Second Meeting. 1st June, 1910
Present Mr. R. M. Laing (President), in the chair, and seventy-five others.
Obituary.—Resolutions of regret at the death of Dr. Hocken, Professor C. H. H. Cook, and Mr. G. W. Kirkaldy, of Honolulu, were carried.
New Members.—Miss Gertrude M. Bullen, Miss Hall, Dr. J. Guthrie, sen., and Messrs. T. Hughes and R. King were elected members.
Papers.—1. “Some Hydroids from the Kermadec Islands,” by F. W. Hilgendorf, M.A., D.Sc.
The hydroids were collected by Mr. W. R. B Oliver in 1908, and all came from Sunday Island. They are all calyptoblasts, and are in most cases only skeletons. Nine species are represented in the collection, and of these one is also found in Australia and Europe; one in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe; one in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa; one in New Zealand and Australia; three are also found in New Zealand; and two are probably not found elsewhere.
This list indicates the close relationship of the hydroid fauna with that of New Zealand, and this relationship is explained by the fact that hydroid-covered seaweeds are probably carried northwards from New Zealand, as are the kauri logs found cast ashore on Sunday Island. The two species not identified as having been previously recorded probably belong to the genus Aglaophenia, though in the absence of the reproductive structures they could not be determined. They are, however, described and figured. One of the species identified (Aglaophenia laxa) has apparently not been recorded since Allman found it in New Zealand thirty-six years ago. He did not find the Corbulae these were present in the Kermadec specimens, and are described and figured.
2. “Notes on Reptiles and Mammals from the Kermadec Islands,” by W. R. B. Oliver.
The capture of a specimen of green turtle on Sunday Island is recorded. Some account is given of the habits of the humpback whales, which regularly visit the group, and of the Pacific rat, with special reference to the possible means by which the latter species may have reached the Kermadecs, evidence being adduced to show that Sunday Island was once inhabited by natives. Some notes on goats and cats recently introduced into the Kermadec Islands by man follow, and special attention is drawn to the fact that the cats prey chiefly on mutton-birds and terns, the former bird forming an important article of food for the inhabitants.
3. “Glacial Phenomena of the Upper Rakaia and Ashburton Valleys,” by R. Speight, M.A., M.Sc., F.G.S.
The author exhibited a series of lantern-slides dealing with the locality and illustrating the effect of glaciation on the landscape. Attention was drawn to the fact that the Southern Alps in their present form are not a true mountain-range, but
a dissected plateau or peneplain, which has been formed from a previously existing range of the alpme type, the folding of which has not been acute. This was illustrated by pictures taken from the summits of mountains in the district. The effects of the former glaciation to which the area was subjected in Pleistocene and more recent times was then dealt with, special note being taken of the changes in drainage, the mode of truncation of spurs and dissection of the ridges between valleys, the formation of glacier pot-holes on a large scale, and the general smoothing and terracing action of glacier ice. The marked recent retreat of the glaciers of the region, notably the Cameron Glacier, was emphasized, also the fact that so few glaciers are forming terminal moraines at the present time, although they formed them in past times. A number of slides dealt with the Lyell and Ramsay Glaciers, at the head of the Rakaia River. This locality is almost unknown, and the author, with two student companions, was the first to ascend and note the features of the Lyell Glacier, although its terminal face had been previously visited and crossed by Mr. Roberts, the late Chief Surveyor of Westland. Two fine tributaries of the Lyell Glacier were named after Professor Heim, of Switzerland, and Dr. Cockayne. The last part of the paper, dealing with evidence for the change of climate which followed the glaciation of the area, was held over for reading and discussion at a future meeting
Exhibit.—Mr. R. Nairn then exhibited a specimen of Bilbergia zebrina which showed the effect of moist conditions in a greenhouse on a plant which usually grows in arid country.