..... ..... 46W .
...... I V IS S
EY SEA SHORE. WOOD .AND: MOORLAND.
.. :' .s
A MORNING BATH.
.-I~ ,-r. u:
BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND
PEEPS AT NATURE
With 145 Illustrations by
HARRISON WEIR, W. RAINEY, R. KRETSCHMER
F. GIACOMELLI, THEO. CARRERAS, ETC.
S. W. PARTRIDGE & CO.
9 PATERNOSTER ROW
Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.
IT is but fair to explain that a portion of the present
volume has already appeared in book form. In
1886 the author published, under his pseudonym
"James Weston," "Stories and Pictures of Birds,
Beasts and Fishes," of which more than 21,000 copies
were taken by the public ; and two years later a com-
panion volume, Stories and Pictures of Animal Life,"
of which over Io,ooo copies have been sold. Both
these little books are now out of print; and it has
been thought advisable to.amalgamate them and add
a considerable number of brief nature-papers which
have been contributed by the author to' various
periodicals. This plan has, allowed some kind of
arrangement in the papers, and, as the result is
practically a new book, a new title has become a
There is probably no need to say that the author
has had young people in view whilst writing these
pages, and that his object has been to awaken an
interest in the wonders of Creation and to encourage
those habits of observation which will be found so
valuable to his readers in after life. He trusts that in
its new and enlarged form the work will not be found
less acceptable-or prove less useful than in the old.
I.-BY THE SEA.
SEA ANEMONES 22
NELLIE'S STAR-FISH 29
THE SEA URCHIN 35
PETER, THE COCKLE-GATHERER 44
A CHAT ABOUT CRABS 64
QUEER FISH 76
SOME SEA BIRDS 89
THE DEAD CORMORANT 97
MERMAIDS AND SEA-COWS 102
II-IN WOODS AT HOME.
OUR HEDGEHOGS 15
A FEW BEETLES II
GALLS AND GALL-MAKING INSECTS 125
A GOSSIP ABOUT FERNS 133
CUCKOO! CUCKOO! 148
III-IN WOODS ABROAD.
NATURE'S-WATER-POTS .. 155
ANT BEARS 66
A CHAT ABOUT PARROTS 18
IV.-IN FIELD AND LANE.
ABOUT A BUTTERFLY 187
CARPENTERS, MASONS AND UPHOLSTERERS 195
WASPS AND THEIR NESTS
SOME STRANGE WASPS' NESTS
AMONG THE SNAILS
A BIT OF OUR COMMON
PLANTS THAT CATCH FLIES
THE GRASSHOPPER FAMILY
VI.-BY POND AND STREAM.
A MONSTER IN MINIATURE .
WATER BEETLES .
DRAGON FLIES 298
WATER SPIDERS 305
CADDIS WORMS 309
FISHES THAT BUILD NESTS 314
BY THE SEA.
OME along, ladies! Harold has got the boat
Ready, and the Spinaway has been waiting for
you for the last ten minutes. Mind how you jump
off the slippery steps. That's right! Now, Harold,
push off, and away we go."
A few pulls at the oars, and we are beside Mr.
Lean's beautiful yacht, so aptly named the Spinaway.
Before many minutes we are on board, and have left
the little harbour of St. Mawes, and are making towards
Falmouth, though that is not our destination to-day.
There is scarcely a cloud in the brilliant and intensely
blue sky; and the September sunshine makes the
white walls of the houses-built one above the other
up the hillside, in true Cornish fashion-gleam, and
-the windows flash. A light breeze fills -our sails,
and the Spinaway, like a beautiful ocean-bird, flies
rapidly before it. The water is as clear as the air,
14 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
and looking over the boatside we can easily distin-
guish the forms of stones and shells on the sea-
bottom. Brown weeds reach up to the surface, and
curious fish and other creatures swim by.
Here is a strange thing that looks like a glass
umbrella drifting through the water ; or, perhaps, from
its smaller size, it would be more correct to liken it to
a crystal mushroom. It is certainly umbrella-shaped,
THE COMMON JELLY-FISH.
with a fine fringe all round the edge, and a kind of
handle in the middle. Look, here are more like it;
and, see, they differ in form and markings one from
another. Here is a swarm of delicate little bells, with
great clappers in the middle, and very fine threads
trailing gracefully from the edges. Now we pass a
specimen somewhat like the first, but with four enor-
mously long fringed arms like fronds of sea-weed
trailing from the middle.'
BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
Harold says they are marigolds and stingers, and
that some of them are very bad things to come against
when you are bathing. He often finds them washed
ashore by the'waves, and left stranded by the falling
tide, when the sun dries them up almost to nothing.
All this is true, and shows what a careful observer is
The fact is, these jelly-fishes, as they are generally
called, consist almost entirely of water, and when the
sun plays upon their stranded forms, the water flies
off and leaves only a fine film like gelatine. The
story is told of a farmer near the sea, who found
enormous quantities of jelly-fishes driven up on the
sand after a storm. It struck him as a good idea
That their dead bodies would make splendid manure
for his fields. So he called his men together, and
took them, with a cart, down to the shore, and they
gathered four or five cartloads of the jelly-fish, which
were carried up to the fields and scattered abroad.
The sun came out in full force, and in half an hour
or so the heaps of jelly-fish had vanished; and some
clever people calculated that all the manure the fields
got the farmer could have carried up in his coat
pockets. This will give you some idea of the small
amount of solid or animal matter there is in these
Look, there is the Black Rock, and we- are getting
sheltered from the breeze by Zoze Point, with its
whitewashed lighthouse looking down on the rough
rocks. The Spinaway does not fly so fast as she did.
Do you not think we .could catch a specimen or two
of these jelly-fishes and examine them ? Here comes
Captain Johns, with his good-natured-looking, weather-
tanned face ; let us ask his aid. As I fully expected,
he is quite ready to help, and in a very few minutes
a line is tied to a pail, and this is trailed over the
stern, and hauled up with one large and-several small
jelly-fishes in it. Let us watch them.
The large specimen has the umbrella somewhat
flattened, and a beautiful fringe hanging from its
edge all round. Nearly in the centre of the top there
are four reddish rings marked, and from each of these
a streak of the same hue goes off straight for the
fringed margin. From the centre underneath, where
the stick of the umbrella should be, there hang four
ribbons with their edges fringed. Now this is what
Harold calls the marigold-though, of course, he does
not wish you to suppose it has any connection with
the marigolds of our gardens.
Looking at this creature, we soon notice that it
constantly gets smaller, then larger. This movement
is very like that of our hearts, which, by contracting,
or getting smaller, and expanding, or getting larger,
keep our blood ever rushing through our veins and
arteries, and from heart to lungs and lungs to heart,
so that it is kept fresh and pure. Well now, though
the marigold is so largely composed of water, the
water must be kept moving and renewed, or the
creature will lose vigour and die. Such action in our
heart we term pulsation, and as you know, perhaps
by experience, the doctor takes hold of our writ and
can feel and count the number of pulsations or beats
it performs in a single minute, and this guides him to
a knowledge of our health. Well, we won't feel the.
pulse of the marigold, because we can see it; but I
wanted to add that it is these pulsations which send
18 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
the jelly-fish through still water. Of course, when it
gets into a current, it simply goes with the tide,
because it is not strong enough to push against it.
I dare say you would turn that jelly-fish about a
good deal before you discovered where its mouth is.
You would probably expect to find it somewhere
about the top of the umbrella, which you would
naturally regard as the creature's head. That would
be a mistake, however, for the jelly-fish is a member
of topsy-turveydom-the creatures that go about on
their heads. But stay-I am wrong there, for the
jelly-fishes have no heads, although they have mouths.
We have seen that the handle of the umbrella ends
in four flattened arms, or tails, each of which is
beautifully fringed and waved. Well, if you look in
between these four arms-just where they all join
together-you will observe the creature's mouth and
the lips that close it. Now when the jelly-fish has
succeeded in catching a delicate fish, a small crab, or
something dainty of that sort, the arms convey the
food to the mouth, and up it goes into the stomach.
The stomach is in the thick handle of the umbrella,
and after the food has been digested there, it is
distributed all over the umbrella by means of those
reddish lines which run out from the centre to the
edges. In spite of their name, jelly-fishes have no
connection whatever with real fishes.
And now that I think we understand a little about
the general form and structure of these remarkable
jelly-animals, let us take a look at a capital picture I
have here (page 15).
This large specimen is called the Cyanea, and it
belongs to a group which includes what bathers have
found to be a fearful creature-the stinger. Should a
swimmer or bather happen to get in the way of the
Cyanea capillata, or stinger, his first intimation of that
fact will be the feeling that he has fallen into a bed
of stinging-nettles, then his pains will become more
sharp and severe, and his heart and lungs become
affected. This acute pain lasts for half a day, and
then begins to subside; but for several days the skin
remains- so sensitive and irritable that the contact of
clothing can scarce be borne, and months pass before
the shooting pains die away altogether. Frequently
it happens that the stinger, alarmed by the efforts of
the bather to rid himself of so unpleasant an assailant,
breaks off its own arms and rushes away. But this is
slight comfort for the bather, for, although separated
from the jelly-fish, the arms continue to sting for
Just above the figure of the cyanea there are two
specimens of very lovely forms of jelly-fish, but some
very exquisite colouring would be necessary to give
you a fair idea of their beauty. These are species of
AEquorea, which are like handsome glass shades,
coloured with tints of white, blue, and crimson, that
blend and run into each other like the hues of the
rainbow. Above these again are tiny glass bells with
prodigiously long clappers hanging from the centre.
