Third Meeting: 23rd July, 1890.
C. Hulke, F.C.S., President, in the chair.
New Member.—J. W. Poynton.
Papers.—1. “Curiosities of Polynesian Speech,” by E. Tregear, F.R.G.S. (Transactions, p. 531.)
Mr. E. D. Bell congratulated the author on the completion of a work which had occupied so much of his time—namely, the “Maori Comparative Dictionary.” It was a great undertaking, and Mr. Tregear deserved praise for having carried out such a difficult and laborious work. Mr. Tregear's papers were highly interesting and valuable. The remarks in that just read regarding the absence of consonants and vowels in some of the Maori words were, he thought, quite new.
The President congratulated the members upon the fact of this paper being the first-one that had been offered in competition for the Society's medals, although he was afraid that the author would have the field to himself. As regarded this paper it was a most interesting one, not only on account of the subject, but on account of the manner in which the subject had been treated. Those who took an interest in these matters should be thankful for any addition made to our knowledge of these dialects; the more so when such work was done as a labour of love. The way in which the author had made a comparative analysis of the different Polynesian dialects threw a new light entirely upon them. Some persons might consider such a paper dry; but the author, from the novel manner in which he had treated his subject; had made it very interesting, and the suggestions were extremely valuable. The great value of this paper lay in the author's views on the reconstruction of the originals of the numerous dialects in use in Polynesia.
2. “On the New Zealand Cicadæ,” by G. V. Hudson, F.E.S. (Transactions, p. 49.)
Mr. T. W. Kirk was surprised that this interesting genus had hitherto been almost passed over by New Zealand entomologists. The paper just read would be extremely welcome to naturalists. As far back as 1872 the late Dr. Powell described in the Transactions thes tridulating organs of the New Zealand species, and about two years ago Mr. Lucas did the same for Australia. Mr. Hudson made no mention in his paper of the destructive habits of the Cicada. A few days after the female emerges she commences to lay. Making a longitudinal slit in the bark of the tree, she proceeds to saw a number of V-shaped cuts in the wood, so as to raise the fibres and prevent the bark from healing. She then deposits her eggs in pairs in each wound. The total laying sometimes amounts to hundreds. The female then dies, the eggs hatch, and the young grub drops to the ground, and then undergoes the transformation mentioned by Mr. Hudson. The Cicada prefers the manuka, but
nothing comes amiss, and the young shoots of orchard trees sometimes suffer considerably: the damaged shoots, if not killed, generally break off when the fruit begins to swell. As regarded the pupa being mistaken for mole-crickets, he might say that there certainly were veritable English mole-crickets in New Zealand. He had exhibited specimens which were alive when received.
Mr. Maskell had seen twigs of fruit and other trees damaged by these insects, but he did not think the urgency was so great as supposed; still, it was sufficient to make those concerned take steps to prevent it.
Mr. H. W. Robinson would like to know if this insect was the same as that spoken of by Byron as the “shrill cicala of the pine.”
Mr. Hudson: No doubt the same family: they are very common in Italy.
The President pointed out how absurd it was to call this insect the locust—it was quite different. Mr. Hulke here gave drawings on the board to show the difference. He had seen the stems of the bushes dotted with the borings of the small Cicadæ. No doubt the green twigs of trees also were served in the same manner.
Mr. Hudson, in reply, said that he had not in this paper gone into the subject of the eggs of the Cicadæ; indeed, he had great difficulty in procuring eggs, and would be glad to get them from any member.