of
which are readily collected and preserved, and yield an endless fund
of instructive entertainment to the microscopist. But it may be asked,
Where is the game to be found? Where are the pleasant hunting-grounds
in which they most do congregate? We answer, everywhere may some
species or other be met with; yet, though many are cosmopolitan, the
majority have their special habitats, and some their special seasons,
both being considerably influenced by the presence of moisture.

_Collecting._--The bryologist has one advantage over the phænogamous
botanist, for it is not imperative that mosses should be laid out and
pressed immediately; and hence less care is required in collecting
them, than is bestowed on flowering plants; the necessary apparatus is
confined to a pocket-knife, to remove specimens from stones or trees,
a stock of stout waste paper, and a vasculum, or, better still, a
strong bag, in which to carry the packets. When collecting the plants,
it is well to remove any superfluous earth or stones, or to squeeze
out the water from those found in bogs; and then each is to be wrapped
separately in paper, and the locality marked outside; or the more
minute species may, for greater safety, be placed in chip boxes. On
reaching home, if we do not prepare the specimens at once, we must
not leave the parcels packed together in their receptacle, or mould
will soon attack them and spoil the whole; but we must spread them out
on the floor until quite dry, and then reserve them to a convenient
opportunity to lay out; as in the dry state they may be kept for years
unchanged.

It often happens that our line of study is developed by some fortuitous
circumstance. A neglected flowerpot in the corner of the garden
attracts attention by its verdant carpet of moss, or, peeping over the
wall, we see the crevices between the bricks bristling with capsules of
_Tortula muralis_, the red twisted peristome freshly brought to view
by the falling away of the lid, and, taking a bit indoors to submit to
the microscope, we are so captivated therewith that we then and there
determine to become a bryologist. Nor is this all that a journey round
the garden will disclose: the neglected paths yield other species not
less worthy of examination, and old apple-trees are not unfrequently
tenanted by mosses.

Extending our walks to the commons, lanes, and woods, we may find on
the ground and banks, in bogs and on the stumps and trunks of trees, a
number of species greatly extending our list; while others again are
only met with on the clay soil of stubble-fields, as various species of
_Pottia_ and _Ephemerum_: appearing in October, their delicate texture
is developed by the constant moisture of winter, and with it also they
vanish, to appear no more until the succeeding season. Travelling yet
farther away, we find that each locality we visit yields some novelty:
old walls and rocks of sandstone or slate, limestone districts, and,
above all, a mountainous country, are rich in species we seek in vain
elsewhere. Here peat bogs, and rocks dripping with water, ever supplied
by the atmosphere, or the tumbling streams everywhere met with, are the
chosen homes of these little plants, and thither must the collector
resort, if he would reap his richest harvest. Winter and spring in the
lowlands, and a later period in the elevated districts, will be found
most productive of fruiting plants.

_Preparation of Specimens._--So rapidly does the cellular texture
of the mosses transmit fluid, that, when soaked in water, we see
them swell up and expand their little leaves, and in a short time
look as fresh as when growing; hence a basin of water, a towel, and
drying-paper are all we require to prepare our specimens for the
herbarium. If the tufts are large, we must separate them into patches
sufficiently thin to lie flat, and by repeated washing, get rid of
adherent earth, mud, or gravel. This is conveniently accomplished by
holding the tuft in the palm of the hand, under a tap, and allowing a
stream of water to pass through it; then by pressure in the folding
towel we remove superfluous moisture and immediately transfer to paper,
arranging the plants as we wish them to lie permanently, and placing
with each a ticket bearing the name: a moderate weight is sufficient to
dry them, as with great pressure the capsules split, and thus the value
of the specimen is decreased. It not unfrequently happens that two or
three species grow intermixed: these must be carefully separated at the
time of soaking, and any capsules required to show the peristome must
also be removed before the plants are submitted to pressure.

_Examination of Specimens._--We have very much to learn about a moss
before we can become masters of all the characters that pertain to it
as a specific individual. We must observe its branching, the mode of
attachment of the leaves to the stem, and their direction; the form
and structure of a separate leaf, the position of the male flowers,
and, lastly, the position and structure of the fruit. For the efficient
determination of these we require a microscope (the simple dissecting
microscope is amply sufficient), a couple of sharp-edged, triangular
needles fixed in handles, and a few glass slides and covers. Having
soaked our specimen in water, we lay it on a slide, and by cutting
through the stem with one of the needles, close to the attachment of
a leaf, we can readily remove the leaf entire, and two or three may
be transferred to another slide, and placed in a drop of water under a
cover: the same thing may be roughly accomplished by scraping the stem
backwards with one of the needles; but in this way the leaves are often
torn.

[Illustration: Fig. 36. _Tortula muralis._

_a._ Leaf and its areolation. _b._ Capsule. _c._ Calyptra. _d._ Lid.
_e._ Male flower. _f._ Antheridia and paraphyses.]

By examination of a leaf we notice its form, the condition of its
margin, whether entire or serrated or bordered; the presence and
extent of the nerve; and lastly, and most important of all, the form
and condition of its component cells; and for this a higher power is
required. With a 2/3-inch object-glass and C eyepiece we can observe
their form, and whether their walls are thickened so as to render them
dot-like; their contents, whether chlorophyllose or hyaline; and their
surface, whether smooth or covered with papillæ; for often these points
are so characteristic, that by them alone we can at once refer a barren
specimen to its proper family or genus.

_Preservation of Specimens._--This may be discussed under two heads:
1st, as microscopic objects; 2nd, for the herbarium.

1. The parts required for microscopic examination are the capsules
and peristome, entire specimens of the smaller species, and detached
leaves. The capsules having to be viewed by condensed light, must be
mounted dry as opaque objects; and for this purpose I use Piper's
wooden slides, with revolving bone cover; and in one of these we
may fix a capsule with the lid still attached, another laid on its
side, but showing the peristome, and a third with the mouth of the
capsule looking upward, a position very useful for the species of
_Orthotrichum_, as we are thus enabled to see the inner peristome; and
with them also may be placed the calyptra: should the cost of these be
an object, a cheaper substitute may be found in shallow pill-boxes,
blackened on the inside.

To preserve the leaves in an expanded state we may employ the fluid
media used for vegetable tissues, or, when time is of consequence,
Rimmington's glycerine jelly is a convenient material in which to
mount them, a ring of dammar cement being first placed on the slide,
and within this the liquefied jelly, to which the expanded specimen
is quickly transferred, and the cover securely sealed by gold size.
Preparations of this kind are of the highest value as types for
comparison with actual specimens we may have for determination.

[Illustration: Fig. 37. _Ceratodon purpureus._

_a._ Male plant. 1. Leaf and its areolation. 2. Capsule. 3. Calyptra 4.
Two teeth of the peristome.]

2. In mounting specimens for the herbarium we must be guided by the
limits which we have fixed on for the extent of the same; and I may
first describe the method adopted for my own collection. Every
species has a separate leaf of cartridge-paper measuring 14-1/2 ×
10-1/2 inches, and on this the specimens are fixed, each mounted by
a little gum on a piece of toned paper; thus 4 or 6 to 12 specimens,
according to size, are attached to each leaf,--varieties have one
or more additional leaves; and to each is also fixed a triangular
envelope, inclosing loose capsules and leaves for ready transfer to the
microscope, and also a label indicating the name, habitat, and date of
collection. A pink cover for each genus includes the species, and a
stout millboard cover embraces the genera of each family, with the name
of which it is labelled outside, the whole shutting up in a cabinet.

Another form is that seen in Rabenhorst's Bryotheca Europæa, quarto
volumes of 50 specimens, one occupying each leaf, and so arranged that
the specimens do not come opposite to each other. Others again use
loose sheets of note-paper, within each of which a single specimen
is mounted; but this, from their size, is very cumbersome. Or we may
take a single well-chosen typical specimen and arrange many species
on a page, as is seen in the beautiful volume of Gardiner's 'British
Mosses' or McIvor's 'Hepaticæ Britannicæ.' Whatever plan we adopt, our
specimens, once well dried and kept in a dry place, are unchangeable,
and are always looked upon with pleasure, each recalling some pleasing
associations, or perchance reminding us of some long-lost friend, in
companionship with whom they were collected or studied. A stock of
duplicates must also be reserved, from which to supply our friends, or
exchange with other collectors for desiderata in our own series: these
may be kept in square cases of various sizes, cut so as to allow the
edges of the top and sides to wrap over the other half folded down on
the specimens.

The Hepaticæ of the family Jungermanniaceæ are treated precisely
as mosses, the capsules, however, show but little diversity, and
will not require separate preservation; but the elaters, or spiral
threads accompanying the seeds, are elegant microscopic objects. The
Marchantiaceæ must be pressed when fresh, as they do not revive with
the same facility as other species, owing to their succulent nature and
numerous layers of cells.

_Classification._--On this I have fully treated elsewhere ("The Moss
World," 'Popular Science Review,' Oct., 1871), and it may suffice
here simply to indicate the families of British mosses and their
mode of arrangement. The cell-texture of the leaf takes an important
place in the characters, and in accordance with this principle the
Cleistocarpous or Phascoid group is broken up and distributed in
various families. We have two orders; one indeed, comprising only the
genus _Andreæa_, is distinguished by the capsule splitting into four
valves united at apex; the other, including the bulk of the species,
has in most cases a lid, which separates transversely, and usually
discloses a peristome of tooth-like processes. The structure of these
teeth again enables us to form three divisions. In the first they
consist of a mass of confluent cells; in the second, of tongue-shaped
processes, composed of agglutinated filaments; and in the third, of
a double layer of cells, transversely articulated to each other, the
outer layer composed of two rows of firm coloured cells, the inner of
a single series of vesicular hyaline cells, on which the hygroscopic
quality of the tooth depends.

