D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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bearing is ascribed, seem to show a regular
progress toward sculpture, by the transfor-
mation of simple decorations into bas-relief,
then into alio rilievo, and finally into the
complete figure.

Plant-Migrations. — An interesting mon-
ograph has been published at the Univer-
sity of Giessen, Germany, on the migra-
tions of two plants, the Puccinea malvacea-
rum, or mallows fungus, and the Elodea
Canademis {Anacharis Canadensis, Gray).
The former plant was first noticed infest-
ing the mallows-plants of ChilL It-was ob-
served in Spain, for the first time in Europe,
in 1869, having, it is thought, been intro-
duced in the course of trade. Next it was
found in France, infesting some ten species
of the mallows family, in 1872, 1873, and
1874 ; it appeared in England in 1873, and
was carried to Holland and Belgium in
1874. It was also found at the Cape of
Good Hope and in Australia in 1874. It
began to atfract attention in Germany and
Italy in 1874, and appears now to be dif-
fused all over Europe, as its presence is
mentioned in Bohemia and Hungary and at
Athens, which appears so far to mark its
southeastern point of extension. The Elo-
dea, or Anacharis Canadensis, was noticed
in single localities in Ireland in 1836 and
1842. Toward 1850 it became quite abun-
dant, and in the course of the next ten
years found its way to the Botanical Gar-
dens of Ctrecht and the swamps in the
neighborhood of Ghent. It was growing in
several places in France in 1866. It is now
found in considerable abundance in the
lower Rhine, the Elbe and its branches, the
Havel and Spree, and the Oder. It has ex-

tended from Corrib, Ireland, on the west,
and Grenoble, France, on the south, to Riga,
on the northeast. It has been carried by
sprouts to all the places where it grows ;
for only female plants (not a single male
plant) are to be found in all Europe.

EflSelency of Present Causes In Geologi-
cal Action. — M. Stanislas Meunier has re-
cently published a work discussing the suf-
ficiency of the causes which are still in
operation to account for the production of
the geological phenomena of the past. Il-
lustrations of the principle involved in the
discussion may easily be found in examin-
ing some of the formations near the sur-
face. In the section of the coal-beds of
Valenciennes, thick, horizontal cretaceous
beds appear, resting on carboniferous beds,
the strata of which are contorted, bent, and
folded neither more nor less than the strata
of which the highest mountain-chains are
composed. As the contact of the chalk and
the coal is horizontal, it must be admitted
that, previous to the deposit of the second-
ary rocks, the ground, which had been
greatly disturbed by the foldings of the
carboniferous strata, had been again planed
down to a level. The first thought would
be to attribute the planing down to some
sudden and violent action carrying away all
of the missing matter at once. The view is
entirely changed when we remark that quite
as important denudations are taking place
now in populous districts without any per-
turbations of a violent character. Thus, on
the British coast of the English Channel
the sea is gaining about a yard a year upon
the land, and the fact is recognized in sales.
The result of this denudation, which is tak-
ing place so gradually, can not be distin-
guished from that of a sudden razing of the
strata at the bottom of the sea. M. Meunier
examines likewise the theory that river-val-
leys have been formed by the action of
streams in a period of floods, when they
were many times larger than the present
rivers. The valleys of the rivers, he be-
lieves, correspond with original fractures of
the soil ; this once accepted, we may admit
that the stream was neither much more vo-
luminous nor much more rapid in quaternary
times than at present. In the course of an
indeterminate period of time it has widened



its valley by the operation of the sinuosity
of it3 meanderings, and has covered the
whole surface of the soil with detritus. The
production of gravel terraces may be attrib-
uted to slight elevations of the soil ; and
many supposed bowlders of considerable
dimensions may have been formed by the
weathering away of angular blocks. The
disappearance of species is now regarded as
simply the natural result of the competition
of other species ; and evidence is not wholly
wanting that the introduction of new species
is still going on. Thus, a little lizard has
been observed quartered on a rock near the
Island of Capri which is manifestly derived
from a qiiite different lizard living in the
island itself.


