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B 3 E7E 1DD



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THE



RAMBLES OF A NATURALIST.



VOL. I.



LONDON t

Printed by SPOTTISWOODE & Co.
New-street Square.



THE



RAMBLES OF A NATURALIST



ON THE



COASTS OF FRANCE, SPAIN, AND SICILY.



BY

A. DE QUATREFAGES,

MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE,

PROFESSOR OF ETHNOLOGY AT THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

AT THE JARDIN DBS PLANTES,

ETC. ETC.



TRANSLATED

(with the Author's sanction and co-operation)

BY

E. C. OTTE,

HONORARY MEMBER OF THE LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL
SOCIETY OF ST. ANDREWS.



IN TWO VOLUMES.

YOL. I.



LONDON:

LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, LONGMANS, & ROBERTS.
1857.



TO

SIR DAVID BREWSTER, K.H.

D.C.L., F.E.S.

ONE OF THE EIGHT ASSOCIATES OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE OF FRANCE,
CHEVALIER OF THE PRUSSIAN ORDER OF MERIT OF

FREDERICK THE GREAT,

PRINCIPAL OF THE UNITED COLLEGES OF ST. SALVATOR AND

ST. LEONARD'S, ST. ANDREWS,

ETC. ETC. ETC.



DEAB SIR DATED,

I VBNTUBE to associate your name with the present
volumes on the double ground that the learned Author is one of
the most active members of the time-honoured Institute of France,
which, by electing you one of its Eight Foreign Associates, has
conferred upon you the highest honour that can be attained in the
world of Science ; and that M. de Quatrefages, like yourself, com-
bines the faculty of abstruse research with the felicitous gift of
popularising science in a spirit at once earnest and genial.

Hoping that you may be spared for many years to continue
your important labours in those fields of science in which you have
already reaped so rich a harvest,

I remain,

Dear Sir David,

Yours very truly,

E. C. OTTE.

ST. ANDREWS :
October 1857.



INTRODUCTION.



IN writing for the Revue des deux mondes the articles
which I now reprint with several modifications, I
have to some degree been influenced by the wish of
placing zoology in a more just and favourable light.
Most persons form a very false idea of the natural
sciences generally, and of zoology more particularly :
indeed, by many persons the zoologist is looked upon
merely as a man who can repeat by rote a more or
less considerable number of barbarous names, and who
is acquainted with a certain number of anecdotes in
relation to the habits of animals a species of infor-
mation which, although it is no doubt very interesting
in its way, is alike useless in a practical point of
view and unworthy of occupying the serious atten-
tion of a cultivated mind.

This is a singular error, but it is one which readily
admits of an explanation. There are few children
into whose hands some little book on natural history
has not fallen, but unfortunately most of these works
are very ill adapted to give exact ideas of the dif-

A 4



VJ11 INTRODUCTION.

ferent branches of this science. Erroneous impres-
sions which are not corrected by any ulterior teaching
must necessarily become thoroughly confirmed. And
yet to judge of zoology by the collections of stories
which amused our childish years, is very much the
same thing as if we were to form a judgment of phy-
sical science from the tricks of a juggler, or of astro-
nomy from what we learn by pointing a telescope
in the open air at Saturn's ring or the mountains in
the moon.

I have thought that the best means of bringing
the educated classes to adopt more correct ideas was
to leave zoology to defend itself by showing the
great truths which it has discovered and the nume-
rous facts which it comprises, and by indicating the
problems of general physiology which it has solved
and the profound questions of natural philosophy
which no other science can so well enter upon. By
this course I hoped to bring over to the ranks of its
defenders a band of intellectual supporters, and I
think I may venture to assert that experience has
shown that my hopes were not unfounded.

Many utilitarians, while they admit the interest
which is awakened by this order of facts and ideas,
inquire, Cui bono? This discouraging question,
which was formerly addressed to all sciences, is now
limited to zoology. It is admitted that mathematics
are of some use ; physics and chemistry have long
since given proof of their utility by the deduction



INTRODUCTION. IX

of practical facts from abstruse theories. The cul-
tivation of fruits and the sale of flowers, by giving
a profitable occupation to thousands of persons, have
popularised the study of botany, that elder sister of
the other natural sciences which perhaps owes its
first popularity to its early association with medicine :
while mineralogy and geology, after having been
long studied in consideration of the light which they
might throw upon the practical working of mines,
have of late been also applied to agriculture.