           Sub-Class SPHAGNINÆ.
                Bog Mosses.
           Fam. 1.--Sphagnaceæ.

             Sub-Class BRYINÆ.
              Frondose Mosses.

  Order 1.--Schistocarpi.
            Fam. 1.--Andreæaceæ.

  Order 2.--Stegocarpi.
       Div. 1.--Elasmodontes.
            Fam. 2. Georgiaceæ.
       Div. 2.--Nematodontes.
            Fam. 3.--Buxbaumiaceæ.
            Fam. 4.--Polytrichaceæ.
       Div. 3.--Arthrodontes.
         Subdiv. 1.--Acrocarpici.
   *Distichophylla.

  Fam. 5. Schistostegaceæ.   |  Fam. 6. Fissidentaceæ.
      **Polystichophylla.

  Fam.  7. Dicranaceæ.       |  Fam. 12. Splachnaceæ.
   "    8. Leucobryaceæ.     |   "   13. Funariaceæ.
   "    9. Trichostomaceæ.   |   "   14. Bryaceæ.
   "   10. Grimmiaceæ.       |   "   15. Mniaceæ.
   "   11. Orthotrichaceæ.   |   "   16. Bartramiaceæ.

      Subdiv. 2.--Pleurocarpici.
  Fam. 17. Hookeriaceæ.      |  Fam. 20. Leskeaceæ.
   "   18. Fontinalaceæ.     |   "   21. Hypnaceæ.
   "   19. Neckeraceæ.       |

                 Sub-Class HEPATICINÆ.
                      Liver Mosses.

  Fam. 1. Jungermanniaceæ.   |  Fam. 3. Anthocerotaceæ.
   "   2. Marchantiaceæ.     |   "   4. Ricciaceæ.


Among species which may be generally met with by beginners on the
look-out for mosses, we may enumerate the following:

_On Walls._--Tortula muralis and revoluta, Bryum capillare and
cæspiticium, Grimmia pulvinata, Weisia cirrhata.

_In Clay Fields._--Phascum acaulon, Pottia truncatula and Starkeana.

_On Waste Ground and Heaths._--Ceratodon purpureus, Funaria
hygrometrica, Campylopus turfaceus, Bryum argenteum, nutans, and
pallens, Pleuridium subulatum, Dicranella heteromalla and varia,
Physcomitrium pyriforme, Pogonatum aloides, Polytrichum commune,
piliferum, and juniperinum, Tortula unguiculata and fallax, Bartramia
pomiformis, Jungermannia bicuspidata, Lepidozia reptans, Ptilidium
ciliare, Frullania tamarisci.

_Shady Banks and Woods._--Catharinea undulata, Weisia viridula,
Tortula subulata, Mnium hornum, Dicranum scoparium, Hypnum rutabulum,
velutinum, cupressiforme, prælongum, purum, and molluscum,
Plagiothecium denticulatum, Pleurozium splendens and Schreberi,
Hylocomium squarrosum and triquetrum, Thuyidium tamariscinum, Fissidens
bryoides, Plagiochila asplenioides, Jungermannia albicans, Lophocolea
bidentata.

_In Bogs._--Sphagnum cymbifolium and acutifolium, Gymnocybe palustris,
Hypnum cuspidatum, stellatum, aduncum, and fluitans, Jungermannia
inflata.

_Rocks and by Streams._--Grimmia apocarpa, Tridontium pellucidum,
Hypnum serpens, filicinum, commutatum, and palustre, Scapania nemorosa,
Metzgeria furcata, Marchantia polymorpha, Pellia epiphylla, Fegatella
conica.

_On Trees._--Ulota crispa, Orthotrichum affine and diaphanum, Cryphæa
heteromalla, Homalia trichomanoides, Hypnum sericeum, Isothecium
myurum, Frullania dilatata, Radula complanata, Madotheca platyphylla.

Small as this list is, it will be found to yield ample store for
investigation, and if true love for the study be thereby excited, the
circle of forms will be found to widen with every new locality visited.
If we have contributed in any way to facilitate the pursuit, then is
our object fulfilled, and we may conclude with the words of Horace:

  Vive, vale! si quid novisti rectius istis,
  Candidus imperti, si non, his utere mecum.



XII.

FUNGI.

By Worthington G. Smith, F.L.S.


With the fogs and rains of autumn the fungologist's harvest begins. A
few fungi (large and small) appertain to the spring, and some species
may be found in every month of the year; but it is not till September
has well set in, or October is reached, that the glut of fungi is
really upon us. Fungi may generally be met with in abundance for
three months of the year; viz. from the latter half of September till
the middle of December, the month of October taking pre-eminence for
producing the greatest abundance of species. A season of moderate heat
and rain is the most productive, for an excessive amount of either
dryness or moisture appears to destroy the fecundity of the mycelium,
which it must always be remembered is alive and at work (underground)
the whole of the year; for, as a matter of course, this year's fungi
is produced from last year's spores. These spores are set free in
autumn, and at once vegetate and form masses of mycelium, from which
next years crop must spring; just as the seeds of our wild annuals are
self-sown at the fall of each year and first germinate at that season.
It is a great mistake to suppose that Agarics and Boleti wait till
the leaves fall, so that they may prey upon them; for, as a rule, the
larger fungi never live upon the leaves of the same year as that in
which they (the fungi) come up; fungi live upon the fallen leaves of
the previous autumn. The spring and summer months will sometimes prove
very productive, especially after stormy weather; but the collector
must always bear in mind that fungi, like all other things, have
their _seasons_. I have known the fungus harvest quite over by the
end of August, and I have also known it not come in before December:
it depends entirely upon a certain amount of atmospheric heat and
moisture. A damp summer and stormy August will produce the crop at
the beginning of September; but a dry autumn, without much rain till
November, will delay the fungus crop till Christmas. Some species
appear regularly _twice_ a year from the same mycelium; once after the
rains of March and April, and again in October. This is the case with
_Coprinus atramentarius_, which I have growing (originally from spores)
in a bed of my own garden.

It is useless to go out specially to collect fungi, either during the
dry hot weather of summer or the frosts of winter; it sometimes,
however, happens that odd fungi may be found here and there, in
out-of-the-way places, such as the sides of open cellars and sawpits,
under bridges, on prostrate logs in streams, in damp outhouses, or
about old water-butts, &c.; therefore I never go out without two or
three old seidlitz-powder boxes, some thin paper, and a strong knife,
in case any waifs and strays should fall in my way. I have sometimes
found good species in a friend's dustbin or cistern, or upon the sides
of the open cellar of a public-house. I once found an agaricus on
the cornice of London Bridge, to secure which I had to get over the
parapet, and was nearly being taken into custody as one tired of life;
another time I found a colony of _Coprinus domesticus_ upon a friend's
scullery wall, and a _Peziza_ upon my brother's ceiling. Moral:
Fungologists' pockets should, _at all times_, contain one or two small
boxes for securing stray and erratic members of the fungus family.

The equipment for a fungus foray differs with the nature of the fungi
to be collected. If the plants sought for are wholly microscopic, a
small vasculum, knife, pocket-lens, and package of thin paper will be
found sufficient; but if Agarics, Boleti, the larger Polyporei, &c.,
are to be brought home, a more complete set of things will be required,
which should include a very small garden-trowel or carpenter's gouge
(any saddler or bootmaker will make a suitable leather case for the
blades for a shilling or two), a strong knife--such as gardeners use
for pruning trees, a few sheets of thin paper, a lens, pocket-compass,
and some string. If truffles are desired, a rake is necessary, and the
best plan is to carry the iron-toothed end separately in a leather
case, and made to screw on to the end of a walking-stick; when not
in use, this end can be carried in the pocket with the trowel, &c.
It is requisite that the vasculum be large, with straps to carry it
over the shoulders; and the collector should be provided with a set of
cardboard boxes, large and small, to go inside the vasculum, and to
contain the more delicate or choice spoils of the day. Leather gloves
and a thin great-coat are good things for the chilly days of early
winter--this coat should be provided with at least four large pockets;
and, if the weather is inclement, strong boots and waterproof leggings
will be found serviceable. An old felt hat and large cotton umbrella
are also desirable, for it is only a piece of folly to go into the
wet dripping woods with good clothes. As for the umbrella, it should
be one of the Mrs. Gamp pattern, of good size, and with a (removable)
ring at the end farthest from the handle, so that it may be suspended
from branches of trees, &c., whilst the fungi are sorted or examined
below, or a frugal luncheon is discussed (perhaps during a passing
storm of rain). The string will be found useful for tying up the larger
Polyporei; these are frequently of great size, and often weigh many
pounds. In collecting, all Agarics should be kept separate as much as
possible; for this purpose thin paper, such as is used by stationers
and milliners, is indispensable; every specimen should be wrapped very
lightly in a piece of thin paper before boxing, as the elasticity of
the paper not only prevents breaking and bruising, but it also prevents
the spores of one species being scattered over another. In carrying
fungi about, or sending fresh specimens from one place to another,
nothing is so good as this thin paper interspersed here and there with
fronds of the common bracken. Sawdust, hay, or wool, should never, on
any account, be used: such things totally destroy the plants; but with
careful packing with paper and bracken-fronds, fungi may be transported
for any distance, by rail or otherwise, perfectly intact and undamaged.
In packing the vasculum, see that the heavier plants are at the bottom
and the lighter ones at the top; for if packed otherwise any fragile
species will be certainly destroyed. I have known a good collection
of Agarics rendered worthless by a loose puff-ball being placed with
them, which has rolled about with every movement of the collector's
body, and damaged big and little species alike, when a piece of paper
or a fern-frond or two, to prevent rolling, would have kept all quite
safe.

