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Societies and Academies

Nature volume 31, pages 209212 | Download Citation



LONDON Linnean Society, December 4, 1884.—William Carruthers, F.R.S., Vice-President, in the chair.—The following were elected Fellows of the Society:—The Hon. F. S. Dobson, W. A. Haswell, Geo. W. Oldfield, Dr. G. W. Parker, M. C. Potter, T. J. Symonds, W. A. Talbot, and J. H. Tompson.—Mr. W. T. Thiselton Dyer exhibited:—(1) Examples of leaves of Sagittaria montevidemis under different modes of cultivation, the changes thus induced as regards size and general facies being most remarkable, so much so that they might be deemed widely separate genera. The small leaves were from a plant raised from seeds collected in Chili by Mr. J. Ball, F.R.S., and sent to Kew in 1883, and grown in a pot half submerged in the Nymphiza tank. The enormously large leaf and spike were those of a plant raised from seeds, ripened at Kew, and sown in spring (1884). When strong enough the plant was planted in a bed of muddy soil, kept saturated by means of a pipe running from the bed to the Nymphtza tank. (2) A special and peculiar instrument called a “Ladanisterion,” from Crete, it being a kind of double rake with leathern thongs instead of teeth, and used in the collecting of gum Labdanum, a drug now dropped out of modern pharmacy. The instrument in question was procured for the Kew Museum by Mr. Sandwith, H.M. Consul in Crete. (3) A collection of marine Algae from West Australia, brought to this country by Lady Broome.—A paper was read by Dr. Francis Day on the relationship of Indian and African fresh-water fish-fauna. In this communication the author refers to certain papers of his, read before the Society on previous occasions, but he more particularly deals with the differences shown between his own statements therein and those subsequently given by Dr. Günther in his “Introduction to the Study of Fishes.” Dr. Day is inclined to believe that in the consideration of Indian fish distribution there seems a possibility that certain marine forms, for example, the Acanthopterygian Lates, the Siluroid family Arünse, and others have been included among the freshwater fauna by Dr. Günther, whereas fresh-water genera, such as Ambassis, several genera of the Gobies, Sicydium, Gobius, Eleoteris &c., have been omitted from the fresh-water fauna of India by Dr. Günther. Thus Dr. Day attempts to show that there may be less affinity between the African and Indian regions, so far as fresh-water fishes are concerned, than there is between his restricted Indian region and that of the Malay Archipelago. He adds that of 87 genera found in India, Ceylon, and Burmah, 14 extend to Africa, 44 to the Malay Archipelago, whereas out of 369 species only 4 extend to Africa and 29 to the Malay Archipelago.—On the growth of trees and protoplasmic continuity, was a paper by Mr. A. Tylor, giving his experiments in the curvature assumed by branches, particularly those of the horse-chestnut. He pointed out that the terminal bud is constantly directed upward, but is straightened out at a later stage of growth. Further, he found that terminal buds, when directed by being tied against a tree-trunk or plank, invariably turned away from the obstruction irrespective of the incidence of light. When the growing points of neighbouring branches were turned directly towards each other, they mutually turned aside or one stopped growth. Some co-ordinating system was necessary to enable the parts to act in concert, and he attributes this to a continuity of the threads of protoplasm.—A paper was read on Heterolepidotus grandis, a fossil fish from the Lias, by James W. Davis. The author describes the specialities of this form, and remarks that the genus had been instituted by Sir Philip Egerton for certain forms closely related to Lepidotus, but differing in their dentition and scaly armature. The H. grandis has interest, among other things, in the attachment of the dorsal and anal fins with the series of well-developed interspinous bones, in the peculiar arrangement of the articular apparatus of the pectoral fins, and in the heterocercal form of the tail.

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