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development of the antler of that side; and a very curious circumstance is related (Lin. Trans. II, 356,) of a female Cervus Elaphus, " which had one horn perfectly similar to that of a Stag three years old. It never had a horn on the other side of iu head, for there the corresponding place was covered over by the skin, and quite smooth. It did not seem to have ever produced a fawn, and upon dissection, the marium on the same side with the horn, was found to be scbirrous." The true facts relative to the development of antlers in castrated Deer, as observed in a number annually gelded in the lioyal demesne of Richmond Park, do not appear to be generally known : the antlers which the animal bad borne at the time of the operation are shed in due season, though later than in the perfect animals, and they are regularly succeeded by others which never fall, nor cease growing from time to time, slowly and weakly, and shooting forth most irregularly with regard to shape, the velvet, or hairy skip investing them, being, under these circumstances, of course permanent; though (at least in some groups) it appears that where this animal is emasculated while young, the antlers do not appear at all, as instanced by a " heaver" or ox Sambur (C. Hipptlaphus,) whose skeleton is in the Museum of this Society. The currently received doctrine on this subject is still that of Button (Hist. Nat. VI, 81), who asserts " Si Ton fait cette operation dans le temps qui'l a mis bas sa tete, il ne s'en forme pas use nouvelle; et si on ne la fait au contraire que dans lc temps qu'il a refait sa tete, elle ne tombe plus, 1*animal en un mot reste pour tout la vie dans 1' etat on il etoit lonqu'il a subi la castration," which appears to be taken for granted by all subsequent writers.* I may take this opportunity, too, to remark that in the park surrounding Government House, at Madras, there is a very large herd of Indian Antelopes, beinp the posterity of a single tame pair. The gentleness and familiarity of these beautiful creatures surprised me considerably, knowing how dangerous a solitary tame one is apt to be, particularly when its range is limited; but I learned that not a single accident had ever happened in the present instance, though the bucks are commonly heard groaning and fighting at nights. As I drove past them, they were lying and grazing on each side as quietly as Sheep, and now and then two or three would be seen skipping after each other, more lightly than Fallow Deer, which latter they much resembled in their trot. Among the whole large herd, I observed but a single coal-black male, though very many had fully developed horns; nor is more than one such ever seen, L believe, in the wild herds, however extensive, the rest being driven off as they attain complete maturity,
Gazella cora, H. Smith (vide page 452, ante); seven heads, including two of females.
Cervus Axis: two heads.
Gavius Gangeiicus : a large stuffed specimen, and the head of a smaller one.
Hyana vulgaris v. virgata: skin and skeleton. The former has, with considerable patience and difficulty, been mounted, and now forms a very tolerable stuffed specimen.
From G. Hugon, Esq. two frontlets of Deer, from the Mauritius. What this Deer is, if described at all, I do not know, though I have long been acquainted with the
* For the above interesting piece of information relative to the hearers of Richmond Para, 1 S3 indebted to the celebrated animal painter, Mr. Hill, who shewed me a numbtr of specimens itatrative of the fact.—E.fi.
