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and settle on the edge of the glass not to say gourmandise; in the mator pan, high and dry ; but they de ter of shell - fish it would put even scended again after a few hours. Dando to the blush. Dr. Johnston The locomotion of the anemones is, in his valuable History of British however, various in various species. Zoophytes relates this anecdote I do not think the “ Trogs” ever (which you are not bound to believe): move ; nor do the « Gems « I had once brought to me a specimigratory ; but the “ Antheas” and men of Actinia crassicornis that the "Smooths” are somewhat rest- might originally have been two inches less. "The Actiniæ,” says Rymer in diameter, and that had somehow Jones,“ possess the power of chang- contrived to swallow a valve of ing their position ; they often elon- Pecten maximus of the size of an gate their bodies, and, remaining ordinary saucer. The shell fixed fixed by the base, stretch from side within the stomach was so placed to side, as if seeking food at a dis- as to divide it completely into two tance, they can even change their halves, so that the body stretched place by gliding upon the disc that tensely over had become thin and supports them, or detaching them- flattened like a pancake. All comselves entirely, and swelling them- munication between the inferior porselves with water, they become nearly tion of the stomach and the mouth of the same specific gravity as the was of course prevented ; yet instead element they inhabit, and the least of emaciating and dying of agitation is sufficient to drive them atrophy, the animal had availed itelsewhere. Reaumur even asserts, self of what bad undoubtedly been that they can turn themselves so as a very untoward accident, to increase to use their tentacles as feet, crawl- its enjoyments and its chance of ing upon the bottom of the sea ; but double fare. A new mouth furnished this mode of progression has not been with two rows of numerous tentacles observed by subsequent naturalists.” was opened upon what had been the Yes, Dr. Johnston once saw it ; I also base, and led to the under stomachwitnessed an Anthea moving thus; the individual had become a sort of but I suspect it is only the Anthea Siamese Twin, but with greater intiwhich has the power, and this it macy and extent in its unions." probably owes to its more solid ten- Such is the blind voracity of this tacles.
animal, that anything and everyAgain the question recurs, How thing is carried straightway into then do we know the anemone to be its stomach to be there tried, and rean animal ? in other words, what jected only on proved indigestibility. characteristic marks guide zoologists Oue day, while sorting and distriin classing it in that division ? I buting to their respective jars the really know of none but purely ana- animals captured during the morntomical marks. * These however, suf- ing's hunt, I was called into the balfice, and if you please we will con- copy by the agitated entreaties of tinue to speak of the anemone as an lovely Sixteen, exclaiming, “Oh,. do animal, and, what is more, a very car- come Mr. Contributor! do come, and nivorous animal, eating most things rescue this green anemone from a that come within reach, from limpets great nasty beetle.” I went to the to worms, from fish to roast beef. rescue, and found a large beetle It has even a reputation for voracity, struggling in the clutches of a green
* It is unnecessary to particularise these anatomical marks, which will occur to the mind of every student, as belonging exclusively to that division of animated beings which manifest the group of phenomena baptised by the name of Animality. Wherever you find muscular tissue, or an alimentary canal, you are absolutely certain that nothing belonging to the vegetable kingdom is before you. In function there is often considerable resemblance between Plant and Animal; but in structure the differences early manifest themselves, growing greater as the scale ascends. Although, therefore, at the bottom of the scale no distinguished characteristic isolates animals from plants, as we ascend the scale we find many definite marks by which the two groups may be known.
Anthea not much larger than him- thing approaching to stinging ; but self. “ The beetle is the victim," I I never touched à tentaculum withquietly told Sixteen, who, not having out perceiving the tip of it had some profound sympathies with beetles, prehensile property by which it took was pacified as she saw the struggling a slight hold of the skin of the finger, insect slowly passing into the stomach causing a kind of rasping feeling when of the Anthea, his struggles growing withdrawn. It may be, however, that fainter and fainter, and finally cease the fangs bad not fair play with my ing altogether, till at last we saw fingers, if somehow or other they are him with head and thorax engulphed sting-proof."* He then makes the in the ravenous maw, his abdomen following quotation from Mrs. Pratt's sticking up in the air.