This species is. known as the Tube-mouthed Sarsia,
because-as you have guessed-the clapper qf the
bell contains its stomach and mouth drawn out to
great length. From the edge of the bell stream four
very long, thread-like arms, which hold its prey
until the tube can be swung round to it.
The remaining figure in our picture is called the
20 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
Portuguese Man-o'-War, and it will be noted that
it floats on the surface of the sea, and partly out
of water. This is due to the fact that it is provided
with certain bladders which are filled with air. It
is brightly coloured with crimson, blue, and purple,
and along the centre of the upper side there runs
a stiffish crest which is likened to a sail. From the
lower surface a large number of long tentacles trail
down through the water and capture the creature's
food; the more central ones even attaining a length
of fifteen feet. These long feelers are armed with
hair-like stings, which are fearful in their effects on
those stung. Like the arms of the cyanea,- these
stings are active even after they have been detached
from' the jelly-fish. Mr. Bennet, a naturalist who
purposely submitted to be stung by the Man-o'-War,
says that, on seizing it by the bladder portion, it
raised the long cables and twined them around his
hand and fingers, stinging him severely, and at the
same time clinging so tightly that it was difficult
to remove them. The pain, which he likened to that
of severe rheumatism, extended from his right hand
up his arm, and affected the muscles of the chest.
The pulse was quickened, breathing made difficult,
and a general condition of fever produced. The
severity of the attack lasted for three-quarters of an
hour; and for several hours afterwards the skin was
marked by raised white wheals where it had been
You ask whether we are likely to meet with this
warlike jelly-fish here in Cornwall. Well, it is not
a British species, belonging as it does to tropical seas,
as its rainbow hues seem to imply; but the Gulf
Stream, .that river of warm water which flows through
the Atlantic, brings the Portuguese Man-o'-War and
many other creatures with it, and so on these coasts
of Devon and Cornwall we occasionally see them
washed ashore, and sometimes meet with great com-
panies of them sailing bravely over the wave.
Look, that is the Gull Rock, with its crowd of sea
birds, and there to the left is Gerrans and Porthscatho,
whilst ahead is that gloomy headland the Dodman.
Here, too, comes Captain Johns to tell us lunch is
ready; so, as we are all provided with good appetites,
we must close our talk, although we have not ex-
hausted our subject. Another time we may consider
some other forms of jelly-fish, and talk of their
strange power of giving out light at night, and so
making the sea look like liquid silver. Come, sit
down and fall to.
HERE is the boy or girl,
that is sufficiently fortunate
to get an annual holiday at
the sea-side, who does not
look longingly forward to it
for months in advance ?
And what does he do when
he gets there? (Of course,
it is understood that when
S- I say "he" I also mean "she,"
as the case may be.) Well,
nsmetimes he bathes in the beautiful
clear water and gets almost knocked
over by the waves; or he makes
friends with an old fisherman, and learns some of
the mysteries of fish-catching. Sometimes the said
fisherman will take him for a row when he goes
to visit his crab-pots. Perhaps our young friend
will take to boat-buildiig, and learn a "wrinkle"
or two from a coast-guardsman, or a pilot, in the
TRUMPLET ANEMONE. PARASITIC ANEMONE.
24 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
art of sail-making for his model craft. Then the
sails will be set. and the rudder so fixed that the
trim-built vessel will fly out to sea and return safely
to its owner.
Other- boys and girls prefer the excitement of
building sand-castles and watching their gradual de-
struction by the incoming waves; whilst others again
yield themselves up to the charms of searching the
shore for the prettiest shells and seaweeds, or watching
the almost endless variety of wonderful creatures in
the rock-pools. For my part, I like all these amuse-
ments, and go in for each in turn, when I get the
great privilege of a holiday by the sea. Should I not
like to meet some of my readers down on the shore !
We would have some fine romps, I assure you. But
just at present I can't get there, and am compelled
to put up with the remembrance of my last smell
of the salt water.
One of the things I like to do at the sea-side is to
hunt for anemones, and, when I have found them, to
watch their beautiful forms, colours, and movements.
The best time to find them is when the tide is very
low and far out from the shore. Then I make my
way over the low-lying rocks-taking care not to slip
on the wet seaweed that covers them-until I get
near to the waves. Here I pause, and, stooping
down, peer into the rock-pools-moving the weeds
that cover the sides,, and disclosing many different
kinds of creatures. Here, just under this jutting
piece of rock, is a cluster of liver-coloured specimens
with pink rays (which naturalists call tentacles) around
the mouth, and between them and the body a row of
azure-blue beads, which are sometimes mistaken for
eyes. There is a thin line of the same bright blue
round the base of the animal, where it sticks to the
rock. Owing to these bright blue beads this anemone
is very fitly called the Beadlet. It is the most common
species, and is found all round the British coasts.
Some of the specimens before us have drawn in
their rays and reduced themselves to a conical piece
of brown flesh, whilst others
have their two hundred
pink rays fully expanded
and gently waving, as
ing for some-
rays are very
GOLD-SPANGLED ANEMONE. MUZZLET.
sensitive, and the moment anything good to eat
touches them, they cling to it and carry it to the
Though we have said the Beadlet has a mouth, yet
it has no head and no eyes. It consists, roughly
speaking, of a fleshy bag with a small opening (mouth)
encircled by the rays, which serve it as hands. When-
ever a shrimp, or a small fish, comes within reach the
26 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
rays secure it, the mouth opens, and the prisoner dis-
appears for a day or two. Then the mouth opens
again, and the lifeless body is thrown out, the anemone
caring only for the blood which it has sucked out.
The flat base of the creature is like a boy's sucker,
by means of which it clings tightly to the rocks, no
matter how roughly the waves may roll against it.
When the Beadlet wishes to go for a walk it simply
slides along on its base, in a similar manifer to that
adopted by the slug or snail. But sometimes it has
clung so tightly to the rock that when it moves a
small portion of its base gets torn off and left behind.
This does not seem to hurt either the anemone or the
piece left behind. The fragment, after a few days,
assumes a rounded form, an opening appears at the
top, and out of it comes a circlet of tiny rays. Behold,
it is now a complete little anemone, and in course of
time will become as large as the one it was torn from.
But in general the anemones increase in another way:
the mouth of the old one opens, and there are shot
out from it a number of little anemones, not much
larger than a pin's head:
Another very common anemone that we are likely
to find is the Green Opelet, a really charming creature
in point of form and colour. Its general tint is a fine
emerald green, and its one hundred and eighty long
rounded rays are each beautifully tipped with pink,
which contrasts well with the bright green. These
long rays are ever on the move, and always expanded.
The Opelet is fond of swimming; by inflating its
body like a bladder it rises to the surface of the water.
But it is when a large colony of Opelets is seen on a
sloping rock that they appear most attractive. Then,
with the rays in constant motion, the effect is sufficient
to awaken the interest of those not usually attracted
by such things. A friend, who had promised to send
me some anemones from Jersey, became so enthusiastic
at the sight 6f these Opelets that, in his determination
to obtain specimens for me from a difficult position,
he ruined a new pair of trousers and suffered consider-
able injury to his skin; he had never before felt such
a keen interest in natural history.
On page 25 is represented a beautiful little species
found at low water on the Cornish coast, attached to
the under surfaces of stones. It is called the Gold-
spangled Anemone, and it well deserves its name;
for its bright pea-green jacket is finely ornamented
with bands of spots of a golden-yellow hue, and there
is a line of the same colour round the base. The
rays are transparent, with green bars across them.
On page 23 is a picture of the Trumplet, which has
a long buff-coloured trumpet-shaped body with a
regular mop-head of brown rays, which are similar in
shape to those of the Opelet, whose portrait we have
not got. It is found in the Channel Islands and
in the neighbourhood of Falmouth. The Parasitic
Anemone, shown in the same cut, is a great drab-
coloured fellow with creamy or purplish rays. This
species is particularly remarkable, from its habit of
fixing itself to shells (especially those of the whelk)
which have been taken possession of by the Hermit-
crab, who has, therefore, to carry not only his
borrowed house about with him, but this enormous
tower of flesh as well. It may be found in the
Channel Islands, and on the Devonian and Cornish
28 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
Another of our figures is that of the Arrow Muzzlet,
a flesh-coloured, pear-shaped species that buries its
body in the sand, leaving only the flat circle of broad
rays exposed. Each of these rays is marked with a
double row of brown V's or arrow-heads. There are
two figures of this species (page 25), the upper repre-
senting the anemone above ground, the lower showing
how its buries itself in the sand. Near it is depicted
another burrowing species, the Painted Pufflet. This
is not very likely to be seen by my young friends in
their search for anemones along the shore, because
it has a partiality for deep water. It is beautifully
transparent, and looks like a delicate piece of glass
These, it must be remembered, are but a few of the
many lovely forms that frequent the British coasts.