It is hardly necessary to specify localities, because fungi abound
everywhere. If leaf fungi are sought for, hedge-sides will produce an
abundant crop; if the Agaricini and Polyporei, forests and woods must
be ransacked; if the edible species are wanted, rich open pastures
(with few exceptions) must be traversed: the various species of
truffles must be looked for principally in leafy glades--many prefer
a calcareous subsoil, but at times they may be met with even in
hedge-sides, town parks, or elsewhere.

When the collection of the day is complete, no species must be allowed
to remain in the collecting-cases all night; for if the boxes are
not carefully opened and the contents laid out, it will probably be
found in the morning that some will have dissolved into an inky fluid,
others will have got into the treacle state, whilst a third lot will be
overrun with mould, or the smaller ones perhaps entirely eaten up by
slugs or larvæ. Few things decompose so rapidly as fungi, especially
the full-grown Boleti; these, though apparently perfectly sound one
day, will sometimes be a horrible mass of foetid treacle the next.
I have sometimes received large parcels by rail or post when this
horrible stinking matter has been dripping out, perhaps all over the
carter's hands or down the postman's trousers; for _ladies_ always
_will_ send Boleti in bonnet-boxes, tied with thin twine. Should any
extra charge be demanded, on the ground of the insufficiently prepaid
postage, or the parcels be unpaid, I invariably refuse to take them in,
to the disgust of the parties bringing them. I shall not soon forget
an ill-tempered postman who brought me two of these dripping treasures
at the same time last autumn, with a demand for extra postage, and his
look of silent disrelish as he walked off with one twine-suspended
bonnet-box in each hand, the fragrant Boleti-treacle meanwhile
manifesting itself upon the pavement. Even when quite fresh, the odour
of some species is disgusting in the extreme; for instance, a single
specimen of _Phallus impudicus_ in the collecting-box will affect a
whole railway carriage with the most horrible and sickening stench;
whilst the curious truffle _Melanogaster ambiguus_ is perhaps worse
still, for its abominable odour is perfectly insufferable.

To dry and preserve a collection of fresh fungi is at times a very
difficult task; for instance, some species are so entirely covered with
a tenacious gluten that if they were at once put between drying-papers,
it is certain they would never come out again with the least chance
of being recognized by even the most acute fungologist; others are so
deliquescent that in an hour or two they would dissolve into a watery
mass, soak through all the paper, and leave a mere dirty stain between
the sheets where the plant was originally placed. As a contrast,
some of the Polyporei (as the young state of _Polyporus igniarius_)
are so hard that nothing but a steam-hammer would have any chance of
flattening them. There is considerable difficulty in ridding the plants
from the larvæ with which they are often infested. A few drops of the
oil of turpentine will, however, generally drive them from Agarics
and other fleshy fungi; and, in regard to the woody Polyporei, a good
plan is to place the plants in an oven, or on a hob for a short time,
where the heat is not too powerful to destroy the plants, but still
sufficiently potent to drive the larvæ from their holes. If this is
not done, the collector's experience will probably be the same as
mine has more than once been; viz. on opening a package (which should
contain some choice dried fungus), to find only a stain, a few skins
of dead maggots, and a little dirt--in fact, some of the species in
my herbarium, though mostly poisoned with corrosive sublimate, get
entirely devoured by rapacious and poison-proof larvæ, mites, and
minute beetles.

In addition, however, to the mere drying, certain notes and particulars
are required, without which the best dried specimens are worthless;
and, again, for the larger fungi to be of real service, the spores of
each species must be separately preserved. As regards the drying of the
fleshy fungi themselves, the process to observe is as follows:--Lay
all ordinary Agarics out separately in a dry place, or in a current of
dry air from six to twelve, or even twenty-four hours, according to
the species, so that they may part with their superfluous moisture,
and thus facilitate drying. In the case of species with glutinous
pilei, it will be found that the gluten will more or less set, if
carefully attended to, in a dry warm place. If the larger fleshy
fungi are inadvertently placed under a propagating-glass, or left on
a lawn or grassy place, or kept in damp air from over-night till next
morning, the chances are that they will never properly dry at all.
When the superfluous moisture has evaporated they may be put gently
between drying-papers, but the weight put upon them must at first be
of the slightest kind; ordinary books, more or less light, will be
found quite sufficient; and few, or perhaps no other plants, require
such frequent changing as Agarics. An hour, or often less, suffices
for the first pressure, when care must be taken to supply them with
fresh and perfectly dry paper, or they will immediately mould. It is
a good plan, when the plants are half dry, to take them out of the
papers and put them in dry air, or in a sunny place for a short time
(the length of time being determined by experience and the nature of
the species), to part with more of their moisture: so, with constant
attention and frequent changing of the papers, very presentable
specimens may at last be obtained. These dried fungi will now be found
very useful for showing the more superficial characters of the plants;
but without sections, spores, and proper notes, they will be next to
useless. In Agarics it is of the first importance to show the nature
of the attachment of the gills to the stem: and should the stems be
furnished with a volva or annulus, this must be preserved with the
greatest care--young specimens, too, in different stages of growth,
are often of great value. If possible, it is well to have a series of
dried specimens of each species; one, as in Fig. 38, A, to display
the nature of the tubes in Boletus and the gills in the Agaricini,
whether they are thick or thin, crowded together or distant from each
other, plain or serrated, free or annexed; another, as at B, to show
the pileus, whether smooth or floccose, plain, warted, or zoned, and
the nature of the margin, whether striate, bullate, or plain; a third,
as at C, to show the attachment of pileus to stem in infancy; and,
fourthly, a section or thin slice removed from the exact middle of the
young plant from top to bottom, as at D: this will show the nature of
the veil (if present), and whether universal or not; and if absent,
whether the margin is at first straight, incurved, or involute. A
similar section through the mature plant is also required, E and F
(Fig. 39): this will give the attachment of gills to stems (a character
of great importance), and the nature of the stem itself, whether solid,
stuffed, or hollow. Great care and experience are required to cut a
thin and perfect slice from the middle of a tender Agaric or Boletus;
for there is often a sort of articulation at the point G, which
causes the slice to fall in two. As for preserving fungi in fluids,
I think it in all ways undesirable. It may more or less answer for
single or unique specimens, or for large museums, where space is of no
consequence; but for all purposes of constant reference and private
study, any process of this sort is worthless. Few persons, I imagine,
would care to have hundreds (or I might say thousands) of tolerably
large glass bottles of fluids in their houses. It is essential that
the spores should be secured, as their colour and size are very
important. They may be preserved in various ways: if coloured, they are
best kept on white paper, and if white, on black glazed paper, such
as is supplied to photographers; or they may be at once deposited and
kept on glass slides and covered, or between thin sheets of mica, such
as photographers use. I prefer the spores free on paper, as they can
easily be transferred to glass for examination by breathing on a corner
of a glass slide and just touching it on to the dry spores; thousands
will attach themselves to the glass, and, moreover, the supply from
one fungus appears to be perfectly inexhaustible. To secure a good
batch of spores, it is not sufficient to let the Agaric merely rest in
the position shown at H (Fig. 40), for the spores will not properly
fall when this plan is adopted; a far better one is to cut a small
hole, about the size of the diameter of the stem of the fungus, in
the centre of the paper on which the spores are to be deposited: slip
the stem through the hole, carefully draw up the paper collar, and
support the fungus in a small pot, glass, or dry phial (placed under a
propagating-glass to keep the plant fresh) as shown in Fig. 41. If it
is wished to fix the spores, let the paper be first washed with a thin
solution of gum-arabic, which must be allowed to get perfectly dry; the
spores may now fall upon the dry gummed paper; and after the deposition
the gummed surface must be breathed upon to moisten the gum, and when
it has dried for the second time the spores will be fixed, and not
readily rubbed off.

[Illustration: Fig. 38. Specimens showing the gills, rings, and stages
of growth.]

[Illustration: Fig. 39. Section cut through Agaricus.]

[Illustration: Fig. 40.]

[Illustration: Fig. 41. Agaric placed to catch spores.]

It is necessary to prepare the woody specimens in a different manner.
They must first be perfectly dried before the fire, or in the sun, and
then a thin slice must be sawn (or cut with a powerful knife) out of
the middle. This slice may be poisoned, as described hereafter, and
mounted on the herbarium sheets at once. If the Polyporus is very thin,
it may be mounted in company with the slice, but more than one specimen
is desirable, as it is indispensable to have both surfaces handy for
examination. If the specimens are very large, they are best kept in
wooden boxes, and labelled according to the genera and sub-genera they
contain; or they may be kept in drawers, the drawers being divided by
partitions if large, and labelled outside. If boxes are used, they
should all be the same depth; the height and width may be doubled or
halved according to the nature of the plants: the plan will be better
understood by reference to the diagram, Fig. 42. If this plan is
adopted, there will be no waste space, and the boxes will stand evenly
upon a sideboard or against a wall.

[Illustration: Fig. 42. Cabinet for Fungi.]

Before the specimens are transferred to the herbarium they may or not
be poisoned, according to the wish or convenience of the collector.
Some of my plants which have never been poisoned remain perfectly
uninjured, whilst others, which have been treated with a strong
solution of corrosive sublimate, have been devoured by larvæ, &c.,
introduced, I presume, since the plants were put away. A solution of
corrosive sublimate in pyroligneous naphtha, carefully washed over the
specimens, has been recommended; but the ordinary poison is oil of
turpentine, mixed with finely-powdered sublimate, well shaken before
applied. If the specimens are to be glued down, they should be mounted
as shown in Figs. 38 and 39, so as to display all their characters,
and fixed with poisoned gum tragacanth; but some botanists, and
myself amongst the number, prefer to have the specimens _free_. For
this purpose I have envelopes gummed to the herbarium sheets, and the
specimens (including a small paper containing the spores) are free
within the envelopes. Some mites are very fond of the spores of certain
fungi, whilst they will not touch the spores of others: therefore,
if the specimens are to be kept perfectly intact, gummed paper must
be used, or they may be kept between little slips of mica. As to the
labelling of the herbarium sheets, I shall not touch upon that, as the
plan universally followed is similar to the one used for flowering
plants, and described in this volume. Some sub-genera of Agaricus,
however (as Tricholoma), are so numerous in species that it will be
found requisite to have several wrappers for one sub-genus.

