Art. XIX.—On the Whales and Dolphins of the New Zealand Seas.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 6th November, 1872.]
The study of Cetaceans is beset with difficulties not experienced in other groups of the fauna of a country. The huge size of most of the species prevents the preservation of complete specimens, and opportunities occur but rarely when they can be examined in the recent state, prior to the preservation of the skeleton.
Many of the genera and species have for this reason been founded on imperfect and fragmentary skeletons that have not been identified with the living animal, so that their descriptions are necessarily almost as vague and inconclusive as those of the fossil remains of extinct forms. The following notes refer chiefly to specimens in the Colonial Museum, and are only offered in the hope that they may assist in the collection of more accurate information than we at present possess respecting this most interesting section of our fauna.
The most complete work of reference on this subject is Dr. Gray's “Catalogue of Seals and Whales in the British Museum,” 1866,* taken along with his amended synopsis published in 1868.dagger The classification adopted in the latter work has been chiefly followed, except with reference to the Ziphid whales, in which I adopt the groups proposed by Professor Flower in an article contributed to Nature in December last.
It should be remembered that in many cases, and especially in the latter group, the classification is that of the anatomist, or rather the osteologist only, while in some other cases in which the external characters of the animal have been obtained, the distinctions are sufficiently minute to satisfy the systematist. On this account there is greater difference of opinion respecting the value of generic and specific characters in this order than in almost any other, and a corresponding confusion and instability in the nomenclature. It is therefore important that no opportunity should be neglected of collecting not only specimens but also of making sketches, however rough, with exact measurements of the larger species, showing the proportions, position of fins, and other
[Footnote] * “Catalogue of Seals and Whales in the British Museum,” by J. E. Gray, F.R.S., 1866.
[Footnote] † “Synopsis of the Species of Whales and Dolphins in the Collection of the British Museum,” by J. E. Gray, Ph.D., F.R.S., 1868.
characters. As Cetaceans are not unfrequently cast up on the coast of New Zealand, I may state, for the guidance of collectors, that the bones which it is most important to preserve are the skull and ear bones, vertebræ of the neck, shoulder blade, first two or three ribs, and a few of the segments selected from different parts of the vertebral column, but in the smaller species the whole skeleton should be collected if possible.
Western Australian Whale.
Balœna marginata, Gray, “Cat. Seals and Whales,” p. 90; Hector, Trans. N.Z. Inst., II., 26, Pl. 2b. Caperea antipodarum, Gray (in part) l.c. 101. Neobalœna, Gray, “Ann. and Mag. N.H.,” 1870, 154; Trans. N.Z. Inst., III., 123.
Ear Bone, Pl. VI., figs. la. and b.
This whale has been described only from some plates of baleen in the British Museum, and from the skull and baleen of a small individual, 16 feet long, that was cast ashore on the island of Kawau, and is considered by Dr. Gray to represent in the Southern Seas the great Right Whale of the Arctic Ocean.
The baleen or whalebone is the most flexible, elastic, and toughest of any yet discovered, but is of very small size. It is on account of this character, taken along with the proportional dimensions of the baleen, that Gray places this whale among the true Balænidæ, but the external characters of the animal have not yet been observed.
The young skull, which is 4 feet 9 inches long, is depressed, and may be recognized from other baleen whales by the great length of the brain cavity, which very nearly equals the beak, and by the feeble articulation of the lower jaw. The baleen is slender, white, with a black outer margin, frayed on the inner edge to a fringe of single fine hairs, and having a highly enamelled surface.
The ear bones (Pl. VI., figs. 1a. and b.) are oblong, rough, the outer margin thick and rounded, the lower edge truncate, and the back convex. The aperture is contracted above but wide below, the wide portion being less than half the length of the bone. It is evidently on the ear bone of this species that Dr. Gray has founded his Caperea antipodarum, or New Zealand Right Whale, a species which must therefore be reserved until supported by further observation.
The Black Whale—Tohora.
E. australis, Gray, l.c. 91. Balœna (Caperea) antipodarum, Gray, (in part) l.c. p. 101; Dieffenbach's N.Z., II., Tab. 1.
Ear bone, Pl. VI., f. 2.
These two species are for the present placed together because whalers do not recognize two kinds of Black Whale, and the only portion of the second species which is described by Dr. Gray is an ear bone sent to the British Museum from Otago by Mr. Stuart, but which, as already stated, I find to agree with that of his Neobalœna marginata. The skeleton of Caperea antipodarum in the Paris Museum (Gray, l.c. 371), taken on the coast of New Zealand, is however considered by Professor Flower to differ from that of B. australis in having square nasal bones and a simple (not forked) first rib.
The Black Whale is the largest and best known of all the whales on the New Zealand coast, reaching a length of 60 feet. Its huge bones may be seen strewn on the beach in great profusion at any of the whaling stations, but generally in a bad state of preservation. The skull is triangular, convex, with the beak bent down rather suddenly, and the posterior part depressed, the brain cavity being only one-third the length of the beak. The vertebæ of the neck are united into a compact mass, the spinous processes forming a solid crest. The ear bone (Pl. VI., fig. 2) is rhombic, with a large oblong aperture. The baleen is thick, rather brittle, with thin enamel, and margined with a thick fringe. The blades are from 2 to 9 feet in length.
The females visit the bays and inlets round the coast to calve during the winter months from May to August, where they are captured by the shore whalers. The males are seldom caught, as they rarely approach the land and are more shy and wild than the females. From October to May the Black Whales are only captured by cruisers on the whaling ground which extends from the Chatham Islands to Norfolk Island.
Several vertebræ, and two imperfect tympanic bones of this whale are in the Museum.*
[Footnote] * A very perfect tympanic and periotic bone has been obtained in Preservation Inlet, on the West Coast of Otago, since the above was written, and agrees with the figure of the Ear Bones of the adult Balœna australis given in Huxley's “Comp. Anatomy,” p. 397.
Harbour in 1869 appears to have been of this species from the character of the ear bone, which unfortunately was the only part preserved of the animal, which measured 34 feet in length.
The Humpback whales are well known to whalers, but are seldom molested. According to Bennett they roam about the ocean in small herds, seldom at any great distance from land. They are to be recognized by their having a short robust form, broad flat-topped head, a low broad dorsal fin or lump behind the middle of the body, very long pectoral fins, and the skin of the throat and chest deeply plaited with longitudinal folds.
The baleen is short, broad, and triangular, but much longer than the breadth at the base, edged with bristles that are thick and ridged near the tip. (Gray.)
There are in the Museum three ear bones (Pl. VI., figs. 3a. and b.) which I refer to this species, one of them being from the skull of the individual referred to as having been caught in Wellington Harbour.
Southern Finner, or Razorback.
P. australis, Gray, l.c. 161. P. antarcticus, Gray, l.c. 164.
The only reason suggested by Dr. Gray for distinguishing the second of the above species is that a quantity of Finner's baleen has been imported from New Zealand that is yellowish-white, the baleen of the Northern Finner or Great Rorqual (Physalus antiquorum) being slate grey, but the colour of the baleen of his Physalus australis is not mentioned so that the above distinction requires to be verified. The Finners are the longest of the whale species, and are distinctly referred to by some authors as occurring in the New Zealand seas. They are, however, rarely caught, as their great size and activity render them formidable antagonists, while the quantity of oil they give is small and their baleen has no commercial value. Like the Humpbacks they have the throat and belly longitudinally plaited, but differ in having a high falcate dorsal fin and pectorals of moderate length. The bones of the neck are not united.
This whale is not represented as yet in the Colonial Museum.
C. macrocephalus, Lacép, Gray, l.c. 202.
The Spermaceti Whale is not uncommon in the north latitudes of New Zealand, eastwards to the Chatham Islands, and occasionally as far south even as Stewart Island. According to Dieffenbach, they often fall a prey to the
whaling ships which cruise in the open sea, but rarely approach the coast like the Black Whale. Several teeth of Sperm Whales are in the Museum, and also other varieties of smaller sized teeth of several forms, chiefly found on the east coast of Wellington, which have not yet been referred to any species. Dieffenbach mentions a Sperm as having been brought ashore in Tory Channel, respecting which Mr. Wilson, an old whaler now living at Waikanae, informs me he was one of the party that secured this very whale, and that it was a dead animal, in such an advanced state of decomposition that nearly all the bones had dropped out of the flesh. He states that such boneless bodies of whales are not uncommonly met with drifting about in the ocean. The head of a large Sperm Whale used to lie in the sand-hills south of Waikanae, but was broken up by the natives some years ago for the sake of the teeth.
D. forsteri, Gray, l.c. 248.
Pl. II. and III.
The skull of this species, which was founded on a drawing by Forster, has not been described, but I provisionally refer to it two skulls obtained on the west coast of this province, which do not agree with any described species, though resembling most nearly the Cape Dolphin (D. longirostris, Gray, l.c. 241), but differing from it in having a much shorter beak and fewer teeth.
Skull rounded behind; beak rather linear, depressed on the sides, three-fifths the total length, and three times the width at the notch; intermaxillaries narrow, forming a prominent hard ridge, and united for a third of their length to form a bony tube; maxillaries with a third ridge in front of the notch; hinder wing with a flat area over the orbit, and bent up posteriorly; supra-occipital crest prominent; forehead sloping; blowers small, equal to middle width of beak; nasal processes prominent; triangle rough, without defined margins, not extending to the teeth; symphysis of lower jaw equal to half the width of beak at the notch; Palate with a groove on each side, deep behind and shallow in front.
A.—Skull, Waikanae beach. B.—Skull, Wanganui beach, from Rev. R. Taylor, F.G.S. C.—The skull of a porpoise, captured in the South Atlantic in June, 1872, during the voyage of the “Electra” from London to New Zealand, agrees with the above in every respect, except in the teeth which are fewer in number. The teeth are quite perfect, and are small and incurved. This specimen has been taken to England by James Brogden, Esq.
Measurement of Skulls in Inches.
|Length of beak||12||11||10.5|
|Width at notch||3.6||3.5||3.5|
|Width at middle of beak||2||2||2|
The following is abridged from Forster's description of the Porpoise, to which I attribute these skulls:—
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Teeth 44/44 Body straight, round, thickest behind; head rounded, shelving in front; beak, pointed, straight, attenuated; lower jaw longest; dorsal fin in middle of back, triangular falcate; tail-lobes sub-falcate; tail attenuated, keeled above and below; pectoral lanceolate, scarcely as long as the beak.
Greenish brown or rust colour above, white beneath, a white spot on the dorsal and pectorals. Length, 6 feet. (Gray, l.c., 248.)
I have frequently seen a porpoise answering to this description, as far as could be judged from a boat, in Queen Charlotte Sound and Blind Bay.
Clymenia Novæ Zealandiæ.
Delphinus novœ-zealandiœ, Q. and G. Gray, l.c. 246.
The skull of a large porpoise cast ashore at Waikanae appears to belong to this species, but having a flat palate it must be removed from the genus Delphinus to Clymenia. It resembles C. euphrosyne, but has a more slender beak and a larger number of teeth in the lower jaw.
Skull rounded behind, forehead sloping rather abruptly; crests and nasal bones prominent and rough; maxillaries spongy, expanded, posterior wing with horizontal and ascending areas; intermaxillaries elevated, callous, a little expanded in the middle of the beak, not united, and wide apart in front.
Triangle bounded by a callous ridge, very rough, extends beyond the hinder teeth; blower small, equal to half the width at notch; palate flat; length of symphysis of lower jaw equals one-third the width at the notch.
|Width at notch||4.5 "|
|Width in middle||3 "|
The description of D. novœ-zealandiœ, to which I suppose the skull to belong, is as follows, and applies with deviations in colouring to a very large species of porpoise that frequents the West Coast Sounds and is known as the Cow-fish:—
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Teeth 43/47; body elongate, rounded in front; beak cylindrical, flattened, and pointed; lower jaw longest; forehead rounded and prominent; dorsal fin large, triangular, rounded at tip; tail-lobes flattened, with a compressed keel between the base and the dorsal fin; caudal small, nicked, cordate; pectorals moderate, falciform.
Above black-brown, edge of upper jaw and beneath dull white, with a yellow band from the edge along the side to beneath the dorsal; tail slate colour; pectoral and dorsal dull white, the latter with a dark edge. The lower jaw with small pores, and the body with small plates of regularly twisted white striæ.
Length 5 feet 10 inches, (Gray, l.c., 246.); but the Cow-fish reaches to at least 8 feet in length.
Tursio obscurus, Gray, l.c. 264.
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Skull much rounded behind; crests feeble but sharp; forehead slightly concave in outline; maxillaries sloping on side of beak, constricted and rough before the notch, and with a slightly concave hinder wing; intermaxillaries not elevated, tapering, callous, with a marked ridge bounding the triangle which extends to opposite the twelfth tooth from the back; blowers very wide, equal to two-thirds the width at the notch; symphysis of lower jaw short, equals one-fourth of jaw; palate flat; teeth 34/28.
This skull, obtained on the Wanganui beach by the Rev. R. Taylor, agrees with the figure and description of the above species.
The body is described as black, with diverging streaks on the side, and whitish beneath. It has a distinct dorsal fin situated two-fifths from the snout; the entire length being about 5 feet.
New Zealand Bottle-nose.
Lagenorhyncus clanculus, Gray, l.c. 271. Hector, “Ann. and Mag. N. H.,” 1872, 436.
Pl. I. and III.
Teeth 32/32; head convex; snout conical; lower jaw longest; body fusiform; greatest height one-fifth total length; pectoral narrow, falcate, equal in length
to base of dorsal; a single dorsal, low and rounded, commences at middle of back and over the umbilicus. Tail-lobes narrow, falcate, each one-third longer than the pectoral.
Nose and forehead pure white, bounded by a crescent of black behind the blow-hole, sharply defined in front, but shading off behind to light grey, which is the uniform colour of the upper surface of the body. Fins are all darker than the trunk; there is also pure black round the blow-hole, cloaca, and vent. The white of the snout extends behind the eye, but the dusky colour extends forward beneath the angle of the mouth. The lower aspect is white as far back as the vent, but is crossed by an isthmus of dark grey beneath the pectorals. The white band is continued by two lateral stripes that ascend on the flanks. The colouring, as far as I have been able to judge by casual inspection is very uniform in all the individuals.
This dolphin differs in external characters from the genus Lagenorhynchus (as described in the “Catalogue of Seals and Whales,” p. 267) in the forward position of the dorsal, and the absence of a second fin-lobe on the back.
Common in Cook Strait and on the West Coast as far south as Jackson Bay, travelling in large schools.
A Bottle-nose shot in 1871 had a total length of 51 inches, girth 32 inches, and weight 78 lbs.
|Snout to anterior margin of pectoral||12|
|"angle of mouth||6|
|"commencement of dorsal||24|
|Length of base of dorsal||8|
|Spread of tail||15|
|Length of anterior margin of tail-lobe||12|
There is a complete skeleton and several skulls and lower jaws in the Colonial Museum, this being the most commonly cast up of any of the dolphins round the coast.
The skull is flask-shaped, the beak being wide at the base, rapidly tapering to an acute point in front, with the edges bevelled in a regular manner. The teeth are small, cylindrical, curved, and pointed. Palate slightly concave.
The length of the adult skull is 14 inches, the beak forming half the length, and being three times the width of its middle part; height of the occiput 5.7 inches. The cervical vertebræ are anchylosed into a solid mass 1.3 inch in length.
The dentition of the various specimens in the Museum is as follows, and shows that this character is a reliable one for the determination of species.
|Length of lower jaw.||Teeth.|
|1. Skull of complete skeleton||11.||32/31 – 31/31|
|2. " " "||9.||31/31 – 31/31|
|3. Skull||10.||32/31 – 31/31|
|4. Lower jaw||12.5||/31 – /32|
|5. " "||12.||/31 – /31|
|6. " "||12.||/31 – /31|
|7. " "||11.||/31 – /32|
In every case three or four of the front teeth are feeble and irregularly developed, the variation in the numbers observed depending on the condition of this part of the jaw.
The other teeth are cylindrical and acutely incurved, the middle ones being the best developed.
T. metis, Gray, l.c. 256.
Animal unknown. Skull globular; back of blower tubercular; rostrum thick, conical, tapering, longer than head, and more than twice as long as width at notch; intermaxillaries convex and more than half the width of the beak; triangle extends to the commencement of the tooth series; teeth large, the sockets being half an inch from centre to centre, 22/21 — 22/21.
To this species, which is founded on a single skull in the British Museum, the habitat of which is unknown, I refer a skull obtained by Mr. T. H. Potts at Dusky Bay, which has the following measurements:—
|Width at orbits||10.|
|" " notch||5.3|
|" "middle of beak||3.|
|Length of beak||11.5|
|" "lower jaw||17.5|
|" "dental groove||10.|
The teeth are wanting, but the lower jaw appears to have had a slightly larger terminal tooth on each side directed obliquely forwards. The tooth sockets are very large, and nearly an inch in depth. The lower jaw is very stout.
Tasmanian Black Fish.
P. meridionalis (Flower), Gray, l.c. 291.
Teeth, 88/10 10; head rounded, scarcely beaked; black on back and sides, lighter below; male head larger than female; head obtuse, like that of a Sperm Whale; pectorals small; dorsal hook-shaped, situated one-third the total length from the tail; teeth conical, acute, very large; compressed on the sides; skull rounded; beak short, tapering; intermaxillary broad. (Gray.)
An imperfect skull in the Colonial Museum appears to resemble this species. The occipital area is rounded and tumid without any marked crests or ridges. Its length is 9 inches, and the width at the notch is 13 inches. The whole of the beak is wanting. The bones of this skull have a soft porous texture. It was picked up in Lyall Bay.
To this species I also refer the skeleton of a young animal found on the Kaiapoi beach, and now being prepared for the Canterbury Museum. The teeth 10/10 – 10/10 are rather widely set, black in colour, incurved, and many of them split longitudinally.
G. richardsoni, Gray l.c. 299.
Teeth /4–/4; lower jaw straight, regularly diverging, scarcely bulging on the side behind, united with a rather long, wide symphysis, obliquely truncate in front, with a rather prominent tuberous gonyx; teeth far apart, conical, tapering at tip, but sub-cylindrical at base.
Animal unknown. Cape seas.
A lower jaw obtained on the Manawatu beach, and placed in the Museum by Dr. Buller, appears to agree with the above, but has only three teeth on each side.
Its length is 15 inches.
B. kingii, Gray, l.c. 309.
Teeth 10/9; head rounded; teeth conical, hooked, often truncate, the upper ones often wanting; no dorsal; skull with nose and outer wing of maxilla bent over the orbits, making the forehead very convex; beak short, not half the length of the skull, and scarcely longer than the width at the notch; skull, entire length 13.5 inches; beak 5.5 inches; width at orbits 8 inches, at notch 4.5 inches. (Australia.)
A very imperfect skull in the Museum from the Swainson collection agrees with the above dimensions and characters as far as can be ascertained. A large light-coloured porpoise is not uncommon at certain seasons in Blind Bay, which may perhaps be this species.
New Zealand Black-fish.
G. macrorhynchus, Gray, l.c. 320.
Teeth 8/8 – 8/8; head very much swollen, thick, square, and short; snout blunt; teeth, sub-cylindrical; angles of the lip curved upwards; body clumsy and terminates abruptly; colour uniform black; skull broad; beak wide, nearly as broad at the middle as at the notch; intermaxillaries expanded to cover nearly the whole upper surface.
Total length 16 to 20 feet. (Gray.)
Two skulls in the Colonial Museum, prepared by Dr. F. Knox; length 26 inches; height of occiput 14 inches; length of beak 15 inches, and width at notch 11 inches.
Five cervical vertebræ anchylosed.
The Black-fish visit the coast in large schools, and occasionally run into shallow bays, where they get stranded, and fall a prey to the natives and settlers. They yield from 30 to 35 gallons of inferior oil, but are not killed without some risk, as they occasion a sickness or vertigo to those who slaughter them, which has sometimes been attended with fatal results. (See Trans. N.Z. Inst, I., 44.)
PL. IV. and V.
Beak of skull tapering with a slight upward curve; vomer forming a callous ridge, depressed between the intermaxillaries; upper jaw toothless, lower jaw elongate, tapering, bent up and truncate, terminating in two short cylindrical teeth, with a sunken dented groove behind them.
A skull, without styloid processes or tympanic bones, and having the sperm cavity laid open, collected by Mr. H. Travers at the Chatham Islands, has the following dimensions:—
|Total length, with lower jaw||36|
|Width at orbits||20|
|Width at notch||12|
|Height of crest, above occipital foramen||15|
|Width of occiput||15|
|Length of beak from pre-orbital notch||18|
|" " width||5|
|Width of beak at 12 inches from extremity||5|
|" " height of ramus||7|
|Weight of teeth 817 and 836 grs.||7|
The beak is trigonal, obliquely truncate, and slightly upturned, three times the length of the brain cavity; vomer is small, fusiform, truncate posteriorly (probably from its having been broken off in opening the sperm cavity) callous and depressed in a groove that is formed by the thin callous margin of the intermaxillaries, which are continued backwards to form a moderately high ridge, inclosing an oval basin, and rising to a deeply-notched crest that overhangs the blowers at the level of the supra-occipital crest; the beak is slightly unsymmetrical at the point, being twisted to the right; the blowers are strongly twisted to the left; the maxillaries are slightly elevated, inclosing a lateral groove on each side of the beak, which groove expands backwards to form shallow supra-orbital basins.
On the lower aspect of the beak there are imperfect dental grooves, but no tooth sockets, nor any acute tubercular granulations as described in. E. desmarestii.
The lower jaw projects three inches beyond the beak, the thin callous rami having straight, entire, upper margins as far as the commencement of the symphysis, where they curve upwards and end in a conical, truncate point, which is level with the upper surface of the beak when the mouth is closed, and terminates in two short, stout, slightly compressed teeth (Pl. V., 2a. and b.), two inches long and four in circumference, implanted in shallow sockets. The teeth have slight irregular striæ, and are worn down into two lateral facets divided by an acute ridge. The position of the teeth, when the jaws are closed, is two inches beyond the upper mandible, and unless they are applied against callosities on the upper lip it is difficult to conceive how they are worn down to this acute form. Two teeth of similar form, taken from the jaw of a whale cast up on the Manawatu beach, have their facets forming an obtuse pyramidal tip (Pl. V. 3.) A shallow dental groove extends back from the tooth sockets for fifteen inches with well marked nutrient foramina that indicate twenty-two suppressed teeth.
Only two species of Epiodon are known, and it is possible that the above may be identical with. Epiodon australis from Buenos Ayres, the description of
which I have not seen. Except in the upward curve of the beak, and the less development of the vomerine callosity, this skull resembles Petrorhynchus capensis, Gray, l.c. 345. *
Since the above was written I have examined the skull of a very old female specimen of this whale, captured in Port Cooper, the complete skeleton of which is being prepared in the Canterbury Museum; it has the same measurements and general form with the Chatham Islands specimen, but the sperm cavity in front of the blow-hole is covered in by a thin callous plate. The teeth at the extremity of the lower jaw were nearly absorbed, being reduced to conical fangs, with rough surfaces, having constricted sub-cylindrical summits terminating in short acicular tips, and were so deeply imbedded in the gums that their presence was overlooked until after maceration.
Dr. Haast informs me that the length of this whale was 28 feet, and that it had no dorsal lobe. The colour was black above and white beneath, but the back and sides were marked with oval spots 2 to 3 inches across, like the skin of a leopard.
The rostrum of an individual of this species, found at Lyall Bay, near Wellington, having a less upward curve, is in the Colonial Museum.
D. layardii, Gray, l.c. 353. Mesoplodon, Flower, l.c.
Teeth 2, on sides of lower jaw, strap-shaped, produced, arched, obliquely truncate at the end, with a conical process on the front of the terminal edge.
Lower jaw, Chatham Islands, obtained by Mr. H. Travers.
The total length of this jaw is 2 feet 9 inches; the posterior third is thin, convex externally, expanded, having a height of 6 inches. It is then straight, and compressed in its middle third as far as the commencement of the symphysis, which unites the rami for their anterior third into a straight
|I. Genus Hyperoodon, Lacépède.|
|H. rostratus, Wesmael.|
|H. latifrons, Gray.|
|II. Genus Ziphius, Cuvier.|
|Z. cavirostris, Cuvier.|
|Z. indicus, Van Beneden.|
|Z. (Petrorhynchus) capensis, Gray.|
|Z. (Epiodon) australis, Bur.|
|Z. (Epiodon) chathamiensis.|
|III. Genus Mesoplodon, Gervais.|
|M. (Ziphius) sowerbiensis, Gervais.|
|M. (Z.) layardii, Gray.|
|M. densirostris, De Blainville.|
|IV. Genus Berardius, Duvernoy.|
|B. arnuxii, Duv.|
[Footnote] *The following is the manner in which the Ziphid Whales should be grouped according to the views expressed by Professor Flower in a recent paper—“Nature,” Vol. V., No. 110, p. 105, Dec. 7th, 1871:—
conical beak, channelled above and rounded below. The binder edge of the tooth is 18 inches from the condyle, the width of the base of the tooth is 5 inches, and its anterior margin is 1½ inches in advance of the commencement of the symphysis. The lower margin of the jaw is swollen opposite the insertion of the teeth, which are deeply inserted, and slope obliquely backwards, with a decided incurvature towards the mesial line. The teeth are 6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and ¾ inch thick. The acute point on the upper angle is very marked, and the anterior edge is worn into a deep notch, with a rough surface showing the laminated structure of the tooth. It is implanted in the jaw by seven or eight fang-like processes, as if formed by the fusion together of a number of teeth.
There is no socket or notch in the jaw posterior to the tooth, the upper edge of the jaw being sharply defined, but from the tooth forwards there is a distinct dental groove showing the remains of alveolar processes.
The species to which I refer the jaw is only known from a single specimen obtained at the Cape of Good Hope, which differs in the greater height and more marked incurvature of the teeth. As it is a larger individual, the lower jaw measuring 3 feet, this difference may be due to age or sex.
Mesoplodon, Flower, l.c. Berardius arnuxii (Duv.), Hector, Trans. N.Z. Inst., II., 27. Smaller Ziphid Whale, Hector and Knox, Trans. N.Z. Inst., III., 125. PI. XIII., XIV. and XV.
Ear bones; Pl. VI., 4a. and b.
Teeth /2; body fusiform; head rounded, beaked, upper snout long and flexible; eye half way between the angles of the mouth and the pectorals, which are small; dorsal over the tail; tail-lobes large, falcate (Knox); skull globular, with a slender conical beak; intermaxillaries form thin linear callous plates, incurved, and inclosing a deep groove occupied by a ligament that extends back from the snout to the blow-holes (as in Berardius), where the groove is closed by the slightly expanded front edge of the septum. [In the adult this groove is obliterated, and the upper surface of the beak forms a hard callous ridge, as in Epiodon.] They then form a flat lunate area in front of the blow-holes, and behind rise vertically to form moderate knob-like
[Footnote] *Dr. Gray informed me in January last that he intended to describe this species under a different name, but not having heard from him again on the subject I adopt the name I originally suggested in compliment to Dr. F. Knox, the veteran anatomist, who has devoted much of his leisure to the study of Cetaceans during thirty years residence in this Colony.
crests, separated by a notch, the nasal bones being feebly developed; the maxillaries commence at the sides at some distance from the tip of the beak, but expand behind into a slightly concave surface that covers the whole of the frontal area; the supra-occipital is convex; blow-holes are straight, almost equally developed, and vertical; the skull being only very slightly unsymmetrical; lower jaw expanded and convex behind, produced and slender in front, united by a symphysis equal to one-third the total length of the bone, and which is slightly ascending; the teeth are deeply implanted in the top of the jaw, and were completely inclosed in the gums, so as only to be discovered by dissection; they are small, quite compressed, of oblique triangular shape, rough at the base, but with a sharp polished tip. Their weight is about forty grains each.
A. Skull (for dimensions, see Trans. N. Z. Inst., II., 27), cervical vertebræ, scapulæ, hyoid and pectoral bones of a specimen cast ashore in Taitai Bay near Porirua. Total length, 9 feet 3 inches. Collected by Dr. Knox. This skull was at first taken for a young Berardius on account of the deep groove along the beak.
Two teeth of the same shape have been obtained, the one in New Zealand, the other in the Chatham Islands, which are of much larger size, weighing over 200 grains. This circumstance, and the very spongy character of the bones, and the imperfect ossification of the sutures, lead to the belief that the above described specimen was only a young individual, and that this whale reaches a much larger size. A second skull, with part of the beak broken off, has since been found in a sandy deposit, some distance from the sea, near Wanganui. It agrees exactly in size and form with the foregoing.
B. The skull of an adult in the Canterbury Museum, picked up on the Kaiapoi beach, has the same general form, but is one-fourth larger, and is slightly different in its proportion, the beak being more slender at the notch. The groove along the upper surface of the beak is completely obliterated, and converted into a dense callous ridge, with a depressed channel on each side. The sutures of the skull have also been completely ossified, and the bone has lost the spongy texture that characterizes the two first specimens described.
The following are the measurements of the skull in the Canterbury Museum:—
|Length of beak||18|
|Width at orbits||11|
|Height of occiput||10.5|
|Width of blow-hole||2.|
|Skull symmetrical. Lower jaw wanting.|
B. arnuxii (Duv.) Gray, l.c. 348, Haast, Trans. N.Z. Inst., II., 190. Knox and Hector, Trans. N.Z. Inst. III., 128, Pl. XVI. and XVII.
Ear bones; Pl. VI., 5a. and b.
Teeth /2; dorsal fin large, extended far back with a large boss in front of it; beak of skull sub-cylindrical, slender; intermaxillaries linear, slender, rather swollen on the sides of the blowers, but not reflected to form a crest; nasal bones swollen, as in Globiocephalus; maxillary bones, shorter externally than the intermaxillaries, flat and expanded over the orbits; teeth triangular, sub-compressed, with base rugulose; point acute and smooth in the side of lower jaw close to tip, but not protruded through the gum; pectoral fins triangular; colour deep velvety black, lighter beneath; atlas, second, third, and fourth cervicals anchylosed; fifth and sixth free.
Skull, cervical vertebræ, hyoid, clavicle and sternebræ, of a specimen killed in Wellington harbour; prepared by Dr. Knox.
Length 27 feet.
Description of Plates.
Plate I.—Clymenia obscura, Gray.
Side and upper view of skull, one-fifth nat. size.
Electra, clancula, Gray.
Side and upper view of skull, one-fifth nat. size.
Plate II.—Delphinus forsteri, Gray.
Side and upper view of skull, one-fifth nat. size.
Clymenia novœ-zealandiœ, Forster.
Side and upper view of skull, one-fifth nat. size
Plate III.—Dolichodon layardii, Gray. One-eighth nat. size.
Lower jaw, from above.
" "side view.
" "front view.
Right tooth, side view.
" "from above.
Electra clancula, Gray.
Delphinus forsteri, Gray.
(Reduced from Pl. XXIV., “Voy. of Ereb. and Terr.”)
Plate IV.—Epiodon chathamiensis.
Side, lower, and upper views, one-eighth nat. size.
Plate V.—Epiodon chathamiensis.
1a. Side view of lower jaw. 1b. Upper view of lower jaw. One-eighth nat. size.
Plate V. — Epiodon chathamiensis.—continued.
2a. and b. Tooth of the specimen collected by H. Travers.
3a. and b. Tooth collected by Dr. Buller (nat. size.)
Plate VI.—Tympanic Bones. Half nat. size.
and b. Jeobalœna marginata, Gray.
Eubalœna australis, Gray.
and b. Megaptera novœ-zealandiæ, Gray.
and b. Mesoplodon knoxi.
and b. Berardius arnuxii, Gray.
[Note.—7th February, 1873—A communication just received from Dr. Gray since the previous pages were pressed enables me to add the following:—
M. australiensis, Gray, “Cat. Seals and Whales,” 105.
This is a new whalebone whale to New Zealand, the species having been founded on a few bones in the Australian Museum at Sydney. It has now been added to our fauna through a skeleton having been sent to the British Museum by Dr. Haast.
The minute description of the cervical vertebræ of the British Museum skeleton, given by Dr. Gray, leaves no doubt that it is the common Black Whale of New Zealand, which I have referred to above as Eubalœna australis.
B. hectori, Gray, “Ann. and Mag. N.H.,” 1871, VIII., 117.
This is Mesoplodon knoxi of the foregoing list. Dr. Gray mentions the skull of an allied form in the Sydney Museum as being Mesoplodon longirostris, Krefft. I have already mentioned that the first described skull in the Colonial Museum with the deep groove between the thin linear intermaxillaries, occupied by a ligament, is probably only the young condition of the skull in the Canterbury Museum which has a solid beak, and it is not improbable that the young animal may possess a prehensile upper lip to assist it in sucking, and that in the adult state this condition disappears, and the snout acquires the acute form.—J. H.]
Art. XX.—On the Birds of New Zealand.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 23rd October, 1872; and before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 4th September and 12th December., 1872.]
List of Birds described in this Paper.
[The species are numbered in conformity with the lists given in Parts I. and II. in Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. II., Art. viii., and Vol. III., Art. xi.]
Athene (Strix) parvissima, Potts.
Halcyon vagans, Gray.
Anthornis melanocephala, Gray.
Zenicus longipes, Gml.
Sphenœacus punctatus, Quoy.
24. Gerygone sylvestris, n. s.
Certhiparus novæ-zealandiæ, Gml.
Zosterops lateralis, Lath.
Keropia crassirostris, Gray.
Creadion carunculatus, Gml.
Coturnix novæ-zealandiæ, Quay.
Apteryx australis, Shaw.
" oweni, Gould.
" mantelli, Bartl.
" haastii, Potts.
65. Charadrius obscurus, Gml.
" bicinctus, Jard.
65. Anarhynchus frontalis, Quoy.
73. Ardea alba, Linn.
78. Himantopus spicatus, Potts, n. s.
79. Limnocinclus australis.
Rallus pictus, Potts.
Casarca variegata, Gml.
Spatula variegata, Gould.
106. Puffinus tristis, Forst.
119. Prion australis, n. s.
131. Sterna nereis, Gould.
Phalacrocorax punctatus, Sparrm.
No. 6.—Athene (Strix) Parvissima, Potts.
Dr. Finsch expresses an opinion that this small raptorial should no longer remain on the list of our fauna, but since the third volume of the Transactions was published, the writer has been able to collect additional evidence as to the existence of this arboreal owl.
On reference to that volume (pp. 68 and 69) it may be seen that three localities were named, in the forests and bushes that hem in the Rangitata and its tributaries, in which it had been observed.
It has also been taken at the Waimate, where it remained for a day in the roof of a hut. Mr. M. Studholme had it in his hands, but permitted it to escape. At the Waimate stands, or stood, the finest totara forest (Podocarpus) in Canterbury. On a visit to the Waio river, in Westland, the writer found that it had been twice observed there. In the first instance the captor, delighted with the gentle manner of the little owl, gave it liberty. The second specimen was shot at dusk, on the meat-gallows of a secluded outstation, about ten miles inland from the sea; this spot is surrounded by dense forests, which bound the river on either hand. The person who got this bird, did not think of preserving it. He described it as being of a similar brown colour above, to the more-pork (Athene novœ-zealandiœ), but that the feathers of the breast were marked with yellowish, that is spotted with a lighter shade of fulvous.
Mr. Phillips of Rockwood, in this province, one moonlight night captured a specimen by taking it quietly off a bough of an apple tree; here is a good instance in which no mistake could occur, as the young of Athene novœ-zealandiœ have been several times snared in the bush at Rockwood. Mr. Phillips, like Mr. Studholme with his bird, carried it between his hands and allowed it liberty; he described it as being about the size of our kingfisher. Note that each observer of this pretty owl was impressed with its gentleness and its fearless confidence. Both have long colonial experience, are accustomed to birds, and are men of position, well known beyond their own districts. Athene parvissima must not be given up, even to satisfy the most erudite of ornithologists; for how long was the shrike (Colluricincla) considered a doubtful species? The fiat of the ornithologist went forth, ordering our lists to be purged of Graculus carunculatus; yet, after a very long dive, that ornamental shag has once more come up to the surface, and “saved the number of his mess.”
No. 7.—Halcyon Vagans, Gray.
This valuable insectivorous bird, never molested here, remains with us throughout the year, and in greater numbers than formerly; constant familiarity
has enabled us to acquire further knowledge of the ways of the halcyon. Rather late in August, when the brown-skinned konini begins to deck its bare sprays with pendulous flowers, when the head of the straight-stemmed kowhai is already crowned with racemes of golden blossoms, integratio amoris, or rather the beginning of courtship, seems to occupy a share of the time which is not required to obtain the means of satisfying the cravings of the halcyon's somewhat exacting appetite. Observation has rather led us to the belief that the female takes the initiative in these amorous advances. Whilst watching several birds which were busily engaged in snatching up and bearing off crustaceœ from the sea-beach, in which employment the cock birds displayed most activity, usually getting three or four crabs to one picked up by a hen bird, a hen would perch herself close to a male after one of his successful darts; all unmoved, he rapped his prey on his rocky stand and proceeded to gulp it down, apparently unconscious of the blandishments of the would-be charmer. Through the month of September we have noticed similar instances of insensibility or coyness on the part of the males, under circumstances when the females have had little chance of being favoured with some choice prey as a gage d'amour. Forwardness on the part of “the sex” is not without precedent; we have noticed that the nuptial plumage of the female spotted shag (P. punctatus) reaches its full development before that of the male; frequently one may observe the red plume-like stigmas of the hazel on the spray where the male catkins hang immature.
During last season we knew of several nests that contained altogether nearly forty eggs. At each breeding place that had been excavated in a bank or wall, the tunnel invariably inclined upwards, the entrance at some distance from the ground, four or five feet and upwards. In one instance the hole was not more than two feet from the base of a wall built on rather a steep slope, this is noted to show that the habits of our bird differ from those of its European congener Alcedo ispida. In Wood's “Homes without Hands,” p. 519, is a representation of the nest of the English bird, and it may be noticed there that the floor of the tunnel is nearly on a level with the surface of the water; our bird always ascends in entering, and descends on quitting the nest.
Note.—October 10th, first egg laid in a nest on our cliff; second egg laid on the 12th before 10 a.m.; third egg laid on the 14th; fourth egg on the 15th; fifth egg on the 16th; sixth, and last egg, on the 17th.
Subsequently the nesting place was measured, and gave the following dimensions:—Entrance rather over 2 inches in diameter, tunnel 16 inches in length; egg chamber, of ovoid form, 7 inches in length, 5½ inches in width, with a height from the bottom of 4. inches. The size of the nest may create surprise when one thinks of the space occupied by the eggs, but a roomy home is necessary, for, like those of most troglodytal breeders, the young remain in
their hole till their wings are well grown. This stay-at-home habit saves the parents much expenditure of force, depending, as they do, for food on living prey; nor is the safety of their offspring so often jeopardised. Rapid digestion would cause the young to utter constant cries for food, which would disclose to enemies the whereabouts of each member of a scattered brood; the labour of hunting after stray young ones would be very great compared to the task of carrying food to one common feeding place. It should be noted that the egg chamber is hollowed out slightly below the floor of the tunnel, a ridge is thus formed by which the eggs and newly hatched young are kept safe from accident; in fact there is no need of a nest during incubation, the warmth that is communicated to the hole by the body of the sitting bird being very considerable.
The birds that built near us last season gave plenty of opportunity to watch their labours; steady hard work it is, indeed, that in some instances endures for weeks. After the site is selected, and a commencement made, the birds do not both leave the spot, watch being kept by one whilst its mate works or is absent after food. Should an alarm be given it is speedily answered, though from the distance of half-a-mile. Both take about an equal share of labour. On timing them it was found that if the hen worked hardest one day on the next the cock was most laborious.
Note.—October 23rd, hen at work in the hole three minutes, cock then took his turn; the time in the tunnel for either bird varying from a few seconds to about three minutes. When the hen flew off to feed, the cook remained to watch just below the hole; after his mate returned, in about 20 minutes, he at once recommenced work. They darted upwards from their perches into the hole, always correctly, judging the distance, at the moment of entering uttering a short cry of two notes like “chi-rit.” They turned when in the tunnel, as they always emerged head first. Once the hen darted to the hole and flew back, perhaps from timidity, more likely from coquetry, then sought the cook, who bent down from his perch and caressed her with his bill. Early in the morning, from five to six o'clock, little work was done, that part of the day seeming to be the time allotted for feeding, but the state of the tide might have had something to do with this as the greater part of their food is procured from the mud-flats at ebb tide.
A notable instance of their perseverance was given this season; a pair fixed for the site of their nesting place the back of a plaistered sod chimney attached to an empty cottage; they were working at the chimney on the 19th of October. After commencing on the egg chamber this nest was abandoned, probably the wall not affording what was considered by them a sufficient depth for the safety of their offspring.
