Imagini ale paginilor

A paper accompanying and explanatory of a printed preliminary Fauna of the district was read on the 31st May, 1852, and it was originally intended to have been published in the Proceedings of that Session; the Author having thought, however, that advantage might arise from delay, the Council determined upon postponing it until the present opportunity.


THE FLORA OF LIVERPOOL having been published by Dr. Dickinson during the year 1851, the animal life of the district was considered by many as equally worthy of attention, and the production of a local FAUNA was thought to be desirable. The zoology of most localities is seldom cultivated by so numerous a train of students as the vegetable kingdom generally commands. The flowers by the wayside rivet the admiring attention even of those who never bestow any scientific criticism upon them; various animals on the contrary, though high in the scale of organisation, excite feelings rather of revolt or disgust than pleasure in certain minds, and, as a consequence, "love at first sight" is a somewhat exceptional occurrence, unless at the uppermost rail of the ladder, and strong prejudice has often to be conquered before many can be induced to touch what they deem the unclean thing," and examine the beauty that is hidden under a repulsive exterior.

The activity of different species of animals often renders their capture difficult. When marine, the use of the dredge entails a consumption of time such as can rarely be spared by those who have other paramount duties to perform, putting out of account the amount of visceral commotion the unpractised sailor is doomed to endure, and which requires a large zoological profit to compensate, under such circumstances, for the want of pleasure in procuring it. In 1851, by the advice of Mr. R. M'Andrew, several gentlemen subscribed for the purpose of having the shore dredged for specimens, and many trips were taken in the Mersey, along the coast as far as Formby, at the north of the Cheshire peninsula, and up the Dee as far as Dawpool.

These expeditions brought to light several species which were not supposed to have existed in the neighbourhood, and of others (shelled mollusks) which had only been found before in the dead state, living specimens were ascertained to inhabit deeper water.

[ocr errors]

Still much more might be done by a well conducted and longer continued system of dredging. The Hoylake fishermen have been fertile sources for obtaining specimens, though it is difficult to induce them to take care of what they find. Burnet's fluid was supplied to them, into which, diluted (1 part to 9) with water, they were requested to put captures, but in some instances, when daily visits could not be paid, time, the cat, or the children made sad havoc.

Much of our zoological literature is scattered through periodicals and other works, which are expensive and not easy of access, and, in consequence, some difficulty is often experienced in classification, and in the determination of species.

These remarks are made as an apology for any short-comings in this first attempt at a Fauna, the materials for which must always be receiving additions, and thus it can never be perfect. Much as I may feel on my own account, I must not dilate upon its imperfections, in justice to several industrious workers who have kindly assisted. Whilst dredging, the Rev. H. H. Higgins, Messrs. Webster, Samuel Archer, Marratt, and Cameron, afforded the greatest help; without their efforts much of the information relative to the creatures in the neighbouring waters could not have been obtained. The last-named gentleman undertook, single-handed, the not over agreeable or safe duty of dredging the Mersey.

The entomologists of the district, almost without exception, especially Messrs. Brockholes, Warrington, Diggles, Almond, and other industrious inves tigators, have kindly supplied abundant facts with reference to Lepidoptera.

This is the only order of Insecta which has been classified and named, as yet, for publication: Mr. Cameron, however, has a large supply of local Coleoptera, which we hope will be arranged ere long, and a list of them published. The Rev. H. H. Higgins also has commenced researches amongst Diptera and Hymenoptera, from which we may reasonably hope to have good results.

The labours of Mr. Price, of Birkenhead, cannot be mentioned in terms of sufficient praise; his discoveries, not only locally but elsewhere, have secured him a high reputation; he also has been liberal with information.

The name of Mr. R. Tudor, of Bootle, must always be associated with the zoology of the neighbourhood as the original discoverer of many species.

Mr. W. H. Weightman has been good enough to contribute by his researches amongst Entomostraca.

Mr. W. Webster's intimate knowledge of birds, mollusca, &c. has been freely imparted, and of much assistance.

I am much indebted to the talented authors of the "British Nudibranchiate Mollusca;" to Mr. Alder, for correspondence always prompt and valuable; and to Mr. Hancock, for the very faithful drawing of "Antiopa Hyalina," a coloured engraving of which, by Mr. Tuffin West, forms part of the volume.

To Drs. Dickinson and Inman, Messrs. Parke, Whitehead, N. Cooke, and others, my thanks are due for useful contributions or advice.

It is a reasonable expectation that further investigations by those gentlemen who have hitherto followed natural history pursuits, may add sufficient for a large appendix to the present instalment at some future time. The physical conditions of a neighbourhood of course modify and determine the character of the animal and vegetable productions on its surface and in its waters. I refer with pleasure to the excellent chapter upon the physical geography of the district, which is suitably placed as a preliminary to Dr. Dickinson's Flora; the remarks therein contained are equally applicable to the present object.







Mr. Mather, taxidermist, of Williamson-square, remembers having stuffed specimens, taken from Birkenhead Abbey, many years ago, before the additional building; once or twice also from other localities. If now in the neighbourhood it is very scarce. VESPERTILIO PIPISTRELLUS.

Common Bat, Flitter-mouse, Pipistrelle. The most common bat of the district. A living specimen was given to me so

late in the year as the month of December, 1852.



Taken by Mr. Nicholas Cooke from a hollow tree in Delamere Forest. He was out with a party of entomologists, and caught nine out of two or three dozen, which were disturbed in their lurking place. A specimen was sent to the British Museum, and there named.


Long-eared Bat.

Almost equally common during the warm months.


RHINOLOPHUS HIPPOSIDEROS. Lesser horse-shoe bat.
One from Storeton quarry, stuffed by Mr. Mather, 20 years ago.


Common everywhere in rural districts.



Family TALPID.E.
Genus TALPA.

TALPA VULGARIS. Mole. Moldwarp. Want.

Too common.

Hedge-hog. Urchin.

[blocks in formation]


Taken at Egremont.—Mr. R Abbott. SOREX REMIFER. Oared Shrew. Caught at Upton by Mr. Webster, 1851.



The Badger.

One killed in a sand-hole at Poole Hall Farm, adjoining Hooton, five years ago.-Mr. Grace. I can hear of instances of their capture, many years back, at Oxton Hill, also at Caldy and Moston Hall.



Family URSIDÆ.

Genus MELES.


Common Otter.

Has been seen within a few years back in the Chester and Ellesmere Canal, and in Stanney Mill Brook, which is an arm of the Gowey River.—Mr. Grace. Also in the Alt, near Sephton, ten or twelve years ago.—Mr. Mather.


Genus LUTRA.

In rural districts everywhere.

Common Weasel.

Ermine-Weasel. Stoat.




Occasionally found in Wirral and Lancashire; formerly common. A specimen was partially tamed by Mr. Grace, of Whitby Hall, and lived with his ferrets. MUSTELA FURO. The Ferret Weasel.

Kept, where required, for hunting purposes.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »