« ElőzőTovább »
and form, probably, the claspers of the male fish; the two fins are connected together by a frenum behind the anal openings. The rounded posterior edge of the ventral fin measures about 2} inches across, and the root of the fin 1 inch across.
There is a general rough, granular appearance over the upper surface of the body, which is now of a muddy yellowish brown colour, and this granular appearance diminishes towards the sides as you approach the pectoral fins, which are smooth above. The granules are larger and more distinct, and become circular in shape, as you approach the mesial line of the fish, which from the posterior half of the body gives indications of larger circular plates or shields, these become still larger as you approach the base of the tail, and cease in the mesial line a little beyond it, within an inch or so from the insertion of the spine. Beyond this, again, a smaller double range of ovalshaped obliquely-placed bony scales or granules can be traced for a considerable distance along the sides of the slender tail ; an indication, apparently, that as the fish increases in size with age, there will be a greatly increased development of these bony spines and shields on the back and tail. About 33 inches from the insertion of the tail you find a firm bony moveable spine inserted into the middle line of its upper surface, corresponding to the barbed spine of the sting Rays; it is about an inch in length, and is ths of an inch in breadth, but has no barbs on its sides, being smooth and edged with membrane, and terminates in a rounded and flattened button-like extremity, rather more than f of an inch in length. The sword in this instance is covered by a scabbard; what change age may make on it I am of course unable at present to say. Mr Hewan has promised to send the tails and jaws of adult individuals of both sexes for examination ; so that I hope to be able at another opportunity to enter more fully into a description of its adult characters.
The under surface of the fish is lighter in colour and smooth; the slightly arched mouth is about 21 inches from the extremity of the snout, and measures ths of an inch in width; its jaws are covered with alternate rows of small rounded or oval-shaped teeth with transverse markings, closely set together. Behind the teeth of the upper jaw there is a deep fringed velum, and a shallower smooth-edged velum lies
behind the teeth of the lower jaw, five small warty-like papillæ projecting behind it into the mouth. In front of the mouth you have the free transverse slightly-fringed margin of the undivided nasal membrane, with its frenum in the mesian line, attaching it to the upper jaw; it is also free at its outer margins (leaving an obliquely placed nasal opening on each side), and thus forms altogether a double flap, which covers the large transversely placed nasal organs. About 17 inch behind the mouth, the double row of spiracles or gill openings, five in number on each side, run backwards in a curved direction; and about 1 an inch behind them, but in the mesial line, at the forepart of the abdomen, you find a small projecting body which measures ths of an inch in length by lth of an inch in breadth ; it is 325ths inches distant from the mouth, and from it to the anal opening measures 4 inches; it appears to be the last remains of the now all but absorbed vitellus or yolk of the egg, the umbilical bag which nourished the fish in its younger stage of existence. The whole length of the fish along its under surface is, from the snout to the middle of the anal opening, 10 inches, and from the anal opening to the extremity of its slender and pointed tail 30 inches.
The tail is rounded above; it measures about an inch in breadth at its insertion to the body, and tapers to a minute point. Nearly opposite the insertion of the spine above, there begins on the under surface a narrow fin without rays, which projects about one-tenth of an inch, and runs with a low and free margin for about 3} inches down the grooved under-surface of the tail.
As this fish advances in age, its body and tail are described as becoming very rough and spiny above, and, in some instances, the tail is said to become comparatively short, at least in the old male. The fish is described as using its tail as a weapon of defence, striking its enemies with this formidable weapon, and inflicting severe and even dangerous wounds. It is stated to feed on small eels, which are abundant in the mud of the river's bed.
It is with much diffidence I have ventured to lay before the Society a notice of this African fish. It belongs to the SubFamily of the Trygonince; and if the peculiarity of the spine or spur on the tail is a character of any importance,
and not merely distinctive of an immature fish, it seems to occupy a middle position between the Genus Urogymnus of Gray—“Tail without a spine;" and the GENUS Trygon--"Tail with one or more serrated spines;" as having “ Tail with spine bordered and tipped with membrane ;” otherwise I am inclined to place this fish under the GENUS Hemitrygon of Müller and Henle, which is distinguished by having a “tail with a hem-like fin on the under side only.” In the British Museum Catalogue of 1851 there are only two species given under this genus, one from the Chinese Seas, and the other from the Adriatic; so that this large species may possibly not have been previously described; and I would accordingly, while waiting for more information on the subject, give it the provisional name of Hemitrygon Ukpam. I have presented one of the specimens of this fish to the Natural History Museum of the University.
Sir William Jardine said, the account given by the natives of the young fish entering the maternal organs was very interesting; the Rays were considered the analogues of the MarSUPIATA among animals, and it would be very curious indeed should a peculiarity of this kind be common to both. The thanks of the Society were voted to Mr Archibald Hewan, Old Calabar, for his kindness in forwarding to this country the specimens of the Ukpam.