It is only within the last few years that zoology
has been directly applied to any objects capable of
yielding a profitable return. The light which this
science was able to throw on the phenomena of life
was not sufficient to attach to it the attention of the
general public, who number among their body men
of distinguished eminence in special departments, but
who too often do not esteem any science but the one
to which they are exclusively devoted. Many of
our most distinguished savants are often as blind as
the most illiterate of their fellow-citizens to the direct
applications of any department of knowledge of
which they are themselves ignorant. Thus, for ex-
ample, they cannot comprehend that the breeding of
agricultural stock and the cultivation of domestic
animals two most important problems regarding
which our knowledge has hitherto been merely
empirical are only definitely based upon the science
of zoology.



X INTRODUCTION.

But zoology has not been behindhand in satisfying
the requirements of our age. Recent experiments
on artificial fecundation have drawn attention to long
forgotten facts and have shown that the waters may
yield as rich a harvest as the land. Notwithstanding
some of those failures which are inseparably associated
with first attempts, the future success of pisciculture
as an industrial art is established beyond all question ;
and here we do not simply allude to the propagation
of fish, but to that of all the aquatic animals which
are useful to man. Without going beyond France,
we shall find many results in proof of this success.
Thus, for instance, M. Coste has acclimatised river
fish in a pond at the College de France. MM.
Gehin and Remy have re-stocked several rivers from
which the fish had long disappeared. M. Millet has
this year thrown into the Levriere more than two
thousand trout of a year's growth, weighing collec-
tively nearly 450 pounds, and all of them the produce
of one well managed fish-preserve. The artificial
rearing of leeches at Bordeaux has for years been a
source of wealth to the proprietors ; and owing to the
exertions of these and other enterprising men
France will soon cease to be dependent on foreigners
for these useful Annelids. The town of La Rochelle
possesses reservoirs for the breeding of shrimps and
oysters, where the former are sheltered from the mud
which would destroy them, and where the latter ac-
quire from their first appearance the green colour which



INTRODUCTION. XI

characterises the celebrated Marennes oysters. We
may next refer to the artificial oyster beds, which are
readily constructed, and might indeed be planned, on
the model of the mussel beds of Esnandes. Nor
must we pass over in silence the introduction into
Europe of new species of domestic animals a subject
to which the Sodetd cCacclimatation is especially de-
voted. Next there is the artificial fattening of stock
and the extraction of fatty matters, the first sugges-
tion of which is due to zoologists; and, lastly, we must
remind our readers of the immense development
which the various artificial means of rearing animals
will probably attain in the course of time. With
such considerations before us, it surely can no longer
be asked of zoology, Cui bono ?

Thus much for utilitarianism. Man, if he were
a mere material organism, only a little superior to
the inert bodies in nature, would still owe some debt
of gratitude to zoology. Man, however, combines
with his material nature an intelligence and a soul.
Every man worthy of the name has intellectual and
moral wants as imperative as his physical necessities ;
and we may unhesitatingly venture to assert that
no science satisfies in so high a degree as zoology
the noble instincts which constitute the human
species a kingdom apart in the realm of nature. Is
there not then some degree of utility in such a result
as this ?

In the course of the present work I have fre-



Xll INTRODUCTION.

quently referred to considerations of this kind. I
have endeavoured to show how well adapted is the
science of living creation to elevate the mind, at the
same time that it brings back our thoughts towards
Him who has created all things. I will not, there-
fore, here revert to this subject; but there is still
another useful consequence to be deduced from
zoological studies, to which I would now draw
attention.

The number of animals known to us at the present
day may be counted by hundreds of thousands, and
the most retentive memory would be unable to grasp
even the mere names of all the species. To guide
us through this labyrinth, zoologists have devised
systematic methods of classification which are based
upon the very nature of the animals themselves.
The animal kingdom has been distributed over a
sort of framework, whose divisions correspond with
so many groups of facts and ideas which rise gra-
dually from isolated details to the most extended
generalisations. It is impossible to occupy oneself
assiduously with studies of this kind without becoming
in some degree imbued with their spirit. If it is
useful to learn from mathematics how to reason in a
logical manner on purely abstract questions, and if it
is useful to acquire by, means of physics and chemistry
a spirit of experimenting, would it not be still more
interesting to the minds of youth if they were taught
to observe, to classify, and to co-ordinate masses of






INTRODUCTION. xiii

precise facts and ideas, based upon realities in such
a manner as to enable them to seize upon their true
relations and their most general consequences ?