skull and antlers of the species, of which there is a fine specimen in the London United Service Museum, and a frontlet in the private collection of Mr. Hill: there was also previously an example of the skull of this animal in the Museum of this Society. Ia Proc. ZooL Soc, for 1831, 45, the late M. Desjardins enumerates Cervus Elaphus in his Catalogue of Mauritius animals, which, if referring to the present species, as must be supposed, is a strange error. Duvaux, in his 'Letters from the Mauritius' (p. 295), remarks, that "the Stags [of that island] are much smaller, and of a greyer colour, than those of Europe, and are supposed to have been introduced by the Portuguese." A friend who has hunted them can merely inform me that they have a remarkably shaggy coat, but at once recognized the Society's former specimen above alluded to as belonging to the species. The antlers are proportionably large, and might be mistaken by even a practised eye for those of the Sambur (C. Hippelaphus); but the skull is considerably smaller than in that animal, and accordingly the antlers are uearer together at base: in every specimen which I have seen, the inner tine of the terminal fork is very much longer than the outer one, being the reverse of what obtains in the common Spotted Axis, while in the Sambur and Jerrow, although this character is variable, the relative proportion is generally as in the present species, but to a less extent In size the skull in the United Service Museum is larger than that which we possess, measuring (according to my notes) thirteen inches in total length, or from occipital ridge to the tip of nasals, over the curves, twelve inches; orbits apart posteriorly five inches, anteriorly four inches and a quarter; palate five inches, and two inches wide posteriorly. The pedicles of the antlers are one inch long, measuring on the inside, and those of the three frontlets before me are equally elongated, although the antlers are of full dimensions; the latter measuring, in the London specimen, thirty inches long, six inches and a half round above burr, and four inches and three quarters in the beam; the corresponding measurements, in the three specimens before me, being thirty, seven, and four and a half inches,—twenty-eight, seven and a quarter, and four and a half inches,—and twenty-eight, six, and four inches: they have the set and general form of those of the Sambur and Axis, and not (as in C. eqwnus, MoUuccensis, and some other large Malayan species,) that of the common Hog Deer; and their granulated surface likewise resembles that of the Sambur's antlers. The skull in the Society's collection has its intermaxillaries imperfect, and the occiput is also incomplete; but from base of pedicle to tip of nasals it measures but eight inches and one-eighth, the greatest width of orbits apart posteriorly five inches, and anteriorly three inches and three-quarters, length of bony palate four inches and five-eighths, and width posteriorly two inches: there are the sockets of two small canines, but all the teeth are lost Further information respecting, and especially specimens of, this animal are desirable, and there can be little or no doubt that it was originally imported from some part of the Malayan Archipelago. From Captain Ommanay, has been received a specimen of
Eurylaimus nasutus, v. Todus nasutus, Gmelin, Cymbirynchus nasutus, Vigors, and Eur. lemniscatus, Raffles.
From Robert lnce, Esq., Supt. of Salt Chokees, Zillah Backergunge, a specimen of a timber-perforating Worm, accompanied with the following particulars:—"Specimen of the Worm which destroys boats or timber while floating in the rivers of the eastern district of Bengal, more particularly in and near Backergunge and Furreedpore. This creature perforates the wood, leaving a mucilaginous deposit which hardens into a shelly substance. It is only found during the hot months, and is termed by the natives Noona Kheen (" Salt Worm"), as it is believed to be never met with out oi brackish water, i. e. beyond the influence of the tides during the S. W. monsoon. Soondree wood is particularly liable to its attacks. The natives destroy the creature by hauling their boats ashore, and burning stubble beneath them.*'
This Worm combines the general form of Nereis with distinct eyes as in Pkyllodyct, and is therefore inadmissable into any of the described genera with which 1 am acquainted. As in the former, its proboscis is furnished with a single pair of struct: serrated mandibles or nippers, and there are three minute tentacles on each side posterior to its base; beside which, over the inner margin of each eye, is a rudimental antenna existing as a small tubercle. The rings of the body are very numerous, anil are each furnished (as in Nereis,) with a branchial lamina, but having only one minute tubercle and small packet of bristles beneath. Length eight inches and a half, and present colour of specimen livid-white, becoming dark purplish towards the head; tbe proboscis white, and jaws horny-black. The natural colour is mentioned by Mr. Inrt to be flesh-red. I shall designate it Lignicola destructor. Mr. Ince has promised a specimen of the timber perforated by it, and the Worm now presented to the Society was taken out of the bottom of the Chokee boat attached to the Superintendent's office of fiackergunge.*
To the zoologist it will convey no information to be told that this and analogous species merely bore for a habitation, a fact sufficiently implied by the existence of visual organs in the specimen now exhibited, which would intimate that it watched for its prey at the entrance of its hole, as various allied genera are known to feel for it with their tentacles, these being, in the Lignicola, too minute to be of much efficacy for tbe purpose.