Now as to the necessary notes to be made on the sheets: the points in
discriminating fungi differ considerably from those used in naming
flowering plants. It is presumed the spores have been preserved by the
collector. Now, if he has time, the next best thing is to measure and
note them at once, in decimals of an inch and millimetre: a second
and essential thing is a note as to the taste of the fungus, whether
it is mild, acrid, bitter, &c. This point will be found very useful,
as some species are tasteless, insipid, or extremely acrid, bitter,
or poisonous: it is only necessary to taste a small piece; but as so
little is really known of the qualities of fungi, unless this is done
no advance will be made. I invariably taste every fungus new to me, and
have notes to this effect of all the species which have passed through
my hands: in some species the effect is very peculiar, sometimes (as
in _Agaricus melleus_) it causes a cold sensation at the back of
the ears, and swelling of the throat; at others (as in _Marasmius
caulicinalis_), the taste proves to be intensely bitter; some are
so fiery (as in _Lactarius turpis_, _blennius_, and _acris_), that
the smallest piece placed upon the tongue resembles the contact of a
red-hot poker. Often, when I have been out botanizing with young men
and amateurs, when a dubious _Russula_ or _Lactarius_ has been shown
me to name, I have requested the inquirer to taste it, as, if mild or
pungent, the taste might at times decide the species; I have generally
found, however, that though certain persons are anxious enough to
acquire _names_, they will not burn their tongues to secure them. No
fungi that I am acquainted with are really pleasant raw, unless it is
_Hydnum gelatinosum_, though many are very good when cooked. A very
important thing to note is the odour in the larger fungi: many are very
pleasant, like meal; a few are sweet; some resemble stinking fish (as
_Agaricus cucumis_); one, mice (as _A. incanus_); another, camphor,
whilst _Marasmius foetidus_ and _impudicus_ are like putrid carrion;
others are like burnt flannel, garlic, rotten beans, and almost every
imaginable disagreeable thing. The habitat is of great importance: if
the plant grows upon trees, the tree should be named; or if parasitic
upon any other material, the matrix should be named with the place.
The viscidity, dryness, or bibulosity must be given, and in the
_Agaricini_, any notes that may suggest themselves as to the presence
or absence of a veil, volva, or trama, and whether the gills have a
habit of separating from the stem, as at J (Fig. 39), must be carefully
noted.

The study of the larger fungi has been to me one of the greatest
pleasures of my life: when all things else have failed, this has never
failed; it has taken me into the pleasantest of places and amongst the
best of people. Had it not been for fungi, I should have been dead
years ago; often tired, jaded, and harassed with business matters,
a stroll in the rich autumn woods has given me a renewed lease of
life. In these favourite haunts I never tire or flag; rain, fog,
and mud, never detract from the pleasures of the woods to me--I am
only depressed in the hot, dry weather of midsummer. In the autumn I
constantly visit the forests, with all my collecting paraphernalia; I
sometimes take a saw to cut off the big, woody, fungus excrescences of
trees. I was once fortunate enough to find a ladder in a wood, which
proved invaluable for ascending the beeches in search of _Agaricus
mucidus_, &c. I, however, find fungi everywhere: I only go round the
corner, and there they are. I often visit a neighbouring builder's
yard, and descend the sawpits, to the amazement of the operatives:
some of the rarest species of our Flora, and many new ones, I have
found within a few minutes' walk of my own house. I once found a rare
_Lentinus_ on a log as it was being carted down King William Street,
and a year or so ago an undescribed _Peziza_ flourished inside my
cistern.

Collecting fungi is not without its humours as well as its pleasures,
as the following will show. I once saw a portly, well-dressed gentleman
walking along the high road, with his vasculum over his shoulders, and
carrying home (one in each hand) a pair of cast-off, rotten boots,
discarded by some vagrant; the rotting leather having produced a crop
of rare microscopic fungi. At times abominable cast-off foetid gipsy
rags will be lovingly taken from out a ditch, and choice pieces cut out
and consigned to the vasculum of the cryptogamic botanist; at other
times some rare species will be seen "up a tree," and it has several
times happened in my presence that one enthusiastic botanist has got
on to the shoulders of another to secure a prize, or even waded into
a pond to get at some prostrate fungus-bearing log. The humours of
truffle hunting are manifold. I have seen a gentleman trespass, on
hands and knees, through a holly hedge, on to a gentleman's lawn,
and there dig up the turf in some promising spot, risking an attack
from the house-dog, or a few shots from the proprietor; the said
trespasser meanwhile armed with a rake, gouge, and dangerous-looking
open knife. Country labourers are often sorely puzzled by the acts of
cryptogamic botanists; they stand agape in utter amazement to witness
poisonous "frog-stools" bagged by the score. Ofttimes one gets warned
that the plants are "deadly pisin"; but collectors are usually looked
upon as harmless lunatics, a climax in this direction generally being
reached if a gentleman in search of _Ascoboli_ and the dung-borne
_Pezizæ_, sits down, and after making a promising collection of horse
or cow-dung, carefully wraps these treasures in tissue paper, and puts
them in his "sandwich-box."

One word of warning to the beginner--never, on any account, amass
and put away a lot of imperfect materials with insufficient notes,
for in the end they will prove worse than useless. To name fungi
with certainty the fullest notes and most complete materials are
indispensable: without these nothing whatever can be done. It is far
better to laboriously make out twenty species, and know them in all
their aspects for certain, than to amass imperfect materials of two
thousand without any sound botanical knowledge. If the former course
is pursued, the study of fungi will prove a never-failing source of
pleasure to the mind and of health to the body.

In conclusion, I cannot do better than quote a few words written by the
illustrious Fries (now more than eighty years of age) in the preface
to a recent work of his on Fungi. He says: "Now in the evening of my
life, I rejoice to call to mind the abundant pleasures which my study
of the more perfect fungi, sustained for more than half a century, has
throughout this long time afforded me.... Therefore, to botanists,
who can wander at will the country side, I commend the study of these
plants as a perennial fountain of delight and admiration for that
Supreme Wisdom which reigns over universal nature."



XIII.

LICHENS.

By the Rev. Jas. Crombie, F.L.S., etc.


Much as it is to be regretted, it cannot be questioned that of those
who have devoted themselves to the study of botany, lichenists have
always been "few and far between." While flowering plants have had
their hosts of enthusiastic students, and while other classes of
cryptogamics have had due attention paid to them, the study of lichens
has, up even to the present time, been but too much neglected. To many
indeed the term conveys only some faint and confused idea, and though
they know that there are plants so called, they are at the same time
utterly ignorant of their nature. With flowering plants, ferns, mosses,
seaweeds, and even fungi, they have at least some acquaintance, more or
less accurate; but lichens they generally pass by with indifference,
regarding them merely as "time-stains" on the trees, the walls, and
the rocks where they grow. Nay, we have even met with some professed,
and otherwise well-informed botanists, who, while recognizing certain
of the larger and more conspicuous species as lichens, yet fancied
that many of the smaller and more obscure species were merely inorganic
discolorations. It is certainly very difficult to account for such a
state of matters at the present day, when so much attention is being
paid to almost every other class of plants. Vainly have I sought either
in the nature of the case itself or in my conversations with botanists,
for any intelligible solution of such apathy and neglect: though many
good and sufficient reasons have presented themselves to my mind why
they should be regarded in a very different light. It cannot with any
show of propriety be objected that lichens are an uninteresting class
of plants, and consequently undeserving of serious study. So far from
this, they are in various respects as interesting not only as any other
class of cryptogamics, but also as many other plants, which occupy a
higher and more conspicuous place in the scale of vegetation. Being as
it were the pioneers of all other plant life, for which they serve to
prepare the soil on the coral islet and the barren rock,--constituting
the most generally diffused class of terrestrial plants on the surface
of the globe, from arctic lands to tropical climes,--presenting
essential simplicity of structure, being composed entirely of an
aggregation of cells, though at the same time this is amply compensated
for by endless variety of form,--adorning as they do, with their
variously coloured thalli and apothecia, the most romantic and the most
dreary situations,--affording in some cases valuable material for the
dyer and the perfumer, nay, even for medicinal purposes,--supplying,
as some of them do, more or less, nutritious food for man and beast,
under circumstances and in regions where no other can be had,--it is
very evident that the prevailing neglect of them cannot arise from
their being in any way uninteresting, and destitute either of beauty
or utility. Nor does this, as might be inferred, result from any
peculiar difficulty attending their study. There indeed seems to be
a notion prevalent, not only amongst the students of phænogamic, but
also amongst those of cryptogamic plants, that there are, somehow or
other, almost insuperable difficulties connected with the pursuit of
Lichenology. Now, it is quite true that the correct study of these
plants is by no means an easy one, and that an accurate knowledge of
them is not to be obtained in a day or an hour; but the same may,
with equal truth, be said of any other branch of Phytology, which
requires minute research and microscopical examination. Here, as
elsewhere, there is no royal road to learning, and the difficulties
which lie in the way must be boldly faced. If the student can only
muster up sufficient courage to cross the threshold and prosecute his
investigations with zeal and steady perseverance, he will find in this,
as in other cases, that the difficulties which looked so formidable at
a distance, will, one by one, be successfully surmounted.