Professor Farlow has, at the request of
X\» United States Fish Commission, inves-
tigated tlie cause of the red color which
sometimes appears on dried codfish during
hot weather, in connection with which it has
been noticed that the fish affected by it
decayed with comparative quickness. He
has found that the redness is owing to a
minute plant, the Clathroe;^st'is ros&i-persi-
cina, which is known in America and Eu-
rope, and may sometimes be found tingeing
the surface of damp ground with a purplish
hue, and in the macerating-tubs of anato-
mists. It does not appear to flourish or in-
crease very rapidly at a temperature below
65". It could have been derived from many
sources, but Professor Farlow has traced its
origin particularly to the salt with which
the fish are cured.

George B. Emersox, LL. D., author of
the " Report on the Trees and Shrubs grow-
ing naturally in the Forests of Massachu-
setts," died last March, in Boston. lie was
born in Kennebimk, Maine, in \19l, became
known as a teacher, and a writer on educa-
tional topics, and has been president of the
Boston Society of Natural History.

" Natpre " notices a curious confusion
in the different senses in which the terra
trawling is used by British and American
fishermen. A trawl in England is a large
purse-net attached to a heavy beam raised
upon trawl-heads, or irons at either end, and
dragged along the bottom of the sea. In
Scotland it is simply a drift or seine-net. In
America it is a long line baited with hooks,
and left on the bottom of the sea. Each of
the three modes of fishing is objected to in
the different countries in which they arc em-

ployed by men who use one of the others.
In Scotland the drift-net fishennen object
to the trawl or seine-nets ; in England the
drift-net and the line fishermen object to the
beam-trawlers ; in America the hand-line
fishermen object to the set-line fishermen,
whom they call " trawlers." The complaints
are all due to the jealousy usually felt at the
introduction of new machinery in any indus-
try ; and the Governments of both countries
may safely disregard them, since they are
the most effective answers to one another.

The fifty-first annual meeting of the
British Association will be opened at York,
on the 31st of August. The address will be
delivered by Sir John Lubbock, President-
elect, The presidents of the several sec-
tions are : A, Sir W. Thomson ; B, Pro-
fessor A. W. Williamson; C, Professor
A. C. Ramsay ; D, Professor Owen, in the
department of Zoology; Professor W. H.
Flower, in the department of Anthropol-
ogy ; Professor J. S. Burdon-Sanderson, in
the department of Anatomy ; E, Sir J. D.
Hooker ; F, the Right Honorable Grant
Duff ; G, Sir W. G. Armstrong. Evening
addresses will be delivered by Professor
Huxley and Sir W. Spottiswoode.

The third meeting of the International
Geographical Congress is to be held at
Venice, September 15th to 22d. Represent-
atives from all geographical societies are
invited to attend, and they will be permitted
to speak in any language. The discussions
will be held in the eight sections of mathe-
matical geography, geology, and topogra-
phy ; hydrography ; physical, geological, me-
teorological, botanical, and zoii logical geog-
raphy ; anthropological, ethnological, and
philological geography; historical geogra-
phy; economical, commercial, and statis-
tical geography ; the study, teaching, and
diffusion of geography; explorations and
travels. An international geographical ex-
hibition, the schedule of which is very full,
and is divided into sections corresponding
with those of the Congress, will be held in
connection with it, and will be o\MiVi during

ExpERiireNTS were recently made at the
Grand Opera in Paris in the transmission
through the microphone of the musical part
of the representation, with results that are
described as marvelous. The modulations
of the voice and the concerted pieces were
distinctly heard and distinguished, to the
admiration of the distant audience. A dem-
onstration of this character is expected to
form a repcular feature at the coming Elec-
trical Ex()osition, where a special hall will
be provided, whence visitors will be able to
enjoy the representations at the Opera-House
withotit leaving the place. " La Nature "
foresees the day when music will be sent



around by the wires to assembly-rooms, and
we will be able to " turn it on " by adjust-
ing a commutator, as we now get water by
turning a faucet.

