Biological Notes


    BORING POWER OF MAGILUS.—We have received from Mr. Charlesworth a preliminary note giving briefly a result of his study of the genus Magilus, the remarkable testaceous gasteropod that is found immersed in the large hemispherical corals of the genus Meandrina. The current belief, as set forth by Sowerby, Owen, Woodward, and other authorities in molluscan biology who have treated of this coral-inhabiting mollusc, is that Magilus in its young state effects a lodgment in a crevice of a Meandrina, and that as the coral enlarges, the Magilus extends the margins of the mouth of its shell in the form of a cylindrical corrugated tube, the growth of this tube and of the coral proceeding together paripassu, and consequently that there is no penetration of the coral by the Magilus at all. Mr. Charlesworth, however, finds that Magilus not only drives through solid masses of coral in any direction with apparently the same facility that the bivalve Teredo tunnels masses of wood, but he finds that it even surpasses Teredo in its power of suddenly reflecting its shell and returning to the point from which it commenced its advance; and this bending back of the shell upon itself is not accomplished in such natural cavities as frequently prevail in large corals of the Meandrina genus, but in the solid mass of the coral.

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    Biological Notes . Nature 16, 523 (1877).

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