Note.—November 3rd, they were hard at work with a fresh nest in front
of the cottage, between the door and a window; this was deserted for probably the same reason as caused them to leave the first nest. November 14th, saw the same pair at work on a fresh site on the south wall of the same cottage, darting upwards from a convenient rail five and six times in a minute, till the hard plain surface of the wall was broken by the dig of the bill. This was the difficult commencement of their toil; here was no foothold, the beak served as a pick, and a separate dart upwards had to be made each time this pick was applied. Alas! their labour was again lost, three more holes were begun and partly completed in that wall; then this indefatigable pair went over to the opposite end of the cottage, and, in the chimney-wall they had first attacked, commenced another nesting place; this was the seventh attempt on November 26th. On December 4th this contained two eggs, on the 7th five eggs. The nest was visited, always by the same person, on the the 9th, 16th, and 23rd; on the 25th there were five young ones, apparently hatched on the previous day, thus allowing seventeen days for incubation. From the state of the tunnel the bird fed or was fed during incubation.
When a fortnight old the young look very strange, they have a dim show of the colours of the old birds, but the feathers are in their sheaths over their whole bodies, so that they look prickly all over; irides dark brown, almost black, the bill black with white tip to the upper mandible. On the twenty-fourth day the young left the nest, dashing out of the hole and covering quite 200 yards before seeking a perch. This occurred on January 8th so that most of the heavy labours of the birds, which commenced on or before the 19th of October, are now over, as the young are able to follow their parents to the feeding ground.
Here a very interesting question rises. In what state was the ovary of this hen bird during the protracted labours of nest building? What limit is there to the power of retention? as during a space of about six weeks, judging from the almost finished state of the nest, she was three times ready, or nearly ready, to deposit her eggs.
We found the halcyon scarce through some part of Westland, from Hokitika south to the Waio River; the note was only heard, or the bird seen, twice or thrice near the rivers Waitaroa and Okarito. Inland from the coast we have met with it as far back as Castle Hill, near Porter's Pass; this was at breeding time (December 6th). It is during this all important season that these, our silent birds, change their habit so much as to become really noisy; so many varying calls or cries are used that one accustomed to their society could tell of much they might be engaged in, even with his eyes shut. Their boldness in driving away intruders from their young is most conspicuous. The hen bird will often meet a person some two or three hundred yards from her treasures, dash at the intruder, return to the place where the young are
perched, and repeat the attack again and again. We have known it attack and drive back a dog; in the autumn, when the old birds are accompanied by their young, boldness seems mingled with mischief or humour. We have seen a group of fine pigeons sunning themselves whilst preening their feathers on the roof of our village parsonage, in an instant scattered to the winds, as one might say, by the sudden dash of a mischievous kingfisher, with no other apparent object than to excite their alarm. We have noticed sheep and cattle grazing close to a nest without causing any anxiety to the birds, yet a cat, dog, or human being, would be immediately attacked. We have seen our handsome butterfly (Pyrameis) sunning itself unmolested just above a nesting hole at which a pair of kingfishers were at work, yet after the young had flown we found the bottom of the chamber covered with remains of thousands of insects, including the gauzy wings of our largest dragon-fly.
At Ohinitahi, in the breeding season of 1871, we knew of three nests containing in each seven eggs, one nest with six, and another with five eggs.
No. 12.—Anthornis Melanocephala, Gray.
The nest and eggs of this species, collected in the Chatham Islands, has been recently added to our collection in the Canterbury Museum.
The structure of this nest does not show much likeness to that of A. melanura, the foundation being laid with a well interwoven mass of bent twigs and roots, on which is built a round nest composed chiefly of leaves of coarse grass, which are twisted into a symmetrical shape; the interior of the cavity has a few tufts of wool, which are not woven into the fabric; a few feathers, sparingly introduced, completes the nest, which has the following dimensions:— From outside to outside of wall, 7.5 in.; diameter of cavity, 2.5 in.; depth of cavity, 2 in.
No. 16.—Xenicus Longipes. Gml. Huru-pounamu.
Green or Striped-faced Wren.
The green wren, with its confident habits, is a lively object in the sombre woods of the back country; it may be found in the Fagus forests which clothe the bases of the mountains that confine the Wilberforce, Havelock, and other snow-fed streams, frequenting the outskirts of the bush.
We have found that a very poor imitation of its note brings it close enough for observation, for within a yard's distance it will often pursue its restless insect search, apparently indifferent to the presence of an observer. Its time is chiefly occupied with minute investigation of the lichens and mosses that decorate and partially clothe the undergrowth of the forest, especially we have seen it busily engaged where the level velvety surface of the ground has been disturbed and upturned by the strong claws of the wood-hen (Ocydromus).
On a visit to the Rangitata glaciers, late in the month of December, the writer was lucky enough to find the nest, perhaps one of the most difficult to discover amongst those of our native arboreals; this is owing to the perfect manner in which the structure is hidden amidst surrounding moss.
The nest was discovered just within a mixed bush of totara, ribbon-wood (Plagianthus), and birch, far up the Havelock. Beneath the moss-covered roots of one of the ribbon-wood trees was fixed the nest, which was pouch-shaped, with the opening near the top; the sides of the entrance being strengthened with fern-root, carefully interlaced; indeed, it was almost wholly composed of fern-root, beautifully interwoven; and the interior was furnished rather profusely with feathers. It was so well concealed, that it was with difficulty believed to be a nest at all, the entrance being scarcely discernible. It measured about 3.5 inches in depth, by 3 inches in breadth; entrance, 1.5 inches; depth of cavity, 2.5 inches.
The call of the green wren is a sharp cheep; not so shrill as that of the brown creeper (Certhiparus), yet much more powerful than that of the little wren creeper (Acanthisitta.)
The writer, after careful comparison of a series of nests and eggs of Orthonyx, is inclined to believe that the two species are less closely allied than is usually supposed. With respect to the colour of the eggs of O. ochrocephala, the writer informed Dr. Buller that white with red marks was not a satisfactory description; white, washed or clouded with yellowish brown, would more accurately describe their colour. We have nests and eggs from Okarita and Ahaura, in Westland.
No. 20.—Sphenœacus Punctatus, Quoy.
We found the nest of this bird last December, at the margin of the Okarita lagoon, Westland.
No. B. 24.—Gerygone Sylvestris. n. s.
The writer sent the following description to the “Ibis,” of a Gerygone which affects dense bush near lake Mapourika, Westland. His attention was attracted to the bird by its peculiar song, which differs from that of Gerygone flaviventris.
The editor of the “Ibis” supplies a note, in which he states that Dr. Buller believes this Gerygone to be G. albofrontata, Gray. Dr. Buller does not assign his reasons for this belief, neither does he give any account of the song, or habits of G. albofrontata. I, therefore, confidently bring this species forward for the consideration of New Zealand observers, and apply the specific name of sylvestris as indicative of its habits.
“The habitat wás unusual, in the thick bush, between the bluff of Okarita and lake Mapourika; whereas our little riroriro delights in trilling from the shrubs on the creek-side, or more open country, or in flitting about the bushy vegetation of the gullies that fringe or form the outskirts of a forest. Neither my son, who accompanied me, nor myself had ever heard a similar note; with diffidence we set it down as a new species. For the next few days, whilst rambling in that locality, we heard the same note repeatedly, and saw the birds, but we never observed one of them on the outside of the bush.
“The diagnosis of a male bird, killed 20th December, four miles west of lake Mapourika, is here given. This bird was in full song. Upper surface dark olivaceous; wings smoky black, except first two feathers, outer webs fringed with yellow; cheek dark grey; neck and breast pale grey; abdomen white; under wing-coverts white; upper wing-coverts brown, margined with yellow; upper tail-coverts slaty black, tipped with yellow; tail brown, with a broad band of black, two centre feathers black, tipped with brown, four feathers on each side tipped with white on inner webs, pale brown on outer web, two outer feathers broadly barred with white, tipped with brown.
“Bill black; both mandibles horn-colour at the point; legs and feet black; inside of feet yellowish flesh; irides bright blood-red.
“Bill from gape, 6 lines; wing from flexure, 2 inches; tail, 2 inches 2 lines; tarsus, 9 lines; middle toe and claw, 5 lines; total length, 4 inches 5 lines.”*
No. 26.—Certhiparus novæ zealandiæ, Gml.
Brown Creeper. (Plate XVII.)
An illustration is given of the nest of this species, as it has been but seldom observed, notwithstanding that the bird is of common occurrence in the bush. We noticed this species in the Westland forest, from the Teremakau to the southern Waio. It frequents the Irishman scrub (Discaria toumatou) on the upper Rangitata river; this habitat is little sheltered, and appears rather peculiar considering the habits of the bird.
No. 35.—Zosterops Lateralis, Lath.
From observation of an egg taken last summer, the writer is in doubt whether this immigrant has not become the dupe of the whistler (Chrysococcyx).
A nest was found, built in a manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), containing four eggs, one of which greatly exceeded the others in size, and was of a deeper blue-green colour. This incident bears upon a very interesting and much discussed question as to protective mimicry by parasites of the eggs of dupes, by approximate colouration. The nest and eggs are deposited
[Footnote] *“Ibis,” July, 1872, p. 325.
in the Canterbury Museum. This summer the blight bird is far less abundant than it has been for several years, the exceptionally severe winter of 1872 having greatly diminished its numbers. Birds of this species, dead and dying, were often observed after storms of snow-sleet, or even cold rain; this tenderness of constitution is a strong argument in favour of the opinion of the writer, that the Zosterops is but a recent settler amongst us.
No. 36.—Keropia Crassirostris, Gray. Pio-pio. Thrush.
(Notes of a Paper forwarded to the Linnœan Society.]
In writing on the natural history of our birds, the bewailment of their lessened numbers has come to be a matter of course, the rapid settlement of the country has, in the case of the thrush, limited its range greatly, few birds having retreated with so much haste before the efforts of the cultivator.
Let us take a section of this island, say one hundred miles in width, including Banks Peninsula, and stretching from the eastern to the western shore, this will afford some information as to its present habitat.
Within this range at one time, the pio-pio might be found in any bushy-place, not too far from water, where belts of shrubs afforded shelter and abundance of seeds; ten years at least have passed since we heard of its occurrence in this neighbourhood (Governor Bay); on Banks Peninsula proper it is now scarce; in the bush-dotted gullies of the Malvern Hills, the Thirteen-mile Bush, Alford Forest, and many other localities, it was not very uncommon; now, let an enthusiastic naturalist traverse these places in quest of our feathered philosopher, he will find it has become a rara avis indeed.
We must pass through these portals of the mountains, the river gorges, to catch sight of the thrush hopping about the openings of the bush, much after the fashion of its English namesake; but even here its numbers have become woefully diminished; four or five years ago, on either side of the Upper Rakaia, where the bushes descend the mountain slopes, these birds fairly teemed in their favourite haunts, but they are already becoming rare. They may be seen about the bushes that skirt the cold streams of the Havelock, the Upper Waimakariri, and the Bealey; through the romantic gorge of the Otira to the more level ground that stretches away to the Teremakau it may be frequently seen, always appearing to prefer the timbered forests, the mixed scrub, made-up of moderate sized bushes of Coriaria, Olearea, Veronica, and Coprosma.
As we reach the western coast, about the Arahura river it was, three years since, most abundant. Last December we searched one of their former favourite haunts, a large island in that river more or less covered
with scrub-bush, dotted with ti trees, and two or three specimens only were to be seen; they have been driven away from Arahura by the clearances for paddocks to supply the requirements of the West Coast cattle trade.
Last December in travelling along the coast from Ross to Okarita, we saw this bird in abundance on the face of those bluffs which form such picturesque breaks in that journey; up the river flats it was equally numerous.
Settlers have given the name of the thrush to the pio-pio, from its size and brown plumage recalling to mind their favourite of the old country; it possesses not in the slightest degree that charm of song which distinguishes the throstle, yet it enjoys the power of giving utterance to several pleasing notes. It does not stir so early as many other birds; its morning salute is a long-drawn rather plaintive note; this peculiar whistle it indulges in at times only, for its habit, when close to the water frequently, is to pipe thrice, in a way that at once recalls the red-bill (Hœmatopus); the imitation is so like, that the writer and his son (well acquainted with bird-notes and calls) were frequently deceived, and have looked for a red-bill till the pio-pio disclosed himself by fluttering from bush to bush. Its common song seems to be near akin to that of the lark (Anthus novœ-zealandiœ); it sounds two preludatory notes, then strikes off into a very brief song; when joyously flying in pursuit of the female it utters a quick chi-chi-chit, chi-chi-chit; it marks its displeasure, or tries to intimidate intruders that approach its nest, with a low purring chur-r-r; both cock and hen join in this cry of anger. When singing, the effort is marked by the tail being spread, the wings held not quite close; the feathers of the breast and back are not raised as in the case of the bell-bird.
We have called this pio-pio a philosopher; he has quite as good a claim as many a biped to whom that title is accorded; who doubts this, let him make acquaintance with the pio-pio; not merely a sight acquaintance, but such an one as ripens into intimacy. The result will be to know a bird who takes the world as it is, indifferent as to food; that feeds on insects when procurable, or can make shift on grasses, seeds, or fruits; that neither courts nor avoids observation; is as bold as the robin or tit, without their intrusive friendliness; that, when in the presence of strangers, coolly pursues its occupation without the prying inquisitiveness of the brown-creeper, or the watchful distrust of the popokatea; that defends his home with almost the courage of the falcon or tern.
It seems to delight in those openings which are found in river-beds, between long belts of tutu and other scrub; there it may be observed either hopping along the ground or fluttering about the lower sprays of shrubs, flying out to the spits of sand, or drifted trees, that lie stranded in the riverbed. On some of the longer formed spits, that are becoming clothed with vegetation, it searches amongst the burry Acœna, snips off the fruit stalks of
moss, picking the seed of some trailing Veronica. Its progress on the ground is usually deliberate; it hops with both feet together, a slight flutter of the wings, and a flirt of the tail accompanying each motion; when approached too closely, it leaves its perch, always descending at first, as though safer when near or on the ground; if it would rise on the wing, a momentum is gained by a succession of hops. In some of its habits one is reminded much of the wattle-bird; its usual associates, at any rate during the summer months, are tuis, parroquets, and robins.
Not much secretiveness is displayed in the choice of a site for its nest; it may be found at varying distances from the earth, from four feet to twelve and upwards, usually at seven or eight. The structure is firmly and compactly built, with small sprays for the foundation, on which moss is abundantly interwoven with pliant twigs; the lining is usually of fine grass bents; some nests are finished off with soft tree-fern down; it is usually placed in tutu (Coriaria ruscifolia), sometimes in Coprosma, or manuka. From the neighbourhood of its home, rivals of its own species as well as other birds are driven off.
Probably it breeds twice in the season, although we have not observed more than two eggs to a nest; yet we have found four eggs tolerably forward in the ovary of a female killed at Christmas time. The full complement of eggs is probably four. The egg is of ovoid, sometimes elongated form, pure white, spotted with blackish brown or black, purplish at the edges of the spots; sometimes it is of a delicate pinkish tinge, just staining the white, spotted with brownish grey, with purplish blotches at the larger end.
From a nest found at Arahura we have an egg that exactly resembles in its colour and markings that of Oriolus gallula, of Europe. In size this specimen measures through the axis 1 in. 3½ lines, with a diameter of 11½ lines.
Note.—December 26th, River Waio. In a nest, about 12 feet from the ground, in a bush of Coriaria, the eggs, two in number, were of elongated form, and measured in length 1 in. 7 lines by nearly 1 inch in width.
December 27th, River Waio. A nest in a small-leaved Coprosma (probably rhamnoides); hen incubating a single egg; she remained on the nest till pushed off. The cock bird was summoned by a jarring call, and both birds joined in a bold defence.
Near Lake Mapourika, in a very swampy situation, we found a nest with the walls very thickly built of moss and manuka sprays interwoven, it was placed about 15 feet above the ground in a tall manuka. Dimensions of the nest across the top from outside to outside of wall about 7 in., diameter of cavity about 3 in., with a depth of 2 in. We find this a fair average after looking at scores of nests. The young when they emerge from the shell have a covering of dark down. We think the eye of the pio-pio gleams with much
intelligence; perhaps this notion is conveyed by its narrow, but bright pale yellow iris; the tongue is pointed, and furnished on the inferior side with a strong muscular process of almost horn-like consistence. Both skin and flesh are dark, but the flavour of the bird is not at all bad. It makes a savoury broil for those who bring the proper (hunger) sauce; when not so provided they do wanton mischief who kill a bird so harmless and interesting.
They are very sociable, and a bush-hand, living the life of a hermit in his little whare of tree-fern stems, up the Waio river-bed, fed some thrushes until he had enticed them to enter his hut. Once up the Havelock in one of the outskirts of a mixed bush of Phyllocladus, Fagus, and Podocarpus, several thrushes were observed flying from the top of a tree after insects, fly-catcher fashion, in the glow of a hot afternoon.
The writer inclines to the belief that the imitation of the red-bill's note, above alluded to, is a good instance of the protective mimicry of sound. The pio-pio gets ample food, in the summer days at least, from the glades in the river beds. Over these, high above, dash the falcons from amongst the rocky heights of the mountain chain; the hawk notes the movement of a bird below, but hearing the simulated cry of the red-bill, withholds his dashing swoop, knowing that the wary red-bill will alarm his faithful mate, and that the pair, with forces combined, are not to be attacked with impunity.
Dr. Finsch states, “All the specimens I have seen showed not the slightest sign of a white spot above the eye.” The black flycatcher, with the white spot, is not uncommon about Ohinitahi. Specimens could be procured without difficulty. The writer has called the attention of ornithologists to the fact of the interbreeding of the black with the pied species (Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. II., p. 64). Such joint nests, with eggs, have been placed in our collection in the Canterbury Museum. To those who take an interest in bird architecture these exhibit features of great interest; the writer has pointed out a peculiar style of construction which sometimes marks the work of R. flabellifera in order to meet the conditions of certain positions; in an union nest where the hen bird was a flabellifera the domestic structure showed the influence of her instinct by the affixing of the appendage used, as the writer believes, to steady the nest in very good positions for a food supply for the young; but at the same time these sites are affected, perhaps, by sudden draughts of air or puffs of wind. Now, the question is whether a pair of R. fuliginosa would have ventured to build a home in the position chosen by the union nest builders, not possessing the superior intelligence of the pied species? As far as our observations of some years are of value they would not, neither would
an union nest be so constructed unless the hen happened to be a flabellifera. Thus, in course of time, as the flabellifera could live well where fuliginosa would not attempt to rear their young, the pied should outnumber their black congeners.
Note.—October 29th. The writer has seen what he took for R. flabellifera attending and watching three young birds, well able to forage for themselves. These, to all appearance, were R. fuliginosa, blackish, or very dark olivaceous brown; head, greyish shade of black; neck, slaty black; bristles at the base of the mandible grizzly, or silvery black.
Further observations will be necessary to clear up some very interesting points in connection with this fact.
No. 45.—Creadion Carunculatus, Gml.
Saddle-back. Pl. XVII.
The saddle-back, which a few years since was commonly met with in the more thickly wooded portions of Banks Peninsula, is now of rare occurrence there. The extensive area of growing timber at the Little River Bush will probably be its last refuge in that part of the country, so rapidly is the Peninsula becoming disforested. Although we have met with, and have known of the nest of this striking looking bird in the more open parts of the forest, yet it seeks and loves the shady covert of the densest bush, where decaying tree and damp mosses conceal an insect food supply. It does not appear to be strong on the wing; we have never seen it attempt a lengthened flight, yet its movements are notably prompt, rapid, and decided. It usually announces its sudden approach by a shrill note unlike that of any other bird we know; it sounds like “chee-per-per, chee-per-per,” repeated several times in quick succession. No sooner is this call-note heard than the bird emerges from its leafy screen and bounds before the spectator as suddenly as harlequin in a pantomime. From these abrupt movements, or flying leaps, thus shrilly accompanied, it seems to perform a rale of its own that appears almost startling amidst the umbrageous serenity of the forest. Let the eye follow its motions, that are so quickly changed, and watch the tieke perched for a few moments on the lichen-mottled bole of some fallen tree, a favourite position—its glossy black plumage is relieved from sameness by the quaint saddle-mark of deep ferruginous that crosses its back and wings, the red caruncles add much to the sprightliness of its air; the observer will probably notice that its attitude is peculiar, or, in colonial phrase, “it has a queer set on it.” The head and tail are kept rather elevated, the feathers of the tail take a gently sweeping curve, the bird looks as though prepared to leap, one more glance and it is away, climbing some moss-clothed trunk, or picking its
food from beneath the flakes and ragged strips of bark that hang from the brown-stemmed fuschia tree. It must be an early breeder. On the Teremakau we have seen the young, almost of adult size, in the first week of December.
For its nesting place a hollow or decayed tree is usually selected, sometimes the top of a tree-fern is preferred. The first nest we knew of was found by an old friend in a hole about four feet from the ground in a huge white pine, kahikatea (Podocarpus dacrydioides), close to the bank of the Ahaura river; it contained three eggs hard set. We found a nest in a dead tree-fern not far from Lake Mapourika, Westland. This was of slight construction, built principally of fern-root, deftly woven into rather a deep-shaped nest with thin walls; as the structure just filled the hollow top of the tree-fern thick walls were unnecessary. Another nest, in a small-sized decayed tree in the Okarita bush, was in a hole not more than three feet from the ground; it was roughly constructed, principally of fibres and midribs of decayed leaves of the kiekie (Freycinetia banksii), with a few tufts of moss, leaves of rimu, lined with moss and down of tree-ferns (Cyathea); it measured across from outside to outside of wall 12 in. 6 lines, cavity 3 inches diameter, depth of cavity 2 in. The egg, measuring nearly 1 in. 4 lines through the axis with a breadth of 11½ lines, is white, sprinkled over with faint purplish marks, towards the broad end brownish purple, almost forming one large blotch. The breeding season probably extends from September to January; the young are protected and fed by the old birds till almost full grown; they are summoned by the parent birds with their usual call, nor from this does the note of their active offspring greatly differ; the saddleback quickly responds to the summoning note of its species. An imitation of the sound by the assistance of a leaf between the lips serves to attract its presence, and is sometimes used by the collector for this purpose.
The next point to be considered is the plumage; that of the adult is easily described, for the feathers of the sexes fail to exhibit any distinction. The collection in the Canterbury Museum contains numerous specimens in the young state, procured at different seasons of the year:—
A.—Female obtained on Banks Peninsula, in the month of March (our autumnal period), has the whole plumage cinereous brown, slightly flushed with rufous, excepting bastard wing and the inner webs of the tail-feathers which are black; outer wing-coverts margined with ferruginous; upper and under tail-coverts ferruginous; wattles very small, pale yellow; mandibles black, except the edge of the basal portion of the lower mandible, which is margined with yellow for a distance of 6 lines; tarsi and feet black; claws horn-colour; length of bill from gape 1 inch 4 lines.
B.—Male killed at Little River Bush in November (early summer), differs
but little from the preceding specimen, except that the caruncles are more developed, and the bill is longer by 2 lines.
C.—Male obtained in the bush near Akaroa, in August (the last winter month), has a warmer tinge of ferruginous flecked on the interscapulars and dorsals.
D.—Female, procured on the same day at the same locality, differs only from specimen A in being less warmly tinted with rufous.
E.—Male, killed near Akaroa in the same month (August), has the inter-scapulars and dorsals margined with rich ferruginous; the yellow edge on the basal part of lower mandible indistinct.
F.—Male, obtained on Banks Peninsula in March, has the growing secondaries and rectrices black; a sprinkling of the same colour on the auriculars; upper wing coverts, dorsals, upper and under tail-coverts, ferruginous. It may be noted from the description of these specimens of the young state, how much variation may be met with, owing in part to the extended breeding season perhaps; and it may be that the adult state is not arrived at till the second year.
The plumage of the adult bird is deep glossy black; back, wing-coverts, upper and lower tail-coverts, ferruginous; bill, tarsi, and feet, black; irides dark brown; caruncles from yellow to red; bill from gape, 1 inch 5 lines; tarsus 1 inch 6 lines; wing from flexure 4 inches; tail 3 inches 6 lines; total length 10 inches; weight 2¾ ounces.
The tieke abounds in the Westland bush, its note is there one of the common bird sounds; it finds abundant means of support in the insect life which exists out of reach of the kiwi. Last season, my friend revisited the kahikatea on the bank of the Ahaura, but the saddle-backs had not again resorted to the hole for breeding.
A sketch of the nest is given, as it may be deemed interesting; there is nothing strikingly characteristic about its construction.
Specimens of a red-headed parroquet have been obtained from Bealey, which are not larger than P. auriceps., They appear not unlike some specimens of P. alpinus that Mr. Bills procured in Otago last year.
No. 60.—Coturnix novæ-zealandlæ, Quoy.
Eggs from one of the natural paddocks or grassy spots near Hokitika, Westland, rather exceed the dimensions of those that have been procured on the eastern side of the ranges.
No. 61.—Apteryx australis, Shaw.
Rowi of the natives.
Big Kiwi of the miners.
Why should there yet be so much mystery about the habits of birds so well known as kiwis? Their flesh has for years been recognised as forming a part of the bush-food of the prospector or digger in Westland; just as much so, indeed, as that of the pigeon, the weka, or the kaka, still we have not any minute history of this quaint-looking creature.
There are, in the writer's opinion, probably five or six species of Apteryx; of these, all but one are supposed to exist on the South Island, whilst A. mantelli is now the sole representative of the race in the North Island.
The rowi, or big kiwi of the west coast of the South Island, is far more local in its distribution than is A. oweni, or even perhaps than A. mantelli; according to Mr. Docherty, it is known to inhabit certain districts, the well-defined boundaries of which it does not attempt to pass; its range is as isolated and distinctly marked as though impassable barriers existed between its haunts and the surrounding country.
We have had many opportunities of watching the mode of progression of three kinds of kiwi, and of judging of the defensive powers of the bird, supposed to be conferred by the robust tarsus and foot, which have gallinaceous characteristics much more prominent in life than in the best preserved specimens. The articulation of the tibia with the tarsus is one of great strength; the powerful scale-defended leg is united to a foot furnished with strong claws, with which the bird scratches for its food, after being directed thereto by its powerful olfactory organs. We believe that the beautifully organized bill (which should be observed in life to understand its delicacy) is used solely for probing into soft humus, moss, and decayed wood. When the rowi is irritated it makes a cracking noise by snapping the mandibles together very rapidly. In attempting to defend itself it displays an awkward feebleness rather than a posture of self-protection, by striking forwards with its foot, as in the act of scratching, at a line about its own height, and its only defence against dogs is in concealment. In walking the step is peculiar, the foot is lifted deliberately, and rather high above the ground; its gait reminding one of the movements of a person walking stealthily. Its run is a slinging trot, but in fairness it should be remembered that our judgment of its locomotive powers is based on the blundering efforts of the wretched animal half-blinded by the unaccustomed glare of daylight, or frightened and dazzled by artificial light at night.
There are a few other points in its organization which must be taken into consideration. In the first place the feathers are soft, flocculent, and silky towards the base, whilst the distal portions terminate in produced hair-like
webs, the plumage consisting simply of clothing feathers, which during the progress of the bird give out no sound of fluttering or rustling. This peculiarity of the plumage confers another advantage by its compressibility, whilst it can be kept far cleaner than the integument of birds having feathers with closer vanes, interlocking barbules, or thicker down, as with this hair-like dress a single shake rids the bird of every foreign particle, while the feathers, covering the body like a thatch, effectually keep off the wet of the ever humid ferns and mosses among which the bird lives. If an Apteryx be plucked its body will be found somewhat conical from the point of the bill to the thighs, a form well devised for gliding through the thick ferny bottoms choked with the heavy fronds of Todea superba or the close trailing folds of Freycinetia, and enabling the long bill to be used to the greatest advantage in exploring deep but narrow fissures about the roots of trees.
It is probable that the rowi pairs for life, for there appears to exist between the sexes a lasting companionship. For a nesting place it selects a hole in some huge tree or log, or amongst roots; sometimes the hole is excavated in a soft bank, where the soil is light; but in every case care is taken that the site shall be on a ridge or dry ground. We examined a nesting place on the 17th December last, which was tunnelled in a mound of light earth, probably formed by the uprooting of some forest giant; the entrance was 9 inches in diameter, a chamber was found to be excavated to the left of the entrance, from this to the back of the chamber was a depth of 3 feet, with a height of 15 inches. This retreat had been abandoned by the family, but we picked pieces of egg-shell from the floor.
The breeding season extends over some months, from October to February. Two eggs are usually laid, on which the old birds rather lie than sit. The mode of roosting is very peculiar; they squat opposite each other with their legs bent under them, each with its head tucked under the scanty apology for a wing. If there are young in the hole they also assume a similar position, on either side a young bird between the two parents, thus the result of this singular arrangement of the family is a nearly perfect hemisphere of feathers. They often appear torpid or very drowsy when surprised in their homes, sometimes remaining quite undisturbed by noise, and are very rarely discovered except in a hole. In good condition a bird will average from 5 to 6 lbs. in weight.
Their cry is much harsher than that of the kiwi, sounding something like “cr-r-r-ruck, cr-r-r-ruck,” and is not uttered till after sundown; from timed observations in the bush we noticed that when the sun set about 7.30, we did not hear the rowi till from 8.15 to 8.30.
The young are well clothed when they leave the shell; with them the bill is not curved, following the ridge of the upper mandible it is slightly depressed about the middle of its length. The general colour of A. australis is greyish
brown, streaked with black in the young and adult state; in some fine old birds a glint of golden chestnut edges part of the plumage. Not unfrequently specimens have the aural feathers of dull yellowish white or grey, the same hoary tone of colour being sometimes found on the occiput, chin, neck, and front of the thighs. These marks are not confined to sex.
In giving measurements of species where an extensive collection yields an ample series from which selections can be made, care should be taken not to give dimensions of extraordinary specimens unless that fact is duly noted. A fairly average pair of A. australis from the Canterbury Museum afford the following measurements:—
|Bill from gape||4||6||6||4|
|Middle toe and claw||2||9||3||0|
These specimens were obtained by Mr. Docherty, together with a large number of others, both of A. australis and A. oweni, from the West Coast, near Okarita.
We cannot conclude these notes on A. australis, the big kiwi, without expressing our sorrow at the impending fate of this interesting bird. It is rapidly becoming rare from the demand for specimens for collections; the number of skins and skeletons received at the Canterbury Museum alone is very great, and nothing but prompt action will save the rowi from extermination.
No. 62.—Apteryx Oweni, Gould. Kiwi.
Blue-hen of diggers.
As far as we are aware the habits of the straight-billed kiwi do not differ greatly from those of the rowi, or, perhaps we might safely say, from those of other species of Apteryx, due allowance being made for local influences.
The long, nearly straight bill of the kiwi is used in a similar manner to that of the rowi, and in dried specimens is of a dark horn colour, or at times resembles yellowish ivory, but in life is of a flesh colour, pale almost to whiteness, the minute blood vessels of its delicate membranous covering imparting a pinkish tinge to its distal end, and a perfect network of minute veins traverse its entire length from the point to the soft bristly integument which clothes its base. About eight lines above the truncated knob of the upper mandible these minute vessels assume a stellate arrangement, from
which their delicate ramifications appear to issue. We have observed that the double linear impression on the upper mandible is not always constant, as in some specimens the groove deepens into a single line as sharply defined as though marked by a scribing tool. The lower mandible is also furnished with similar minute blood vessels, most densely crowded towards the point. On the deflected tip of the upper mandible is an impression which in some birds is nearly circular; others have this mark of almost angular shape. It is probable that a great degree of sensibility is conferred on the elongated bill by its investing membrane, so that the movements of insect prey are readily followed. We can see no reason for mistaking this elaborately organized bill for an instrument to be used like a pick for digging into hard soil, and we doubt if the kiwi ever leaves the shelter of the bush. The tongue is very short but muscular, of angular shape, and can be used in crushing insects against the flat opposed surface of the upper mandible, as the strong muscle on the lower surface gives a great degree of strength.
The visual organs, which are feebly developed, are placed so as to command the movements of the upper mandible, and are protected by stiffish ciliæ; the ears are well developed, and as an aid in discovering food are next in importance to the olfactories. The long straggling hairs, or weak bristles, planted amongst the feathers of the anterior part of the head, fulfil the useful office of protecting the eyes and head from injury; they may also guide or regulate the force of the thrust given by the bill. In life a perfect guard of feelers, they form a simple kind of defence, in strict harmony with the natural instinct of the kiwi—that of retiring cautiousness. The tarsi and feet, described as yellowish brown in life, are often as white as those of thoroughbred Dorking fowls, though now and then specimens will show a darkish tinge that stains the edges of the tarsal scales. The under surfaces of the feet are well protected by cushions; the claws, slightly curved, are sharp at their points, admirable for scratching, yet they are not shaped like those of the domestic fowl, which are adapted for traversing hard ground as well as for that purpose. The robust tarsi, defended by hard scales, are articulated with the tibiæ by very strong joints, which must give to the kiwi great power of leaping or jumping, and thus enable it to scale fallen trees and search along their upper surfaces for insects. The hind toes and claws help in maintaining the position of the bird when fossicking about the prostrate trunks, strengthening the hold, and preventing it from slipping to the ground when reaching down.
The cry of the kiwi is not heard till nightfall, or, as the digger expresses it technically but truthfully, “not till the night shift comes on.” We have paid great attention to the call; to us it sounded like “kvee, kvee, kvee,” repeated sometimes as many as twenty times in succession, with moderate haste; we noticed that the cry had scarcely ceased before it was thus replied to
“kurr, kurr, kurr.” These calls were heard through the night, commencing sometime after sundown and ceasing about three o'clock in the morning; we never heard a call after dawn.
The breeding season extends over several months; eggs have been obtained on the West Coast during a great part of the year. The home is to be found usually beneath the spreading roots of trees, in logs, or under rocks, and will contain sometimes one or two eggs or young, but never more. The nests are found on the bare soil, and are never constructed of dried fern and grasses. The pair of birds usually remain together during some months and share the labours of incubation, but the male apparently allows much of the labour of rearing the young to devolve on the female. The young have been found at a short distance from the family abode—in a nursery in fact. They are quaint looking little animals, with not too much of the savour of youth about them, being nearly exact miniatures of the adult; that well known ornithic-characteristic—change of colour—troubles them not; there is no young state of plumage with them, none of that half-pronounced variation in tone, or tint of colouration, which calls for the nice discrimination of the practised ornithologist when questions of age have to be settled. They assume not seasonal distinctions of dress; in winter and summer they adhere to their sober colours with quaker-like pertinacity.
The separate lodging is probably not set up till the young are well able to forage for themselves under the guidance and protection of the old birds; the family party is not necessarily broken up, because all its members do not abide together in one place of hiding and rest. There does not appear to be any reason for believing kiwis to be great travellers, ample supplies of food are to be obtained by fossicking around their homes. Judging from tracks, they appear to resort to the same holes for some time, probably till the family has consumed the more favourite kinds of food in the vicinity. Kiwis seem to adopt the same squatting posture as the rowi, and are quite as lethargic, suffering themselves to be captured without any other resistance than a feeble struggle, in which, at worst, a scratch or two would punish incautious handling. As for defence, the domestic cock or hen would be terrible as “a raging lion” compared to this harmless bush fowl.
They suffer from at least two races of parasites.
Note.—December 17th. Took a kiwi out of a log, very white skin, legs, and feet; it was infested with a species of Pediculus, sandy in colour, and remarkably active in its movements; immediately below the chin hung a slatish coloured species of Acarus, which maintained a very firm hold, and was dislodged with difficulty.
Sometimes the kiwi has been found very high up on the ranges, not very far below the snow it is said, but always in the bush.
Note.—December 24th. Took a kiwi from rather a deep hole beneath a fragment of rock, just within the scrub bush, about a mile westward of the Franz Joseph glacier; about two miles further to the west, near the north bank of the Waio river, found a pair of kiwis in a hole under the roots of a large konine (Fuschia excorticata).
This pair of birds gave the following measurements:—
|Bill from gape||4||3||3||6|
|Middle toe and claw||6||2||6|
It will be observed from these dimensions that the hen slightly exceeds the cock in size, and that this disparity is most noticeable in the length of the bill. It is also commonly said that the female kiwi is the larger bird, and dissection of several specimens confirmed this statement. In all cases we found the gizzards to contain a very considerable quantity of rough pieces of slate and quartz, also rarely a few very hard seeds. These stony fragments in a fair average gizzard weighed as much as 114½ grains, five of the largest pieces weighing about five grains each. We believe the hard seeds had not been picked up for food, but for the purpose of trituration, probably in some locality where bits of stone were rarely met with.
When the kiwi is deprived of its skin or feathers, immediately below the lower neck on each side at the base of the wings, there may be noticed a rather angular-shaped protuberance not unlike the mamma of certain animals. These are adipose deposits of very firm texture, which we incline to believe are of material assistance during incubation. The difficulty that has been felt in understanding how an egg so disproportionate in size can be successfully hatched by a bird not larger than an ordinary barn-door fowl has led to many curious surmises. According to Mr. Docherty the kiwi, with her egg deposited on the bare soil, proceeds with the labour of incubation by arranging the egg between the feet, its axis or long diameter being kept parallel to the body. Now, the keelless sternum being laid on the egg, with the præpectoral masses of fat pressing on its oval sweep between the bilge and blunt end, may it not be inferred that its monstrous bulk is thus kept from slipping, while receiving its due supply of heat. Being easily turned by rotary motion initiated perhaps by the feet, the warmth derived from these fatty tumours also makes up at one end of the egg for the entire covering of the opposite extremity by the body of the bird, and thus equalizes its temperature to a certain extent. The kiwi, when relieved by its mate, or when resuming its sitting attitude after food search, would but have to reverse the position previously
maintained, in order to distribute over the entire surface of the egg a fair and equal amount of heat. The sitting pose assumed by various species of birds is in itself a study not devoid of interest either to the naturalist or the physiologist.
It is probable that, as in the case of struthious birds, the gizzard stones are disgorged, but we have no evidence thereof; it would be most interesting to ascertain if such regurgitation takes place, also if any correlation could be traced to seasonal or sexual conditions. The fecund kiwi within a brief period has to furnish a large supply of calcareous material for the formation of the egg shell; amongst gallinaceous birds in some cases the requisite supply of lime may be as considerable in proportion to the size of the bird, but longer time is given for its elimination and deposition; Gallus, Perdiœ, or Coturnix may be cited as examples, the prolificacy of these genera being evidenced by the production of from twelve to fifteen eggs, but the formation of these spreads over many days. The inquiries which suggest themselves are as follows:—To what extent (if any) do the gizzard stones affect the supply of necessary calcareous material for the wants of the female? Are the fragments of stone in the gizzard of the female greater previously to the breeding season than at other periods of the year? It must not be forgotten that the difficulty of obtaining the lime supply can only be fairly estimated by personal acquaintance with the habitat of the kiwi.
The feather of the Apteryx as distinguished from the emu, exhibits the peculiarity of not possessing an accessary plume; the barrel is very short in reference to the shaft and its diameter small. Taxidermists allege that the plumage of the kiwi is loosely attached to the skin and readily drops out, and a reason to account for the ease with which the quill parts from its sac might probably be found in the drying up of certain secretions after death. In dissecting specimens we found that the quills of the feathers over some portions of the trunk were deeply seated in the skin, so much so that we believe the bird would instantly feel the contact of external objects that might touch the spinal and femoral plumage. The thick tough skin which envelopes and protects this night toiler, working amidst the humid mosses of the bush, is rendered more completely defensive by being thus endowed with a keen sense of touch, for by the slightest displacement of its feathers the retiring cautiousness of the bird is at once awakened, and it is enabled to shrink from danger.
Dogs readily follow the scent of the Apteryx; those belonging to miners and prospectors destroy great numbers, far more than either they or their owners consume. We have observed that some kiwi-hunting dogs become so dainty that they content themselves with tearing off the head for the sake of consuming the brains, leaving the rest of the carcase untouched. Dogs that have lost their masters and have gradually entered upon a wild life,
are on the increase on some parts of the coast. Several were heard of up the Wanganui river as being in packs, but no attempt had been made to destroy and stamp out this beginning of a serious nuisance to the settler. Bushmen do not dislike the flesh of the kiwi, nor is this fact at all surprising to those acquainted with it, for although the meat is coarse it has a gamey flavour. We found the kiwi made excellent soup and stew, flavoured with pepper and salt, a few leaves of Drimys, tender shoots of Rhipogonum, and Schefflera digitata, or piki-piki (the young curled tops of Asplenium bulbiferum). The gizzard is especially delicate, very unlike that decidedly tough organ of the domestic fowl. Mr. Docherty reports the eggs to be excellent eating.
This bird, it is said, exists in great abundance in the “Sound country” of the S.W. coast, but we fear that an evil day is at hand for these quaint denizens of the ancient forest; the requisitions of diggers, of collectors for museums, and the cruel slaughter by dogs, they might outlast for years; these causes are rapidly thinning their numbers, but they are not suddenly sweeping the Apteryx from the face of the earth. The new source of danger it is said arises from “that deformed thief fashion.” A. demand is springing up for the skins to furnish material for muffs for frivolous women; although the thought may seem far-fetched, who knows but this female vanity may be the means of modifying the serene climate of the West Coast, by causing the extermination of an ancient race of insect eaters, usefully employed as preservers of the forest. However much on economical grounds we may question the right or policy of permitting the extirpation of so useful a check on insect life, in this colony a strong protest against such barbarity cannot be expected; a few lovers of nature might raise their voices against it, but their words would fall unheeded unless backed by general opinion from without our little sphere. Instead of protest it is more likely that some blatant announcement would be circulated of the establishment of a new local industry. It would not be the first instance of living on destruction which could be euphemistically explained as “subduing the wilderness.”