Chapters on the Common Things of A question of great interest and the Sea-side, which I reproduce as some intricacy here presents itself : positive and direct testimony : "It Was the beetle paralysed by some appears that different persons are peculiar poison secreted from the ten- variously affected even by touching tacles of the anemone ? a question the same Actiniæ. The author had which opens into this wider one : placed in a vessel of sea-water a fine Have the polypes the mysterious specimen of the fig marigold seapower, almost universally attributed anemone, which she was accustomed to them, of paralysing with a touch to touch many times during the day. the victims they may grasp, so that, The tentacula closed immediately should the victim escape from the round the intruding finger, producgrasp, it is only to die presently from ing only a slight tingling. Her surthe fatal touch? The powers of fas- prise was great at finding that the cination possessed by some animals, same anemone, on being touched by of poisoning possessed by others, of another person, communicated a more electrical discharges possessed by powerful sensation, which her friend others, naturally lead men to in- assured her was felt up the whole of terpret certain observations made on the arm. More than twenty persons the polypes, as proofs that they, too, touched this anemone; and the writer possess some such power ; and this was amused by observing how varisuggestion gains a more ready cre- ously they were affected,
some being dence from the tendency in most only slightly tingled, while others minds to welcome every unexplained started back as if stung by a nettle.” phenomenon as indicating an occult I think, in the face of testimony so
This witch-like power of fas- precise as this, we may waive all cination, this power of paralys- negative evidence, and accept the ing with a touch, appeals to our fact of stinging as proven. But now imagination, and gains easy access to comes the question : Is this stingbelief. But the spirit of scientific ing produced by poison vesicles and scepticism forces me to declare that spicula, as the great majority of as far as my observations and ex- writers maintain ; or is it no more periments extend, there is nothing poisonous than the pricking of a like evidence in favour of this power, thorn ? Those who maintain the much evidence against it. Some ane former opinion, explain by it the mones certainly appear to sting—as alleged cases of paralysis exhibited some jelly-fish sting-although the by the animals which have escaped majority have no such effect upon our in the struggle ; and the incident hands, which every one knows who just related of the beetle killed, but has handled them. I never perceived not swallowed (he was too large for this stinging sensation myself; and that), seems entirely to favour such Dr. Landsborough says: “From my a conclusion. Nevertheless, from own experience I can say nothing as subsequent investigations I am led to this stinging power ; for though I to oppose the opinion in toto. Sir have handled not only the commoner John Dalyell-one of the best auActiviæ, but also the larger and less thorities—thinks that the anemone common Anthea, I never felt any- conquers its prey by mere strength,
* Popular History of British Zoophytes, p. 239.
and not by any poisonous fluid. He of all the anemones, and the only is somewhat exaggerated, however, one which seems to sting; but the in the statement of his opinion. crab was too active, or too little "Nothing," he says, can escape appetising : he got away as before. their deadly touch. Every animated I tried another Anthea and a Daisy being that comes in slightest con- (Actinia bellis), but with the same tact is instantly, caught, retained, result. In each case the crab was and mercilessly devoured.” This is clutched, but in each case he got mere rhetoric : animals, even such away unhurt. I then chose another as form their natural prey, con- crab, not more than half the size of stantly touch the tentacles nay, the former, and certainly no match are even caught, and get escape. in point of strength for the anemone, “ Neither strength nor size, nor the yet after being embraced and carried resistance of the victim, can daunt to the mouth, I observed the crab the ravenous captor. It will readily slowly appear from the unfolding grasp an animal which, if endowed tentacles, and scuttle away with with similar strength, advantage, great activity. and resolution, could certainly rend This experiment casts
