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microscopic animalcules to the gigantic certainly to be placed among the most exKing Crab: to the former, the luminosity traordinary of its race. The Hermit Crabs of the ocean, or of the foam before the are voracious, and feed on animal subprows of vessels, is to a great extent at- stances, and this is the character of the tributable, each minute creature glowing Crustaceans in general. On the contrary, with phosphoric radiance.
this Crab, or rather Lobster Crab-for it Certain crabs, especially in the West takes an intermediate place between them Indies, are almost exclusively terrestrial, -is more delicate in its appetite, and feeds visiting the sea only at given periods, upon fruits, to obtain which it climbs up for the deposition of their eggs. These certain trees, at the feet of which it makes crabs, carrying in their gill-chambers suffi- a burrow. The species in question is the cient water for the purpose of respiration, Purse Crab or Robber Crab (Birgus latro) live in burrows, and traverse considerable of Amboyna, and other islands in the South tracts of land in the performance of migra- Pacific Ocean. It is ptobable that there tory journeys. Of these some, as the Vio- are more than one species, but voyagers let Crab, are esteemed exquisite delicacies. bave not attended to nice discrimination. Of one of the Burrowing Crabs Cuvier The first naturalist who placed upon thus writes :
record the habits of the Purse Crab was "The animal closes the entrance of its bur- Herbst; and to his account Rumphius, row, which is situated near the margin of the sea,
Seba, Linnæus, and Cuvier refer. The or in marshy grounds, with its largest claw. latter observes that, “ according to a popuThese burrows are cylindrical, oblique, very lar belief among the Indians, the animal deep, and very close to each other; but gen feeds on the nuts of the cocoa-tree, and erally each burrow is the exclusive habitation of a single individual. The habit which these that it makes its excursions during the crabs have of holding their large claw elevated night." He gives fissures in the rocks, in advance of the body, as if making a sign of or holes in the ground, as its places of rebeckoning to some one, bas obtained for them
treat. the name of Calling Crabs. There is a species observed by Mr. Bosc in South Carolina, which
That the accounts of the early writers passes the three months of the winter in its and travelers should have been received retreat without once quitting it, and which with incredulity is not surprising, nor that pever goes to the sea except at the epoch of
the statements of the natives should have egg-laying."
been deemed almost unworthy of serious The same observations apply to the consideration. The truth of these details Chevalier crabs (so called from the celerity has been, however, within the last few with which they traverse the ground.) years, abundantly confirmed in all their These are found in Africa, and along the essentials. MM. Quoy and Gaimard asborders of the Mediterranean.
sure us that several individuals of this Some crabs, truly aquatic, as the Vaulted species were fed by them for many months Crab of the Moluccas, have the power of on cocoa-nuts alone : a circumstance comdrawing back their limbs and concealing mented upon by Professor Owen, when a them in a furrow, which they closely fit ; specimen of this crab was laid before one and thus, in imitation of a tortoise, which of the scientific meetings of the Zoological retracts its feet and head within its shell, Society, with additional information from they secure themselves, when alarmed, Mr. Cuming, in whose fine collection of from the attack of enemies. Other aquatic Crustacea, shells, etc., from the islands species have the limbs adapted for clinging of the South Pacific, several specimens to weeds and other marine objects. Of were preserved. According to this enterthese, some have the two or four hinder prising voyager and naturalist, these crabs pair of limbs so placed as to appear to are to be found in great abundance at Lord spring from the back; they terminate in a Hood's Island, in the Pacific. He there sharp hook, by means of which the animal frequently met with them on the road ; attaches itself to the valves of shells, frag- and states that, on being disturbed, they ments of coral, etc., which it draws over instantly assumed a defensive attitude, its body, and thus lurks in concealment. making a violent snapping with their powAllied in some respects to the Hermit or erful claws or pincers, and continued this Soldier Crabs, which tenant empty shells, snapping as they retreated backward. and to which we have briefly alluded, is | They climb a species of palm, (Pandanus one which, from its habits and manners, is odoratissimus,) and eat a small kind of
cocoa-nut that grows thereon. They live “ The adult crabs inhabit deep burrows, at the roots of the trees, and not in the which they excavate beneath the roots of holes of rocks; and they are a favorite food
trees; and here they accumulate surprising
quantities of the picked fibres of the cocoa-nut among the natives. Such is the substance husk, on which they rest as on a bed. The of Mr. Cuming's account; to which we Malays sometimes take advantage of their shall now add a most interesting passage labors by collecting the coarse fibrous subfrom Mr. Darwin's “ Researches in Ge
stance and using it as junk.