That the race of the Apterygidœ is indeed ancient is proved by their being found on islands separated by deep channels from the main land.
Before concluding these remarks on the straight-billed kiwi it should be stated that specimens obtained south of the Waitaroa river, in Westland, present some differences of plumage by which they can readily be distinguished from skins in the Canterbury Museum, which were obtained in the neighbourhood of Hokitika. The birds from the northerly districts have a more flocculent plumage, lighter in tone than those which are found in the country lying under the shadow of Mount Cook.
Specimens are occasionally met with that are here and there marked with white, as on the anterior neck, thigh, etc.
Mr. Docherty, the kiwi hunter, informed the writer that up to the close of last year (1871) he had killed about 2,200 specimens of the kiwi and rowi (A. oweni and A. australis).
No. 63.—Apteryx Mantelli, Bartl. Kiwi or Kiwi-nui.
North Island Kiwi.
The North Island kiwi is now a rare bird, seldom to be found even in places where some few years since it was not uncommon. Ornithologists have manifested a disposition to drop this species and refer it to A. australis, on what appears to be insufficient grounds. The writer has had opportunities at divers times of becoming acquainted with living examples both of A. mantelli and A. australis; he has examined several skins of the North Island species, whilst hundreds of skins of the southern bird have passed under his observation, the result is that he arrives at conclusions which are opposed to Dr. Finsch's and also Mr. Buller's views on this question, (See Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. III., pp. 52–54). Mr. Buller writes thus:—“Mr. Bartlett draws the following distinction as to the colouring of the two supposed species— Ap. australis: Colour, pale greyish brown, darkest on the back. Ap. mantelli: Colour, dark rufous brown, darkest on the back. The above descriptions are applicable, the former to the female and the latter to the male of the common species.” In this paragraph Mr. Buller, in a summary way, disposes of Mr. Bartlett's (to our thinking) correct view of the distinction in the colour of the two species, and falls into a grave error by attributing sexual difference of colouration. It may not be impertinent to ask whence have specimens been obtained, or in what collection can authentic examples be seen that display a sexual distinction of colour hitherto unknown to the troglodytal Apterygidœ?
That which Mr. Buller terms Mr. Bartlett's strongest point, namely, the distinction to be drawn from the scutellation or reticulation of the tarsus, is left for elucidation in Mr. Buller's work on our birds, now in progress. We have no hesitation in maintaining that the plumage alone presents sufficiently marked characteristics for the retention of the two species. In the “Catalogue of the Birds of New Zealand” (p. 23) Captain Hutton in some half-a-dozen words points out the distinction, which cannot be gainsaid, “A. australis: Feathers soft to the touch. A. mantelli: Feathers harsh to the touch.”* The nut is cracked at a blow. The feathers which clothe the southern bird are produced into soft hair-like points; the hand passed over the plumage against the lay of the feathers encounters an almost downy softness; when compared with a similar test applied to the covering of A. mantelli it might be fairly so termed.
[Footnote] * See also Trans. N.Z. Inst., IV., 363.—Ed.
The reason is obvious, the feathers of the latter species are produced into hair-like points of almost bristly stubbornness. This contrast in the character of the plumage is distinguishable in the young state. In Christchurch, either in the Museum or in private hands, there are specimens from which such a comparison can be made. In the words of a man experienced in mounting the skins of Apteryx, the two species could be separated with one's eyes shut.” This peculiarity leads one to expect that there exists some difference in the habit of the species, depending probably on climatic influence or the physical conditions of its habitat.
Dr. Finsch, after careful and repeated examination of two specimens received from Dr. Buller, cannot bring himself to consider the species as distinct, yet admits (which he may safely do) that the harshness of the plumage on the occiput and hind neck of A. mantelli may be constant; he gives also a very plain and good reason why it is so, namely, from the structure of the feathers. The conclusion he arrives at is that A. mantelli may be a local form of A. australis. Now comes our difficulty, in admitting distinct and constant varieties to form what may be termed sub-species in our fauna it may be only reasonable to ask where the line is to be drawn and who is to draw it? What authority is to decide the nice question as to the points which separate the distinct variety from a good species?
In 1852 the late Captain Daniells, of Rangitikei, one of the pioneers of the Wellington settlement, spoke of the brown kiwi as then being procurable from the Maoris. From reliable sources the writer is aware that it is frequently heard in the bush in the neighbourhood of Tauranga.
No. 64.—Apteryx haastii, Potts.
Little addition can be made to the previous notes which accompanied the description of A. haastii (Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. IV., p. 204). During a visit to the West Coast last summer the localities were pointed out to the writer whence the specimens now in the Canterbury Museum were procured. One was found in the bush far up the Okarita river, the other in the dense bush between the eastern shore of Lake Mapourika and the snowy range of which Mount Cook is monarch. Mr. Docherty stated that both of these birds appeared wilder than A. australis, and made somewhat more resistance during their capture.
Apteryx maxima, Verr., is as yet amongst the desiderata of collectors. Maoris commonly assert that such a bird exists. It is stated to be as large as a turkey. A recent communication from a settler at Martin Bay gives some weight to these statements.
It is probable that other species will be added to this interesting genus; for the past two or three years we have known of the existence of a white kiwi, information concerning it having been scantily furnished at intervals by some wandering miner or prospector. Specimens have at different times been obtained from the bush in the Martin Bay district. From the descriptions that have been gathered they are not albinos, and their occurrence has been too frequent for them to be classed amongst specimens showing a mere accidental and rare variation either of A. oweni or A. australis; the plumage is stated to be remarkably loose, soft, and flocculent. It is suggested that the name of A. mollis would not be inappropriate as its specific designation. A specimen of this beautiful little Apteryx in the Dunedin Museum has the bill slightly curved, showing an arc elevated about one-fifteenth of its length.
|Bill from gape to point||3||9|
|Middle toe and claw||2||4|
Plumage white, extremities of the feathers more or less stained with yellowish; bristly integument at the base of the mandibles yellowish; narrow yellowish; stain round the eye; irides brown; feathers soft to the touch; habitat, bush about Martin Bay, west coast of Otago.
Other specimens have been obtained at Greymouth. The men who seek a living in the wilds of the S.W. coast of the South Island are not given, as a class, to the study of natural history; examples of the rarer species of our fauna are not the specimens they care to hunt for. Not long since the writer met with a man who had probably fed on the Notornis, and had lived for two or three weeks on the rare eggs of the crested-penguin. Inquiry made of a boatman at the Waitaroa concerning the eggs of a rare perhaps unknown, petrel, or Puffinus, elicited the information that “not being pretty at all they were hoved away.” A similar fate befel some eggs of the white heron, “because they would not go in the billy.” Auri sacra fames, our noble motto, oft blunts the spirit of inquiry about all other objects. When journeying along the West Coast the writer was informed by a very intelligent Teremakau native that far to the south a black kiwi was to be met with; he described it as “all the same as the kiwi, only black.” Probably this may be the bird which the Bruce Bay Maoris call the toko-weka; Apteryx fusca would properly distinguish this sombre-plumed species. There seems to be some tendency to dusky colours along the S.W. coast as seen in this kiwi, Ocydromus, etc., the black shag, for a long distance at least, according to our observation, frequents such points as are occupied by P. punctatus on the eastern side, so also Hœmatopus unicolor is there found in far greater abundance than H. longirostris.
No. A. 65.—Charadrius Obscurus, Gml.
About the middle of January the red-breasted plover may be found about the coast. We have seen old and young birds together on the flats at the head of Port Cooper on the 19th of January. They migrate from one part of the country to another, from the coast line to the higher grounds for breeding. They appear around Lake Heron in large numbers, finding their way to the Upper Rangitata flats in August. We have before noticed how this plover affects localities of considerable altitude for breeding, and we have a note of the occurrence of the nest and eggs as late as February on Browning Pass.
No. 65.—Charadrius Bicinctus, Jard.
Note.—September 4th, weighed four dotterels.
|Nos. 1 and 2||2¾ oz. each.|
|" 3 and 4||2¼ oz. "|
No. B. 65.—Anarhynchus Frontalis, Quoy.
Little variance is to be found in the weight of the crookbill. September 4th weighed eight crookbills. Six weighed 2oz. each, two weighed 1¾oz. each.
No. 73.—Ardea Alba, Linn. Kotuku.
A description of the habits and nesting of this interesting bird was contributed to the Ibis last year by the writer.
We have a note of the occurrence of a specimen which has a few black feathers. It is to be hoped that measures may be taken not only to preserve this fine wader from slaughter at all times in the year, but also that its breeding stations may be protected. The destruction of the white heronry on the Waitangituna river would almost exterminate the race over a great extent of country.
Could our noble kotuku enjoy the advantage of foreign birth, like the pert sparrow or black swan, what columns of print would denounce its destroyer before the virtuous indignation of the public would be appeased. We have recently learnt that one grand heronry, far away to the south in this island, has been utterly destroyed.
No specimen appears in the different Museums of the Colony of a variety of the white heron with yellow-stained plumes depending from the head. From a reliable source the writer is aware that a specimen was obtained in the Hakateramea district, South Canterbury. Hearsay evidence has given other
localities where this bird has occurred. This note is made with a view of drawing the attention of such naturalists as may have opportunities of making themselves acquainted with our wading tribes.
No. C. 78.—Himantopus Spicatus, n.s.
Diagnosis of a female killed in October on the Selwyn or Waikerikeri river.
Upper plumage deep blackish green; frontals narrow; irregular circlet round the eye; chin white; space between eye and gape white, slightly flecked with black; foreneck and part of breast black; lower part of breast white; feathers sparingly margined with black, deepest on the centre of the breast; abdomen, white; tibials white, tipped with black; upper tail-coverts white, slightly tipped with deep green; under tail-coverts white; tail blackish green, four outer feathers on either side having the inner webs marked with white and brown, centre feathers deep blackish green, shafts white; shafts of wings black; bill black; legs light red, deeper colour than those of H. leucocephalus, but not so deep as those of H. melas = H. novœ-zealandiœ.
|Bill from gape||2||9|
|Middle toe and claw||1||6½|
|Wing from flexure||10||2|
On comparing this specimen with a large series of Himantopus in the Canterbury Museum the bill was found to be shorter than that either of H. melas, or H. leucocephalus. The bird was a female, nearly in a condition to lay.
No. A. 79.—Limnocinclus Australis, Gray.
On December 12th four small sandpipers were observed on the shore of Lake Ellesmere; these were obtained for the Canterbury Museum. Male, summer plumage, bill black; irides dark brown; top of the head ferruginous speckled with black; line from immediately above the base of upper mandible through the eye white; throat and chin white; ramals white with a few minute dots of brown; upper surface, centre of feathers dark brown, feathers margined with fulvous shaded down to almost white at the distal end; upper wing-coverts dark brown, edged with fulvous; primaries dark brown, outer web, darkest; shafts white; secondaries brown, narrowly edged with white; upper tail-coverts dark brown, edged with fulvous; tail brown, tipped with
1. Trasverse section of the abdomen of the male cicada, showing anterior view of the muscles for vibrating the stridulating menbrane: (a) muscle; (b) tendon inserted into (c), the under surface of the stridulating membrence; (d) the drums.
2. Under view of the abdomen, showing the scales covering the openings into the drum-cavities (c).
3. Sitto, the scales removed, showing the drum-cavities (d)
4. Upper surface of the stridulating membranes(str).
fulvous; neck pale fulvous, speckled with brown; breast and abdomen white; under tail-coverts white with a narrow streak of brown in the centre; legs, feet, and toes greenish brown, tinted with yellowish.
|Bill from gape to point||1||2|
|Middle toe and claw||1||1|
|Weight 2½ oz.|
Female is of smaller and slighter frame, weighing 2¼ oz.
This sandpiper, identical with L. acuminatus, Gould, is found both in Australia and Tasmania. Specimens have been recently received from Adelaide, South Australia, which were marked as having been procured in Northern Australia.
This is, perhaps, the first notice of the occurrence of this little Tringa so far to the south as Canterbury, New Zealand.
No. 84.—Rallus pictus, Potts.
Dr. Finsch does not allow this as a good species.
Sketches are given which will permit a comparison of the bills of R. pictus and R. pectoralis. As yet the Canterbury Museum has been unable to transmit a specimen to Europe to enable foreign ornithologists to view the difference between these two rails.
For an account of the relative measurement, etc., of the two species see Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. IV., p. 202.
On the southern river Waio, Westland, we procured a small woodhen (weka) of rich rufous. The cry of this bird differed from that of the usual O. australis in being repeated with far greater rapidity of utterance.
No. 92.—Casarca Variegata, Gml.
We have a note of the occurrence of the nest of this bird at 15 feet from the ground in a hole in a black birch (Fagus cliffortioides) near Forest Creek, Upper Rangitata.
No. 95.—Spatula Variegata, Gould.
A nest with ten eggs was found at Big Bay, Lake Ellesmere. The eggs do not differ from those before described. (See Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. III., p. 103.)
No. A. 106.—Puffinus Tristis, Forst.
The young mutton-bird has been obtained from holes in the cliff at Sumner; this downy mass of oil presents the curious fact of being larger than the parent bird.
No. A. 119.—Prion Australis, n. s.
A short time since amongst some birds which arrived at the Canterbury Museum from Foveaux Strait, transmitted by the Rev. T. Wohlers, were specimens of a Prion which, from a careful inspection, could not be referred to either P. turtur or P. vittatus.
It is said to breed in holes, and descriptions are given below of the adult, young, and egg. In considering this specimen as new it is to be noted that the bill is considerably longer than the head; it is also much broader than that of P. vittatus, according to Gould. The pectinated apparatus of the upper mandible is fully disclosed. Of the primaries the first is quite as long, if not longer than the second quill, whilst the total length exceeds that of P. vittatus by some inches. It breeds on Papatea, or Green Island, near Ruapuke, in Foveaux Strait.
Adult.—Head dark bluish grey, mottled sparingly with black; aurals slatish, bounded above and below irregularly with white or yellowish white; upper surface bluish grey; scapulars clouded with slaty black, tail-coverts tipped with the same; under surface white; under tail-coverts white, just tinged with delicate ash grey; quill feathers of which the two first are longest and of about equal length, outer web black inner web white, more or less stained with ash grey; tail bluish grey tipped with black; chin naked, the skin marked with narrow angular furrows arranged in regular order, angle within angle; bill longer than the head.
|Bill from gape to point||1||9|
|Middle toe with claw||1||6|
|Wing from flexure||8||0|
The young taken out of the nest by Mr. Wohlers on the 25th November are clothed entirely with a dense covering of dark smoky grey, lightest on the neck and under surface, pectinations of the upper mandible undeveloped; the bill measures from gape to point 1 inch greatest width only 4 lines. The
egg, which gives out a rancid sub-musky odour, is white, oval in form; measures 2 in. 6 lines through the axis, with a breadth of 1 in. 6 lines.
No. B. 131.—Sterna Nereis, Gould.
We have eggs of this tern from the shore of Lake Ellesmere.
No. 138.—Phalacrocorax Punctatus, Sparrm. Kawau.
Spotted Shag, Ocean Shag,
Crested Shag, or Flip-flap.
The spotted shag, or flip-flap, well known to our shore folk, is stated by ornithologists to be peculiar to New Zealand; its active movements enliven many a bluff headland or rocky inlet of our island coast line. It derives the name of the spotted shag from the grey feathers of its upper surface terminating in a dark green spot; some persons term it the ocean shag from its marine habits; it is known as the crested shag from the supplementary head feathers assumed in the winter and early spring months; it is called the flip-flap from its habits when cruising up the harbours following shoals of fish.
As gregarious as some of its congeners it may be seen flying, swimming, fishing, or nesting, in large companies; these numbers that thus delight to live together do so peacefully, with an absence of much of the clamour and bickering that often marks the state of living where multitudes congregate. With these assemblies life passes in alternate periods of restless activity and restorative repose; birds fly from one favourite fishing ground to another; usually at a low elevation, keeping just above the curl of the wave; in these short trips the flight seems more direct, and the aim more decided, as to the point to be reached than in the case of its congener P. carbo. If disturbed, as by a boat, it often, after taking wing, makes a circuit; sometimes this tour is repeated twice or thrice, never at a great height; this habit is so much a matter of course that we have often observed people calling out, “come back, come back,” under the notion that the flip-flap will sail round once more. At the fishing ground its wonderful powers of diving insure an ample food supply, and its take of fish must be astonishingly great, as a half-pound moki is soon ingulfed in its capacious throat. Not content with exploring the deeps that wash the coast it follows shoals of fish up the smoother waters of the harbours; in calm autumn days often have we watched the still waters of our shallow bays flash with the swift motions of the flip-flap. Sometimes a solitary fisher may be noticed cruising about; when diving no particular course appears to be taken, but only the fish pursued, as one may guess from noting the places where the bird reappears after diving. When the shag's wants are supplied, and its voracity appears almost insatiable, it seeks the rocky shore or cliff, and
basks on the sunlit crags till its rapid digestion relieves it from temporary repletion, and it is once more ready for sea; when on the rocks it may be noticed drying its plumage with outstretched wings just in the same manner as does P. carbo. This shag swims low in the water, the tail is kept about level with the surface, and appears to afford great help to the bird when it essays to rise on the wing from the water; this feat is accomplished by a slow ungraceful action, three or four leaps or bounds being necessary with the body held partly upright before it is fairly launched in flight. When perched the tail affords help in maintaining the almost perpendicular attitude the bird then assumes, and it keeps its equilibrium on the steepest cliffs as firmly as if supported by a self-adjusting tripod. The site of a nesting place is often in some sheltered nook in the cliffs, where, perhaps, whole rows of their structures may be observed in close neighbourhood and frequently the position chosen is almost, if not entirely, inaccessible. Both males and females labour in building their homes, which are often constructed of Algœ, placed on a foundation of sticks. We have seen the birds carrying quite a large bunch of material at a time, so large and cumbersome the load that they have now and then been unable to effect a landing at the first attempt; a wide circuit has enabled them to place their burthen on the spot where the nest was to be raised.
As in the case of birds in many other and far removed genera, the constructive faculty appears most developed in the female; we have often noticed her sitting on the nest carefully and deftly arranging the tufts of material brought by her mate, some portion of which is collected from a great distance. We once saw, in a strong N.E. breeze, a fine bird beating out of Port Cooper, with a large piece of stick carried fore and aft. When the nest is completed it may be about 5 in. high and about 14 in. across; it soon becomes foul and loathsome (a mass of writhing maggots), with a most horrible stench. Three eggs are laid, measuring in length 2 in. 4 lines, in width 1 in. 6 lines, of greenish white, more or less clouded with chalky white. In a brief space they become mottled and stained to an extent that qnite alters their character; these marks are no doubt occasioned by the incubating bird sometimes feeding at home, as bloody smears on the eggs are not otherwise to be accounted for unless thus painted by the fresh fish-blood on the bird's mandibles when the eggs are duly turned in the nest. The labour of incubation is fairly shared by each sex, as we have noticed that when one bird has left its charge its mate has immediately supplied its place; when alarmed on her nest the shag utters a low note, rapidly opening and closing the mandibles, which gives a peculiar throbbing appearance to the cheek. From the middle of October the breeding season extends through the earlier summer months.
The embryo is at first flesh-coloured, and gradually assumes a darker hue on its upper surface till it reaches a dull slate colour; the mandibles light horn-
colour, darkest at the extremeties, gulal pouch well developed. The young, blind when hatched, is of a lead colour, darkish about the eyes and along the centre of the back; mandibles and gulal pouch flesh colour; tips of mandibles pinkish; tarsi lighter than the rest of the body; tongue very small; pectinated apparatus of the middle claw undeveloped; the entire body naked, being utterly devoid of down or feather. The first indication of plumage is the sprouting of the hair-like down of the tail, dark brown down next appears on the upper surface, whilst the under parts are covered with whitish down; the condition of the young always appears most thriving, the abdomen is distended as though stuffed. In the next change in the appearance of the young we note that it has assumed a dull smoky colour, lightest on the abdomen, the chin, and tarsi, the latter lightest on the inside; another change occurs before quitting the nest, the whole upper surface becoming of a dull slaty brown, almost white beneath; lore, chin, and pouch purplish flesh; up to this stage the aural orifice is unprotected. When clothed with down the middle claw is still wanting in its pectinated apparatus.
Whilst in the nests the young stretch up their long necks and move their heads in a snake-like manner from side to side; their note is hoarse and brief like the woffling bark of a puppy; when of a size to fill up their home the old birds remain at the edge of the nest. Below the nests there may often be observed a substance that looks not unlike some species of coral, this is formed of the exuviæ of these birds, and by the solidifying of the liquid ejections which the shag so constantly produces. A well-known sea mark near Banks Peninsula, known as “White-wash Head,” owes its distinctive name to the colour it has assumed from the accumulated white droppings of this sea fowl. It leaves its nest with reluctance as it is not a shy bird. The position chosen for the nest is perhaps rather to secure the advantage of shelter than from the fear of depredators. Its gruff brief note is not often heard; when ashore we have noticed that it frequently opens its mandibles widely as though the trachea was irritated by the presence of some parasite.
Ticks sometimes are found firmly fixed on the throat. It is worth noting that the plumage of the young when they leave the nest is of a dull inconspicuous tint, which may be of great advantage, not only in obtaining its food, by securing a nearer approach to its prey without observation, but also by its tone affording a certain amount of protection, as either afloat or ashore its colour harmonises with its surroundings, so that it is far from being a striking object; young females up to the period of their first nest differ but little from the tints of the young state. In this state of plumage these birds most frequently visit the shallower waters of the bays in the harbours; at sea we have never met with shags far from land, hence the name of ocean shag
does not seem appropriate. It will be observed that the middle or cleansing claw has a slight twist, and the comb differs from that on the middle claw of Ardea in the case of the bird under notice; the comb really appears to be an addition carried out to the end of the claw, and is doubtless an useful and well-used instrument; it is flexible to a certain degree, and it would be more proper to describe it as a scraping instrument than a comb; in fact it is the inside edge of the middle claw produced into a scraper of about sixteen broad curved flexible teeth.
As far as we know the spotted shag dives from the surface of the water, not from the heights from which some of the anserine order dash on their prey, yet those who examine its structure will note how admirably its anatomy is calculated to resist the strain or pressure caused by its manner of obtaining food, the coracoid and adjacent bones being not only in themselves of great strength, but also firmly attached to the sternum. The eye subject to so much exposure is defended in addition to the armature of the lore by a circlet of round flexible plates. In life at certain seasons these are of deep turquoise blue, and add greatly to the appearance of this bird.
Perhaps no other species of our Pelecanidœ is sooner or more completely robbed by death of so much of its beauty and character as P. punctatus, the evanescent colours of the membranes that decorate as well as protect certain parts of its body, and the varying tints of yellow, green, blue, and purple, defy the skill of the taxidermist to preserve and fade away into the semblance of a mass of leathery wrinkles.
The changes that take place in the plumage and in the colouration of the membranous processes have led some persons to make two species of the spotted shag, but a careful study of a large series of specimens procured at various periods of the year, and a tolerably close observation of the bird in its favourite haunts, prevents the writer from coinciding in this view. Having described the young from the embryo through several of its changes of appearance till it is of a size almost to quit the nest we now give some notes of its state of plumage at different ages and seasons.
Young female killed in March. Upper surface dull smoky grey, the apex of the scapulars of dull greenish brown; outer wing-coverts dull brown, edged with pale fawn; under surface white; thighs dull brown; tail-coverts dark brown; tail dark brown, shafts white; lore and chin yellowish flesh, tarsi and feet dull flesh colour. Female killed in August—Upper surface dark smoky brown, with a greenish glint on the head and neck, scapulars terminating in a deep green spot; back dark brown, changing to dark green; under surface white; throat and anterior of neck pale ash, leaving a broad stripe of white from the base of the upper mandible below the eye as far as the wing; lore and chin (of fine texture) dull, rather yellowish flesh colour; tarsi and feet
dull flesh colour. Males of the same age present no observable contrast in their plumage to that of the other sex. When this shag is about a year old the membranous processes, which are such conspicuous features, gradually lose their former texture, and become coarsely granulated; dark green spots are sparingly dotted on the wing-coverts, the throat assumes a darker hue, the white shafts of the tail feathers are exchanged for rectrices with shafts of slaty black, the two centre feathers are the first to be replaced; tarsi and feet take a more decided tinge of yellow. In all these changes there is a remarkable want of constancy, so that to note down all the variations that may be observed in an extensive series would exceed all reasonable limits for such a paper as this.
In the nuptial plumage this common bird becomes one of the handsomest of our sea-fowl, the great and striking alteration conferred by snow-white accessary plumes that docorate the head lasts but a short time in perfection in either sex, and gradually moults away into the more sober garb of the summer plumage. In the month of August adult birds have the head greenish brown, sparingly interspersed with narrow white feathers, immediately above the forehead rises a tuft of dark brownish green feathers, while another of the same shade forms a long irregular crest just above the nape; this inclines forward, reminding one of a clown's toupet; on either side a line of snow-white feathers more or less produced, extends from above the eye to the wing, meeting in a broad band below the nape; upper surface brownish grey, marked with deep green spots; back deep glossy black-green; throat blackish green; under surface, leaden grey; lower abdomen, tail, and thighs deep glossy black green; thighs often sprinkled with narrow white plumes, which, like those on the head and neck, are of temporary duration; mandibles horn colour; lore, bluish purple, the eye circlet of torquoise blue; chin greenish, often bluish purple, deepest at the point; tarsi and feet yellow.
Summer plumage, November; Head, neck, and upper surface dark greenish grey; wing-coverts and scapulars, dotted with deep green spots; throat and neck pale grey, mottled with dull green; under surface leaden grey; lower abdomen black green; rectrices black.
|Bill from gape to point||3||4|
Average weight of adult birds may be fairly estimated at 2 lbs. 13 ozs
When this bird is cruising in search of prey its long neck is often moved from side to side, reminding one of the habits of the nearly allied Plotinœ; this is observable too in the young nestlings; of some species of Plotinœ it is said that the neck is always in oscillation.
Art. XXI.—Remarks on some Birds of New Zealand.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 5th June, 1872.]
Through the kindness of my friend Dr. Julius Haast, I had the pleasure to receive a collection of bird-skins, which, in connection with some others kindly sent me for comparison by Capt. Hutton and Dr. Buller, enabled me to proceed with my studies of the New Zealand avifauna, and to become better acquainted with a number of its species. In accordance with these investigations I have prepared an article which will shortly appear in the “Journal fur Ornithologie,” under the title “Revision of the Birds of New Zealand.”
I intend to report in that paper, not only on my own researches but also on the useful labours of my antipodean ornithological brethren, in order to make known to our German colleagues the interesting reports given by Dr. Buller, Capt. Hutton, Mr. Potts and Mr. Travers. The excellent accounts on habits and breeding as published by Mr. Potts will especially be thankfully received, and I regret that I was only able to give extracts from his very interesting papers.
My paper will also contain a new revised enumeration of all New Zealand birds, after a new systematical arrangement which proved to be necessary.
The total number of species amounts to 149, but amongst them are still some which on further investigation will lose their specific rank.
I thought it would be of interest to my ornithological friends in New Zealand to offer them the most important facts of my researches before publishing them in the German Journal, but I beg to apologize for their shortness and imperfection, and therefore must refer them to my forthcoming extensive paper.
Falco novœ-zealandiœ, Gml.
After a careful examination of specimens of both sexes from the South and North Island, I see no reason for a specific separation of F. brunneus, G. Mr. Gurney (Ibis, 1870, p. 535) is inclined to believe that there exist two species, differing only in size, but his larger form (novœ-zealandiœ) surely refers only to the large females.
Full accounts and descriptions of this species will be found in my paper.
Circus assimilis, Jard.
I should like to see an old specimen in order to prove whether this species in New Zealand ever assumes the dress of the old Australian bird.
Platycercus novœ-zealandiœ, Sparrm.
My Pl. forsteri, based upon Forster's authority, must become united with this species.
This will prove to be only a variety of N. meridionalis. When I wrote my monograph on the Parrots, I had to admit it as a good species because there was a notice by Dr. Haast, stating he had seen the bird himself during his stay on the Alps; he mistaking the alpine form of N. meridionalis for the above variety.
Nestor occidentalis, Bull.
This can scarcely stand longer as a species, and is after my examinations inseparable from N. meridionalis. The diagnosis given by Capt. Hutton “cere very small” (“Cat. Birds N.Z.” p. 20) is of no specific value.
Halcyon vagans, Less.
Having examined a large series of this kingfisher I consider it as a good species, distinguished from sanctus, Vig., by the constant broader bill. The colours are generally darker, but certain specimens are difficult to distinguish from sanctus.
|H. vagans.||H. sanctus.|
|Frontal length of Bill||.65 to .71||.53 to .69|
|Rictal "||.87 " .98||.79 " .91|
|Breadth of bill below||.23 " .26||.19 " .21|
Certhiparus novœ-zealandiœ, Gml.
I agree, after examination of specimens from both islands, with Capt. Hutton, in uniting C. maculicaudus with this species, but the figure in the “Voy. l'Astrol.,” t. 11., f.3, as well as the description, are by no means accurate enough.
Sphenœacus fulvus, Gray.
After my suggestions Sph. rufescens, Bull. will probably turn out to be this species. Mr. Gray does not notice a proper locality, so it might be that his bird came also from the Chatham Islands.
Petroica longipes, Garn., and P. albifrons, Gml.
These birds seem to be scarcely distinct. They are by no means true Petroicœ, but form a singular genus, Myioscopus, Reich., distinguished by its long legs, the shorter wings and the stouter bill. Myioscopus belongs to the Luscininœ, and is nearest to Erythacus.
Anthus grayi, Bp. (Hutton, “Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 13).
This is based on Forster's “Alauda, No. 96” (Descr. anim., p. 91), and has no right to stand as a species. Most probably Forster described only a darker coloured specimen of A. novœ-zealandiœ.
Petroica macrocephala, Gml., and P. toitoi, Less.
These are Muscicapine birds, and form the well-marked genus Myiomoira, Reich. P. dieffenbachii cannot be separated from P. macrocephala. I examined specimens from both Islands.
Rhipidura fuliginosa, Sparrm., = Rh. tristis, Hombr. and Jacq.
All the specimens I have seen showed not the slightest sign of a white spot above the eye. So I hesitate to unite Rh. melanura, Gray, as Capt. Hutton has done, although I am not convinced of the validity of the latter.
Keropia tanagra, Schleg.
There can be not the slightest doubt about the identity of K. hectori, Bull. with this species, as Prof. Schlegel kindly compared one of Dr. Buller's types with his type in the Leyden Museum.
Glaucopis wilsoni, Bp.
Gl. olivascens will prove to be this species, as noticed by Capt. Hutton, but it must be based upon an extremely large female, as the measurements given by Von Pelzeln are much larger than any yet recorded.
Aplonis obscurus, Du Bus.
This can not be admitted as a New Zealand bird; there is no evidence of its occurrence in New Zealand.
Creadion carunculatus, Gml.
It is somewhat satisfactory that the examination of the types by Capt. Hutton has shown Cr. cinereus, Bull. to be undoubtedly the young of the above-named species, as I suggested long since (“Journ. f. Orn.,” 1867, p. 343).
Prof. Giebel, in his new “Thesaurus Ornithologiæ,” puts this characteristic form as a synonym of Anthochœra inauris, Gould! I think ornithologists will not be very satisfied with this arrangement.
Ardea egretta, Gml.—A. alba, Finsch, “Journ. f. Orn.,” 1870, p. 345.
I received specimens from both Islands, which are inseparable from A. egretta, the American form of our A. alba, which differs from the latter only in having the legs and feet black. The New Zealand specimens are indistinguishable from Mexican and Chilian specimens in the Bremen collection.
Ardea sacra, Gml.
A specimen from New Zealand agrees with others from Australia, the Pelew and other Pacific Islands.
Himantopus novœ-zealandiœ, Gould.
This is the unicolour black one, and the same as H. melas, Homb. and Jacq. The pied stilt, therefore, named H. novœ-zealandiœ by Capt. Hutton, (“Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 29), will be nothing as a state of the black species, whereas H. novœ-zealandiœ, Potts (Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. II., p. 70), is probably H. leucocephalus, Gould.
Tringa canutus, Hutton (“Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 30).
This, I expect, will turn out to be Tr. crassirostris, Temm. and Schleg. (Faun. jap. pl. 64), the larger eastern representative of canutus.
Ocydromus troglodytes, Gml.; O. australis, Finsch, “Journ. f. Orn.” 1870, p. 352.
This species has been hitherto confused with australis, Sparrm. I shall treat of all the New Zealand Ocydromi (four species) extensively in my paper, with full descriptions and their corrected synonymy. O. troglodytes is the largest, and easily recognizable by its olive brownish-yellow colouration, and is the bird figured by Gray (“Ereb. and Terr.” t. 14).
Ocydromus australis, Sparrm.
Considerably smaller, and of an olive, rufescent-brown, ground colour; tail feathers barred regularly with black and rufous brown.
I received one specimen from Dr. Haast.
Ocydromus fuscus, Du Bus.
I examined one of the types of O. nigricans, Bull. There can be no doubt of its identity, as I declared already.
Rallus pectoralis, Less.
Specimens from the Okarita Lagoon, sent by Dr. Haast, agree perfectly with others from Australia, the Pelew and Samoa Islands.
Mr. Potts' new R. pictus (Ibis, 1872, p. 36) based upon a specimen from the same locality, has no claim as a species.
Lestris parasitica, Hutton (“Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 40)
Is apparently not this species, but L. longicaudatus, Briss. (Buffoni, Boie—spinicauda, Hardy nec Layard.)
Larus novœ-hollandiœ, Steph. (L. scopulinus, Finsch, Hutton, Potts.)
I shall describe all the plumages of this very confused species and settle the synonymy.
The larger L. jamesoni, Gould, is not yet separated exactly, although there exists a great variety in size, especially in the bill.
Larus pomare, Bruch. “Journ. f. Orn.,” 1855, p. 285, nec 1855, p. 103.
To this species belong L. melanorhynchus, Bull.; L. bulleri et jamesoni,
Hutton (“Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 41); and L. bulleri, Potts (Ibis, 1872, p. 38); as I can state positively, having type specimens of all these so-called species, and besides the types of Bruch from the Museum at Mayence.
The colouration of the bill varies (after season and age) from black to reddish-yellow with black tip (this latter form represents L. bulleri, Potts), that of the feet from black to reddish. I have seen intermediate specimens. This species is characterized by its slender bill, and chiefly by the white on the inner web of the four first remiges, which are white shafted. The extent of this white on the remiges varies after age, as is also the case in our L. ridibundus and L. lambruschius, which show also a similar variation in respect to the colouration of bill and legs.
I shall treat this species also in extenso, and make it thoroughly known.
Sterna—(?) n. sp. Potts, Trans. N.Z. Inst., II., p. 77.
This is certainly St. nereis, Gould.
Hydrochelidon leucoptera, Hutton, (“Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 43.)
I suggest that this species has been confounded with H. hybrida, Pall. (fluviatilis), at least I come to this conclusion in comparing the measurements given by Capt. Hutton.
The species of this family are, with certain exceptions, far from being well known. I should like to examine specimens of this group, having seen from New Zealand only a single specimen of Prion ariel.
Puffinus gavius, Forster.
I think Capt. Hutton is quite right to refer his P. assimilis and opisthomelas to this since Forster almost unknown species.
P. opisthomelas, Coues, is, according to my views, not so positively to be united with gavia as Capt. Hutton thinks; at least a comparison with the types would be the only way to settle the question.
Puffinus tristis, Forst.
Layard's “Mutton Bird” from New Zealand, named by him P. brevicaudatus (Ibis, 1863, p. 245), belongs apparently to this species.
I am not as sure as Capt. Hutton whether P. (Nectris) amaurosoma, Coues, is indeed identical, and I should hesitate to declare this with certainty until I had compared specimens.
Prion ariel, Gould.
The differences between this species and Pr. turtur are indeed very minute, and the identity of both seems very possible to me. I should like to see series of these allied species in order to be clear about their specific value.
Dysporus serrator, Banks.
This species is by no means identical with D. capensis, Licht., as Capt. Hutton is inclined to believe, but is a well distinguished species.
D. capensis is easy to recognize in having all the tail feathers black and in having the naked gular space extended in a narrow line to about the middle of the neck in front.
Graculus carbo, L.
Specimens from New Zealand, received through Captain Hutton, are exactly the same as those from Europe, China, Japan, etc.
Graculus brevirostris, Gould.
Whether this species is really different from Gr. melanoleucus, Vieill., I doubt very much, after having seen more specimens in a different state of plumage. One specimen is throughout black, another has chin and throat white, and in a third the whole under surface to the flank is white, differing in no way from specimens in the characteristic plumage of melanoleucus.
The young of this latter species are black on the under parts.
Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, Gray.
In examining two species from New Zealand I find that the characteristics pointed out for this species by Mr. Gray are not constant. A comparison with E. chrysocome, Forst., seems necessary.
Eudyptes chrysolophus, Brandt.
Prof. Schlegel enumerates s. n. Spheniscus diadematus, Gould, a specimen in the Leyden Museum (“Mus. P.B. Urinat,” p. 8), which certainly belongs to this species. This specimen is labelled as coming from New Zealand, but without the name of the collector.
Eudyptula minor, Forster.
I see no reason to distinguish Eu. undina, Gould, specifically after having carefully compared more specimens.
Apteryx australis, Shaw.
Through the kindness of Dr. Buller I received two specimens of the Apteryx of the North Island for comparison, which after careful and repeated examination I cannot consider as distinct species. In respect to the colours I have specimens from the South Island before me which are as dark as those from the North Island. The plumage of the latter is harsher to the touch, but in a series there are also different degrees observable. The only difference which I can notice, and which perhaps may be constant, consists in the structure of the feathers which cover the occiput and hind neck. These, in the North Island bird, have longer and harsher black shafts, whereas in the
South Island bird they are shorter and softer. As I do not consider this slight difference important enough I can regard the kiwi of the North Island only as a race or local form,—A. australis var. mantelli, Bartl.
I shall give an extensive treatise of the known species of Apteryx in my revised list of the birds of New Zealand.
Apteryx haastii, Potts.
Judging from the communications on this species sent me by Dr. Haast and Capt. Hutton I take it for a good species. I cannot agree with Mr. Potts as to a hybridism between A. australis and oweni, because I am sure a hybrid of those species would stand in size intermediate between the two, as is the case in our Tetrao medius.
Mr. Potts' name ought to be preserved for this species, for from A. maxima, Verr., there exists no other source than the simple name, noticed first by Bonaparte, without any reference to the Roa-roa.
The following species are in my opinion worthy no longer to stand amongst the list of the birds of New Zealand:—
Strix parvissima, Ellm., Potts, Trans. N.Z. Inst., III., p. 68.
Halcyon cinnamonimus, Sws.
Anthochæra carunculata, Lath. (Mimus carunculatus, Bull.)
Anthus grayi, Bp., Hutton's Cat., p. 13.
Rhipidura motacilloides, Vig., Hutton's Cat., p. 14.
Aplonis obscurus, Du Bus.—caledonicus, Hutt.
Crex pratensis.—(Rallus featherstoni, Bull.)
Anous stolidus, L.
Procellaria æquinoctialis, L.
Puffinus brevicaudatus, Br.
Dysporus piscator, L.
Graculus carunculatus, Gml.
Aptenodytes pennantii, Gray.
Art. XXII.—On the Birds of the Chatham Islands with Introductory Remarks on the Avi-fauna and Flora of the Islands in their relation to those of New Zealand.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 11th September, 1872.]
I have compiled, from memoranda furnished to me by my son, Mr. H. H. Travers, and have written in his name, the following notes of the distribution and habits of the birds known to belong to the Chatham Islands, specimens of the major part of which he obtained during a recent visit to that group. The total number of birds mentioned in Capt Hutton's “Catalogue
of the Birds of New Zealand” as belonging to the Chatham Islands is 47, but my son has now reason for believing that the weka (Ocydromus australis), the kakapo (Stringops habroptilus), and the kiwi (Apteryx australis), which were all inserted in the catalogue in question on the authority of a former notice of the fauna of the Islands, published in the fourth volume of the Linnæan Society's Journal—Botany—were erroneously assigned to them. Of the total number in the catalogue which have now been ascertained to belong to the Islands, my son obtained specimens of thirty-eight species, but was unable to procure species of Ardea sacra, Ardea poiciloptera, Limosa uropygialis, Rallus dieffenbachii, and Anas chlorotis, whilst the memoranda are silent as to others which he did obtain, and notably as to Diomedea exulans, Thalassidroma nereis, and Haladroma berardii.
He obtained two species entirely new to science, which have been named by Capt. Hutton Petroica traversii and Rallus modestus, whilst, besides these, he has added five other species to the avi-fauna of the Chatham Islands, namely, Chrysococcyx plagosus, Haladroma berardii, Graculus africanus, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, and Eudyptula minor, of which the three former were not even previously known to the avi-fauna of New Zealand.