(2) No'ice of the Passer montanus, the Tree Sparrow, shot near
Dunbar. By John ALEXANDER SMITH, M.I). The Passer montanus, the Tree Sparrow (exhibited), was shot at Pitcox, near Dunbar, by Dr C. Nelson, and was the first specimen he had seen killed in Scotland. It is distinguished from the common sparrow by its smaller size, by the chestnut colour of the top of the head, which is also more divided from the colours of the back, by the sides of the neck being white, by a distinctly-defined black spot on each cheek, and by two white stripes on the wing, there being only one in the common sparrow. Our books on ornithology state generally that this bird has never been observed in Scotland. From its considerable resemblance, however, to the common sparrow, it might be easily overlooked. Mr Keddie, assistant to Mr Sanderson of George Street, informed me he had seen specimens of this bird, some five or six years ago, frequenting
several large Scots firs near Mitchells, a hamlet not far from Leuchars, in Fife. The following extract from Dr Nelson's letter gives some interesting details :
“ The first time I saw this species alive was in Lancashire, about 10 years ago, when waiting for hawks, &c., at dusk, in a small plantation more than a mile from any house. For several nights I had observed eight or ten birds take up their abode under an old magpie's nest, and their call being something new to me, I sent some dust-shot at the nest, and down came three of this lively little finch—the first I had ever seen in the flesh. I saw nothing more of the species till about four years ago, when I killed a pair at my brother's at Castleton, near to Tantallon Castle. I expected to find them nesting in the ivy which “ braves the blast” on several points of that old ruin; but although I looked anxiously for them dozens of times, I never saw any but the common species. The specimen sent I killed with an air-cane about two months since. A colony of about a dozen has taken up their habitat in a wood about a hundred yards from my house, and for many weeks have come to feed under my windows, in company with the chaffinch and greenfinch. While I am writing this, my little favourites are within four yards of the window; and I can count as many as five-all males—one evidently an old cock, from his bright plumage. In and about my farin steading, which is not far from the house, the common species, Passer domesticus, is in hundreds; but I have never once seen P. montanus mixing with them. It would seem that he looked upon his plebeian brother with contempt, preferring the company of the bright liveried spink and the spring-tinted chloris. The food seems to be the seeds of several of our common weeds, and they will battle, and successfully, too, with the more robust greenfinch, should he trespass on their feeding-ground.”
Wednesday, February 23, 1859.-Andrew Murray, Esq., President,
in the Chair. The following Donations to the Library were laid on the table :
1. Ruminantia (from the Cyclopædia of Anatomy and Physiology.) By T. Spencer Cobbold, M.D. 2. Observations on Entozoa, with notices
of several new species. &c. By T. Spencer Cobbold, MD - From the Author. 1. Physikalske Meddelelser af Dr Christopher Hansteen. Christiania, 1858. 2. Inversio Vesicæ Urinariæ og Luxationes femorum congenitæ. Af Lektor Voss. Christiania, 1857. 3. Forhandlinger ved de Skandinaviske Naturforskeres, Christiania. 2 vols. 1847-1857.From the Royal University of Christiania. Proceedings of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool, No. 12., 1857-1858.– From the Society. The Canadian Journal of Industry, Science, and Art, new series. No. 18. November 1858.- From the Canadian Institute, Toronto. Transactions of the Botanical Society, vol. vi , part i., 1857– 1858 - From the Botanical Society, Edinburgh,
The following communications were read :
I. On some Fossil Bovine remains found in Britain. By Wm. Turner,
M.B., London ; Demonstrator of Anatomy, University of Edinburgh.
The Fossil remains which I am about to bring before the notice of the Society this evening belong to the Bovine Family of the order Ruminantia. They have been collected from various localities, and have been placed at my disposal for purposes of description by several friends to whose care their preservation is due, and to whom I must confess my acknowledgments for permission to make use of them on this occasion.
The largest and most characteristic of these Fossil Bones are from the Anatomical Museum of the University of Edinburgh, where they have formed a part of the osseus collection for upwards of forty years. No description of them has ever been put on record. I have, through the kindness of Professor Goodsir, an opportunity of describing them to the Society this evening. These bones consist of two crania, a femur, scapula, humerus, the second cervical vertebræ, a rib, and the left horncore with a small portion of the frontal bone. Unfortunately no account either of the locality in which they were obtained, or of the deposit in which they were found lying, has been preserved ; and, from the length of time which has elapsed since they were discovered, it is almost hopeless to expect that any accurate information respecting these important and interesting particulars will ever be obtained. If one might form an opinion, however, respecting the nature of the deposit in which they had been imbedded, by the deep brown colour of