Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/413

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for an indefinite period in water at the temperature of melting ice; but that they cannot remain alive in ice itself for half an hour. This he accounts for by the fact that in ice the insects are entirely deprived of all power of motion, thereby losing completely their animal heat. The author finds that the highest temperature which fresh-water spiders can endure, without injury, oscillates between 33°.5 and 46°.2 Cent. Comparing this with the results of experiments made on animals belonging to other groups, M. Platenu'a conclusion is, that the highest temperature endurable by aquatic vertebrates, articulates, and mollusks does not exceed 46° Centigrade.

Parthenogenesis in Shrimps—The Apus cancriformis or crab-shield shrimp has no less than 60 pairs of feet. each made up of an almost incredible number of joints.A German naturalist of the last century, Schaeffer, counted the joints in one of these animals and found them to number almost 2,000,000. Friedrich Brauer of the Vienna Academy of Sciences, has lately been studying the process of reproduction of these animals; and he finds that from the unfecundated eggs of the female spring females only, while the fecundated eggs produce only males. The experiments on the reproduction of the females extended over three generations. He also finds that the male Apus has one footless ring more than the female. With regard to parthenogenesis or the production of offspring with unfecundated eggs, C. Vogt, in the course of an address before the Swiss Society of Natural Science, stated that he observed in in another crustacean of the same order as the Apus, namely the Artemia salina, or brine-shrimp.

A Blood-sucking Squirrel.—Mr. Thomas G. Gentry recently reported to the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences the observation of a notable change of habit in a common red squirrel. Having had his attention called to the circumstance that the birds in a certain locality of Mount Airy were being rapidly killed off in the night-time, he found on going to the spot, that the author of the slaughter was a chickaree, or common red squirrel, which he caught in the very act of sucking the blood of one of its innocent victims. Mr. Gentry states that, with at most two exceptions, the Rodentia subsist principally or entirely upon vegetable matter, especially the hard parts of plants, such as nuts, bark, and roots; and he thinks that the taste for blood shown in this instance may have risen from the habit which some squirrels have of sucking the eggs of birds. "This adoption of another mode of life by S. Hudsonius, he thought a discovery of some note, as usurpation of habits leading to functional and structural changes in an animal’s economy is accounted as element of no mean weight in the development hypothesis, according tho the testimony of able writers upon Evolution."


At a recent meeting of the Russian Ethnographicai Society, Venioukoff read a memoir about the sect of the Skoptzi, or Castrates. It appears that these sectaries now number 5,444, less than half of them being women. St. Petersburg may be regarded as their central point, for it is from that city that the sect has spread over the rest of the country. Official notice was first taken of the Skoptzi in 1805, and then their number was only 14. Among their members are eight proprietary nobles, four of these being ladies. All classes of society are represented. The author observes that the Skoptzi are long-lived, and tall of stature. They are narrow-shouldered, have a feminine voice, and are without beard or mustache.

Patents have been issued in France for a series of machines capable of manufacturing all kinds of casks and barrels. The inventors, Messrs. Thuillier and Gerard, of Boulogne, recently gave a public exhibition of their machines, and turned out in a comparatively short space of time a large number of barrels. The machine-made ware is said to be better than that made by hand.

The census of April 3, 1871, just published, sets down the population of Great Britain and Ireland at 31.628,338, an increase of 2,557,406 in ten years or nearly 9 per cent. Ireland decreased 6710 per cent. in the same period. The area of England and Wales is 37,319,221 acres.

The pleasant odor of cedar, according to Mr. E. Lewis, appears to be as persistent as the wood itself. Slivers taken from white-cedar stumps found twelve feet under