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NATURAL HISTORY the waves, it soon loses it polypiferous rind; 10 en
able the constructors of this brilliant edifice to labour for its increase, it is indispensable that it should be fixed; their work does not, however, advance with a rapidity equal to that of the madreporick Polypi in the Indian sea, or the immense Eastern ocean, whose labours, in the short space of a few years, close the entrance of marine ports, and raise those gigantick reefs so well known to navigators, on which many vessels, sailing in those distant regions, have struck and perished.
Coral is found at different depths in the bosom of the waters, but, notwithstanding the density of the medium in which it exists, all aspects are not suitable to its increase. On the coasts of France it cov. ers those rocks that face the south ; it is rarely met with on those having an eastern or western aspect, and never in a northern one. It is never found at less than three or four yards below the surface of the sea, nor ever at a greater depth than three hun. dred and fifty yards.
In the straits of Messina coral prefers an eastern aspect, on the south it is seldom found, and still less
on the rocks of the north or west. They there fish THE CORAL.
it from a depth of one hundred to two hundred yards.
In those straits, immortalized by Homer and Virgil, The red coral (Isi nobilis,) is so well known as the solar rays strike more perpendicularly than on a material from which numberless elegancies of life the coast of France, their heat penetrates to a greatare formed, that a particular description of it were er distance, and the coral is found even deeper than needless. In all ages and in all countries mankind three hundred yards ; but then its quality no longer have acknowledged its beauty. Warriours have em- compensates for the risks and numerous difficulties ployed it in the ornamenting of their weapons; men attending the procuring of it. and women in the decoration of their persons and On the north coast of Africa it is not sought behouses ; the physicians of the middle ages looked yond thirty or forty yards in depth, and at a distance upon it as a universal remedy; and the priests of of three or four leagues froin shore; they abandon ancient religious sects esteemed it as an object ac- it when it reaches two hundred and fifty or three ceptable to the gods.
hundred yards. Its natural figure is tree-like ; it is inarticulated, The coral is generally of a more beautiful colour the axis stony, stiff, and susceptible of the highest in shallow waters which easily admit the light, than polish ; the rind is fleshy, becoming chalky and very where the immense column of water, by absorbing friable by desiccation, and always adhering to the all the luminous rays, deprives it of the energetick axis ; this is equal to marble in solidity, which, being influence exerted over all animated beings by that formed of concentrick layers, they become percep- beneficent medium unceasingly emanating from the tible by calcination ; its surface is more or less stri- sun. ated; the striæ parallel and unequal in depth.
Coral on the coasts of France, being perhaps A reticulated body, formed of small membranes, better chosen than in other countries, has the repu. with numberless vessels and glands filled with a tation of possessing the liveliest colours and the milky juice, appears to unite the rind with the cen- greatest brilliancy; that of Italy, however, rivals it tre. This reticulated body is found in all corticife- in beauty; on the Barbary coasts it attains greater rous Polypidoms ; the rind is of a less deep colour, thickness, but the colour is inferiour. of a soft substance, and formed of small membranes Fifteen different varieties are distinguished in the and slender filaments; it is pierced by tubes or ves- course of commerce; these, from their colour and sels, and covered with tubercles, which are thinly degrees of beauty, obtain the several names of froth scattered and have a large base, the summit of of blood, flower of blood, first, second, and third blood, which is terminated by an opening divided into and so on. eight parts.
In the interiour is found a cavity which At Trapani, in Sicily, where the principal coral contains a white and almost transparent polypus, its fishery of the island is carried on, it is managed by mouth surrounded by eight conical tentacula slightly a very ingenious and simple contrivance. To the compressed, and ciliated on their borders.
centre of a large wooden cross is fixed a stone suffiThis coral is found in different parts of the Med- ciently ponderous to carry the cross to the bottom of iterranean and Red seas; it grows in all directions, the water. Pieces of small strong net are tied to and each trunk forms a perpendicular to the level each limb of this cross, which is poised horizontally from whence it springs; it attaches itself to all by a rope, and then let down into the sea.
