The Blind Prawn of Galilee


IN describing the eyeless prawn from Galilee that he named Typhlocaris galilea, Dr. Calman stated that, according to the information at his disposal, it was found in a small pool near the town of Tiberias communicating with the lake and fed by a mineral spring (see Trans. Linn. Soc, London, 2nd ser., zool. xi., p. 93, 1909). As Typhlocaris is one of the most peculiar crustacean genera described of recent years, further particulars as to its provenance may be of interest to naturalists. The pool in which alone, so far as is known, it occurs is situated some two hundred yards from the Lake of Tiberias, an hour and a half's sail north of the town of that name. Originally this pool was one of the chambers in a Roman bath at some forgotten city, perhaps Capernaum or Bethsaida. It is still completely enclosed by stout masonry which gives it a symmetrically octagonal outline, but its surface is choked with gigantic floating grasses. There is now no visible outflow or inflow of water, which apparently percolates through the bottom at several places and decreases in volume by desiccation. As its temperature is distinctly lower than that of the water in the aqueduct that works a corn-mill between it and the lake, it seems improbable that there is any great outward percolation. It is evident, however, that the water, which even now is nowhere less than about 4 ft. deep, was in ancient times much deeper, and that the overflow was conducted away by means of apertures in the wall high above the present surface, while there are traces of an aperture through which it may have entered the pool in volume in a masonry platform that juts out into the pool from one of its eight sides. The water is slightly saline, but not so markedly so as that of some springs in the vicinity.

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