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WILDUFE

FUNK&WAGNALLS

ENCYCLCWEDIA

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<3 COVER PHOTOGRAPH
ME 8
Harp seal. (Page 990)
FRONTISPIECE O
This sorioulul-looking, puf>slitd'i its stifj white Guinea pig. (Page 957)
woolly coat after j-^ weeks, leaving a grey pelt The four main colour vtni<lits (ire sh<juti out

speckled with darker grey and black. to enjoy the sun and shelter around a rock pile.
FUNK & WAGNALLS MLMJFE
ENCYCLOPEDIA
GENERAL EDITORS • Dr. Maurice Burton and Robert Burton

Also published as The International Wildlife Encyclopedia and


Encyclopedia of Animal Life.
Funk & Wagnalls, Inc., New York, New York
©B.P.C. Publishing Ltd. (1969/19^0)

This volume may not be sold outside the


United States of America and Canada.

Printed in U.S.A., 1974


Glowworm
The glou-a'orm is a beetle belonging to the
family Lampyridae which also includes the
fireflies (p 762). Centuries ago anything
that was long and crawling was called a
worm. The female glowworm lacks wings
and it was this and her general appear-
ance that was responsible for the name.
Male and female of the common English
glouix'orm Lampyris noctiluca are yellowish
grey-brown. The male has large eyes and
two very tiny light-producing organs at
the tip of the abdomen. He also has wings
covered by the usual wing cases of beetles,
and his length is about i in- The female,
slightly longer than the male, differs little
in shape from the larva and the last
three segments of the body, on the under- A Fickle Jiamer: having attracted three males V Incandescent cousin: female African beetle
and strongly luminescent.
side, are yellowish to her pouerful light,a female glou-aorm mates of the closely related family Phengodidae
A second species of glowworm Phos- with one, ignored by her disappointed suitors. waiting in the grass for response to her light.
phaenus hemipterus has been found but
rarely in pails of southern England. It is,

howex'er, widespread over continental


Europe.

The lure of the lights


Adult glowworms are most active in June
and Julv. Preferring slightly damp places,
thev may be found on hedgerow banks,
and in rough meadows, especiallv
hillsides
where there is a plentiful supplv of snails.
By day thev hide in cracks and crevices.
After nightfall the female climbs onto a
prominent piece of foliage and takes up a
position head down so her luminous end is
prominentlv displaved. Her method of
light-production is the same as in the fire-
fly (see p 752). Beneath the light-producing
bands is a whitish, opaque laver which not
onlv prevents absorption of the light into
the body, but reflects it back, making full
use of all the light. The winged male homes
on the females light for mating. The light
may be visible to us over 1 00 vd or so under
suitable conditions, but niav be 'doused' as
we approach and switched on again after
an interval. Bv contrast, the larvae light up
as a result of being disturbed, which sug-
gests that in them the luminescence may
serve as a defence, frightening awav some
enemies. The larvae's light also is slightlv
diff^erent from that of the adults, being
more intenselv green.

Short-lived adults
The pale \cll()u eggs are 1 mm
diameter.
Usually they are laid in ones and twos over
a p)eriod of a couple of davs on grass stems
or moss, or in or on the soil. Ihev hatch in a
fortnight, the larvae being almost exact
miniatures of the adult females except for
the simpler structure of the legs and a
series of paler sp>ots at the front corners of
each bodv segment. Growing bv a series of
moults, the larvae reach the adult stage in
three years. The pupa of the male diff'ers
from that of the female, reflecting the
different appearance of the adults. Emerg-
ing from the pupae after about 8 or 9 days,
usuallv in .April or Nfa\. the adults live for
only a short while after mating and egg-
laying. During mating neither sex glows.

869
k. ^ M n
Larvae feed, parents starve
Adull glowwoi take no food, although
ins
On the decline flame will attract a glowworm, as Gilbert
White, father of field naturalists, records.
it is often asserted that they do. The larvae Ifie twinkling lights of a modern city are In many areas, it seems, modern artificial
feed on snails which they discover by fol- an irresistible attraction to the eye of young lighting systems have become a serious
lowing their slime trails. They drive their and old alike. It is doubtful, however, threat to glowworm survival, in that the
hollow, curved mandibles into the mollusc whether any of the artificial illumination male glowworms are finding them far more
and inject a dark ffuid, partly paralysing produced by man has the same aesthetic alluriag than the more modest glow pro-
and 1 his
partiv digestive. rapidly reduces qualitv as that from a well-stocked colony duced by the females, which as a result may
pre-digested soup-like
the snail's tissues to a of glowworms seen on a moonless night. It languish in vain and even die 'old maids'!
liquid which the glowworm then sucks up. is not surprising that poets have made so Once attracted to the lights of large build-
Newly-hatched glowworms are only h in. much of this. Unfortunately, the chances ings the male insectsmay damage themselves
long. Thev feed on the smaller snails. Some- of seeing it today, at least in Britain, are in or being burnt by them, and
hitting
times the iarvae feed communally, crowding much smaller than in times past. Glowworms, then fall to the ground stunned or dazzled,
round the lip of the shell and feeding side useful and attractive insects, have died out to be subsequently eaten by a variety of small

by side. .After a meal the glowworm pushes from many areas where they were once animals; or the attraction may simply dis-
out a white sponge-like device from its common. The reasons for this are not easy rupt the delicate balance of nocturnal flight
anus. With this it can clean away from its to see, but it almost certainly springs from activity. Fortunately there are still many

head and back any remains of slime resulting the pressure on land for housing, factories, areas in England where such hazards are
from its meal. intensive farming, combined with more less pronounced, as is indicated by the fact
efficient draining of the land. No doubt that the greatest numbers of glowworms are
Lucky to survive the use of insecticides is also partly to blame. found in areas which are comparatively less
(ilowworms fall victim to any insect-eating What is quite certain is that it is not natural developed industrially.
animal, despite the glowing lights on their enemies that have brought about this fall in
bodies, but especiallv to toads and hedge- lumibers, becatise toads and hedgehogs are
phylum Arthropoda
hogs, both of which feed at night. Some are all less mmierous than they used to be.

eaten by frogs and spiders, and there are Ironically, there may be another reason. class Insecta
mites which penetrate the soft joints be- Many insects are irresistibly attracted to
order Coleoptera
tween the body segments of the larvae and artificial light, and in this the male glow-
feed on their body fluids. The larvae are worm is no exception, in spite of the fact family Lampyridae
particularlv vulnerable to mites when thev that it has its own, highlv individual 'bright genus
have shed their skins at tiie periodic moults, light" to go to — that emitted bv the female. Lampyris noctiluca
Sc species
making them fair game for these parasites. Even the weak, flickering light of a candle-

Making the most of youth: doomed to starvation as an adult, a glowworm lan>a gorges itself on a titiy garden snail (12 <life size).

^j^F

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>

870
Following the young grass and can follow
Gnu The white-bearded race of the brindled gnu
calves are well developed,
their mothers within 4 — 5 minutes of birth.
was studied in 1963 by Lee and Martlia There is, however, a heavy loss through
Often known by thfir Afnkaans name, Talbot in West Masailand (centred or) the prejdation and through calves becoming
uildebeest, gnus are ugly cow-like Serengeti plains), where they counted separated from their mothers. Within a few
antelopes, up to 4 Jl at the shoulder, with 239 516 of them. The animals move about weeks almost half the season's crop of calves
freeh in the wet season they are scattered are dead. When the surviving calves are
short thick necks and large heads with a
;

over the plains, and in the dry season they 6 — 7 months old, a rinderpest epidemic
tuft of long hair on the muzzle, a throat
move through the surrounding bush, along further decimates them, and this lasts until
fiinge and a mane. The males weigh up streams, seeking new grass produced by 11 — 12 months after birth. This is known
to 460 lb, the females up to 360 lb.
local showers. In the dry season the move- as 'yearling disease'. It arises at this time
There are two species, the -white-tailed gnu, ments between these limited areas of new due to the loss of the initial colostral im-
or black wildebeest, and the brindled gnu, grass lead to massing, and huge numbers munity, but does not bother adults. The
or blue wildebeest. The former, extinct are to be seen in one place. It is not a true, colostral immunity is imparted by the

/SDau'u patrol: Gnus trek in the cool of morning, seeking new grass before the intense midday heat forces them to rest in shade.

in the wild but preserved on private land regular migration, however, although the mother to the calf in the first flow of her
in South Africa, has a long-haired white animals may move as much as 30 miles in a milk. I his milk is called the colostrum and
tail and forward-cuii.nng horns. The day. I he gnu feed in the morning and even- contains which pass directly
pioteins,
latter, slightl\ larger, has an equally ing, seeking shade in the heat of the dav. through the baby's stomach wall into the
horselike black tail and laterally curi'ed
They are sheep-like in that thev tend to bloodstream. These proteins include some
follow anything moving in a determined of the mother's antibodies, which tempor-
horns; imtead of being blackish like the
manner — other gnu, other animals, even arily protect the infant from disease. The
other, the brindled gnu is grey with
I. and Rovers. Several species of grass are severity of vearling disease depends on the
brownish bands on neck, shoulders and
eaten, but only the fresh young growth, density of population, but taking evervthing
the front part of each flank. The long tail when the sprouts are not more than 4 in. into account there is an average loss of 80%
n used to make fly-whisks, irhich are a high. Where the grass is regularly burned, of the calves each year. The 20V( left form
symbol of rank m
East and South Africa. this helps the giui. S7( of the |)opuIation. Since the numbers of
The white-tailed gnu has always been gnu remain steadv from year to vear this
restricted to South Africa. The brindled Democratic love-making means that 8% of adults are lost each year.
he rut is in .\piil .md .\la\. he peak of 1 he calf stavs with its mother until the
gnu occurs ni both South and East Africa,
I 1

and is still abundant.


calving comes 9 months later, in Januarv and next one is liorn, aftci whicii the tow pre-
February, when the |)lains are green. Ihe vents the elder call from suckling. Bull

871

Li A.^
beest; since there are about 700 lions there
the yearly kill per lion is about 16. In the
Talbots' study, 91-1% of the predation was
by lions, 3-3% by cheetah, 2-2% leopard,
2-2% hyaena, M%
wild dog. The toll due
to hunting (poaching) and accidents is about
twice as important as that due to predators
other than the lion. Gnu do not defend
themselves against lions, but against
cheetahs and wild dogs they have been
known to form a circle, like musk oxen.

Sharing out the food


The ecology of the hoofed animals on the
Serengeti provides a striking lesson in
natural land-use. The gnu feed only on
young shoots, as we have seen. Zebra feed
on the same grasses but at a later stage of
growth. Topi feed on the same species but
on old grass. Yet other species feed on
different grasses growing in the same places.
Thus the Serengeti can support a far greater
quantity of wild hoofed animals than it
could domestic cattle, and is potentially
much more valuable as a source of protein.
The enormous wastage of calves in their
first year gives great scope to natural
selectionand comes as a surprise to those
accustomed to thinking of large hoofed
animals as slow breeders and consequently
slow in evolving. Several races of brindled
gnu This is because to support gnus
exist.
a must provide new grass all the
habitat
year round. Such places are not common,
so the gnus tend to be in areas isolated from
each other. This gives rise to differences
between the groups, just as animals on
groups of islands develop into different
species (see Darwin's finches p 616). On the
Serengeti, they are second in abundance
only to Thomson's gazelle, of which there
are between 5 and 8 million there. And there
are twice as many gnu as there are zebra.
On plains, south of Nairobi, gnu were almost
wiped out by hunting but thev have recover-
ed rapidly. There are now some 9 000 there.

The white-tailed gnu, with elegantly forward-curving horns, is extinct in the wild. class Mammalia
order Artiodactyla
yearlings now form separate herds, while singly or in small groups. Each time there
the young cows remain in the cows' herd. is a pause in the mass movement, the males family Bovidae
The rut takes place during the dry season. round up harems, and merge back into the genus Connochaetes gnou
When the moving herds halt awhile where mass when it begins to move again. Only a
&: species white-tailed gtm
food isabundant, some of the males small proportion of bulls form harems each
C. taurinus brindled gnu
establish harems, which may contain as few time, so different individuals are active at
as 2 — 3 females or as many as 150 females each stop. Non-active bulls can feed close
and young. Each 'male herds his harem to the breeding herds without being
tightly, running round and round it. Often attacked. In fact, if they graze too close,
as many as three bulls herd the same harem. they may be rounded up by other males
They are not aggressive towards one like cows and calves! Some males establish
another, and they have no hierarchy. A bull a territory first, and then try to drive females
herding runs with a rocking gait, head held into it. Some old males do not even migrate,
high. The females, the voung and the non- but establish home
ranges near water.
active bulls keep the normal head-down Gnus may 20 years. Each year 83% of
live
position. The harem forms the centre of yearling cows breed; and 95% of the rest. At
a territory established for the time being birth there are 170 males to 100 females;
by one or several bulls. If a male approaches after a year the ratio is 117:100, and after
in rut position from the neighbouring herd, U the adult ratio of 108:100 is reached.
the bulls of the threatened herd go to meet
him. The nearest one rushes forward, the Lions most feared
rivals drop to their knees, butt and spar, Far and away the most important predator
get up, snort, look round, then retire or do of the gnu is the lion. The 87c turnover of I White-tailed gnu
it again. The breeding herds are stable for the population each year represents 18 000 '
Connochaetes gnoul
Extinct in the wild
several days until the food is gone and the animals, and these are almost entirely
gnus must move on. Then the males retire accounted for by lions. At least half of the Brindled gnu
'C taunnusi
to themargins of the migrating herd either lion's prey on the Serengeti consists of wilde-

872
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Goals hiua Mtii^ ,1, srih(-(ir>rii. Wlieii preseuitd uiih mure lush conditions the) will sovii tal and spoil them until the land is like this.

52 compressed sideways and


in. long, but whereas sheep take mainlv grass, goats
Goat ornamented along the inner front browse chieflv on leaves and twigs as well.
edge with large knobs. The horns of They will eat desert scrub and climb into
Scientificalh. it is not easy to sort sheep trees to browse, and goats have been seen
the females are shorter and more
from goats. The distinguishing features to jump onto the backs of donkevs to reach
slender.The coat is typically reddish-
are that the horns oj sheep grow to the the lower boughs, and from there move to
brown in summer, greyish-brown in
sides of the head, those of goats curve higher and higher boughs by jumps. They
winter with black markings on the
upwards and backwards and are worn h\ readily take bark, will eat paper and are
body and limbs. notorious for eating linen cloth. In this thev
both sexes. Male goals have a strong smell
and wear beards. In goats the forehead is are helped by protistans living in the gut
Desert-making goats which pre-digest cellulose. Domestic goats
convex, not concave as in sheep.
(.oats usually li\e in rugged, rocky or moun- will eat the ft)liage of vew. which may be
There are fix'e species of xvild goat,
tainous country, but sometimes on lowland fatal to horses and cattle, and suffer only
including the ibexes and the markhor. The plains. Where hunted ihev become ex- a temporary diarrhoea. Released on oceanic
wild goat Capra hircus from which the trenielv warv, and difhcult to stalk, as their islands, goats have reduced earthly para-
domesticated goat was derived, ranges sure-footed skill as they progress from rock dises to barren soil with onlv low vegetation.
from southeast Europe through Asia Minor to rock is legendary. They generally move In the Near and Middle East heids of goats
to Persia and Pakistan. Domestication about in herds of 5 — 20. led by an old have contributed to the lormatioii of deserts.
can be traced to 6 — 7 thousand years ago female. When living on mountains they
and it may have been earlier. ina\ go up almost to the snow-line but in Climbers from birth
winter migrate down to lower levels, return- .A lemale goat o\ei two \ears old is known
Goats are 4\ ft long in body and head,
ing in spring to the fresh pastures. Goats as a nanny-goat, the buck or billy-
male is a
the tail is 6 m., they are 3 ft high at
do not sleep; they merely have periods of goat. Both aie relatively recent names, the
the shoulders and weigh up to 260 lb,
dro\\siness. first having been used since 1788, the second
the males being larger than the
Goals will eat straw, and have been seen since 1861. Mating is normally in autumn
females. The horns of males are to s(ral(li iluir backs with straws held in and the kids, born 147—180 davs later, are
sweeping and scimitar shaped, up to the mouth. Like sheep, goats chew the cud. able to run shortly after birth and soon

873
A A magnificent face in the crowd; even this
buck with sweeping scimitar horns obeys the
old nanny-goat who leads the herd.