“These crabs are very good to eat; moreover, ology and Natural History," relative to
under the tail of the larger ones there is a great the habits of these crabs, as observed by mass of fat, which when melted yields as much him in the Keeling Islands, or Cocos Is as a quart bottleful of limpid oil. lands, situated in the Indian Ocean, six
" It has been stated by some authors that hundred miles distant from the coast of
the Birgus latro crawls up the cocoa-nut trees,
for the purpose of stealing the outs. I very Sumatra. In these islands, of coral forma- much doubt the possibility of this; but with tion, the cocoa-nút tree so prevails as to Pandanus (to which Mr. Cuming refers as being appear, at a first glance, to compose the ascended by this crab) the task would be very whole wood, but five or six other kinds that on these islands the Birgus lives only on
much easier. I understand from Mr. Liesk are also to be seen, and one of large size. the nuts which fall to the ground." Here the Great Purse Crab is abundant. Mr. Darwin writes as follows:
It may at first appear that Mr. Cum
ing's and Mr. Darwin's respective ac“I have before alluded to a crab which lives counts of the non-climbing of this animal, on the cocoa-nuts; it is very common on all parts of the dry land, and grows to a monstrous
on the one side, and of its actually climb. size. It is closely allied to, or is identical ing trees on the other, are contradictory. with, the Birgus latro. This crab has its front The height of the stem of the cocoa-nut pair of legs terminated by very strong and
tree, its circumference, and comparative heavy pincers, and the last pair by others
external smoothness, would certainly prove which are narrow and weak. It would at first be thought quite impossible for a crab to open insurmountable, or at least very serious, a strong cocoa-nut, covered with the husk; but obstacles to the most ambitious and most Mr. Liesk assures me that he has repeatedly greedy Birgus, however large and strong seen the operation effected. The crab begins it might be. But these difficulties are by by tearing away the husk, fiber by fiber, and always from that end under which the three no means so formidable in the plants of eye-holes are situated. When this is com the Pandanus tribe ; a group composed of pleted the crab commences hammering with its arborescent or bushy species, with long, heavy claws on one of these eye-holes till an opening is made. Then, turning its body,
thin, rigid, sword-shaped leaves resemby the aid of its posterior and narrow pair of bling those of the pine-apple, usually arpincers, it extracts the white albuminous sub ranged in a manner so obviously spiral,
I think this is as curious a case as I that they are commonly called Screwever heard of, and likewise of adaptation in structure between two objects apparently so
pines. In the genus Pandanus (a word remote from each other in the scheme of nature derived from the Malay Pandang) the as a crab and a cocoa-nut tree. The Birgus leaves decidedly present this spiral mode is diurnal in its habits; but it is said to pay of arrangement. The Pandanus odorevery night a visit to the sea for the purpose atissimus is celebrated for the fragrance of moistening its gills.”