I need hardly say that the Chatham Islands are situated about 450 miles to the eastward of New Zealand, in lat. 42° South, and consist of one large island called Chatham Island, seventy miles long, and which is almost in the shape of an isosceles triangle, the north-western side, about thirty miles in length, forming the base,—of Pitt Island, which is about ten miles in circumference, and of several small rocky islets, of which the principal are named Mangare and South-east Island. The surface of the main land is undulating, and generally covered with grass, whilst all round it is a fringe of bush, more or less broad, containing a considerable number of small trees. Upon this island there are several lagoons, the largest of which is twenty miles in length, by from three to eight in breadth, the waters of which are separated from the sea by a sand beach from half-a-mile to a mile wide. The surface of Pitt Island is completely covered with bush of the same class as that on the main island. South-east Island contains the highest land in the group. Mangare is very small, and the surface stony, but nearly covered with low rigid scrub. Owing to the constant swell from the south-eastward it is extremely difficult to land on these smaller islets, as the sea rises and falls many feet with each wave, rendering it dangerous for boats to approach too closely; indeed, it is only by patiently watching an opportunity that a landing can be effected, and re-embarkation is equally difficult and dangerous, whilst the treacherous nature of the weather increases both the danger and the difficulty. It will be seen, in the course of these notes, that my son succeeded in obtaining a considerable number of birds from these smaller islands, where
they have no doubt been preserved from destruction by the very inaccessibility of their habitats, both to man and to other animals. It is interesting to observe that, except the two new species added to science, nearly the whole of the birds occupying these islands are identical with New Zealand species. It is not at all improbable that Haladroma berardii and Graculus africanus will also be found on our coasts, leaving only Petroica traversii, Rallus modestus, Chrysococcyx plagosus, and Anthornis melanocephala as absolutely peculiar to the Chathams. Of these again Petroica traversii possesses exactly the habits, and even the common note, of Petroica albifrons and P. longipes, whilst Anthornis melanocephala is too closely allied to Anthornis melanura to render their common descent at all doubtful. The differences between the Petroicœ are not so great as those between the two species of New Zealand Orthonix, one of which only inhabits each of the two larger islands of New Zealand. This almost identity of the avi-fauna of the Chatham Islands with that of New Zealand is observable also in the flora, of which my son, during his late visit, made almost exhaustive collections. These are now in the hands of Baron von Mueller, of Melbourne, for examination. I am led to believe that the identity which was found to exist between the great majority of the species obtained by him in 1867 and species inhabiting New Zealand, is maintained in connection with the much larger number of species which he collected during his recent visit, but upon this point I have no doubt Baron von Mueller will fully remark when he publishes the results of his investigations.
I have had no opportunity of ascertaining how far this resemblance extends in the case of the other forms of life found in the Chathams, but I think it extremely probable that the greater number of the few insects, etc., which my son obtained will be found to be identical with species also occupying New Zealand. This almost identity of the organic productions of the two groups suggests forcibly a former, and (speaking geologically as regards time) not long past, connection between them, or, in other words, extension of the lower lands of New Zealand so as to embrace the Chatham Islands since the great mass of the existing living productions of both have assumed their present forms. Interesting fields of speculation are opened out as to whether it is the Chatham Island or the New Zealand species now presenting differences of a specific nature which have undergone variation; as for instance in the case of the birds, the two species of Anthornis, and in the case of the ferns, the two different forms of Lomaria discolor; but I must leave more speculative and more competent minds to deal with this question. I may add that my son made diligent search and inquiry for moa bones, but did not obtain any, nor any information respecting them.
In the following notes, which are to be assumed to have been written by
my son, the numbers opposite the species thus distinguished have reference to those in Captain Hutton's Catalogue.
2. Circus assimilis.
This bird is rare in the islands, and I was unable to obtain any specimens for skinning. I found one which had been dead for some days, but which so far as I could judge from the then condition of the plumage, etc., was identical with the New Zealand bird.
11. Prosthemadera novœ-zealandiœ.
I found this bird on the Main and on Pitt Island, where it is not uncommon, but I saw no specimen on Mangare. I could detect no differences between it and the birds found in New Zealand.
12. Anthornis melanocephala.
This bird occurred in the greatest numbers on Mangare, though I also found it frequently on the main island, but more rarely on Pitt Island. Its note is much richer and fuller than that of its New Zealand congener. It begins to breed in October, the nest being composed of grass and feathers, large and coarsely constructed. As a rule the female lays three eggs. The egg has a brownish pink tinge, and is spotted with a darker colour.
Length, 1.05 in.; diameter, .75 in.
14. Zosterops lateralis.
This bird has become very numerous, and is especially destructive to the smaller fruits. During severe winters large numbers are said to die from cold and hunger. During my stay at Pitt Island many were found drowned in the pig tub, and I observed in New Zealand that these birds frequent the pits in which house refuse is thrown in search of food. They appear to be carnivorous. They are said to have first appeared in the Chatham Islands after the great fire in Australia on Black Thursday.
21. Sphenœacus rufescens.
I only found this bird on Mangare, where it is not uncommon. Its peculiar habit of hopping rapidly from one point of concealment to another renders it difficult to secure. It has a peculiar whistle, very like that which a man would use in order to attract the attention of another at some distance, and although I knew that I was alone on the island, I frequently stopped mechanically on hearing the note of this bird, under the momentary impression that some other person was whistling to me. It also uses the same cry as Sphenœacus punctatus. It is solitary in its habits and appears to live exclusively on insects.
26. Gerygone albofrontata.
Not common, but found in all the islands. It has very much the habits of the New Zealand species.
29. Petroica dieffenbachii.
Not common, but found in all the islands, but I doubt the propriety of separating this bird from Petroica macrocephala.
—. Petroica traversii, sp. n., Hutton.
I only found this bird at Mangare, where it is not uncommon. It is very fearless, possessing in other respects the habits of Petroica albifrons and P. longipes. Its ordinary note is also the same, but I did not hear it sing. It appears to be specially obnoxious to Anthornis melanocephala, which always attacks it most savagely when they meet. There is no apparent difference in the plumage of the sexes.
33. Anthus novœ-zealandiœ.
38. Rhipidura flabellifera.
48. Platycercus novœ-zealandiœ.
These birds are not uncommon in all the islands, and exhibit precisely the same habits as in New Zealand.
49. Platycercus auriceps.
I never found this bird on the main island, but it is numerous on the other islands. I was often for some time surprised at finding the bodies of dead birds which I had thrown away partially eaten, and could not account for the fact until I found this bird feeding on them. This is also a habit of Nestor meridionalis. In other respects the habits of this bird are the same as in New Zealand. I obtained a specimen on Mangare, with a faint yellow tinge on the head.
—. Chrysococcyx plagosus.
This bird is nearly, if not absolutely, identical with the Australian species. It appears on the islands in the month of September, and leaves towards the end of January. If this bird visits the Chathams from Australia it is remarkable (as Capt. Hutton has observed) that it must pass over the large islands of New Zealand and extend its flight an additional 450 miles.
56. Carpophaga novœ-zealandiœ.
Now common on all the islands, and abundant on Mangare, where it breeds. It is said to have made its first appearance on the islands about 1855. Eggs whitish, spotted with brownish-pink on the larger end. Length 1.47 in., diameter 1.07 in.
64. Charadrius bicinctus.
Not common, and found chiefly in open grassy country.
65. Thinornis novœ-zealandiœ.
I only found this bird on Mangare and on parts of the coast of Pitt Island. It has been called the “bowing-bird” by the settlers, from its habit of bowing its body when approached.
68. Hœmatopus longirostris.
Not common and usually found on sandy beaches.
74. Ardea poiciloptera.
I did not obtain a specimen of this bird, which has become very rare on the Islands, but I was informed by persons who had seen it, and who knew the New Zealand bird, that it was precisely similar.
76. Limosa uropygialis.
I did not obtain a specimen of this bird, but was informed that it visited the islands in spring, leaving them in the autumn.
83. Gallinago pusilla.
I only found this bird on Mangare, where it is not common. I never saw it on the wing except when disturbed, and, being very tame, it then only flies a short distance. It lives in holes in the rocks, coming out towards evening to feed. Its chief food is worms and grubs, for which it scratches the ground much in the manner of a fowl; from this habit the settlers have given it the name of the “chicken-bird.” Its cry is peculiar, something like the note which is produced by blowing into a hollow reed at one end of which a finger is placed and frequently and suddenly removed. This note is repeated rapidly six or seven times. The holes it inhabits are about eighteen inches deep, and evidently artificial. In the two instances in which I obtained young birds in the nests there was only one bird in each case. I could not detect any difference in plumage between the sexes.
—. Rallus modestus, sp. n. Hutton.
Matirakahu of the Morioris. Of this bird, which I only found on Mangare, I obtained two specimens, one a full grown female, and the other young one. It is not known on any of the other islands, and although I was on Mangare for twelve days these were the only specimens I saw. The birds in question were found in a very rocky place, and when disturbed sought to hide themselves amongst the stones. I had no opportunity of studying its habits, and having unfortunately failed in obtaining the male parent bird, I am unable to say whether its plumage is different from that of the female. It appears to be a nocturnal bird, as those I obtained came out of the rocks at dusk, evidently to feed. Both the parent birds had escaped in the first
instance, but the female was attracted by the plaintive cry of the young one which I had caught. I caught sight of the male bird also, but it was too dark to pursue it amongst the scrub.
90. Ortygometra affinis.
I obtained this bird on Chatham Island. It inhabits wet swamps, and is very rare and difficult to obtain. When hunted with dogs it takes wing, but only for a short distance, and, after dropping, it runs with great rapidity through the long sedges and swamp grasses. Many of the oldest white inhabitants had never seen it, and the Maoris but seldom. In the only specimen I obtained was an egg, which was unfortunately broken during the dissection of the bird for ascertaining the sex. The egg was about the size of an ordinary walnut, of a brownish-olive colour, spotted with darker brown.
92. Ortygometra tabuensis.
This bird is extremely rare, and occupies grassy spots in swampy places. I only obtained one young specimen.
94. Porphyrio melanotus.
Common on the banks of the lagoon on Chatham Island, but rare on Pitt Island, and not found on the smaller ones.
99. Anas superciliosa.
Common throughout the islands.
Not common, and chiefly found in small lagoons.
106. Lestris catarractes.
The common name of this bird amongst sailors is the “sea-hen.” I only found it in certain places on Pitt Island, and on a small islet about two miles from that island. It commences breeding in the beginning of December. The eggs, two in number, are laid on a nest roughly made of grass, and placed on rocky spots near the shore. The egg and nest are scarcely distinguishable from those of Larus dominicanus, except that the former are a little larger. One egg only is usually hatched. Whilst attempting to take the eggs of these birds both parents attacked me most savagely, and I had some trouble in obtaining them. Both parents take part in the work of incubation. Round the nests I found remains of several small sea birds, chiefly Prion turtur. During the day time I saw this bird usually sitting in sunny places on the higher cliffs, only now and then taking short flights. I never saw it hunting for food during the day time, but whilst I was on Mangare I heard it constantly during the night, swooping at the small birds which come on shore to roost. I examined the stomachs of a good many, always finding the
contents to be Prion turtur, usually swallowed whole. This bird also attacks the young of the domestic fowl, frequently clearing off whole broods, where they breed in the bush. It attacks the albatros very savagely, and generally succeeds in driving it from its prey. Its flight is somewhat the same as that of Larus dominicanus, but it flaps the wing more rapidly than that bird. There is very little distinction in plumage between the male and female.
108. Larus dominicanus.
109. Larus scopulinus.
Both these birds are common, the former breeding on the banks of the big lagoon, and the latter in the same locality, and on the banks of smaller lakes.
113. Sterna frontalis.
A spring and summer visitor to the islands, where it first appears in August, but I am unable to say at what time it leaves. It breeds in October on the banks of the small lakes, and on rocky places near the coast.
119. Diomedea melanophrys.
Found on Pitt Island, where it probably breeds.
123. Ossifraga gigantea.
Stink-pot of the American whalers. This bird is difficult to obtain, except where the carcase of a whale or seal is cast ashore. It usually flies at a great height, but when a whale carcase is afloat they settle on it in thousands. Their flight is generally like that of the albatros, but they flap the wings oftener than that bird. Their power of scent appears to be wonderful. By good fortune I obtained the carcase of a large seal, and after taking off the skin I placed it in a quiet pool amongst the rocks. It had not been there more than an hour when at least forty of these birds attacked it, although I only observed one within sight before the carcase was placed in the pool. They are very wary, and do not settle until they have carefully examined their prey, and then only settle in the water swimming up to the food. They gorge themselves to such an extent as to become incapable of flight. On first landing on Mangare I found a number of these birds, which had gorged themselves on a shoal of fish which had been driven ashore, and several that I picked up and threw into the air fell again like stones. In several that I opened I found remains of fish and of Prion turtur. They breed in November, laying only one egg at a time. Like the albatros they only breed on rocky islets destitute of vegetation, the nests being placed on the edges of the cliffs.
124. Halodroma urinatrix.
Common on Pitt Island, and occasionally found on Mangare.
127. Puffinus tristis.
Common all round the coasts of the Chatham group. It burrows a horizontal hole, from three to four feet deep, and turning slightly to the right or left, in peaty ground. At the extremity of this hole it forms a rude nest composed of twigs and dead leaves. Only one egg is laid, and the male bird assists in the work of incubation. They are very savage whilst on the nest, biting and scratching those who molest them. The young bird is singularly fat, and when taken from the hole disgorges a quantity of oily matter of most offensive smell. This, however, is esteemed a delicacy by the Morioris, who hold the young birds over their mouths allowing the substance to drain into them. The old birds roost on shore, the noise they make during the whole night being absolutely frightful, resembling an exaggerated chorus of squalling children and love-making cats, in which the performers were numbered by thousands. From the manner in which this noise was intensified on each fresh arrival I could only conclude that the whole lot were squalling out their adventures during the day. When taken out of their holes they flutter about on the ground for some time, tumbling over stumps in a confused manner, but ultimately make for the sea.
139. Prion turtur.
Right-whale bird of the whalers. This bird occurs in immense numbers on the islands. It breeds in holes in the ground, laying a single egg in a nest composed of a few dead leaves. Both parents assist in the incubation. When the bird is taken from the hole it disgorges a quantity of greenish oily matter, which appears to be used as food for the young birds. Whilst on Mangare I often found these birds caught in the branches of scrubby trees, and could only account for this by supposing that they got caught whilst attempting to escape from Lestris catarractes. Egg pure white; length 1 in., diameter, 1 in.
141. Prion vittatus.
Blue Billy of the settlers. Breeds in cavities of cliffs on the sea shore, or in holes burrowed in the soft peaty soil which covers the tops of most of the small islets. The hole dips slightly, is from eighteen to twenty-four inches deep, and quite straight. It breeds in September, and only one egg is laid. Where the egg is laid in holes in rocks it is placed on the bare rock, but in the peaty holes a few leaves are found, but whether placed there by this bird or by smaller sea birds which use the same holes for breeding I cannot say. Both birds take part in incubation. They are not easily disturbed when sitting, pecking at the hand whilst the egg is being taken, but remaining on the nest after its removal. When taken from the holes they fly away with a wavy uncertain flight as if blinded by the sudden light. One mode of getting this and other sea birds is by lighting a large fire at night at the foot of a high
cliff, against which they dash themselves or, becoming stupified, are easily knocked down. In a cave on Pitt Island, which I reached by the aid of a rope, I found a cat which had eaten the heads off nearly a hundred young birds without the bodies being touched. Many old birds had also been killed by this cat. How it got there I cannot imagine. The egg is pure white; length 1.95 in., diameter 1.47 in.
142. Thalassidroma marina.
Common all round the islands. They are attracted by a fire at night, numbers throwing themselves into it. I have often felt them strike my tent, attracted by the light of the lamp. This bird walks with great difficulty owing to the length of the tarsus. I was informed that it breeds in the end of January.
147. Graculus carbo.
Not uncommon on the lagoons, but very shy.
148. Graculus carunculatus.
Not common. It breeds on a small islet near Pitt Island in November, but as I was then absent from Pitt Island I did not get the egg. It only comes on shore to roost on trees, generally fishing all day at some distance from the land.
—. Graculus africanus?
Like G. carunculatus this bird is only found in certain parts of Pitt Island. It breeds in November on the most inaccessible cliffs. I had much difficulty in obtaining specimens.
158. Eudyptes pachyrhynchus.
I obtained and brought to New Zealand a live specimen of this bird, which had come on shore to moult. I believe it to have been a young bird. It remained for nearly three weeks without food, but on reaching New Zealand it was fed partly on fish and partly on raw meat. It became very tame, following like a dog any one who fed it. It was unable to take its own food, which had to be placed in the gullet. It became very fat and appeared to thrive, but, unfortunately, I was unable to get fish for several days, owing to stormy weather, during which it was fed on meat. It died somewhat suddenly, which I attribute to the nature of the food, as, on being opened, it presented no appearance of disease. It used its flippers in climbing, and by their aid was able to travel up very steep places if at all rough. Nothing could be more quaint than the habits and appearance of this bird as it wandered about the garden, or followed those it knew. Though generally considered stupid, no doubt from its appearance, it was extremely cunning. When placed at night in an inclosure with some poultry it became master of
the situation, its harsh cry and powerful beak striking terror into the other occupants.
159. Eudyptula minor.
Very common in rocky places about Pitt Island, where they live in holes and fissures. They usually come on shore about ten at night in the summer, and it was very amusing to see the ingenious manner in which they used their flippers in climbing.
Art. XXIII.—Notes on some of the Birds brought from the Chatham Islands, with Descriptions of the New Species.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 23rd October, 1872.]
In the following notes I have alluded only to those birds which are either new to our fauna or which have some special point of interest. A complete list of the birds known to inhabit the Chatham Islands will be given by Mr. H. Travers (see Art. xxii.) as well as descriptions of all the eggs that he collected.
Gerygone albofrontata, Gray.
G. albofrontata, Gray, “Voy. Ereb. and Terr.,” Birds, p. 5, Pl. IV., fig. 2.
Two specimens of this species were obtained on Pitt Island, but neither are in good condition; they differ considerably from the measurements given by Mr. G. Gray, but as Dr. Buller says in his “Birds of New Zealand” that the original specimen in the British Museum is labelled as coming from the Chatham Islands, there can be no doubt as to their identity.
Above olivaceous brown; forehead, over the eye, region of the ears, and all the under surface, white; tinged with yellow on the flanks, abdomen, and vent; quills brown, narrowly edged on the outside with olivaceous; secondaries the same but with a broader edging; tail brownish rufous, with a brownish black band near the tip, followed on the three outer feathers with a pale rufous band; tips brown; irides light red.
Length 4.5 in.; wing from flexure, 2.25; bill from gape, .65; tarsus, .87.
In the “Ibis” for last July, Mr. Potts describes a specimen of Gerygone procured by him on the west coast of the South Island (see Art. xix), which specimen Dr. Buller refers, from Mr. Potts' description, to G. albofrontata; but in this opinion I cannot agree, for Mr. Potts' specimen, as he describes it, differs from G. albofrontata not only in the absence of the white forehead but also in the dark colour of the wings, in having the two centre tail feathers
black, and in the chin, cheeks, and breast being grey, in all which respects it agrees with G. flaviventris.
Miro traversi, Buller.
Petroica traversi, Hutton, “Ibis,” July, 1872. Miro traversi, Buller, “Birds of N.Z.,” p. 123.
Entirely black, except the wing feathers, which are brownish. Length, 6 in.; wing from flexure, 3.25; bill from gape, .77; tarsus, 1.13. There is no difference between the sexes.
Rhipidura flabellifera, Gml.
R. flabellifera, Gray, “Voy. Ereb. and Terr.,” Birds, p. 8.
One specimen only was procured, which on a second examination I find has the white of the tail feathers purer than in specimens from New Zealand, those from the North Island especially having the white on the tail more or less clouded with brown.
Platycercus auriceps, Kuhl.
P. auriceps, Hutton, “Cat. Birds N.Z.,” p. 19.
Two specimens, both of which are larger than any that I have seen from New Zealand, measuring 11 inches in length, and wing from flexure 4.7. The bill and tarsus are of the same size as New Zealand specimens.
Chrysococcyx plagosus, Lath.
Lamprococcyx plagosus, Gould, “Handbook to Birds of Australia,” I., p. 623.
The Chatham Island birds have but faint traces of rufous bars on the inner web of the second tail feather, thus agreeing, I suppose, with the Australian species and not with the one from New Zealand, but I have no Australian specimens for comparison.
Rallus? modestus, Hutton.
R. modestus, Hutton, “Ibis,” July, 1872.
Olivaceous brown, bases of the feathers plumbeous; feathers of the breast slightly tipped with pale fulvous, those of the abdomen and flanks with two narrow bars of the same colour; throat dark grey, each feather slightly tipped with brown; quills soft and short, brown, the first three faintly barred with reddish fulvous; fourth and fifth quills the longest; tail very short and soft, brown; irides light brown; bill longer than the head, rather slender, curved downwards, brown; legs dark brown (dry).
Length, 8.75 in.; wing, 3.15; bill from gape, 1.4; tarsus, 1; middle toe and claw, 1.4.
Young covered with brownish black down.
This curious bird was found on Mangare only; it will, doubtless, form the type of a new genus, as no other rail has a curved bill.
Halodroma berardii, Quoy.
Pelecanoides berardii, Q. and G., “Voy. de l'Uran.,” Zool., pl. 31. Pl. col. 517.
This species is distinguished from H. urinatrix by its narrow bill, which is only .17 inches in breadth at the end of the nasal tubes, while in H. urinatrix it is .25 in.
Phalacrocorax carunculatus, Gml.
Graculus cirrhatus, Gray, “Voy. Ereb. and Terr.,” Birds, p. 19.
Several specimens were obtained. Legs and feet flesh coloured.
Length, 27.5 in.; wing, 10.5; bill, 3.25; tarsus, 2.
As soon as the breeding season is over they lose the dark blue-black on the back, and get instead brown with a broad white transverse band.
Phalacrocorax africanus, Gml.?
Graculus africanus? Hutton, “Ibis,” July, 1872.
Head, neck, throat, lower part of the back, thighs, vent, and over the tail, dark blue- or green-black; upper back and wing-coverts greenish bronzy brown, each feather with a black apex; breast and abdomen grey; quills and tail brownish black; head crested; neek ornamented with white feathers in the breeding season; bill dark coloured; legs and feet yellowish orange.
Length 19 in.; wing, 9.5; bill, 2.75; tarsus 2.
In the “Ibis” for last July I referred this beautiful species to G. africanus with some doubt, as the only descriptions available, those of Linnæus, Cuvier, and Layard, in his “Birds of South Africa,” were very short and disagreed among themselves, but still seemed to indicate a bird very like ours. By the last mail, however, I heard from Dr. Finsch that Dr. Buller has sent him a specimen for examination, and that he (Dr. Finsch) considered it as a new species; it is certainly distinct from G. longicaudus, Swainson (“B. of Africa,” II., p. 253) which Mr. Gray considered the same as G. africanus. It is also found in New Zealand, for I have seen fragments in a lady's hat of a specimen that was shot at the Wade near Auckland.
Art. XXIV.—Notes on some of the New Zealand Birds.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 20th July, 1872.
Graucalus concinnus, Hutton.
Colluricincla concinna, Hutton, “Cat. Birds N.Z.,” No. 40.
A specimen of this species was shot at a farm four miles from Invercargill, and the skin is now in my possession.
I think that we have near Invercargill another species of paroquet, which differs from P. auriceps in being of a much bluer green, with a band of orange on the forehead, and one of light yellow above it; the spots under the wings and on each side of the rump orange, corresponding with the forehead. It is about the same size as P. auriceps. (See note by Captain Hutton.)
Ardea alba, L.
I have had great experience in handling and watching the habits of this bird, having been to the breeding-places on several occasions, and having kept two in confinement for six months. They had to be treated with great caution to preserve their health, for although they well knew the hand that fed them, and would always recognize me, still if I came upon them suddenly, or in any way disturbed them beyond what they were accustomed to, they would instantly vomit and sometimes remain sick all day, or even for two or three days at a time, and would sometimes lose the power of their legs.
After a close study I came to the conclusion that this bird is three years in arriving at maturity.
The first year they are pure white, with the skin on the sides of the head greenish or greenish yellow; bill yellow; legs black.
In the second year the bird increases in size and the dorsal plumes appear a little in May, and the tip of the upper mandible commences to get dark.
In the third year the dorsal plumes are elongated beyond the tail in a most graceful manner; the bill is now black or dusky, and the base of the bill along with the naked skin round the eye is of a beautiful bright blue. Both male and female have the power of erecting their dorsal plumes at pleasure in a similar manner to the peacock; this I have seen them do on their nests, uttering their hoarse croak at the same time.
The adult bird is migratory, but to what extent I am not yet certain, but all birds shot near Invercargill throughout the winter are young birds of the first and second year.
Ardea sacra, Gml.
Captain Hutton's description hardly answers to the birds here; I should call it a dusky black. This bird has also got dorsal plumes.
Note.—The paroquet referred to by Mr. Morton is no doubt P. alpinus, Buller, which both Dr. Finsch and Dr. Buller consider to be the young of P. auriceps. When compiling my catalogue I followed them in uniting P. alpinus with P. auriceps. I now feel some doubt as to the correctness of this, but think that more evidence is yet required before P. alpinus can be accepted as a good species.—F. W. Hutton.
Art. XXV.—Note on Colluricincla concinna, Hutton.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 14th August, 1872.]
In the “Catalogue of the Birds of New Zealand,” which was published last year I described a bird in the Nelson Museum under the name of Colluricincla concinna (“Cat. Birds N.Z.,” No. 40, p. 15). Further inquiry led me to think that I had made a mistake, and that the bird in question was identical with Graucalus melanops of Australia. A short time ago another specimen that had been shot near Invercargill in April, 1870, was received at the Colonial Museum, and I was thus enabled to compare this New Zealand bird with two specimens of Graucalus melanops from Australia. The result of this comparison has been to show that the New Zealand bird differs from the Australian in having a more slender bill, a rather longer tail, the feathers of which are acutely pointed at the tip instead of being rounded, and in having much more white on the wings. Like the bird shot in the Nelson province this one also has the general plumage of the young of G. melanops, but the feathers of the chin and forehead are similar to those on the throat and top of the head, and not lighter as in G. melanops; there is also no indication of any black feathers coming on the chin or upper part of the head. These differences are, I think, quite sufficient to warrant its being kept as a distinct species.
The following is a description of the specimen:—
Colluricincla concinna, Hutton, “Cat. Birds of N.Z.,” No. 40, p. 15.
The whole of the upper surface uniform pale grey, the feathers of the forehead with the shafts darker; feathers of the throat and breast pale grey, slightly tipped with white, those of the upper abdomen and thighs pale grey, with white circular bands; lower abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts pure white; a broad band of black passes from the nostrils and gape through and below the eye to the region of the ears; primaries brownish black, the first slightly tipped with white, the second, third, fourth and fifth margined outwardly and slightly tipped with white, the remainder margined all round with a white band which is broader on the tip and inner web; secondaries
greyish black, with more or less grey on the outer webs near the base, and with a rather broad white margin on the outer web and tip; greater wing-coverts margined outwardly with white; tail feathers acutely pointed at the tip, the two middle ones brownish grey, laterals brownish black tipped with white, the white decreasing inwards; shafts of the tail-feathers greyish black above and pure white below; bill (dry) brownish black, paler at the base; legs and feet (dry) black.
(Australia), 2 examples.
|" Breadth at nostrils||.4||.5|
|" Height at nostrils||.35||.46|
This bird was shot on or about the 8th April, 1870, in an apple tree near Invercargill, Southland.
Note.—Since reading this paper Mr. Mantell has informed me that he saw this bird many years ago at Port Chalmers, in Otago; Mr. W. Travers says that he has seen it in Nelson, and Capt. Fraser says that he saw it near Hawea Lake, in Otago.—F. W. H.
Art. XXVI.—On the Geographical Relations of the New Zealand Fauna.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 4th and 11th September, 1872.]
I know of no part of the world that presents such a promising field to the student of Nature as New Zealand. Although small in size it contains a fauna and flora so peculiar that several naturalists consider it as a separate biological province apart from the rest of the world. Isolated from any large continental area longer probably than any other portion of the earth, it contains the remnant of the population of a continent that existed before the Mammalia had overspread the world, and to that has at various times been added, principally from Australia, a colonist population which culminated not many hundreds of years ago in the advent of man. New Zealand, therefore, presents us with what I may call the elements of a continental fauna, or a
continental fauna in its simplest state, and consequently in that state which is most advantageous for studying the mutual relations of the animals composing it.
Both Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace call New Zealand an “oceanic island” from a zoological point of view, owing to the absence of terrestrial Mammals, and the meagreness of its fauna and flora; that is to say they consider it as an island that has never formed part of a continental area since its last emergence from the sea. But I think that the Struthious birds have certainly as much weight in determining this point as terrestrial Mammals, for they have no superior means of dispersion, and New Zealand also possesses a frog, which is one of the great characteristics of a continental fauna. From a geological point of view I do not see how any land, except volcanic and coral islands, could have originated except as part of a large continental upheaval. I think, therefore, that the New Zealand fauna may be correctly called the remnants of a continental fauna, and that a close study of it will throw great light on many of the most important, but at the same time most obscure, problems in zoology. It will, however, be long before this can be accomplished. The describing and naming of the different animals, which is the foundation upon which all other researches must rest, is as yet far from being completed; the determination of what species are the original inhabitants, or the descendants of the original inhabitants, of the former continent, has hardly been attempted, but all this must be settled before any sound deductions can be drawn as to the reasons of extinction, variation, or permanency of type, of the animals.
It is to this latter point that I wish to draw attention, not that I am in possession of information sufficient to prove any one, perhaps, of the points that I shall raise, but because I think that sufficient is known to establish with great probability the main features in the zoological history of these islands, and this sketch, which I now presume to offer you, will I hope induce others to examine the subject more in detail, and will give a systematic direction to their observations. I propose to take first the zoological evidence—to point out the principal facts that have to be accounted for, and the deductions that they lead to. I will then rapidly glance at the geological and palæontological evidence, and finally I will draw up from the whole the hypothesis that appears best able to account for all the phenomena.
Of our two bats one (Scotophilus tuberculatus), although not found elsewhere, is closely allied to those of Australia, while the other (Mystacina velutina) forms the only species of a genus peculiar to New Zealand, but related to bats living in South America.
Two species of seal frequent our shores; the sea leopard (Stenorhynchus leptonyx) which is also found on ice floes in the Antarctic seas, and occasionally extends to Australia, and the fur seal (Arctocephalus cinereus), which is supposed to occur also on the southern coasts of Australia, and is closely related to, if not identical with, a species found at the Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, South Shetland, and South Georgia. In the Otago Museum there is also a skull that appears to belong to the sea elephant (Morunga proboscidea). Mr. Purdie informed me that it was picked up a long way inland.
Of the Cetacea some twelve or thirteen species are known, belonging to the six different families into which the marine members of this order have been divided, and it is remarkable that two thirds of them are endemic, that is not found anywhere else. Our two or three species of whale-bone whale have, up to the present, been found nowhere else. The sperm whale of our northern coasts is probably the same species as that found in Australia and the South Pacific (Catodon australis). It is certainly distinct from the northern sperm whale (C. macrocephalus) as the lower jaw is much narrower.*
Our ziphoid whales, of which we have three or four species, are all endemic, and two of them (Berardius arnuxii and Mesoplodon hectori) belong to genera not found elsewhere. None, however, of our Delphiniidœ are confined to New Zealand. Delphinus novœ-zealandiœ inhabits the antarctic seas, and perhaps Tasmania; Lagenorhynchus clanculus is found throughout the Pacific Ocean, but not in Australia, and Orca capensis, a lower jaw of which is in the Auckland Museum, ranges from the Cape of Good Hope through the Southern Ocean to Chili, and is also found in the North Pacific and Tasmania. The black-fish (Globiocephalus macrorhynchus) is found in the South Pacific and Japan, but not in Australia. Our Cetacea therefore, contrary to what might have been expected, show a nearer relation to the Pacific and Antarctic Oceans than they do to Australia, and it is remarkable that no species of porpoise has as yet been described as found in New Zealand, although two inhabit Tasmania.
The absence of terrestrial Mammalia is one of the chief points of interest in New Zealand zoology, as it proves that there has been no land communication between this country and Australia since the latter was inhabited by Marsupials, for I consider that the so-called Maori rat and native dog were both introduced by human agency.†
[Footnote] * Capt. Cook remarks in his first voyage that rats were “so scarce that many of us never saw them.” (Hawkesworth's “Coll. of Voy.,” III., p. 34.) He makes no mention of them ever being used for food, and I am not aware of any remains of rats having been as yet found in Maori cooking places.
[Footnote] † A lower jaw of the New Zealand sperm whale in the Auckland Museum is 17 ft. 7 in. in length, and only 2 ft. 2 in. in width at the condyles; there are 23 teeth on each side, 4 of which are rudimentary only; the length of the largest tooth is 7.4 in.
Sir George Grey informs me that he sent to the British Museum some grey “Maori rats” which had been caught in the interior of the South Island in 1847 by Mr. Torlesse, and that Dr. Gray had said that they were identical with a rat found in Polynesia, by which he must have meant the black rat (Mus rattus) for none of the islands in the Pacific possess an indigenous rat. Dr. Buller also collected a considerable amount of evidence to show that the “kiore-maori” was identical with a rat—now in the Colonial Museum—which he described (Trans. N.Z. Inst., III., p. 1) under the name of Mus novœ-zealandiœ, but which is certainly Mus rattus. Mr. Colenso says (“Proc. R. Soc. of Van Diemen's Land,” 1851, p. 301), in a letter to R. Gunn, Esql., dated 4th Sept., 1850, that after considerable trouble he had procured two specimens of the native rat, which he describes as “smaller than our English black rat (M. rattus) and not unlike it.” Against this we have the statement of Dr. Dieffenbach, who says (“New Zealand,” II., p. 185) that it was the English and not the Norway rat that killed off the “kiore-maori.” This, I think, must be a mistake, as all the Maoris attribute the destruction of the edible rat to the brown rat, and it could only have been from Maoris that Dr. Dieffenbach got his information. Mr. Murray also states (“Distr. of Mammals,” p. 277) that the Norway rat (M. decumanus) was not introduced into New Zealand in 1843, but he gives no evidence of the truth of this statement, and it is unquestionably erroneous.* The whole of the reliable evidence that we have, therefore, goes to prove that the Maori rat was no other than M. rattus.
The so-called “native dog” has been determined by Dr. Gray to be Canis familiaris (“Pro. Zool. Soc.,” 1868, p. 508), and not the Australian species, or variety, called Canis dingo, which is the strongest possible evidence of its being merely an escaped domestic breed; indeed, I am not aware that any naturalist believes in an indigenous native dog except Dr. Haast, who has argued (Trans. N.Z. Inst., IV., p. 88) that a wild dog existed in New Zealand before the domesticated one, because in certain old Maori cooking places he has found remains of the dog but no gnawed bones, while in others, which he considers as of later date, he finds gnawed bones.† But I am not aware that
[Footnote] * Since reading this paper Mr. Nichol has informed me that the brown rat was common in Nelson when he first arrived in the early part of 1842, and that he never saw any other kind there except a single specimen of a very large and slightly striped variety.
[Footnote] † The skulls of dogs found in old Maori cooking-places prove undoubtedly that Canis familiaris existed in New Zealand long before Europeans came here. Captain Cook says (21st October, 1769) that the dogs were “small and ugly,” and Mr. Anderson (“Cook's 3rd Voyage,” I., 153) calls it a “sort of fox-dog.” Capt. Cook also says in his first voyage that the dog was used for no other purpose than to eat. The fact that the inhabitants of the Friendly Islands have the same name (kuri) for the dog as the New Zealanders is strong evidence that the latter brought it with them, for if not they would have lost the name as they have done that of the fowl.
he has any proof of the existence of a dog in New Zealand before the arrival of man, and the difference of date of these cooking-places for which Dr. Haast contends, is denied by many observers, and his argument derived from the presence or absence of ground stone implements has, I think, been successfully controverted. I can therefore attach no weight to the absence of gnawed bones. On the other hand, there is the fact that no indigenous dog or rat has ever been found on an island that was not inhabited by other Mammalia, and when we remember that Marsupials came into existence long before rats and dogs, it is difficult to see how the latter could possibly get to any country without the former coming also. It is evident that neither Banks, nor Solander, nor the Forsters, considered the dog and rat that they found in New Zealand as a new species, or they would certainly have mentioned it; neither did Lesson in 1827, nor Quoy and Gaimard in 1831. Dr. Dieffenbach, in 1842, was the first to state that a frugivorous rat, distinct from M. rattus, existed in New Zealand; he, probably, not being aware that M. rattus is entirely frugivorous. I am therefore of opinion that both the rat and the dog were brought by human agency, and it is worth remarking that the Maori traditions relate that they brought both with them. (Travers, Trans. N.Z. Inst., IV., p. 58.) The specimen of Mus gouldi in the Auckland Museum (see Trans. N.Z. Inst., III., p. 3) was caught, I believe, at the Thames in January, 1853, and as a mission station had been established there some years previously this specimen was no doubt brought over from Australia in their vessel.
The animal seen at Dusky Bay by some of Capt. Cook's sailors (2nd Voyage, I., 98) was probably a dog, as none on board had at that time seen a dog in New Zealand.
The evidence of a kind of otter inhabiting the South Island rests upon some foot-prints seen by Dr. Haast, and mentioned by him in his first presidential address to the Canterbury Philosophical Society (“Nat. Hist. Rev.,” 1864. p. 30). In the same address he also mentions having seen tracks in great numbers of a small jumping mammal in the riverbed of the Hopkins, but as no further evidence of the existence of these creatures has been adduced, although eight or nine years have since elapsed, it is impossible for me to take any further notice of them in this paper.
The first point that claims our attention here is the great development of the Struthious birds. This division can be subdivided into two families, one (Apterygidœ) containing only the kiwis, and the other (Struthionidœ) including all other living forms as well as the extinct moas. The kiwis in the structure of the egg-shell have an affinity with the Carinate division of birds. Their
short legs, and the presence of a hind toe elevated above the level of the others, shows an approach to the Gallinaceous order, while their long bill, with its slightly swollen tip, resembles in some measure that of the Scolopacidœ, which have also the same habit as the kiwi of feeling about on the ground with their bill. Gallinago pusilla moreover lives in holes, and only comes out at night (Travers, see Art. xxii).
Thus the Apterygidœ have a more generalised structure than the other Struthious birds; they therefore belong to an older type, and cannot with any degree of correctness be said to represent the extinct race of moas. The relations between the second family, or the Struthiones proper, are very complicated, but Dinornis, which alone concerns us here, appears to be intermediate between the rheas of South America, and the emus and cassowaries of Australia and the adjacent islands. It approaches the rhea in the structure of its egg-shell and in having only three pairs of sternal ribs, while the emu, the cassowary, and also the kiwi, have four, and the ostrich five pairs. In the structure of its feathers, and in the shape of its pelvis and skull the moa approaches the emu. The Struthious birds exhibit a type of structure intermediate in many respects between the Carinate birds and the extinct Dinosaurians, and this leads naturalists to suppose that they are but the remnant of a race that once spread over the whole earth. About twelve species are known outside New Zealand; while here, besides our four species of Apteryx, Professor Owen has determined fourteen species of Dinornis, three of Aptornis, and one of Cnemiornis, thus making a total of twenty-two species of Struthious birds, belonging to four different genera, living in New Zealand only a few hundred years ago, that is to say, nearly twice as many as are found in all other parts of the world put together.
Probably, however, some of Professor Owen's species of Dinornis are but the young of others, and it seems to me very doubtful whether Aptornis and Cnemiornis should be regarded as Struthious birds at all. It is evident that these two genera are closely related, and if the wing bones placed upon Cnemiornis calcitrans really belong to the legs of the same bird we must suppose that the sternum had a keel sufficiently developed to support muscles of a size proportionate to the wings; for although we can understand how the kakapo (Stringops), belonging to an order of deeply keeled birds, may have lost, by disuse of the pectoral muscles, the keel on its sternum, we cannot possibly explain how a Struthious bird could have had large wing bones developed unless it had also sufficiently powerful muscles to use them. I also observe that Aptornis defossor now wears a skull similar to that of the late Dinornis casuarinus, which skull Mr. W. K. Parker says undoubtedly belonged originally to a Notornis. But omitting these two genera, and making a due allowance for doubtful species of Dinornis, the great number of
species living on so small an island is very remarkable when contrasted with other parts of the world. The continent of Africa, including Arabia, contains but one, or according to some naturalists two, species of ostrich. South America, from Patagonia to Peru, has but three species of rhea, each inhabiting a separate district. Australia possesses two species of emu, one on the eastern and the other on the western side, and one species of cassowary on the northern, while five other species of cassowary inhabit other detached islands, from New Britain and New Guinea to the Molucca Islands. I believe that outside of New Zealand no two species of Struthious bird are found living in the same district, while here we have now four species of kiwi and not long ago had at least half-a-dozen species of moa as well. How can this be accounted for? The solution is readily found by examining the distribution of the cassowaries. Here we have six species inhabiting six isolated localities. If now this region of the earth were to be elevated these six species might mingle, and if it were subsequently to sink again, all six species would undoubtedly be driven to the higher lands, and we should have in this supposed island a representation of New Zealand inhabited by six species of Struthious bird.