<] Adept climbers from birth— A goat has even


been known to jump on a donkey's back to
reach the boughs of an appetising tree.

A[> Out on a limb; but the sure-footed agility


displayed by these youngsters merely extends
the area goats can devastate.

[> Every kid needs its mum now and then,


especially if he is the only one as a goat
is likely to be.

V Domesticated 7 000 years ago, the goat has


lived alongside man and provided him unth
milk and But even a small herd left to
meat.
run wild xvill an embarrassing rate
multiply at
and soon convert an island paradise into the
barren hillside which is its natural habitat.
become adept at climbing. There are one,
sometimes two exceptionally
at a birth,
three or four. Sexual maturity is reached in
about 12 months, when the male is known
as a buckling, the female as a goatling. The
life span is up to 18 years.

Indestructible spoilers
(ioatshave probably always been more use-
ful for their milk than for their hair or
flesh. Their flesh is somewhat rank and the
hair short, but sometimes used for spin-
ning, especially from longhaired breeds
such as the .-Vngora and the Kashmir. In
the days of sail, ships took goats on board
to provide fresh milk as well as meat. Ships'
captains would put goats ashore on oceanic
islands for the use of castaways, or to gel rid
I of surplus. The marooned goats multiplied
and, as on St Helena and other islands,
denuded the flora. In 1773 Captain James
Cook put goats ashore in New Zealand.
These went wild and multiplied. Later goats
were taken there for other purposes, to
feed those building roads and railways, for
use in mineis" camps, and also to prevent
introduced bramble, gorse and bracken
running amok.
In fact, the goats barked trees, ate shrubs,
brought many native plants to the verge of
extinction and cleared the ground of
mosses that not only held water but pro-
tected the topsoil from wind erosion. Their
hoofs cut the turf so that it was washed
away by rain, so adding to the erosion. The
natural home of a goat is the barren hill-
side and wherever goats go they convert
the landscape into their natural habitat.
The speed at which goats multiplv is also
an embarrassment. In 1698 an English ship
put into the harbour of Bonavista. Two
Negroes went aboard and offered the cap-
tain all the goats he cared to take away.
There were only 12 people living on the
island and not onlv were the goats eating
everything but thev were so tame nobody
could go anvwhere without a crowd of
goats following.
Holinshed, in his Chrontcles of England,
wrote: 'Goats we have in plenty, and
l."i77,

of sundrv colours, in the west parts of


England; especially in and towards Wales,
and among the rocky hills, bv whom the
owners do reap no small advantage.' What
the advantage was he did not sav but it is
believed that goats were deliberatelv
allowed to go wild in these regions bv the
sheep farmers. In the Welsh mountains
grass grows lush in inaccessible places.
Sheep attracted up bv the grass cannot get
down and have to be retrieved. Wild goats,
better climbers than the sheep, climb the
high rocks and eat the grass (so remo\ing
temptation for the sheep) and have no
(litliculty in descending.

class Mammalia
order Artiodactyla
2 family Bovidae
™ genus
i Ji: species Capra hircus

no

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The humble goatfish, once worth its weight in silver at a Roman banquet, where it was brought alive to the table in a glass bowl.

and sides with 3 — 5 longitudinal bright table in a glass bowl. The guests were able
Goatfish yellow stripes along the fianks. All goatfishes towatch it swimming round and round and
are noted for their rapid colour changes, then enjoy the spectacular display of colour
The red mullet or surmullet is the changes as it died. From tints of brightest
not only while alive but also when dying.
scarlet the fish would flash to greenish red
member of the family Mullidae best known
against streaks of ash-grey. Such was their
in Britain, but as most of the 42 species
Touch and taste in one popularity that red mullet were kept in
have been called goatfishes the name is Typical goatfishes live inshore, in shallow special ponds and at least one wealthy
used here. The true mullets belong to the waters and around coral reefs. Some are Roman was reportedly more concerned with
family Mugilidae and are only distantly solitary, others live in shoals. They feed on the welfare of his mullet than of his slaves.
related. Goatfishes are long-bodied with worms, molluscs and crustaceans like Each fish was worth its weight in silver, and
two short dorsal fins, the one in front being shrimps. As they swim over the seabed thev was the equivalent of one slave in value.
spiny, the other soft. Their chieffeature use their barbels as fingers, moving them Inevitably there arose a legend, but not
actively to search the sand for food. As well about the colour. Michel de Montaigne,
is a pair of long barbels under the chin,
as organs of touch the barbels are organs 16th-century French essayist, claimed that
fancifully likened to a goat's beard. The
of taste, each bearing many taste-buds. when the mullet was hooked a companion
barbels are flexible and can be swung
Spawning is in June and July, in the red would swim across the line just above the
forward or brought back to lie under the
mullet, and as in all goatfishes the eggs hook, trying to cut it with the saw edge
throat,where they are barely visible. The float at the surface. They are about ioin. formed by the spiny dorsal fin.
majority of goatfishes are under 10 in. diameter and hatch in 3 — 4 days. At first
long but a few species reach 2 ft. the baby fishes have a large yolk sac which
class Pisces
Goatfishes live mainly in tropical waters projects well forward beyond the tip of
the head. order Perciformes
but some are found in temperate seas. The
red mullet is tropical and subtropical but family Mullidae
ranges as far north as Norway. It is Technicolor death genera Mullus surmuletus red mullet
abundant in the Mediterranean. The species Parupeneus multifasciatus
The colours of a goatfish, like those of the &:
spotted goatfish of the Bahamas and common goatfish
dolphin fish (p 652) are brightest at the
Atlantic seaboard of North America is
moment Pseudupeneus maculatus
of capture and fade when the fish
mottled red. All goatfishes are red, orange spotted goatfish, others
is dead. In Roman times, when the red
or golden. The red mullet, for example, mullet was, as it is now, a valuable food-
may be all red or it may be red on the back fish, it was brought alive to the banqueting Fingers with taste buds: goatfish barbels.

:"^-^-
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#
876
Goat moth
The goat moth ison account of
so called
the strong and unpleasant smell of its
lan'a. which burrows in the wood of
trees. It is a large, stout insect with
brown intiicately mottled wings
spanning 3 in. or more and is one of
three British species belonging to the
family Cossidae. These are regarded as
primitive moths related to the family of
small or minute moths called the
Tortricidae.

Don't take it home


The goat moth flies at night and is attracted Young goat moth larva. (6 x actual size) Poplar riddled by grown larvae.
to light. B\ dav it sits on the trunks and
branches of trees, where its colour and Recipe for quick growth of the items he describes is a sort of large
markings give it verv effective camouflage. 1 he proboscis of the adult moth is vestigial 'worm' that lived in the wood of oak trees
The larva burrows in the living wood, especi- and must be supposed that the insect does
it and was highlv esteemed as a luxury by
allv of willows and poplars. It is over 3 in. not feed at all. Rather curiously, however, gourmets of the time. The goat moth larva
long when grown and stout in pro-
fulh there are records of it visiting the bait of does sometimes live in oaks, and it has
portion, andburrowing severelv damages
its treacle painted on to tree trunks by moth generallv been assumed that this is what
the timber of the tree in which it feeds. collectors. Pliny's edible wood-boring worms were,
.Aff'ected tiees exude a dark fluid from the The larva eats wood throughout its long though there is no detailed description of
openings ot the burrows and this has a life and must consume great quantities of them to serve as proof of this. If the ancient
powerful smell, somewhat like that of a male it. It is a matter of interest that if young Romans did reallv eat these huare smellv
goal. In spite of its unpleasant smell, other goat moth larvae are fed on beetroot thev caterpillars they must have had remarkably
butterfliesand moths are stronglv attracted complete their growth and come lo full size robust appetites.
to the fluid, and an infested tree is worth in only a year.
keeping under observation both bv dav and
phylum Arthropoda
night.
The caterpillar is fulh grown sometime
Goat moths in history class Insecta
in spring or summer, and often comes out rhe caterpillar of the goat moih has ahvavs order Lepidoptera
of the tree in which it has lived and fed, attracted attention. In the 1750s a French
to wander about seeking a place to pupate. entomologist, P Lvonnet, made a most de- family Cossidae
This is the stage at which it is most often tailed study of this larva and published a genus
seen, the hua;e chestnut- and flesh-coloured book about it. Amonoj the facts he estab- & species Cossus cossus
larva being verv conspicuous. If such a larva lished were that, from the time of hatching
is taken hcjme and put in a tin with some from the egg to full growth, it increases its
pieces of decayed wood itspin a cocoon
will weight 72 000 times. Also in the course of Adult goat moth. The larx'ae of this drab insect
and pupate. It is useless to confine a goat dissecting it he discovered 4 061 muscles in increase their weight 72 000 times to become
moth larva in a wooden box as it will eat its body. .\ second book, describing the pupa fatand 3 in. long. Their voracious appetite
its wav out in a verv short time, and probablv and the moth, was published after the damages poplars and willows, but their greed
not all members of the household will be author's death. was repaid in kind many years ago; despite
happy to encounter it in its subsequent The Roman writer Pliny, w ho lived in the their goat-like smell, the Romans considered
wanderings. first century .ad, wrote a monumental these repulsive larvae a delicacy, if the
The other two British moths of the familv Natural Historv in 37 volumes, and one writer Pliny is to be believed.
Cossidae are the leopard moth, whose larva
also feeds in trees, and the reed leopaid.
The kilter is lather rare, confined to fens
and marshes, and its larva lives in the
sieuis of reeds. The larva of the leopard
moih lives in the trunks and branches of
various tiees, including fruit trees, where
it ma\ do sonic d.unage. It has been iniro-
duted into the L iiited States, no doubt in
timber imported from Euiope, and is a
(OMsider.ible pest in tiees in citv parks, lioth
these moths ate also found in Japan, .ind
the leed leopaid is found in (Ihina.
In llu- tropics and subiropics. es|)e( i,ill\
those ot .\usiialia, some \er\ l.n ge relatives
ol the goat moth are found. One X\leutes
bdisduvfdi has a wing span of up to 10 in.
and a bodv that has been described as re-
sembhng a small banana in shape and size.

Three-year larva
he eggs are l.iid on the b.uk ol
I
,itree and
the larvae on halt hi rig burrow under the
bark ,uid feed there lor a \ear or so, e.iling
Iheir wa\ into the solid wood as ihe\ glow
larger. In ihc wild st.iie the\ lake u|) to
ihiei' \e.ns lo (om])leie iheii t^iowih.

87
Goby
Gobies are the Lilliputians of the fish
world, most gobies being under 3 in. long
ajid many much more than 1 in. long.
not
The giant goby Gobius capita of the
Mediterranean and western Europe does
not exceed 9 in. and is usually 4—5 in.
Most of them have little commercial valu£
and so tend to be overlooked. Some of
the largest among the nearly 500 species
in the family are the mudskippers, which
will be covered under that name. Other
large gobies are the guavina Gobiomorus
dormitor of Central America, 2 long, f
and the several species ofBunaka of the
I ndo- Australian region,of nearly the same
size,which are valuable food fishes. The
smallest is the Luzon goby Pandaka
pygmaea of the streams and lakes of the
Philippines, barely i in. long, the
smallest vertebrate.
Mainly marine, but with many species
entering brackish estuaries, gobies are
colourful fishes with flattened heads, large
eyes and short snouts. The eyes are high
up on the head, of en almost touching
each other. There are two dorsal fins
and the margijis of the pelvic fins are
joined to form a sucker.

Holing up for safety


As they are small it is natural that gobies
should live in places where safe retreats are
near at hand. Usually each fish has its own
retreat from which it sallies forth to feed
and to which it returns. The habitat is
variable. Many
gobies are bottom living,
especially on rocky shores, some being left
behind as the tide ebbs and sheltering under
stones in rock pools. Others live in burrows
in sand or mud, or shelter among branching
corals. Some gobies have been elusive, re-
garded as rare for years, and then turning
up unexpectedly in large numbers in a bay
or a fiord. Since biologists began skin-
diving, so-called rare species have been
found to be common. The Catalina or blue-
banded goby, for example, was first found -*!#:

in 1890. Few specimens were seen then or ^•


later until 1938 when an earlv skin-diving
biologist found it was common, living in
crevices in the rocks. New species ha\e been W"
discovered which could not have been other-
wise brought to light because thev live among
rocky reefs, spending much ot their time
in crevices, where nets cannot reach them.
A few gobies live among seaweeds in shallow
inshore waters, and fewer still live in shoals
in open water. Wherever thev live their food
is small invertebrates, especiallv the small

crustaceans, and they also eat any small


items of dead flesh that come to rest on
the seabed.

Model fathers
By contrast with their retiring nature at |
other times the male gobies are aggressive 2
towards each other during the breeding f
season. This is a matter of fighting over §
territories, in this case an area of rock, ?
coral or other surface where the female will c
"
lay her eggs. After pairing, with internal

878
fertilisation,the male guards the female
while she laving
is her eggs. Each egg is oval
or pear-shaped, about t^ in. long, and usuallv
has a short stalk, the clump of eggs being
fastened to a solid surface as thev are laid.
The 'nest' mav be on rock or coral or in an
emplv shell. Having laid her clutch of about
KM) eggs the female departs, leaving the
male to guard it for anvthing up to a fort-
night. aerates the eggs bv fanning them
He
with his fins. The newly-hatched gobies are
well developed and soon grow to look like
their parents. Douglas Wilson has watched
the sand goby Gobius minutus guarding eggs
in an emptv mollusc shell. If a shrimp or
babv flatfish comes near he dri\es it off.
When the shell \sith its eggs is removed for
a few moments he swims back and forth
over the spot in what seems a frenzied
manner, and when the shell is put back he
fusses over it like any conscientious mother
to restore it to its original position, carrving
tinv stones awav with his mouth until the
shell and the eggs are in order again.