a doubt its body asunder. It is in the high- on what is asserted by all writers, est degree carnivorous. Thence do namely, that anemones feed all the varieties of the smaller finny crabs — Rymer Jones actually retribes, the fiercest of the crustacea, cording that “ they will devour a the whole vermicular race, and the crab as large as a hen's egg." Has softer tenants among the testacea, any one ever seen a live crab caught fall a prey to the Actiniæ." One is and eaten by an anemone? I confess astonished to meet with such a pas- never to have seen it, and the exsage from so accurate an observer. periment just related disposes me It is pure exaggeration, which suc- to doubt: although it is quite possible ceeding writers have accepted as that my aremones were dainty, beliteral truth. Thus, Rymer Jones cause not hungry, and refused food assures the student that "no sooner which, under less epicurean condiare the tentacles touched by a pass- tions, would have been welcome. If ing animal, than it is seized and held any one has seen the anemone feedwith unfailing pertinacity." Had the ing on live crabs, it would be thus professor watched anemones he would that my observation could be exknow that, so far from the grasp plained. Meanwhile I think it right being “unfailing," it as often fails to propound the doubt, and to add as succeeds, when the captive is of to it this subsequent observation tolerable activity; and very notice- made on the 3d of August : I took a able is the fact, that when the ani- tiny crustacean, of the shrimp famimals escape, they escape unhurt: a ly, about half an inch in length, and fact in direct contradiction to the dropped it in vase containing belief in a poison secreted by the some Daisies. It soon touched the tentacles. On the 19th June 1856 tentacles of one of these, was drawn I resolved to bring this question to in, but almost immediately escaped. the test, and dropped a tiny crab, It then swam about until it touched rather smaller than a fourpenny piece, the largest Daisy, and was quickly on the tentacles of my largest Crassi- engulfed. As it had entirely discornis (nearly as large as a glass tum- appeared, I expected it would be bler). He was clutched at once, and the certainly killed if not eaten, but in tentacles began to close round him; a few moments it made its way out be struggled vigorously, and freed uphurt, and
These bimself after a few seconds. Placed Daisies had not been fed for at least there & second time, he again got a fortnight; they had subsisted enaway. I waited to see if any symp- tirely on the invisible aliment floattoms of paralysis would declare them- ing in the water ; yet they either selves after this contact, but he was could not, or would not, eat this as lively as ever. Later in the day crustacean. I placed him on the tentacles of the On the question of food we may Foracious Anthea, the most powerful withhold our opinion till some more decisive evidence is adduced; but time beld by the tentacle of the on the question of the paralysing hydra; and after intently watching power said to reside in the ten- them, saw them at last swim away tacles, these experiments surely de- again lively as before. I removed a termine a negative. In spite of hydra from the phial, in a little the beetle, so completely vanquished, water, and placing it on a slip of there is the evidence of two crabs glass, allowed it to settle and expand and a shrimp being in repeated con- there for two hours, when I added tact with the tentacles, and in nowise several water-fleas (Cyprida) to the affected.
little pond, and patiently watched While preparing these notes for the them swimming to and fro. Repress, I have been led to extend the peatedly they touched the tentacles experiments ; because, although it in their course, but were not hurt, would by no means necessarily fol- were not arrested. At length one low that whatever was true of the was caught, and held for some hydroid polypes must also be true of seconds; it then fell to the bottom, the anemones, yet a very plausible and remained motionless for at least suspicion might arise — and did in- two minutes, after which it started deed arise in my mind — throwing up, and was off as if its course had doubt on
results which were in never been arrested. Now came the contradiction to what was reported test. With a needle I gently arrested of the fresh-water polypes. Read one of these water-fleas; it suddenly this passage from the last edition of sank motionless, remained thus for Owen's Lectures, bearing the date more than a minute, and then darted 1855: “That the tentacula have the off again. Thrice I repeated this power of communicating some be- act, and each time with similar numbing or noxious influence to the result. Will any one say the needle living animals which constitute the had a benumbing poison which was food of the hydra, is evident from secreted when the animal came in the effect produced, for example, contact with it? And does not the upon an entomostracan, which may reader at once recognise in this sudhave been touched, but not seized, by den motionlessness of the animal a one of these organs. The little active very familar phenomenon? The spider, crustacean is arrested in the midst of the crab, the oniscus, and very many its rapid darting motion, and sinks animals “sham dead," as schoolapparently lifeless for some distance; boys know, when danger threatens ; then slowly recovers itself, and re- these water-fleas “sham dead” when sumes its ordinary movements. Sie- the polype or the needle touches bold states, that when a Naïs, & them. I might have rested my inDaphnia, or the larva of a Cheiro- credulity of the alleged paralysing nomus, have been wounded by the influence on this one experiment; but darts, they do not recover, but die. I confirmed it in other ways. DropThese and other active inhabi- ping the larva of an ephemeron into tants of fresh waters, whose powers the phial containing my hydræ, I should be equivalent to rend asunder observed it