As soon rocks, whatever may be their nature ; it is also found as it is felt to touch the bottom, the rope is made fast on unfixed bodies, such as fragments of lava, stone to the boat, which is then rowed about over the beds vases, broken glass, and specimens have been ex- of coral, and the great stone breaking the branches hibited in museums adhering to a variety of bodies. of the rocks, they become entangled in the net-work,
When coral is once detachod, and at the mercy of are thus secured, and wrested from their birthright.
ers, as they have been termed, constitute the great
mass of the population of a society : they are the The hive-bee is distinguished from all the other smallest members in the community, a circumstance species of bees, by having the shanks of the hind probably dependant upon their imperfect organizalegs furnished with a smooth and concave pollen tion (if we may be allowed to use the term to an plate on the outer surface, and destitute of spines at animal possessing such perfection of habits ;) and it ihe extremity ; by the basal joint of the tarsi, in the is to them that the internal economy of the hive is workers, being of an oblong form, with its inner sur committed, and upon them the whole labour of the face clothed with fine hairs disposed in transverse community d-volves. layers ; by the oblong shape of the body; by the maxillary palpi, or the feelers of the sheaths of the
How skilfully she builds her cell,
How neat she spreads her wax, tongne, being almost obsolete and formed of a single
She labours hard to store it well joint, and by the oral apparatus being of an elonga
With the sweet food she makested form.
She gathers honey all the day
From ev'ry opening flow's. The hive-bee may be regarded as one of the most perfectly social species of insects, and one whose Moreover it is their duty to guard and protect the economy is regulated by the possession of a more hive and the queen, to seed the young, and to kill perfect degree of instinct than is perhaps possessed the drone at the appointed season. by any other invertebrated animal. Another pecu- In a single hive, there are sometimes not fewer liarity, necessarily dependant upon the social habits than thirty thousand of these individuals. They are of these insects, is the existence of individuals which distinguished from the fully-developed females by have been regarded by many as a third sex, but having a longer lip, the jaws not notched at the tip, which modern investigations have ascertained to be and the sting straight. female insects, whose internal and sexual organiza- The perfect female, of which there is but a sintion is in an undeveloped state. These individuals, gle individual in a hive, is termed the queen, and is neuters or mules, or workers, or female non-broed- distinguished by her greater size, more elongate form, brighter colour, shorter tongue, notched jaws, 1 to be observed, that there appear to be two sorts of and curved sting. Her duty principally consists in females, namely, the large and small. Reaumur, the laying of eggs, and in her proceedings she however, attributes this difference of size to the is attended by a body-guard of workers, who pay state of the eggs in the body. There are likewise her the greatest attention ; hence, she is the mother two descriptions of males, one not larger than the of the hive, not indeed of the contemporary genera-workers, and supposed to be produced from a male tion, but of the future inhabitants of the hive, as egg laid in a worker's cell, and the other much larwell as of the swarms of the following summer. It ger, above described. Moreover, there are, accordis one of the most curious points in the history of ing to M. Huber, two sorts of workers ; the first, this insect, to notice the immense influence which which he calls cirières, wax-makers, being charged this solitary female has upon an entire population of with the collecting of food and secretion of materials many thousand bees. And, indeed, did not the ac- for the building of the nest; and the second, which counts which have been given respecting it, depend he calls nourrices, or nurses, smaller and more weakupon authors of the most undisputed veracity, it ly, whose cares are directed to the feeding of the would be next to impossible to consider them to be young and the domestick concerns of the nest. Huotherwise than as most marvellous and impossible ber also noticed another kind of bees, which he fables. Reaumur, however, by dividing a hive, terms black bees, and which appear to be only casclearly proved the existence of the more than care- ual inmates of the hive, from which they are always ful attention and respect with which the queen is re- expelled, and often killed by the workers, with garded. He enclosed the two portions of the socie- which, however, except in having the head and thoty in glass hives, and ascertained not only that such rax of a darker colour, they agree both in their ex. was the case, but also, that whilst in that division ternal appearance and internal structure, having, like which possessed the queen, and but a small propor- the workers, perfect ovaries, although not furnished tion of workers, the latter quickly made two combs, with eggs. Messrs. Kirby and Spence threw out the portion without a sovereign, although far more the hint that those black bees
be superannuated numerous, did not construct a single cell ; whence workers, which have lost some of the hairs from off it is evident that the instinctive proceedings of the their bodies, and which, being incapable of contribworkers depend on the love of progeny; and what uting to the labours of the nest, are banished by the is the more remarkable, it is not for their own off- younger members. spring that they are content to undergo all their la- Such are the inhabitants of the hive-the chief bours, being totally incapacitated from becoming the products of which are beeswax and honey. The parents of a hive.