When you are older I hope you will get a sight of
some of the books written by the late Mr. P. H.
Gosse, who made such creatures the study of his life.
There you will read, among other things, of the stings
which some species possess-fine white threads which
are kept coiled up in their flesh. One anemone may
possess thousands of them, which, although so fine,
are shot out with such force that they will pierce far
into the flesh of a fish, or other swimming creature,
and kill it.
Spg~~r~~ri~ *_4W ...r
W ERE you
S at Sandy-
It is only
a fishing vil-
lage, but such
S a bonny place
for a holiday.
S" Along to the
east there are
where the sea-birds build their nests, and perched
at the top is the white hut where the coast-guard
watches. If you have a mind to sit beside him,
whilst he looks out to sea through his spy-glas,,he
will spin you some fine yarns. But below the cliffs
are the low, hugged rocks, all covered with seaweed,
with their surface broken up into stone basins, where
you may see many wonderful things, if you will only
stoop down to look.
30 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
I have spent hours at low tide peering through the
crystal water of these pools and watching the
anemones, the sea-snails, and the tiny crabs at the
bottom. If you sit quite still, with your eyes fixed
on one of these pools, you will presently see first one
and then another strange creature come from the fine
green weed which lines this natural aquarium. There
are pale, beau-
and clear you
may almost see
and perhaps a
few pretty fishes,
gobies and wrasse,
will swim across.
But if you do
not care about
this kind' of
thing, you can
turn in the op-
SEA CUCUMBER posite direction
where the land
runs down almost to a level with the sea, and the
shore is edged with a wide stretch of fine white sand
where you can bathe, and wade up to your knees, and
build sand castles all the day.
This is the part that Nellie Page likes best. Here
she builds her castles, and goes roving along the
sands, turning over the masses of seaweeds with her
wooden spade, for the mere pleasure of seeing an occa-
"WHATEVER CAN IT BE?" [p. 32.
32 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
sional crab scuttle out and hurry along, sideways, to
the water. There are many things-she does not under-
stand, to be found on the sands and under the weeds,
and these she shovels-into her pail and carries away
to little Harry Monroe, who seems to know all about
them. He is a nice gentle boy, the son of a fisherman
who lives in the cottage close to the one Nellie's
father has hired for a month. He is often upon the
shore looking after the nets and lobster-traps, so that
Nellie usually finds him near when she wants to ask
One day Nellie was walking along the shore, when
she came upon a strange object, such as she had
never noticed before. It was what we call "star-
shaped," although I am told that stars are really
round. Picking it up and putting it in her bucket,
Nellie hurried off to her friend Harry, who happened
to be near.
"Do look, Harry, at this strange thing I have
found," she cried, excitedly; "whatever can it be ?"
"Oh," replied Harry, that is only a star-fish; did
you never see one like that before ?" Nellie con-
fessed that she had not, and added, "But. what a
queer fish it is!"
Then Harry told her that though people call it a
star-fish, it is no fish at all. It cannot swim, it has
no tail or fins, but it can walk. He explained to her
all about this strange creature, but I cannot tell you
one-half of what he told Nellie. He said that on its
underside the star-fish has hundreds of little suckers
which serve it as feet, and enable it to move from
place to place. Its mouth is in the centre, on the
underside, and when it comes across a small crab or
34 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
a mussel, it will curl its five arms under, put out its
suckers, open its mouth, and swallow its victim whole.
It is very destructive to oysters; for though it cannot
swallow their shells, it can so affect the animal within,
by pouring a poisonous fluid into the shell, that he
cannot keep it closed, and then Mr. Star-fish walks
in and swallows the poor oyster. But still, it does
much good by eating up all the dead and decaying
substances which get washed close to the shore, and so
prevents these things becoming offensive and injurious
to us. So we may regard it as a seaside scavenger.
Harry told her also about other kinds of star-fish
he had found, especially one called the Brittle Star,
which snaps off its arms when you touch it; and
about baby star-fishes, which differ very much in
form from their parents.
W HAT an astonishing number of things you can
get by turning over the long rolls of seaweed
that the big waves wash in to the shore.
Wee, toddling Nelly, who has been turning over
the weeds in imitation of her elder brothers and sisters,
comes to me with tears in her eyes, but joy in her
face, and something in her hand. She is delighted
at having found a new treasure, but it has pricked
her tender little fingers. The other children come
:l,-..:ing round, and I have to sit down on the shingle
and tell them what little I know of the sea-urchin.
You understand why it is called sea-urchin, I sup-
pose? The hedgehog is often called urchin, and as
this sea-creature is covered with long,.movable, sharp
spines like the hedgehog, what more natural than to
call it sea-urchin ? This one that Nelly has found is,
unfortunately, a dead specimen, or we might have
put it in one of the rock-pools, and seen it walk. Yes,
certainly! it can walk, not only upon the ground,
but up the straight side of a rock, or, upside-down,
along the ceiling of a marine cavern.
You would be surprised were I to tell you that this
36 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
creature lives all its life shut up in a stone box, so
beautifully formed and fitted together that, though
the urchin doubles its size again and again, the box
never gets too small for it, and yet has never been
too large. When it commences life the sea-urchin is
shut up in a roundish box no bigger than a pea.
When it has attained its full size, it lives in the same
box, but that has grown to be about three inches
across. If you have noticed how snails' shells increase
in size as the snail grows, you may think this as easy
a process in the urchin's box. But look at the
difference in the shapes of the two. The shell which
the snail lived in when first it crawled has only been
added to at the larger end, and the additions have
added to at the larger end, and the additions have
gone on coiling round the original shell to keep pace
with the creature's growth. In many cases the
original part of the snail's shell becomes filled up, or
it wears away, from being at first so very thin. But
the urchin's box is not added to at one end only, but
all over at once.
See here! I rub off some of the spines, and the
surface of the box is exposed to view. There are
rows of little knobs arranged in regular order, and
there are similar rows of tiny holes. Every knob (a)
has upon it a smaller knob (b), which is very highly
polished. Now look at this spine. The
thicker end of it is slightly hollowed (c),
and the hollow exactly corresponds with the
small polished knob. It fits upon it in such
a manner that the spine can move in almost
any direction; and if we look at any of the
spines still adhering to the shell, we shall
find that each is kept in position by muscles,
which are fixed to the larger knob and to
the thick end (d) of the spine.
Thln..i.igh the tiny holes there come, in the living
urchin, long, delicate tubes, with suckers at the end
of them. By means of these suckers-of which
Professor Forbes reckoned each urchin has eighteen
hundred and sixty-the urchin is enabled to climb
Another thing we discover from a careful look at
the part from which I rubbed the spines is, that the
box is made up of a large number of shield-shaped
pieces, each piece fitting very exactly by its edges
to its neighbours. Mr. Gosse, the eminent observer of
seaside life, says there are six hundred of such pieces
38 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
in each box, and it is by the edges of these six
hundred pieces being added to at the same time that
the box increases so regularly in size.
You understand that the box, being made of lime-
stone, cannot grow? The sea-urchin itself has to
take the lime from the sea-water, where there is
always a great quantity of it dissolved, and deposit
it in the cells of its own skin, building it up little by
little, just as our bones are built up inside our bodies.
The urchin's box is coated with a kind of skin both
inside and out, and between the edges of the shield-
shaped pieces of which the box is made.
It'is calculated that an urchin's spines (which are
its protection from enemies) number four thousand.
Its mouth is situated on the under-surface, and its
food consists chiefly of small molluscs and corallines.
The sea-urchin is one of the most marvellously and
beautifully constructed of creatures, and an examina-
tion of it and its history should deepen our feelings of
reverence for its All-wise and Beneficent Creator.
" W~ HATEVER are you going to do with that
V dirty old piece of rotting timber ? Surely
we are not so badly off for firewood that you need
carry that through the streets Besides, it will take
a month to dry it."
Perhaps you would not mind giving me a slight
chance of explaining my strange conduct ? .I confess
I had no thought of providing fuel for the household
fires when I picked up this interesting specimen, but
only of its serving as a wooden peg whereon to hang
a lesson in natural history for yourself. I have been
round the Castle Drive, collecting snails, and .then
down on the beach at Gyllingvaes to find anemones-
and little crabs for the aquarium. We will not look
at those just yet, because you have called attention to
this piece of wood in very slighting terms, and'I want
to show you that things are not always what they
This "dirty old piece of rotting timber," as you
contemptuously called it, is nothing of the kind to
me; it is rather the home of a creature entitled to
40 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
respect, for it was able to teach a great engineer how
to go about his work. Look at these long borings in
tli t_ %
-tld i t hc
-- -_ Tlic aiiin,ril i.; thic
-- ~ .lip -'I irn, aild it lha cutIL
out the tunnel in which
it lies. The piece of wood was washed in shore at
my feet, and is probably a part of some noble vessel
that has been driven in the storm and darkness upon
the dreaded Manacles, and there broken to pieces on
thi::c cru l c.-1< .