In order, therefore, to account for the numerous species of Dinornis we must suppose an ancient continent, inhabited by one or two species, to sink, and the birds to take refuge on the different mountain ranges left as islands above the water. We must suppose that they remained thus isolated from one another for a sufficiently long period to allow of specific changes being brought about; that then, by an elevation of the land they once more mingled together, and that, on subsidence again taking place, New Zealand as the central mountain chain formed a harbour of refuge for them all.
Whether this isolation of species points to some cause as yet unrecognized, by which in the struggle for life no two species of Struthious bird can live in close proximity I will not venture to give an opinion, but it is a fair subject for inquiry, and one on which the careful study of the relative ages of moa bones might throw considerable light, and enable us perhaps to understand the great mortality that must have taken place amongst the moas when confined to these small islands long before man set his foot here.
The distribution, therefore, of the Struthious birds in the Southern Hemisphere points to a large Antarctic Continent stretching from Australia through New Zealand to South America, and perhaps on to South Africa. This continent must have sunk, and Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa must have remained isolated from one another long enough to allow of the great differences observable between the birds of each country being brought about. Subsequently New Zealand must have formed part of a smaller continent, not connected either with Australia or South America,
over which the moa roamed. This must have been followed by a long insular period, ending in another continent still disconnected from Australia and South America, which continent again sank and New Zealand assumed somewhat of its present form.
Passing now to the Carinate division of birds the first thing that strikes us is the fragmentary nature of this part of our avi-fauna (if we exclude the Grallæ and Web-footed birds), thus strongly contrasting with the Struthious division.
Of the first six orders we possess, excluding the Chatham and Auckland Islands, forty-five species, thirty of which are endemic. These have been referred to thirty-one genera, ten of which are found nowhere else, and these thirty-one genera belong to twenty families, one of which (Stringopidœ) is peculiar to New Zealand. Two families only, the honey-eaters (Meliphagidœ) and the starlings (Sturnidœ) contain more than two genera. The first shows affinity to Australia, but it must be remarked that out of the four species of this family, belonging to four different genera, one genus only (Zosterops) is found in Australia, and the little bird (the “white-eye”) that belongs to this genus is known to be quite a recent arrival in this country. The Sturnidœ on the other hand show an affinity with Polynesia, for one species only (Calornis metallicus) of this family is found in the north of Australia and New Guinea. It should, however, be noticed that three other species are found in the latter island. In this family also our three species belong to three different genera, two of which (Creadion and Heteralocha) are found nowhere else, while the other (Aplonis) is very characteristic of Polynesia, and Aplonis caledonicus, which is said to have been found in New Zealand, occurs also in Norfolk Island and New Caledonia.
It is remarkable that our two owls should both be peculiar to New Zealand, and that one of them (Sceloglaux albifacies) should belong to a genus not found elsewhere, for the owls are usually widely spread birds, more so indeed than the hawks. It is also worthy of notice that Strix delicatula, which extends its range over most of the Pacific Islands and Australia, should be absent from New Zealand.
Our parrots present several points of interest. The kakapo (Stringops habroptilus) is found nowhere else, the genus Nestor extends only to Norfolk Island, while our paroquets, although belonging to a genus (Platycercus) equally plentiful both in Australia and Polynesia, show a greater affinity to the latter, one species (P. novœ-zealandiœ) ranging not only to Norfolk Island but also to New Caledonia. It is remarkable that we have no representatives of the cockatoos and grass-paroquets so common in Australia and Tasmania, for our own climate is quite suitable for them. The absence of Polynesian forms is not so remarkable as they belong chiefly to more tropical
genera, and the members of the genus Coriphilus are said to live only on bananas.
That we should have two cuckoos which migrate regularly to other countries, each more than a thousand miles distant, is a fact that deserves special attention, for I know of no parallel case in any other part of the world, the distance across the Mediterranean being less than half that travelled over by our summer visitants. The phenomenon of a bird at a certain season of the year flying out to sea to an island more than a thousand miles distant is remarkable enough, but is rendered still more so in the case of the little shining cuckoo (Chrysococcyx lucidus), which is supposed to come from Australia, by there being no apparent necessity for it. For this bird migrates east and west, and not from a warmer to a colder climate, and two other closely allied species which inhabit Australia never leave the country at all. Even in the case of the long-tailed cuckoo (Eudynamis taitiensis) which comes to us from the equable climate of the South Sea Islands, we cannot suppose that its migrations are caused either by alteration of temperature or by want of food, and the question forces itself upon us—How could this habit have arisen? The only reasonable hypothesis is, I think, that at one time the different lands to and from which these birds fly were connected, or nearly so; that the distance between them gradually increased, and that the habit, so common amongst birds, of resorting each year to the same place to breed, was not lost but gradually merged into a regular migration. From this point of view the arrival of the shining cuckoo indicates a connection with Australia or perhaps New Guinea, while that of the long-tailed cuckoo indicates one with Polynesia, and it must be noticed that while the latter bird is identical with specimens from Polynesia, the former shows such differences in the colouring of the tail feathers from the birds inhabiting Australia that it is considered by many naturalists to be a distinct species. Another remarkable fact, that has been quite lately brought to light, is that the shining cuckoo of the Chatham Islands is not the same variety as that visiting New Zealand, but is almost, if not quite, identical with an Australian species (C. plagosus). This curious fact proves how strong must be the force of habit, for these birds in their migration to and from the Chatham Islands must pass over, or at least in sight of New Zealand, but instead of stopping, after a journey of 1,400 miles, they continue on for 450 miles more, until they reach the little island that they have selected as their home.
A more difficult fact to account for is the presence of different species of grass-bird (Sphenœacus) in both Australia and New Zealand, for this bird has such feeble powers of flight that it could not cross a river, and must almost of necessity have travelled by land. It must, however, be noticed that this
genus extends through the Indian Archipelago into India, and I have not been able yet to compare our grass-birds with those of Australia and the Archipelago so that I am not able to say what amount of difference there is between them. The genus Keropia has most affinity with South American birds, while Graucalus melanops, which is closely related to our G. concinnus, is said to extend from Australia into New Guinea.
In the order Grallœ, or Waders, we come to birds more widely spread than any others, some indeed being almost cosmopolitan, but even amongst these the isolated character of our fauna is still marked, for out of twenty-eight species, belonging to seventeen genera, eight species and two genera are found nowhere else. The most noticeable feature in this order is the existence of a curious genus of rails (Ocydromus) quite unable to fly. Of this genus we possess four species, one in the North and three in the South Island, while a fifth species is found in Lord Howe Island, and a sixth in New Caledonia. Notornis, although somewhat like the pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus) in the bill, has the feeble wings, thick legs, and short toes of Tribonyx mortierii of Tasmania and Australia. Of our other rails two (R. pectoralis and O. tabuensis) are spread over Australia and Polynesia, while another (O. affinis) although not found elsewhere is closely related to a species from Australia (O. palustris). In the godwit (Limosa uropygialis) we have another migratory bird that probably comes from Polynesia, but as it is also found in Australia we cannot feel any certainty about it. New Zealand also displays the peculiarity of being the only country in the world inhabited by two species of stilt-plover (Himantopus) one of which (H. novœ-zealandiœ) is found nowhere else. This is probably owing to the length of time that New Zealand has been isolated, and to its having had during the whole of the period a stilt-plover on it, which gradually changed until it attained that remarkable jet black plumage which is so different from any other species, while the later colonist from Australia (H. leucocephalus) displays the colour usual to the genus. This view is rendered the more probable by the fact that the young of the black stilt-plover have the same pied plumage that is exhibited by the adults of those species from one of which I suppose it to have been derived.
In the crook-bill (Anarhynchus frontalis) we have another curious anomaly which as yet has received no explanation; and it must also be noticed that Cape Horn, the Cape of Good Hope, Australia, and New Zealand, each possess a black oyster-catcher (Hœmatopus), which are considered specifically distinct.
Among the herons the only very remarkable fact is the occurrence of the little bittern (Ardea pusilla), a bird found only in Australia and Natal. Our snipe (G. pusilla) very much resembles in plumage G. stricklandi from Tierra del Fuego, but it has a shorter bill.
Among the web-footed birds, the first thing that claims our attention is the oceanic family of the petrels (Procellaridœ), for although by no means peculiar to New Zealand, * the great number of species in the southern oceans, in comparison with the small number in the northern, is very noticeable. The northern and tropical species have all closely allied forms in the southern hemisphere, while many of the southern petrels, such as Ossifraga, Halodroma, Majaqueus, Pterodroma, Daption, and Prion have no representatives in the northern seas. This leads to the inference that the northern species have been derived from stray southern birds, and that the southern hemisphere has been the centre from which most oceanic birds have spread, while land birds, on the contrary, have spread chiefly from northern areas, and this leads to the further inference that the southern hemisphere has been for many ages more oceanic in character than the northern. The next most remarkable point is the great development of the cormorants, New Zealand possessing nine species, four of which are found nowhere else. No other country in the world possesses so many, and the phenomenon can only, I think, be accounted for in the same way as the numerous species of moa, that is, by the former existence of several small islands which have since been elevated to form the present New Zealand. The wide dispersion, however, of two of our cormorants is rather against this view, one (G. carunculatus) being found at the Crozet Islands and at Cape Horn, and the other (G. carbo) in Australia, China, and Europe. I must, however, remark that the identity of the first has not yet been perfectly established, and that the second, although very closely resembling specimens from Europe, shows at the same time some difference. It may also be useful to remark here that our gannet (Dysporus serrator), although a far better flying bird than the cormorants, is not found at the Chatham Islands, and Dr. Finsch informs me that it is undoubtedly different from the species (D. capensis) that occurs at the Cape of Good Hope. The occurrence of G. brevirostris and G. melanoleucus in New Zealand presents a parallel case to the two species of stilt-plover, with, however, this difference—that, judging from the colours of the young bird, it is probable that G. melanoleucus has been derived from G. brevirostris, owing to its having been isolated in Australia, and that its descendants have migrated back again to New Zealand.
Of the gulls we possess a species (L. pomare) which is found nowhere else, a peculiarity of which few countries can boast, but which can perhaps be accounted for by the fact that this gull only frequents fresh-water lakes, and seldom comes down to the sea. Our other gulls are widely spread, but it is a most remarkable fact, which at present appears to me to be quite inexplicable, that neither gulls nor cormorants occur in any of the Polynesian Islands.
Of ducks we possess nine species, four, or perhaps five of which are
[Footnote] * Procellaria parkinsoni is peculiar to New Zealand.
endemic; one, the blue duck (H. malacorhynchus), belonging to a curious genus found only in New Zealand, but related to a genus (Malacorhynchus) in Australia. The others are all found in Australia, one (P. gibberifrons) ranging through New Caledonia and the Indian Archipelago, and another, the common grey duck (A. superciliosa), spreading over Polynesia, as far north as the Sandwich Islands. The most remarkable circumstance connected with our ducks, is the presence of a species of Fuligula, a genus found neither in Australia nor Africa, but belonging properly to the northern parts of America, Europe, and Asia, although one species is found in South America. The occurrence, however, of a northern species (F. cristata) in the Pelew Islands points out to us perhaps the route along which the ancestors of our species travelled.
The Chatham Islands possess thirty-two species of birds, omitting the gulls, penguins, and petrels, of which six are found nowhere else. All the others are found in New Zealand, except the shining cuckoo (C. plagosus), which, as already stated, migrates to and from Australia. No genera, however, are peculiar to these islands, except perhaps a rail (Rallus? modestus) which is evidently incapable of flight, and which will probably have to be placed in a genus by itself. This curious form must not, however, be regarded as a change produced by long isolation, but rather as an old form preserved from destruction by isolation. The most noticeable circumstance in the Chatham Island fauna is the absence of Raptores, with the exception of an occasional visit from the harrier (Circus gouldi), which does not however appear to inhabit the islands, or at any rate is exceedingly rare there.
The Auckland Islands possess twelve birds, three or four of which are endemic, the remainder all belonging to New Zealand. The most remarkable facts are the occurrence of a species of merganser (Mergus australis), a genus found only in high northern latitudes, and of a duck (Nesonetta aucklandica) with very short wings, belonging to a genus found nowhere else.
On Norfolk Island we know of twenty-six birds. Of these two (Aplonis caledonicus and Platycercus novœ-zealandiœ) are found in New Zealand and New Caledonia; five others are common to New Zealand and Australia; a species of Nestor (N. productus) used to inhabit Philip Island close by, and the remainder show an affinity to Australia.
Lord Howe Island possesses only six land birds, two of which (Charadrius bicinctus and Ocydromus sylvestris) show a connection with New Zealand, while the rest show an affinity to Australia.
A review of the facts disclosed by a study of the distribution of the Carinate birds shows that although the affinity is greater with Australia than with any other place, there is yet a decided leaning towards Polynesia, and when we remember that a large portion of Australia lies in the same latitude
as New Zealand, while the whole of Polynesia is far away to the north, I think the difference is not so great as might have been expected. * The distribution of the genus Ocydromus proves that land communication must once have existed between New Zealand, Lord Howe Island, and New Caledonia, but the absence of cockatoos, grass-paroquets, pigeons, night-jars, and finches, indicates that this connection did not extend to Australia. With the exception of Sphenæacus, which has very feeble powers of flight, all our Australian birds could have crossed over a strait of considerable width. The phenomena of the paroquets, starlings, and long-tailed cuckoo of Polynesia, being associated in New Zealand with the honey-eaters, grass-bird, and gold-cuckoo of Australia, indicate that New Zealand was connected with a tract of land intermediate to both, but perhaps not connected with either; at-the same time the absence of the more tropical Polynesian birds is no evidence, that this tract of land did not extend into Polynesia, and in Zosterops lateralis, and Dendrocygna eytoni, both of which have appeared since Europeans came into the colony, we have positive evidence that our islands can even now be colonized from Australia by many kinds of birds, although 1,400 miles distant. It would also appear that this transfer of birds to New Zealand took place sufficiently long ago to allow of changes of generic value having taken place, while the Chatham and Auckland Islands have been isolated from New Zealand for a time sufficient only for changes of specific value.
The Reptiles of New Zealand are not numerous. We possess about eight species of lizards, four of which belong to widely spread genera of the family Scincidæ, but the species are all endemic. Three others belong to the Geckoidæ, and form a genus (Naultinus) which is found nowhere else. Of these one (N. pacificus) is said to be found in some of the Pacific Islands, but the other two are peculiar to New Zealand. Our eighth species, the curious tuatara (Sphenodon punctatum), which is now found only on a few rocky islets in the Bay of Plenty, and near Tory Channel in Cook Strait, is placed by Dr. Günther in a separate order from all other lizards on account of the affinity that it shows to the crocodiles. This remarkable form has no copulatory organs, and has uncinate processes on its ribs like birds. It has also nearly twice as many abdominal as true ribs, which protect the abdomen when being dragged along the ground, for, like the crocodile, the hind legs are too weak to support the hinder parts of the body. Dr. Günther also suggests that they may use them for locomotion, as snakes do. It is also remarkable
[Footnote] * The distribution of the Megapodidœ shows that Polynesia, Australia, the Indian. Archipelago as far as the Strait of Lombok, North-west Borneo, and the Philippine Islands, were united before the spread of the Mammals.
that this animal, which lives in holes and only comes out during warm weather, should have the dorsal crest that is so characteristic of tree lizards.
I omit all reference to Norbea? isolata, supposed to come from White Island, in the Bay of Plenty, because its true locality is not sufficiently well established; if, however, another specimen should be obtained, it would be most important evidence in the present discussion.
But one species of lizard is found on the Chatham Islands, which is very variable, but which I consider to belong to the species Mocoa zealandica; it is, however, larger, and shows some slight differences in the shape of its cephalic shields.
A ringed sea-snake, probably Platurus scutatus, of Australia and Polynesia, is sometimes washed alive on to our coasts as far south as the mouth of the river Waikato, but it is not yet ascertained whether it is an inhabitant of our seas. A peculiar variety of Pelamis bicolor, which as yet has not been found in any other locality, has also been taken on our shores.
The amphibious animals are worse represented even than the reptiles; one species of frog (Liopelma hochstetteri) being the only member of the class. This frog has now been found in three distinct localities, all, however, in the province of Auckland; these are the Cape Colville ranges from Coromandel to Puriri, the Huia on the north side of the Manukau harbour, and in the mountains behind Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty. It belongs to a genus not found elsewhere, but its nearest ally is Telmatobius peruvianus from Peru, and it should be remembered that the frogs of Australia are also allied to South American forms. It is evident that the absence of other Batrachians cannot be accounted for by the unsuitability of climate or want of food, for the common green frog of Australia (Litoria aurea), which has been introduced, has spread with great rapidity around both Auckland and Christchurch.
The evidence of the reptiles is, therefore, that New Zealand has had land communication with some of the Pacific Islands at a later date than with Australia, for in the first case there is no specific difference between forms found in both places, while in the latter the species are now quite distinct. Our frog proves a connection with South America at a period so remote that changes have since taken place of generic value.
Up to the present time about 134 species of marine fish are known to inhabit the shores of New Zealand. Of these 51, or 37 per cent, are found nowhere else. Thirty-eight extend to the Australian and Tasmanian seas, but no furthe, six range to the Pacific Islands, five inhabit South America, four South Africa, and one Kerguelen Land and the Auckland Islands. There
Hutton.-—On the Geographical Relations of the N.Z. Fauna. are also four others that are common to both Australia and South America, five common to Australia and South Africa, two common to Australia and the Pacific Islands, and one common to Australia and the Auckland Islands. Thus the total number of our sea fishes found in Australia is fifty, in South America and the Cape of Good Hope nine each, three (Prosopodasys cottoides, Trygon kuhlii, and Ostracion fornasini) are not found nearer than the Indian Archipelago (the identification, however, of the latter is doubtful), and one (Halargyreus johnsoni) has been obtained at Madeira only. The remaining thirteen are widely ranging species. These 134 species have been distributed among 114 different genera, eleven of which are not found elsewhere. The connection with Australia is here, as might be expected, so well marked that I need not dwell upon it, but will proceed to examine the affinities of New Zealand to other countries. Our former connection with South America is indicated by Mendosoma lineata, Notothenia cornucola, Merluccias gayi, and Genypterus blacodes; with South Africa by Trigla kumu, Gonorhynchus greyi, and Bdellostoma cirrhatum, while the occurrence of Gonorhynchus greyi and Congromuræna habentata at St. Paul's shows that that little volcanic island was also probably connected. The occurrence in New Zealand of species belonging to the southern genera Pseudorhombus, Bovichthys, Agriopus, Chilodactylus and Scorpis points to the extension of a former antarctic continent, of which these islands formed a part, while Acanthurus triostegus, Dascyllus aruanus, Chanos salmoneus, Peltorhamphus novæ-zealandiæ, a species of stingaree allied to Trygon thalassia, and species of the genera Labricthys and Trachelochismus, show an affinity for the islands of the Pacific.
I have already remarked that three of our fishes are not found nearer than the Indian Archipelago, and it is probable that our species of Torpedo and Doryichthys came from that direction also. But a still more curious affinity to Japan is shown by the presence of the genera Lotella and Ditrema, and another little fish (Calloptilum punctatum) which is found at the mouth of the river Thames, and which has its nearest allies in the genus Bregmaceros from China and the Philippine Islands. Gonorhynchus greyi and Clupea sagax are also both found in Japan, but they occur in Australia as well. Our species of Ditrema differs from D. læve of Japan in having teeth on its palate, and a band of teeth in each jaw instead of a single row. Platystethus cultratum, from Norfolk Island, is also closely allied. This connection with China and Japan is, I consider, the chief point of interest in the distribution of our marine fish.
In the genus Trypterygium, which is found only in the Mediterranean, we have an anomaly which is parallel to the cases of Fuligula and Mergus among the birds, and as we proceed we shall find many other similar cases cropping up.
The fresh-water fish naturally supply more important evidence as to the former distribution of land than those inhabiting the sea. Of these, New Zealand possesses fifteen species, belonging to seven genera, of which six species, or 40 per cent., and one genus, are found nowhere else. That the percentage of the endemic fresh-water fish should be nearly the same as that of the marine fish is a remarkable and unexpected result, for the number of species of marine fish inhabiting New Zealand and found also in other countries depends partly on permanency of specific characters since New Zealand was isolated, and partly on the power possessed by fishes of migrating to us from other countries, while among the fresh-water fish the proportion depends entirely on permanency of specific characters; consequently, this permanency of specific characters must be greater in fresh-water than in salt-water fish, and this is the more remarkable as-our fresh-water fish are far more variable, especially Galaxias attenuatus and Eleotris gobioides, than the marine, and Galaxias attenuatus being found both in South America and Tasmania must have had a longer specific existence than any of the others. It is therefore evident that a great amount of variability is not inconsistent with great specific longevity under certain conditions. The conditions in this case are, I believe, the absence of any large rapacious fish preying on the smaller variable ones, and thus tending to fix those varieties which are best adapted to elude the observation of the enemy. These conditions will soon no longer exist in our rivers on account of the introduction of the trout, and I should like to draw attention to the fact that descriptions and figures of all the varieties of fish occurring now in one or more of our rivers would be a most valuable contribution to science as material for future naturalists.
Of our fresh-water fish found beyond New Zealand, Retropinna richardsoni is found in the Chatham Islands; Galaxias fasciatus in both the Chatham and Auckland Islands; Galaxias attenatus in the Chatham Islands, Tasmania, Patagonia, and South America; Galaxias olidus in Australia; Anguilla aucklandii in the Auckland Islands; Anguilla australis in the Auckland Islands, Tasmania and Timor; Anguilla latirostris in the Chatham Islands, Europe, Egypt, China, and the West Indies; Geotria australis in Australia; and Geotria chilensis in Western Australia and-Chile. Thus four of our freshwater fish are found in the Chatham Islands, and three in the Auckland Islands, which are all the fresh-water fish known to inhabit those places; three are found in Australia, two in Tasmania, two in South America, one in the Island of Timor, and one is spread from China to Europe and the West Indies. The Australian grayling also (Prototroctes maræna), although a distinct species, much resembles our own (P. oxyrhynchus); and another closely related genus (Haplochiton) is found in South America.
The genus Eleotris is widely spread in tropical countries. Its head quarters
Hutton.—On the Geographical Relations of the N.Z. Fauna. are in the Indian Archipelago, and it ranges west to Madagascar, east to Mexico and the West Indies, north to Japan, and south to New Zealand, but is not found in Africa. The nearest ally of our species (E. gobioides) is E. obscura from Japan and China.
The evidence, therefore, to be derived from the fresh-water fish goes to prove that a close connection has existed between Australia, New Zealand, and South America. The fact of two species of the same genus of grayling being found in Australia and New Zealand respectively, while South America is inhabited by a closely allied but distinct genus, indicates either that our connection with Australia was later than with South America, or that in the old continent New Zealand and Australia were inhabited by one, and South America by another species of the same family. The fresh-water fish also prove that our connection with the Chatham and Auckland Islands was much later than with Australia. The distribution of Anguilla latirostris, which is not found nearer than China,* adds its testimony to that of Lotella and Ditrema of a former connection with that part of the world not by way of Australia, and we shall find that this remarkable connection with China and the Indian Archipelago, thus dimly shadowed out by the fishes, gets stronger and stronger as we review the invertebrate animals.
Of the New Zealand Mollusca about 460 species are now known, of which about one-half are found nowhere else. They show, as might be expected, a marked affinity with Australia, but are still very distinct. We miss Olivella, Vanikoro, Eutropia, Perna, Trigonia, and others; while Mitra, Columbella, Marginella, Natica, Scala, Conus, Cypræa, and Cardium, are very feebly represented with us. On the other hand Australia does not possess Buccinum, and Fuscus, Imperator, Purpura, Turritella and Pecten are much less developed than in New Zealand. As, however, the affinity is decided I shall here limit myself to pointing out our connection with other countries.
Of Cephalopoda we possess eleven species, only two of which are peculiar to New Zealand. Onychoteuthis bartlingii, Ommastrephes sloani, Nautilus pompilius, and Argonauta nodosa, are all found in the Indian Ocean, and the two last in the Pacific also, but none of them in Australia.
Of marine Gasteropods and Conchifera, omitting the marine air breathers, we have 330 species, about 160 of which are endemic. Of these Cyclina kroyeri, Mytilus magellanicus, and Anomia alectus are only found in South America, as also is the genus Solenella. Chione mesodesma is found at Valparaiso and the Philippine Islands, Barbatia pusilla in Peru and Australia,
[Footnote] * Dr. Günther has lately described A. obscura, a closely allied species, from the Fiji Islands.
Myodora ovata in the Philippines and Australia, Mytilus smaragdinus and Anomia cytæum in China; while we also have a small Cypræa which appears to me to differ from C. punetata, from the Philippines, only in the absence of red spots. Bankivia varians is found in South Africa and Tasmania. Our common pipi (Chione stutchburyi) is found in Kerguelen Land, while Ranella vexillum, which is also found in Tasmania, is closely allied to R. argus from the Cape of Good Hope, and to R. proditor from St. Paul Island. The genera Phorus, Rotella, and Calyptræa are found in the Philippine Islands and China, but not in Australia. The genus Lyonsia, of which we possess one species, extends from Europe and India to the Philippine Islands and Borneo, and is also found in Peru and the West Indies. A few of our shells are almost cosmopolitan, as Lucina divaricata, Saxicava arctica, Crypta unguiformis, and Lima squamosa; while Nucula margaritacea inhabits Europe. Dosinia subrosea is said to have been found in the Persian Gulf, and the genus Solemya is found only in Australia and the Mediterranean. While, therefore, our marine shells show a decided affinity to Australia, they also show a slight connection with South Africa, Kerguelen Land, St. Paul's, and South America, and point more decidedly to a connection with the Philippine Islands and China.
Of land and fresh-water shells, including the marine air-breathers, we possess 114 species, of which 97 are not found elsewhere. These show many striking and important facts in distribution. Three only, Helix subrugata, H. sydneyensis, and H. rapida are found in Australia, and of these the second is so like H. cellaria, of Europe, that it has only lately been distinguished from it by Dr. Cox, and is also closely allied to H. glaberrima from the Solomon Islands. Helix rapida is also found at Erromanga, one of the New Hebrides. Helix coniformis* inhabits the Louisade Islands, H. radiaria the Solomon Islands, and H. vitrea the Admiralty Islands. Cassidula mustelina is found at Singapore and Pulo-penang, and Amphibola avellana in New Caledonia. But the distribution of some of the genera is more important even than that of the species. Nanina spreads from India to China, the Philippines, Indian Archipelago, and Polynesia, and is also found in Madagascar and the Mauritius, but not in Australia. Amphibola extends over Australia and Polynesia to Burmah. Lymnæa extends from Europe to India, China and Java, and is also found in North America but not in Australia. Assiminea is found in England, India, Celebes, Molucca Islands, and the Navigator and Friendly Islands, but not in Australia. The family Ancylinæ, or fresh-water limpets, of which we possess two species, is found
[Footnote] * I am indebted to His Honour T. B. Gillies for the information that H. coniformis, H. radiaria, H. subrugata, and H. vitrea inhabit New Zealand. Mr. Gillies collected the specimens in the northern portion of the province of Auckland, and they were determined by Prof. Macalister, of Trinity College, Dublin.
Hutton.—On the Geographical Relations of the N.Z. Fauna. only in North and South America, Europe, and Madeira; and our common slug (Milax antipodarum) belongs to a genus found only in Europe and the Island of Teneriffe. Testacella, of which we also possess a species, is only found in Europe and Teneriffe.
Our former connection with Australia, however, is shown in the family of bitentaculate slugs (Janellidæ), a family which is found only in Australia and New Zealand, and also in the marine air-breathing limpets (Siphonaria), three of our species being found in Australia and Tasmania.
The land and fresh-water univalves therefore show a stronger affinity to Polynesia and the Philippine Islands, by way of New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, Solomon Islands and the Indian Archipelago, than they do to Australia, although the distribution of the genus Janella shows that land communication once existed with Australia also. To South Africa and South America they exhibit no special affinity. Like the birds and fishes they also show a slight anomalous affinity to Europe without any intermediate steps.
From the Chatham Islands eighty-two species of Molluscs are known, of which nine appear to be peculiar to those islands; the rest are all found in New Zealand, including Janella bitentaculata and Siphonaria scutulata.
I know of two shells only from the Auckland Islands (Patella illuminata and Vitrina zebra), both of which are endemic.
Of Brachiopods we possess eight or nine species, of which two only (Kraussia lamarkiana and Magas cumingi) are found in Australia, the latter being also reported to occur in China. The genus Rhynchonella is only known living in the arctic portions of North America and Japan, but this anomaly is not surprising when we remember that this genus existed during the Lower Silurian Period, but it is interesting as affording us the clue by which other similar anomalies may be explained.
The New Zealand Tunicata are as yet but little known. The genera Ascidia, Boltenia, and Botryllus, are only found in Europe and North America. Doliolum denticlatum is found at the Molucca Islands.
Of the Polyzoa I am acquainted with eighty-nine species, of which thirty-one have been found nowhere else as yet, but it is probable that their range is very imperfectly known. Twenty-three of our species are found in European seas, while the intervening tropical seas appear to be almost destitute of this form of life. The chief point of interest in our Polyzoa is the great development of the massive species of Cellepora, and of the coral-like family Idmoneidæ, which recall to mind the crag formation of England; indeed one of our species, Hornera striata, is found fossil in the crag; it is, however, also found fossil at Oraki, near Auckland, in beds of still older date. Considering how little
attention has been paid to our Polyzoa, the number of known species indicates a rich fauna, and, indeed, the entire class seems to be more abundant in the southern than in the opposite hemisphere, and, like the petrels, contains many forms quite unrepresented in the north.
No New Zealand naturalist who has collected insects on however small a scale in Europe, can, I think, fail to be struck with the paucity in New Zealand, not only of species, but in some orders of individuals also. It is remarkable that in this country, whose indigenous warm-blooded animals are limited to birds and bats, on entering the bush instead of finding the masses of decaying wood and leaves swarming with life, we find hardly a living creature,* while at the same time we are attacked by myriads of blood-thirsty mosquitos (Culex acer). It would certainly seem that abundance of food does not produce abundance of individuals in some orders (e.g. Coleoptera), neither does an absolute dearth of food in the imago state prevent the increase of individuals in others (e.g. Diptera). The swarms of sand-flies (Simulium cæcutiens), also, that greet us on the coast, from the North Cape to the Bluff, where could they possibly have found food before the advent of man? Where indeed do they find it now in sufficient quantities?
Of beetles about 200 species inhabiting the land are described, the whole of which, I believe, are found nowhere else. These species are distributed into about 110 genera, of which about thirty-five are peculiar to New Zealand. A remarkable contrast to this is shown in the water-beetles, of which four only are known, two (Cybister hookeri and Colymbetes refimanus) being, I believe, endemic, and the other two (Colymbetes notatus and Gyrinus natator) being found in Britain. The genera best represented are Elater with twelve, Feronia with eight, Mecodema with nine, Xylotoles with seven, Cincidela with six, Anchomenus and Maoria with five each, and Coptoma with four species. Few beetles can be called abundant, the little green species (Pyronota festiva) so destructive to our fruit trees, and a small brown species (Colaspis brunnea), common on the manuka (Leptospermum) in December and January, are, perhaps, the only two that deserve the name, although many can be called common. The beetles as a whole are, according to Mr. Pascoe, most closely allied to those of Australia.
The Hymenoptera are very poorly represented, about eighteen species only being as yet known. All are, I believe, endemic. Most of the genera are widely spread, but Orectognathus, and Dasycolletes, are peculiar to New Zealand. The poorness of our fauna in this order cannot be owing to
[Footnote] * My experience in this respect in New Zealand is very different to that of Mr. Wallace in Singapore and Borneo, but similar to his in Celebes and Cerain.
Hutton.—On the Geographical Relations of the N.Z. Fauna. unsuitableness of climate, for the honey-bee (Apis mellifica) which was introduced about thirty years ago, has spread over both Islands*
The Diptera are more numerous than the Hymenoptera, sixty species being known. This is just opposite to what obtains in most countries, including Australia and South America. Of these Tipula senex is found in Australia; Musca taitensis in Polynesia; and Musca læmica in both Australia and Polynesia. Although most nearly allied to Australia, our dipterous fauna must have been derived from other localities as well, for the genus Diphysa occurs only in Mexico and Brazil; Actina in Europe; Cænosia and Sapromyza in Europe and North America; and Opomyza in Europe and the Mauritius. No genus is endemic. Of the earwigs we possess one endemic species (For- ficula littorea), found only near the sea shore.
Of the Lepidoptera I know hardly anything, and prefer waiting until Mr. Fereday has published his promised descriptions of the species, before examining their bearing on the present subject. But one fact stands out prominently, viz, that out of more than three hundred species, only eight belong to the butterfly section (Fereday, Trans. N.Z. Inst. IV., p. 217), and of these several are world-wide stragglers.
Of Neuroptera about fifteen species are known. Of these, Perla opposita is found in Tasmania; and our representative of the white ants (Calotermes insularis) in Australia. This order appears to have more affinity with Tasmania than with Australia, and it is remarkable that the wide spread genus Perla, which is found throughout North and South America, and from Europe through India to China and Japan, is also found in New Zealand and Tasmania, but not in Australia. Leptocerus has also the same range, with the exception of not being known in China and Japan. Hermes extends from India to China and Java; it is also found in tropical Africa and South America, but not in Australia nor Tasmania. Palingenia is found in Europe, India, North Africa, and North and South America; while Philanisus is peculiar to New Zealand. The Heteroptera are remarkable for their fragmentary character, and wide distribution. The thirteen known species belong to thirteen different genera, and nine families. Arma schellembergii is found in Australia and the Philippine Islands; Cermatulus nasalis in. Australia and Tasmania; Platycoris immarginatus and Rhaphigaster amoyti in Australia; Lygans pacificus in Australia, Tasmania, and India; and Nysius zealandicus in Tasmania; thus leaving not more than seven endemic species, three of which have not yet been properly examined, and may therefore be found to be identical with species inhabiting other countries. One of the endemic species (Rhopalimorpha obscura), however, belongs to a genus found nowhere else.
[Footnote] * Mr. W. T. L. Travers informs me that the honey-bee was introduced into Nelson in 1842, and that wild bees were common in 1850.
In strong contrast to this stand the Homoptera, which include nineteen species, all endemic, and belonging to three genera only; Cicada having twelve, and Cixius seven species.
The number of species of Orthoptera I do not know, but in comparison with other orders it is well represented by both winged and wingless members, and the genera, as a rule, contain several species.
Whilst, therefore, the insect fauna as a whole shows its greatest affinity towards Australia it also exhibits a connection with other countries, more especially China and Europe. But the most remarkable fact is the great difference shown in this respect by the different orders. Whilst the Diptera, Neuroptera, Homoptera and Orthoptera present the appearance, in part at least, of an old fauna, the Heteroptera are nearly all stragglers, and this strongly suggests the inference that at the time of the spreading of the former orders the Heteroptera were not in existence. The same thing is seen in the difference between the moths and the butterflies, suggesting also that the latter were developed at a later period than the former, and there can be no doubt but that when our insects are better known a careful comparison of them with similar faunas of other countries will afford a most instructive lesson.
With the exception of the Indian (Blatta orientalis) and American (B. americana) cockroaches, neither of which are common, the flea (Pulex irritans), the bed-bug (Cimex lectularius), several Aphides, the slug-worm (Tenthredo cerasi), and the house-fly (Musca domestica), I am not aware of any insect that has been introduced unintentionally by man during the progress of colonization, for the ring-legged mosquito, which is supposed in Auckland to have been introduced by the troops from India, belongs to a species (Culex argyropus) not found elsewhere, and was sent home by Dr. Sinclair before the troops arrived. The only exceptions may perhaps be the black field-cricket, which, although inhabiting fields with us, and but rarely entering houses, appears to be identical with the house-cricket of Europe (Acheta domestica) and to have spread quite lately; and also a small dark-brown beetle belonging to the genus Elater, which is abundant in Auckland, but, to the best of my knowledge, is not found more than twenty miles out of that town.
Of Centipedes nine or ten species are now known, all of which are endemic. The genus Lithobius extends from North America, Europe, and North Africa to Singapore, but is not found in Australia. Henicops is found only in Chile and Tasmania, Cryptops only in North America and England, while Cermatia and Cormocephalus have wider ranges, and are both found in Australia.
Of Spiders we have about 100 species, but my knowledge of them is very limited. Mr. Pickard-Cambridge, in a letter to me remarks, “all the spiders you now send (from the Auckland province), except one or two, are strikingly European in appearance, nothing tropical-looking among them.” Perhaps the most remarkable fact is the occurrence in the Chatham Islands of a species of water-spider (Argyroneta) of which only one other species, inhabiting Europe, is known. Spiders are very numerous in New Zealand, owing no doubt to the abundance of Diptera, on which order they chiefly prey.
Of Crustaceans 106 species have been described as coming from New Zealand, but my knowledge of this class also is at present very limited. Professor Dana has remarked that New Zealand has a greater resemblance to Great Britain in its Crustacea than to any other part of the world; but our common salt-water crayfish (Palinurus lalandii) is found at the Cape of Good Hope and the Island of St. Paul.
Our marine Annelids have up to the present been almost entirely neglected. Of terrestrial forms we have two species of earthworm (Lumbricus) and a member of the peculiar genus Peripatus, found only in South America, the Cape of Good Hope, and the West Indies.
The most remarkable fact in this class is the occurrence of two or three species of land Planarians, the so-called “land-leeches,” one or two of which belong to the genus Bipalium, found only in India, China, and Japan.
Of Echinoderms we have seventeen species of star-fish, eight sea-urchins, and eight holothurians. Of these twelve star-fish, six sea-urchins and all the holothurians appear to be endemic. Of the others Ophionereis fasciatus is found at the Chatham Islands, Pentagonaster pulchellus at the Chatham Islands and in China, Othilia luzonica in the Philippine Islands and Vera Cruz, while we also possess species apparently identical with Astropecten armatus of South America, and Henricia oculata of Europe. It is worthy of special remark that although Australia possesses several species of Pentagonaster, the Chinese species is not found there, so that it must have migrated to us direct, and not have come via Australia. We also possess a species of Pteraster, a genus found only in South Africa and Northern Seas. Of the sea-urchins, Cidaris tubaria, and Echinobrissus recens are both found in Australia, but the latter appears to be very rare in New Zealand, as I have only seen one specimen, which is in the Colonial Museum.
Cælenterata and Protozoa
Of these very little is known. Our seven species of corals are all peculiar, as also appear to be many species of Sertularians and sponges, but I know of no facts among these lower animals that will help out the present investigation except in the case of Cryptolaria, a genus belonging to the family Sertularidæ, and consisting of two species, one of which is found in New Zealand and the other in Madeira.
If now we review the evidence adduced, and select the more important points we find in the distribution of the Struthious birds, the frogs, freshwater fishes, several shells (such as Cyclina kroyeri, Mytilus magellanicus, Anomia alecto, Barbaia pusilla, Chione stutchburyi, and Ranella vexillum), in the genus Hemicops among the Centipedes, and Perripatus among the Annelids, evidence of a former great extension of land in the Southern Hemisphere, for these cases cannot all be accounted for by drifting icebergs. With the exception of the shells and two fresh-water fishes no species however is common to New Zealand and South America on the one hand, nor to New Zealand and South Africa on the other, for I omit from consideration the species of marine fish, as they might perhaps have crossed at a later date. In the frogs the genera, and in the birds the families, are different. This perhaps indicates a very long interval since the separation of these countries took place, but differentiation of form, even in closely allied species, is evidently a very fallacious guide in judging of lapse of time, and a surer one is afforded us in the absence of Mammalia from New Zealand, for it is evident that if the Marsupials that now inhabit Australia, or the placental Mammals that inhabit South America, had been in existence at the time of the distribution of the Struthious birds some members would have found their way to New Zealand, and would have remained upon it with the Moas. This antarctic continental period must therefore have preceded the spread of the Mammalia into the Southern Hemisphere. Besides this continental period we have evidence in Eudynamis taitiensis, Naultinus pacificus, Amphibola avellana, Musca taitensis, and in the genera Ocydromus and Nestor, of a Polynesian continent quite unconnected with Australia, but including Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, and New Caledonia, while by Helix coniformis, H. rapida, H. radiaria and H. vitrea, we can prove a close connection with the New Hebrides, Solomon Islands, Louisade Archipelago, and the Admiralty Islands. By Nanina among land shells, and Assiminea among fresh-water shells, we prove a connection also with the Navigator and Friendly Islands, and these genera take us north through the Molucca Islands, Celebes, Borneo and the Philippines, to China, where we again come across many New Zealand species and genera. The
most important are Ditrema, Torpedo, and Anguilla latirostris among fishes; Mytilus smaragdinus, Phorus, Rotella, Calyptræa, Cassidula mustilina, Lymnæa, and Rhynchonella among shells; Perla and Hermes among insects; Lithobius among centipedes; Bipalium among the Scolecida, and Pentagonaster pulchellus and Othilia luzonica among the star-fish; none of these, it must be remembered, being found in Australia. The absence of Mammalia, however, in New Zealand shows that this line of communication was never continuous land, but the absence from Australia of the forms that I have mentioned shows that the connection along the whole line was closer at every point than it was with that continent, and this leads to the further conclusion that this line of communication existed at a later date than the connection of New Zealand with Australia.