Fried fish fry


Gobies are eaten bv the usual predatorv
fishes, as well as diving seabirds such as
divers, but little more is known of their
Red-spotted gob\ Gobius forsteri in its shelter Ifan worm Bispira volutacomis ,u j^,ie ground).
enemies. Gobies are sometimes accident-
allv included in whitebait but apart from
the few larger species taken for food in holes in mud-flats with a pea crab and a
the Far East the only important fishery is burrowing worm. The goby will carry large
Looking before leaping
in the northern Philippines. There a fresh- pieces of food, too big for it to swallow, for When dealing with genets (p 859) the sug-
water goby spawns in the sea and its iin. fry the crab to tear apart, then wait and pick gestion was made that nocturnal animals
return in huge shoals to the mouths of the up the crumbs. The blind goby Typhlogobius carrv in their memory a knowledge of their
rivers. From September to March these- are californiensis. also of California, lives in surroundings. Something of the same sort
netted in the streams and rivers and sold holes dug by the ghost shrimp. Should the has been worked out for a goby Bathygobius
under the name ipon, which is fried in oil shrimp die its gobv companion is doomed soporator. This lives in pools when the tide
or made into a paste called bagoong. unless it can find an unattached shrimp to is out and can find its wav down the beach

hve with. Several species of Smilogobius to the sea, if need be, bv jumping from one
Unlikely partnerships around the coasts of the Indo-Pacific region pool to another. It is unable to see the next
Ciobies of the genus Parioglossus depart from team up with snapping shrimps which dig pool at the moment it takes off vet can leap
the usual habit of keeping near their hiding and maintain the burrow constantly shovel-
, with precision and not get stranded on dry
places and 'hover" in mid-water in shoals of ling awav the loose sand, while the goby land in between. This was catefuUy studied
thousands. When disturbed thev dive into maintains a watch near its mouth. .\t the and the remarkable conclusion was reached
the nearest coral heads. Related species of slightest alarm the gobv dives into the that as the fish swims above the seabed at
Vireosa do much the same except that thev burrow and the shrimp follows. The fish is high tide it learns the topography of it so
dive into the gaping shells of ovsters and the first to leave when
things have settled thoroughlv that when the tide is out it
giant clams. Their entrv alarms the molluscs down, and the shrimp then comes out to knows the lavout of the pools from high up
which close iheir shells, so giving the gobies resume digging. It is a perfect partnership the beach to the water's edge.
added security. except that the gobv is apt to feed on the
Ihe habit of sheltering in cracks, crevices shrimp's babies. .\ less damaging relation- class Pisces-
and burrows has led to several instances of ship is found between the neon gob\ F.laca- order Perciformes
commensalism (living together). The arrow tinus oceanops and se\eral species of larger
familv Gobiidae
goby Clevelandin ios of Galifornia shares fishes; it cleans parasites from them.

<] Rock goby showing sucker oj pelvic jms. SF Rock goby Gobius paganellus is a modf I father who cherishes the eggs until they hatch.

•<W

SNKr^
c
<

879

^^ X.ll
The black-tailed godwit lives in Europe and building,
Godwit and Asia and migrates to Africa, south-
agriculture
black-tailed godwits
so the
have
numbers of
declined. In
Godwits are large waders related to snipe east Asia and Australia. The bar-tailed Britain their numbers fell drastically until

and sandpipers. Some are much rarer than godwit a more northern species but
is
the mid-19th century when they became
migrates south in winter, occasionally
extinct, but they now breed again in small
formerly because of the destruction of their numbers. In Central Europe there has also
habitat. They have long legs and long, reaching South Africa, Australia and New
been a decrease but the bird has spread
slender bills, straight in some species, Zealand. Both these birds breed occasion- northwards to Finland in recent years and
slightly upturned in others. Of the two The Hudsonian godwit
ally in Britain. in the first halfof this century its numbers
European species, the black-tailed godwit North America and migrates to
lives in increased in Holland, where it nested in
has a straight can be distinguished
bill. It South America, sometimes going as far the grass fields of reclaimed polders. The
inflight by a broad white wing-bar and south as the Falkland Islands. The bar-tailed godwit is a coastal species, and
a white tail with a black band. The other marbled godwit is the most sedentary, in its isolated northern home it seems to be
European species, the bar-tailed godwit, breeding in North and Central America,
suflFering less from man's activities.
Outside the breeding season godwits live
has no wing bar and its tail is white with but not migrating any farther south.
in flocks, sometimes twittering to each other

A Intruders! A godwit takes to the air to draw attention from the nest. A A pause for preening while fishing in the shallows.
close black bars. Its bill is slightly Reduced ranges on the ground or calling in flight, but the
upturned. On the ground, distinction is Godwits are becoming rare in many parts winter flocks are not as noisy as the groups
In summer both have chestnut
difficult.
of their ranges. The marbled godwit has of godwits on the breeding grounds, where
plumage on head and breast, although declined as its breeding haunts on the there is a babble of diff^erent calls. Flocks of
plains and prairies have been cultivated. In bar-tailed godwits can often be seen gam-
the female bar-tailed godwit is much Audubon found flocks of many bolling in the air, especially at the end of
1832,
duller than the male. The winter plumage thousands in Florida, but AC Bent, writing the breeding season. Each bird dives and
of both species is more like that of a curlew. in 1927, said that the species was then rare soars, twisting about, wheeling and turn-
In North Atneyica, the marbled godwit in Florida. The huge flocks migrating down ing, in contrast with the neat, military
also has a curlew-like plumage and is the from New England had been reduced to a manoeuvres usually executed by flocks of
same size as a curlew. Its bill is slightly few stragglers. The Hudsonian godwit is waders.
upturned. The Hudsonian godwit looks now very rare.
very dark from a distance. The under- The black-tailed godwit nests in wetlands; Chasing the waves
bogs, inoors and water meadows, or on Inland, godwits feed on insects and their
parts are brown and the upperparts
dunes, and winters in marshes and estuaries. larvae and worms which they dig out of the
almost black.
As wet country is progressively drained for soil with their bills or seek among vegeta-

880
tion or mud in shallow water. From water, about calling and the male also displays
fly and, formerly, they were present in
at least

small fish, tadpoles and water snails are strutting around the female
on the ground, large numbers for the taking. Shooting them
taken, from land, grasshoppers and dragon- with tail spread. The black-tailed godwit, was ludicrouslv easy because a Hock will
flies. Along the shore, godwits search for however, indulges in fewer aerobatics than continually circle back over a fallen com-
food at the tideline. As a wave recedes, the the bar-tailed. panion. Audubon found that the temptation
flock rushes down the beach behind it, Godwits do not nest in colonies but their to shoot more than were needed for speci-
snapping up small crustaceans, marine nests are usually grouped together. I he nest mens and food was often very great.
worms and molluscs that have been exposed is in a hollow pressing down grass
made by Occasionally a godwit is found to be as
by the waves action. Then, as the next wave and is liberally lined with dead grass and foolhardy as a dotterel (p 662). Bent once
rolls in, the flock retreats, opening their bents. Both parents incubate 5 bluish-grey found a godwit's nest and decided to go
wings and sprinting pell-mell if the wave is eggs but the male appears to take the back i mile to collect his camera. (One did
too quick for them. If there is time they greatest share of incubation. The eggs hatch not carry the cumbersome cameras of 1906
probe for lugssorms buried deep in the in 24 days and the chicks leave the nest around without good reason.) He got within
sand, and sometimes they will bury head shortly after their down has dried. Thev 15 ft and set up the camera on its tripod and
and neck as well as bill, in order to grapple are cared for by both parents until they can exposed a plate. Then he moved up to 10 ft
them. fend for themselves. and repeated the manoeuvre. Emboldened,

A If one of the flock fulls, the rest will circle overhead, presenting an irresistible target J ui hunters. .\o wuniUr it is becoming a rare binl.

Acrobatic mating display Feigning injury he crept up to 5 ft then to 3 ft. and, hardlv
In the breeding season the male godwit Like many seabirds, godwits fly out as an daring to bieathe and moving slowlv,
performs a spectacular display flight. He intruder approaches, circling and calling. It climbed under the cloth. In the end he
flies up steeply on rapidly beating wings is then verv difTicuIt to find the eggs or decided to photograph the eggs and found
uttering a 3-syIlable call. M
a height of young and the parents make it mcjre difficult that his caution had been wasted: he had
about 200 ft the wingbeats slow down and by feigning injury, luring a would-be pre- to lift the godwit off its nest.
the call changes to the musical call that has dator away from the defenceless brood. I'he
led to the Dutch name <jf grutto for the god- adults fall prey to hawks unless they can class Aves
wit. During this phase of the display flight, outmanoeuvre them and dive to cover or
the godwit rolls from side to side with his order Charadriiformes
into the water.
tail spread. He may continue like this fcjr a family Scolopacidae
mile before closing his wings and tail and
nose-diving at speed. About .)0 ft clear of
FnnlichK/
''-"-"'^""y tamo
IcH NU genus Limosa fedoa marbUd godwit
&: species L. haemastica Hudsonian godwit
the ground he spreads his wings and side- .Apart from their nesting grounds being des-
slips about, finally landing with wings held
L. lapponica bar- tailed godwit
troyed, godwits have suffered from hunting.
L. limosa black-tailed gudimt
vertically. At other times male and female Ihey are large enough to make a good meal

881

^^^^^^^^^^^^X^f^^^^r
Life on a swing
Breeding begins in April or May and two
broods are raised by the end of the summer.
The goldcrest's song is as thin and feeble
as its call. This is characteristic of all king-
lets except the ruby-crowned kinglet. Per-
haps compensating for the weakness of
the song, the males display their colour-
ful crowns at rivals and prospective mates.
The crown can be spread sideways and
vibrated to make it conspicuous.
The nest is usually built in the foliage of
an evergreen but has been found in ivv-
covered trunks or, extremely rarely, in holes
in trees. The usual nest is a cup of moss
with a little grass, bound together by spiders'
webs and lined with feathers. It is 3 in. across
and 3 in. deep, and one can but admire the
skill of the goldcrest, only 3^ in. long itself,
that collects such a large amount of material
and manages to form it into a nest that is

slung like a hammock from the twigs and


needles. It seems such a precarious position
for a nest, as it is thrown to and fro bv the
slightest wind. The foliage, however, pro-
tects it, and squirrels are probably the
only enemies that can climb out to it.
Goldcrests lay 7 — 10 eggs, sometimes as
manv as 13, each about 3 in. long — an awe-
inspiring productivity. The eggs are incu-
bated by the female alone, for about 16
A potential stowaway; weighing in at g oz. the diminutive goldcrest has learnt to take days. Both parents feed the young, which
advantage of its size. It has even been seen stealing a ride on the back of a migrating owl. fledge in about 3 weeks. Goldcrest popula-
tions are severely hit by hard winters, but
with each pair producing a possible score or
of North America. They can be dis-
Goldcrest tinguished from goldcrests by black stripes
more off'spring in one season, their numbers
soon recover.
on the head. Close inspection shoivs that
Once known as the gold-crested wren,
the crown is more orange than that of
this is the smallest British bird, but is
the goldcrest.
Hitch-hiker
not related to the wren, which is often
Throughout Europe there are legends of
thought to be the smallest native bird in Found in evergreens the antagonism between the eagle and the
Britain. The goldcrest, however, weighs Goldcrests are fairly tame and can be wren, often about their vying to be king of
only 6 half the weight of a wren; by
oz, watched from close quarters flitting about the birds. The most familiar story is that of
comparison, a house sparrow weighs 1 oz. rapidly from tree to tree. Outside the the competition to see which bird could
Other names for the goldcrest are golden- breeding season they live in small groups, flv highest. Surprisingly the diminutive wren

and golden-crowned
crested regains sometimes mixing with tits and creepers. won, but it was by means of a trick. It hid
kinglet. The name kinglet is applied to The firstthing that attracts one's attention among the eagle's feathers and when the
to them is their thin, shrill calls of 'zee- latterhad flown as high as it could the
the other four members of the same genus,
zee-zee', which are so high-pitched that thev wren emerged and flew a little bit higher, so
Regulus, of which have brilliantly
all
can only just be heard. Then thev can be becoming king of the birds. It has been
coloured patches on their heads. They suggested that the bird concerned was reallv
seen flying from trees or through foliage in
belong to the warbler family. Of the two a straight line with a titlike flight. They are the goldcrest, whose golden circle of
in the New World, the American golden- usually found in evergreens, especially out- feathers has led to its being given a name
crowned kinglet probably belongs' to the side the breeding season. Goldcrests can such as kinglet in several languages. In his
same species as the European goldcrest. be readily recognised by their habit of hover- book The folklore of birds, the Rev EA Arm-
The different names of the goldcrest ing hummingbird-like in front of foliage. strong dismisses this, pointing out that in
refer to the bright golden-yellow patch,
Thev will hang steadily for 2 — 3 seconds many other languages the wren's name
while searching for food before moving on. implies kingship, and that it would be sur-
edged with black, in the centre of the
Some goldcrests migrate in the autumn. prising that the legend would have been
crown. This can be seen only at close
In the British Isles there is a general transferred from one bird to another with-
quarters, otherwise a goldcrest is a most
southerly movement and goldcrests of the out anv traces in the folklore of Europe.
inconspicuous bird, dull gieen with continental race, slighth paler than British His view is that traditionallv it is the Jenny
whitish underparts. In form it is much goldcrests, appear on the eastern coasts of wren that is the king- of birds. But there is
likea tit with a rounded body and short, Britain and spread inland. Before the next justone piece of evidence: a migrating short-
pointed bill. The goldcrest breeds from breeding season the movement is reversed. eared owl was once found carrying a gold-
the British Isles to Japan. It is found crest on its back.
over most of Europe except the north of Insect eaters
Scandinavia, most of Spain, Italy and The continual flitting from tree to tree is in class Aves
search of food. Goldcrests are insect-eaters
southeastern Europe. In recent years the order Passeriformes
and pick small insects, including beetles,
goldcrest has increased in many places
aphids and flies, together with their eggs familv Muscicapidae
because of the spread of conifer plantations.
and lar\ae, from bark and foliage, often
Small birds similar to the goldcrest can genus Regulus regulus goldcrest
hovering, or hanging upside down like tits
be seen occasionally in the winter in 8c species R. ignicapillus frecrest
in the process. In the winter when insects
Britain. These are firecrests that live in R. calendula ruby-crowned kinglet
are scarce, goldcrests will eat small seeds
others
Europe, North Africa and many parts and buds.

882
Golden eagle
OJien dubbed the 'King of Birds', only
kings could use golden eagles for hawking
in mediez'al Europe. Both flight and stance
are majestic; golden eagles measure up to
36 in. long, females being larger than
males. The plumage is dark, chocolate
brown, tinged with \ellow on the head.
Young birds have white tails, with a
broad, dark band across the base, and
white on the undersides of the wings.
Inflight the wings appear broad with the
primaries separated and cwi.'ing upwards.
From a distance, when size is diflicult to
judge, it is quite easy to confuse golden
eagles and buzzards.
Golden eagles are found right across the
northern hemisphere. In \orth America
the\ range from Alaska to Mexico, mainly
on the western side of the continent, but
they range across Canada, between
Hudson's Bay and the Great Lakes, to
\ova Scotia. In the eastern hemisphere
golden eagles range from northern Britain.
Xorway and Spain to Kamchatka and
Japan. They are found over most of Asia
north of the Himalayas, but in Europe
they are found in Scandinavia. Scotland, ^Talo7is and beak at the ready, the lord of the open mountain ranges prepares to pouiitr. Jnu-, ma-
is so conjident of its power that it has been known to attack, and damage, an aeroplane.
jestic bird
northern Ireland and in parts of the south,
including Spain, Greece and the Balkans, S7.4n outcrop on a craggy rock above vast hunting grounds is an appropriate setting for an eyrie.

