Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/196

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184
PECTINIBRANCHIATA.—MURICIDÆ.

from which the epidermis has been removed previously. A section of the bore, taken during the operation, shows that it is convex, and contradicts the received notion of the operation being performed bj the action of the ribbon, which being in the centre of the proboscis, would perforce wear the middle of the bore deepest, but this is not the case. The animal makes no movement of a rotatory kind or otherwise, during the operation. It takes about two days to get through the shell, when it eats about two-thirds of a moderate-sized mussel, which seems to satisfy hunger for about three weeks."[1]

The curious inquirer after the many natural objects which the receding tide reveals, may occasionally see in the spring months as he peeps into the crevices of the rocks, a number of little urn-like bodies crowded together, and standing erect from the rock. They are about the size of a grain of wheat, to which they bear no small resemblance, being of a yellow colour, but tinged as they approach maturity with reddish-purple. These are the egg-capsules of the Dog-Winkle. Réaumur states, that the purple dye is obtained from these vesicles with less trouble than from the animal; an assertion which by no means agrees with my experience. The membrane of which they are composed is very tough, but if we cut it open we find that each contains many infant mollusks, all inclosed, as the period of birth draws nigh, in their tiny shells.

Mr.Peach, who bred the animals from the capsule, observed that the latter change form as the included young ones ripen, the apex of the cup

  1. Forbes and Hanley's Br.Moll.iii.385.