Would not the habits thus based upon a metho-
dical system find constant application even in our
daily lives ? Considered from this point of view,
there is no science that can replace the natural
sciences generally, and zoology more particularly.

I have thus endeavoured to indicate the ideas by
which I have been influenced in the composition of
the present work, and it now only remains for me
to say a few words regarding the mode of its exe-
cution.

In addressing myself to the habitual readers of
the Revue des deux mondes I was speaking to an
educated and intelligent class, who, however, have
very little familiarity with the natural sciences. I
was, therefore, obliged to proceed with some reserve,
more especially at the beginning, and hence I almost
always avoided entering into technical details, limit-
ing myself almost exclusively to general questions.
In this manner I often sought to imitate the phy-
sician who envelopes in honey the unsavoury medi-
cine which might otherwise be repulsive to his
patient, and hence I have interwoven descriptive or
historical details in nearly all the chapters of the
work.

Having yielded thus far to the necessities of the
case, I devoted myself so much the more earnestly



XIV INTRODUCTION.

to the principal aim which I had in view. When-
ever I was speaking of scientific matters I never
allowed myself in the slightest degree to sacrifice
the substance to the form. Here I was anxious to
act the part of the zoologist as rigidly as if I had
been engaged in compiling a work for my brother
zoologists. The facts which I have brought forward
in these Rambles may be found either in my own
memoirs or in the scientific works of others, whilst
the ideas which I have here developed are precisely
the same as those which I have at all times advo-
cated. Considered in this respect, these volumes
might be entitled General Essays on Zoology and
Physiology. In the notes which I have added to the
present edition of these Rambles I have entered
somewhat more freely into the technical character
of some of the questions under consideration; I
have given references to a large number of dif-
ferent works and memoirs ; and, finally, I have ap-
pended notices, which are of necessity very short,
regarding the lives and the principal labours of the
authors whom I have had occasion to quote.

If I should be blamed for spending time upon this
attempt to popularise science which I might have
devoted to original researches, I would venture to
urge in extenuation that La Place wrote his Expo-
sition du Systtme du Monde, Cuvier his Discours sur
les Revolutions du Globe, Arago his Notices, Flourens
his Etudes and his Histoires, and Humboldt his



INTRODUCTION. XV

Views of Nature and his Cosmos. It has seemed to
me that I could scarcely be committing an error,
when I attempted to follow such examples as these,
by endeavouring in my turn to make others com-
prehend and appreciate a science to which I myself
owe very many hours of unalloyed happiness.



CONTENTS



OF



THE FIRST VOLUME.



CHAPTER I.

THE ARCHIPELAGO OF CHAUSEY.

Inferior animals in the neighbourhood of Paris. Granville. The
tides. The Archipelago of Chausey ; Grand- He. Former
connexion of Chausey with the continent ; submarine forests.
Local traditions. The farm. The natives of Blainville ;
Lobster and shrimp fishery. The stone-cutters. The barilla-
collectors ; fabrication of soda. Importance of the study of the
more simply organised animals. Zoological riches of Chausey.

The errant Annelids; Eunice; Cirrhatula. Their weapons
of offence and defence ; their enemies. The Synapta of Duvernoy.

Sentiments awakened by the study of animal life. Departure
for St. Malo Page I

CHAP. II.

THE ARCHIPELAGO OF BREHAT.

Journey from Paris to Paimpol. The Archipelago of Brehat. Its
geological structure. Ruins on some of the inhabited islands.
Grand- He. Le Paon. Population ; probable admixture of
Basque and Breton blood. Mildness of the climate. The
terrestrial Fauna ; the Black Rat. The maritime Fauna. The

VOL. i. a



XV111 CONTENTS OF

animal series. Ideal and derivative types. Relations of or-
ganised beings to one another. General ideal type of a perfect
animal. Division of physiological labour. Higher and lower
animals : organic permanence of the former ; organic variability
of the latter. Subdivision of the Articulata. True Annelids or
Worms. Tubiculous Annelids ; Chlorcema ; Amphicora ; Tere-
bella ; Sabella. Errant Annelids ; Chsetopterus ; Echiurus ;

Sipunculus; Dujardinia. Anatomy of Eunice sanguinea

Doyerina ; Aphlebina. Organisation of Nemertes ; remarkable
simplification. Excursion to the lighthouse of Hehaux. Descrip-
tion of the tower. Illuminating apparatus. Historical Notices:
Borda, Lemoine, Buffou, Arago, Fresnel, the younger Francois.
Departure from Brehat - Page 66

CHAP. III.