Italy and the central mountain ranges of


Europe. In Africa they are confined to
Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Lord of vast territories


The home ot the golden eagle is in open
mountainous countn occasionallv. in forests
or plains, but in these latter places it is
usuallv replaced b\ the imperial eagle. In
Scotland the golden eagle used to be found
along the coast but it is now a Highland bird
confined to inland mountain cliffs and crags
overlooking deer forests or grouse moors.
Each pair has a vast home range, up to
16 sq. miles, where they live all the year
round. Thev do not necessarilv hunt over
all this range, and. in the Highlands at
least, it appears thai there is a surplus of
food within the range of each pair. So the
range size, and consequentiv the number of
eagle pairs in an area is not determined bv
the food supplv. In a 10-vear studv of some
golden eagles in Scotland it was found that
if the main source of food for a pair failed,

as after mvxomatosis. the eagles survived


without difficultv.
Ihe range is not defended so vigorousU
as is the territor\ of a garden songbird such
as a robin or blacktiird. Occasional squabbles
break out but the limits of a range are
usuallv demonstrated by a sp>eclacular dis-
plav flight following the usual hawk pattern.
-All through the vear golden eagles can Ix?

seen, either singlv or in pairs, ffving up-


wards in a spiral then diving on half-closed
wings, or flving up and down as if on a
switchfjack. Other eagles esf)eciallv juveniles
are allowed into the home range atid the\
max wander some distance, (ioldcn eagles
in 1 1 eland have been found with the remains
of ihc Scottish mountain hare f)\ their cvrics.

883
King of the crags
Majestic yet swift inflight, lord over vast
territories, and.faithful to his mate until
death, the golden eagle is truly a monarch
uf the bird kingdom.
<C Power in action; the female, larger than
the male, can have a wingspan of 8 ft. The
nest of heather will be used by the couple year
after year until one of them dies, when the
survivor mil search for a new mate.
V A watchful parent supervises the
educational play of its offspring. The beak,
strengthened by playing with twigs, will soon
be tearing at carcases.

Other places mav be communal hunting in small numbers. In America snakes and Small well-tended family
grounds. The abundance of food w ithin the even tortoises are taken. On rare occasions In the breeding season the male and female
range and the tolerance towards trespassers lambs or deer calves were killed but these indulge in the same display flights as are
helps in winter when food may be abundant were usually eaten as carrion. used for advertising their home range. The
in one place but scarce elsewhere. Golden eagles hunt by flying low over the male also chases the female swooping or
ground or by perching on a favoured tree circling over her, while she may roll on to
Sheep-slaughter myth or rock, then swooping down at an in- her back. Thev mate for life, but if one
The food of golden eagles varies throughout credible speed to seize their prey and kill eagle is killed its mate finds a new partner
its range.
It consists mainly of small animals, it. They have been seen beating hares from at the next breeding season, and if both die
predominantly mammals, together with cover and have been known to employ the range does not stay vacant for long.
birds, snakes, and rarely fish. A large subtle stratagems. In the Hebrides a pair The same nest is used from year to year.
amount of carrion is also eaten. In a survey of golden eagles were seen to co-operate in In Scotland it usually on a cliff edge, but
is

made in the Highlands, mountain hares, capturing a lamb. One distracted the ewe's may be on a tree or on the ground. In North
rabbits, grouse and ptarmigan made up the attention while the other approached to America trees are used more often. The nest
bulk of the golden eagles' diet. They also seize the lamb. They have also been seen is built of sticks taken from trees, or in
ate foxes, stoats, pigeons, pipits, and voles trying to drive deer over cliflFs. open country of sprigs of heather. Bracken

884
and ferns are also used. Both birds bring be common now among peregrines and bombed, then chased it. This is not an iso-

material and pieces are added throughout sparrowhawks as well. lated Once, golden eagles were
instance.
the breeding season. Two eggs, white controlled in Texas by shooting them from
flecked with brown or grey, are laid and
incubated bv the female for about 40 days.
Dangerous to whom? a plane. It was necessary to fly very close to
the eagles. Sometimes the tables were turned
The male onlv occasionally feeds his mate There are very few authentic cases of golden and one eagle dived at a plane and flew
while she is incubating, but he brings most eagles attacking humans. Very rarely small right into it, tearing large holes in the
of the food needed bv the chicks, .-^t first children are attacked, but stories of children aircraft.
the chicks, clad in down, are almost helpless being found unhurt in eyries are all untrue
and the parents have to feed them. Later because eagles habitually kill their prey class Aves
thev become stronger and crawl about the before bearing it away. Golden eagles are
order Falconiformes
nest plaving with sticks and learn to tear tolerant of intruders at their nests, especi-
carcasses and feed themselves. Thev leave ally as compared with many much smaller family Accipitridae
the nest after about 10 weeks and may not birds such as drongos (p 670). In 1968, how-
genus
immediatelv flv but remain perched on a ever, a helicopter flying over Uzbekistan was
8c species Aquila chrysaetos
ledge waiting for their parents. attacked by two golden eagles which dive-

A Himalayan golden eagle, the rarest in the


world. This 20lb specimen was once used by
Khirghity tribesmen to hunt wolves that
threatened their flocks.

DDT s{>ells danger


(iolden eagles are often killed because of
the harm, real or imagined, that they do to"
livestock, but it is only in the last few years
that they have really faced extinction. In the
.Scottish Highlands the percentage of pairs
successfully rearing young fell from 129c
up to 1960 to 29^ in the next three years.
This is an almost unbelievable drop and is
almost certainly due to p»)isoning bv DD 1
and other insecticides. Most of these arc
from sheep carcasses, h.iving been absorbed
when the sheep were dipped to control
insect jjests. The poisons render the eagles
infertile and, it is thought, also lead them to Golden Mglt
smash their eggs. Kgjr smashing is lowiul to

SS5

Tww \^ j\
Nature's steam
shovel with no reverse
gears. The golden
mole is pro-
digiously strong and
can move a weight
over a hundred times
its own; but it

cannot reverse against


the set of its fur.
It has to keep
following its nose
in the dark under-
ground domains.

behind the mole, leaving a furrow. Some- about enemies, but is known that one
Golden mole times a golden mole will drive a shaft
it

DeWinton's golden mole, shams


species,
several feet down into the earth, possibly dead when touched — after giving a sharp
Golden moles look and behave like true for making a nesting chamber. squeak.
moles but are more nearly related to
shrews. It has even been suggested that Turns about by somersaulting Shivering while asleep
they are not insectivores but should be Unlike a true moles fur, the golden mole's As long as it is awake a golden mole keeps on
placed in a separate order, an idea not has a set. This means it cannot move against the move, and it is this exercise which keeps
favoured by most zoologists. The smallest the lie of the fur so to turn around within its bodv temperature normal. If it stays still

its burrow a golden mole lowers its head too long, or if it is unwell, its temperature
is 3 in. long, the largest just over 9 in.
slightly to one turns it, and with a
side, quickly falls. This suggests that waterlogged
They have the rounded, cylindrical body
c]uick flip brings the hind quarters over the soil is probablv a natural hazard. One golden
of a true mole, with very short legs and head. It seems that golden moles are in- mole that died in captivity was- found to
the claws on the front feet enlarged and convenienced by drv soil in which they have contracted pneumonia through being
used in digging. They are blind, the eyes shake themselves vigorouslv. Their fur can- kept in too damp soil. Glearlv, sleep would
being small and covered with haiiy skin. not be wetted and it is never groomed. If be a hazard for a golden mole without some
The ears are small and hidden in the fur. the fur gets muddy the mole merely con- safeguard, so while it sleeps its muscles
The muzzle ends in a leathery pad and the tinues burrowing until the mud is rubbed keep twitching, to supply at least some of the
nostrils arehidden under a fold of skin. off. Generally, golden moles dig in a heat its bodv would generate when awake
The skin is tough and loose and the fur is leisurely fashion compared with true moles and moving about.
thick with a dense, woolly underfur, and it
and do not show the sairie restlessness.
has a metallic sheen which may be yellow,
We are told that some species are active Strong-man mole
bv dav and others active by night. This may
red, green, bronze or violet. There are 20
mean that, as in the common European The South African zoologist, James A Bate-
speciesof golden moles in Africa south of mole, the 24 hours are divided into 3- man, who has studied golden moles, tells of
the Sahara, mainly in southern Africa. hourly or 4-hourlv alternating periods of their strength. A mole Amblysomus hotteti-
feeding and sleep. On the other hand, some totuswas captured and placed in a glass bow 1

Head used as a bulldozer may be nocturnal and some diurnal. Some of the kind used for goldfish. It was filled
Golden moles are usually found where the species feed on insects, especially crickets, with soil and over the top was placed a
soil is light and sandy, on plains or in grasshoppers, locusts and cockroaches, sheet of iron weighted down with a piece of
forests, and they are especially common earthworms and snails. Insects are crushed railwav metal. At one time the mole escaped
on cultivated ground. They burrow by with a few snaps of the cheek teeth, then bv pushing this load of metal with its snout.
thrusting their noses downwards into the swallowed quickly. Snails are opened up The metal weighed 21 lb, the mole weighed
soil and then bringing the head up. .\s the with the incisors and crushed with the 2 oz. This helps us to understand how a
soil crumbles it is pushed backwards under molars. golden mole can almost literallv bore its-
the body with the short forelegs, which Earthworms are held in the forefeet and wav through the earth with its nose.
turn inwards, not outwards as in true moles. swallowed head-first in one continuous
Each fore foot has four toes. One has a large action, without being chewed. Gertain
curved claw, on the third of its four toes, legless lizards which burrow in the soil
and there is a slighth smaller one on the are also eaten. class Mammalia
second toe. The remaining two are tiny and
useless in digging. The hindfeet are used Golden mole twins order Insectivora
to push the soil farther back. The tunnels Usually two young are born at a time in a familv Chrysochloridae
are usually just under the surface, the mole grass-lirred cavity in the ground. The Gape
genera Amblysomus hottentotus
pushing its snout through the surface from golden mole seems to breed in the rainy
time to time, wrinkling its snout as if season, April to July, and the babies are
& species African golden mole
Cryptochloris wintoni
sniffing, then submerging to continue its suckled for two or three months, until they
DeWinton's golden mole
tunnelling. As a rule the tunnels are used cut their first teeth, by which time they are
others.
only once. In very loose soil the roof caves in almost mature. There is no information

88b
Goldfinch
/'^:'^^^jS
The goldfinch is a very handsome bird,
5^ in. long, named for the golden-
yellow bar on each wing. Its back is a
tawny brown, its underparts paler. The
head is boldly marked with red, white
and black. The wings are black with a
gold bar and white tips to the flight

feathers. The forked tail is black with white


tips. The beak is short and conical: a
seed-eater's beak.
The young goldfinch lacks the red, white
and black of the adult's head. Instead it

has lines of spots or streaks on head, back


and breast and, except for the golden bar
on the wing, looks very like several
One of these
other closely related finches.
is Carduelis spinus. which
the siskin
is about the same size and belongs to the

same genus but has more yellow in its


plumage. It spends the summer in pine-
woods and the winter among the alders
along the riverside. Another is the twite An agilit\ at performing tricks with string made the goldfinch a popular cage bird in the past.

Carduelis flavirostris. a finch of


members of the daisy family Compositae.
Scandinavia and northern Britain. The
Thev also take seeds of pine and birch and
Hauling in the lines
serin Serinus dermus is very like the siskin
mav visit alders to feed from their catkins, The note included above under breeding
in appearance and habits. It is a European
in companv with siskins, serins and red- behaviour, about goldfinches untving the
bird that occasionally visits Britain,
polls. One
goldfinch was seen to climb a strings of labels, may appear remarkable,
which also has the lines of dark streaks. dandelion stem until it bent over, then nip but this is not beyond their known abilities.
In an evolutionai-y sense all three are it, the stem folding at the weakened point. We are used to stories of tits pulling up
less 'grown up' than the gold- Then she held the top of the stem, as well strings of nuts to a perch in order to eat
finch and show their immaturity in as the part she was standing on, in her feet but for centuries, according to Dr WH
the streaked plumage of the adult. and ate the seeds. She did this repeatedly. Thorpe, the eminent authoritv on animal
The goldfinch ranges across Europe into behaviour, goldfinches have been kept in
special cages so people could watch what
western and southwestern Asia, also North
thev do. In the 16th centurv the gold-
Africa.
finch was called the draw-water or its ,

equivalent in several European languages.


A charm of goldfinches These captive goldfinches were in cages so
The iroldhiich
is a showy bird that ap- designed that to survive they had to do pre-
pears to come from nowhere at certain cisely this. On one side was a little cart con-
seasons, especialK late summer, when it taining seed and this was held bv a string.
feeds on the seed heads of herbaceous The goldfinch had to pull the string with its
plants. Except in the breeding season, beak, hold the loop with one foot, then pull
it goes about in small flocks and attracts in another loop with the beak, hold that,
attention by its musical twittering and its and so on until it could take the seeds.
bold and conspicuous colours seen at close -Another string held a thimble of water. To
range. When not feeding it perches high drink, the bird had to draw this up in the
up in trees, on the outer twigs, and seen same w ay.
then in silhouette so that its cokjured head Canaries and other captive birds have
IS obscured, it passes for any one of a half-a- been seen to do similar things, and the
dozen small finches. At night the flocks Away from the (umpamtne safety of the nest, performances are not confined to cage
roost in trees and in winter use oak and a young goldfinch faces the world. birds. In 1957, it was reported from Norway
beech, especialh those in hedges, that are and Sweden that hooded crows were stealing
late in shedding their dead leaves. .As with Resourceful goldfinch hen fish and bait from fishermen's lines set
other small Iniches the flight is bounding or 1 he breeding season begins earh in May. through holes in the ice. A crow would
undulating. The male Hashes his golden wing bars at the take the line in its beak and walk backwards
.A flock is usuallv spoken of as a charm of female, as part of his courtship display, away from the hole. Then it would walk
goldluiches. OriginalU this was spelled while swaying from side to side. The nest of forward again, carefully ifeadnig on the
'chirm', and meant a chorus of sounds and interwoven roots, bents, wool, moss and line to stop it slipping back. It would ref)eat
was applied to the chatter of any birds. In lichens, lined with thistledown and wool, is this until the fish or the bait was drawn to
recent yeais it has become restricted to buill b\ the hen, usuallv well out on a branch the edge of the ice, when it would seize it.

goldfinches. It was this musical twittering but sometimes in a hedge. Fhere have been
that made goldhnches, as well as the re- a inmibei of instances of goldhnches untv-
lated linnets, popul.n as < age birds. ing the strings of labels used on fruit bushes
and weaving the strings into the nests. The class Aves
Diet of seeds — eggs are bluish white with red spots
.') (")

( .oldlnu Iks seldom feed on the ground and order Passeriformes


al- streaks, eacfi nearl) t ui. b\ \ in. 1 he
though ihev may lake insects, especiallv in hen .ilone incubates for 12—1!^ days, fed family Fringillidae
sunuiKT. I heir feeding is tradilionallv by the cock, hul both |)arents feed ilie
genus
.isso( laied wiili the seeding thistle heads but (hicks by regurgitation for another I'J— 13
ilie\ will \)sii ilie seeding heads oi oiliei (l.iys. There are sometimes 3 broods a year.
& species Carduelis carduelis

