Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/130

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118
NUDIBRANCHIATA.—TRITONIDÆ.

itself without sustaining any injury, and floated in the water.

"Although these animals are so fragile, so easily destroyed on being taken out of their natural element, yet they fling themselves about in the water without sustaining any injury, without even the loss of any of the digitated processes of the fins; yet when there is much movement of the water, in carrying the glass from one place to another, they are evidently disturbed and restless, and the fins are dropped. If, therefore, a slight motion of the water disturbs them, what can become of these delicate Mollusks during tempestuous weather? Can they be similar to the delicate ephemera, doomed to live merely for the space of a day, and perish in myriads? From the immense number seen only from the ship,—and how many myriads more extended beyond our range of vision!—it conveyed to the mind some idea of the profusion of living beings inhabiting the wide expanse of ocean, and a feeling of astonishment at the inconceivable variety of forms and constructions to which animation has been imparted by creative power.

"The tail of this animal has been described as resembling that of a lizard. The comparison is good, not only with regard to form, but also (with, perhaps, a little more flexibility) to motion when in action. Sometimes the animal throws its tail up to the body, as if intended to brush off any annoying object, and at other times it has been observed to turn the head towards the side, as if for a similar purpose; it seems in the action of eating to resemble a caterpillar."[1]

  1. Proc. Zool. Soc. for 1836.