2. A letter from Mr. Hardy to Dr. Hector, respecting a brilliant Meteor, observed in Auckland, on Sunday, the 16th October, was read. This meteor shed a very bright light, and burst into fragments in the S.E., with a faint report.
Dr. Hector said it was desirable to obtain all the information possible from observers in different parts of the colony; but the great point to determine was, the direction in which it was first seen and where it disappeared.
Mr. W. Allen said he had observed, he presumed, the same phenomenon, about half-past eight on the evening mentioned. Its first appearance was as a great light, and after taking an almost perpendicular shoot downwards in a southerly direction, it exploded, making a rushing noise. The brilliancy did not seem to be distinguished by any particular colour.
3. “On certain species of Algœ from the Chatham Islands,” by Professor Agardh. Communicated by Dr. F. von Mueller, F.R.S. (See Transactions.) This paper, on the subject of Algœ collected at the Chatham Islands by Mr. H. Travers, in 1866, described several new species, and directed this branch of botany to the attention of New Zealand collectors.
4. “On a new genus of Whale,” by Dr. J. E. Gray, F.R.S. (See Transactions.) This paper distinguished the Whale presented to the Museum by Sir George Grey, and described by Dr. Knox, in Vol. II. of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute as Balœna marginata, as forming the type of a new genus, for which he proposed the name of Neobalœna. The writer stated that this pigmy whale, which does not exceed 16 feet in length, is the true representative, in the Southern Seas, of the great right whale of the Arctic Seas.
Dr. Knox, in reply to a statement in the paper that the author did not agree with him in considering this whale to be a finner, explained that the term “finner” is applied by the whalers to this kind of whale, and that the true finner, or rorqual of the North, is known as the trigger-fin or sulphur bottom.
5. “On a new Fish of the group Coryphœnoides,” by Dr. Hector, F.R.S. (See Transaction.) The paper described a fish that was caught off Ward Island, Wellington Harbour, and brought to the author by some fishermen, in August last, as a frost-fish; but he discovered that it belonged to the same group as the cod. As the specimen was in spirits a drawing was shown. The fish was about 21 inches long, 2 ½ inches deep, and, viewed from the front, seemed to be no thicker than a good
broad-backed knife. The pectoral fin had twelve rays, the dorsal and ventral eight each.
6. “Notes on the Anatomy of the Kelp-fish,” by F. J. Knox, L.R.C.S.E. (See Transactions.) This paper on the anatomy of the Kelpfish (Coridodax pullus, Gthr.), otherwise known as butter-fish, was read by the author, who had presented a specimen to the Museum, beautifully prepared by himself. The preparation revealed an interesting question for zoologists, inasmuch as the bones being green, and unlike those of fish generally,—whether or not that peculiarity was owing to the food of the fish, which, from its peculiar scissor-like dental structure, he presumed to be the kelp amongst which it was found. He had not found, from experience, that the fish was of that palatable and succulent nature that might be naturally expected from the name butter-fish, by which it was sometimes known.
The latter view, however, was not concurred in by some members of the Society, who had found the fish to be rather delicious; and the discrepancy was therefore attributed to the primitive cooking of the Porirua people.
7. “On the Lizards of New Zealand,” by Walter Buller, F.L.S., F.G.S. (See Transactions.) This was a descriptive list of the Lizards found in New Zealand, including a notice of the characters of several new species. The nomenclature of some varieties, regarding which confusion had hitherto existed, was noticed by the author.
Preserved specimens of the different varieties were on view, so as to enable those curious in the matter to examine for themselves.
8. “On some new species of New Zealand Plants,” by J. Buchanan, of the Geological Survey Department (See Transactions.) The paper described several plants new to the New Zealand flora, either as very distinct varieties, or species belonging to the genera Wahlenbergia, Dichondra, and Aristotelia.
9. “On the Birds of New Zealand,” by T. H. Potts. (See Transactions.) This was a further contribution, by the author, on the subject of the Birds of New Zealand; and described the long-tailed cuckoo, the kaka, and the quail.
10. “Researches on the Absorptive Properties of Platinum,” by W. Skey, Analyst to the Geological Survey of New Zealand. (See Transactions.)
11. “On the capabilities of certain Sulphides to form the Negative Pole of a Galvanic Circuit or Battery,” by W. Skey. (See Transactions.) This paper stated that sulphides of certain metals are conductors of
voltaic electricity, and that they can replace the copper plate in the formation of the ordinary zinc and copper battery, evolving, however, sulphuretted hydrogen, and not pure hydrogen.
The two preceding papers gave the results of experiments in continuation of that relative to the absorption of sulphur by gold, read at the last meeting.
12. “On a new species of Megapode, in the Auckland Museum,” by Walter Buller, F.L.S. (See Transactions.) This paper described a new species of Megapodius, or mound-building bird, from the Friendly Islands, and for which the author gave the name of Megapodius Huttoni.