887

^pa^f ^ J ^
A 'celestial' goldfish: his eyes are turned for ever towards the heavens. t> An aquarium: a fish society in miniature.

of Europe a separate species C. carassius.


is is augmented bv mouthfuls of mud, the
Goldfish Usually regarded as a small fish, the gold- fish chewing this over by churning move-

fish can weigh up to 10 lb, although those ments of the jaws. The inedible matter
isspat out and the fragments of dead plant
bred as ornamentals are usually only a few
Goldfish are, in fact, a domesticated form and animal matter swallowed. By what
inches long. There are two types offancy
of a wild carp native China. The wild
to extraordinary means the two are sorted is
ancestral form is a very ordinary fish,
goldfish, the scaled and the 'scaleless',
not fully understood.
having
the latter scales that are trans-
sometimes used as food, green and brown
parent and hard to see. At first the Pearly king
in colour but occasionally throwing up
red or red-gold individuals. These were
scaled varieties are uncoloured, that is Male and female become recognizable at
smoky or like tarnished silver, then the breeding season because the female is
collected and cultivated b\ the Chinese
black begins to show and later changes then swollen with eggs while the male
as far back as 960 ad and by the period
develops tubercles known as pearl organs
to red or white. The scaleless varieties
1173 — 1240 goldfish were being kept as on the gill covers and pectoral fins. These
do not have the metallic sheen of the
pets in earthenware bowls and ornamental are difficult to see without viewing the fish
others butshow more delicate colours, such
ponds. They were introduced into fapan from a certain angle. The female lays 500 —
as lavender and blue. They are white at
in 1500 but reached Europe nearly 1 000 eggs, each ^
in. diameter, between

two centuries later. There is reason to first, sprinkled with dark specks, and May and August, which are fertilised after
quickly gain their permanent colours. The they have been laid, the male following the
believe that the first reached England in
shubunkin isa familiar example of the female around all the time she is spawning.
1692 on a ship that left Macao in 1691.
From then on, goldfish reached France in
'scaleless' type, blu£ tinged with red and The eggs stick water plants. They
to the.
mottled with yellow, red and dark brown, hatch in 8 — 9 davs when
the temperature
1750, the Netherlands in 1753 or 1754,
or in some combination of these colours. is 16-18°C/60-6'5°F, in 5-7 days at 21-
Germany in 1780 and in Russia there
24°C/70 — 75°F. The larvae, i in. long and
were goldfish in bowls in Prince Potem- tadpole-like in shape, hang on to the water
kin's Winter Garden in 1791. Goldfish Golden mudlarks plants for the next 48 hours, by which time
did not reach the United States ap- The life of the wild goldfish is no more the yolk sac is emptied, the fins have giown
parently until 1859. eventful than of the domesticated
that and the baby goldfish are able to feed on
The relationships of the goldfish have varieties. The natural food includes animal infusorians (microscopic protistans). When
been variously stated by experts. That its and plant, the first including water fleas, 18 davs old they will be 1 in. long and will
ancestor is the crucian carp which is also freshwater shrimps Gammarus, gnat larvae feed on water fleas, especially 'daphney'.
and worms (especially Tubifex). Among the In the aquarium they are usually given
known as the Prussian carp when it is
water fleas are Cyclops and Daphnia (see p packaged foods, especially ants' 'eggs'.
lean, is one variation. The opinion now
611), the latter so familiarly known to
seems to be that the goldfish Carassius
aquarists as a food for aquarium fishes that Danger of infancy
auratus is Asiatic, and that the
the name is anglicized, usually to daphney. Pet goldfish can be long-lived, up to 25
Prussian carp C. auratus gibelio, The plant food includes duckweed and, in years having been recorded, but life for the
which is greyish-yellow to silver-grey, is the aquarium the small green algae that wild form is more precarious. The enemies
a European subspecies. The crucian carp tend to coat the wall of the aquarium. This are predatory fishes, fish-eating birds such

888
-<*-
•^».
A beautiful freak of nature bred by man, a veiltail would never survive outside the artificial world of the aquarium.

as herons and kingfishers, as well as aquatic baby fishes, and so do the larvae of the that certain freaks arise more or less fre-
mammals. The losses from these mav rep- third. The larva of the great diving beetle quentlv in nature. Under domestication
resent perhaps 5— 10% of the adult popula- Dytiscus has been called the water tiger, the natural mutants or freaks, or monstrosities
tion. The real wastage takes place in the larva of the great silver beetle Hydrophilus that appear are selected and bred to pro-
early stages of life, especially among the is called the spearmouth bv American duce new strains. In goldfish the most fre-
baby fishes, where the death-rate is 70 — 80% aquarists. Both names are justified. quent are the doubling of the tail fin or of
during the first 6 months to a vear. The the anal fin, the loss of the dorsal fin, and
enemies then are manv both for the wild eveballs that are outside the sockets. Where
stock and for goldfish in ornamental ponds.
Beautiful freaks goldfish have gone wild, however, as they
Wherever in this encyclopedia the The more fancv breeds of goldfish are have in southern France, Portugal, Mauri-
enemies of freshwater fishes are con- freaks, no matter how attractive some of tius and the United States, the descendants
sidered they must include much the same as them may look. To recite their names is of the more normal goldfish quickly revert
those now to be listed for the babv goldfish. enough to make this point: veiltail, eggfish, to the wild form, in colour and in shape.
What follows here can, therefore, serve as telescope, calico, celestial, lionhead, tumbler, Under these conditions the more freakish
a standard for the general run of fresh- comet or meteor and pearl scale. There are varieties are at a disadvantage and soon
water fishes, with the advantage that those also the water bubble eye, blue fish, brown are eliminated — which is what happens to
who keep goldfish in ornamental ponds can fish, brocade, pompon and fantail and many the freaks in anv wild species.
know who their enemies are. The fresh- others. Some breeds are monstrosities rather
water hvdra, leeches, pond skaters or water than freaks. The veiltail with long curtain-
striders, water scorpions and water boatmen like tailfins, doubled in number, is a reason-
or backswimmers, as well as a variety of able freak. The
eggfish has a rounded body
beetles are the main enemies, together with and has lost its dorsal fin. The telescope class Pisces
dragonfly larvae. On top of these there are has large bulging eves which may, rarely,
order Cypriniformes
bacterial and fungal diseases. The enemies be tubular. The lionhead has not only lost
that do the most damage are probablv the its dorsal fin and grown a rounded body family Cyprinidae
various beetles, the whirligig, the great but its swollen head is covered with rounded genus
diving and the great silver beetles. The bumps and looks more like a raspberrv.
larvae and the adults of the first two attack
& species Carassius auratus
Students of fishes have sometimes noted

890
"SJi*

Hi

Ma/^, with mate and family below.

>
Q.

Hard going even for Good King Wenceslas; goral survive by digging for acorns, eating branches. All three are part of a Prague zoo study.

Sikhote Alin region of eastern Siberia. covered slopes interlaced with small wooded
Goral The brown goral is known from a single grasslands and deciduous forests.
specimen from the dry country of the Goral are found in small, isolated {xjckets,
Like its chamois and
relatives the serow,
and it is difficult to see how inbreeding, with
upper Brahmaputra, in southeastern
Rocky Mountain goat, the goral is a goat- the deterioration that follows it, is avoided,
Tibet. The red goral lives in the mountains
antelope well adapted to a life on mountains. since these animals do not move about much.
The male goral stands up to 2h fi at the of northern Burma and Assam. The red goral is found at higher altitudes
shoulder — slightly larger than the female — than the grev. It seldom comes much below
and weighs 50—70 lb. The legs are long Inaccessible habitats 8 000 ft and ranges in summer above the
and stout, adapted for climbing and Cioral occupy a variety of habitats in dif- tree-line, which is around 12 000 ft.

ferent parts of their range. In Szechwan


jumping, the coat usually long and shaggy
the grey goral lives at altitudes of 5 000 — Eating whatever is to hand
with a short woolly undercoat and long
8 ri(M) ft in the steep, arid, often almost In summer, goral live bv grazing, but in
coarse guard hairs, and the Sin. horns
vertical gorges of the big rivers (Vangtse, autumn they go into more forestecl regions
curve backwards. There are three Yalung, Mekong). The vegetation consists and eat mainly leaves, also acorns, which
species. The grey goral's coat is shaggy, of short stubbly grass and ihornbushes such thev dig out of the snow with their snouts.
grey grey-brown, often grizzled with
to as junipers, barberrv and losc. Farther up, at In February and .March, when the snowfall
black, and there is a white throat patch. 10 000-13 500 ft, it lives in the moist vallevs is greatest, they eat mainly branches. In
The brown goral has a short brown coat of small mountain torrents, very craggv but winter the animals are constantiv up to
with white patches on throat and chest. still with thick vegetation, from thick bush their bellies in snow, and have to jump to

The red goral has a long shaggy coat,


to forest. In the northern part of its range, move about. Fhe ewes and juveniles live in
in the Sikhote .-Min, it lives on the |)iecipitous groups of 2—12, but the adult males are
bright fox-red with no throat or chest
coastal cliHs, going down to sea lesel; the solitary for most of the vear. Goral are
patches.It is smaller than the other
vegetation here consists of stunted oaks, active mainlv in the morning and evening.
two and has shorter ears. The grey goral
st«)ne-pines, and shrubby forms of maple .•\fter the morning feed thev go down into
ranges from northern lUirma and Kashmir and dwarf juniper, while at the lop are oak the valley to drink, then lie out in the sun
through the mountain systems of western foiests. Inland in the same region the goial on a ledge, motionless, with the feet tucked
and northern China to Korea and the lives at altitudes of up to 500 ft on rubble-
'S under and ilu- liead stretched out in front.

KOI

,1L.J> TT
the high mountains nearby. In 1913 in the
Mishmi Hills, just o\'er the border in Assam,
some of these red goral were shot. In March
or April, 1922, HL
Cooper was shooting in
the Mishmi Hills and shot a takin at a salt
lick. Grazing on a steep slope above the
salt were some bright red goral, and
lick
the Mishmi tribesmen with him killed four
or five of them for meat. In 1931, the Earl
of Cranbrook shot a red goral in the Adung
valley, on the extreme upper Irrawaddv in
northern Burma, and presented it to the
British Museum.
These facts did not come together to form
a coherent picture until 1960, when Mr
Cooper sent a rug from his home in
Guernsey to the British Museum for identi-
fication. This was made from the skins of
three of the animals shot in 1922. Hay- RW
man, at that time in the Mammal Section,
recognised them as belonging to the same
species as the Earl of Cranbrook's, and at
once all the pieces of the jigsaw fell into
place. Mr Hayman published a description
of the species.
In a later paper, he described the skull
of one of Mr Cooper's goral, sent over by
the Bombay Natural History Society, and
established that there were differences in
the skulls too. At the same time, he re-
examined the type specimen of the brown
goral, described by Pocock as long ago as
1914 and named after Lt-Col Bailey, and
was able to show that this, too, was a
separate species and not just a race of the
common species, as had been previously
thought. Unfortunately, no second speci-
men of the brown goral is known. In
January, 1964, a female red goral was cap-
tured near Lashio, in the northern Shan
States of Burma, and sent to the Rangoon
zoo where it still lives. It is a very agile
animal; on one occasion it jumped the 6ft
barrier of its enclosure from a standstill!
It sleeps on the top of its hut, 5i ft above

the ground.

class Mammalia
order Artiodactyla
'^ family Bovidae
genus Nemorhaedus baileyi brown goral

8c species N. cranbrooki red goral


N. goral grey goral
s: J

Grey goral. These rare goat-antelope are being bred in a state wildlife park in the western Himalayas.

Dependent calves Goral offer poor trophies to the hunter A mystery for zoologists: grey goral live in
The rams join the groups of ewes in the but present a challenge to the sportsman inaccessible places in isolated herds, yet
middle or end of September and go back because of the difficulties of their habitat. there is no evidence of deterioration caused
to their solitary life after mating in the They are commonly hunted for sport, often b\ inbreeding.
first half of November. The calves are born
in early May in Szechwan, but not until June
with dogs, against which they defend them-
selves courageously with their horns. They
1 Bnmm goral l Nemorhaedus goral
Rwl garal IN.cranbmokil
baileyil

in the Sikhote Alin. They lie hidden among make a hissing sound when frightened. GriY goral IN.gorall

rocks while the ewes graze nearby. Usually


there is only one at a birth; twins are rare,
triplets rarer. They are suckled until late
Species from a rug
autumn, but stay with their mothers until
the following spring. Goral may live as
much as 15 years.
Until 1961, only one species of goral was
known, although evidence for the other
two was already av-ailable. In 1863, Edward
Blvth reported that the goral of Assam is
s
i

\
x^^
m
w,
.
.J
Enemies 'bright rufous'. In 1912 Lt-Col FM Bailev
In the really steep habitats, the only serious saw people at Sanga Chu Dzong in SE **a
\
predators are eagles, which take the calves.
In the higher, less steep country of the
interior of Szechwan, leopards feed on them.
Tibet wearing red fur coats. On being
questioned they revealed that the fur came
from a type of goral which was plentiful in
\ f
892
Gorilla
The gorilla is of the man-like
the largest
apes. The males average 5 Jl 8 in. high
and may exceed 6 Jl, and the females are
about afoot less. An adult male may-
weigh 400 — 450 lb but in a zoo he tends
to get fat and may weigh 100 lb more.
Unlike the chimpanzee whose skin
normally turns black only at maturity,
is jet black from a few
the gorilla's skin
days after birth. The hair is grey-black
or brown-black in western gorillas, jet
black in the eastern race. The adult male
in both develops a silvery white back and
this makes a strong contrast with the jet
black of the eastern gorilla. He also has
a large sagittal crest (a bony crest
on the top of the skull) to which the jaw
muscles packed with connective tissue are
attached. This gives a helmet-like effect
to the head. The nostrils are broad and
the ear small, in contrast with that of
is

the closely related chimpanzee. The chest


is broad and the neck short and muscular.
The hands and feet are broad and strong,
the great toe being less widely separated
from the other toes than in the rest of the
apes. A gorilla walks normally on all fours,
with knuckles to the ground, in a semi-
erect posture because the arms are longer
than the legs. Adult gorillas seldom
climb trees.

There are three very well-marked races.


The western gorilla lives in lowland rain
from sea level to about 6 000 ft,
forest,
in theCongo (Brazzaville), Gabon,
Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun, extreme
southwest of Central African Republic,
and in the extreme southeast of Nigeria.
The eastern lowland gorilla isfound in a
similar habitat in the eastern Congo
(Kinshasa), ascending the mountains in
the Central African Lakes region to about
8 000 fl. There are no gorillas in the vast
lowland forest area between the ranges of
these two races, and it is somewhat of a
mystery why this should be. Finally, the
mountain gorilla is found between 9 000
and 12 000 ft in the Virunga Volcanoes
and Mt Kahuzi. All eastern gorillas are
blacker than western, with larger jaws and A A relaxed snack:
bigger teeth; mountain gorillas are PflOBABlY EXTINCT having torn away the
7

distinguished, in addition, by their com- tough outer covering

paratively short arms, long silky hair, and of a plant stem, a


young gorilla tucks
strikingly manlike feet.
into the juicy centre.
Gorillas eat only
Peaceful co-existence plants, taking most of
(jorillas live in uoops of a single adult male their water as well as
and several females with their young. Other food from them.
males wander alone, sometimes travelling <] The three gorilla
along with a troop for a while. There is thus races come from three
a much tighter social organisation than with distinct areas in Central
(himpaii/ees. with much smaller troops and Africa. Mountain
only one adult male to each. 1 he home gorillas have shorter
ranges of the troops overlap extensively; arms, longer hair, and
there is no defended territory. A meeting almost human feet.
between two (roops may result in their Eastern races are
mingling temporarily, or the two more or Dnmn) Westem gorilla I EMKrn lomlmd gorilli I
Mountiin gcrilli darker than western,
iGoritfti qonilti gontisi iGgorillmbefinge*!
less ignoring one another. No fighting has with big jaws and teeth.