of its essence, and is referred to by the These gills, we may here observe, are Sanscrit poets under the name of Kelaka. very peculiar, and scarcely fill up more It is the Keora and Ketgee of the Hindoos, than a tenth of the chamber in which they and the Kazee of the Arabs. Oil impreg. are situated, and which, doubtless, acts as nated with the essence of its flowers, and a reservoir for water, to serve during the water distilled from them, are highly esanimals' excursions over the dry and teemed, both for their odor and medicinal heated land. The young are hatched and qualities. In the peninsula of India this live for some time on the coast. At this species is called the Caldera bush ; and period of existence we cannot suppose Dr. Roxburgh informs us that it is from that cocoa-nuts form any part of their diet; the tender white leaves of the flowers, most probably soft saccharine grasses, particularly of the male flowers, that the tender fruits, and animal matters consti essence is obtained. The lower pulpy tute their food, until they attain to a cer part of the drupes is sometimes eaten, as tain degree of size and strength. Mr. is also the terminal bud, together with the Darwin continues :
white base of the long acute leaves,
THE ROBBER CRAB, (BIRGUS LATRO.) either boiled or raw. It forms an excel a mass of seed berries or ovaries, collected lent hedge, but occupies an inconvenient into a tuberculated head. In some species degree of room. The leaves are com- they are dry and fibrous, in others fleshy posed of tough white longitudinal fibers, and succulent. well adapted for the fabrication of matting This slight description of the general and cordage, for the manufacture of sacks character of the Pandanus, or screw-pine, and similar articles. An allied and very will suffice to show that the ascent of these fragrant species is common in Tahiti, arborescent plants, having the stem furwhere it is called the Wharra tree ; nished with a rigging of cord-like roots, others are found in the Mauritius, where and bearing a multitude of firm, long, and they are known as the Vaquois plant. spirally-arranged leaves, will be by no Long roots are thrown off from the sides means a work of difficulty, as would neof the stems of these screw-pines, for the cessarily be that of the tall, feathery-topped purpose of holding them more steadily in cocoa-nut tree, destitute of all available the loose sandy or coral-formed soil in points of aid or support. Hence the conwhich they grow. The fruit consists of I tradiction in the two accounts referred to
is seeming, and not real, and both state of the tail and the spines which border the ments are easily reconciled. We may gill covers. It is by the same agency here observe that fine specimens of the that it traverses the land. The statement Birgus are to be seen in the British of M. Daldorf is corroborated by M. John, Museum.
also a Danish observer, to whom we are That, among such animals as the Crab indebted for the knowledge of its name in tribes, a tree-climbing species is to be | Tranquebar, which alludes to its arboreal found is certainly curious, but it is not proceedings. without a parallel among fishes. Among these latter, many leave the water, some even for a long period, and perform over
THE CHINESE EMIGRANT. land journeys, aided in their progress by the structure of their fins. In these fishes N no country in the world, perhaps, are the gills and gill-chambers are constructed so many laws made only to be broken, for the retention of water for a consider as in China. If many of these statutes and able time, so as to suffice for the neces- regulations are excellent in themselves, sary degree of respiration. In our own and conceived in a wise moral spirit, others country we may mention the eel, which, are unwise, and even preposterous, while as we know, from personal experience, not a few are rendered impracticable by often voluntarily quits the river or lake, natural causes. Thus, for example, emiand wanders during the night over the gration is strictly prohibited, so that, overadjacent meadows, probably in quest of peopled as the empire is, no Chinese can dew-worms.
lawfully leave his country to settle in But the marshes of India and China another. Nevertheless, during the last present us with fishes much more decid-fifty years, want of room, and scarcity of edly terrestrial, and which (some of them, bread at home, have annually driven many at least) were known to the ancients. thousands to migrate to other lands; and
Among these are several members of a the officers of government have been genus called Ophicephalus, (from their obliged to wink and connive at their departsnake-like form). These fishes, having ure. It could not, indeed, be otherwise, an elongated and cylindrical body, creep in districts where the population had far on land to great distances from their na outrun its means of subsistence, and where tive waters. The boatmen of India often people, in years of bad harvests, were not keep these fishes for a long time out of unfrequently reduced to the frightful extheir true element, for the sake of divert-tremity of selling their children, and even ing themselves and others by their terres- eating one another. Horrible as is this trial movements; and children may be alternative, it is yet a well-ascertained often seen pursuing this sort of sport. Of fact. Within these last twelve years, or these terrestrial or land-haunting fishes since the conclusion of the English war the most remarkable is the Pannei-eri, with the Celestial Emperor, these streams (tree-climber,) as it is called in Tranque-i of emigration have been greatly swollen. bar. This fish inhabits India, the Indian In all the neighboring seas, wherever there islands, and various parts of China, Chu- is an island, peninsula, or promontory, held san, etc.; living in marshes, and feeding by the