The close relationship of the Chatham and Auckland Islands in all their natural productions to those of New Zealand, and the far greater difference between New Zealand and the islands more to the north, as well as the large number of species of moa lately inhabiting these islands, shows that another and smaller continent, or perhaps a large island, existed at a still later period, but has since subsided, and this must bring us nearly to the recent period, or the difference between New Zealand and the Chatham Islands would be greater.
The geographical distribution, therefore, of the New Zealand fauna points to the following conclusions:—
1. A continental period, during which South America, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa were all connected, although it is not necessary that all should have been connected at the same time, but New Zealand must have been isolated from all before the spread of the Mammals, and from that time to the present it has never been completely submerged. This continent was inhabited by Struthious birds, and by Hymenolaimus, Notornis, Hinulia, Mocoa, Galaxias, Prototroctes, Liopelma, Janella, Amphibola, Hemicops, and Peripatus, and further to the north by Megapodius; and probably also by many forms peculiar to New Zealand, such as Stringops, Keropia, Xenicus, Heteralocha, Anarhynchus, Naultinus, etc. Of course in mentioning these names I do not mean that all the forms were the same then as now, but that the ancestors of these genera lived on the old antarctic continent.
2. Subsidence followed, and the evidence then points to a second continent stretching from New Zealand to Lord Howe Island and New Caledonia, and extending for an unknown distance into Polynesia, but certainly not so far as the Sandwich Islands. The fact of Mammals being found in the New Hebrides, Solomon Islands, and New Ireland, shows that between New Caledonia and the New Hebrides a narrow strait must have existed, cutting off land communication, but these were connected with China either direct or
by a chain of islands. This second continent received from the north those forms already enumerated together probably with Sphenæacus, the rails, and the starlings; at the same time it received from Australia the honey-eaters, Certhiparus, Gerygone, Petroica, Rhipidura and others, and from that time to the present has been occasionally receiving additional birds. It will also be noticed that very few of the birds of the middle palæotropical region came down this line of communication, no pheasants, woodpeckers, grackles nor finches, while Australia in its wood-swallows (Artamus), pittas, quails, and numerous finches, shows now some affinity to this region. This can be best explained by supposing that the New Zealand line of communication was broken up before these birds came into existence, and that further changes have since taken place in the lines of easiest communication; indeed, the fact of such forms as the elephant, tiger, and bear being found in Sumatra and Borneo; Marsupials in Celebes, the Moluccas, Solomon Islands, and New Hebrides; and the presence of an emu in New Guinea, and a cassowary in Australia, prove that changes in the distribution of land have since taken place, but it is foreign to the object of this paper to speculate on these here. This second continent was also inhabited by most of the orders of insects, although perhaps not in great abundance, but Heteroptera and the butterfly section of the Lepidoptera were absent.
3. Subsidence again followed, and New Zealand was reduced for a long time to a number of islands, upon many of which the moa lived. This was followed by—
4. Elevation; these islands were connected and a large island existed disconnected from Polynesia. This was once more followed by—
5. Subsidence, and the geography of this part of the World assumed somewhat of its present form.
Such are, I think, the deductions that may be fairly drawn from a study of our fauna. It remains now to examine the geological and palæontological evidence and see whether it agrees with that derived from zoology, and then try to fix with as much accuracy as possible the dates of the principal movements of the earth's surface which have gradually led to the present state of the New Zealand fauna.
Hardly anything is yet known of the palæozoic rocks of New Zealand. The earliest fossil shells described are almost identical with those living in Europe during the triassic period, but the only known plant is Dammara australis (Hochstetter's “New Zealand,” p. 57), a genus still living in New Zealand, but also found in Australia, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Fiji, and the Indian Archipelago.
An interval then occurs, and the next formation probably belongs to the jurassic period. In this we find Belemnites aucklandicus, which can hardly be distinguished from B. canaliculatus, and Astarte wollumbillaensis. The ferns, too, found so plentifully near Port Waikato, in the Clent hills, at the Mataura, and at Waikawa harbour, are considered by Professor McCoy to be identical with Australian ferns from the same formation. At the close of this period movements on an extensive scale commenced in New Zealand, the land was upheaved, and an extensive mountain chain formed. Á long blank now occurs in our geological record (see Geo. Reports, 1872, p. 105), the next formation belonging to quite the uppermost part of the secondary epoch, later I believe than the white chalk of England. In it we find remains of dicotyledonous plants and large Saurians belonging to the genera Crocodilus? and Plesiosaurus. Here also we find three fossil shells (Dentalium majus, Lucina americana and Cucullœa alta), similar to those found in South America, one of which, Lucina americana, is found in the lower cretaceous rocks of Tierra del Fuego, and the other two in the miocene formations of Patagonia and Chile; thus showing that during this blank in our geological record an intimate connection had existed between New Zealand and South America. The disposition, however, of these beds shows that the New Zealand Alps were not submerged. A long interval now follows, during which New Zealand was again upheaved, and the next rocks that we find are of upper eocene date (Geo. Rep., 1872, p. 182). From that time until the close of the miocene period New Zealand was greatly depressed, and divided into several islands, but at the close of the miocene period it was once more upheaved. During this period we find several South American miocene shells not met with in the older formation, as well as several Australian ones. During the newer pliocene period it again subsided, and the Wanganui beds were deposited. From that time I can see no evidence of the land having ever stood at a higher level than it does at present, but as the later changes in the physical geography of New Zealand have a most important bearing on the present condition of its fauna, beyond the scope of my present inquiry, I propose treating the subject in a separate paper. * The geological evidence is, therefore, that since the jurassic period there have been three principal upheavals in New Zealand, in the lower cretaceous, lower eocene, and older pliocene periods respectively, and that these, were divided by two insular periods, viz., during the upper secondary (Danien), and from the commencement of the upper eocene to the close of the miocene, thus agreeing completely with the zoological evidence.
The dates assigned by the geological evidence also agree well with those derived from zoology. We have seen that it is necessary to suppose that the first great antarctic continental period was anterior to the date of the spread
[Footnote] * Vide post, “On the Date of the last Great Glacier Period in New Zealand.”
of the Mammals southwards. Now a few Marsupials are known in the triassic period, but it is quite possible either that they spread very slowly, or that barriers existed that prevented any southward migration. In the eocene period, however, some placental Mammals were in existence, although Marsupials, not of Australian types however, still formed in Europe the principal mammalian life; and if the supposed barriers to a southward migration were still in existence, we know, from what happened in the Northern Hemisphere, that the whole, or nearly the whole, of the Marsupials would have been exterminated. The Marsupials, therefore, must have migrated south not later than the eocene period, and as we know that our connection with Australia and South America must have been before that migration, it follows that the first, or lower cretaceous period of upheaval, must have been the time of the antarctic continent. This is rendered still more probable by the fact that our jurassic fossils show a connection with Australia only, while our upper secondary fossils show for the first time a relation to South America. The fact, too, of the cretaceo-oolitic rocks of Tierra del Fuego having been largely disturbed, metamorphosed, and broken through by dykes of green-stone, shows that extensive elevatory movements have taken place there, also, since they were deposited. It is therefore to the lower cretaceous period that we must probably look for the time of the dispersion of the Struthious birds. With regard to the date of the second, or Polynesian continental period, the only zoological evidence we have is that it probably preceded the wide dispersion of the Hemiptera, and the butterfly section of the Lepidoptera. This, therefore, could not have been later than the eocene, for a fossil butterfly (Vanessa pluto) has been found in the lower miocene deposits of Radaboj in Croatia, and fossil Heteroptera in the miocene beds of Œningen in Switzerland. The elevation during the lower eocene period was therefore probably the one which formed the continent that I have described as including New Caledonia and some of the Pacific Islands. At this period probably Northern Australia was submerged, and the southern portions of Australia and Tasmania formed one large island, while New Guinea, including the Solomon Islands and New Hebrides on the south, and the Molucca Islands on the north, formed another large island, divided from the New Zealand island, or continent, by the straits between New Caledonia and the New Hebrides.
This was the time of the migration from China southwards, and it is worthy of notice that at the same time a large ocean existed from southern Europe to China, in which the nummulitie limestone was being deposited. Would it be too bold to speculate that it was along the shores of this ocean that those fish, crustaceans, and shells migrated, which are now found in the North Atlantic or Mediterranean on the one hand, and in China or Japan on the other, but not on the southern shores of Asia; and that the anomalous
distribution of European forms of fish, shells, etc., in New Zealand may be traced to the same route? This same period of sea communication between Europe and Japan will also probably have been the time of the land connection that once existed between India, Madagascar, and Africa (the Lemuria of Dr. Sclater), as proved by the recent fresh-water fish, and birds, as well as by the miocene Mammalia, * and to this period we may also refer the origin of the curious affinity between some of the birds of Celebes and Africa. The long insular period during the upper eocene and miocene times will, therefore, be the period of specific change in the moas, while the older pliocene upheaval will be the time of the mingling of the various species in New Zealand, and the peopling of the Chatham and Auckland Islands. The newer pliocene was the time when the two islands of New Zealand were divided, and also the period when the Chatham and Auckland Islands were separated from them, but the latter occurrence probably preceded the former by a long interval.
Such appears to me to be the hypothesis most capable of accounting for the present fauna of New Zealand.
The objection, however, may be fairly raised that, if it is true, evidence of its truth ought to be also found in the flora of the country, which is not the case. I fully acknowledge the force of this argument, but think that some slight evidence can be found in the phænogamic flora. The distribution of Eucalyptus for instance, is somewhat parallel to that of the Marsupials, and can be only explained in the same way. Stilbocarpa polaris has its nearest allies in China and the Himalaya Mountains; while the distribution of Metrosideros, Ligusticum, Angelica, and perhaps Veronica, implies a connection between New Zealand and Asia not by way of Australia. This connection is obscured by the great preponderance of Australian and South American forms, but still furnishes an indistinct copy of the bolder outline sketched out by the fauna. This is owing to the wider distribution of genera among plants than among animals, and to me it appears to prove that the flora of a country, as a whole, is of a more ancient date than its fauna. Among the cryptogamic plants no trace of this outline can be discerned, as also is the case with the lower classes of the animal kingdom, owing to the genera having been, so to say, universally spread before the last migration from Asia took place.
That the facies of a fauna and flora should date back from so long a period as I suppose, is certainly at variance with ordinarily received opinion, but from a study of the fauna and geology of New Zealand I do not see how we can escape from the conclusions that I have arrived at. I am well aware,
[Footnote] * Professor Huxley thinks (“Quar. Jour. Geo. Soc.” 1870. Ann. Address, p. 56.) that the land communication between India and South Africa was caused by the upheaval of the nummulitic sea, but it seems to me more probable that the land communication was by the shores of that Sea.
however, that much more has to be done in the geology and natural history, not only of our own islands, but also of the surrounding countries, before they can be considered as satisfactorily proved; but I think that it will be easier afterwards to prove this hypothesis, or to disprove it and point out a more correct one, than it would be to detect it if the discussion had been postponed to a future period, when the more salient points will probably be obscured by the mass of facts which will then have accumulated. Such at least is my hope, but whether I am mistaken or not I leave others to judge.
Art. XXVII.—On the New Zealand Sertularians.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 20th October, 1872.]
Hydrosoma fixed, plant-like, horny, variously branched; polypites hydraform, sessile, protected by hydrothecæ, and connected by a cænosarc, never terminal; reproductive organs contained in horny deciduous cells scattered over the hydrosoma.
Genus Sertularia, Linnæus.
Hydrosoma variously branched; hydrothecæ alternate or paired, biserial, urceolate.
Sertularia johnstoni, Gray, “Dieff. N.Z.,” II., p. 294.
Hydrosoma lax, spreading, dichotomously or sub-pinnately branched, pale brown. Hydrothecæ distant, short, alternate; aperture with two blunt teeth. Ovarian cells ovate, transversely wrinkled, truncated at the top.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) Common.
Sertularia Sub-Pinnata. sp. nov.
Hydrosoma lax, erect, dichotomously or sub-pinnately branched, reddish brown. Hydrothecæ distant, alternate, ovate with two or three rather acute teeth. Ovarian cells—?
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.)
Sertularia Delicatula. sp. nov.
Hydrosoma lax, slender, erect, dichotomously branched, pale yellowish brown. Hydrothecæ distant, alternate; aperture with two blunt teeth on
the outer side, and an acute recurved tooth on the inner side. Ovarian cells ovate, transversely wrinkled, with an acutely toothed crown.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.)
Sertularia Monilifera. sp. nov.
Hydrosoma strong, erect, dichotomously branched; pale brown. Hydrothecæ alternate, crowded, tubular, the upper half slightly recurved; arranged in several rows on the main stems, but in two rows on the branches; aperture entire, or with two obtuse teeth. Ovarian cells ovate, with strong moniliform cross ribs, and with an entire edged tubular crown.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) On shells.
Sertularia Simplex. sp. nov.
Hydrosoma short, simple or rarely branched, erect; pale yellowish brown. Hydrothecæ distant, alternate, ovate; aperture sinuated. Ovarian cells ovate, transversely wrinkled, with a toothed crown.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.)
Sertularia Fusiformis. sp. nov.
Hydrosoma lax, simple or sparingly branched, rather large. Hydrothecæ alternate, rather close, long; aperture obliquely truncated, and with two rounded teeth on the outer side. Ovarian cells fusiform, large, smooth, pointed at the apex.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) On Fuci. Common.
Dynamene bispinosa, Gray, “Dieff. N.Z.” II., 294.
Hydrosoma long, lax, sparingly dichotomously branched, pale brown. Hydrothecæ opposite, tubular; aperture obliquely truncated, and with two strong teeth on the outside. Ovarian cells urceolate, smooth, with a small tooth on each side at the top.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) On shells, etc., abundant.
Dynamene abietinoides, Gray, l.c. II., 294.
Hydrosoma erect, pinnately branched; pale brown. Hydrothecæ crowded, sub-opposite, tubular, slightly incurved; aperture surrounded with about five acute teeth. Ovarian cells urceolate, smooth, with a long blunt process on each side at the top.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) Abundant.
Genus Thuiaria, Fleming.
Hydrosoma variously branched. Hydrothecæ biserial, adnate, or imbedded in the substance of the stem and branches.
S. articulata, Pall., Elench. 137? T. articulata, Johnst., “Brit. Zooph.,” p. 84?
Hydrosoma thick, erect, pinnately branched; branches alternate; pale brown. Hydrothecæ alternate, ovato-tubular, slightly curved; aperture truncated, entire. Ovarian cells—? not seen.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) A single specimen only.
T. zealandica, Gray, l.c., II. 214.
“Pale brown, erect, branches oppositely pinnate. Hydrothecæ small, exactly opposite, triangular; aperture truncated, with a small central tooth.”
New Zealand. (Dr. Sinclair.) I have seen no specimens.
Genus Antennularia, Lamark.
Hydrosoma variously branched; branches clothed with hair-like verticillate branchlets. Hydrothecæ small, sessile, campanulate, unilateral.
S. antennina, Linn., Syst. 1310. A. antennina, Johnst., “Brit. Zooph.,” p. 86.
Hydrosoma strong, erect, sub-pinnately branched; branchlets numerous. Hydrothecæ with intermediate cellules. Ovarian cells—?
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) A. single specimen only.
Genus Plumularia, Lamark.
Hydrosoma simple or branched, the branches pinnate; hydrothecæ small, sessile, unilateral.
S. pennatula, Ell. & Sol., Zooph., 56. P. pennatula, Johnst.,“Brit. Zooph.,” p. 94.
Hydrosoma simple, or sparingly branched, formed by a single tube; branches alternately closely pinnate; brown or reddish-brown. Hydrothecæ approximated, seated in the axil of a long incurved spine; aperture unequally crenated. Ovarian cells large, sub-cylindrical, stalked, with numerous transverse strongly denticulated ribs, situated on the inner side of the branches.
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) Common.
P. banksii, Gray, “Dieff. N.Z.,” II., 294.
Hydrosoma irregularly branched, composed of several tubes; branches alternately closely pinnate; pinnæ leaning to one side; reddish-brown. Hydrothecæ approximated, seated in the axil of a double incurved spinous process; aperture with an obtuse tooth on each side. Ovarian cells—?
Lyall Bay. (F.W.H.) A single specimen only.
Art. XXVIII.—Contributions to the Ichthyology of New Zealand.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 28th August, 1872.]
1.* Oligorus gigas, Owen. (Cat., p. 1.)
This fish is no doubt the same as Sciœna gadoides of Dr. Solander, Perca prognathus of G. R. Forster, and Polyprion cernuum of Richardson, in Dieffenbach's “New Zealand,” II., 206. By the rule of priority, therefore, it should be called Oligorus gadoides.
4. Scorpis hectori, Hutton. (Cat., p. 4.) Pl. VII.
A fresh specimen of this fish, caught in the Bay of Plenty, having been brought to the Colonial Museum enables me to correct and add to my former description.
B. 6; D. 10/19; A. ⅜; V. 1/5; P. 17; L. lat., 67; L. trans., 7/25.
Teeth on the vomer, palatine bones, and tongue; cleft of the mouth very oblique; maxillary much expanded and truncated at the end, extending to the vertical from the middle of the eye; sixth dorsal spine the longest, less than half the length of the head, second anal spine very strong; scales finely serrated; caudal forked.
Uniform rose pink, passing into pale grey on the body.
Total length of the specimen, 17 ¼ inches.
11. Chilodactylus spectabilis, Hutton. (Cat., p. 8.) Pl. VII.
A fresh specimen of this fish having been brought to the Colonial Museum, I am enabled to give a better description of it than that in the “Catalogue of New Zealand Fishes,” which was drawn up from a specimen that had been preserved in carbolic acid and dried.
[Footnote] * The numbers refer to those in the “Cat. of Fishes of New Zealand.” Geol. Dept., N.Z., 1872, the additional species being in large type.
D. 16-17/25-26; A. 3/9; V. 1/5; L. lat., 56; L. trans., 5/14.
Length three and one-third times that of the head, or three times the height of the body; six simple pectoral rays projecting beyond the membrane; fifth the longest, reaching to the perpendicular from the fifteenth or sixteenth dorsal spine; the lower rays graduated; branched rays simply divided only; sixth and seventh dorsal spines nearly equal and longest; the third anal spine longer than the second; scales rugose; lips very thick and fleshy; opercles with small scales; nostrils large, close together, the anterior with an appendage behind.
Brownish orange, with traces of six transverse bands of darker; soft dorsal, anal, caudal, and tips of ventrals blackish; lips and throat grey; belly silvery.
Total length of the specimen 24 inches.
13a. Mendosoma Lineata, Forst. C.M.
Sciœna lineata, Forst. Latris lineata, Rich., “Dieff. N.Z.,” II., 209. M. lineatum, Gay, “Hist. Chile,” Zool., II., 213; Günther, “Cat. Fishes in Brit. Mus.” II., 85. L. lineata, Hector, “Cat, Col. Mus.,” p. 83.
B. 6; D. 23/25; A. 3/19; P. 17; V. 1/5; L. lat., 65; L. trans., 6/17.
Length four times that of the head, or three and a quarter times the height of the body; compressed; snout produced, going rather more than two and a half times into the length of the head; upper profile concave; interorbital space flat, one and a half times the diameter of the eye, which is one-fifth of the length of the head; top of the head above the eyes hollowed; lower jaw shorter; maxillary arched, with an obtuse angle on the superior margin; inter-maxillary with a swelling in the centre on the upper and outer margin; mouth very protractile; a few minute teeth on the centre of the upper jaw, none on the lower; cheeks, opercles, and top of the head, as far as the tip of the snout, covered with small scales; præoperculum and operculum entire, the upper margin of the latter sinuated; dorsal single, deeply notched, the sixth to the ninth spines nearly equal and longest, about one-third the length of the head, and equal to the anterior portions of the soft dorsal, and anal; anal spines moderate.
Above dark olivaceous grey, more or less marbled with blue; sides greenish silvery, with many thin olivaceous brown longitudinal stripes; belly greyish silvery; fins olivaceous.
This specimen, which was 14 inches in total length, was taken in Cook Strait, 1st August, 1872. Dr. Hector also obtained it in Milford Sound in 1863.
A drawing of the head is also given with the mouth protruded.
14. Sebastes percoides, Sol. (Cat., p. 9.) Pl. VIII.
15. Scorpœna cruenta, Sol. (Cat., p. 10.) Pl. VIII.
29. Cyttus traversi, Hutton. (Cat., p. 19.) Pl. IX.
Mr. W. Travers informs me that this fish was taken in a net in a tidal creek. When first caught it had a beautiful silvery appearance, and the filaments from the dorsal and ventral fins were very long, but have shrunk greatly since being put into spirits.
31a. Neptomenus Bilineatus. sp. nov. C.M.
B 6; D 6 |1/38; A 2/23; lat. 120|
Length three and three quarter times that of the head, which is equal to the height of the body; snout considerably longer than the diameter of the eye; posterior end of præoperculum straight, entire; operculum with an obtuse point over the shoulder. Scales small and deciduous; a second line, but without pores, runs below the lateral line from a little above the point of the operculum, and joins the lateral line at the end of the second dorsal. Pectorals pointed, not quite so long as the head, and not quite reaching to the vent.
Back and sides pale violet, with minute black dots; belly silvery; tip of both dorsals and inside the pectorals blackish.
Wellington harbour, November, 1872.
This species approaches N. dobula from Tasmania, but differs from that species in not having the anal spines detached, and in the proportion between the length and the height. In having apparently two lateral lines it resembles N. travale (Castelnau) from Victoria, but differs considerably from that species.
I will take this opportunity of correcting a mistake in my description of Neptomenus brama in the “Catalogue of Fishes of New Zealand;” the length should be two and three-fourths the height of the body, and not four and three-fourths as there stated.
31b. Ditrema Violacea, sp. nov. C.M.
B. 4?; D. 10/29; A. 3/25; V. 1/5; P. 19; L. lat., 93; L. trans., 14/28.
Length four times that of the head, or two and a half times the height of the body; snout rather longer than the diameter of the eye; teeth in villiform bands on both jaws, the vomer, and palatine bones; upper profile convex;
maxillary broad, produced to beyond the vertical from the anterior margin of the eye; margin of the præoperculum striated and finely denticulated; dorsal single, increasing in height as far as the second soft ray; anal higher than the dorsal, less than half the length of the head; pectorals shorter than the head, nearly twice as long as the ventrals, which are situated rather behind them; caudal forked.
Above violet, passing into white below; vertical fins violet at the base; a spot of dark violet in the axils of the pectorals; iris yellowish.
Wellington, 6th May, 1872.
This fish differs from the genus Ditrema, as characterized by Dr. Günther, in having teeth on the palate and a band instead of a single row on each jaw, but I do not think that this difference is sufficient to warrant a new genns being established for it. From Platystethus it differs both in having teeth on the palate, and in the dorsal fin.
It is said to be often mistaken for the warehou (Neptomenus brama), but the stronger dorsal spines, and the shorter pectoral fins easily distinguish it.
37. Bovichthys variegatus, Rich. (Cat., p. 24.)
Mr. Henry Travers brought a fine specimen of this fish from the Chatham Islands, which enables me to correct the description given in the “Catalogue of New Zealand Fishes,” which was evidently taken from an immature specimen.
D 8–9 | 19; A 14.
Length two and three-quarter times that of the head, or four and three-quarter times the height of the body; interorbital space more than half the diameter of the eye; soft dorsal as high as the body beneath; base of the spinous dorsal more than half the length of the soft; head rather compressed; interorbital space concave, with two small longitudinal ridges; caudal slightly rounded, with the rays protruding; ventrals not reaching to the vent; lateral line with about eighty flat spines under the skin, directed alternately upward and downward.
Purplish brown, marbled with darker, and a few whitish marks on the back; rays of the soft dorsal spotted with black.
The young, a specimen of which was also brought from the Chatham Islands, has five transverse black bars on the body and tail, and two on the caudal fin; the soft dorsal also is lower.
40. Notothenia cornucola, Rich. (Cat., p. 26.) C.M.
Specimens of this fish were brought by Mr. Henry Travers from the Chatham Islands, and I also saw it last January in Dunedin. The præoperculum is concave, and the top of the head is nearly smooth. The lateral
line extends to the end of the second dorsal, while the posterior portion begins under the tenth ray from the end of the second dorsal.
41. Lepidotrigla brachyoptera, Hutton. (Cat., p. 27.) Pl. XV.
44. Gobius amiciencis, G. & V. (Cat., p. 29.)
Carteret harbour is not in New Zealand but in New Ireland; this fish should, therefore, be struck out of our list.
45. Eleotris gobioides, C. & V. (Cat., p. 29.) Pl. XV.
45a. Eleotris Radiata. Quoy. C.M.
E. radiata, C. & V., “Hist. Nat. des Poissons,” XII., 250.
D. 6 |1/9; A.1/9; L. Lat., 30 |
Length three times that of the head, or six times the height of the body; interorbital space flat; scales moderate, minutely ciliated; snout moderate; head depressed, the breadth being rather greater than the height. Colour (in spirits) pale yellowish red, with several vertical brown bands on the caudal. Total length of the specimen two inches. This specimen was obtained near the mouth of the river Thames, where it appears to be not uncommon. The natives call it “kurahina.”
Valenciennes gives the following description of the colours of the specimen taken by Quoy:—Reddish, with twelve vertical brownish bands on each side; fins whitish; the first dorsal with two longitudinal black bands, the upper large and dentate; the second dorsal with three less marked, the anal with one. The caudal with many vertical brown lines; at the base of the pectorals a blackish straight line.
47. Trypterygium nigripenne, C. & V. (Cat., p. 31)
This fish is very variable in colour, and sometimes the nasal tentacle is wanting. Two specimens brought by Mr. Henry Travers from the Chatham Islands have a purplish lunate spot on the base of the pectorals, and thus resemble T. forsteri; but the fins were
D. 4–5 | 17–20 | 13–14; A. 21–25,
others were quite black, and others were of the typical colour. I am of opinion that T. forsteri, T. fenestratum, and T. varium, are only accidental varieties of T. nigripenne.
51. Trypterygium compressum, Hutton. (Cat., p. 32.) Pl. XV.
52a. Cristiceps Australis, C. & V. C.M.
C. australis, Günther, III., 275.
D. 3|27–29/5–8; A.2/23–25; V.1/3.
Length equal to three and three-quarter times that of the head, which is equal to the height of the body. The first dorsal commences above the posterior margin of the orbit, and is nearly twice as high as the second. The lateral line ceases before the end of the pectoral fins. A simple tentacle above the eye, and a pair of bifurcated ones over the snout. Colour (in spirits) uniform reddish.
Bay of Islands and Cape Campbell.
53. Sticharium rubrum, Hutton. (Cat., p. 33.) Pl. IX.
In a letter to Dr. Hector, Dr. Günther says that this fish does not belong to the genus Sticharium, but should be referred to Clinus. I kept both it and Sticharium flavescens out of Clinus, on account of the small number of soft rays in the dorsal, but as Dr. Günther says that they cannot be placed in the genus Sticharium, they will have to be called Clinus rubrus and C. flavescens, and will form a small group by themselves.
54. Sticharium flavescens, Hutton. (Cat., p. 33.) Pl. XV.
56a. Trachypterus Altivelis, Kner.? A.M.
T. altivelis, Günther, III., 303.
D. 200? A.O.
Length about seven times the greatest height of the body, which is at the base of the ventral fins; caudal nearly as long as the head, pointing obliquely upwards; upper profile deeply concave, descending rapidly from the eye; muzzle truncated; cleft of the mouth vertical. Total length 20 inches.
The above description is taken from a very bad specimen preserved in the Auckland Museum.
57. Mugil perusii, Val. (Cat., p. 36.) Pl. IX.
In a letter to Dr. Hector, Dr. Günther says that he thinks that our mullet is identical with M. cephalotus, C. & V. It appears to me to differ slightly from this species in having the head broader, in the length of the anterior dorsal spine being less than half the length of the head, and in its being placed rather nearer the snout than the root of the caudal.
Judging from descriptions only, I should be inclined to think that our fish comes nearer to M. ramelsbergii, but besides the head being broader, the posterior nostril is placed as in M. cephalotus. The second dorsal is also placed further back than in either of these species; the angle formed by the
anterior margin of the mandible is slightly obtuse; and the space on the chin between the mandibularies is broader than the figure given of M. cephalotus by Dr. Günther. Nevertheless, I am quite willing to accept Dr. Günther's identification, if he still adheres to it.
64. Trachelochismus pinnulatus, Forst. (Cat., p. 40.)
Mr. Henry Travers brought several specimens of this fish from the Chatham Islands.
66a. Ctenolabrus? Knoxi. sp. nov. C.M.
B. 6; D.15/11; A.3/11–12; P. 14; V.1/5; L. lat., 64; L. trans., 8/17; Vert. 11/15.
Length two and three-fifths the height of the body, or four and a half times the length of the head; upper jaw longer; soft portion of dorsal only half the length of the spinous; operculum and præoperculum entire; imbricate scales on the cheeks and operculum; interoperculum naked; teeth in a broad villiform band, with an outer double series of longer, weak, compressed, flat-topped teeth in both jaws, no posterior canines; anal spines strong; base of the dorsal, anal, and caudal, scaly; abdominal portion of the vertebral column slightly shorter than the caudal portion.
Dark olivaceous black above, and greyish below; mouth, and a band to, and a little below, the eye tinged with yellowish; iris white.
Whangarei harbour; Cook Strait, Dr. Knox.
68. Labricthys bothryocosmus, Rich. (Cat., p. 43.) Pl. X.
69. Labricthys psittacula, Rich. (Cat., p. 43.) Pl. X.
69a. Labrichthys Fucicola, Rich. C.M.
Lahrus fucicola, Rich., “Voy. Ereb. & Terr.,” p. 127.
“Cat. N.Z. Fishes,” Pl. VII., fig. 68.
D.9/11; A.3/10; L. lat., 27; L. trans.,3/9.
Length two and four-fifths that of the head, or two and a quarter times the height of the body; two long anterior canine teeth in each jaw, the others graduated; about four rows of scales on the præoperculum; dorsal not scaly, spinous portion lower than the soft; caudal rounded.
Darkish purple, passing into light grey on the belly; a yellowish band from the mouth below the eye; four or five irregular yellow spots on the back under the dorsal, and the sides slightly varied with the same colour; humeral region yellowish; lips and pectorals reddish; ventrals black, except the bases, which are grey.
Wellington harbour; also found in Tasmania.
Total length, 13¼ inches.
This fish was figured by mistake in the “Catalogue of the Fishes of New Zealand,” Pl. VII., No. 68, instead of L. bothryocosmus.
70. Odax vittatus, Sol. (Cat., p. 43.)
The following description is taken from a stuffed and highly-varnished specimen in the Otago Museum:—
D. 34; A. 15; V.¼; P. 15; C. 14; L. lat., 75? L. trans., 8/16?
Length four and a half times that of the head, which is equal to the height of the body; length of the head nearly three times that of the snout; least depth of the tail less than half the distance between the dorsal and caudal; præoperculum sharply serrated; operculum with two points.
71. Coridodax pullus, Forst. (Cat., p. 44.)
Length four and two-thirds that of the head, or three and three-fifths that of the body; length of the head three and a half times that of the snout.
Purplish grey, lighter below, often with a broad pale band on each side from the mouth to the caudal; mouth, præoperculum, anal, and dorsal fins variegated with bright french blue; belly and under the pectorals sparingly variegated with yellow; lips purplish red; ventrals and pectorals variegated with the same colour.
72. Gadus australis, Hutton. (Cat., p. 45.)
In a letter to Dr. Hector, Dr. Günther says that this fish should be referred to the genus Merluccias, and that it is probably identical with M. gayi, from Chile, an opinion with which I quite agree.
74. Lotella rhacinus, Forst. (Cat., p. 46.)
Mr. H. Travers brought specimens of this fish from the Chatham Islands. They are of a pale uniform brown in spirits.
Calloptilum, gen. nov.
Body fusiform, compressed posteriorly; scales cycloid; three dorsal fins, the first reduced to a single ray; anal single, long; ventrals long, composed of two rays; caudal separate; teeth none; gill openings wide, the gill membrane united below the throat, but not attached to the isthmus; pseudobranchiæ none; snout short and rounded.
This genus comes next to Bregmaceros, Thompson, afterwards called Calloptilum by Sir J. Richardson, which name I have now adopted for the present genus.
76a. Calloptilum Punctatum. sp. nov. C.M.
D. 1|11|+18; A. 44; V. 2.
Length five times that of the head, which is about equal to the height of the body; first dorsal ray situated over the pectorals, nearly as long as the head; third with the anterior portion rudimentary; anal commencing in front of the second dorsal; ventral rays not reaching to the vent, which is situated at about one-third of the distance from the snout to the end of the caudal; mouth large, the maxillary extending behind the eye; upper profile convex, with a prominent ridge along the top, from the eye to the snout.
Colour (in spirits) silvery; back, base of the pectorals, and caudal, with minute black dots.
Total length, 4½ inches.
Mouth of the River Thames and Cape Campbell.
Called “ahuruhuru” by the natives.
78. Macrurus australis, Rich. (Cat., p. 49.)
This fish appears to be common in Lyttelton harbour. Mr. J. D. Enys informs me that when first caught it emits such a strong phosphorescent light that a book can be read by its means.
79. Coryphœnoides novœ-zealandiœ, Hect. (Cat., p. 49.)
In a communication to Dr. Hector, Dr. Günther proposes to place this fish in a new genus which he calls Macrurorus.
82a. Ammotretis Guntheri. sp. nov. C.M.
B. 7; D. 94; A. 73; V. dext. 10, sinist. 2; P. dext. 12, sinist. 9; C. 17; L. lat., 90; L. trans., 31/38.
Length equal to five times that of the head, or not quite twice the height of the body; snout produced into a flap overhanging the lower jaw, about twice as long as the eye, which is one-sixth of the length of the head; lower lip with a fringe of soft rays; mouth small; interorbital space scaly, about one-half the vertical diameter of the eye; lower eye in advance; right ventral commencing on the chin; anterior rays of dorsal and right ventral almost free; longest rays of dorsal go about two and a half times into the length of the head; caudal rounded, about as long as the head.
Right side olivaceous with black spots, the spots more or less arranged in longitudinal rows; fins and flap on snout tinged with red; left side yellowish white.
Wellington harbour, November, 1872.
The total length of this fine new flat-fish was 16½ inches, with plenty of
flesh on it. I have named it in honour of Dr. A. Günther, F.R.S., without whose previous labours it would have been impossible for me to have drawn up my “Catalogue of the New Zealand Fishes.”
83a. Rhombosolea Leporina, Gunth. C.M.
R. leporina, Günth. “Cat. Fish. Brit. Mus.,” IV., p. 460.
B. 5; D. 65; A. 42; V. 6; P. 12.
Length three and a half times that of the head, or twice the height of the body; snout longer than the diameter of the eye, which goes eight times into the length of the head; interorbital space less than the vertical diameter of the eye; upper lip rather longer, notched; cutaneous fold well developed; anterior dorsal rays produced beyond the membrane, the tips bifid; pectorals rather more than half the length of the head; the longest dorsal spine goes three and a half times into the length of the head; caudal rounded.
Above brown, marbled with darker; below yellowish, with small irregular black spots; dorsal with seven, and anal with four, round blackish spots.
Bluff harbour; Wellington, where it is known as “yellow-belly”; found also in Australia.
83b. Rhombosolea Tapirina, Gunth. C.M.
B. tapirina, Hect., “Cat. Col. Mus.,” p. 80; Günther, IV., 459.
B. 6–7; D. 66; A. 48; V. 6; P. 9.
Length three and a quarter times that of the head, or nearly twice the height of the body; the diameter of the eye goes seven times, and the length of the snout five and three-quarter times into the length of the head; interorbital space equal to the vertical diameter of the eye; eyes divided by a narrow ridge; upper lip deeply notched; cutaneous fold and gill openings as in monopus; upper pectoral fin about half the length of the head; anterior dorsal rays produced beyond the membrane, the tips bifid; longest dorsal ray about one-third the length of the head; dorsal and anal terminating at a distance from the caudal, which is equal to one-fourth of the least depth of the tail; caudal about one-sixth of the total. Body covered with broad, deep, rounded, or quadrilateral depressions, in which the scales are imbedded.
Brownish black, marbled with olivaceous; below greyish.
D. 62; A. 44; L. lat., 80; L. trans., 22/29.
Above brown, with red spots; below whitish, marbled with brown. A fleshy lobe on the left side of the lower jaw; scales smaller.
Found also in Australia and the Auckland Islands.
87. Arrhamphus sclerolepis, Günth. (Cat., p. 54.)
Dr. Krefft states that this fish comes from Fitzroy River, in Queensland; it should therefore be struck out of our list.
90. Phosichthys argenteus, Hutton. (Cat., p. 56.) Pl. XV.
In a letter to Dr. Hector, Dr. Günther suggests that the name of this genus should be altered to Photichthys, a suggestion that I Willingly adopt.
90a. Scopelus Parvimanus, Gunth? C.M.
S. parvimanus, Günth., V., p. 406.
D. 12; A. 15; V. 8; L. lat., 38; L. trans., ¾.
Length four and a half times the height of the body, or three and a half times the length of the head; least depth of the tail one-half the height of the body; the depth of the head is contained once and one-third in its length; eye large, rather less than one-third of the length of the head; snout short, rounded; cleft of the mouth slightly oblique, with the lower jaw slightly prominent; the maxillary reaches to the angle of the præoperculum, and terminates in a triangular dilatation. The origin of the dorsal fin is rather nearer the snout than the root of the caudal, slightly in advance of the base of the ventrals, and the last ray a little in advance of the anal. Pectorals short, not extending much beyond the base of the ventrals; scales cycloid, concentrically striated, those of the lateral line raised. There are fourteen phosphorescent spots on each side behind the anal, five on each side between the anal and the ventrals, two on each side above the end of the ventrals, and one on each side above their base; also six in a double row between the head and the ventrals, and one at the point of the operculum. An elliptical pearl coloured patch on the back of the tail.
Total length of the specimen 2½ inches.
Cape Campbell, January, 1873.
90b. Scopelus Boops, Rich.
Myctophum boops, Rich., p. 39; S. boops, Günth., V., 408.
D. 14; A. 20–22; V. 8; L. lat., 37–39; L. trans., 3/5.
Origin of the dorsal considerably nearer to the end of the snout than to the root of the caudal, above the root of the inner ventral rays; its last ray is before the vertical from the origin of the dorsal fin. The pectorals extend to the vent.
Sea between Australia and New Zealand (Dr. Hooker); Vancouver Island.
I have seen no specimens.
90c. Scopelus Coruscans, Rich.
Myctophum coruscans, Rich., p. 40 (not of C. & V.)
D. 12; A. 20; C. 17/66 P. 17; V. 8; L. lat., 38.
Eye moderate, less than one-third the length of the head; dorsal commences a little behind the ventrals; the pectorals extend nearly to the vent.
Sea between Australia and New Zealand (Dr. Hooker); South Atlantic.
I have seen no specimens.
Dr. Günther (V., p. 413) remarks that this fish is very like S. coccoi. The typical specimens appear to be lost.
92. Retropinna richardsoni, Gill. (Cat., p. 58.)
Mr. H. Travers brought specimens of this fish from the Chatham Islands.
94a. Galaxias Olidus, Gunth. C.M.
G. olidus, Günth., VI., p. 209.
D. 11; A. 13; P. 14; V. 7.
Length five times that of the head, which is rather more than the height of the body; head broad and depressed, upper jaw longer; mouth wide, the maxillary extending to the middle of the eye; diameter of the eye rather more than one-sixth the length of the head, and about half the length of the snout; interorbital space more than twice the diameter of the eye; the length of the pectoral goes two and a half times into the distance of its root from the ventral, and the length of the ventral is more than half the distance to the anal; the anal if laid back extends just to the base of the caudal. The depth of the body in front of the dorsal is one-sixth of the length, and the least depth of the tail is one-half of the distance between the dorsal and caudal.
Yellow, with small black spots on the head, opercles, back, sides, and fins.
Total length of the specimen 7 inches.
Lake Wakatipu. Presented to the Colonial Museum by J. S. Worthington, Esq.
This fish appears to be identical with G. olidus in form and dimensions, but to differ from it in colour.
99. Engraulis encrasicholus, L. (Cat., p. 62.)
Var. amtipodum, Günth.
This fish is found at the mouth of the river Thames; the natives there call it “korowhawha.”