But to whatever cause the paucity of lichenists, both in our own
and other countries, is to be attributed, it certainly does not
originate in any difficulty connected with their collection and
preservation. In fact, there is no other class of plants, where
these, and more especially the latter, can be so easily effected, at
a little expenditure of time and trouble. A few simple directions
are, therefore, all that are necessary to be given on these points.
As to the collecting of lichens, it has already been intimated that
they are almost universally distributed, though of course in this
respect subject to the same laws as the higher orders of vegetation.
In our own country we have now a list of about eight hundred species,
constituting by far the greater proportion of the Lichen Flora of
Europe. In most parts of Great Britain and Ireland, a very fair number
of these may readily be gathered, capable, as they are, of existing
in almost every situation where they can derive requisite nourishment
from the atmosphere. On the rocks and boulders of the seashore and
the mountain-side, on the trunks and branches of trees in woods and
forests, on peaty soil of bare moorlands, and on stone fences in
upland tracts, nay, even on old pales and walls in suburban districts,
a goodly harvest may generally be reaped. Few localities indeed there
are, within the area of these islands (London and its environs,
where the atmosphere is so impregnated with smoke, being the chief
exception), in which the lichenist will find his occupation gone. True,
it is only in some more favoured tracts, chiefly maritime and montane,
that he can expect to meet with many of our rarer species; but even in
most lowland districts, especially such as are well wooded, he may,
with profit, pursue his researches, and collect various of the more
common species. These will just be as useful in making him acquainted
with the structure and physiology of lichens as though he had gathered
the rarest that grow on Ben Lawers or by Killarney's lake. The
apparatus requisite for collecting is neither complicated nor expensive.

A tin japanned vasculum, or what is perhaps better still, a black
leather haversack, of larger or smaller dimensions as the case may be,
suspended over the shoulder by a strap, is of course indispensable
for holding the specimens gathered. The latter of these we have found
to be more generally convenient, as we can take it with us also for a
short ramble, without its attracting so much attention from curious
rustics, as the less-known and more singular-looking vasculum. Two
sets of instruments are also necessary for removing the plant from
the substratum on which it grows, as well as for breaking off in
many cases a thin portion of the latter along therewith. These are a
geologist's hammer and chisel for such as grow on rocks, boulders, and
stones; a gardener's pruning-knife for such as grow on trees, pales,
and the ground; as also an ordinary table-knife for detaching, by
insertion under them, such foliaceous species as can thus be separated
from the substratum. To these must be added several sheets of soft
and moderately thick paper, cut into different sizes (some newspapers
suit remarkably well), in which to wrap up the individual specimens
and prevent them rubbing against each other; a few card-boxes also, of
various sizes, in which for greater safety to place any of the more
brittle species, or fragments of the rarer ones, by themselves; and
a pocket-lens of good magnifying power, by which we may be able to
detect on the spot those minuter species which the naked eye can with
difficulty distinguish. With these the lichenist is fully equipped for
an excursion, whether "near at hand or far away," and, with waterproof
and umbrella, is ready to take the field even in threatening weather. A
good deal of discrimination must be used in the selection of specimens
for removal, which, in all cases where such can be obtained, ought
to be fertile, with both apothecia and spermagones fully developed.
Hence, such as are too old or too young, may be passed by, as neither
the spores nor spermatia, by which alone, in many instances, they can
be determined, will be found in a normal condition, any more than the
thallus itself. The specimens gathered ought in every case to be of
sufficient size to show distinctly the character of the thallus and of
the fructification. Where, however, the thallus, as it frequently does,
spreads very extensively over the substratum, it will be sufficient to
break off such a portion from the circumference towards the centre, as
will give an adequate idea of the more important characteristics of
the plant. This is a point of considerable consequence; for should a
portion be taken off from the circumference alone, or from the centre
alone, it will often be entirely unsuitable for showing the real nature
of the plant, and be quite useless for purposes of description. A
little experience, however, will serve to prevent the commission of a
mistake, into which, judging from the number of imperfect specimens
which are sent me to be named, beginners are very apt to fall. Practice
will also in time enable the tyro to use the hammer and chisel in
such a way as to obtain neat specimens of saxicole species--a matter
of importance with respect to their subsequent mounting. As to the
best season for collecting, I need scarcely remind the reader that
lichens are perennial plants, remarkable for their longevity, and that
during the whole year round they may be found in fruit. The lichenist
has not to wait for any particular month or months, as other botanists
have to do, before he can collect the objects of his search in a
fully-developed condition. Spring, summer, autumn, and even winter,
except when the snow conceals all vegetation beneath its white mantle,
are all alike to him, and in each he will find every species of lichen
in perfection. At the same time, he will be most successful after a
shower of rain or a slight frost has fallen, inasmuch as, becoming
swollen with the moisture then imbibed, many of the minuter species
which might otherwise be overlooked, are more readily perceived, and
the foliaceous species more easily removed from the substratum to which
they are more or less closely affixed.

Nothing more need be said on the collecting of lichens, as a short
experience will be more useful than further details. We proceed,
therefore, to give a few hints on their subsequent preservation.
This is a very easy process, presenting no difficulty whatever, and
occupying but little time. We shall suppose that the collector has
returned from a successful expedition, with his vasculum or haversack
well filled with specimens from all sorts of habitats. Opening the
papers in which they have been wrapped up, he will take them out one by
one, and place them separately upon a table, over which a newspaper has
previously been spread. If gathered in wet weather, they ought not to
be left long in the papers, as in this case they are very apt to become
covered with mould. After allowing them to remain in this position till
they are thoroughly dry, he may at once proceed with hammer and chisel,
or with knife and scissors, to reduce to a suitable size such of them
as he could not conveniently thus manipulate in the field. When this is
done, they may then be affixed with gum, of a rather thick consistency,
to slips of white paper, with the locality and date of their collection
written beneath. There will be no difficulty felt in thus affixing
saxicole, corticole, and lignicole species, though where the nature of
the stone or wood is more absorbent, several applications of the gum
may be necessary before they properly adhere. With terricole species,
however, a somewhat more lengthened process is necessary, owing to
the brittle nature of the substratum, in consequence of which, if not
properly preserved, they often crumble into dust in the herbarium. To
prevent this, M. Norman, of Trömsoe, Norway, has recently prescribed a
solution of isinglass in spirits of wine, which, when liquefied in a
vessel plunged in water of the temperature of 25°-30°C., is greedily
imbibed by the earth, and becomes inspissated into a solid gelatine
at a temperature below 15°. This solution may be applied until the
earth becomes thoroughly saturated, and after it is perfectly dry, the
specimens will possess sufficient hardness and tenacity, and may then
be mounted like the others. So far, however, as my own experience goes,
I have found a weak solution of gum-arabic, frequently repeated, and
applied to the under surface and edges of the specimens, to be quite
as efficacious; and if after becoming thoroughly dry, they be first
affixed by a thicker solution to slips of thin tissue-paper, they
will be equally ready for being mounted as above. Either of these two
methods may also with advantage be applied to such species as grow
upon decayed mosses. Slight pressure may be applied to the thallus of
fruticulose, filamentose, and foliaceous species, in order that they
may lie better in the herbarium; but this should be done only to a
very limited degree, so as not to obliterate the normal appearance of
the branches or lobes. As the character of the under surface of the
thallus is frequently of great importance, at least in foliaceous
and fruticulose plants, a portion of this, not necessarily detached,
should be turned over, for facility of inspection, and pressed down on
the paper, before the specimens have become quite dry and rigid. In
order to destroy any insects that may be upon the plants when gathered,
or by which they may afterwards be infested, lichenists at one time
were in the habit of poisoning them with corrosive sublimate. Frequent
exposure, however, to the air in dry weather, and the presence of a
little camphor, will be quite sufficient to prevent any mischief from
this source.

[Illustration: Fig. 43. Section of _Physcia parietina_.

_a._ Paraphyses. _b._ Asci with spores. _c._ Hypothecium. _d._ Section
of apothecium. _e._ Spore.]

But having thus arranged, though the arrangement is but temporary,
the specimens gathered, on slips of white paper, the next and most
important point is their due examination and determination. This, in
the present advanced state of Lichenology, is unquestionably, in many
cases, a task of considerable difficulty, and in the short space at
our disposal it would be quite impossible to give anything like an
adequate explanation of the mode in which this is to be effected.
Suffice it at present to say that sections must be made of the
thallus to ascertain the character of its different layers, as also
sections of the apothecia and spermagones to ascertain the nature of
the spores and spermatia. For both purposes a good microscope, with
1/4-inch object-glass, is absolutely indispensable to the student.
The examination of the spores, upon which, in so many cases, the
determination of the species chiefly depends, should present little
or no difficulty, at least to the fungologist. It may be readily
effected by moistening the apothecium with water, and then, with a
dissecting-knife, making a thin vertical section through its centre.
Putting this on a glass slide, or in a compressorium, in a drop of
hydrate of potash, and then placing it under the microscope, a view
will be obtained of the asci, spores, paraphyses, hypothecium, &c.,
each of which may afterwards be insulated and examined more minutely
in detail. Take, for example, the well-known beautiful yellow lichen
(_Physcia parietina_), so common everywhere on walls, rocks, and trees,
and treat a very thin section of the mature apothecium as before
mentioned. Under the microscope it will appear as represented in Fig.
43.

In the same way the spermagones may be examined, when the nature of
the sterigmata and spermatia will be apparent. By cutting across the
thallus of the above species, we can perceive even by the naked eye
that it consists of three different layers, which when microscopically
examined present the appearance shown in the above figure.

[Illustration: Fig. 44. Section of _Physcia parietina_.

_a._ Cortical stratum. _b._ Gonidic stratum. _c._ Medullary stratum.]