Under the head of " Birds out of Place,"
Mr. Charles Aldiich, of Webster City, Iowa,
records, in " The American Naturalist," that
a robin remained last winter on his farm,
frequenting a sheltered spot where a little
spring of water flowed out of a bank below
a mill-dam. He also tells of some crews
that were found, during the severe weather,
roosting with the chickens, which, for the
want of a better shelter, were accustomed
to roost in the low branches of a thicket
near the house of one of his neighbors. A
comparison of many similar observations to
those of the robin, which might be recorded
if those who made them would take the
pains, would probably show that many so-
called birds of passage elect to spend the
winter in their northern homes, when suit-
able shelter from violent storms and cold is
provided for them, and a supply of food is
made accessible.

A Field Club, composed of specialists in
various branches of science, and working
naturalists, has lately been oi-ganized at
Des Moines, Iowa. It will publish any
results reached which may prove of suffi-
cient value, in the form of occasional bul-
letins, and proposes, ultimately, to work up
the natural history of the entire State, in
which little has been done except by indi-
viduals, in the shai^e of local contributions
made at their own expense. Geological
surveys have been instituted twice, to be
abruptly closed by the Legislature before
anything of moment could be accomplished.
A society like this one can do much to pro-
mote a better knowledge of the State, and
to awaken a spirit of thorough investiga-

M. Dr. Lemoi\e has discovered in the
lower tertiary beds near Rheims — which
were considered nearly if not quite Azoic —
fossil remains of an extremely interesting
fauna, comprising numerous new species,
and even some new genera, of mammals,
birds, and reptiles. Many of these species
exhibit characters intermediate between
those of types which have been heretofore

M. G. Trouve has applied two of his
electric motors to an English tricycle, with
a gratifying success in making it go. The
machines were each fed by three of the ac-
cumulators which he uses in his polyscope.
The tricycle ran for an hour and a half at
the speed of a good carriage. M. Trouve in-
tends to construct another motor, with which j
he expects to attain a speed of twelve or !
sixteen miles an hour. :

The Appalachian Mountain Club is en-
joying an encouraging prosperity. Eighty-
live members were added to its list last
year, making the whole present number
three hundred and twenty. Its position in
the community is regarded as established
and recognized, and its sphere of usefulness
and plans of work as having become in
great part well defined and settled. Its
library is increasing considerably, by the
exchange of its publications for those of
other similar societies, which has been un-
dertaken with forty-one societies in Europe,
as well as with American organizations.
Nine regular meetings were held during
1880, and field meetings at Plymouth and
the Fabyan House, New Hampshire, and
several excursions were made. The last
number of its jouraal, " Appalachia," con-
tains, besides the reports, the annual ad-
dress of President Charles E. Cross on
" Barometric Measurement of Heights " ;
and papers on " Mount Cardigan," by Har-
old Murdock, and "A Sojourn in Andover,
Maine," by Gaetano Lanza.

Ox the 5th of March last, the main seam
of coal in the Ashton Moss Colliery, in Lan-
cashire, England, was cut at the depth of
2,691 feet, or 231 feet lower than the deep-
est sinking heretofore worked in England,
The temperature in the colliery, at the depth
of 860 yards, was 78°.

M. DE QrATREFAGES Tcports that fossil
remains of men, well preserved, have been
discovered in the quaternary limestones of
Nice. M. Desor has determined their geo-
logical age, which, it is said, can not be con-
tested ; and M. de Qiiatrefages has deter-
mined the race to which they belong as that
which has been long known as the Croma-
gnon race.

Some experiments described by Mr. A.
Vogt, in the " Zeitschrift f iir Biologic," in-
dicate that the southern walls of houses ab-
sorb less heat from solar radiation during
the day than the eastern and western walls,
notwithstanding they are exposed for a con-
siderable longer time to the direct rays of
the sun. On a day when the highest tem-
perature of the air was observed at four
o'clock in the afternoon, and the maximum
of solar radiation at one o'clock, the ther-
mometer behind the eastern wall was highest
at eleven o'clock in the morning, behind the
southern wall at three, and behind the west-
em at six o'clock in the afternoon.

The Central Meteorological Bureau of
France is in telegraphic communication
with one hundred and twenty stations in
Europe and Northern Africa, over a terri-
tory extending from Bodo, in northern Nor-
way, toi Laghorc, in southern Algeria, and
from the island of Madeira to Moscow.





AUGUST, 1881.

By Professor T. H. HUXLEY.