English, Dutch, or other European on aquatic insects, worms, etc. Not nation, we are now pretty sure to find a only does this fish wander on land, but, colony of industrious Chinese while according to Daldorf, a Danish gentleman, other individuals of that nation have transwho, in 1797, communicated an account ported themselves as far as St. Helena, of its habits to the Linnæan Society, (Trans. | Australia, California, and other distant Linn., iii., p. 62), it mounts up the bushes regions. The following story of an emior low palms to some elevation. This grant occurred a few years ago. gentleman states that he has himself ob In a very poor, crowded, and hungry served it in the act of ascending palm- district, in the province of Fokien, there trees near the marshes, and had taken it lived a distressed agricultural family, conat a height of no less than five feet, meas-sisting of wife and husband, two sons and ured from the level of the adjacent water. a daughter. They had struggled hard It effects its ascent by means of its pec- through two seasons of drought and dearth, toral and under fins, aided by the action and were anticipating better fortune in the
third year, when river burst its banks, ward, with a significant hint that if he ever and deluged and destroyed nearly all that returned he might expect to be hanged. neighborhood. Absolute want now stared Fanpi, during all this time, had rarely, them in the face, and in the mere dread of if ever, had the opportunity of communiit the daughter sickened and died. The cating with his parents, or of receiving any second son, Fanpi by name, resolved to news from them ; but about this period, a seek a living elsewhere, as others were Fokien junk arrived, having on board sevdoing ; and his parents and elder brother eral emigrants from his native district. reluctantly consented to his departure. From these people he learned that his eldFanpi embarked in a junk, which carried er brother was dead, and that his now aged him to Singapore, where he landed as poor father and mother were in great distress as it was possible for him to be. He was, and want. Many fabulous virtues have however, an industrious, persevering, in- been attributed to the Chinese ; but, gengenious young man, and he soon obtained erally, their warm filial affection has not plenty of work, and the means of improv- been exaggerated. Every true Chinaman ing himself in mechanical skill. Although holds it to be a sacred duty, not only to he never rose to a higher station than that honor his father and mother, but to toil for of packing-case maker to the English them, and support them when they can no merchants and shippers, he, in time, be longer work for themselves. Fanpi, accame possessed of a comfortable house and cordingly, told his Malay wife that he must of a considerable sum of money besides, return to the home of his fathers. She which he left to accumulate in the hands hesitated not a moment in saying that she of the worthy merchant who was his chief would go with him, and take her children. employer.
He plainly apprised her that there would Being thus comparatively affluent, Fanpi be danger, or at least the risk of danger, married a woman of the country, a young, in so doing ; since, by the laws of China, well-favored Malay, who had lived in serv- foreign women were prohibited from setice with a European family at Singapore, ting foot on the soil of the Celestial Emand had there acquired some general no- pire. The affectionate wife, however, detions of Christianity. Fanpi continued to clared that she had no fear; that life, inthrive until he had three children, and deed, would be insupportable without her three thousand hard Spanish dollars of his husband and children. Fanpi, therefore, own. He had many friends in the colony, who loved her well, and who could not bear and only one known enemy.
This was a the idea of leaving either wife or children Fokien man, who came from a seaport behind him, although with his means he town not far from Fanpi's district. He could have left them in a condition of commight have done well at Singapore ; but fort or even of prosperity, resolutely took he was an idle, worthless fellow, constantly a cheerful view of the whole matter. getting into scrapes and difficulties. On “The laws of the empire,” he said, “ proone occasion, to relieve him from his em hibit, under pain of death, all emigration, barrassments, Fanpi generously lent him and yet iny countrymen emigrate by thoua hundred dollars; but instead of making sands at a time; the same laws and the a proper use of the money, the Fokien same penalty stand against the introducman gambled it away at cock-fights and tion of foreign women; and yet Chinese quail-fights, and in those horrible dens, do return to their own country, and take the opium smoking houses. This money foreign wives with them, and are allowed squandered, he repeatedly applied for to be at peace. Once free of the seaport, another loan, and was very properly re we shall do well in my own district, which fused. Exasperated at the denial, he one is too poor to feed a single mandarin ; none night, when drunk and mad with the fumes will question or molest us there. I will of the opium pipe, violently assulted Fanpi redeem the mortgage which presses on in the streets, vowing that he was unmind- our patrimonial acres; I will purchase ful of his country, that he was no true man more land, and hire my poorer neighbors of Fokien, and that he would have his life. to till it; we shall thrive, I trust, even in The police interfered; and as the fellow that district; and I shall have the satis. had made himself notorious by his vicious faction of succoring my father and mother, conduct and turbulent disposition, he was of closing their eyes, of interring them turned out of the colony a few days after- / among our ancestors, of dying on the spot