89,3

WTTTT^
been recorded, although some gorillas have week, thev crawl in 9 weeks, and can walk truder runs awav, biting and scratching.
been seen with wounds, especially bruises a few steps bipedally at 35 — 40 weeks. The Among gorilla-hunting tribes it is con-
and cuts about the eyes, which suggest thev infants plav among themselves and with the sidered a disgrace to be wounded by a
do occasionally come to blows. A troop adult male of the troop, who tolerates a gorilla, for the man must have been running
tends not to wander over more than 10— 15 great deal of nonsense from them. As thev away! Unprovoked attacks are not known
sq miles. Their wandering is irregular. mature thev become less playful. Females to have occurred.
stav in the troop but the males leave it Young gorillas have been kept as pets, but
Aversion to water before thev have developed the silver back they are difficult to keep as they are subject
In the lowlands, gorillas feed on fruit and of full maturitv, to become wanderers. It is to the same tantrums and fits of exhilaration
leaves, and raid banana plantations. Thev not known how a male becomes troop as human children, and being much stronger
strip the stem from the banana tree and eat leader. The female is sexually mature at they are more destructive. Moreover, they
the marrow. In the mountains they eat much 6 or 7 vears. the male a year or two later, need constant companionship and affection
more tough, fibrous vegetation, such as but he does not reach full size until he is and if the favourite person is not at hand
bark, stems and roots. They get their 12 or 14. Gorillas have been known to live the young gorilla will sulk, refuse food,
moisture from their food, rarelv drinking 37 years. become ill, even die. In zoos, keepers go in
in the wild. When they do the\ soak the fur and plav with voung gorillas and ever)'
on the back of the hand and suck the water No enemies but man effort is made to obtain a companion to
from it. Thev are afraid to cross even small Leopards mav take voung gorillas and have avoid the miserv of loneliness and to prevent
streams, which limits their wanderings and even been known to kill adults, but this must the animal becoming 'humanised'.
makes it possible for them to be kept in bv be uncommon since gorillas show no par- Gorillas are at least as intelligent as chim-
moats in zoos. They ha\e not been known ticular uneasiness when leopards are around. panzees, less volatile in temperament and
to eat eggs, insects or other animal protein. There seem to be no other enemies except more patient and methodical. This stands
In lowland forests the density of gorillas is man, who kills them when thev raid planta- them in good stead in the performance of
about 1 per sq mile; but in the open Hageyiia tions and some tribes eat gorilla meat. intelligence tests, but thev tend not to do
forests at high altitudes in the \'irunga well in tests involving manipulation. This
Volcanoes, with dense ground co\er and makes sense, as they do not make use of
abundant fodder, the density of gorilla
The gentle giant natural objects as 'tools" in the wild as
populations reaches 6 per sq mile. The gorilla not the savage, untameable
is chimpanzees do.
ogre of popular imagination. He is norm-
Precocious babies ally a gentle peaceful creature. When dis- class Mammalia
There is no special birth season and it is turbed gorillas of both sexes and all ages
not necessarily the troop male who mates after about a year, beat their chests. This
order Primates
with the females in the troop. Often a is a kind of tension-releaser, but in the male familv Pongidae
wandering male who has joined the troop it is part of a full display of roaring, rising
genus Gorilla gorilla gorilla
for a while mates with a female in it. Gesta- on hindlegs, beating the chest, a quick side-
tion is about 255 days — a little shorter than &: species -western gorilla
ways run and, finally, tossing vegetation
in the human. The young weigh about 4 — 5 into the air. This is all verv terrifving to a G. gorilla graueri
eastern lowland gorilla
lb at birth, which is less than a human human being, and may precede a bluff
bab) but the baby gorillas develop twice as
, charge, but an actual attack is rare. The G. gorilla heringei
fast: their eves focus in the first or second male mav, however, give chase if the in- mountain gorilla

894
other hand they catch many animals perch or patch of open ground and
Goshawk are the gamekeeper's foes,
that
such as jays,
to a
dismembered.
magpies, squirrels, foxes and wildcats.
A magiuficent supremely matioeuirable Rabbits, pigeons, mice, thrushes, finches, Father does the shopping
bird of prey, the goshawk is closely related lizards and even sparrow-hawks and
snails, NormalK silent, goshawks can be heard
to thesparrow-hawk. It has the same buzzards have been included in the gos- calling near the nest in the breeding season.
outline of long tail and rounded wings hawk's diet. Closer studies have revealed, They display high above the nest, flving
when seen in silhouette. When the bird is however, that individual goshawks are not about on slow wingbeats, soaring and diving
so liberal in their diet as this impressive like other hawks.
soaring, the primaries are splayed like
list would suggest. One pair studied in Den- The nest is usuallv in a tree, but goshawks
fingersand the tail is fanned. The head
mark for 2 years fed almost exclusively on have been known to nest on the ground.
and body length is nearly 2 ft, more
black-headed gulls. Other goshawks nearbv Sometimes the same nest is used in con-
than a spanow-hawk and not much less
hunted crows and ignored the gulls. It is secutive years and occasionally the aban-
than a golden eagle. The female is the not uncommon for a predator to exploit doned nest of a buzzard or other bird is
larger, but otherwise the sexes are identical. to the full a readily available source of taken over and improved by the addition of
The plumage resembles that of a female food: this is often done almost to the exclu- extra twigs and boughs.
sparrow-hawk. The back is dark brown and sion of all other prey once the predator The female incubates 3 or 4 bluish or
the underparts white with close dark bars, has learned to take advantage of the par- white eggs. The male brings all her food,
juveniles are light brown underneath ticular food supply. Poultrv-taking. too, usuallv leaving it on a nearby perch for her

with dark streaks rather than bars. appears to be a habit formed bv certain to collect, or calling to her so she comes out
to meet him, when he will toss the prev
Goshawks are found on both sides of

m
lo her. The eggs hatch after 36 — 38 days.
the Atlantic Ocean. In North America they
The young goshawks are covered in white
range from Alaska to Newfoundland and
down, and the covering of feathers appears
extend into the northwest USA. They are at 3 weeks. The male continues to supph
found over most of Europe except the his family, the female very rarelv bringing
British Isles and across Asia to japan and any food to the nest. Instead she takes the
Kamchatka, south to a line running prey from the male, tearing strips off it
roughly along the latitude of the English and offering them to her chicks. Later, when
Channel. There is an isolated population the chicks are nearly full grown and more
in the mountains of eastern Tibet, probably
active,both parents bring food, and each
item of prey is handed to one chick to deal
the relic of a population that lived in
with by itself. When 6 weeks old the\ leave
those latitudes when northern Asia was
the nest for nearby branches, and fly soon
covered by glaciers in the Ice Age.
afterwards.
Related hawks in other parts of the
world, also known as goshawks, include
the black goshawk of Africa, the crested
Warrior hawk
goshawk of southeast Asia and the white The goshawk has a long history. It was
goshawk of Australia. The chanting gos- sacred to .Apollo, and .A,ttila, the King of the
Huns, who was known as the Scourge of
hawks of Africa feed mainly on lizards
God, had a crowned goshawk as his personal
and insects which they chase on the ground.
emblem which he bore on his shield and
helmet. warrior like .\tlila was no doubt
.\
Split-second manoeuvring impressed by the fierce eve and long, sickle-
Like sparrow-hawks, goshawks are woodland like claws of the goshawk as well as by its
birds preferring the edges of woods and swift, death-dealing swoops. When used in
forests with clearings. Their broad wings hawking, goshawks will take up to a score
and long tails which can be spread to pre- of rabbits in one day, whereas a peregrine
sent a large area
the airstream are
to can be flown onlv twice or three times a
extremely well suited
for split-second day at the most before becoming sated. In
manoeuvres as thev flit between the trees mediaeval Japan goshawks were flown at
and pounce on their unsuspecting prev. Manchurian cranes or TanchOs (see p 562)
Sometimes, when they are not too much which are several times their size. .\n\ gos-
persecuted, they extend to cultivated coun- hawk that caught a crane was entitled to
try near human habitations where there are wear purple jesses, the thongs attached to
only small coppices and groups of trees. the legs of birds used in falconry. In
Because they usually live in woodland and mediaeval Europe, however, the goshawk
are very sh\, retreating to cover as soon as A killer among killers: the golden glare of the was not held in such esteem. There was a
they are disturbed, goshawks are rarelv goshawk, agile assassin of the air. rigid hierarchy in the use of hawks. Gvrfal-
seen. Nevertheless, their numbers have cons and peregrines were the prerogative of
been very much reduced through hunting, individuals, but unfortunately the wrath royaltyand nobilit\ sparrow-hawks and gos-
,

because their feeding habits have clashed ol the poultrv owner is turned against all hawks were used bv \eomen and priests
with the interests of hunters. Over manv goshawks. and kestrels, at the bottom of the scale,
parts of their original range goshawks are In a study in Minnesota goshawks were were used by servants and for instructing
rare or extinct. Thev probablv bred regular- found lo account for 30*^ of all the losses children.
ly in one time but b\ the 9th
Britain at 1 in a population of grouse, while in spring,
century breeding pairs were very scattered
class Aves
when the cover was thin, thev were resf)on-
and eventually died out. Between H)38 sible for 509? of the losses. F.a( h pair of order Falconiformes
and 1951 a few pairs bred in Sussex but they goshawks was operating in a range of 5 family Accipitridae
were persecuted by gamekeepers. miles radius from their nest.
(ioshawks hunt bv waiting on a perch for genera Accipiter gentilis northern goshawk
Pouncing on its prey suitable prey to come past, or actively seek &: species A. melanoleucas black goshawk
Cioshawks take a wide varietv of prev. it through the treetops
out, flying rapidly A. novaehollandiae white goshawk
(iamekeepers hate them because thev kill or along the edges of woods, pouncing A. trivirgatus rested goshawk
<

pheasants, grouse and other gamebirds, suddenly and despatching their pre\ bv Melierax musicus ch/ntting goshawk
domestic poultry and waterfowl. On the others
gripping with their talons. It is then taken

S9'
*-<

cc

A Soaring, with fanned primaries and tail. The goshawk is a master of V Pirate and booty: a goshawk, its youth proclaimed by its streaky

the ambush, killing its prey with deadly, sudden-clutching talons. underplumage, straddles over the lure which has caught itsfancy.

C3

898
.

The nest is built in a hollow in a tree or hair colour from knowing that of its parents.
Gouldian finch termites' nest, sometimes several pairs shar- In Ciouldian finches the black-masked vari-
ing the saine entrance. It is a poor aff'air etv is dominant, so two black-masked par-
The Gouldian Jinch's gorgeous plumage made of grass and sometimes the 4 — 8 eggs ents produce mainly black-masked off^spring.
makes it popular with bird fanciers and are merely laid on the floor of the hollow Black-masked (iouldian finches are three
gii'es it the alternative names of rainbow Both sexes incubate the eggs but the female times as common in nature as the red variety.
alone broods them at night. Each year Bird fanciershave tried breeding pure
finch or painted finch. It is one oj the
grassfinches, which are not true finches but 2 or 3 broods are raised. The chicks have strains of the red-masked variety, but linked
conspicuous markings in the throat together with the inheritance of the red head is a
weaver-finches related to the avadavat.
with luminous swellings that shine in the tendency to throw fits, making very
Gouldian finches are 5 — 5^ in. long,
it

dim light of the nest and enable the parents difficult to build up a breeding stock.
have a stout, typically finch-like bill and The vellow-masked biid, a variation of
to put food into the right place.
two long central tail feathers that taper to the red, is much rarer, occurring onlv once
a point. The plumage of the adult male in every thousand or so birds. Recently,
cannot be done justice in a verbal des-
Inherited colours another varietv has been bred with dazzling
cription. The colours appear to be hand- The colour varieties of Gcjuldian finches ai e w bite instead of lilac breasts.
painted as the borders between them are not geographical races found in diff^erent
so clear. The back and u'ings are grass- parts of the species' range. They are simple class Aves
rump sk\ blue and the tail variations caused bv genetic variations, or order Passeriformes
gieen, the
mutations, and birds of diff'erent colours
black. The head and cheeks are dull family Estrildidae
interbreed as readily as humans with diff'er-
scarlet -with a black patch on the throat
ent coloured hair. The inheritance of the genus
continuing as a ring around the scarlet
colours is much simpler than that of human &: species Poephila gouldiae
of the head. The black ring is finely hair colour. It is difficult to predict a baby's
bordered with light blue. The breast is
Painter's palette plumage: the Gouldian finch is a miniature riot of colour.
lilac and the bell\ orange, grading into a
rich \ellow. Females have rather duller
colours which are not so clearly defined.
Young birds are -wholly green.
As if not satisfied with plumage that
would put foseph's coat to shame, the
Gouldian finches have four or more colour
phases. The commonest is the black-
masked variety in which the scarlet on the
head is replaced by black. Rarer varieties
are the yellow-masked and the white-
breasted Gouldian finches.

Australian nomad
Ciouldian finches live in northern Australia,
from Derbv on the northwest coast to the
eastern coast of Queensland. Outside the
breeding season thev live in flocks, moving
southwards in the uet season and returning
lo the wetter coastlands as the interior dries
up. lor thev are never found far from water.
I he\ prefer open plains with scattered
gioups of tall trees or the edges of thickets
and mangrove swamps. Gt)uldian finches
are sh\ and avoid human settlements.

Feeding above ground


L nlike m.uu other gtassfinches the (ioul-
dian finches rarely feed on the ground but
climb agileK among vertical gra.sses eating
seeds. During the wet season they eat a
large number ol insects and at the beginning
of the breeding season may be almost en-
tirely The) pursue Hving
insect-eating.
insectssuch as termites, ants and Hies and
raid webs for both the spiders and their
insect prey.

Nests in holes
I he song ol the (iouldian finch is a very
high-|)iiched hissing .md (licking, difficult
to Ik-.u o\ei a distance ol mrne th.iii a lew
yards. Courtship takes phut- high in the
trees, where the male dis|)la\s on a bianch.
showing off his biilli.uii tolouis. lie llufis
ilu leathers of his head and laises his tail
lo show off the blue uiiip At the sam«- lime
i

he "bows' with his bodx jxn i/ont.il and wa\es


his bill from side to side as ii wiping it
against the bi.uu h.