IT is now nineteen years since my attention was first specially direct-
ed to the natural history of the herring, and to the many impor-
tant economical and legal questions connected with the herring-fish-
eries. As a member of two successive Royal Commissions, it fell to
my lot to take part in inquiries held at every important fishing-station
in the United Kingdom between the years 1862 and 1865, and to hear
all that practical fishermen had to tell about the matter ; while I had
free access to the official records of the Fishery Boards. Nor did I
neglect such opportunities as presented themselves of studying the fish
itself, and of determining the scientific value of the terms by which,
in the language of fishermen, the various conditions of the herring are

Diligent sifting of the body of evidence thus collected and passed
under review led to the satisfactory clearing away, in my own mind,
of some of the obscurities which, at that time, surrounded the natural
history of the fish. But many problems remained, the solution of
which was not practicable by investigations which, after all, were only
incidents in the course of a large inquiry, embracing a vast number of
topics besides herrings and herring-fisheries ; and it is only within the
last few years that the labors of the German West Baltic Fishery
Commission have made such large additions to the state of our knowl-
edge in 1865 that the history of the herring is brought within meas-
urable distance of completeness.

Considering the vast importance of the herring-fisheries of the
eastern counties, it occurred to me, when the President of the National

* A lecture delivered at the National Fishery Exhibition, Norwich, April 21, 1881.
VOL. XIX.— 28



Fishery Exhibition did me the honor to ask me to address you, that
nothing could be more likely to interest my audience than a summary
statement of what is now really known about a fish which, from a
fisherman's point of view, is probably the chief of fishes.

I am aware that I may lay myself open to the application of the
proverb about carrying coals to Newcastle if I commence my observa-
tions with a description of the most important distinctive characters
of a fish which is so familiar to the majority of my hearers. And
perhaps it is as well that I should at once express my belief that most
of you are as little likely to mistake a heiring for anything else as I
am. Nay, I will go further. I have reason to believe that any her-
ring-merchant, in a large way of business, who may be here, knows
these fish so much better than I do that he is able to discriminate a
Yarmouth herring from a Scotch herring, and both from a Norway
herring ; a feat which I could not undertake to perform. But then it
is possible that I may know some things that he does not. He is very
unlike other fishermen and fish-merchants with whom I, have met, if
he has any but the vaguest notions of the way of life of the fish ; or
if he has heard anything about those singularities of its organization
which perplex biologists ; or if he can say exactly how and why he
knows that a herring is not a sprat, a shad, or a pilchard. And all
kinds of real knowledge and insight into the facts of nature do so bear
upon one another and turn out in strange ways practically helpful that
I propose to pour out my scientific budget, in the hope that something
more may come of it than the gratification of intelligent curiosity.

If any one wants to exemplify the meaning of the word " fish/' he
can not choose a better animal than a herring. The body, tapering to
each end, is covered with thin, flexible scales, which are very easily
rubbed off. The taper head, with its underhung jaw, is smooth and
scaleless on the top ; the large eye is partly covered by two folds of
transparent skin, like eyelids — only immovable and with the slit be-
tween them vertical instead of horizontal ; the cleft behind the gill-
cover is very wide, and, when the cover is raised, the large red gills
which lie beneath it are freely exposed. The rounded back bears the
single moderately long dorsal fin about its middle. The tail-fin is
deeply cleft, and on careful inspection small scales are seen to be con-
tinued from the body, on to both its upper and its lower lobes, but
there is no longitudinal scaly fold on either of these. The belly comes
to an edge, covered by a series of sharply-keeled bony shields between
the throat and the vent ; and behind the last is the anal fin, which is
of the same length as the dorsal fin. There is a pair of fore-limbs, or
pectoral fins, just behind the head ; and a pair of hind-limbs, or ven-
tral fins, are situated beneath the dorsal fin, a little behind a vertical
line drawn from its front edge, and a long way in front of the vent.
These fins have bony supports or rays, all of which are soft and


Like most fishes, the herring is propelled chiefly by the sculling
action of the tail-fin, the rest serving chiefly to preserve the balance
of the body, and to keep it from turning over, as it would do if left
to itself, the back being the heaviest part of the fish.