It lh.,j ii ,t bh -.:n iii. inl t e \': :r )
b ,e .',- .a *-,_m ,. \ ,hul i- : ] -,i p ,. ,:,r n l : .--
I'ih :d -ctt!,_d j|.,,:,i .it, and cO:,m 0 --
l- *, L C. 1 1 11 '. 1
aillI ill i-I
long nail, with a large round head; and, although
42 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
it is not as hard as a nail, it is quite as clever in
finding its way into the hardest wood. Of course,
it likes a bit of nice soft pine-wood to cut into, but
will not pass by the hardest bit of oak or teak that
was ever used to build a ship.
I have likened it to a nail, but in one important
point the simile does not hold; this nail does not go
in point first as ordinary nails do, but head first,
which is a habit no self-respecting nail would care to
copy. Well, having driven its head into the wood a
little way, it proceeds to line its tunnel with cement
or concrete, just as other tunnel-makers have-learned
to do from watching it.
Here is an interesting little story, which goes to
show that great men do not despise the teachings of
the smallest creatures. You have all heard of the
Thames tunnel, which goes right under the bed of
the river Thames, and which now forms part of the
East London Railway line. When that tunnel was
made it was considered to be one of the greatest
feats of engineering. Mr. Brunel (afterwards Sir
Isambard Brunel) got his idea how to do such a
difficult piece of work by watching the ship-worms
boring through timber. He found that when the
ship-worm had bored a small piece of tunnel it
plastered the sides well with a kind of cement. In
making the Thames tunnel Brunel copied these
methods. He cut only a few feet of tunnel, and then
bricked it round, strongly and firmly, whilst the next
few feet were being bored.
What I have likened to the head of a nail contains
the chief part of the creature's body, enclosed in a
shell of three pieces. The long, worm-like portion
consists of two tubes, through which it breathes,
wrapped round with a soft mantle. From this mantle
is poured out a sticky fluid, which hardens into a
limyy cement, and forms the tunnel walls.
You must understand that, though called ship-
wormn, it is not really a worm at all. Many animals
had the names by which we know them given to
them when people did not understand their true
nature. So anything long and thin got called a
worm, and most things that live in water were called
fishes. This cockle is called a fish-a shell-fish-so is
the crab, and the whale is called a fish. But about
that matter I may have something to say to you
The ship-worm then is not a worm, but what
naturalists call a mollusc, and he has for fellow-
molluscs the oyster, the whelk, the snail, and' the
His mission in life is to destroy all timber that he
finds floating about in the sea, and in the days of
wooden ships he was very much feared indeed. So
in truth he is now, for not contenting himself with
floating timber, the ship-worm attacks the piles of
piers and wharves, the gates of docks, and the timbers
of dykes. The safety of a nation has even been
imperilled by this little creature, for the dykes of
Holland, which keep the sea out of that low-lying
country, have several times been so badly tunnelled
by it as to cause great fear that the waters might
break through and drown the people.
PETER, THE COCKLE-GATHERER.
W ANDERING along the sea-shore the other
day, I came across a boy who had a sack
over his shoulder and a pail on his arm. Perhaps I
ought to say he came across me, for I was stooping
over a heap of seaweeds, and picking out shells and
other interesting things. I remembered him as one
of the boys of the village where I was staying, and
he seemed to know me.
He watched me intently for some time, and then
asked me questions about the shells I was collecting:
what I would do with them, and their names. Having
satisfied him as well as I could, I thought I would in
turn extract a little information from him.
His sack and his pail were both nearly filled with
cockles ; and in reply to my questions he told me he
had been busy since the tide went out, digging and
raking them from the sand.
"It is only at low tide," said he, "that we can
PETER, THE COCKLE-GATHERER.
46 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
obtain them. All these two-shelled creatures love to
burrow in the muddy sands that are uncovered for a
short time each day. You may look for them in the
sands that are covered only at high tide, and you will
not find them. When these sands are under water,
the cockles come up to the surface and walk about."
But," said I, "how can they walk ? Cockles have
no legs !"
No," said Peter-for that, I learned, was his name
-" they have no legs; but they have what is called a
foot, and it serves them for a foot and a hand also.
Look; in my pail is one with his foot out of the
shell ; you can see what I mean."
I looked into his pail, and saw that one of the
cockles had opened his shell, and thrust out a long
fleshy organ like a finger, tipped, with yellow. This
tip was bending into a hook, with which it caught
hold of the other cockles, and so pulled itself along.
"There !" continued Peter, "that is just the way
they travel about. They get that hooked behind a
stone or in a bunch of weed, and away goes the shell
and the cockle after it. Straightening the foot, they
can push it down into the sand, and, then, by bending
the tip into a hook again, can so hold on to the sand
that they are able to pull down the shell after it.
When the tide is out I wade into the.water with
my pail on my arm, and pick them up. But it is
sharp work, for many of them seem to know my
business, and dart into the sand very quickly. Some-
times I see them jumping about in the water; for by
bending their foot, pressing the tip against the sand,
and suddenly making it straight again, the shell leaps
up -in the water. Sometimes they use their- foot as a
PETER, THE COCKLE-GATHERER.
ferry-man uses his pole, and by pushing it against the
sand are moved backwards."
"And do you mean to say," I asked, "that they
can take that long foot right inside and close the
shells up tightly?"
Yes," he replied; "nearly all these are closed up
in that way, and there is no sign of a foot to be seen."
keep the shells closed ? I cannot pull them apart! "
"No! and that, I think, is more wonderful, still.
When you think that it has no very solid flesh, and
yet has got sufficient muscle in that small box to
keep the lid from being opened, it shows how
beautifully God has made it."
No doubt," said I, that all such creatures show
God's great goodness and wisdom in fitting them all
48 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
for their special mode of life; but I should like to
hear a little more about the way in which it is
Well!" said Peter, I think I can tell you, for I
have examined many shells, and I have seen the
fishermen force the shells open with a knife to get
the cockle out alive for bait. See, the edges of
the shells are crinkled, so they fit one edge into the
other. Then at the back they are wonderfully hinged,
by one shell having tooth-like pieces which fit into
little spaces in the other shell. Then the two are
fastened together by a leathery hinge, which is also
a spring which forces them apart. But then again
there are strong bands of muscle, which, lengthen or
shorten to close or open the shell, fixed tightly to
each shell, more in the centre ; and unless these are
cut or broken it is impossible for us to force the shells
I wanted to ask Peter about the wonderful means
adopted to enable the cockle to breathe when it is
under the sand or mud; and how the hard shell
increases in size as the cockle grows; with some
other matters in the creature's history. But he said
it was time for him to be getting home with his load;
his father would be expecting him. H-e promised to
look out for me another day, when he had a little
time to spare to answer my questions. So I must
keep a look out for him.
MY young friend Frank Dawson is a Band of
Hope boy, and a short time ago he went on
a Band of Hope excursion to Brighton. Whilst there
he visited the Aquarium, and was so much interested
in the wonderful creatures he saw in the tanks that
he says he would like to spend a whole day looking at
them. He is a regular reader of The Children's Friend,
and has therefore learned a good-deal about sea beasts
from my friend James Weston; and now, for the first
time, he was able to see them alive.
He tells me he was greatly interested in the ane-
mones, the barnacles, star-fishes, sea-urchins, crabs,
and cuttle-fish. And so, by-and-by, he strolled along
the beach away from the crowds, and turned over the
masses of sea-weed that had been washed up by the
waves, and picked up many treasures and carried
them home for me.
I do not intend just now to make out a list of the
curious things he brought to ask me their names, but
among them was what looked like a bunch of small
grapes of a dark colour. I had seen such things
50 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
before, and was therefore able to tell Frank they were
the eggs of a cuttle-fish. Frank was delighted; and
plied me with all manner of questions concerning
them. Would they hatch? What would the young
cuttles be like ? Were they like the full-grown cuttles,
or did they go through some different form first-like
.tadpoles and frogs, or like caterpillars and butterflies?
Frank left me after he had seen his cuttle-eggs
safely deposited in a little marine aquarium which
I have; but a few days later I had the pleasure of
seeing a tiny little cuttle moving about the bottom
of the vessel. Of course you want to know what it
is like. Well, I cannot carry my aquarium round to
all my readers-it would take years and years to do
that; but I have got my friend, Mr. Carreras, to
draw the portraits of the cuttle family, which you
may all see. On the opposite page is a long-bodied
creature, with two very long arms in addition to the
eight shorter ones. I do not mean the bent-backed
specimen in. the right-hand corner, but the one next
to him. You quite understand, I am sure. Well,
that is the kind of creature that came from one of
I sent a message to Frank, and, as soon as school
was over, he came bounding along the garden, and in
through the open French windows of my study.
"Oh !" said he, quite breathlessly; I am so glad.