899
Crackle r
Highly adaptable pests offarmland and
suburbs, grackles belong to the family of
American orioles that includes the
cowbirds (p 542) as well as such diverse
birds as the American blackbird, the
^
r
meadowlarks, oropendolas and caciques.
They are songbirds, although their songs
are not always very musical, and they have
long pointed bills like marlinspikes
merging into a flattened forehead. Plumage
is dark brown or black with iridescent

blu£ or green on the head and neck, and


in a bright light grackles are extremely
handsome. The boat-tailed and great-
tailed grackles are 17 in. long, with fan-,
shaped tails.
Grackles range from Canada to Vene-
zuela and Peru. The bronzed grackle can
be found in southern and western Canada
and the great-tailed grackle is found
from Venezuela north to Texas. In recent
years it has spread slowly northwards into
southern Texas and Louisiana. Other
grackles live in the southern USA and
central America.
The slender-billed grackle is confined
to marshes near Mexico City and may now
be extinct, and the Nicaraguan grackle
lives only on the shores of two lakes in
Nicaragua.

Flocks of thousands
Grackles are attracted to urban areas where
th^y are as much of a nuisance as starlings
because they live in large flocks, often
numbering many thousands. Like starlings,
with which they sometimes associate, they
fly into their roosts in trees just before
nightfall. They whistle and chatter for a
couple of hours before going to sleep, and
again in the early morning, making sleep
for their human neighbours almost im-
possible.
The great-tailed grackle is very much a
bird of coasts and swamps, rarely being
found more than 50 miles inland, when it

may be seen near the banks of large rivers.


Other species hve farther inland, but even
the great-tailed grackle is very much ter-
restrial in habits, stalking about the ground
on its long legs. In a heavy wind the tail
seems to be a disadvantage and a boat-tailed
grackle is hard put to keep on its feet. In
flight the grackle is rather like a magpie:
it appears to fly laboriously with its long

heavv tail dragging it down.

Diving for fish


Grackles are versatile feeders; they eat many
kinds of food, taking it in a variety of ways.
They are often pests of agriculture where
the flocks descend on rice, maize or grain
crops to strip the ripening grains or to tear
up sprouting seedlings. To off"set this
damage, however, they take large numbers
of noctuid moth caterpillars, known as

A waterforay: three common grackles dip at the


surface while a fourth shoots up in a startled,
Nijinsky-style leap, claws still dripping.

900
' 4 i

*iM-

«,

ii.

-*>.
%>*'

i^r.»
V

V
.

cutworms, Japanese beetles, torn boieis the shells until they break open. . stones to catch fish, scooping them up
and other insect pests. They regularh (irackles have a bad reputation among the without getting their plumage wet or plung-
search for insects, such as beetles and their general public for killing other birds. Thev ing in headfirst like terns.
larvae, among the roots ot grasses and cap- take eggs and nestlings and kill the adults bv Some grackles take to thieving. They have
ture small lizards, frogs and mice. They pecking or crushing their skulls in the bill. been seen following ibises as thev probe
will also follow cattle for the insects they Sometimes they seem to destroy nests or kill in shallow water for crayfishes. When an
disturb, or, bv contrast, eat bananas and birds out of sheer devilment, leaving the ibis catches a crayfish it Hies up with it,

acorns. The bronzed grackle opens acorns corpses uneaten. and is set upon bv the grackles
immediately
and nuts with the aid of a horny keel on (irackles also take food from the water. who either snatch the cravfish from the
the upper part of the bill which, nuned by They search in the shallows for tadpoles ibis's beak or force the ibis to drop it.
a special muscle, exerts a great piessure on and newts and can be seen turning over
Communal nesting
In February and .March the great Hocks of
grackles break up and the males establish
small territories where the females will
later build their nests. Nesting is colonial,
and up to 100 nests mav be found in one
large tree. The
females are attracted to
the colonies bv the displavs and ear-piercing
calls of the males. \o permanent bond is
formed, the females accepting one of the
displaving males, mating with him, then
building the nest and raising the young by
herself. The nest is built of rushes, grasses,
and mud, in trees, bushes or rushes and
sometimes in holes in trimks or in niches
in buildings, the female having to guard
continuouslv against her neighbours stealing
nest material.
Incubation of the 3 — 5 eggs
lasts for a
fortnight. The voung
take to the air after
3 weeks, having left the nest a few days
previouslv to climb around the branches.
When thev follow their mother on
able,
foraging expeditions and may continue
to solicit food from her even when they can
feed themselves. There are usually two
broods a vear.

Keeping apart
For a long time the great-tailed grackle
was included in the same species as the boat-
tailed grackle, because the two could not
be distinguished bv pkmiage. The great-
tailed grackle has now spread northwards
and overlaps the range of the boat-tailed
grackle in a lOO-mile wide strip between
Houston, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisi-
ana. The boat-tailed grackle tends to breed
on farmland and the great-tailed on coastal
A Boat-tailed grackle at an artificial nestbux. V Two's company: a displaying couple of com- marshland, vet they sometimes breed in
Many grackles are invading towns in the USA mon grackles,with a dour third-party spectator. mixed colonies. Interbreeding does not take
place, proving that they are separate species.
When two species breed in the same place
some mechanism generally prevents inter-
breeding. In fruit flies, for instance (p 830),
the males have a courtship dance that en-
ables the females to tell their own species.
Grackles have the same mechanism. A male
grackle courts any feiriale but she will
accept only a male of her own species,
rejecting ones whose song and displays are
incorrect.

class Aves
order Passeriformes
family Icteridae

genera Cassidix major great-tailed grackle


8c species C. mexicanus boat-tailed grackle
C. nicaraguensis Nicaragiian grackle
C. palustris slender-billed grackle
Quiscalus quiscula common or
bronzed grackle

902
Grasshopper
As their name suggests, most giasshoppers
liveamong grass and herbage on the
ground. They are variously coloured—
mostly green and brown — and are protected
as long as they keep still by blending with
their surroundings. Grasshoppers are
active by day and if disturbed jump
suddenly and powerfully, using their
gteatly-enlarged hindlegs. They can also
crawl slowly by means of the other two
pairs of legs.
Xowadays the term 'grasshopper' is

applied to the short-horned Acrididae,


while the long-horned Tettigoniidae are
called 'bush-crickets' because they are more
closely allied to the other main family of
the order Otihoptera (the Gryllidae or A Bush-cricket Tettigonia cantons.^ Short-horned grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus. Short-
true crickets) than to the Acrididae. In horned grasshoppers haie 3 joints in the end part of the legs, short antennae and egg-la\ing organ,
sing by rubbing hmdleg against forewing, and have 'ears' at the abdomen base. Bush-crickets
all Orthoptera the forewings are leathen
have 4 joints in the end part of the legs, long antennae and egg-la\ing organ, sing by rubbing
and serx'e as coverings for the folded,
foreiving against forewing, and have 'ears' on the knees of the forelegs.
membranous hindwings which, in the
flying species, are the sole organs offlight.
Grasshoppers are mainly ground-living
insects, while most bush-crickets live in
the foliage of trees and bushes. There are
14 known species of grasshoppers in
Britain and 10 of bush-crickets. True
crickets have been dealt with (p 570)
while locusts, -which are in fact sicarming
grasshoppers, will be dealt with under a
separate heading.

Fiddlers in the grass


The tamiliar chirping chorus in the fields
and hedgerows of the countrvside is the
result of grasshopper's stridulation. A row
ot evenlv spaced, minute pegs on the largest
Joint ot the hindlegs is rubbed over the more

prominent \eins or ribs of the forewings.


Usualh, bin not ahvavs. onlv males can sing.
Each species has its ow n song, and these mav
be learned, like the songs of birds, and used
in identifving the species. The colours of
species of grasshoppers vary so much that
Bush-crickets mating. .Male I right) is placing the spermatophore — a package of sperm— at the base of
their song is a better means of recognizing
them than their appearance. the female's ovipositor. The blade-like structure of this organ is typical of bush-crickets.
.Apart from stridulation, both pairs of
wings serve their usual function. In all but
one of the British species the hindwings
are fullv developed in both sexes and the
insects can fi\ The exception is the meadow
.

grasshopper Chorthtppus parallelus in which


the hindwings are vestigial: e\en in this
species there are occasional individuals
in which the wings aie fully developed and
functional. .Among Orthoptera it is not
unconnnon for species to occur in two forms,
winged (macropteious) or wings much re-
duced (brachvpterous). The most usual
cases are like the one described, in which
occasional winged individuals occur in a
normallv brae h\ jneious population.
1 he l.ngesi BMii>h Npecie> is the lathei
uncommon large marsh grasshopper Stelho-
phyma ^msum. he three tonunoiusi are
I

the me.ulow, common luld and common


green grasshopjx-rs Chorthippus paratli-lm.
bruuti»iL\ .iMcl Omixestm vtridulus. The com-
('..

mon gioundlx.pper iilnx iindiilala is com-


mon on moors .md rn open woodland.
1
^
Rhapsody in tmrbh nth Afrirr.-i

grasshoppe)

<
1

z
openings to the hearing organs on the foreleg Stridulation — the voice of the grasshoppers. Left:Long-horned grasshopper rubs a hindleg over the
of a bush-cricket — sensitive enough to pick out ribs of the foreu'ing. Right: Bush-crickets have one of the left wing ribs adapted to form a row of
the calls of different species. teeth, which is rubbed against the trailing edge of the right forewing to produce the sound.

Bush-cricket crawlers young hatch


Although some species Hve on the ground,
positor.
form of
In both, the
worm-like larvae which moult
tiny
in the
Colour means nothing
most bush-crickets are at home in the foliage immediately after hatching. They then re- Some grasshoppers show an extraordinarv
of trees and bushes. These tend to be main- semble their parents except that they have range of variation in the colour and mark-
ly green while the ground-dwelling ones are no wings. With each moult (ecdysis) their ings on both legs and body. In the stripe-
brown or blackish. Unlike grasshoppers size increases. The wings also appear and winged and common green grasshoppers
bush-crickets are not lovers of the sun, but grow larger at each moult, becoming fully Stenobothrus lineatus and Omocestus viri-
become active in the late afternoon, or may formed and functional, in the species that dulus there is a small number of well de-
be whoUv nocturnal. Their hindlegs are fly, at the last moult. All the British species fined colour varieties, but in the common
adapted for jumping, but thev have not the have one generation a year. field and mottled grasshoppers Chorthippus
prodigious leaping powers of grasshoppers, brunneus and Myrmeleotettix maculatus there
moving mainlv bv climbing and crawling. Mainly vegetarian is almost every shade of colour: green,
Grasshoppers are entirely herbivorous and brown, yellow and red are the main colours
Singing a difiFerent song can be fed in captivity on bunches of grass and to these must be added extremelv varied
Thev are also noisy and call by stridulating, tied with string and lowered into their home. patterns of stripes, spots and mottling. As
but the mechanism is very different from The floor of the receptacle should be cover- a result it is hopeless to trv to tell a grass-
that of grasshoppers. In the left forewing ed with H in. of slightly damp sand, and in hopper by its colour.
a rib, formed by one of the veins, has a these conditions they will breed readily.
row of minute teeth and this is rubbed Bush-crickets are at least partly preda- class Insecta
against the hind edge of the right forewing. tory and one species, the oak bush-cricket order Orthoptera
The arrangement is the same as in crickets Meconema thalassinum, is entirely carni\orous
except that the roles of the left and right and hunts caterpillars and other insects in familv Acrididae
forewings are reversed. Here again the oak trees. The
others feed partly on grass genera Chorthippus, Omocestus, Steno-
species all have distinct songs, and there is and leaves andon insects. In captivity
partly bothrus, Myrmelotettix, Tetrix
good reason for this. In both bush-crickets they must be given plenty of room; if thev
family Tettigoniidae
and grasshoppers the song is mainlv a court- are crowded cannibalism will occur. Lettuce
ship addressed to the female,
invitation leaves seem to suit most of them, but they genera Tettigonia, Leptophyes,
and important that the females should
it is should have some animal food as well. Meconema
be able to recognise the call of males of Small looper caterpillars can usually be
their own species. found by shaking bushes and branches into Standing room only: a crowd of Phymateus
By far the largest and finest species seen an open umbrella held underneath them. grasshopper nymphs. Wings show after moulting.
in Britain is the great green bush-cricket
Tettigonia ranges across
viridissima.
It
Europe, Asia and North Africa. The female
is 2 in. long, including the straight, blade-
like ovipositor, and
bright green in colour.
is

The male smaller and his song is


is a little

very loud and sustained, and uttered at


night. Ibis bush-cricket is not uncommon
along the south and west coasts of England.
In the latesummer and autunni the speckled
bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima is com-
mon in gardens and hedges. It is a plump,
soft-looking insect, green with the wings re-
duced to small vestiges; the female ovi-
positor is broad and < urvcd.

Two ways of laying eggs


Both grasshoppers and bush-crickets lay
eggs. In the former they are enclosed in a
tough case called the rgg-pod, which the
female buries in the ground. Each pod has
from 5 to 6 or up to 14 eggs, more or less
according to the species. Bush-trie kets la\
their eggs without any tovcring and usualU
singly, some putting them in the ground oi
crevices of bark, otluis inseiiing iluni in
stems or leaves by culling slits wiili the ovi-

905

rTTrr-
snake can be recognized is the yellowish ground. It is active by day and especially
Grass snake patch either side of the neck forming an in spring can be seen basking on banks
incomplete collar or ring. This may some- or on logs. A good climber, it may go up into
Until the beginning of this century this shrubs or low trees but never more than a
times be orange, pink or ichite.
non-poisonous reptile was known as the few feet from the ground. It readih enters
The ringed snake ranges from Britain,
ringed snake. A third name, one at least water, swimming strongly with side-to-side
through Europe (south of latitude 65
as appropriate although seldom used, is movements of the body, holding the head
water snake.
degrees). It is absent from Ireland, and well clear of the water and moving it from
although it is usually stated to be absent
Grass snakes are usually 2k — 3 ft long side to side as if searching. One grass snake
but occasionally longer ones are recorded. from Scotland there are records of it as was watched for 20 minutes swimming
These are females, which are larger than far north as the Caledonian Canal. There underwater without coming to the surface
are 75 related species of water snake, most to breathe. Another was found 20 miles
the males. One from South Wales measured
of them in the Old World, a few in from land in the Bay of Biscay, still heading
5 fl 9 in. This was exceeded by one from
North America, all similar, except for out to sea. Grass snakes hibernate from
Southern Europe measuring 6ifl. The October to April, but the period varies
colour is usually olive brown, grey or
details of colouring.
according to latitude, being shorter in the
green along the back with two rows of A master swimmer south. Usually many come together in holes
small black spots arranged alternately. The grass snake is usually found near ponds in the ground, but smaller numbers may
Along the flanks are black vertical bars. and streams, on marshy ground or in damp pass the winter under logs, boulders or
The most obvious feature by which the woodlands, rarely on sandv heaths or on drv piles of brushwood.