THE COASTS OF SICILY.
THE GROTTO OF SAN-CIRO. TORRE DELL 5 IS OLA.

Departure for Naples with MM. Milne Edwards and Blanchard.
Arrival in Sicily ; aspect of the Bay of Palermo. Excursions to
the grotto of San-Ciro. Osseous caverns ; osseous breccias.
installation on board the Santa Rosalie. Departure from
Palermo. The grottoes of Mont Pellegrino. The Blatta
orientalis. Arrival at Torre dell' Isola The Padre Antonino.
Structure of the coast. Our sailors. Explorations. Trans-
parence of the water in the bay. Principal species belonging
to the littoral districts. Causeways built by the Vermetus.
Occupations ; mode of life. Departure for Castellamare - HI

CHAP. IV.

THE COASTS OF SICILY.
THE GULF OF CASTELLAMARE SANTO VlTO.

General aspect of the Gulf. Formation of clouds in a clear sky.
Castellamare. Excursion to the ruins of Segesta. Departure
for Santo- Vito. Misadventures there. Ants. Researches of
M. Edwards on the Acalephae, Beroidae, and Stephanomise. My
observations on the mode of reproduction of the Syllis. Repro-
duction of the Medusae. Curious approximation between the



THE FIRST VOLUME. XIX

Animal and the Vegetable Kingdoms. Medusae and Fungi.
Studies of a different kind, leading to the same result General
consequences - - Page 190

CHAP. V.

THE COASTS OF SICILY.
TBAPANI. THE ISLANDS OF FAVIGNANA.

Journey to Trapani. The ancient splendour of that city. The
doves of Venus Erycina ; the women of San-Juliano. Departure
for the Islands of Favignana. Cordial reception. Geological
structure of the islands. Cultivation of the land and sources of

industry Tunny fishery. Researches on the circulation.

Independence of functions. Progressive perfection of organisms.
Phlebenterism. The labours of M. Edwards, and my own
researches. The opposition which these labours at first expe-
rienced. Applications. General consequences - 234

APPENDIX ...... 279



RAMBLES OF A NATURALIST,



CHAPTER I.

THE ARCHIPELAGO OF CHAUSEY.

Inferior animals in the neighbourhood of Paris. Granville. The
tides. The Archipelago of Chausey ; Grande-He. Former
connexion of Chausey with the continent ; submarine forests.
Local traditions. The farm. The natives of Blainville ;
Lobster and shrimp fishery. The stone-cutters. The barilla-
collectors ; fabrication of soda. Importance of the study of the
more simply organised animals. Zoological riches of Chausey.

The errant Annelids ; Eunice ; Cirrhatula. Their weapons
of offence and defence ; their enemies. The Synapta of Duvernoy.

Sentiments awakened by the study of animal life. Departure
for St. Malo.

I HAD spent the spring of 1841 in studying some of
the inferior forms of animal life which occur in the
environs of Paris.* In the course of these researches
I explored the ponds of Plessis-Piquet and Meudon,
the stagnant pools around Vincennes, the basins in
the gardens at Versailles, and even the ditches along

* [M. de Quatrefages here inserts a note on the classification of
the animal kingdom, which, in consequence of its length, we have
transferred to the Appendix. See Appendix, Note I.]
VOL. I. B



2 RAMBLES OF A NATURALIST.

the high roads. My table was daily covered with
vessels containing the water which I had brought
home with me from these excursions ; and while the
aquatic plants that had been left undisturbed were
exhibiting an active state of vegetation, the delicate
filaments of their roots formed a place of retreat for
thousands of those minute beings whose existence
and marvellous organisation are only revealed to us
by the microscope. There was the Rotifer, whose
body, composed of rings fitting into one another like
the tubes of a telescope, is provided on its anterior
extremity with two wheel-like organs a singular
creature, which, although it can only truly live in
water, inhabits the moss of our house-tops, dying
each time the sun dries up its place of retreat, to
revive as often as a shower of rain supplies it with
the liquid necessary to its existence, and thus em-
ploying several years to exhaust the eighteen days
of life which nature has accorded to it.* There was
the Hydatina senta, an animalcule allied to the ro-
tifer, whose aquatic existence is often cut short by
drought, but whose ova, mingled with the dust of
our roads, and borne aloft by the winds, are carried
far from the place of their origin to some drop of
water, where they undergo further development and
secure the propagation of their species. The hy-
datina is an exquisite little creature of such pure
crystalline transparency that the microscope f that

* [A sketch of the natural history of the Rotifers and their allies is
given in the Appendix, Note II.]

f [We have transferred to the Appendix, Note III., a short history
of the microscope, which the author had given as a foot note.]