I thought they were addled, or something, and wouldn't
hatch. May I see it?" (When Frank was excited
he did not speak as correctly or clearly as might be
wished. The "they referred to the bunch of eggs;
the "it" to the solitary cuttle, or sepia, that had
SPINY OCTOPUS. ELEDONE. SEPIA. SQUID.
52 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
I led him to the aquarium, and he was delighted
to see the little creature rushing through the water
backwards, or walking along the bottom head down-
zwards. "Is it not strange ?" said Frank; "that is
just exactly as the cuttle-fishes acted in the Brighton
Aquarium. How do they go backwards like that ?
and don't they meet with accid
"We should, undoubtedly, if *ere, V ,*.t
backwards like that, and at the -.ue rate' ut I
do not suppose it hurts the cutti,. Thl- is l
in which it is propelled with ich le
front of the head you will see a tube plI'',.t
this is called the funnel. In I-.rdh.r that t
may be purified, the cuttle takes in g!riat.:
of water, just as we take air ii, t.:. ur I, i s
similar purpose; and when it I ,i- ..ib-:rbE
oxygen that the water contain :, l!,.: 'A.it
out through the funnel. Now, -I- *..l.d-th-i
alarmed, or see an enemy _-.pr.-. i.:,ing e
this water with extra force, an,.l i-th
that the cuttle flies backwards t:I.' LI.l t!e 1,e
from its enemy."
"But I have read somewhere th It JIHe
appears in a dark cloud when al.n mI.:..l r 'c S
managed ? e,
"I was coming to that. Nc i t cf
funnel the cuttle has a little bag I lII, ~'t-l 1
a kind of ink. This ink it is abi.- .At i tL:
into the funnel, where it mixes i- tl-h t.. ..i-
is being ejected, and so a black cloud is produced
in the sea round about the cuttle. In very ancient
times this was known to be a good ink, and so it was
used for writing purposes. It is still used in the
'nY a t r ,o 4
I-r~ t huh
,1 thk H
54 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
delusive term than the word fish.' Cuttle-fishes, like
oysters and winkles, belong to the same group of
animals as do the snails and slugs of our gardens,
only the cuttles rank much higher than oysters and
"Why, if they belong to the same family, so to
speak, do the cuttles take a higher place than snails ? "
"They are what naturalists call more highly organ-
ised. For instance, the cuttles have got a thick,
fleshy tongue, and this denotes that they have a keen
sense of taste. They have ears, and organs of smell;
furthermore, they have a distinct brain enclosed in a
kind of box, which approaches somewhat to our skull.
But let us look again at our baby-cuttle as he disports
about the bottom of the aquarium. Do you not see
that, young as he is, he knows how to take care of
and feed himself? That little shrimp is as big as the
cuttle, yet the soft cuttle, by getting his tiny arms
round him, and clinging on with his suckers, has got
the better of the mail-clad shrimp. On the under
side of each of the eight short arms there are four
rows of little suckers, with which the cuttle can cling
so tightly that the arm may be torn to pieces rather
than the suckers will relax their hold. There are
similar suckers, too, on the flattened ends of the two
very long arms."
"When first I looked in the aquarium tanks at
Brighton, I could not see any cuttle-fish, although
there were plenty of them there; but after looking
very closely at the rocks I could see them moving
about, and quickly changing colour, so as to look
exactly like what they were on."
"Yes, that is another protection with which the
wisdom of God -has provided them. If you watch
them closely, you will see the colour of their skin
changing constantly, to resemble the tints of the sands,
the rocks, or the seaweeds that surround them, just in
the same manner that the chameleon changes its hues.
"But now I want you to look at these drawings,
and see some of the strange forms of cuttle-fishes.
That great fellow (page 53), whose arms wander all
over the picture, is the octopus. Here you will see
the eight arms are all connected by a kind of web,
and are each about the same length. The creature
up in the right-hand top corner of page 51 is called a
squid. You will notice that he is much like the cuttle
in respect of the number and length of his arms, but
the sides of his body are spread out in a peculiar
manner. This kind is much used for bait in the cod-
fisheries, and I have been told that at least one-half
of all the cod caught in. the great Newfoundland
fisheries are taken with this bait. The codfish are
very fond of it, and are said to be in their finest con-
dition when they have been feeding on the shoals of
"In the top left-hand corner of our picture you will
.observe another species of octopus-the Horrid or
Spiny Octopus; and that just below it is the Eledone.
The little fellow right at the bottom of the picture,
with his body expanded at the sides into.what appear
like wings, is called the Sepiola, or Little Sepia.
"Returning again to our common cuttle, or sepia,
I should tell you that the cuttle-bone, which bird-
dealers sell for mixing with the food of cage-birds,
belongs to this species, and is a kind of backbone. It
is enclosed in the 'mantle,' or outer covering of the
56 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
cuttle, and is so lightly constructed that it will float
on the water. You may frequently find them cast up
on our shores from the dead bodies of cuttles, and
on the shores of the Mediterranean, where this species
is extremely common, the cuttle-bones may be seen
heaped up in ridges, which extend for miles. In
those parts the people use the cuttle for food, and
men go along the shore at night with a flaming torch
in one hand and a spear in the other, and transfix all
the cuttles they can.
"Cuttle-fishes are sometimes met with that have
attained enormous proportions. It is said that about
forty years ago a specimen was cast up on the shores
of Jutland, and the fishermen cut it up for bait.
When so cut up, the pieces filled several wheelbarrows,
and one of the arms was said to be as thick as a man's
thigh. Then again, about thirty years ago, a French
steamer near Teneriffe came across a monster cuttle
of a brick-red colour. So close did the vessel get
to it, that the officers sketched it, and were able to
take pretty accurate measurements of it. It was
estimated to be from 15 to 18 feet in length, with
arms 5 or 6 feet long, and to weigh about 36 cwt."
X .-- -
/- .--_ ^ :.
F, in our rambles along the shore, we stop to look
at any of the rocks that are uncovered at low tide,
we shall find that a large portion of their surface is
covered with a small shell, somewhat like a limpet's,
but not so smooth. Neither is it so sharply pointed
at top as. that of the limpet. Indeed, it looks some-
what like a limpet's shell that has had the pointed top
cut off, and the opening closed by means of a door
formed of four triangular pieces of shell.. These pieces,
or valves, fit together very accurately by two of their
edges, whilst the third is hinged to the larger shell
If, again, you were to look among the empty mussel
or venus-shells in the rock-pools, or along the beach,
you would find many of these strange formations,
which are popularly known as Acorn-shells. Here is
such a colony on the shell of a live cockle; and look,
here is a fine cluster on this deserted whelk-shell. Let
us take them home in this pickle-jar, which we will
first fill with the clearest and brightest of sea-water.
58 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
And now that we have got home, let us transfer
our whelk-shell and the live cockle to this thin glass
tumbler, with a portion of the sea-water. We will
put the glass in front of this window, so that the light
will fall upon our acorn-shells as they lie close to the
glass. Now watch! See, the door opens, and what
looks like a tiny plume of feathers is thrust out. But
it is more beautiful than any feather worn by bird, for
it is transparent and delicately tinted as though spun
from the finest glass. It has been likened to a hand
of many delicate fingers, and this is really not a bad
description of it. It should also be stated that it is a
The door opens, the hand is put out, the fingers
are spread widely open, and then closed as though
they had grasped something. We cannot see that
they have caught anything, but they have probably
got something that is too small for us to be able to
detect, although not too small to be felt by those
delicate "fingers." No sooner has the hand closed
than it disappears from sight, and the doors shut
down closely again. They only remain closed for
about one second, then they open again, the hand
comes out, makes a grab at something invisible,
disappears, and the door shuts once more. So the
process goes on continually, and thus the acorn-
barnacle gets its living.
Try to move the acorn-shell from the rock or shell
upon which it is fixed, and you will find it is too
firmly attached; and yet-will you believe it ?-the
acorn-barnacle in its youth was a swimming creature!
David sings, in the good old Book, "They that go
down to the sea in ships, that do business in great
60 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
waters ; these see the works of the Lord, and His
wonders in the deep." True as this verse is of those
that go in ships, it is in the present day, perhaps,
more true of those who merely linger by the shore,
or study the sea in small quantities at home. David
probably knew nothing of the wonderful transforma-
tions that take place among the creatures that people
the great waters, whilst we have the accumulated
wisdom of the ages to enlighten us upon these
matters. What takes place in the mighty deep, in
the small rock-pools on the shore, aye, even in a few
pints of sea-water in our homes, surpasses the marvels
of fairy tales and Arabian Nights Entertainments."
Crabs in their younger days swim gaily through the
waters, instead of walking sedately along the bottom,
and all barnacles in early life resemble the infant crabs.
They begin life much resembling the so-called
water-fleas that swarm in ponds and streams. Their
bodies are encased in a broad, glassy shell, and they
are provided with two pairs of feelers, or antennae, and
three pairs of swimming-legs, which are branched,
jointed, and covered with bristles. In addition they
each possess a forked tail and one eye. They become
in time too large for their unyielding armour, so cast
it off, and underneath this is another suit, but quite
soft at first. Before this hardens it gets larger than
the old suit, and allows the little creature room to
grow. By the time it'has thrown off its third suit of
clothes it has greatly altered in form. Its head has
become very large, and more distinct from the rest of
its body, and its one eye has become two.