100a. Clupea sprattus. Pl. XII.
Var. antipodum, Hector, “Fishes N.Z.,” p. 133.
This fish is called “kupai” by the Thames natives.
103. Anguilla latirostris, Risso. (Cat., p. 65.)
Mr. Henry Travers brought three specimens of this eel from the Chatham Islands.
112. Solenognathus spinosissimus, Günth. (Cat., p. 69.)
Last April I saw a nearly fresh specimen of this fish that had been picked up at the Bay of Islands; it was of a uniform pale yellowish colour.
114. Monacanthus convexirostris, Günth. (Cat., p. 71.)
When fresh this fish is of a darkish grey colour, with the dorsal and anal fins, as well as the iris, bright yellow.
115a. Aracana Aurita, Shaw. C.M.
A. aurita, Günth., VIII., p. 266.
Carapace compressed, rough with papillæ, posterior edges sinuated, five-keeled, those on each side of the back and abdomen slight, that on the lower part of the abdomen strong; a spine over each eye, two of equal size and near together on each dorsal ridge, a single one on each side, and two of equal size on the keels on each side of the abdomen, the foremost situated at about the vertical from the tip of the pectoral fin.
Yellowish, with thin irregular undulating brown longitudinal stripes.
Two specimens were left at the Museum, the donor and locality unknown. Found also in Tasmania and South Australia.
117. Chilomycterus jaculiferus, Cuv. (Cat., p. 73.)
In a letter to Dr. Hector, Dr. Günther says that he finds that this fish should be referred to the genus Dicotylicthys.
118. Orthagoriscus truncatus, Lacep. (Cat., p. 73.)
Since the “Catalogue of New Zealand Fishes” was published I have had an opportunity of examining the sun-fish in the Auckland Museum, and I find that it belongs to O. mola and not to O. truncatus.
122. Zygœna malleus, Risso. (Cat., p. 76.)
A small specimen of this shark has lately been caught in Auckland harbour.
127. Notidanus indicus, Cuv. (Cat., p. 79.)
A specimen of this shark is in the Auckland Museum.
131. Euprotomicrus, sp. (Cat., p. 81.)
I now believe that the jaws which I doubtfully referred in the “Catalogue of New Zealand Fishes” to this genus really belonged to a young specimen of Carcharias brachyurus.
139. Geotria chilensis, Gray. (Cat., p. 87.) Pl. XII.
Riwaka River, Nelson.
139a. Geotria Australis, Gray. C.M.
G. australis, Günth., VIII., p. 508.
Skin on the throat, dilated into a large sac; maxillary lamina thin, crescent shaped, with four sharp teeth, the middle pair of which are only half as broad as the outer; mandibulary lamina very low, slightly sinuous; suctorial teeth in numerous series, rather distant from one another; anicuspid small, those nearest to the mouth rather larger; only one transverse series of very small teeth between the mandibulary lamina and the posterior lip, which, as well as the remainder of the margin of the disc, is beset with numerous broad leaf-like fringes; suctorial disc subtriangular, with the lateral lobes very broad; dorsal fins widely separated.
Uniform blackish; in spirits bluish black (Günther).
Stewart Island; found also in South Australia.
Art. XXIV.—Notes on some Undescribed Fishes of New Zealand.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 7th August, 1872.]
The excellent “Catalogue of the Fishes of New Zealand,” drawn up by Capt. Hutton for the Colonial Museum in Wellington, which forms a welcome addition to the scientific literature of the Colony, and to the careful edition of which I wish to bear my testimony, has afforded me an opportunity of naming the specimens of fishes in the Canterbury Museum with greater facility than otherwise would have been the case, as well as to see at a glance which genera and species are still unrepresented in the provincial collections.
At the same time that little work has shown me that we possess in the collections under my charge several species which are either unrepresented in the Colonial Museum or are new to science.
In the following notes I shall therefore give a description of a few species which form an addition to the Catalogue, adding a short diagnosis to each. In one or two instances I shall propose a change in the nomenclature, that adopted by Capt. Hutton not appearing to me to be quite appropriate.
Haplodactylus Donaldii. sp. nov.
Capt. Hutton in his Catalogue states that Richardson mentions a fish under the name of Aplodactylus meandratus as having been caught off Cape Kidnappers, but that it appears that there is no description of it. Dr. Günther
on the other hand, in his classical Catalogue of Fishes, does not even mention such an occurence, although he describes five species which have all been obtained either from the western coast of South America or from those of Australia, the genus thus being an inhabitant of the Pacific Ocean only.
It may be that the species described by Richardson belongs to some other genus, as it has also been mentioned by Solander, and Banks has given a figure of it. I may also add that none of the five species described by the accomplished ichthyologist of the British Museum agrees with our New Zealand specimen, and which thus may be fairly claimed as an addition to the New Zealand fauna.
It was named in honour of Dr. Donald, of Lyttelton, who presented it to the Museum, and to whom we owe so many valuable additions to our collections.
D. 15|18; A.|3/7.
Incisors tricuspid, placed in a band on both jaws, and in several rows of which the outer series contains the largest. The six lower pectoral rays simple. The ground colour is black, all mottled with slaty grey; abdomen slaty grey, the same colour as the spots; fins mottled black and slaty grey, like the body, with the exception of the pectoral fins, which are nearly black.
Description.—The greatest height of the body is four times in the total length, and is below the fifth dorsal spine; the upper profile of the head and nape of the neck is rather concave; the head, which is only slightly convex between the orbits, is one-fifth of the total length; the operculum terminates posteriorly in a point and is entire, differing in that respect from H. punctatus, and lophodon, in which this limb is divided by a deep semicircular notch.
The dorsal fin beginning in a vertical line from the extremity of the operculum has the first spine small, 5 lines, the second 11 lines, the third 1 in. 3 lines, which is the average height of fourth, fifth, and sixth, after which the spines gradually diminish to the fifteenth or last spine. It is continued by the soft one, which rises at once to 1 in. 3 lines, gradually reaching a height of 1 in. 7 lines at the seventh ray, after which it gradually diminishes to 7 lines at the last ray.
A pad along the base of the dorsal fin is broadest at the base of the third spine, gradually decreasing towards the middle of the soft one.
|Length of head||3||0|
|Height of body||3||6|
|Diameter of eye||0||5|
|Interspace between dorsal and caudal fin||1||10|
|Length of caudal lobe||2||1|
|Interspace between ventral and anal fin||3||4|
Synnema.* Gen. nov.
Uranoscopus, Cuv. au Val. Anema, Günth., II., 230. Kathetostoma, Hutton, 23.
Habit and teeth of Uranoscopus; scales very small; a filament in the interior of the mouth; one continuous dorsal; ventrals jugular; pectoral rays branched; some bones of the head armed—six branchiostegals; pseudobranchiæ.
Synnema monopterygium, mihi.
Anema " Günther.
Kathetostoma " Hutton.
This species since the days of Solander and Forster has undergone several changes in its nomenclature, the latest being that proposed by Capt. Hutton, because he finds a filament in the mouth, so that the generic name of Anema of Günther (without filament) would be quite inappropriate. The species cannot again be united with Uranoscopus, as it possesses one dorsal only, while it cannot be placed with Kathetostoma, as Capt. Hutton has proposed, because the three spines on the inferior margin of the præoperculum, the two on the mandibula and two on the throat, which form amongst others a very important character of that species, are absent in the genus under review.
The Canterbury Museum possesses two specimens of this curious genus, of which one (11 in. 6 lines long) was caught in the river Avon, near Christchurch, and the other (15 in. long) in the river Rangitata, about forty miles above its mouth, by Mr. W. Packe, who presented it to the Museum.
This species, as far as the specimens in the Canterbury Museum are concerned, is fluviatile in its habits, but I suppose that it inhabits both salt and fresh water periodically.
I may also here observe that at least some of this tribe, which all bury in the sands or mud lying there in wait for their food passing over their mouth, can remain above low-water mark during the ebbing of the-sea, as one of my sons when digging for shells in the sands on the beach near the Sumner Hotel not far below high-water mark came upon a specimen about 15 in. long. It was carried by him to a pool of water with a sandy bottom, but the fish disappeared in an incredibly short space of time, having buried itself in the sands.
Kathetostoma Giganteum. sp. nov.
The Canterbury Museum received from Mr. Day, in Sumner, a very large specimen of cat-fish, caught in the Heathcote estuary, near Sumner, which upon examination proved new to science.
This magnificent specimen, which, as far as I could ascertain, is the largest
[Footnote] * From syn with, and nema filament.
cat-fish hitherto described, is 29 in. long, 11 in. 9 lines broad, and 7 in. 2 lines high.
Description of Species.
B. 16; A. 14; P. 22; C. 11; V. 5.
Length of the head is four times in the total; teeth large and bent inwards in several rows, but not closely set; six branchiostegals; three strong spines on the inferior margin of the præoperculum, two below the mandibula, and two on the throat; head partly rugose and covered with numerous grains starting from star-like centres and forming regular figures; one dorsal, of which the rays are slight and entire, whilst those of the ventral, pectoral, and anal fins are strong and branched; lateral line straight, and only slightly bent down near its junction with the caudal. From the neck and the anterior portion of the lateral line, which stands well above the skin, start numerous raised flat lines, branching repeatedly and diminishing gradually, the whole forming an elegant pattern; interorbital space deeply excavated; scales none.
Head and back of a brown olive colour, with darker undefined spots; sides and abdomen and fins light brownish yellow. The upper surface of the body is like the head remarkably flat.
Leptoscopus Huttonii.* sp. nov.
D. 31; A. 36; L. lat., 88 (44).
Length four and a quarter times that of the head, which is eight times the diameter of the eye. A strong and well pointed humeral spine; caudal rays branched (and in specimen B. also ventral rays); the scales of the lateral line twice as large as those of the adjoining series, each corresponding to the transverse series.
The Canterbury Museum possesses two specimens, which were both caught in the river Avon. The smaller one (A), presented by Mr. E. Barker, of New Brighton, is 11 in. long, and was caught near that locality.
Colour.—Head above and back dark olive green, the posterior portion of the latter becoming gradually lighter; cheeks, sides and abdomen white, the lateral line dark olive throughout, forming the division between the two colours; anterior portion of sides, above pectoral fins, below lateral line olive green, gradually shading off into white, with a few darker spots near the junction; pectoral fins above dark olive, nearly black, below white; anal fin white; dorsal fin white, with dark olive green rays and a fringe of the same colour; caudal fin—central portion white, with a dark line entering it at the base as a continuation of the lateral line for a third of its length, upper and lower portion dark olive green, like body.
[Footnote] * Named in honour of Captain Hutton, F.G.S., author of “Catalogue of New Zealand Fishes.”
The second and larger specimen (B) is 18 in. long, and far brighter coloured than the first. Head above and back dark olive green, which is also the colour of the lateral line; middle portions of cheeks and side white; throat and addomen pink; anal fin pink; pectoral fin above dark olive, centre white, below pink, corresponding to position of colours of the body; dorsal fin white, with dark olive green rays and fringe; caudal above and below dark olive green, centre white, fringed below with pink.
Besides in the colour there are some minor points of difference between the two specimens, such as form of the operculum, so that possibly they might represent two distinct species, in which case I would propose for the latter the name of Leptoscopus tricolor.
Notothenia Maoriensis.* sp. nov.
D. 3/29; A. 23; V. 6; L. lat. 58.
Length of the head one-fourth of the total, of which the height of the body is one-sixth; total length 17 in.; eyes slightly directed upwards; the upper surface of head is flat and granulated; suborbital space, upper portion of præoperculum and operculum covered with scales, the two latter naked below. The lateral line stops in a vertical line with the root of the last dorsal spine, whilst its lower continuation begins again under the twenty-sixth dorsal spine, so that the latter overlaps the upper one.
The whole rays of the pectorals are branched; colour black, with the exception of the abdomen, which is light grey, the sides shading off gradually into that colour; rays black; membrane brownish grey.
Caught near Lyttelton harbour, where, according to the fisherman who brought it, it is very seldom seen. The dark colour and the peculiar expression of the face has given rise to the popular name of Maori Chief, which has suggested to me the proposed specific designation.
Bowenia.† gen. nov.
Eyes on the right side, the lower rather in advance; mouth unsymmetrical, narrower on the right side than on the left, the length of the left maxillary being one-fourth of that of the head; teeth villiform on the blind side only where they form bands; dorsal and anal rays entire, with the exception of the few largest ones, which are slightly divided; dorsal and anal fins scaleless; the dorsal fin commences on the extremity of the snout and is not continued on to the caudal; the two ventrals are conjoined at the junction with the
[Footnote] * Capt. Hutton considers this to be the same fish as No. 39, “Cat. N.Z. Fishes.”—Ed.
[Footnote] † So named in honour of his Excellency Sir George Bowen, G.C.M.G., Governor of New Zealand.
anal fin; scales small cycloid; lateral line straight; gill openings narrow, the gill membranes being broadly united below the throat.
Bowenia Novæ-Zealandiæ. sp. nov.
D. 56; V. 6; A. 37; P. 11.
The height of the body is contained two and one-eighth in the total length without caudal, the length of the head nearly four times; the lower eye is in advance of the upper by about one-half of its diameter, they are separated by a naked space, which is about equal to the vertical diameter of the eye; snout as long as the eye, which is one-fifth of the length of the head; the maxillary of the right side extends below the anterior margin of the eye; teeth minute, in villiform bands; anterior rays of dorsal fin produced beyond the connecting membrane; the dorsal fin commences on the foremost part of the snout, its longest ray being the thirty-first, situated a little behind the middle of the fin; caudal straight, of équal length with the head; the gill opening does not extend upwards beyond the base of the pectoral; the two ventral fins are joined posteriorly, and are connected by a complete membrane with the anal fin; the length of the pectoral two-thirds that of the head.
Total length 10 in. 7 lines.
Uniform light brownish olive.
The Canterbury Museum possesses from the same lake—which generally contains brackish water, and only at some seasons salt water, when in direct communication with the sea—two other specimens, 12 in. 3 lines and 12 in. 1 line total length, which agree with the foregoing description of B. novœ-zealandiœ, with the exception that the right ventral fin is only continuous in the same line with the anal fin, being joined to it by a broad and complete membrane without rays, the left ventral fin occurring separate.
However, this difference may be accounted for by the connecting membrane of that left ventral having been torn off in both specimens, of which one is not in a good state of preservation.
Another and striking peculiarity consists in the very strange form of the head of both. The dorsal fin, instead of commencing on the foremost part of the snout, does not reach to the head, the skull being covered with skin to the post-frontal bone; the left eye lying nearly on the top of the head. A little distance behind that eye the body rises, forming here, as it were, a crest or free pointed process projecting over the eye. On the foremost part of that crest the dorsal fin begins.
I should at once have considered both specimens as monstrosities, brought about by arrested development, had I not found both specimens alike, but
since then having read Dr. Traquair's important paper “On the Assymetry of the Pleutonectidœ,” (“Trans. Linn. Soc.,” XXV., pt. ii., 1865), I have become convinced that they are both monstrosities, which, as I understood since from the fishermen, are far from, uncommon.
Galaxias Grandis. sp. nov.
B. 9; D. 13; A. 13–15; V. 7; P. 14.
Head one-fifth of the total length, and one and one-third the height of the body; dorsal a little in advance of the anal; both jaws of equal length; eye rather small, one-seventh of the length of the head and one-half of the length of the snout; the length of the pectoral fin is two and a half the distance from the ventral; the anal extends beyond the base of the caudal if laid backwards; the least depth of the tail is one and one-fourth the distance between dorsal and caudal fins; teeth on tongue very large.
Brownish black above, yellowish brown beneath, with yellowish spots and short streaks, which are most numerous and best defined on the sides, whilst on the back and the head they are small and of rare occurrence; fins brownish black with lighter coloured rays. It will be seen that this species, although similarly coloured to G. alepidotus, is distinguished from it by its great size and some other specific differences.
Total length 19 in. 3 lines.
I have been informed that even larger specimens have repeatedly been taken. I have not seen any specimens of G. alepidotus, so that I am unable to point out more fully all the specific differences, which I have no doubt exist.
This giant bull-trout was obtained by Mr. E. Jollie in one of the small creeks near Lake Ellesmere, which rise as fine copious springs on the plains in its neighbourhood, and fall either into that lake or form branches of the Little Rakaia. These deep creeks, possessing generally vertical or overhanging banks, and having the bottom mostly covered by aquatic vegetation, to which the water-cress (Nasturtium officinale) forms in many instances a successful rival, are also inhabited by the New Zealand eel (Anguilla aucklandii), and it is rather astounding that they should offer shelter to two such voracious species—considering that very often the water-way is so narrow that a large fish like the bull-trout can scarcely turn round.
This bull-trout is easily caught with the hook baited with the grass-hopper during the summer time—and at any time of day.
This species occurs also at the West Coast, where I obtained it in Lake Hall, the outlet of which falls into the Paringa river.
Art. XXX.—Notice of a New Species of Moth in New Zealand.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 6th November, 1872.]
During an expedition into the Ruahine ranges in the summer of 1867, in quest of the Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris), I was fortunate enough to discover the fine species of nocturnal moth described below, and figured in Pl. XXII.
After a careful examination of the large type collection in the British Museum, I feel no hesitation in referring this new form to the genus Porina, and in giving the species a distinctive name. I have dedicated it to my friend Captain Gilbert Mair, who accompanied me on the occasion referred to.
So far as is at present known, the habitat of Porina mairi is confined to the wooded summits of the Ruahine ranges, in the Province of Wellington. I have never met with it during my frequent travels in other parts of the country, nor have I ever seen a specimen in any public or private collection.
Family Hepialidœ, Stephens.
Genus Porina, Walker.
Lep. Het. B.M. VII., p. 1572. (1856.)
P. Mairi. sp. nov.
Alæ magnæ, sordide testaceæ; anticæ maculis sex marginalibus, albo introrsum cinctis; maculis subseptem, seriem submarginalem formantibus, sagittatis, nigris; septem, quarum quinque superioribis alboaliis testaceocinctis, discalibus; fascia transversa pone has fusca, lituris nigris utrinque limitata; lineis tribus irregularibus nigris, fusco impletis, pone cellam fasciam latam formantibus; macula parva media triangulari alba; nebula irregulari infra cellam pallide ochracea; macula diffusa cellam terminante alba, crucibus duabus nigris interrupta; fasciolis duabus divergentibus discoideis, albo cinctis, tertia apud basin sordide testaceo cincta; plagis tribus inæqualibus internis et maculis duabus sub-basalibus, nigris: posticæ griseæ, area externa fuscescente nigro 8 fasciata: corpus fuscum: exp. alar. circ. unc. 5, lin. 11.
Wings large, broad, front-wings produced, ovate-triangular, pale dirty testaceous; six black spots terminating nervures on outer margin, and bounded by a lunated marginal white band; a sub-marginal series of arrow-headed black spots, and beyond these a series of rounded spots, the first four encircled with white, the rest with pale brown; two broken, black discal lines,
filled in with brown; a broad irregular band to below centre of wing, beyond cell, and formed of three black lines with brown interspaces; a triangular white spot below cell and a white patch terminating it and traversed by two black crosses; two diverging black bars surrounded with white in centre of cell, and a third surrounded with dirty testaceous near base; a large irregular patch of pale ochraceous or whitish brown below end of cell, bounded on internal area by three unequally formed patches which together almost form the sides of a large triangle; two small spots near base; hind wings greyish, becoming browner towards outer margin and crossed by eight interrupted black bars; body brown; length of wings about 5 in. 11 lines.
Art. XXXI.—On the Spiders of New Zealand.
Part I. Genus Salticus.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 1st May, 1872.]
In the special department of Arachnology there is no modern systematic work; descriptions are scattered through the transactions of various societies, which are quite inaccessible to us at the antipodes; the differences between species are frequently so slight as to be described with great difficulty by a novice, and on the other hand some species vary in so remarkable a manner that there is great tendency to describe varieties as distinct species.
I would ask students of the various branches of entomology in New Zealand not to be deterred by these obstacles, but to follow my example and do their best, feeling confident that with practice and experience difficulties will be gradually overcome. Let all species believed to be new be described with the utmost minuteness, leaving the genera doubtful where doubt exists, and avoiding the creation of new genera likely to create present confusion and subsequently to be swept away. This is the plan which I intend to pursue in recording descriptions of New Zealand spiders, and I have every confidence that arachnologists of greater experience in other parts of the world will deal tenderly with my shortcomings, assisting me with their advice, and indicating points which are more particularly deserving of attention.
I would point out that there are many departments of natural history which are at present unnoticed, and it is greatly to be desired that members of this Society would take up single branches, collecting assiduously and describing carefully; in this way the study of natural history in New Zealand, will make rapid strides, and in this way alone.
The spiders seem to be fairly represented in this country. My collecting has been performed in a very desultory manner on occasional holidays, and has been confined almost entirely to the neighbourhood of Christchurch. I have now in my possession specimens belonging to over sixty species of more than twenty genera. The number of genera is very large in proportion to the number of species, and affords an indication of the very wide field which lies open to the collector.
Genus Salticus, Latreille.
Eyes disposed in three rows, constituting three sides of a square, in front and on the sides of the cephalo-thorax; the two intermediate eyes of the anterior row are the largest, and the intermediate eye of each lateral row is much the smallest of the eight; maxillæ short, straight, enlarged at the base, where the palpi are inserted, and at the extremity which is rounded; lip oval, obtuse at the apex; legs robust, varying considerably in their relative length in different species.
Of the genus Salticus, a very numerous genus in all parts of the world, I have eight species, which are, I believe, undescribed. Of seven of these I append minute descriptions, the eighth is a solitary immature specimen which I shall not at present describe.
1. Salticus Appressus, n.s. Fig. 1.
Length .8 inch.
Cephalo-thorax oblong; body remarkably flattened or depressed, nearly quadrilateral, about twice as long as broad; caput scarcely defined from the thorax, exceedingly flat; eyes of middle row rather nearer anterior laterals than posterior row; thorax about two and a half times as long as caput.
Colour in some specimens uniform grey, produced by a coat of close short grey hair on a black ground. In adult males longitudinal black stripes on the grey ground, varying much in distinctness.
Legs, order of length, 4, 1, 2, 3; fourth pair rather long and slender. First pair very broad, flattened out, especially the femoral joint; second pair robust and flattened, but far less so than first pair; third pair far the smallest and slenderest. Colour brownish grey, clothed with short grey hair.
Palpi not very large or long; palpal organ tumid, with a slightly curved short filament at extremity; a strongish slightly crooked spine on outer aspect of radial joint; radial and digital joints clothed with long greyish hairs.
Falces most remarkably small, corresponding in width to anterior middle pair of eyes, and no deeper than they are broad, inclined forwards.
Maxillæ small, slightly inclined towards lip, dilated at extremity. Lip oval, rather longer than broad.
Sternum a long oval, rather sunk between the coxal joints of the legs.
Abdomen flat, a long oval twice as long as cephalo-thorax, with two longitudinal creases or striæ; either uniform grey in colour, from having a thick coat of short grey hairs on a blackish surface, or denuded in places of hair so as to leave a black pattern consisting of a broad black band, extending half the length of the abdomen and terminating in three black lines, extending to the spinnerets. Towards the spinnerets on either side a couple of oblique black marks tending forwards towards the middle line; under surface black; vulval opening simple.
The habits of this remarkable spider might be predicted from its form. It inhabits chinks and crevices, into which it sidles with great dexterity when alarmed. Its singular flattened form, as if it had been trodden underfoot, and its small inconspicuous falces, peculiarly adapt it to its favourite habitat. I have never seen it apart from palings or human habitations, never in the bush nor away from the neighbourhood of the town, although one would expect to find it like Delena, beneath the detached bark of trees. I have, however, never seen it in this situation.
Found on palings in and around Christchurch.
2. Salticus Minax, n.s. Fig. 2.
Length, .5 inch.
Cephalo-thorax oval, truncated anteriorly, two-thirds as long again as broad, .2 in. long; lateral borders convex, a slight depression behind caput; normal grooves rather obscure.
Colour rich blackish brown, becoming quite black at the lateral borders, an obscure mahogany-coloured stripe down the centre, surface polished.
Eyes, three rows; middle pair of anterior row far the largest; middle pair decidedly nearer to anterior laterals than to posterior pair.
Legs, 1, 4, 2, 3; anterior legs very robust and powerful, black, with strong spines on trochanteric libral and metatarsal joints, clothed with hairs; tarsus red brown; three posterior pairs comparatively slight and weak, dark honey colour; all the tarsi with a blackish scopula; length of anterior leg four-fifths of an inch in female, half an inch in male.
Palpi not very large, rather long; palpal organ tumid, a short very slightly curved filament at extremity; a small simple spine on outer side of radial joint, also a few long curved hairs.
Falces tumid, robust, black, with a strong brown black claw. In the male an abrupt projecting process about the middle of the fang. A few strong teeth on inner aspect of falx.
Maxillæ long, divergent, inner border very convex; a rather acute angle at junction of anterior and outer borders. Lip long oval, truncated anteriorly. All dark mahogany brown.
Sternum oval, nearly black.
Abdomen a long oval or cylindrical, tapering towards extremity, about three-fifths of an inch long. Colour dull olive green or greenish brown, with a striking pale greenish or greenish yellow stripe down the centre; normal pits generally well marked; under surface a dark stripe down the centre with pale borders.
Vulva not very conspicuous.
Favourite habitat—the dead leaves clothing the trunk of the cabbage-tree (Cordyline).
Riccarton Bush, Governor Bay and North Island.
3. Salticus Atratus, n.s. Fig. 3.
Length .3 inch, male the largest.
Cephalo-thorax oblong, fully half as long again as broad, lateral borders convex; rather abruptly sloped posteriorly; a well marked transverse depression behind caput; thorax rather longer than caput. Colour brilliant black, with pinkish metallic reflections, especially on caput; a few blackish hairs sparsely distributed, especially at anterior border, a few white hairs bordering sides of caput.
Eyes, middle row very nearly equidistant from anterior laterals, and posterior row very slightly nearer the former.
Legs rather long and slender; order of length, 1, 3, 4, 2; first pair considerably longest and stoutest; not much difference between third and fourth. Colour of legs black, with a brownish tinge, tarsus reddish brown; legs clothed with fine black hairs, a few greyish hairs on two posterior pairs.
Palpi not very long or large. Radial joint small and concealed on anterior aspect, a small curved, slightly crooked, spine on outer side; both cubital and radial joints provided with long coarse curved hairs.
Palpal organ pear-shaped, a coarse blackish brown filament at distal extremity; taper extremity of the pear-shaped organ projects so as to hide the radial joint.
Falces small, conical, dark red brown; fangs small and weak.
Sternum a narrow oval.
Maxillæ dilated and rounded at extremity; lightish brown.
Under surface dull brown; coxæ light olive brown; legs and abdomen rather thickly clothed with greyish hairs.
Abdomen slightly longer than cephalo-thorax, a rather broad oval pointed posteriorly. Ground colour black, bordered anteriorly with a band of white hairs; three not very well defined oblique bands of white hairs on either side, and some obscure markings of a similar nature above the spinners. Surface glossy, sparsely coated with black hairs, especially towards posterior extremity.
In the smaller adult male in my possession the white markings are scarcely distinguishable. The immature specimens are clothed throughout with short greyish hair, the markings being very obscure.
Taken on rocks at Sumner. Two adult specimens; of males, several immature specimens.
4. Salticus V-Notatus, n.s. Fig. 4.
Length .25 inch nearly.
Cephalo-thorax oblong, somewhat elongate, raised, slopes rather abruptly posteriorly, and projects well forward over the falces; brownish black, with a few light yellowish hairs along the lateral eyes; middle row of eyes about midway between anterior laterals and posterior pair.
Legs, 1, 4, 2, 3; first and fourth not differing much in length; legs not very robust, but first and second more so than third and fourth; brownish black, sparsely clothed with longish hairs.
Palpi—palpal organ pyriform, apex overhanging and concealing radial joint; at distal extremity a coarse blackish brown filament, curved like a ram's horn; radial joint has on outer aspect a crooked simple spine. Radial and digital joints clothed with longish white hairs.
Falces cylindrical small.
Maxillæ robust, rounded internally, forming an acute angle at junction of anterior and external borders; lightish brown; lip conical.
Abdomen oval, pointed posteriorly; a broad black band down centre, dividing into three posteriorly, and inclosing a yellowish V shaped mark; sides irregularly marked with yellowish hairs; under surface yellowish grey, bordered with black.
A single specimen taken on Oxford Terrace, Christchurch.
5. Salticus Fumosus, n.s. Fig. 6.
Length .8 in.
Cephalo-thorax semi-oval, abruptly truncated anteriorly; lateral borders very nearly straight for anterior two-thirds of their length; cephalo-thorax deep, flattened above and sloping away posteriorly; a slight transverse depression behind caput; colour dark brown; short red hairs fringe the anterior border above and around the eyes.
Eyes, lateral eyes form a straight line; posterior eyes not quite midway from anterior border to posterior border of cephalo-thorax; middle row of eyes about midway from anterior laterals to posterior row.
Legs, female 4, 1, 2, 3, male 1, 4, 2, 3, but scarcely any appreciable difference between fourth and first in female; first pair robust, dark blackish
brown; strong spines on trochanteric libral and metatarsal joints; three posterior pairs yellowish brown; second pair most robust and darkest of the three, and provided with strongest spines. Feet provided with a blackish scopula.
Palpi rather long; palpal organ tumid, simple in structure, no filament perceptible. Radial joint provided with a strong curved spine on outer side and long coarse curved hairs; digital joint clothed with coarse hair. All dark brown.
Falces small and short, not occupying much more breadth than the anterior pair of eyes; red brown.
Maxillæ slightly divergent, rounded at exterior angle; lip abruptly truncated.
Sternum a long oval, yellowish brown.
Abdomen ovoid, pointed posteriorly; upper surface dull sooty brown or bistre colour; a broad pale band runs down the dorsum with a double darker line in the centre, interrupted at about a fourth of the distance by two minute oval pale spots, the whole obscurely striated by oblique lines. These markings are all very obscure.
Under surface rather pale, and marked longitudinally by three dark lines originating near the generative pore and converging posteriorly.
Vulva reddish brown, not conspicuous.
Favourite habitat—dead leaves clothing the trunk of the cabbage-tree (Cordyline), Riccarton Bush. Abundant.
6. Salticus Mustilinus, n.s. Fig. 7.
Length, .25 inch.
Cephalo-thorax oval, truncated anteriorly, deep, sloped abruptly posteriorly, overhanging the falces, no perceptible grooves. Colour, between the eyes mahogany brown, with a lighter patch on the inner side of each posterior eye, a similar pale band down the centre of the thorax, anterior border of caput fringed with coarse yellowish white hairs, thorax sooty brown, with a palish band down the centre, and sometimes a bordering line of whitish hairs.
Legs, 1, 4, 3, 2; first pair far the most robust, dark reddish brown, except the femoral joint, which is paler; other legs honey colour; second and third not differing much in length.
Palpi rather long; palpal organ oval, proximal end concealing radial joint, at distal extremity a short slightly curved dark brown filament; on outer side of radial joint a short dark slightly curved spine.
Falces long and powerful, conical, dark brown; claw strong and curved, with two slight projections on outer aspect, one small tooth on inner aspect.
Maxillæ straight, rounded internally, forming a rather acute angle at
junction of anterior and outer borders; lip truncated, rather longer than broad, dark red brown.
Sternum oval, pale and brown.
Abdomen a long oval, pointed posteriorly, down the centre runs a reddish toothed band containing a sooty longitudinal mark vandyked or formed by confluent lozenges, on either side of the reddish band a sooty stripe bordered by pale yellowish white hairs. Under surface pale yellowish, with three longitudinal dark lines.
Riccarton bush; on shrubs.
7. Salticus Albobarbatus, n.s. Fig. 8.
Length of mature male, .25 inch.
Cephalo-thorax oblong, sloping forwards anteriorly, sloping away abruptly posteriorly; sides very slightly convex, glossy black, slightly iridescent, and sparsely clothed with coarsish black hairs.
Eyes, three rows; anterior middle pair far the largest, eyes of second row very small midway between anterior and posterior rows. Beneath the anterior row of eyes is a remarkable beard-like growth of pure white hair, converging from the sides towards the middle line, and contrasting strongly with the glossy black which is the prevailing colour of the spider; this beard nearly conceals the falces.
Abdomen ovoid, rather pointed posteriorly. Colour glossy black.
Legs, 4, 3, 1, 2; not very robust; black, becoming brownish towards distal segments. A black scopula terminates the tarsi; all the legs are sparsely clothed with black and whitish hairs.
Having only dried male specimens I am unable to give further particulars with accuracy.
Habitat, shingle slides. Castle Hill; collected by J. D. Enys, Esq.
Art. XXXII.—Notes on the Stridulating Organs of the Cicada.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 1st May, 1872.]
At page 351 of “The Descent of Man” (1871) I find the following statement:—“The Cicadidœ usually sing during the day, whilst the Fulgoridœ appear to be night-songsters. The sound, according to Landois, who has recently studied the subject, is produced by the vibration of the lips of the spiracles which are set into motion by a current of air emitted from the tracheæ. It is increased by a wonderfully complex resounding apparatus,
consisting of two cavities covered by scales. Hence the sound may truly be called a voice. In the female the musical apparatus is present, but very much less developed than in the male, and is never used for producing sound.”
As I have not access to Landois' original paper I am, of course, ignorant of the details of his description, but unless the cicada which he describes differs essentially in the nature of its musical organs from those found in New Zealand, and also from those described more or less correctly by other authors, especially Reaumur (see Kirby and Spence's “Introduction,” p. 501, seventh edition, 1856), he is most certainly in error.
The stridulating organs of the cicada (Pl. XVIII.) are constructed on a principle which is, I believe, unique. In no other animal, as far as I am aware, are vibrating membranes made use of for the purpose of producing sound, and in this respect they possess a peculiar interest. In the male cicada on the upper surface of the first ring of the abdomen on either side may be seen a semilunar opening with convexity posterior, and on examining this opening with a magnifying glass it will be seen to lead into a shallow cavity closed in by a plicated horny membrane. If a live insect be caught and these membranes be observed during the act of stridulation they will be seen to be vibrating rapidly, synchronously with the beats of the shrill sound. On examining the under surface of the insect an oval plate will be observed immediately behind each posterior leg, of considerable size, and quite free except anteriorly. On snipping off these plates with a fine-pointed pair of scissors we expose on each side a large triangular opening, the apices opposed to one another, and but slightly separated; each opening leads into a roof-shaped cavity of considerable extent. Anteriorly this cavity is closed in by a fragile but opaque membrane divided into two parts by a chelinous rib, the lower half is pure white and marked with parallel creases, the upper half is yellow and tougher looking; posteriorly the cavity is closed by a large tense beautifully transparent membrane, it is very delicate and shines with iridescent colours; it is marked dr in the illustration. If we now carefully cut the body through anteriorly to the membranes here described, and to the stridulating membranes, by a little careful dissection we shall expose the immediate agent of the production of the sound, and see two thick yellow bundles of muscle inserted below into the parietes of the abdomen at the junction of the cavitary membranes. These muscular bundles diverge like the letter V, a delicate aponeurosis is given off from each muscle, which seems to be lost on the rim of the transparent membrane; the muscle itself ends in a round tendon which is inserted into the under surface of the stridulating membrane. This membrane is highly elastic, and the sound is produced by the contraction of the muscle straightening out the plications of the membrane; this produces a click, and, on the muscle relaxing, the membrane from its elasticity springs back with
another click. That this is really the mode in which the sounds are caused may be proved by exposing the parts immediately after killing the insect; on then allowing the muscles to harden a little by exposure, and on pulling them with the point of a pin, the membranes will be seen to straighten and fly back again, accompanied by the production of the usual sound.
Now what part do the large transparent drum-like membranes take in the production of the sound? All writers on the subject have attributed to them reverberating qualities for the intensifying of the sound, but a simple experiment appears to disprove this, for if an insect be taken while stridulating and all four of the membranes be destroyed with a pin the sounds are not materially affected, but if one of the stridulating membranes be destroyed the sounds suffer great diminution, and on destroying the other they cease entirely. I was much surprised the first time I tried the experiment to find that the large drums seemed to take no part in the production of the sound, and the idea occurred to me that they might be hearing organs, but on examining the females, which, most remarkable to relate, are dumb and do not possess the stridulating organs, I found that the drums exist indeed, but are quite rudimentary instead of being large as we should expect to find them were they subservient to the sense of hearing. The question remains then of what use are they? That such highly developed structures must be of some use is clear. The three cicadæ found commonly in Canterbury differ in the sounds produced. The small green cicada utters a sound which may be represented by the repetition of the letter “r” thus “r-r-r-r-r-r,” the voice of the larger green species would be expressed by “crrrk–crrrk–crrrk,” while the small black ones found in the hills say “crrrk-r-r-r-r-r.” The voice of this species is remarkably loud and piercing.
In connection with the voice of the cicada I may allude to a circumstance which has been frequently observed, viz., inability of some individuals to perceive very acute sounds. This is very noticeable with the song of the small green cicada. I have found many persons who are totally unable to hear any sound when my ears are being pierced with their shrill voices so as almost to give rise to a feeling of pain. There would seem to be in some cases less a deficiency in the organisation of the ear than in the faculty of perception, which is akin to the difficulty experienced by a landsman in perceiving very distant objects at sea. In some individuals, however, there is an absolute inability to hear very acute sounds, and inasmuch as the entire range of the human ear is, according to Helmholtz, eleven octaves, it has been justly remarked that the air may be filled with shrill insect sounds, which may be perfectly audible to the insects themselves but absolutely inaudible to our grosser sense.
Art. XXXIII.—On the direct Injuries to Vegetation in New Zealand by various Insects, especially with reference to Larvœ of Moths and Beetles feeding upon the Field Crops; and the Expediency of introducing Insectivorous Birds as a Remedy.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 12th December, 1872.]
The little time and attention that I have been able to afford to its investigation precludes my treating exhaustively a subject so comprehensive as that of Injuries caused by Insects, and Benefits derived from Insectivorous Animals; but, should the members of the Society be sufficiently interested, I hope, on some future occasion, to enlarge upon the subject in a series of papers.
It has been observed by the authors of a valuable work on entomology, that if it were not for certain counter-checks restraining them within due limits, insects would drive mankind, and all the larger animals, from the face of the earth.—That “the common good of this terraqueous globe requires that all things endowed with vegetable, or animal life, should bear certain proportions to each other, and if any individual species exceeds that proportion it becomes noxious, and interferes with the general welfare.” And they ask, “How is it that the Great Being of beings preserves the system, which he has created, from permanent injury in consequence of the too great redundancy of any individual species, but by employing one creature to prey upon another, and so overruling and directing the instincts of all that they may operate most where they are most wanted.”
So long as this balance remains undisturbed, so long will harmony prevail; and whenever we suffer excessive injuries from insects, or other animals, the cause may generally, if not invariably, be traced either directly or indirectly to the agency of man alone. Man, in his blindness, is ever breaking, or throwing out of gear, some wheel of the great cosmical machine, and disorder necessarily follows.
In illustration of this, I would point to the great increase of caterpillars, and other larvæ, in the neighbourhood of Christchurch during the last four or five years—an increase attributable in all probability to the following simple causes:—
In the early days of the Canterbury settlement, quails, larks, and other birds that fed upon insects and their larvæ, abounded on the plains; but the quails have been exterminated, the larks have become comparatively scarce, and the other birds have almost disappeared. So long as the plains remained open and uncultivated, extensive grass-fires sweeping over the land consumed an enormous amount of insect life, and took the place of that counter-check which was being removed by the decrease of the birds; but within the last
few years inclosures and cultivation have been rapidly extending around Christchurch, and forming a nursery for the preservation and increase of the insect race. A luxuriant and abundant vegetation has sprung up for its food and shelter, and it is comparatively freed from the ravages of fire and the attack of its feathered foes. What can we expect under such circumstances but to be visited with an insect pest? Unless some remedy were applied, or some special intervention of Providence occurred, the evil would inevitably increase with each succeeding year, and the farmer would ultimately find that his money and labour were providing but a harvest for the caterpillar and grub.
Some idea may be formed of the enormous increase of herbivorous insects if we take, for example, Plusia gamma, one of the moths of the Noctuœ family (a family extensively represented in this neighbourhood) and the common Aphis or plant louse. Réaumer has proved that from a single pair of Plusia gamma moths, 80,000 might be produced in one season, and the rapidity of production of the Aphidœ is so enormous, that nine generations have been produced in three months; and, each generation averaging 100 individuals, it has been calculated that 10,000 million millions may be generated in that period from a single Aphis.
So far as I have been able to ascertain, from inquiry and from my own personal observations, the insects which appear to have been the most injurious to the farmers of this neighbourhood are of the following kinds, namely:—
Of moths five species, namely—Pielus umbraculatus, Gu., Pielus variolaris, Gu., and Cloantha composita, Gu., (all named and described by M. Guenèe as “new species” from specimens taken by me in this province), and Heliothis armigera and Sesia tipuliformis (a species found also in England).
Of Beetles two species, namely — Odontria striata and Odontria (n.s. undescribed).