But in addition to this microscopical examination, it is also requisite
to observe the different chemical reactions produced on the asci or the
hymeneal gelatine with iodine (I), which will tinge these either bluish
or reddish wine-coloured, or else leave them uncoloured. Similarly the
thallus, including both the cortical layer and the medulla, may be
tested with hydrate of potash (K), and hypochlorite of lime (C), the
latter being applied either by itself or added to K when wet. In some
cases no reaction will be produced by these either upon the cortical
stratum or the medulla; in others they will be tinged yellowish or
reddish. The formulæ for the preparation of these reagents are: for
iodine, iodine, gr. j; iodide of potash, gr. iij, distilled water, 1/2
oz.; for hydrate of potash, equal weights of caustic potash and water;
for hydrochlorite of lime, chloride of lime and water of any strength.
After correctly ascertaining the specific name of the specimens
collected, this is to be written on the slips of paper to which they
are affixed, above the locality and date, and the best of them,
including all varieties and forms, selected for subsequent mounting
in the herbarium. This may be effected either in the same way as the
mounting of phanerogamic plants, or by affixing the specimens to pieces
of millboard covered with white paper, and arranging them according to
the order of the genera and species in the system of classification
which may be adopted. For facility of reference the latter is
undoubtedly the preferable method; and if the cards are disposed in a
cabinet with shallow drawers, they will not, so far at least as our
British species are concerned, be found to occupy too much space.



XIV.

SEAWEEDS.

By W. H. Grattann.


In some articles published in 'Science-Gossip' a few years ago, I
gave some directions for collecting and preserving Marine Algæ, or
seaweeds, and although, I think, it will be difficult to simplify those
directions, or even to add much that would be really serviceable to
young beginners in this delightful pursuit, it is my intention, in
going over the ground once more, to be as explicit as I possibly can;
and here, on the threshold of the subject, I have a few words to say
to one or two occasional contributors to that journal, who, in calling
attention to the beauty of marine vegetation, and urging young persons
to collect and preserve Algæ, have advised them to ignore books on
the subject, and go to the shore, use their own eyes, and collect for
themselves, &c. I am sorry very greatly to differ from such advice.
Collecting in this way may be amusing enough to those who care not for
science, but when it leads to parcels of seaweeds, picked up at random,
being sent to botanists with a request that the names of such plants
should be sent to the writer, it is the reverse of pleasure to the
scientific botanist, for it gives him infinite trouble, and enables
him to convey but very imperfect information to his applicant. The
editor of that journal has often been thus appealed to, and packages
of decayed rubbish have frequently been sent to me for examination,
containing species or rather fragments of plants, which, for the most
part, were utterly worthless and defied identification.

Almost all collectors commence by mounting plants which a little
experience proves to be really what the old poet termed "_alga projecta
vilior_"; but as seaweed-gathering, like everything else, requires
practice, beginners must not be disappointed because they do not find
rarities or fine specimens whenever and wherever they may seek for them.

When I think of the difficulties I experienced at the outset of my
study of marine botany, especially in the collecting and drying of
seaweeds, I feel strongly inclined to urge all beginners to obtain
some information concerning Marine Algæ before they go to the shore to
collect for themselves. A very few hours of study with an experienced
algologist, or even a perusal of some illustrated work on British algæ,
will save much trouble and materially assist the unpractised eye in
selecting specimens for the herbarium. I may here mention as highly
useful to incipient algologists Dr. Landsborough's 'British Seaweeds'
and Professor Harvey's 'Manual,' either of which may be obtained for a
few shillings; but if my readers are resident in London, I advise them
to pay a few visits to the Library of the British Museum, and there
inspect Dr. Harvey's 'Phycologia Britannica.' In this magnificent work
they will find coloured figures of nearly every British seaweed, with
drawings from magnified portions, and various structural details of the
highest value to students; and I once more impress on all collectors
the importance of some degree of book-learning ere they sally forth,
bag or vasculum in hand, to cull the lovely "flowers of the ocean," or
gather what best may please them from the rejectamenta on the shore.

If the collector wishes to learn, not merely the _names_ of plants,
but to distinguish _species_, he will do well to provide himself with
a copy of Harvey's little volume the 'Synopsis of British Seaweeds,'
and a Stanhope or Coddington lens, by means of which he can examine
portions of delicate plants as he finds them, and compare them with
the descriptions given in the 'Synopsis'; in this way, if he have any
success during his excursions, he will quickly become familiar with
most of the plants which are cast ashore or grow within tide-marks.

Time will not admit of, neither is space at present available for, a
single line beyond what may be practically serviceable to my youthful
readers; therefore I will hasten to describe the course of action in
seaweed-collecting as I have practised it for many years. At once,
then, to the shore, but not to the sandy shore, for only useless
decayed rubbish, or here and there some straggling plants of _Zostera
marina_, or grass-wrack, will be met with there. The collector must
away to the rocks, and search carefully every pool he meets with, from
a little distance below high-water mark, and so on down to the water's
edge, always remembering that it is better to collect while the tide is
receding than as it is coming in.

Presuming that few persons will think of collecting seaweeds much
earlier than the month of May, let me observe that most of the
accessible species of olive and green plants which grow on rocky shores
and in tide-pools, will be found from May to June in pretty fair
condition, but very few red plants, except those which grow on the
shady sides of rock-pools, or under the shelter of the larger olive
weeds, will be met with until a considerable space is laid bare by the
receding water at the low spring tides, about a day or two before and
after the full moon.

As nearly all the _rare_ red weeds grow in deep water, they are seldom
taken in any degree of perfection unless they are dredged; but in the
summer months, say from June to the end of August, many fine plants are
occasionally thrown up from deep water, and others are found growing
on the stems of the great oar-weeds, portions of which are cast ashore,
beautifully fringed with one or more species of Delesseria and other
rare Rhodosperms--in fact, during the rising tide, diligent collectors
may secure many a lovely deep-water plant as it comes floating in, but
which, if allowed to remain long exposed to the action of sunlight,
will fade in colour and decompose before it can be mounted. This is
especially the case with all the soft gelatinous red plants, such as
the Callithamnia, and all the Gloiocladiæ, as well as a few of the
softer olive weeds; and here I may observe that there is one genus of
beautiful olive plants, the _Sporochnaceæ_, which must on no account be
put into the vasculum with any of the delicate red plants, for they not
only very rapidly decompose, but injure almost all others with which
they are placed in contact. The species are not numerous, and they may
be easily recognized, after having been previously studied from the
coloured figures either in Harvey's 'Phycologia,' or in Bradbury and
Evans's 'Nature-printed Seaweeds.' It is also a curious fact respecting
this genus, that while they are all of a beautiful olive tint in the
growing state, they invariably change to a fine verdigris-green in
drying; and indeed this is very generally the case with the filamentous
olive weeds, the Fuci, or common rock-weeds, as constantly turning
quite black after mounting: whence the term, that of "Melanosperm,"
which is given to the subdivision to which all the olive weeds belong.

As there are so few seaweeds which have generally known common names,
I shall make no apology for using the names by which they are known
to science, presuming that all intending collectors will, as I have
already suggested, gain _some_ knowledge of Terminology ere they go out
"seaweeding."

Beginners should be cautioned against the very natural error of
bringing home too many plants at a time; they must be moderate in
their gatherings, or be content to risk the loss of some choice
specimens, which will decompose unless they are attended to before
night. The first thing to be done upon arriving at home, is to empty
the collecting-bag into a white basin of sea-water, and to select
the best and cleanest plants as soon as possible, giving each a good
swill before placing it in another vessel of clean water, and getting
rid of rejected plants at once, so that the basin first used will be
available for rewashing the weeds before they are severally placed in
the mounting dish. When a day is fixed on for seaweeding, the collector
should order a large bucket of clean sea-water, which, after being left
to settle, should be strained through a towel, so as to be as free as
possible from sand and dirt. Two or three large pie-dishes will be
necessary, the deeper the better, and white, if such can be obtained.
Place these on a separate table with towels under them, and reserve
a table specially for the mounting dish and the parcels of papers,
calicoes, and blotting-papers. The large white bath used in photography
is very well adapted for mounting seaweeds; the lip at one corner is
convenient for pouring off soiled water, and its form--that of an
oblong--is most suitable for receiving the papers on which the plants
are to be mounted. Beside this vessel should be placed the following
implements--a porcupine quill, two camel-hair pencils (one small, the
other large and flat), a pair of strong brass forceps, a penknife, a
pair of scissors, a small sponge, an ivory paper-knife, and two thin
plates of perforated zinc somewhat less in length and breadth than the
inside of the mounting dish.

Smooth drawing paper, or fine white cartridge paper, is generally
employed for mounting. The operator should be provided with three
different sizes of paper, and these should have each a piece of very
fine calico and four pieces of blotting-paper to correspond. The
process of mounting one of the filamentous or branching species is as
follows:--The specimen being cleaned and placed in the mounting dish, a
piece of paper of suitable size is laid on one of the perforated zinc
plates, and both are then slipped quickly under the floating weed.
The root or base of the specimen is then pressed down on the paper
with a finger of the left hand, while the right hand is employing
the forceps or porcupine quill in arranging the plant in as natural
a position as possible, ere the zinc plate is gently and gradually
raised at the top or bottom, as may be necessary, to ensure a perfect
display of every portion of the plant; but if, upon drawing it out of
the water, it should present an unsightly appearance from too thick an
overlapping of the branches, the whole must be reimmersed, and a little
pruning of superfluous portions may be employed with advantage to the
specimen and satisfaction to the operator. Care should be taken that
the water be drained off the paper as completely as possible before
the calico is laid over the plant, and this is accomplished by raising
the paper containing the plant as it still lies on the zinc plate, and
transferring it to a thin board placed in an inclined position against
one of the basins, and with the large camel-hair pencil _paint_ off
the water as it runs away from the specimen, and absorb what remains,
when the paper is laid flat, with the sponge. Delicate species may be
left to drain for a few minutes, while the operator is arranging other
specimens. When the water is sufficiently drained off, the paper is
then laid on the blotter, and the piece of calico is placed upon the
plant--a sheet of blotter being laid upon the calico.