It now seeks about for an eligible site upon which
to build a house and settle down for life. It has had
enough of gadding about, and now determines to cast
anchor. This one selected the cockle shell, that one
c *\ *A ^ .,^
the whelk, whilst others preferred the rock, or the
Their method of casting anchor you will probable
consider apeculiar one. The active swimming infant
barnacle such as I have described lays his head down
62 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
upon the rock, as though tired by all this swimming
and paddling about, spreads his feelers out before him,
and exudes a kind of marine glue, which sets under
water and effectually fastens him down for the
remainder of his life. Then off goes his old shell,
away go his eyes, and his legs are turned into
feathery plumes, which in future must bring him his
dinner and other meals. His new shell takes the
form of this rugged, cone-shaped house, with its four
doors at the top.
There is a larger kind of acorn-shell than the one
we have been considering, with its shells more deeply
grooved and ridged, and hence called the Porcate-
barnacle-porcate meaning, according to the diction-
aries, "formed in ridges." There is also a much
smaller kind, which is only found on corals ; specimens
of our native cup-coral usually have one or two of the
Pyrgoma-barnacles attached to them.
The largest member of the family is the Necked-
barnacle or Ship-barnacle, as it is often called. This
is shown in the picture (page 59)-the, fine striking
cluster at the top with the long stalks. It may sound
strange to you, but the long stalk is really the
creature's head. Although it is flexible and capable
of being jerked about by the animal, it is also tough
and leathery. The thickened portion at the end of
the stalk is enclosed in valves which resemble real
shells. Their colour is white, very prettily tinted
with streaks of light blue, whilst the edges are
coloured orange or scarlet. Then the -. ,-:pin., hand,
instead of being transparent, as in the acorn-barnacle,
is coloured purplish black.
The necked barnacle delights to "see the world,"
so he attaches himself to bodies that are always on
the move. It is of little consequence to him whether
the object upon which he fixes be a great ship, a log
of timber, a whale, or the shell of a turtle. So quickly
do they grow that, in the days of wooden ships, the
barnacles-used to increase so thickly on their bottoms
as to seriously interfere with their speed through the
water; but now ships are often coated with a patent
composition which the barnacles do not like. In old
days ships had frequently to be put in dock and
scraped to get rid of the enormous weight of barnacles!
The whales and turtles, and other living creatures
upon which they fix, are obliged to rub themselves
against the rocks to dislodge this nuisance.
So closely does the "hand" of this barnacle re-
semble a bird's plumes that in "the good old days "
--which, as a rule, were very bad old days of ignorance
and superstition-people believed there was a tiny
little bird inside the shells, and that it grew until its
wings and legs were fully formed, and that then it
dropped out and became a goose. There is a bird
called the bernicle-goose, and because the name is
similar they said the barnacle was really the young of
the bernicle-goose. This, of course, was all nonsense.
A CHAT ABOUT CRABS:
AS we were going to the rock-pools yesterday
morning, we went down the slope from the sea-
wall, and at its foot we found Fred Polsue, whose
father is the fisherman that lives up at the top of the
village. Fred's father and another fisherman had
been out crabbing," and had just returned with their
crab-pots. They had put these ashore and left Fred
in charge whilst they took the boat to its mooring-
Fred had managed to get one of the crabs out
of the pot without getting his fingers nipped in the
process, and was now teasing it with a bit of stick.
Oh, Mr. Weston," said Fred, "do tell me some-
thing about crabs. I never before took much notice
of them, although I have seen thousands."
Now Fred had been very kind to me; knowing I'
was fond of animals, he had often brought me strange
creatures picked up "along shore," or in the trawl
when his father had been out trawling for fish; so I
was very pleased if I could be of any little service to
him. I will not trouble you with all our questions
"TEASING IT WITH A BIT OF STICK."
66 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
and answers, but this is the substance of what I told
"Well, Fred, you have set me a pretty task. You,
a fisherman's son, to ask me to tell you 'something
about crabs'! Why, surely you could tell me far
more than I know about them? I have never even
been out 'crabbing,' although your father has pro-
mised to take me one day."
But Fred assured me that it was not so much about
.* -* i ." '.-
THE EDIBLE CRAB.
the kind of crab we eat that he wanted to know, as
about others. So I told him of the difference between
the edible crab and the little green shore-crab which all
the boys angle for from the harbour walls. And,
indeed, it was very easy to do so, because a shore-crab
went scuttling by at the moment, and was put up on
the wall beside the' larger species.
Then I went on to tell him of the hermit-crab,
with his soft, weak, queer-shaped body, who protects
'L ; ,." "" T.-_ -
with his soft, weak, queer-shaped body, who protects
I a '
I~_ ~E___ _
HiER IT CRAMS.
68 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
himself by taking possession of the empty shell of
a whelk or winkle. Crabs are all cannibals, more or
less, and constantly on the look-out for their smaller
brothers and sisters, that they may pounce upon them
and eat them. But they have legs and hard shells,
which are useful for their protection. Not so the
poor hermit. The greater part of his body is soft,
and his legs will not enable him to run at all fast.
So he looks about along the bottom of his rock-pool,
and turns over all the empty shells he can find that seem
the right size for him. Sometimes, the hermit cannot
discover an empty shell to suit him, so he looks about
for one whose owner is still living, and forcibly pulls
him out and eats him. He then inserts his hooked
tail inside, and, finding it to be a pretty good fit,
hooks himself on, and walks proudly about with his
house on his back, like the snail in the words of the
You may judge, by glancing at the picture (page
67), what a fierce-looking fellow the hermit is when
he has got into his shell. You will observe, at the
same time, that one of his pincer-claws is much larger
than the other. When he has drawn his body into
the shell, this big claw acts as a door, and effectually
blocks the way in. To the right of the picture you
will see a figure of one drawn into his shell, and the
Crabs are not born in the form assumed in later
life. When a baby crab gets outside his egg-shell,
he is such a very strange-looking little fellow, I am
afraid his own mother would not know him-or own
him. It is not very easy by means of a description
to make you understand his appearance, but I must
A CHAT ABOUT CRABS.
try. Imagine a soldier's helmet with a very long
curved spike at the top. From the back of this helmet
there goes off a long jointed tail which broadens out
at the end. In front of the helmet there are two
large goggle eyes, like the eyes of a diver's head-dress,
and a long slender spike which looks like a nose.
From the sides of the helmet hang down eight slender
legs, each leg ending in several bristles. -By the
constant jerking of his long tail this strange creature
makes his way through the water, constantly turning
head-over-heels-or, more properly speaking, head-
He is, of course,
a very tiny creature -
at this time-not .
much bigger than
a pin's head, in
fact; but he soon
grows, and by the -
time he is as big as -
a small pea he has SPIDER-CRAB.
entirely cast his first
skin. In his new suit of clothes he looks not unlike
a little lobster, for he has got a pair of pincer-claws
and a long tail.
When he becomes a little larger, he assumes the
proper form of a crab, and henceforth he is A walker
and not a swimmer. It is not long before he has
again grown too big for his clothes, and unfortunately
they are so hard and stony they will not stretch, and
there are no tucks to let out. So our poor crab has
to contrive to get out of his suit of armour; and, if
you consider that each of his limbs is divided by
70 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
several very narrow joints, you will understand his
difficulty. Not only does he get outside his old
armour, but he is obliged to leave behind a good
deal of his hard internal organs, such as the bones in
his chest, the lining of his ears, and the bony cover-
ing of his lungs. His flesh shrinks up to help him to
get out of his prison, and then it expands again, and
he suddenly becomes much larger than before.
But his new coat is very soft, and his limbs are weak
and flabby. He cannot nip with his pincers now, or
bid defiance to opponents. No; he is at their mercy,
and they let him know it. He suffers a good deal of
petty annoyance from those creatures who usually
flee from him ; so he retires to a crevice in the rocks,
and keeps quiet for a short time, to allow his new
clothes to harden.
It is astonishing what an interesting and varied
family the crabs are. There are crabs that swim;
there are crabs that live on land, some burrowing into
the ground like rabbits, others marching in gangs
for many miles. There is a most remarkable-looking
crab on the shores of Japan, which measures, when
its legs are stretched out, eleven feet across How
pleasant to be sitting on the sea-shore and have two
or three of these long-legged gentry come out of the
sea to look at you !
There are smaller crabs with long thin legs, which
are known as spider-crabs. They have a remarkable
habit of getting under a sponge, forcing it open, and so
getting it fixed upon their spiny backs. Of course, the
fish that saw a loose sponge rolling along towards it
would never dream there was danger in it; but so it is,
and the spider-crab gets a meal without much trouble.
A CHAT ABOUT CRABS.
Somewhat similar to the spider-crab is the thorn-
back, whose shell is thickly covered with spines and
knobs of various sizes.