former is secreted by the worker-bees from a pecuThe absence of the queen deprives the workers liar apparatus on the under side of the belly, as ocof no organ, paralyzes no limb, yet in every instance casion requires, and is employed for constructing the that they are deprived of her they neglect their combs in which the family provision and the young duties, and unless provided with another queen they brood are deposited. These combs are briled in refuse food and quickly perish. How difficult is it water, after the honey is extracted, until melted; the 10 attribute these wonderful proceedings to any wax is then separated from the water, and being reother cause than the possession of the most perfect melted, it is poured into moulds, to form the bees
wax sold in our shops. It has been said that there The male bees, of which there are several hun- is hardly enough of this article produced in England dreds, sometimes even two thousand, in a full hive, to answer the demand for lipsalve alone, the greater are idle creatures, doing no work :
portion employed being annually imported from the
Baltick, the Levant, the Barbary coast, and North
America. Humboldt informs us that not less than
forty-two thousand six hundred and seventy arobas Their only duty is to impregnate the female, and of wax, worth upward of one hundred and thirty this effected, they are driven from the hive and kill- thousand pounds, were exported from the island of ed by the workers, who thereupon also destroy the Cuba in a single year. This product is for the most male larvæ and pupæ remaining. They are gene- part obtained from the common hive-bees; a quantity rally termed drones, a term which has been misap- by no means inconsiderable is, however, procured plied to various species of flies which indeed much from various species of wild bees. resemble bees, but which may at once be distin- Honey is obtained by the bees from the nectaries guished by having only one pair of wings.
of flowers, which, as is well known, are constantly These drones are of a more bulky size than the secreting a sweet nectarial fluid. This is sucked other bees, and they are not armed with a sting. up by the tongue of the insect; a portion of it is Their antennæ are composed of thirteen joints (those consumed at once for its support, but the majority of of the females and workers having only twelve ar- the supply, although taken into the stomach of the ticulations ;) the head is more rounded, with the bee, is again regurgitated and poured into the cells eyes larger, and meeting behind; their jaws are of the hive for the food of the grubs and the use of smaller and very hairy; and the basal joint of the the community during winter. These cells are posterior tarsi has neither pollen plate nor brush. placed in the most inaccessible parts of the hive, They make a much greater noise in their flight than and are closed with waxen lids, but the honey des. the others, and at the extremity of the body two tined for the use of the nurses, workers, and drones, small corneous appendages are io be observed of a is deposited in unclosed cells. Some difference yellow colour, which, with some other internal or- seems to exist whether the honey, while retained in gans, constitute the sexual apparatus.
the stomach of the bee does not undergo some In addition to these three kind of individuals, it is I change, and this idea is strengthened by Reaumur's
experiment, from which he obtained honey from the weakness of the limbs was not an uncommon renests of bees fed upon sugar. Moreover, in each sult. honey-cell there is a creamlike layer or covering of Dr. Hosack has recorded two cases in which this a thicker consistence than the honey itself. This substance produced violent vomiting, a coldness at layer is perforated by the bee, when it deposites its the extremities, and a livid appearance of the counhoney in the cell, through a hole made by the fore- tenance. The pulse was reduced to about twenty legs, and which is closed before the bee flies away. in a minute; the spontaneous vomiting, however, The quality and taste of honey depend, therefore, being followed by a dose of castor-oil, together with upon the plants frequented by the bees ; thus, the the application of fomentations, relieved the suffer finest-flavoured and most delicate honey is collected ers. In these cases the honey was of a dark redfrom aromatick plants, and has been stored in clean dish colour, and a thicker consistence than usually and new cells, for which reason, and not because it sold in the market. is elaborated by a fresh swarm of bees, it is termed From the facts mentioned above, Dr. Barton is of virgin honey. The peculiar taste of the fine Nar- opinion that the poisonous nature of the honey is bonne honey has been attempted to be imitated by owing to the bees feeding on poisonous plants, such adding an infusion of rosemary. Hence it is advi- as the Kalmia of various species, the Andromeda sable to have large patches of such plants as borage, Mariana, which is injurious to sheep, the Rhododenviper's bugloss, mignonette, lemon-thyme, and sage, dron, the Azalea meliflora, and the Datura, and he in the neighbourhood of bee-hives. Lime-trees, recommends that every fetid or poisonous vegetable furze, heath, and clover, are also desirable auxil- should be removed from the habitation of these aniaries.
imals. Honey, however, occasionally has been found to have acted like poison, a circumstance probably ow
THE VIPER. ing to the bees having extracted it from poisonous The viper (vipera) is a genus or rather family of plants. Many of the ancient writers contain facts poisonous serpents, having poison fangs unaccompaon this subject, and in particular Xenophon has re- nied by other teeth. They occupy the same place corded in his Memorabilia that a number of Greek in the eastern continent that the Crotali (rattlesnakes soldiers, during the celebrated retreat of the ten and triangular-headed snakes) occupy in America, thousand, were violently affected by honey, which and with them include the whole of the class Ophidi they had eaten near Trebizond. Tournefort, when which have poison fangs; the other poisonous sertravelling in Asia, made some inquiries upon the pents have common teeth along with their poison subject, and discovered a shrub growing in the neigh-fangs, and are all aquatick in their habits, constituting bourhood of that place, which is well known to pro- what is called the Hydra family. duce similar effects. He says, “ There is a kind of The vipers of the eastern continent are more nurhododendrons about Trebizond, whose flowers the merous and varied in their species than the Crotali bee feeds upon, and the honey thence drives people of the western; but taking them on the whole, they mad.”