Care should be observed in subjecting plants to pressure, which, in the
first instance, should be sufficient only to help the absorption of
water. The first set of blotting-papers should be changed in half an
hour after the whole batch of specimens have been placed in the press,
and these must be thoroughly dried before they are used again. After
the second or third change of blotters, the plants should remain under
strong pressure for two or three days; but the pieces of calico must
not be removed until it is pretty certain that the papers and plants
are quite dry.

With the exception of the Fuci or common rock-weeds, I never place
seaweeds in _fresh_ water: with these, especially _Fucus serratus_,
_F. nodosus_, _F. vesiculosus_, and _F. canaliculatus_, a few hours'
immersion in fresh water is an advantage, as it soaks the salt out of
their fronds and renders them more pliable. As all the Fuci turn black
in drying, and few of them adhere well to paper, I arrange my specimens
in single layers between the folds of a clean dry towel, and keep them
under pressure until they are quite dry; they may then be put away
loosely, or gummed on sheets of paper.

The foregoing directions for mounting filamentous seaweeds are
applicable to all the branching species of Olive, Red, and Green
plants; but in each of the three subdivisions there are a few species
which are so gelatinous--in fact, so soft and spongy, that they
require the utmost care during pressure, otherwise they adhere to the
calico and break off in fragments as it is drawn away. Such plants
must be left to dry in a horizontal position for an hour or so before
the calico and blotters are placed over them, and pressure must be
very slight until they have adhered closely to the paper. Among the
Chlorosperms, or green plants, there are the various species of Codium,
young plants of which only are manageable or indeed desirable. In
the Melanosperms, some species of the genus _Mesogloia_ will require
care and patience in mounting, as well as the long string-like
plant, known as _Chorda filum_; and again, the spreading tuberous
mass called _Leathsia tuberiformis_, portions of which should be cut
from the rock, the sand scraped and washed out, then laid on the wet
paper, and allowed to shrink for some hours ere calico blotters and
pressure be applied. These difficulties are much more numerous among
the Rhodosperms, or red seaweeds, experience only teaching the best
method of treatment. I will, however, mention the names of some very
troublesome plants, the fronds of which, if subjected to pressure too
soon, burst and discharge their carmine contents; not only presenting
an unsightly appearance, but destroying the specimen. These are
_Griffithsia corallina_, _Dudresnaia coccinea_, _Naccaria Wigghii_, all
the _Chylocladia_, and the rare _Gloiosiphonia_, as well as the slimy
worm-like plant known as _Nemalion multifidum_.

In addition to these troubles among the red plants, there is an
opposite difficulty connected with several Rhodosperms which must be
pointed out; and that is owing to an absence or scarcity of gelatine
in their substance, which is in some of a stout, leathery, or horny
nature, and in others is due to a coating of carbonate of lime, which
completely envelops the vegetable structure. Among the former may be
mentioned the several species of Phyllophora, and several among the
genera Gigartina, Chondrus, and Sphærococcus; and in the latter, all
the calcareous Algæ, especially the well-known _Corallina officinalis_
and _Jania rubens_. All these, and several others of a membraneous
nature, among the olive as well as the red weeds, must be first mounted
in the ordinary manner, and when they are tolerably dry and begin to
shrink away from the paper, fill the mounting-dish with stale skimmed
milk; refloat the plants on their papers in the milk, and indeed go
through the same process as before with the sea-water, but be careful
to absorb all the milk from off the surface of the plants and the back
of the papers, and then, after the usual time for drying and pressing,
the most obstinate seaweed will be found adhering perfectly to the
paper, and will remain so permanently.

One more difficulty must be referred to for the benefit of young
beginners, who, in mounting some of the Laminaria and that peculiar
olive weed called _Himanthalia lorea_, may wish to preserve the
thick-branching roots and stems. First wash the roots as clean as
possible, and then, with a sharp penknife, make a clean cutting
horizontally of the whole root and some little distance up the thick
round stem; then, after having removed the cut portions, place the
inner surface of the root and stem on the paper, and the gelatinous
matter which oozes from the plant will cause the roots to adhere firmly
to the paper, and in drying, the usual olive tint of the various
species of Laminaria will be finely preserved. Some botanists employ
a mixture made of isinglass, dissolved in alcohol, to fix some of the
horny or robust species on paper; but if gum be made use of, it is
better to employ gum tragacanth than gum-arabic, because, in drying,
the former has none of that objectionable glare which is peculiar to
gum arabic.

As regards the best method of pressing seaweeds, I think I can hardly
do better than refer my readers to the figure of a Seaweed Press
(Fig. 45), which I invented for myself many years ago, in which I
have pressed many thousands of beautiful seaweeds. Almost any degree
of pressure can be obtained in it: first, by the thumb-screws on the
iron rods at each corner, and, finally, by means of the clamp which
is strapped on the top of the press. Any intelligent cabinet-maker or
ironmonger could provide such a press from an inspection of the figure;
the cost, of course, varying with the dimensions and the number of
boards.

[Illustration: Fig. 45. Seaweed Press.]

With respect to localities favourable to seaweed-gathering, I may
specially mention the south coast of Devon; from Exmouth, where
_Bryopsis_ and _Padina pavonia_ grow in perfection, to Torquay and the
coves of Torbay, and down the coast to Plymouth, Cawsand Bay, and
finally Whitsand Bay, the "happy hunting-grounds" of the enthusiastic
algologist. On the north-east coast, Filey and Whitby must be
mentioned, as well as the shores upwards from Tynemouth to Whitley.
Peterhead is also a good locality, the rare _Ectocarpus Mertensii_,
_Odonthalia dentata_, and _Callithamnion floccosum_ being found there
in abundance. Other favourable stations in Scotland, well known to
me, are Lamlash Bay and Whiting Bay; nor must the Isle of Wight be
forgotten, for in the rock-pools, at Shanklin especially, the most
magnificent form of _Padina pavonia_ may be found growing during the
summer months in the utmost profusion.

In conclusion, I beg leave to inform my readers that I have recently
published a volume on British Marine Algæ, in which every species that
is likely to be met with by ordinary collectors is described, and every
British seaweed that is capable of illustration in a work intended for
popular information, is figured from plants in my own possession, and,
in addition, diagrams and figures from drawings of magnified portions,
illustrative of structure and fructification, appear throughout the
pages of my work.



INDEX.


A

                                    PAGE

  Adventures of fungus hunters, 178
  Advice to fungus collectors, 179
  Affixing lichens, 189
  Agaric placed to catch spores, 172
  Agaricus cucumis, 176
  ---- melleus, 175
  ---- mucidus, 177
  Agrostis stolonifera, 140
  American moth-trap, 57
  Ammonia for insects, 59
  Anatomy of molluscs, 22
  ---- of vertebrates, 18
  Anchomenus sexpunctatus, 71
  Ants' nests for beetles, 91
  Apothecia, 191
  Apparatus for taking insects, 57
  Arm of man, 21
  Arrangement of eggs, 39
  ---- of fossils, 11, 13
  ---- of plants, 135
  ---- of shells, 116
  Arranging grasses, 142
  ---- lichens, 191
  Artificial beetle-traps, 87
  Assiminea Grayana, 108
  Attracting insects, 57


B

  Beating for beetles, 89
  ---- for larvæ, 47
  Beech, 121
  Beetles, 67
  ---- by post, 86
  ----, where to find them, 86-94
  Bentall's drying-paper, 141
  Best season for lichens, 188
  ---- trees for insects, 51
  Birds' eggs, 27
  ---- nests, 42
  Bivalves, 104
  Bleaching bones, 23
  Blooms for attracting insects, 53
  Blowing eggs, 30
  Blowpipe for eggs, 31
  Bog mosses, 145
  Bombyces, 45
  Bones, 16
  ---- of dog, 17
  Bone-preservers' shops, 17
  Books on seaweeds, 196-7, 208
  Boring holes in eggs, 33
  Bottle for beetles, 76
  Boulders, 5
  Box for carrying insects, 55
  Braces for insects, 61
  Breeding beetles, 68-9
  Bulb-tube, 31
  Bulimus acutus, 107
  Butterflies and moths, 44
  ---- at rest, 50
  Butterworts, 123
  Buying eggs, 28


  C

  Cabinet for fungi, 173
  Cabinets for insects, 66
  ---- for plants, 136
  Cage for virgin lepidoptera, 52
  Callithamnion floccosum, 208
  Campanula glomerata, 129
  ---- rotundifolia, 130
  ---- uniflora, 130
  Cardboard for mounting beetles, 79
  Cataloguing of eggs, 36
  Caution in carrying boxes, 97
  Ceratodon purpureus, 152
  Chemical testing of lichens, 194
  Chip boxes, 48
  Chloroform bottle, 58
  Chorda filum, 204
  Chrysalis collecting, 48-9
  ---- preserving, 49
  Classification of mosses, 154
  Cleaning the inside of eggs, 33
  ---- shells, 113
  Coal-shale, 3
  Collecting and preserving insects, 44
  ---- birds' eggs abroad, 30
  ---- fungi, 160
  ---- mosses, 146
  Collecting plants and ferns, 117
  ---- seaweeds, 195
  'Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates', 18
  Construction of egg cabinet, 38, 40
  Conovulus, 107
  Converts to geology, 4
  Coprinus atramentarius, 160
  ---- domesticus, 161
  Coprophaga, where to find, 90
  Corallina officinalis, 205
  Cork saddle for insects, 61
  Corrosive sublimate, 133
  Cortical stratum of lichens, 193
  Cotyledons, 120
  Cure for mould on insects, 64