There is a group of crabs called swimming-crabs,
which have their claws flattened and widened to
serve them as paddles in swimming quickly through
the sea. One of these swimming-crabs is very com-
I 0 I
mon on our shores, and is known as the velvet
fiddler. This name has been given to him, first,
because he is covered with soft velvety hairs; and,
second, because in swimming he works his feet back-
wards and forwards in a way that resembles the
movement of a violinist's -arm.
Over-leaf is a picture of -another kind of crab,
72 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
called the broad-claw. .He is chiefly remarkable for
his flatness : and when I tell you that he is usually
to be found under stones, you will understand why he
is flat. His claws are fringed with long hairs, with
which he sweeps any floating food towards his mouth,
But he gets into a terribly grimy and dirty condition,
because these hairs get filled up with mud. To
enable him to clean himself occasionally, the hinder-
most pair of claws are fashioned like little brushes,
and he has a special case to. keep these in when not
in use. The under side of this crab is beautifully
polished, and resembles a
-' piece of porcelain; this re-
semblance is increased when
-. ) the little creature has tucked
all its limbs closely to its
--"i 2 i body. There are some for-
eign crabs which have in a
;' ",. y greater degree this stony
BROAD-CLAW. appearance and the power
of packing their limbs away
under them. One of these is called the calappa,
which is said to be often picked up by sailors
on the shores of the Indian Ocean, who imagine
that it is a pretty stone. A funny story is told of
a quartermaster who gathered a number of these
calappas, under the impression that they were peb-
bles, which would make admirable brooches or scarf-
pins if properly cut and polished. He put these
away in a silk handkerchief, in which he also kept his
tobacco-cake and money, and stowed them away in his
sea-chest. Now, it chanced that a dishonest mess-
mate who was short of tobacco came across the hoard,
A CHAT ABOUT CRABS.
and removed all but the calappas. Next day the
quartermaster went to his chest for a bit of tobacco.
To his astonishment he saw his pretty stones running
about all over his best uniform, and found that his
money and tobacco were missing. He declared they
must have been magic stones, which had come to life,
eaten his tobacco, and spent his money. Nothing
could persuade him otherwise, and he lost little time
before throwing these "live stones" over the ship's
side, where they were, no doubt, much happier than
in his chest.
In all parts of the tropical seas there is a strange
form found, which is known as the king-crab, or sea-
scorpion. Its shell is so large that it entirely hides
the creature's legs, and all you can see is a kind of
shield moving about. Its long tail is so hard, and its
points and edges so sharp, that the natives of the
islands in the Eastern Ocean use it as a spear-head
There are crabs which live almost entirely upon
land, and among these is one which we might call
the grass-cutter. It is a native of India, and Bishop
Heber has described its abundance in the grass and
rice lands of the Deccan, where it burrows in the
ground. He says: It is amusing to see the crabs,
sitting, as it were, upright, cut their hay with their
sharp pincers, and then waddling off with their sheaf
to their holes as quickly as their sidelong pace will
carry them." This is a very remarkable habit, though
perhaps not so remarkable as the manners of the
It used to be stated that the cocoanut-crab was in
the habit of climbing the cocoanut palms, picking the
74 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
fruit, throwing it to the ground, and thus breaking
the shells to get at the kernels. The climbing
powers of this crab, however, do not appear to have
KING-CRA OR SA-SCORPION.
KING-CRAB OR SEA-SCORPION.
been observed by any reliable person. You have
sometimes seen in fruiterers' shops the cocoanut with
its thick, fibrous overcoat on-the substance of which
A CHAT ABOUT CRABS.
cocoanut matting and door-mats are made. The
cocoanut-crab tears this fibre off the fallen fruit, and
gets to the end of the nut, where, you remember,
there are three smooth pits, which you call the
monkey's eyes and nose. Now this crab has two
pairs of pincers-the usual heavy pair and a thin
small pair. With his heavy claw he hammers at one
of the "monkey's eyes" until he has broken it
through; he then inserts one of the small nippers,
and extracts a portion of the cocoanut flesh, which he
eats. And so he becomes fat and enticing food for
the natives, who set out in parties to hunt him.
Besides feasting so daintily, the cocoanut-crab likes
to take his rest cosily. So he digs out a deep cave
beneath the roots of a tree, and in it he lays a thick
soft bed of the finest cocoanut fibres, carefully selected,
on which he reposes.
There are other land-crabs beside the cocoanut-crab.
There is one in the West Indies, who makes his home
chiefly in the forests far inland, living in holes. In
the rainy season this species quit their holes, and,
gathering in enormous companies, make their way
straight for the sea-shore. Nothing but broad rivers
can stop them, and they do a vast amount of damage
on the way.
Some species have a sweet tooth, and haunt the
sugar plantations, where they squeeze the "cane and
suck the juice from it.
W HEN I was about your own age I remember
hearing a song which I have forgotten, all
except one line, and that was-
Did you ever see an oyster walk upstairs ?"
Now this was a ridiculous question to ask, and I
frankly confess that I never have seen an oyster
perform in that manner. I know an oyster is very
fond of his bed-so fond that when once he gets on it
he never leaves it until man takes him away-but his
bed is downstairs on the sea-bottom, not upstairs.
Yet I have been told of fishes that do something
almost as wonderful, and that is, to climb trees!
I really am not joking. There is an Indian fish
called the anabas, or climbing perch, which is so
formed that it can not only remain out of water for a
long time, but also climb into bushes and trees. Then
there is a family called frog-fishes, which have fins so
shaped and placed on the body that they can use
them as legs. They can live out of water for two or
THE CLIMBING PERCH.
three days; so they take advantage of this fact, and
creep about on land like small four-footed creatures.
78 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
Another fish which goes for a walk on shore is the
strange-looking sea-bat. Then, of course, you have
heard of the flying-fish, which leaps out of the sea,
and flits through the air for a little distance. It is
able to do this because its fins are so very large and
somewhat in the form of wings. It cannot really fy,
in the way that birds fly. The flying gurnard of the
Mediterranean is another fish which is enabled to flit
i', I I <. 4 '
through the air owing to its large fins. These are
transparent, olive green in colour, with numerous
bright-blue spots upon them.
Some queer fishes are clad in various kinds of armour.
On page 81 is a picture of the remarkable pipe-fish,
whose body is so long and slender that he can curl
it round the seaweeds. He is covered with large
bony plates instead of scales, and the skin from his
sides laps over to form a long pouch underneath him.
80 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
In this pouch Mr. Pipe-fish carries the eggs which
Mrs. P. has
--- -" p-~ deposited.
S fish has a
r e m a r k -remark-
n ar wedable cou-
I- _- sin, who is
er idthe sea-
hs i-s--- horse. His
FLY.bNl .S.. .plates are
formed, and his large eyes, at the beginning of his
long, turned-up nose, give him a very fierce appear-
ance. He curls his tail
round a weed, and the
upper part of him looks
just like the head and
neck of a little horse.
Another kind of sea-
horse is more remark-
able still. It is perhaps
a good thing that I
have not got his por-
trait; for were I to
show it to you, you
would think the artist
had been troubled with
the nightmare, and had
drawn one of the weird SEA-HORSE.
creatures of his dream. He looks more like the
whose flesh the
waves have torn
into long ribbons,
which float in the
water like real rib-
bons in a breeze.
ture can this be?"
No, my friend,
that is not a
has "run away
to sea." He is
really known as the
globe-fish, and when
among his friends is
But he has an odd
82 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
balloon, like the frog who made believe he was an
ox. Then his sharp spines stick out, and look very
unpleasant; and, oddest thing of all, he turns over
and floats on his back. Another peculiar thing about
him is that he has no teeth, but instead there is a
plate of ivory along his gums, which has to serve him
But what do you think of this? A fish that lives
all his life shut up in a box with his tail sticking out
at the end, and his fins at work through holes in the
sides. The eyes, the fins, the tail, and the thin lips
of the little mouth are all the parts of his body that
the trunk-fish is able to move. He inhabits the Indian
Ocean, and seems to get along pretty comfortable
in spite of what looks to us a very uncomfortable
suit of clothes.
Still keeping to those fishes that have bony plates
upon their bodies, we have the sturgeon, whose por-
trait is on the next page. He is an enormous fellow,
sometimes attaining a length of twenty feet and more,
and weighing several hundredweight. Although stur-
geons have no teeth, they catch and eat enormous
numbers of fish, such as mackerel and herrings. In
spring they assemble in great shoals and ascend large
rivers, where they lay their eggs. People in the north
of Europe who catch the sturgeon are able to make
a good deal of money out of it. The swimming
bladder is made into isinglass, and the roe into a
kind of food called caviare. The eggs in a sturgeon's
roe have been counted, and in one that was taken from
a fish which weighed two hundred and seventy pounds
there were counted one million and a half of eggs! But
Seven this vast number must have been quite small when
compared with that of a roe which weighed by itself
eight hundred pounds. This was taken from a giant fish,
which weighed two thousand eight hundred pounds.
I am making a very long chapter of this, but there
84 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
are still many queer fishes
which I have not yet
mentioned. There is the
"A torpedo or cramp-fish, so
,Ji [ called because it has an
arrangement inside some-
thing like the cells of a
galvanic battery, by means
of which it has the power
S\to give electric shocks.