The specimens of Vertebrata procured in the neighbourhood during the past month have not been generally of much interest, owing to the impossibility of myself derating any time to collecting, and the incorrigible worthlcssness of the native Shikarees, by whose agency 1 have hitherto endeavoured to procure specimens. The most worthy of notice is an example of Megadei ma lyra, which I myself took in tbe act of preying upon another Bat, the interesting circumstances connected therewith have been described in an article now printing for the Society's Journal.f Another spec;
* The specimen of perforated wood here adverted to has since been received, being complete? honey-combed all over, the ravages of the Worm producing much the same appearance as those af the Teredo navalit.
t V ide page 255 anl-t. 1 have Bince made a capture of eight specimens of this Bat, from ax assemblage of thirty or forty, (and 1 can procure others of these when I please), that pass the dir hanging to the roof of a long roomy out-house, selectirga not very dark situation (as the Rkinotofii are said to do), though when disturbed they rarely attempt to escape by the open windows, betfij evidently much more incommoded by bright day light than the restricted resperiitiona, and when they do so pass out very soon settling upon any tree near at hand, and suffering themselves to be taken by an insect-net. Of these eight adult specimens, only two were males, intimating, however, that the 6exes do not assemble separately, as is the case with various other Bats, wade it is pretty clear that the females much exceed the males in number. The Pteropodct are also ssstsd to herd in separate flocks, the males apart from the females, which I doubt; but here, agaia. it would seem that the females are much more numerous than the males, for of twelve specuneu
men of Pachysomia marginatum has alto been obtained, which had contrived to drown itself in a vessel of water in the Society's compound, and is at present prepared as a skeleton.
In the class of Birds, the mass of small waders aie now in beautiful summer plumaoo, and as fast as we can obtain specimens uninjured by the ruthless hands of the native dealers in the bazaar, they are secured for the Museum, or to be set aside for exchanges; but it is most provoking to observe the numbers of fine specimens, which despite all that can be said and reiterated to these people ad nauseam, the stolid savages persist in partially stripping of their feathers, or otherwise injuring so as to render them quite unfit for preservation; in illustration of which it will be enough to mention that out of the many hundreds of common Curlews (Numenius arquata) which have been brought to the bazaar in the course of the season, 1 have not yet been able to furnish the Museum with examples of this abundant species.
There is a curious fact relating to the changes of plumage in these birds, which I do not think has ever been distinctly stated: viz. that whilst they actually change their plumage, by renewal of the feathers, to a greater or less extent, the changes of colour are independent of the renovation of the feathers; thus the old feathers, prior to being shed, will be seen to have acquired more or less of the hue of the new ones which replace them; and these, in their turn, soon after the bird has bred, and long before the autumnal moult, gradually lose the hue which distinguishes the nuptial livery;* the latter is particularly exemplified by Totanus fuscus, wherein the deep sooty hue which imbues even the legs, in addition to the entire plumage, of this bird in nuptial garb (as illustrated by specimens now exhibited,) disappears totally after breeding in the same feathers, as I have witnessed in every stage of this absorption of colouring matter, so that the bird resumes very nearly the aspect of its winter uniform. It may further be observed, that, at the vernal moult, the amount of renovation of the feathers, and the period at which this takes place, are both very irregular, depending on the constitutional vigour of the individual; some weakly birds, both young and adults, the latter probably such as are past breeding, or otherwise sexually debilitated, undergoing little or no change even of colouring. It is also a remarkable fact, that when a bird drops its feathers at the regular moultiug period, it sheds them alike whether new or old, even such as had grown in place of others that had been accidentally pulled out but a few weeks previously; while, if from debility or any other cause, as sometimes happens in a specimen newly caught and caged, the feathers do not fall at the proper season, they then remain till the next ordinary moulting period, however distant, i. e. for another year in what are termed "single moulting" species.
Circus Swainsonii, A. Smith, v. pallidas of Sykes, female.