Of Aphides, several species.
Several specimens of the perfect insect of each of the above species of moths and beetles I now place before you for inspection, and in order that you may identify the species to which I allude.
Pielus umbraculatus and P. variolaris make their appearance on the wing, in great numbers, in the evening twilight, and in the daytime are found at rest on posts and rails and palings and such like places, and numbers may be seen entangled or wound up in the webs of spiders. These moths are very abundant in the months of October and November. The family to which they belong has received the common name of “swifts” from the rapidity of their flight. The larvæ of these species are short fleshy grubs, having six pectoral, eight ventral, and two anal feet; they are subterranean, and feed
principally upon the roots of grasses, coiling themselves up when disturbed. The transformation to the pupa state takes place under ground, and the pupæ are of a chestnut colour and glossy.
Cloantha composita not only flies at night, but also may be frequently seen on the wing in the daytime, flying briskly from flower to flower, and feeding upon the nectar, which it extracts with its long proboscis. The larvæ are more slender than those of Pielus, of a variety of colours, and striped longitudinally with numerous thread-like lines. They have sixteen feet, and feed principally on grasses and standing corn—especially rye-grass and oats—eating off the heads and stems of the grass, and the ears and leaves of the corn, sometimes resting on the stems during the day, but generally hiding in the grass, and coming out at night to feed. They commit immense damage, and when they have consumed the grass of one field they may be seen in prodigious numbers marching over the ground to another. The pupa is found under ground; and is of a dark glossy chestnut colour.
Heliothis armigera makes its appearance on the wing by day, as well as at night, and particularly delights in the brightest sunshine, when it may be seen, like Cloantha composita, flying about the flowers in search of nectar. The caterpillars are of various colours, have sixteen legs, and feed on low plants and vegetables, particularly peas, the pods of which they perforate and devour the contents. The colour of the pupa is glossy chestnut or brown.
Sesia tipuliformis has undoubtedly been brought into this country with the currant tree, upon which it feeds, and it shows how careful we ought to be when introducing anything useful that we bring not with it a grievous pest. The ravages of this insect have so increased that I question if we shall be able much longer to grow the red currant unless some check is imposed. The larvæ (whitish fleshy grubs) perforate the stems and branches of the trees, and eat away the pith. The perfect insect would be mistaken by the uninstructed for a species of fly or hymenopterous insect, so little does it resemble the ordinary appearance of a moth.
The Odontria beetles may be seen in the dusk of evening, flying in swarms over the grass, and humming like a hive of bees. The larvæ are subterranean, and are particularly destructive to clover and grasses, devouring the roots and leaving the upper part of the plant loose upon the ground as if cut off with a knife. They are soft fleshy grubs of a whitish colour, with brown horny heads. They have six legs, one pair on each of the three first segments, but none on the hinder. When disturbed they lie motionless, in a recurved position, having the hinder part bent inwards towards the head in the form of a hook. They seem, though not half their size, to be almost as destructive as the larvæ of the cockchafer (Melolontha vulgaris) which does such immense damage to pastures in England. Most, if not all, of the several species of this
family continue in the larva state for several years before transformation to the pupa, and it is probable that such is the case with the two species we are now considering. The perfect insect feeds upon the leaves of various trees, but I do not think that any serious injury in that respect has yet occurred in this province. Dr. Carpenter, in his work on zoology, revised by Mr. Dallas, referring to the cockchafers, says, “Their excessive multiplication is usually prevented by birds; but if these be kept away they increase very rapidly and become a complete pest to the cultivator. The perfect insects sometimes' make their appearance in such swarms as to devastate an entire forest.”
A species of Aphis appears to have become very injurious to our corn crops, and we all know what pests we have in two other species, the one Aphis lanigera, commonly called “American blight,” which infests the apple trees, and the other the “cabbage blight.”
In addition to moths, beetles, and Aphides I may mention locusts and grasshoppers, the latter of which are very abundant on the plains, and devour a considerable quantity of grass and herbage. Fortunately for us the locusts are not yet so numerous as to do any considerable mischief, but I have noticed their increase of late years. These insects are so well known in their perfect state that I may pass over them with the single remark that their larvæ and pupæ resemble the perfect insects, except that the wings of the pupæ are rudimentary only and the larvæ have none.
There is also a most destructive species of saw-fly, identical either with Selandria cerasi, or the North-American “slug-worm,” or closely allied thereto. The larva of this fly is covered with a greenish-black viscid matter which exudes from its body, and to a cursory observer resembles a small black slug. It feeds upon the upper surface of the leaves of its food plant. Cherry, plum, pear, hawthorn, and sometimes other trees, become completely stripped of their leaves by these larvæ, and when it occurs early in the summer, as it frequently does, the trees are compelled to put forth fresh foliage, thereby weakening them, and lessening the production of fruit in the succeeding year.
Lastly, there is an insect which appears identical with, or allied to, Coccus arborum linearis. It infests the pear and ash, and some other trees, and has the appearance of a small scale shaped like a mussel-shell. These insects thickly cover the bark of the trees, to which they closely adhere and exhaust the sap.
Such as I have above described are, I believe, the most injurious of the insects we have to contend with, but there are numerous others of minor importance that I must defer for future observation.
We will now proceed to the consideration of the expediency of introducing insectivorous birds and animals as a remedy.
The increase of insects is so enormous and rapid, and their location so
intimately connected with the things they destroy, that we cannot effectually apply any direct remedy, without at the same time destroying or injuring what we attempt to preserve. It is an error to suppose that caterpillars, or the larvæ of insects, are to any considerable extent affected by atmospheric forces. The severest frost does not destroy their vitality, for if they fail to find a sufficient shelter torpidity only is produced. I have myself taken caterpillars from the snow so entirely frozen as to have become brittle as glass, and yet, when exposed to the warmth, they have quickly revived and resumed their activity, without having suffered any apparent injury. When inundations or heavy falls of rain take place, and the ground becomes completely covered with water for days or weeks, considerable mortality is probably caused amongst the caterpillars; but such occurrences are only occasional and local.
Our only remedy is an indirect one, and that I conceive to be the employment of insectivorous animals to do the work for us; and for this purpose insectivorous birds stand prominent. I consider it to be our duty not only to protect the few indigenous birds that yet remain, but to continue to introduce others, until we have restored the balance which has been disturbed.
Of indigenous insectivorous and insect-destroying animals already existing in this locality, the following list, I think, comprises most of those which are of prominent importance, namely:—
Bats—entirely insectivorous, and of which, I believe, we have more than one species, but the individuals do not appear to be very numerous.
Gulls and terns, or sea-swallows—visiting the fields in flocks, and picking up slugs, worms, and grubs.
Larks—of which we have one species only—and a few small birds seen in the bush, and in our gardens.
We have also the Zosterops, commonly called “blight-birds,” from their feeding on the American blight (Aphis lanigera), but they, though there is no direct evidence of their introduction, are considered not indigenous.
Lizards, spiders, dragon-flies, which are all entirely insectivorous.
Beetles, of which we have numerous species of the Carabidœ family, whose habit is (to use the words of Dr. Carpenter) “to prowl about on the surface of the ground, under stones, etc., beneath the bark of trees or moss growing upon their roots, in search of their insect prey, which consists chiefly of herbivorous species of their own order. Some of them nocturnal in their habits, feeding on cockchafers and other species of herbivorous beetles that fly abroad during the night.” And two species at least of the family of the Coccinellidœ, commonly called “lady-birds,” or “lady-cows,” whose larvæ feed entirely upon Aphides.
Flies—of which we have two species most destructive to moths and flies, namely, Asilus varius, and Doctria, (? species) which dart from their resting place with exceeding rapidity, and seize their prey on the wing.
Ichneumons—a tribe of parasitic insects the most valuable of all, for scarcely an insect exists that is not exposed to the attack of one species or another of them. Every species of ichneumon has its particular species of insect upon which its larvæ exist. The victim is generally the larva (in some cases the egg or pupa) of some other insect. The egg of the parasite having been deposited by means of a long ovipositor, and hatched in the body of its victim, the parasite grub there feeds upon it, for days and months, devouring all but the vital organs; and so accurately is the supply of food proportioned to the demand that the victim lives just long enough for the parasitic grub to become full-fed and ready to assume the pupa state.
I have now only to indicate what birds are most valuable for us to introduce and acclimatize.
Thanks to our Acclimatization Society, many useful birds have already been introduced, and thoroughly established. Pheasants, sparrows, and chaffinches are plentiful; and many other birds (included in the list below), though at present scarce, seem to have obtained a firm footing.
To enumerate all the useful birds it is desirable to introduce would occupy more space than can be afforded in this paper, and I, therefore, confine myself to suggesting the few I have named in the list below; and, in selecting from such list, it should be a matter for consideration what species will increase the most rapidly, and spread over the country; and it should be borne in mind that many of the birds which live entirely on insect food are less valuable, for the purposes for which we require them, than others not wholly insectivorous, and that gregarious birds are preferable to those comparatively solitary.
The following is the list of birds recommended as insectivorous in their habits:—Rooks, jackdaws, partridges, landrails, starlings, skylarks, quails, plovers, redpolls, swallows, martens, swifts, blackbirds, thrushes, pipits, wagtails, nightingales, tits and their allied species, and wrens.
Art. XXXIV.—Remarks on the Coleoptera of Canterbury, New Zealand.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 4th September, 1872.]
Before commencing my brief review of the Coleoptera of this province I trust I may be permitted to make a few observations upon the difficulties which beset the entomological student in New Zealand, and upon the means by which in my opinion they may be obviated. For several years I have taken much interest in the beetles of this colony, and have collected them so far as my avocations would permit. At every step of my inquiry, however, I have been met and thwarted by an obstacle which I apprehend is familiar to all
those who have commenced to study any branch of zoological science in a new country. I allude to the extreme difficulty, nay, almost impossibility, of ascertaining with precision what has been written upon its fauna, and which of its species have been described by European authors. Anyone who attempts to describe those animals which he conceives to be new without possessing this knowledge is certain not only to fall into many errors, but, by the creation of unnecessary synonyms, to cause much confusion and to obstruct rather than forward the cause of science.
All those who are acquainted with the uncertainty which already exists in scientific nomenclature, must be aware that persistence in such a course would speedily reduce zoological literature to a perfect chaos. Mr. M'Lachlan, the eminent neuropterist, in alluding to this subject says, in substance, as follows:—“I conceive anyone to be guilty of a high crime against science who describes a species as new without first endeavouring, by every possible means, to ascertain whether it has already been described or not.” In Canterbury, however, our museums and libraries are, or were till very recently, so miserably provided that it has been impossible for a collector whose business confined him to the province to acquire this necessary information. When we reflect upon the number of our colonists who have been so fortunate as to revisit Europe, when we consider that many of them have been men of wealth and influence, and, what is more to the purpose, when we recollect that many of them have been sent home at the public expense and have drawn liberal salaries from the public purse whilst in England, it must be a matter of astonishment that scarcely any one of them should have devoted a very small portion of his money and leisure to the purpose of providing the naturalists of this province with the necessary means for pursuing their studies. Miscellaneous contributions of all kinds are arriving at our museum, and I fully admit their beauty and value, but what the practical naturalist requires is a small collection, consisting of duplicates of all the New Zealand species existing in the museums of Europe. I fear it will be some time before we possess this desideratum. Indeed, it was only about two months ago that we heard that a copy of the “Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. ‘Erebus’ and ‘Terror’” was at length on its way to Christchurch. As this work may be considered the foundation stone of New Zealand natural history I shall venture to make a short digression concerning it.
When the “Erebus” and “Terror” returned home, about 1843, Parliament voted, I believe, £4,000 towards the publication of the results of the voyage. Of this sum, £2,000 was devoted to botany, and a like sum to zoology. In due course Dr. Hooker produced the portion assigned to him in the shape of that excellent work upon the flora of New Zealand, with which we have been long familiar, and with which our libraries are pretty well provided. For
some mysterious reason, however, the “zoology” was never regularly published, and I believe that a single copy never found its way to this province. At any rate, I have made repeated inquiries and could never ascertain the existence of one here, though there may be some in the other provinces. Considering that this costly work was published at the imperial expense, with the intention of diffusing as widely as possible the information acquired during the voyage, it must betoken either great stinginess on the part of scientific authorities at home or great apathy on the part of those-here, that we should have remained for so many years without a copy of it. Of course, a great many additional New Zealand species of Coleoptera have been described since 1846, but to give you some idea of the difficulty of tracing them, I may mention that some of our beetles have found their way into the hands of a Russian entomologist and that, owing to the unfortunate disuse of Latin, and the mania for “modern languages” which are now so fashionable, he has actually described them in Russian! Well might the president of the Entomological Society of London remark, in one of his recent addresses, “that if the practice of recording scientific information exclusively in the vernacular be persisted in, the thorough investigation of any family of insects, already extremely difficult, will soon become totally impossible.” Books alone, however, are not all that the working student requires, and having been long convinced of the necessity of procuring for the province such a typical collection as I have alluded to, I some years ago endeavoured to supply one for this purpose.
I took with me when returning to England as good a collection of our insects as somewhat adverse circumstances had enabled me to get together. I intended to have had these properly named and classified in London, to have compared them with the types in the British Museum, and to have then sent them back to the colony. Unfortunately, this small collection was lost when the “Blue Jacket” was burnt, and all my efforts to replace it, by inducing my New Zealand friends to forward me specimens whilst in England, proved, with one exception, quite unavailing. Thus, although I was ready to devote a considerable portion of my time, and to incur not a little trouble and expense in order to provide a working collection of insects for our museum, I was unable to do anything for want of the necessary material, and was compelled to return to New Zealand almost as ignorant of its descriptive entomology as I left it. Labouring under such great disadvantages, I should not venture to lay the following remarks before you, had I not observed since my return a lamentable dearth of original papers in our Society; and had I not also noticed that a meagre and imperfect paper often has the effect of eliciting valuable information from those who possess it.
The poverty of the New Zealand fauna is well known, and the order Coleoptera affords but few exceptions to the general rule. Our beetles are
generally small and inconspicuous, and are, on the whole, greatly inferior to those of Britain. This comparison will appear all the more striking when we reflect that Great Britain itself does not possess more than half the number of species contained in an equal area of the continent of Europe, and it is almost needless to observe that Europe is greatly excelled in this respect by Asia, Africa, and America. Indeed, a Swiss entomologist once remarked to me that after collecting in his own country nature appeared to be dead in England, and from my own experience of European collecting I am able to indorse his statement. Three thousand species of Coleoptera have been found in Great Britain, and, although I cannot say precisely how many New Zealand species have been described, yet I do not think the number can possibly exceed five hundred. When, therefore, we consider what a diversity of climate and surface these islands present, it is obvious that there is ample scope for further investigation. Not only are our species few in number, but the individuals composing them are small and inconspicuous, and singularly destitute of brilliant colouring. The same dull and sombre hue so characteristic of the vegetation of New Zealand extends itself, with but few exceptions, to its fauna. The collector will vainly search here for those splendid metallic colours for which this order of insects is so celebrated, and which are unrivalled throughout the whole range of creation. Indeed, I only know of one finely coloured beetle in this province. I allude to the Pyronota festiva of Fabricius, which is so extremely common in our gardens and orchards, where it often does considerable damage. This is a pretty little insect no doubt, but how poor does it appear in comparison with the brilliant genera Cetonia, Gnorimus, Trichius, Aromia, Chrysomela, and Donacia, which are so familiar to the British collector.
Commencing with the Cicindelidœ, a family which, on account of the perfection of its organisation, was justly placed by Linnæus at the head of the whole order, we shall find that New Zealand is well represented. Five species occur in Britain, and of these only one can be called common, the others being exceedingly local. These islands possess certainly five, and probably six species, viz.: C. tuberculata, C. douei, C. late-cincta, C. parryi and C. feredayi, the last named by Mr. Bates from a specimen sent to him by one of our members. There is also another species which Mr. Bates hesitates at present to consider as distinct. I have only taken myself C. tuberculata and C. late-cincta in this island. C. feredayi is apparently very rare, and Mr. Fereday does not possess a duplicate. The other species appear to be confined to the North Island. The habits of Cicindela are well known. From their beauty and ferocity they have been appropriately named “tiger-beetles.” As an instance of the utter insufficiency of popular language to discriminate even the widest marks of distinction between insects, and of the consequent
necessity which exists for a latin classification, I may mention that in Wellington these beetles are generally called, absurdly enough, “New Zealand bees.” The larva inhabits deep burrows excavated in the sand, and almost every steep bank in the province is perforated by them. The habits of the larvæ and perfect insect are similar, both being equally fierce, and exclusively carnivorous.
Proceeding next to the numerous and important family of the Carabidœ we shall find that we have but one speciés at all worthy of comparison with the twelve fine species of Carabus which are found in the mother country. The splendid genus Calosoma is, so far as I know, totally wanting. The same may be said of the beautiful Callistus and Drypta, and the curious Brachinus. Indeed, I may take this opportunity of remarking that although the New Zealand insects in many cases closely resemble English ones, yet this resemblance is almost always to small and dull coloured species, and hardly ever to the fine or conspicuous ones. The large beetle to which I have alluded above is Feronia australasiæ? It is about an inch long, of a bronze colour, and very common in the neighbourhood of Christchurch under wood and stones. Seven other species of Feronia occur in New Zealand, but, owing to the loss of my collection, I cannot say how many of them I have taken in Canterbury. The Islands, and probably this province, possess at least five species of Anchomenus very similar to their English relatives. The genus Amara, so numerous in England, and which comprises what children call “sunshiny beetles,” does not occur in the “Zoology of the ‘Erebus’ and ‘Terror,”’ but having taken a considerable number of specimens quite lately I feel certain that either it or a closely allied genus is common in Canterbury. The remarkable genus Broscus is well represented in New Zealand, but most of its specimens appear to have come from Otago. I may remark that none of them equal in size the single British species Broscus cephalotes, which is usually found under stones on the sea coast. Of the extensive genus Harpalus, which numbers twenty-eight species in England, I am only sure of having taken a single one, H. novœ-zealandiœ. It is abundant at certain seasons of the year upon the sand-hills near Christchurch. I am not able to afford any more information with regard to this important family, but I may note that many of our species have been recently described by Count de Castelnau in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, but I have unluckily mislaid his paper. Farmers and gardeners will do well to observe that all members of the families Cicindelidœ and Caribidœ, being carnivorous, are extremely beneficial to them, and should on no account be destroyed.
We have now arrived at the interesting family of the Dytiscidœ, or water-beetles, with which New Zealand is but poorly provided so far as the number of species is concerned, though the individuals comprising them are often very
numerous. I once procured a single specimen about an inch long, and I imagine from the description that it must have been the Cybister hookeri of White, the entomologist, who described the species collected by the naturalists of the “Erebus” and “Terror.” This beetle was about equal in size to the English Dytiscus, of which there are five species. Two species of Colymbetes are described by White. One of them, C. rufimanus, is very common in Christchurch, where it thrives in artesian water. All the Dytiscidœ are voracious creatures, and in Europe they have sometimes been credited with doing damage to young fish. That D. marginalis can destroy a fish of tolerable size I have myself often proved, though I do not imagine the mischief they do in this way to be appreciable. We have, apparently, no representative of the huge Hydrous piceus, one of the largest beetles in Britain, and about two inches in length. The small family of the Gyrinidœ, or “whirlwhigs,” which may be often seen moving in circles upon the ponds and ditches of Europe, seems also to be wanting. Owing to the peculiar habits of water-beetles they are but seldom seen, save by the collector, and we may therefore expect that our list will be largely increased.
The division Brachelytra, or the family Staphylinidœ, comes next in order. White describes but three species, and 700 occur in Britain, so it is obvious that many remain to be noticed here. These insects, on account of their long slender form and short elytra, are seldom supposed to be beetles by the uninitiated, though on a close inspection their affinities are obvious. Our largest species is Staphylinus oculatus, which, however, is not a quarter the size of Ocypus olens, the well known “devil's coach-horse” of England. It is abundant under the carcases of sheep and oxen, and though indigenous, it is probably one of those insects which have increased since the colonization of these islands. Only two other species are described by White, and we may safely assume that all the others remaining are small and insignificant. All the individuals belonging to this family render themselves useful to man by removing putrefying matter and preying upon noxious insects.
Following Rye's classification we next arrive at the section Necrophaga, the members of which feed upon dead animal substances, and which comprises the burying-beetles of Europe. We need not expect to find many representatives of this family here. I only know of one small species belonging to Saprinus, a genus which numbers 105 species in Europe. This beetle is abundant in sheeps' heads and other carrion. I have not been able to compare it with the species of Australia, but, from having found it in the carcases of native birds, I think it is most likely indigenous. This species, also, has probably increased largely since the importation of cattle.
Leaving out several families which I imagine to be totally wanting, we come to the Melolonthidœ, a family too well known to us by the ravages it
commits on our lawns and pastures. The best known example of this family is the common cockchafer of the British Isles, and our species, though much smaller, almost rivals its destructive habits. Three specimens, viz., Odontria striata, O. cinnamonea, and a third and smaller kind as yet undescribed, are abundant in this province. I have never heard of the larger Xylonychus being taken in Canterbury, though it is common at Wellington. To this family belongs also Pyronota festiva, to which I have previously alluded.
Next to the Melolonthidœ the coprophagous beetles, comprising the families Geotrupidœ, Copridœ, and Aphodiadœ, etc., are usually placed. In no section is the paucity of the New Zealand Coleoptera more conspicuous than in this, which is celebrated for the quaint and grotesque forms of the members composing it, and for the reverence paid to one of its species by the ancient Egyptians. By way of illustrating this contrast, let us take a plain frequented by cattle in the south of Europe, on the banks of the Tiber for instance, and compare it with a similar locality in New Zealand. There we shall find every piece of dung swarming with various species of Aphodius, Onthophagus, and Oniticellus. Beneath, the ground is perforated with the burrows of the huge horned Copris and Geotr´upes, and around the mystic Ateuchi are busily engaged in their sisyphean tasks, whilst the air resounds with the hum of the more active Gymnopleuri, and numerous Carabidœ are present to feed upon the other species. Here, on the contrary, so far as insects are concerned, all is silent and motionless, and the coleopterist who was totally ignorant of the history of New Zealand might infer a great portion of it from the absence of these beetles alone. Specimens of Onthophagus granulatus have been taken by Mr. Fereday in the province of Nelson, but as Mr. Bates considers them to be identical with the Australian species, there can be no doubt that they have been imported with cattle. I have taken an Aphodius near to Christchurch, and am disposed to think that this small species may be indigenous. A relative of the last-named beetle, Oxyomus exsculptus, is described by White, but the locality is not mentioned.
But although nature, not having provided New Zealand with large quadrupeds, was under no obligation to provide scavengers for the removal of their excrement, yet, as if anxious to supply the deficiency, she has furnished us with some conspicuous members of the Dynastidœ, a family most closely allied to them. Having no collection to refer to, I cannot say whether the two species figured by White occur in this province, but, at least three species of the family are abundant on the sand-hills. At some seasons of the year they must be exceedingly common, for the ground is often covered with their dead bodies, but I have only met with one specimen alive during an experience of fifteen years. Doubtless some residents on the sand-hills can throw light on the habits of this insect, which are apparently very peculiar.
The larvæ are often found under cow-dung and logs of wood, and a short time since Mr. M. Walker forwarded to Dr. Haast a fine specimen of the perfect insect, which he had obtained by digging below high water-mark. The nearest ally to these beetles in my European collection is Pentodon punctatus, common in the vicinity of Rome, but with apparently different habits.
Amongst the Lucanidœ we find the gigantic stag-beetle represented by the pigmy Lissotes reticulatus, a strongly made, flat insect, about six lines in length, and common in this province under bark and in decayed wood. A Dendroblax, and two species of Dorcus, which seem to be remarkable, also occur in New Zealand, but I have not met with them in Canterbury.
Glancing next at the Sternoxi, comprising the families Buprestidœ, Elateridœ, etc., amongst which are found some of the most gorgeous beetles of the tropics, we at length meet with a section of which the New Zealand specimens are decidedly superior to the British, though not, perhaps, to those of southern Europe. The English species are all small and inconspicuous, whilst several kinds of Ochosternus, commonly found here, are large and hand-some insects, though they cannot boast of brilliant colouring. Being without a collection for reference, I cannot venture to enumerate even those kinds which I have myself taken, but seeing that White describes twelve species of Elateridœ alone, and the number has doubtless been considerably increased since his time, we may safely assume that New Zealand is well represented. The larvæ of the larger species of this division live in dead wood, upon which the perfect insects are generally found.
I regret that I can furnish little or no information respecting the extensive division of the Malacodermi, the best known examples of which are probably the “soldiers” and “sailors” of Britain, and to which also the common glow-worm belongs. The only species contained in my slender collection is Nacerdes lineata, Fab., which I have taken in great numbers at Little River under the bark of decayed trees. I have also a Ptinus, taken in Riccarton Wood by Mr. Fereday, and I find that an Atopida, two species of Opilus, an Anobius, and three other species of Ptinus, occur in New Zealand.
The section Heteromera, of which the meal-worm, so well known to bird fanciers, may be taken as a familiar type, is next to be noticed. Our species are mostly small in comparison with those of Europe, but the individuals composing them are often exceedingly numerous. These are light-shunning insects found under bark and stones, and not unfrequently amongst sacks and clothes which have been long undisturbed. One species is often met with in Christchurch, but I have taken a much larger under bark in Talbot Forest, and I once found a small species so abundant on the sea coast beyond Amuri as to be a perfect nuisance. Many species of this section may be easily mistaken for Carabidœ. Adelium harpaloides, a small species, affords a good
example of this apparent resemblance between the two orders. I possess a few specimens of Prioscelida tenebrionides, White, but have never taken it in Canterbury. Two species of Cilibe and two of Opatrum have also been described from New Zealand. I have found a Mordella (probably antarctica) at Little River, and have a specimen of Mordella 10-guttata, but do not know in what part of these islands it was taken. The singular family Meloidœ, or oil-beetles, appears to be unrepresented in this colony. Two species of Selenopalpus described by White, and belonging to the same family as the beautiful Œdemera cœrulea of Britain, would seem to be worthy of notice, but I am only acquainted with one of them.
We now enter the Rhynchophora, or weevils, a section well represented in New Zealand, where some species are to be found finer than any of the British. Although I am not aware of any member of the remarkable family Brentidœ having been taken in Canterbury I cannot pass it over in silence, as it is the most characteristic one amongst the Coleoptera of New Zealand. These insects are easily recognized by their enormous snouts, and one species at least (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis) is common at Wellington, and occurs also, I believe, in Nelson. I am not well acquainted with the exotic species, but a few which I possess from Mexico are much inferior to ours. Amongst the Curculionidœ the largest species I know of has been taken by Mr. Fereday on black-birch trees. It belongs to the genus Rhyncodes, and another large species (Rhyncodes saundersii) has been found by the same gentleman on “spaniards” (Aciphylla) at the Rakaia. I am not able to enter into details respecting the numerous smaller species of this family, but the curious genus Scolopterus deserves a passing notice. S. penicillatus has been taken by Dr. Powell, I believe, at Governor Bay, and I have found the same insect at Amuri.
We now enter upon an important section, the members of which may be easily recognized even by those who have paid no attention to entomology. The Longicornes are, for the most part, wood-feeders, and the coleopterist would naturally expect to find them abundant in so densely timbered a country as some parts of New Zealand. Nor will he, on the whole, be disappointed, although our species can scarcely be said to equal those of Britain. To this group belongs the largest beetle found in these islands, Prionoplus reticularis, a species which is abundant throughout their whole extent. I hardly need mention that the larvæ of this beetle used to form an important article of diet amongst the Maoris, but it is interesting to note that a similar grub was considered a dainty by the ancient Romans, and that one of their patrician families received its name therefrom. Linnæus, indeed, applied the word “cossus” to the larva of the goat-moth, but it is now generally admitted that the larva in question must have been coleopterous. These insects undoubtedly live in the wood for several years before assuming
their perfect shape. The larvæ of the stag-beetle are said to live in the wood for four years, and many other wood-boring beetles are supposed to exist in it for a still longer period. Though I have no positive proof I feel certain, from observations I have made, that Prionoplus passes at least four years in the larva state. Upon leaving the province several years ago I put aside a log which I knew to contain larvæ of Prionoplus, and requested a friend to watch it during my absence. Upon returning, after an interval of three years and a half, I split open the log and found larvæ still there. Perfect insects might have visited the log whilst I was away, but, under the circumstances, it is hardly possible that they should have done so. The nearest ally to Prionoplus amongst the British beetles is Prionus coirarius, an insect which is by no means common.
Next to Prionoplus the best known of our Longicornes is Coptomma variegatum, a handsome insect, about 10 lines in length, which I have frequently taken on posts and rails near Christchurch, though the forest is, of course, its proper habitation. I have found Obrium fabricianum, the smallest of the family, abundant upon flowers at Hoon Hay. A Longicorn which I have taken under titoki bark on the Peninsula is of a new species and genus also. Besides these kinds the following have been kindly given to me by Mr. Bates and Mr. Fereday, but all, I imagine, were taken in the North Island. Hexathrica pulverulenta, Westw., Tetrorea cilipes, White, Navomorpha lineata, Fab., Xyloteles griseus, F., Œmona villosa, F., and Ambeodontus bituberculatus, Reatenbacher. Many other Longicornes have been described and figured by White in the work to which I have so often alluded, but they all seem to have been taken in the North Island, and I am acquainted with none of them.
According to the classification which I have followed, the Eupoda next claim our attention. This section comprises some of the most beautiful genera of Britain (Donacia, Chrysomela, etc.), but I am almost totally ignorant of its representatives here. White describes two species of Chrysomelidœ, and I have taken at least one allied to Crepidodera. The Pseudotrimera conclude the order, and amongst them the Coccinellidœ, or lady-birds, are well known and widely distributed. Of the three or four species which I have taken in this province, none are equal in size to the common 7-punctata, of England, and their colours and markings are generally inferior. I possess, indeed, three very beautiful species, (Chilomenes hamata, Muls., C. maculata, Fab., and Epilachna reticulata), which I procured from a London dealer, but I feel certain that they must have been taken in the North Island.
In conclusion, I wish to offer a few remarks respecting the ease with which insects of the order Coleoptera may be collected and preserved. It is partly to, the ignorance of this, and not entirely to apathy, idleness, or contempt of
science, that I attribute the wretched state of colonial museums so far as indigenous beetles are concerned. Even at Melbourne the entomological collection is beneath criticism. To preserve Coleoptera for an indefinite period it is only necessary to put them into a phial containing any kind of spirits. Orthoptera and Hemiptera may be kept in the same manner, and even Hymenoptera, Neuroptera, and Diptera will suffer but little from such treatment. A still better method for beetles, and one which, undoubtedly, preserves their colours more perfectly, is to put them into sawdust moistened with spirits, care being taken not to make the mixture too wet. It now only remains for me to express a hope, that, if not anticipated by an abler hand, I may be in a position, on some future occasion, to lay before you fuller and more exact information respecting this interesting order of insects.
Art. XXXV.—On the Skeleton of an Aboriginal Inhabitant of the Chatham Islands.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 30th October, 1872.]
The, skeleton forming the subject of the following observations was that of a female, in all probability of about middle age, and was obtained in a cave on the Chatham Islands by Mr. H. Travers. The state of the bones indicates a very lengthened exposure to the action of solvents leading to the disappearance of the gelatine and chondrine, which form the original elementary basis of the skeleton. A few of the bones were wanting, but these are of slight comparative importance, so that the skeleton as now deposited in the Museum will form an object of scientific inquiry inasmuch as it may be depended upon, not only in its history but in its composition.
In contemplating the trunk and its appendages the almost universal lateral curvature of the spine towards the right shoulder, common amongst the most highly civilized European classes, is observable in this instance. This curvature is not considered pathological but perfectly natural, and arising from a congenital increase in the development of the entire right side of the body. An excurvation of the spine observed in some instances amongst the Maoris, and attributed by some writers on the Maori race to the awkward form of the entrance to their dwellings, is in fact the result of disease, inherited or produced, and is much more common in the large cities of England than in New Zealand. It is in fact a disease attacking in general the sixth or seventh dorsal vertebræ, leading to suppuration in the bodies of these vertebræ, loss of substance, and a consequent angular curvature of the column, terminating in
the well known hunchback or in death. The bodies of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebræ in this skeleton exhibit the effects of excessive and long continued pressure from carrying heavy weights, such as firewood. The ribs and thorax are normal, but slightly twisted in consequence of the lateral curvature of the spine above alluded to. The sternum, strictly normal, consisting of manubrium, body and ensiform cartilage. The scapulaæ and clavicles, though well formed, are unusually small. The clavicles at their sternal articulation exhibit the effect of chronic enlargement during life.
The pelvis is well formed, and appears to me not to indicate inferiority such as is said to be present in the dark Negro races. I refer to the table annexed for the measurements taken, as showing no marked deviation from the average dimensions of the pelvis in fairer races. The excessive development of the bones of the face, and more especially the upper and lower jaw, so much dwelt upon by closet naturalists and compilers as indicating a deviation from the Caucasian type towards that of the monkey, is, I think, a mere fancy—a matter of taste in short. I have repeatedly observed the jaws, more especially the lower, of ample dimensions in many of the fair races, and, if I mistake not, the robust development of the lower jaw, not only at the symphysis but at the angle, indicates firmness and obstinacy of character, whether in male or female.
The head when placed on a horizontal smooth surface rests on the mastoid processes of the temporal bone and angle of the lower jaw. The skull (without the lower jaw) when placed on a horizontal smooth surface, rests on the mastoid processes of the temporal bone and third molar tooth. When on the vertex it rests on the position of the anterior fontanella, which in this instance is not only completely obliterated, but forms a well marked elevation deserving the attention of the phrenologist. The external surface of the cranium presents a slight tendency to form crests on the parietal bones. The sutures are all perfectly normal. The condyles of the lower jaw (transverse measure 10½ lines), show very little of any hinge-like or lateral action of the jaws. The teeth originally small, much worn down, particularly the canines, so as scarcely to be distinguished from the incisors.
The locomotive organs, both thoracic and pelvic, appear to me finely formed. The arms, including the humerus, radius and ulna, and hand (or arm, forearm, and hand) measure in length 2 ft. 2 in. 9 lines. The legs, including the thigh, leg, and foot, measure 2 ft. 7 in. 9 lines. It will be observed from an inspection of the articulated skeleton that these present a degree of beauty not surpassed by any existing people, more especially the foot which exhibits a fine arch and short calcaneum—the female foot par excellence!
Measurements. — Head (including lower jaw) placed on a horizontal
smooth surface, greatest height 6 in. 6 lines; antero-posterior diameter, 6 in. 10½ lines; transverse diameter, 5 in. 6 lines; breadth at zygomatic arches, 5 in. 4 lines; breadth of upper jaw over third molar tooth, 2 in. 7 lines; length of base of skull from symphysis to anterior margin of occipital foramen, 3 in. 7½ lines; length from symphysis to anterior margin of occipital crest, 6 in. 9 lines; length from symphysis to occipito-parietal suture, 8 in.
Lower jaw.—Depth at symphysis, 1 in. 3 lines; depth at coronoid process, 2 in. 6 lines; breadth between angles of jaw, 3 in. 4½ lines; breadth between condyles, 3 in.; breadth of space over the last molar tooth, 2 in. 1½ lines.
Length of skeleton articulated.—Head, greatest height, 6 in. 6 lines; body, including the entire spine, 2 ft. 5 in. 6 lines. Total length of skeleton, 5 ft. 7 in. 9 lines.
In the living body allowance must be made for the curvatures of the spine, the elongation of the sacrum beyond the hip joint, and the position of the foot, so that the height would probably be about five feet from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot.
Pelvis.—Greatest depth, 7 in.; greatest external breadth, 9 in. 6 lines; depth of symphysis, 1 in. 6 lines; brim, antero-posterior diameter, 5 in., transverse diameter, 5 in.
Thoracic locomotive organs.—Humerus, 11 in. 3 lines; radius, 8 in. 6 lines; carpus, 1 in. 3 lines 3; metacarpus of third finger, 2 in. 6 lines; phalanges of third finger, 3 in. 3 lines. Total, 2 ft. 2 in. 9 lines.
Pelvic locomotive organs.—Femur, 1 ft. 4 in.; tibia, 1 ft. Oin. 9 lines; height of foot, 3 in. Total, 2 ft. 7 in. 2 lines. Length of foot, 8 in. 3 lines.
Weights.—Skull, 1 lb. 8. oz.; lower jaw, 3 oz. Total weight of head, 1 lb. 11 oz.
Body, including cervical, dorsal and lumbar vertebræ, together with the ribs and sternum, 1 lb. 8 oz.; pelvis, including sacrum and coccyx, 12 oz.; scapulæ, 3 oz.; clavicles, 410 grs.; thoracic locomotive organs (arms), 12 oz.; pelvic locomotive organs (legs), 2 lbs. Total weight, 6 lbs. 14 oz. 410 grs.
The usual weight of an adult human skeleton varies from 10 lbs. to 12 lbs. 8 oz., but, as I have already alluded to the greatly altered condition of the bones in the case of this skeleton, little importance can be attached to the weight as compared with others in which the bones still retain the original osseous tissue.
Art. XXXVI.—Observations on Naultinus pacificus, Gray.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 29th January, 1872.]
On the 20th October, 1869, a neighbour brought me a lizard incarcerated in a gin-bottle. The prisoner was extremely restless, and my friend stated as a caution that when captured it was very lively, offering a spirited resistance. After a week's imprisonment, on 28th October, I determined to improve the condition of the prisoner, having previously prepared a more suitable habitation for him, but having to break the bottle, in the struggle the tail was detached from the body precisely at the apparent junction with the sacrum, at what is generally called the “setting on of the tail.” On being secured in his new residence (still, of course, a prisoner) he did not appear conscious of the loss of his caudal extremity, but surveyed every corner for the means of escape. As bearing on the feeding habits of this lizard I may state that small portions of flesh were put beside him, and an active blue-bottle fly having fancied the raw meat was suddenly struck by the lizard with the rapidity of lightning, and with a force which crippled it. During his efforts to regain his liberty he frequently, I could observe, licked with his tongue the entire surface of the face, including the eyes. Three days after the accident the lizard appeared dull, but when disturbed still only anxious to obtain his freedom. The stump where the tail was detached was swollen and evidently painful. He refused all food, but was still active till the seventh day, and on the eighth died.
On dissection he proved to be a male, the generative organs not active.
Weight, recent, 156 grs.; weight of skeleton, 18 grs.; and of soft parts 138 grs.
It has been stated that when the tail of a lizard has been amputated the detached portion will be reproduced in its entirety. Scientific men will naturally require minute details of such an experiment, with reliable authority. We have shown in the preceding article that the tail of the Naultinus pacificus was separated (not amputated), and it will be seen that the place where the separation took place presented no appearance of laceration or cutting, with the exception of the spinal cord. The greatest care and attention was bestowed upon the lizard, but unmistakeable symptoms of the injury exhibited themselves, and death rapidly followed.
I have examined a specimen of a lizard in the Colonial Museum presenting the phenomena of two tails nearly of equal size, and it has appeared to me that the possession of a supernumerary tail in this case may be attributed to the class of monstrosities. We know that lizards are developed within the isolated egg, and it is well understood that monstrosities are comparatively common in oviparous animals.
A question of much interest thus remains still to be solved, viz., Is the tail reproduced in its entirety, when the whole or even a portion of it is forcibly or accidentally removed? In the dead specimen described by me in a previous article308 I found the continuation of the medulla spinalis left the canal without the least disturbance, and when thus drawn out as it were, it presented a series of swellings (ganglia) exactly corresponding to the number of the vertebræ. My theory, therefore, was that any regeneration of the tail would be mere integumentary reproduction.
I have shown in the present paper that, when violently detached in the living animal, the medulla spinalis does not leave the canal, but is torn across, the detached portion remaining in the tail. My specimen forming the subject of the present memoir died on the eighth day after the accident, and the eighteenth day after the capture and confinement, but whether from the want of nourishment or the loss of his tail it is impossible to say.
Art. XXXVII.—Note on Ctenolabrus knoxi.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 14th August, 1872.]
A Fish captured in Cook Strait, close to Porirua Harbour, and amongst others such as the moki, snapper, etc., was pointed out to me by the salesman as a rare fish, and will be described under the above name by Capt. Hutton (see p. 265).
General colouration dark brown, passing to dull white on abdominal surface; head and gill-covers of a dull greenish hue; pectoral fins colour of dorsal aspect; pelvic and anal fins colour of abdominal aspect, with a reddish tinge, indicating spawning season.
Intestines 6 feet in length, of a delicate texture, filled with a green pasty substance, not oily to the touch; liver greenish brown colour, friable, composed of three irregularly shaped lobes; gall-bladder not observed; spleen one inch in length by half an inch, texture firm, of a dark red colour; generative organs (female) just after spawning, from the large dimensions of the oviducts the spawn or ova must no doubt be very numerous. Food, Diatomaceœ. Weight, recent, 3 lbs. 7 oz. Total length, 19½ inches.
[Footnote] *Trans. N.Z. Inst. Vol. II., p. 20.