These shocks, though not
so powerful as those pro-
duced by the electric-eel,
i are still strong enough to
Sman, should he take hold
S of the fish; and it is
Believed the torpedo uses
its power for the purpose
of catching its prey.
From an English fish
I which procures its food in
this way we are easily led
to a native of Indian seas
and rivers which shoots its
S prey! This archer is said
to be fond of insects. His
mouth is drawn out into
a kind of beak, and by
means of this he can'shoot
out a drop of water at any
fly that may be resting
on a plant at the water's
__ "If 4
IIIr j-;' I 1
. .. .
THE ARCHER FISH.
86 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
edge. The result is,
the fly usually drops
into the water, when
the archer, of course,
But this is not
nearly so clever or
cunning as the method
adopted by the fishing-
frog, a fish about five
feet in length, common
on our shores. This
reminds one of an
enormous tadpole, for
it seems to be nearly
all head. Its mouth
FISHING-FROG OR ANGLER.
'~-~~ ~L e":
extends right across the whole width of the head, and
the under jaw protrudes beyond the upper; and, to add
to his charming appearance, both jaws are provided
with. a double row of sharp teeth. What entitles it
to special, mention here, however, is the foremost of
three long spines upon the top of its head. This is
pliant enough to bend over like a fishing-rod, so that
the tip, which is red and fleshy, resembles a worm.
Now, being so big and ungainly, the fishing-frog
cannot chase the smaller fish that he feeds upon.
He has a better plan. He half buries himself in the
mud and weeds, so that he cannot be seen clearly,
then he sets his fishing-rod gently moving. This, of
course, is too much temptation for some silly little
fish, who, without waiting to consider, rushes at the
88 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
supposed worm. The great mouth of the fishing-frog
opens, and the little fish is seen no more.
Just one more to finish up this chapter, and I think
you will agree that it is the queerest-looking fish of
which you ever saw the portrait. I cannot tell you
much about it, except that it was not known until
a few years ago, when M. Milne-Edwardes, the French
naturalist, dredged it up, from a depth of seven thou-
sand and eighty feet, off the coast of Morocco. It
was about eighteen inches long, and of a black colour.
At present it is not well enough known to have an
English name, so I am compelled to give you the
scientific one. You will admit that it is.a very suit-
able one for so queer an object. It is Euryplarynx
THE BASS ROCK.
1\ I-' ANY of my young friends
'1 1 hl ave spent their summer
holidays on some part
of the British coasts,
have to a certainty
been delighted to see
the wonderfully grace-
ful movements of the
sea-birds, which seem
to fly with very little
I V exertion. One species
".. or other of the gulls-
s "there are many kinds
-they must have seen,
flying out to sea and hovering round passing vessels
in the hope of picking up waste food that may be
thrown overboard. Or they may have come across
a flock of them on the sands, seeking for a meal.
But it is in their flight that they appear most
beautiful. The charming curves of the soft-looking
wings, as their tips are now bent down, almost
00 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
beneath the bird's body
y, now bent up to the opposite
S extreme, are bhund tro
-. .: i t ,Li ,. l ii.-.1 tt, i 1
,I t 't ,.I ,:
II t t i. ,.
1i.i i i-i_ tl,,- -
} '2 -.. 11 1 :! 1 .t ,?.t I- -
ous amusement. There they go, now high in the
-.-_- ..'3 \ ,,,, ,II
ous amusement. There they go, now high in the
, i, I ,
..-.r ~- =.
--= --- ----------
VS. S. S-.
BLACK-BACKED GULLS AND HERRING GULLS.
92 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
air, now down to the sea, skimming the crests of the
big waves, and seeming in danger of being swamped
by the rolling Atlantic breakers. One of these
familiar sea-birds, the black-backed gull, is shown
to the left in the lower part of our picture (p. 91).
Then there are the elegant little terns, or sea-
swallows, as they have been aptly termed, one
species of which-the Arctic tern-with its nest,
eggs and young, is shown in our illustration (p. go).
Like the gulls, the terns are so light and buoyant
that they are quite incapable of diving, but they float
on the surface of rough seas, and come to the top of
the waves like so many corks. You may approach
very near to them in your boat, but when you have
gone a little too near they are off the water in an
instant, apparently without an effort, and are away
like a flock of swallows. For their nests the terns
select holes, or slight cavities where there is just
sufficient vegetation to afford a little shelter, and here
they lay their two or three eggs.
The large white bird sitting on the rocks (p. 94) is
the gannet, or solan-goose. If you were to visit their
nesting-places during the breeding-season, you would
see them gathered on the rocks in thousands. At
this time they are very tame, and will allow you to
touch them without showing much fear. They lay
but one egg, and this is deposited on a heap of dried
grass and seaweeds; it is bluish-white when freshly
laid, but soon becomes discoloured. The gannet flies
at no great distance from the surface of the sea, until
it perceives a fish swimming below, when it im-
mediately soars high into the air, and descends again
with great speed, diving deep into the water after its
prey. Owing to its peculiar
structure the gannet is
The puffin is the most comical-looking of our
birds. It seems as though it were trying to pass oft
94 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
as a parrot, and, indeed, it is often called the sea-
parrot. This name is bestowed on account of the
strange beak, which is covered by thick folds of skin.
Its wings are so small compared with its heavy round
body that it can only fly for a minute'or two without
resting. It lays its one egg in a hole, which serves
SOME SEA-BIRDS. 95
for a nest. If rabbits are plentiful in the locality,-it
seizes on a rabbit burrow for the purpose; if not, it
scratches out a hole for itself, or finds a crevice in the
The penguin is really worse off than the puffin,
--~~~~ I_-- r ..
t '--- -% J_. %, I' l ,2 ', L~
-_ l L .i .;,i._
-. =--i~ i- .", ,
--. ,, ,,-,?,,!i,',, "
The penguin is really worse off than the puffin,
96 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
for its wings are so much smaller that it cannot fly
at all; and the same may be said of the guillemot.
They are both rock-birds, building no nests, but
laying their single egg on the bare rock. This egg is
a very large and handsome one, the bold irregular
streaks of brown and black upon the white or pale
green ground being very striking. At first sight it
seems wonderful that every egg does not roll off the
rocks into the sea when the birds fly off, startled,
from them. Many of them do get lost in this manner,
but these are still very few when compared with the
vast number that are not lost. They are saved
owing to the peculiar long-pointed form, which makes
it impossible for the egg to roll in a straight line.
When set moving, it rolls round in a small circle;
and thus you see that He who gave these birds the
bare rocks for a nesting-place, gives their eggs the
form best calculated to save them from destruction.
Small islands off our coasts are the favourite haunts
of these sea-birds, and at such places as the Fames,
off the coast of Durham; Lundy Island, Devonshire;
and the Bass Rock, many thousands of these birds
sit on the rocky ledges and hatch their beautiful
THE DEAD CORMORANT.
T REJERRICK is a splendid place for those who
like sands. There is a fine stretch of them, and
the green waves with foamy crests roll in from the
Atlantic Ocean all day long. The water there is very
clear; and through it you can see the brown weeds
quite a long way out.
In the sands are numbers of a large worm which
the fishermen call a lug, or lug-worm. Fish are very
fond of it as a food, so the fishermen use it as bait to
catch the fish.
Ben and Elsie are not big children, but they like
to help father by going down to the sands to get bait;
and when the father comes home with lots of fish, he
"Here, mother, Elsie and Ben's bait caught these!"
Of course, the children are pleased at this, and
deem it ample reward for digging the bait. Ben digs
out the lugs, and Elsie picks them up and puts them
in her basket.
98 BY SEA-SHORE, WOOD AND MOORLAND.
To-day, as they walk over the sands with their
basket of bait, they come across a dead bird lying on
the shore. It is mostly black in colour, has webbed
feet, and its long beak ends in a strong hook.
"What a strange bird !" says Elsie, and Ben
Yes, it is a cormorant. There are lots of them
on the rocks out by the lighthouse. They are the
greediest birds I know; they never seem to get
enough to eat. This one, I think, has had too much."
Op.-: niig its beak, Ben showed Elsie that it had
fallen a victim to gluttony-a fish with sharp spines
on its back and sides had stuck in its throat and
"What an awful thing-for a bird to be so greedy! "
said Elsie; "tell me about these birds, Ben; I do
not remember to have seen one before."
"There are plenty on the rocks yonder. I have
often watched them. They sit on the edge and look
down into the water, and when they see a fish they
dive down after it, and catch it. They build their
nests up there, on the rocks, and sometimes I have
seen their nests in trees."
What kind .of nest do they make, Ben ? "
Oh, it's rather roughly made of sticks and sea-
weed, and in it there are four or six eggs ; but I don't
much care to go up among them, they smell so bad.
Bill Carlyon, at the lighthouse, has been all over the
world, well-nigh; and he says that in China they
tame the cormorants, and set them to catch fish.
Their master takes them out in a boat, and they sit
quietly on the edge until they see a fish, when a
cormorant dives after it and brings it into the boat.