Emberiza fucata-f? Pallas, Shaw's 'Zoology' IX, 385: described as " common on the rivers Onon and Trigodia, in Russia." A bird answering to the brief description by Shaw, is plentiful in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, to judge from its being
passing over which I lately brought down, I could only get a single male. Collecting Bo many has enabled me to decide, that the specimen noticed in Vol. X, p. 840, does not differ specifically from the Ph. Edwardsii vel medius, Auctonun.
* I have even observed that, not unfrequently, the new feathers put forth at the vernal moult are only partially of the colour they afterwards assume.—E. B.
t Identified by Mr. Jerdon with his doubtfully cited E. cia. Madr. II. No. XXVI, 29.—E. B.
frequently brought for sale in the medley of species purchased as "Ortolans" by Europeans. I have long waited for uninjured specimens, and now exhibit two male? and a female that at least have one side perfect. Size of the Cirl Bunting, and allied tc this species in form. Length six inches, by nearly ten inches across; wing two inches ami seven-eighths, and middle tail-feathers two inches and a half, the external rather more; bill to forehead (through the feathers) above half an inch, and the same to gape; tarw seven-eighths of an inch: head, with the back and sides of the neck, dark grey, having a black medial streak to each feather, most developed on those of the crown; ear-coverts forming a conspicuous deep rufous spot; shoulders of the wings, scapularies, and rumf. the same but not so dark, also a band crossing the lower part of the breast, more or lea developed; inter-scapularies or dorsal feathers resembling those of a male cosnmca House Sparrow; throat, fore-neck, and breast, to the rufous band, whitish or sligh'Jy yellowish-white, with a narrow black streak commencing at each corner of the lower mandible, widening or spreading as it descends, and then branching to form a gorget wit* its opposite, being more or less developed indifferent specimens; the aides of the breast below this gorget are purer white, and the belly, below the rufous band, is tinged with fulvous; a light streak over the eye; wings dusky within, the feathers edged externally with rufous and fulvous, and the outermost tail-feather obliquely marked with white, the next but slightly so. Irides dark. Bill (at this season) dusky abort, lighter on parts of the lower mandible; and feet pale brown with a slight livid castThe female merely differs in being rather smaller with the colours less bright.
The only other Indian species we possess of this genus appears to have been seten: times described, firstly by Mr. Vigors, (P. Z. S. 1831, 183,J as B. crittata, Uc= by Messrs. Jardine and Selby, (III. Orn. pi. CXXXII,) as B. erytkropterm, asi lastly by Mr. Hodgson, (As. Res. XIX, 157,,; as B. Nipalensis: at least our specimens agree alike with all the descriptions here cited; and I even incline to doubt whether the E. subcristata of Col. Sykes, (P. Z. S. 1834, 93,) be aught else than the female, which opinion he indeed combats, albeit there would appear to be certain differences, to judge from his description.*
I have also obtained two curious small marsh birds in the bazaar, which are no: easy to classify; being referriable, indeed, to an extensive group allied to the Saticaitt, to the Prinia:, and to that African subdivision formerly included in Malum, and which group has not been, that I am aware of, duly studied in all its diversified ramifications. The first, however, I shall provisionally arrange as
Dasyornisf locustelloides, from the near resemblance which it bears in plumage to the Locustelle, or Grasshopper-bird, (LocusteUa Raii,j of the British Islands.f It form it appears to be closely allied to the D. Australis of Messrs. Jardine and Selbv, figured in the " Illustrations of Ornithology," pi. LXXIII; but, on actual company*:, will probably prove separable as a minimum subdivision. Length seven inches, by nine inches in extent of wing, the latter from bend two inches and seven-eighths, ic-J medial tail-feathers eight inches; bill to forehead (through the feathers)five-eighths of aa inch, and nearly seven-eighths of an inch to gape; tarse an inch and one-tiiteenth: the bill is strong, three-sixteenths of an inch deep, and compressed laterally,
• The Society has since received B. dtreola from Mr. Hodgson.
t It is, I now find, the Megaturui > ilriatus of Mr. Jerdon's Supplement, s single ijtasx' having been procured by Uiat naturalist on the Ncilghicrrics.