Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/251

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Captain Beech?', V?age. high a?td stony ridge, the hardy Sc?evola extends in creeping roots and procumbent verdure towards? the sea, throwing its succulent leaves round the sharp coral stones. The gradual derelopement of vegetation, and succession of species and families, on these virgin islands, would form a subject for investigation of very con- siderable interest. It is well known that Bory St, Vincent attempted a classification or geographical distribution of seas, founded upon their natural productions and natural phenomena. A system of this kind, when applied to mediterranean waters, aszumed a still greater interest from the new light which it threw upon the changes which animal and vegetable forms undergo, from changes in the physical cha- racters of the medium in which they live, and which promised to open a new field for speculation to geologists. In the wide ocean, however, where the marine productions were few, and those sometimes not well characterized, it was necessary to have recourse to the geographical distribution of the birds and animals that fre- quented its waters and coasts, as the vegetation of mediterranean shores lent its evidence in tracing affinity or dissimilarity between seas separated by slight geographical distances. In the narrative of Captain Beechey's voyage we find many facts of interest in a study of this kind, the most remarkable of which we shall briefly enumerate. As the Blossom .approached the Falkland Islands from Rio Janeiro, some pengmns were seen upon the water in latitude 47 � at a distance of 340 miles from the nearest land,-- a fact which either proves the common opinion, that this species never strays far from land, to be an error? or that some unknown land exists in the vicinity. Off the river Plate, they fell in with the dusky albatross (Diomedlafuliginosa), which on reaching the latitude of 51 �quitted them; but on rounding the Cape, and re aining the same parallel of 51 �n the opposite side, the same b?rd again came round, and accompamed the sh?p up the Chili coast. The pintados were their constant attendants the Whole way. In the Bay of Conception, shags were observed sometimes to fly in an unbroken line of two miles and more in length. The pintados deserted the ship the day after they had left the coast of Chili. In the lagoons of the coral reefs, abundance of beautifully coloured fish, of the genera Chaetodon Sparus and Gymnothorax, were observed. Echini were not abundant, but Aphroditm, Halothuri?e, Asteri?e, &c. The shell-fish belonged to our own genera. Helix, (?) arca, ostrea, carduum, turbo, venus. cyprea, voluta, harpa, hallotis, patella, are among those enumerated. In this dangerous Archipelago birds are seldom fallacious indi- cators of land. They range about forty miles from the islands, and consist principally of black and white tern. To the W.N.W. Dig,tiz?d by Google