The mouth of the herring is not very large, the gape extending
back only to beneath the middle of the eye, and the teeth on the
upper and lower jaws are so small as to be hardly visible. Moreover,
when a live herring opens its mouth, or when the lower jaw of a dead
herring is depressed artificially, the upper jaw, instead of remaining
fixed and stationary, travels downward and forward in such a manner
as to guard the sides of the gape. This movement is the result of a
curious mechanical arrangement by which the lower jaw pulls upon
the upper, and I suspect that it is useful in guarding the sides of the
gape when the fish gulps the small living prey upon which it feeds.

The only conspicuous teeth, and they are very small, are disposed
in an elongated patch upon the tongue, and in another such patch,
opposite to these, on the fore part of the roof of the mouth. The
latter are attached to a bone called the vomer, and are hence termed
vomerine teeth. But, if the mouth of a herring is opened widely,
there will be seen, on each side, a great number of fine, long, bristle-
like processes, the pointed ends of which project forward. These are
what are termed the gill-rakers, inasmuch as they are fixed, like the
teeth of a rake, to the inner sides of those arches of bone on the outer
sides of which the gills are fixed. The sides of the throat of a her-
ring, in fact, are, as it were, cut by four deep and wide clefts, which
are separated by these gill arches, and the water which the fish con-
.stantly gulps in by the mouth flows through these clefts, over the gills
and out beneath the gill-covers, aerating the blood, and thus effecting
respiration, as it goes. But, since it would be highly inconvenient,
and indeed injurious, were the food to slip out in the same way, these
gill-rakers play the part of a fine sieve, which lets the water strain off,
while it keeps the food in. The gill-rakers of the front arches are
much longer than those of the hinder arches, and, as each is stiffened
by a thread of bone developed in its interior, while, at the same time,
its sides are beset with fine sharp teeth, like thorns on a brier, I sus-
pect that they play some part in crushing the life out of the small
animals on which the herrings prey.

Between these arches there is, in the middle line, an opening which
leads into the gullet. This passes back into a curious conical sac which
is commonly termed the stomach, but which has more the character
of a crop. Coming off from the under side of the sac and commu-
nicating with it by a narrow opening, there is an elogated tubular
organ, the walls of which are so thick and muscular that it might
almost be compared to a gizzard. It is directed forward, and opens
by a narrow prominent aperture into the intestine, which runs straight
back to the vent. Attache<l to tlio oonimonr-oment of the intestine


there is a score or more of larger and shorter tubular organs, which are
called the pyloric caeca. Those open into the intestine, and their aper-
tures may be seen on one side of it, occupying an oval space, in the
middle of which they are arranged three in a row.

The chief food of the herring consists of minute Crustacea, some
of them allied to the shrimps and prawns, but the majority belong-
ing to the same division as the comnaon Cyclops of our fresh waters.
These tenant many parts of the ocean in such pi'odigious masses that
the water is discolored by them for miles together, and every sweep of
a fine net brings up its tens of thousands.

Everybody must have noticed the silvery air-bladder of the her-
ring, which lies immediately under the backbone, and stretches from
close to the head to very near the vent, being wide in the middle and
tapering off to each end. In its natural state, it is distended with air ;
and, if it is pricked, the elastic wall shrinks and drives the air out, as
as if it were an India-rubber ball. When the connections of this air-
bladder are fully explored, it turns out to be one of the most curious
parts of the organization of the whole animal.

In the first place, the pointed end of the sac or crop into which
the gullet is continued runs back into a very slender duct which turns
upward and eventually opens into the middle of the air-bladder. The
canal of this duct is so very small and irregularly twisted, that,
even if the air-bladder is squeezed, the air does not escape into the
sac. But, if air is forced into the sac by means of a blowpipe, the air
passes without much difficulty the other way, and the air-bladder be-
comes fully distended. When the pressure is removed, however, the
air-bladder diminishes in size to a certain extent, showing that the air
escapes somewhere. And, if the blowing up of the air-bladder is per-
formed while the fish is under water, a fine stream of air-bubbles may
be seen to escape close to the vent. Careful anatomical investigation,
in fact, shows that the air-bladder does not really end at the point
where its silvery coat finishes, but that a delicate tube is continued

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 54 of 110)