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Societies and Academies

Nature volume 5, pages 3940 | Download Citation




Royal Microscopical Society, November 1. - W. Kitchen Parker, F.R.S., president, in the chair. Dr. Braith-waite, F.L.S., contributed further remarks on the structure of the Sphagnacese or bog-mosses. -Confining himself principally to the characters for grouping the numerous species into sub-genera, he advocated the system adopted by Dr. Lindbergof Stockholm, based upon those yielded by the form of the leaves investing certain portions of the stem and divergent branches. -Mr. W. Saville Kent, British Museum, read a paper on Prof. James Clark's Flagellate Infusoria with description of new species. In his communication, Mr. Kent announced the discovery among others of Prof. Clark's minute "collared“types{Codosiga, Bi-cosceca, &c), first made known to the scientific world through the Memoirs of the Boston Society of Natural History for 1866, but not since corroborated by any European naturalist. Of the eleven species noticed by Mr. Kent, five were identified by him with American forms; the remaining six, while referable to corresponding genera, offering well-marked specific distinctions. The whole series are of exceedingly minute size requiring a magnifying power of 800 diameters and upwards for the recognition of their structural peculiarities, the chief interest attached to them being their striking resemblance to the ultimate cell particles lining the incurrent cavities of sponges, as clearly shown by Prof. Clark in the calcareous, and since demonstrated by Mr. Carter m the siliceous groups. Mr. Kent expressed his dissent from Prof. Clark's views in regard to the nutritive functions of Monas and other Flagellata, in the course of his investigations, he having observed the former to engulf food at any portion of its periphery, after the manner oi Amceba, while in l the collar-bearing species, it was intercepted at any portion within the area circumscribed by the base of that organ, there being in no case a distinct mouth as assumed by Prof. Clark. In the discussion that ensued, Mr. Kent assented to the President's suggestion, that the Flagellata, in the possession of one or more lash-like appendages, represented a higher tvpe of organisation than the Foraminifera, and other Rhizopodous Protozoa; and expressed his opinion that the Spongiadce, as a class, combined the structural characters of the ordinary Rhizopoda and lower Infusoria, having superadded to this a skeletal and aggregated type of organisation essentially their own. Mr. C. Stewart affirming to having observed an appearance of three flagellate appendages to certain cells of Leucosolmia botryoides under a magnifying power of about 300 diameters, Mr. Kent accepted his statement as further corroboration of the existence of a membranous collar, which, under an insufficient degree of magnification, presents the aspect attested to by Mr. Stewart. The entire series of Infusorial forms recorded in Mr. Kent's communication were obtained by him from a pond on the estate of Mr. Thos. Randle Bennett, Wentworth House, Stoke Newington.

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