THE ARCHIPELAGO OF CHAUSEY. 3

wonder-revealing instrument can penetrate even to
the inmost recesses of its organisation.* Then there
was the Brachionus, another genus of the class of
rotifers, which, on the slightest indication of the ap-
proach of danger, covers its long tail and ciliated
head with its bristling cuirass. Next in order came
some of those Diatomacea^, whose infinitely minute
siliceous shields have offered a firmer resistance
against the revolutions of our globe than the gigan-
tic skeletons of the antediluvial monsters organisms
so microscopically minute that the point of a needle
might at one touch crush hundreds of them, although
their remains have combined to form entire rocks
and extensive geological strata, known and worked
for ages under the name of tripoli. Lastly there
were Planarias :, and myriads of infusorial animal-

* Hy datina senta belongs to the class of the Rotifers. It was on
this species that Ehrenberg made his first observations on the com-
plicated organism of these little animals. The hydatina is of very
common occurrence in the neighbourhood of Paris, especially in the
spring, when it is to be met with in the little pools of stagnant
water on the road- side, and in the ruts made by carriage wheels.

f The Diatoms constitute one of those groups regarding the
position of which naturalists are still undecided ; some holding them
to be vegetables, while others regard them as animals. Some of
them, as the Naviculas, exhibit a slow and regular motion which
appears to be the result of spontaneity. Many present forms of
geometrical regularity, and their siliceous shields, transparent as the
purest crystal, are moreover, marked with tracings of such extreme
delicacy that every improvement in the microscope reveals to us
new and previously unobserved details.

J The Planarias belong to the great subdivision of the Vermes.

They are flat, slightly elongated animals in which the two sexes are

united ; they are provided with a digestive apparatus, which ramifies

over the whole body, and they move by the aid of vibratile cilia,

B 2



4 RAMBLES OF A NATURALIST.

cules*, of every form and name, which multiply by
self-division (fissiparous reproduction), so that it may
literally be said that the son is half of his parent, and
the grandson the quarter of his grandsire.

Such studies are highly attractive even when con-
sidered on the simple grounds of curiosity: this,
however, is not their only claim upon our attention,
for they possess another and a far greater source of
interest. In the higher forms of animal life, the size
and opacity of the organs do not allow of our study-
ing the mechanism of their actions and functions
in the living state ; in their case we must content
ourselves with the mere study of their anatomy.
In the lower animals, on the other hand, we are
enabled to trace the operations of nature at the very
moment of their accomplishment : thus, for instance,
in the animalcule we can follow the alimentary
molecule from the very moment in which it is
swallowed until it is rejected by the animal, after
having yielded up all its nutritious matter. The
changes which this molecule undergoes in its passage
through the animalcule, and the successive action of
the animal organs and fluids, are all displayed before

with which the entire surface of the body is covered. These
worms, whose anatomical structure presents many singularities,
have been carefully studied by many naturalists, amongst whom
may be especially mentioned Von Baer, Duges and De Quatrefages,
(Ersted, Von Siebold and Daly ell.

* We have shown (see Appendix, Note I.) that the Infusoria must
be provisionally regarded as forming a class of the subdivision of
the globular Zoophytes. Amongst the principal writers on this
group of animals we may especially mention O. F. Miiller, Ehren-
berg, and Dujardin.



THE AKCIIIPELAGO OF CHAUSEY. 5

our eyes, so that these crystalline organisms seem
almost to invite science to raise a corner of the veil
which conceals from us the mysteries of that which
we term life.

In the midst of these attractive studies I found
that the field of my researches was continually gain-
ing in extent and beauty. But I was desirous, before
I advanced further on my present path of inquiry,
to obtain new materials for comparison, and to in-
vestigate, in a similar manner, those larger types of
the inferior forms of animal life which are only to
be found on the sea-shore. The ocean, to which I
was still a stranger, attracted me in its varied coast
lines, its innumerable zoological races, and its tides,



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