D

  Decomposition of fungi, 164
  Description of eggs, 37
  Difficulties in seaweed mounting, 206
  Dioecious plants, 127
  Directions in mounting beetles, 82-3
  Discoloured beetles, 84
  Discriminating fungi, 175
  Dissection of beetles, 85
  Distribution of lichens, 182
  ---- of mosses, 156
  Dried yolk, 35
  Drying fungi, 166
  Drying-paper for grasses, 141
  Duck's-head hammer, 7
  Dudresnaia coccinea, 204


E

  Economy of lichens, 184
  Ectocarpus Mertensii, 208
  Egg collector's note-book, 35
  ---- drills, 30
  Eggs of moths, &c., 45
  Embryo of plants, 119
  English names of plants, 134
  Entomological pins, 83
  Equipment of coleopterist, 71
  ---- for fungus hunting, 161
  ---- for gathering plants, 128
  ---- of geologist, 9
  ---- of hymenopterist, 95
  ---- for procuring land and freshwater shells, 102
  ---- for seaweed collecting, 200
  Examination of lichen spores, 192
  ---- of mosses, 149


  F

  Fading of eggs, 35
  Favourable spots for shells, 108
  Fertilization of plants, 126
  Flowers frequented by hymenoptera, 96
  ---- of plants, 126
  Flowering plants and ferns, 117
  Fluid for mounting slugs, 115
  Fore leg of horse, 21
  Fossil hunting, 5
  ---- plants, 4
  Fossils in boulders, 6
  French chalk for insects, 65
  Fries' 'Fungi', 180
  Fruits of plants, 128
  Fuci, 203
  Fungi, collecting of, 178
  Furze, 123


G

  Gardiner's 'British Mosses', 153
  Gathering lichens, 187
  Gentiana collina, 130
  Geological cabinets, 11
  ---- enjoyment, 14
  ---- equipment, 9
  ---- examination of strata, 10
  ---- hammers, 7
  ---- maps, 10
  ---- specimens, 1
  Geology in fields, 5
  Glass-topped boxes, 13
  Gloiosiphonia, 204
  Gonidic stratum of lichens, 193
  Grasses, when to select, 128
  ----, collecting of, 139
  ----, preserving of, 140
  Griffithsia corallina, 204
  Grossulariaceæ, 134
  Gum for mounting beetles, 79
  Gumming down plants, 133


H

  Habitats of grasses, 144
  Habits of mole, 19
  ---- of snails, 109
  Half-hatched eggs, 33
  Harvey's 'Phycologia', 197
  Helix caperata, 107
  ---- virgata, 107
  Hepaticæ, 145
  Herbaria, 132
  Herbarium sheets, 136
  Himanthalia lorea, 206
  Holcus mollis, 140
  How to get fungus spores, 171
  How to prepare skeletons, 23
  Hybernation of butterflies, 50
  Hydrobia ventrosa, 108
  ---- similis, 108
  Hymenoptera, 95
  Hypothecium of lichens, 192


I

  Identification of eggs, 29
  Insect forceps, 83


J

  Jania rubens, 205
  Jungermanniaceæ, 154


K

  Kew herbarium, 132
  Killing hymenoptera, 97
  ---- insects, 58-9
  ---- snails, 111


L

  Labelling eggs, 36
  ---- fossils, 11
  ---- specimens, 134
  Labels, 135
  Lactarius turpis, 176
  Laminaria, 206
  Land and freshwater shells, 102
  Landsborough's 'British Seaweeds', 196
  Lantern for catching insects, 53
  Larvæ on fungi, 166
  Leathsia tuberiformis, 204
  Leaves of plants, 125
  Lens for examining beetles, 85
  Lepidodendron, 4
  Lepidoptera, 44
  Lichen flora of Europe, 185
  Lichens, collecting of, 181
  Lime (_Tilia Europoea_), 120
  Liver mosses, 145
  Localities for fungi, 164
  ---- seaweed gathering, 207
  ---- obtaining shells, 106-110
  London Catalogue, 129
  Luck in capturing beetles, 70
  Lycopods, 145


M

  Maceration of specimens, 24
  McIvor's 'Hepaticæ Britannicæ', 153
  Mantell's, Dr., Works, 3
  Marasmius caulicinalis, 176
  ---- foetidus, 176
  ---- impudicus, 176
  Materials for beetle preserving, 80
  Medals of creation, 3
  Medullary stratum of lichens, 193
  Melanogaster ambiguous, 165
  Melanosperms, 204
  Membraneous seaweeds, 205
  Method of setting out insects, 61
  Microscopical examination of lichens, 193
  Microscopical examination of mosses, 150
  Missing links, 12
  Mode of securing hymenoptera, 96
  Modelling slugs, &c., 114
  Monoecious plants, 127
  Mosses, 145
  Mosses in bogs, 157
  ---- in fields, 156
  ---- on heaths, 156
  ---- on rocks, 157
  ---- on shady banks, 157
  ---- by streams, 157
  ---- by trees, 157
  ---- on walls, 156
  ---- on waste ground, 156
  ---- in woods, 157
  Moths at rest, 50
  Mounting beetles, 78
  ---- mosses, 152
  ---- plants, 131
  ---- seaweeds, 201
  Mussel shells, 104
  Mussels, how to prepare, 111


N

  Naccaria Wigghii, 204
  Neglect of lichens, 182
  Net for beetle catching, 72-73
  ---- for sugaring, 55
  ---- for water beetles, 74


O

  Obtaining caterpillars, 46
  Odonthalia dentate, 208
  Odour of fungi, 176
  Oil-beetles, 81
  Olive-coloured seaweeds, 199
  Osbert Salvin, 39
  Osteology, 16, 22
  ---- of the mammalia, 18


P

  Packing eggs, 38
  ---- fungi, 163
  ---- lichens, 174
  Paddle of whale, 21
  Padina pavonia, 208
  Page's Introductory 'Text-book', 3
  Paraphyses of lichens, 192
  Paper for grasses, 140
  Petrology, 6
  Peristomes of mosses, 155
  Phallus impudicus, 165
  Phillips's 'Guide to Geology', 3
  Physcia parietina, 192
  Pinning insects, 60
  Pins for setting hymenoptera, 98
  Pisidium, how to prepare, 112
  Plants for herbarium, 125
  Platypus hammer, 7
  Poa compressa, 140
  ---- pratensis, 140
  Poisoning fungi, 174
  Pollen of plants, 127
  Polyporus, 172
  ---- igniarius, 166
  Precaution against grease, 65
  Preparation of mosses, 148
  Preparing shells for cabinet, 110
  Preservation of fungus spores, 171
  ---- of lichens, 188-90
  ---- of mosses, 151
  Preserving animals, 23
  ---- cocoons, 49
  ---- eggs for cabinet, 28
  ---- fresh fungi, 165
  ---- fungi in fluid, 170
  ---- insects' eggs, 45
  ---- insects from decay, 64
  ---- slugs, 110
  Pressing seaweeds, 206
  Pseudo-bombyces, 45
  Public herbaria, 132


Q

  Quarantine for insects, 64


R

  Rare fungi, 178
  Rearing beetles from larvæ, 68
  Re-carding beetles, 84
  Red seaweeds, 198
  Removing bodies from shells, 112
  ---- grease from insects, 65
  Repairing eggs, 34
  Rhinoceros bones, 22
  Rhizomes, 123
  Rhodosperms, 204


S

  Sand pits for beetles, 86
  Searching for larvæ, 46
  Season for collecting shells, 109
  Seaweed gathering, 207
  ---- press, 207
  Seaweeds, collecting of, 195
  Section cut through agaricus, 170
  Seeds of plants, 128
  Setting bristle, 61
  ---- moths for cabinets, 62, 63
  Setting out hymenoptera, 99
  Skeleton of mole, 20
  Skeletons of birds, 20
  Skull of a crocodile, 19
  Sliding stages for egg cabinets, 40
  Snail shells, 104
  Solution for killing slugs, 114
  Specimens showing gills, &c., of fungi, 169
  Spermagones, 191
  Sphinges, 45
  Sterigmata of lichens, 193
  Study of the larger fungi, 177
  Stupefying insects, 97-8
  Subterranean pupæ, 49
  Sugaring, 54
  ---- drum, 56
  Sweeping for beetles, 89
  Sycamore, 122


T

  Table for hymenoptera, 99
  Thallus of lichens, 193
  Thatch beating, 52
  Tools for fungus collecting, 162
  ---- for lichen collecting, 186
  Tortula muralis, 147, 150
  Trimming hammer, 7
  Triticum repens, 140


U

  Umbelliferæ, 134
  Umbrella net, 47
  Use of camphor, 66
  ---- of osteological specimens, 25


V

  Varieties of species, 129
  Varnishing eggs, 35
  Vasculum for lichens, 185


W

  Washing eggs, 34
  Where to find caterpillars, 46
  Where to find chrysalis, 49
  ---- ---- fungi, 160
  ---- ---- lichens, 184
  ---- ---- mosses, 147
  ---- ---- seaweeds, 199
  ---- to "sugar", 54
  Woody specimens of fungus, 172


London: Printed by W. H. Allen & Co., 13, Waterloo Place, S.W.



Transcriber's Note


Illustrations were moved to paragraph breaks. The chapter number (XIV.)
for Seaweeds was added to the title page of that chapter.

On page 155, Georginceæ was changed to Georgiaceæ.

Cover image modified from image obtained from The Internet Archive and
placed in the Public Domain.





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