are not so formidable in their appearance or so deadDr. B. S. Barton, in a valuable paper in the fifth ly in their venom. There are, however, exceptions volume of the Transactions of the Philosophical to this, depending partly on the species and partly Society of America, after detailing the statements of on the warmth of the climate and the season ; and in classical authors upon the subject of poisonous hon- those extreme cases, wounds inflicted by any small ey, has stated that, in the autumn and winter of ones are attended with the most fatal consequences. 1790, the honey collected near Philadelphia proved The vipers occupy the same place, both in the fatal to many, in consequence of which it was dis- system and on the globe, among the poisonous sercovered, after an inquiry instituted by the govern pents, which is occupied by the colubers, among the ment, that the honey had been chiefly collected from true serpents which are not poisonous ; and as they the flowers of the Kalmia latifolia. He also men- have the plates under the tail double as well as the tions that a party of adventurers removed some hives colubers, they have been confounded together, and of bees from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, in the the poison of the vipers has been imputed to the othhope that the savannahs of the latter country might ers which are certainly not poisonous. This confube favourable to the increase of these animals, and, sion of two sections of animals so very different, as consequently, to the making of honey; they accord- those are in the character which gives them their ingly placed them in the above situations, and where chief interest with mankind, has often been producthe Kalmia angustifolia was the principal flowering tive of double mistakes. The harmless colubers shrub; the bees increased prodigiously, and the en- have been persecuted as if in possession of deadly terprise appeared successful
, but it was soon found venom, and people have been terrified at them; on that every one who ate of the honey became intoxi- the other hand, some have, from experience of the cated to a high degree. It was then made into me- harmless nature of the colubers, been led to tamper theglin, but with a similar effect to those who partook with the adders, and have paid dearly for their temerof it. The usual symptoms were a dimness of ity. The true criterion as to whether a serpent is sight, or vertigo, succeeded by a delirium, which or is not poisonous, is the presence or the absence was sometimes mild and pleasant, and sometimes of the poison fangs. ferocious ; intoxication, pain in the stomach and in- The poisonous ones are also less lively in their testines, convulsions, profuse perspiration, foaming motions, as the few serpents which are harmless are at the mouth, vomiting, purging, and, in a few in- less lively than the snakes ; the principal distinctions stances, even death. Sometimes vomiting was are, however, to be sought in the appearance of the among the earliest symptoms, and in that case the species. There is one character which prevents the patient was readily relieved, although a temporary | vipers from being confounded with those poisonous
representatives in the west, the crotali. The last has been celebrated from the remotest antiquity. have second or posterior lappets to the nostrils, and The inflated neck, and often the erect attitude, which the vipers have not. Practically this distinction is we observe in the serpent of the ancient paintings of very little consequence, as the two are never found and sculptures of Egypt, is proof that this is the serin the same places, and though they were, they are pent which they made the emblem of the protecting equally to be avoided.
divinity of the world, and, as such, placed it as a The viper family, or rather tribe, admits of subdi- guard, at each side of the globe, upon the portals of vision into four sections; the first having the scales all their temples. There is little doubt, that, if Cleon the head of nearly the same size and character as opatra did poison herself by the bite of a serpent, the those on the upper part of the body, and this is a dis- haje was the aspic which she employed for the purtinction between them and the non-venomous colu- pose—only it could not have been procured from the bers. The second have large plates on the top of mud of the Nile, as it is not aquatick. Its markings the head, resembling those of the colubers, but they are greenish and brown; and it cannot inflate the have the poison fangs apart like the former; the third anterior part of the body like other vipers. It has the tail flattened like an oar for swimming, or other been taken advantage of by the jugglers as well as wise different from the typical vipers ; the fourth its congener, who, by pressing its occiput, can make have the poison fangs in the same row with other it as stiff as a stick, so as alternately to seem a rod, maxillary teeth, only larger in size, and the scales on and a serpent. The power that it has of erecting itthe belly and tail like those of the boa and crotalus, self when alarmed, or otherwise excited, is probably but as they do not inhabit the same part of the world the reason why the office of a guardian was conferas either of these, there is no danger of confounding réd upon it. them in wild nature. They make in all ten genera, El affah, is the name of the other serpent remarkor sub-genera, in Cuvier's arrangement.
able for its quick and penetrating poison. It is about Naia Haje. This is an Egyptian species, which I two feet long, more or less, and as thick as a man's