Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/339

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325
GLIMPSES OF LIFE ALONG A CORAL REEF.

just one hundred and thirty-nine of them. They resemble a white rubber ball, an inch and a half in diameter. The sea-turtle's eggs have a peculiar flavor, but are very palatable. The glair becomes tough and leathery by boiling, and is always thrown away. The breeding-season of the loggerhead (Chelonia caretta) lasts from May well into August, according to the statement of our guide, who also said that they deposited eggs several times in this period, producing as many as one hundred and eighty at the first laying, and perhaps no more than two or three at the last. The natives make a business-like search for these eggs each year, and sometimes surprise the female turtle on the beach. When she has once begun the egg-laying process, it has to be finished, even if she is turned on her back and made a prisoner immediately after. The extraordinary egg-producing power of these animals is all that preserves them from immediate extinction. [1]

PSM V32 D339 The wild sapodilla sapota achras.jpg
Fig. 7.—The Wild Sapodilla {Sapota achras). (Three fourths natural size, showing some of the old fruit and the new flowers and leaves.)

Large forest-trees, such as pine, cedar, and mastic, which grow on Abaco, do not occur on the keys. We find here, however, smaller trees and shrubs in great variety. Besides those already mentioned,

  1. Some time ago a large grouper was speared by a fisherman off Sand Key near Nassau, and twenty-two young loggerheads were found in its stomach. This fish was doubtless feeding along the shore, and had evidently snapped up the young turtles just