Letter | Published:

Limulus

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Abstract

IN a criticism published in the American Naturalist for April, 1882, on Prof. Ray Lankester's recent most able memoir, entitled “Limulus an Arachnid,” Mr. A. S. Packard, whose most important researches on Limulus are familiar to all zoologists, and to whose courtesy I am indebted for a copy of his criticism, after stating other grounds which lead him to differ in opinion from Prof. Lankester as to the close relationship of the King Crab and the Scorpion, quotes in his final paragraphs extracts from published letters written by my late lamented friend and shipmate, R. von Willemoes-Suhm, from on board H.M.S. Challenger, at the Phillipine Islands and Japan in February and May, 1875, concerning certain Arthropod embryos which he had had under observation at Zamboangan, and which he then supposed to be the larvæ of Limulus rotundicauda. As Von Suhm and I worked together for more than two years daily with our microscopes within two feet of one another, we naturally discussed all that we did and observed in common, and we frequently talked about these supposed Limulus embryos, and looked at them together. It is as well, therefore, since the statements concerning them are being made use of to assist in disproving the position assumed by Prof. E. van Beneden, Prof. Lankester, and others as to the Arachnid nature of Limulus, a position of the strength of which I am myself persuaded, that I should state in print, that long before his death Von Willemoes-Suhm was completely convinced that he had been misled as to the larvæ, and told me that he felt sure they were not those of Limulus at all, but belonged to a Cirrhiped of some sort. I some time ago told my friend, Prof. E. van Beneden, who inquired on the matter, that such was Von Suhm's final conclusion. And I also long ago told Prof. Lankester, and this is no doubt the reason why no reference to Von Suhm's letters was made by the latter in his memoir.

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