thrice caught by three the delicate gelatinous arms of their different hydræ ; it did not “sham low-organised captor, seem paralysed dead," but tore itself away without almost immediately after they have visible hurt. Nay, I also observed been seized, and so countenance the one of those animalcules known as opinion of Corda, that the secretion "paste-eels' " for some time in conof a poison enters the wounds.” tact with the tentacle of a hydra, Such statements can only be set on the stage of the microscope, but, aside by direct experiment; and the in spite of its having no shell to superiority of experiment over mere protect from the poison, it was observation needs no argument. As unhurt by the contact. Not having a matter of observation, I too bad a Naïs, I could not test what Siebold been struck with the fact noticed by says of it; but what has already Owen, I saw the tiny water-fleas been mentioned mast, I think, sufdrop apparently lifeless to the bot- fice to convince the reader that the tom of the phial, after being some current opinion is an error, founded
on observation unverified by experi- a whole Encyclopædia, and is so ment. Had I trusted to observation obliging as to retail many pages of it alone, I too should have believed freely in her conversation. Besides, the current opinion ; it was only by if the monotony of the anemone verification, according to the de- wearies you, there is always this mands of inductive scepticism, that variety in reserve: you can eat it! the error became obvious.*
The Italians do; they boil it in sea* But do tell us something about water with great satisfaction. Thus the habits and instincts of these boiled, it has “a shivering texture, anemones," some light-minded reader somewhat like calf's-foot jelly; the suggests, impatient of all discussion, smell is somewhat like that of a and supremely indifferent to all con- warm crab or lobster," and it is caten siderations, save those of a moral with savoury sauce. Mr. Gosse deorder. Unhappily my story is not scribes his frying them in butter, if 'ampler in detail, nor finer in com- I remember rightly; and although plexity of movement, than the story he felt a little difficulty in swallowof Canning's ;“ Knife-grinder”—who ing the first mouthful-probably rehad none to tell. The anemone is morse and zoological tenderness gave lovely, but ever. its warmest ad- him what the Italians call a “knot mirers must confess it is a little in the throat ”—yet, having vanmonotonous in its manifestations. quished his scruples, be ate with Existence suffices it. It expands its some relish. Lady Jane is “horrified" coron al of tentacles, eats when chance at the idea of eating her pets; but favours it, produces offspring, which now that horse-flesh is publicly sold it sends forth, leaving it,
in the markets of Vienna and other
German towns, and public banquets πολλοις διαυλοις κυματων φορουμενος, of hippophagists are frequent in borne by the many currents of the France, will anemones escape the sea, to settle where it lists, without frying-pan? any fear of parental supervision, and It was hinted just now that the thus lives to a good old age, if no
indifferent one nudges the elbow of Atropos, parent. Having given birth to her
anxious and causes that grim lady suddenly offspring, she spends no to cut the thread.t Tho anemone hours over the episodes of infancy. has little more than beauty to recom- When I say She, I might as well say mend it; the indications of intelli- He, or It, for no distinction of sex gence being of by no means a power- exists; and probably it is to this ful order. What then? Is beauty cause that the parental indifference nothing ? Is it not the subtle charm may be traced; how can maternal which draws us from the side of tenderness and ceaseless vigilance be the enlightened Miss Crosser to that expected, when the maternal indiviof the lovely though “quite unintellec- dual is as yet undeveloped ? The tual” Caroline, whose conversation, Actiniw are viviparous. Indeed I indeed, is not of a 'novel or brilliant suspect they are only viviparous, and kind; whereas Miss Crosser has read not at all oviparous. Rymer Jones
* The day this was written I could not rest till I had dredged a favourite pond and brought home a supply of Naïds, with which, on the following morning, I tested Siebold's statement. First I placed a Naïs filiformis in a glass cell with a Hydra viridis ; but although its wriggling constantly brought it into contact with the tentacles, it was never grasped. I then placed å Naïs in the phial containing many hydrae; it was instantly caught by one, and held for some time till it struggled itself free. Not only was it apparently unhurt by this contact, but to-day it is as lively as it was three days ago, just before the experiment. With two other Naids the same result was observed. This completes the overthrow of the current opinion respecting the hydra's paralysing power.
+ The age to which an Actinia may live has not yet been definitely ascertained; but Mr. Tugwell communicates in a note that Professor Fleming at Edinburgh has one in his possession, which was taken at North Berwick in 1828; 80 that, at the very least, it must be twenty-eight years old, that period having been passed in confinement. VOL, LXXXI.