Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/155

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143
SEA-HARES.
 

the loss of his arm. A better authority, Mr. Charles Darwin, found a species at St. Jago, the secretion from which caused a sharp stinging sensation similar to that produced by the Physalia or Portuguese man of war.[1]

The account given by Bohadtch is remarkably clear and circumstantial. He tells us that the Lernæa (A. leporina) abounds in the Bay of Naples, where the fishermen excused themselves for not bringing it to him, saying it was a filthy thing which stank abominably. When removed from the sea, and placed in a vessel, there exuded a large quantity of a limpid, somewhat mucilaginous fluid, exhaling a sweetish, sickening, peculiar smell: but besides this, and distinct from its purple secretion, the Aplysia excretes also a milky liquor, formed in an internal conglomerate gland, which seems to be analogous to the kidney of vertebrate animals. As often as he took the Aplysia from the vase of sea-water, and placed it on a plate with the view of more narrowly examining its structure, the room was filled with a most fœtid, nauseous odour, compelling his wife and brother to leave the room, lest sickness and vomiting should follow. He himself could scarcely endure it, and during the examination had repeatedly to go out and breathe a purer air. His hands and cheeks swelled after handling the creature for any length of time, and as often as it ejaculated its milky secretion; but he is uncertain whether the swelling of the face proceeded from the halitus merely, or from having accidentally touched it with the hand besmeared with the liquid: probably the latter was the real cause, for when he purposely applied

  1. Voy. Adv. and Beagle, iii 6.