906
Big meals long intervals
at the other, a 7in. gudgeon swallowed in he- I
Gratf tiwk«
Grass snakes' main food used to be frogs. usual way, head-first. Young grass snakes (Natrix notrtx)

In Britain at least these are now rare com- feed on earthworms, slugs, tadpoles, newt
pared with a quarter of a century ago, so larvae and small fish.
presumabh most grass snakes must be
feeding mainly on other animals. Newts Bundles of eggs
were their second preference, and after Mating takes place in .April and May. 1 he
this fish and tadpoles. A few eat toads, but male glides up to the female and places his
the majority, to avoid the toads' poison, chin on her back near the base of her tail.
refuse them. Lizards and slowworms, shrews, With his tongue flicking in and out rapidlv,
mice, voles, and young birds are also taken he caresses her back with his chin as his head
occasionally. One grass snake was seen moves towards the back of her head. Then,
eating honev bees but insects are not in the throwing his body in loops over her.
normal diet. Much of the food is caught coupling is completed. Eggs arc laid in June
in the water, smaller prey being swallowed or July, under heaps of decaying leaves or Prospective diner, apprehensive menu: a grass
while the snake is still submerged, larger rotting vegetation, under hayricks or heaps snake investigates a toad. With body inflated
prev being brought to land to be eaten. The of sawdust in sawmills, in compost or and raised stiffly on all fours, the toad is
main feeding time seems to be early morn- manure heaps. The number of eggs laid trying to get the snake to change its mind—
ing, and when food is plentiful large meals at a time is usually 30 — 40 but
mav vary from unless the snake is really hungry the load has a
are taken, for example, 17 newts one after 8 to 53. each oval and up to 1 in. long. Ihev good chance oj survival.

907
stick together and as thev drv and the small flesh-eaters, possiblv at times because line of defence is to sham dead. The grass
'glue'hardens tliev lose their glistening of their worm-like appearance. More precise snake quickly turns onto its back, opens its
appearance and become matt white. Some- information is needed, however, because mouth, lets the tongue loll, and holds itself
times several females lav in the same jilace, although a toad will seize a babv grass snake rigid. It is a realistic performance. The
as in North Wales in 1901 when 40 bundles in its mouth it quickly rejects it and shows snake looks quite dead. If, at this point, you
of eggs totalling well over a thousand were e\er\ sign of having a nastv taste in the turn the snake over onto its belly and
found in a hole in an old wall near a row of mouth, .\mong other things the toad wipes close its mouth, it turns as soon as vou take
cottages. its lips vigorouslv with first one front foot, your hands away onto its back, opens its
The eggs hatch in 6—10 weeks, the baby then the other. This unpleasant taste may mouth and lets its tongue loll. You can keep
snakes slitting the parchment-like shell well protect young grass snakes from some on doing this and each time the snake flips
with the egg-tooth on the snout. On hatch- other flesh-eaters. over, goes into what looks like a death
ing the\ measure about 7 in. Grass snakes posture, as if it were determined to look
come what mav.
have lived for 9 years in captivity.
Shamming dead dead,

Defence: a nasty taste .An adult grass snake uses an unpleasant


There is not a great deal of positive in- secretion from its vent as the second line class Reptilia
formation on enemies. Badgers and hedge- of defence. Its first line is to strike as any order Squamata
hogs have been seen to eat adult grass poisonous snake would, but the grass snake
snakes, and birds of prey have been watched does so with the mouth shut. At the same suborder Serpentes
flving up with them. The greatest mortality time it blows up
bodv and hisses. This is
its familv Colubridae
is the babies. From 7 in. when first
among pure soon followed bv the un-
bluff^. It is
genus Natrix natrix
hatched they grow to 10—12 in. at a year pleasant secretion, which is evil-smelling as
old. Many are probably eaten b\ large and a skinik but not in such quantitv. The third
& species others

'*^

-iil

r ^ -- m- - -• *^
A Best way to identify a grass sj:,j.l .o b\ tin- V Grass snakes are expert swimmers, gliding A Shamming dead, with head aslew, jaws loosely
collar patches— yellow, orange-pink, or white. smoothly along with the head raised. gaping, and tongue lolling.

Vi
r,;-^<^- '«
; r
Jt

4-
Y
*>•'
I

*
^ * J

^B

908
Aromatic beauty her 5 — 6 thousand largish eggs. These hatch
Grayling Thf gra\ling needs clear, swift-flowing in a few weeks.
streams with plenty of water and with a
stonv or rockv bottom. In warm weather
Somf say the grayling is one of the most
shoals are seen in the shallows near the
Long-standing favourite
beautiful offreshwater fishes, others say
it is the most beautiful. It has been called
bank. In Scandina\ia the gravling leap in The grayling has been a favourite with the
the waterfalls of mountain rivers in spring connoisseur for manv centuries. It was
the Lady of the Stream, the Flower of the
as thev make their wa\ up to spawn follow- .\mbrose. Bishop of Milan in the 4th cen-
Water, the Queen of the Water. And it has
ing the break-up of the ice. Unlike typical turs who named it the 'flower of fishes' or
all the qualities of a superb sporting fish. members of the salmon familv, gravling do flower-fish", .\ldrovandus. the 16th-century
The grayling has also been named the not go down to the sea but are wholly Italian naturalist, claimed that the fat of the
umber because its swift su-imming makes it freshwater. Trout often live in gravling gravling being set a day or two in the sun,
disappear like a shadow. A relative of the streams but are less migratorv than the with a little honev is veiA excellent against
salmon, it has been switched back and forth grayling. redness or swarihiness or anything that
from the salmon family to a family of its The large dorsal fin makes the fish look breeds in the eves'. Apparentlv no praise
own, the Thymallidae, and is at the top-heavv but it is a graceful swimmer, swift was too great for it and no claims for its
moment back in the salmon family. Like a also, and in the eves of the fisherman as The fish has, how-
virtues too extravagant.
tough a fighter as the trout. These qualities ever,been a disappointment in one resf>ect.
salmon in shape, it has a large purple
added to the srravlings coloration account Attempts to breed it artificiallv have had
dorsal fin which has been compared to a
for the eulosfies showered on the fish. There little The gravling is verv par-
success.
sail and to a butteifiy's wing. The
is also its taste, some people asserting that ticular about the conditions under which
resemblance to the second of these is its flesh superior to that of a trout. When
is it lives, and has become extinct in many
heightened by its 4 rows of dark blue spots. freshlv caught it has a faint odour of wild rivers because of p>ollution. It is also highlv
Its colour varies from a back coloured thvme. from which its generic name Thy- susceptible to injurv from being handled.
greenish-brown to blue-green, with flanks mallus is derived. .Another thing which in- In 1961 a writer in Nature suggested that
of silven grey and a white underside. creases its popularitv is that its flesh is best two English rivers were named after the
There are dark spots on the sides of the in autumn when trout are not in season. gravling. the Humber = umber) and the
(

head and the front half of the body, and Thames (


= thvme). There have, however,
the paired anal and tail fins have a varying
Two ways of feeding been other explanauons for the origins of
.\khough take almost anv form of
it will the names of the rivers.
amount of purple. Dark zig-zag lines mn insect, mavflies and caddis worms are par-
the length of the body marking the
ticularlv acceptable. Gravling also take
boundaries between the rows of scales. freshwater shrimps and some worms. The
Over the whole fish is a greenish-gold nsh keeps near the bottom, rising to take
sheen. its food. Should an insect land on the sur- class Pisces
It isa northern fish, growing up to 5 lb face the gravling will slowh float upwards,
order Salmoniformes
or more, found throughout Europe except almost stalking its prev. In contrast, anv
in the southwest, but rveryuhere localised. insect or crustacean passing over the fish familv Salmonidae
will be taken by a swift upward pounce, a
It is found in Scandinavia. Lapland and genus
moveinent largelv helped bv the sail-like
Finland, and farther south in the alpine i: species Thymallus thymallus
dorsal fin.
districts of central Europe. In the British
Isles it is mainly in the midland and
Spring breeding
northern counties of England, has been Spawning is from earlv March to mid-Mav.
introduced into southern Scotland but is the female di^sfins: shallow trouarhs in the The grayling's beauty lies m the subtle blending
absent from Ireland. sandv or stravellv stream bed in which to la\ of the colours of its back andfins.

909
itu^ja
?
'
ff Ti 1
Grebe courtship peatedly for food, but the little grebe lives a
Grebe very secluded life among reeds and other
vegetation surrounding its lake or pond. It
Grebes are waterbirds with long necks and can be seen only by accident or by patiently
short tails that give them a distinct, waiting for its occasional trip from one reed
blunt-ended appearance. Many species bed to another.
have plumes on the head. The feet are set
well back on the body, as in the divers.
Eating fish and feathers
Grebes eat fish, aquatic insects and crusta-
They are not icebbed but each toe has a
ceans together with a few newts, tadpoles
horny fringe that acts as a paddle. The
and some plant matter which they find by
feet are used for steering both in the air swimming underwater. A grebe usually
and in the water, the vestigial tail being stays underwater for | minute or less, de-
useless for this purpose. pending no doubt on the depth of the
The largest grebe is the 19in. long water, abundance of food and so on. They
great crested grebe, whose behaviour has have been known to stay submerged for as
been studied in great detail. It is found in long as 3 minutes. In calm, clear water a
Penguin dance: a rare and complicated ceremony
most of Europe except northern Scan- grebe can easily spot its prey while swim-
in which both male and female come high up out
dinavia, in many parts of Asia, Africa ming with its neck raised, but in ruffled
of the water and shake their heads with nesting water or if searching for small animals it
and and New Zealand. Its
in Australia materials in their bills.
may swim with its head just underwater,
upperparts are light brown and the
waiting to submerge suddenly and plunge
underparts white. The black ear tufts and,
after its prey. Insects are sometimes picked
in the breeding season, chestnut and black off^ the surface or snatched out of the
frillson the sides of the head are air.
particularly distinctive. The Slavonian Fish are swallowed alive, head-first. They
grebe is darker on the upperparts than the may have to be juggled before being in
great crested grebe. In the breeding season the right position for swallowing. Grebes
usually eat 4 — 6 in. fish, but larger ones are
it has a glossy black head with a golden
sometimes caught and the grebe can only
stripe running through the eye, and
gulp them down slowly. It is not unusual for
chestnut neck and flanks. Its range is
dabchicks, and other waterbirds, to be
circumpolar, from Iceland, Faeroes and choked by the spines of bullheads they are
Scotland through parts of Scandinavia and attempting to swallow.
a broad belt across Asia to North America. A strange habit of grebes is feather eating.
Another widespread species is the little They regularly eat their body feathers, or
Rearing display: the male, or the female,
grebe or dabchick, the smallest of grebes, soak them, and give them to their young. In
climbs onto the nest, rears up, and with bent
which has dark plumage. It breeds in the stomach the feathers break down to a
neck moves the head from side to side as an
felt-like mush which is thought to make
Europe as far north as southern Sweden, invitation to coupling.
sharp fish bones easier to regurgitate.
in Asia as far as the East Indies and
fapan and in most
of Africa. Floating nests
Of the 18 of grebe, 10 are
species Grebes are famed for their spectacular
confined to the New World. In comparison courtship dances. Both sexes have plumes
with the wide-ranging species described and ear tufts and both take the initiative in
above, others are extremely restricted. One courtship. The great crested grebe has
is Madagascar, another to New
restricted to several displays with various functions.

Zealand and a third to the Falkland They vary from simple head-shaking to the
penguin dance. Both birds dive, surfacing
Islands. In the highlands of South America
with weed in their bills, then rise up breast
there are three species tied to single lakes.
to breast and sway from side to side before
The flightless Titicaca grebe on Lake lives
relaxing. In the 'cat display' the grebe lowers
Titicaca, 2 miles high in the Andes, an- its head with ear tufts spread and holds its
other lives on Lake Junin in Peru, while Jlt-*^ wings out with the forward edges turned
the giant pied-billed grebe, also flightless,
Invitation to coupling: as courtship proceeds
downwards. The western grebe of North
lives on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. the female takes more turns at mounting the
America performs incredible dashes over
and the water. The two grebes rear up out of the
nest (oflen only a copulation platform)
makes water and dash across the surface side by
this final display.
Shy stay-at-homes side with their necks arched forwards. The
Grebes live on lakes, reservoirs and flooded dash is ended by both birds diving.
gravel pits, only rarely on slow-moving Some of the courtship is carried out on the
rivers. Some stay in one place all the year nest, which is a large pile of waterweed
round but others, such as the great crested built by both birds among the weeds, or
grebe, migrate to the coast in winter. Gener- occasionally floating freely. The adults take
ally, however, grebes do not fly much and turns in incubating 3—10 faint white or
have to run across the water to take off". blue-green eggs. If they are frightened off"
When disturbed they scutter to safety or the nest they will often cover the eggs with
dive and, like cormorants and darters, can nest material before creeping away.
swim half submerged by flattening their The eggs of large grebes hatch in a month
plumage, so squeezing the air out. Grebes and those of small grebes in 3 weeks. The
are not gregarious, only occasionally are nest is abandoned as soon as the chicks dry
they seen in small parties. More often thev out and the voung chicks are carried on the
live in pairs not straying from their terri- parents' backs for a week or more. They
tories, which in great crested grebes are Mating begins as the male jumps onto the female. occasionally get carried under when the
about 2 acres. The great crested grebe can This remarkable series of photographs by George parent dives or carried aloft when it flies.
often be seen swimming slowly about in Ruppell illustrates the now famous observations As they grow older they spend less time on
open water and can be watched diving re- ofJS Huxley in 1914 and KEL Simmons in 1955 the parent. This behaviour protects them

912
^^>^l

"^- .«^

A peat crested grebe cruises stoutly in placid


watej. carrying the young on lis back

4
from enemies, the worst of which, in Eur- gered. It is one of -the rarest birds in introduced. Rigorous patrolling against
ope, the pike. In a survey carried out in
is America, only 100 surviving in 1965 on the poaching has allowed the grebe population
Britain, pike were the main cause of chick 10 by 12 mile Lake Atitlan. The reason for to increase. This is very encouraging, but
mortality, followed by foxes, otters, herons, their decrease seems to have been the intro- expensive and one wonders whether it will
trout and eels. duction of largemouth bass as a gamefish. be possible to eliminate the bass to allow
The young be|in to dive when 6 weeks This on the face of it was an admirable both grebes and men to continue their
old and are independent by 10 weeks. Some scheme designed to enrich the area, but as fishing in peace.
species raise two broods in a season, the all too often happens the project backfired.
male guarding the first clutch while the Largemouth bass, which weigh 10—12 lb,
female incubates the second. are predatory and live on the same small class Aves
fish and crustaceans that the grebes hunt,
and seems that they also take young order Podicipediformes
Save the grebes it

grebes. More seriously the bass have upset family Podicipedidae


In 1860 the British population of great the delicate balance of the lake animals and
genera Podiceps auratus Slavonian grebe
crested grebes fell to below 50 pairs because the 50 000 people living round the lake are
8c species P. cristatus great crested grebe
their feathers were used in hat-making. feeling the eflFects of this on their important
P. ruficollis little grebe
Since then, however, their numbers have fishing industry.
Podilymhus gigas giant pied-billed
increased, and now the bird is by no means Steps have been taken to save the grebes.
grebe
rare It is now the turn of another species, A small bay has been isolated from the lake
others
the giant pied-billed grebe, to be endan- by wire mesh, the bass killed off and grebes

Changeover: great crested grebe male takes on the job of incubating the last egg of the clutch while his mate prepares to leave with the chick.
.

coming in to peich on the tree


Greenfinch late arrivals
before diving down. In the fastness of twigs
Drug addicts
and leaves of the roost itself the 5()-odd Writing in Animal Behaviour in 1961, M Pet-
The greenfinch is a typical finch, nearly 6 finches move uneasily from one twig to tersson reported on a remarkable instance
in. long unth a short conical beak, powerful another until darkness begins to gather and of drug addiction in a species of bird. I he
enough to crack hard seeds. Despite its they settle for the night. bird is the greenfinch, the drug is contained
in the berries of an ornamental shrub
name, the greenfinch or green linnet is only
Aerobatic courtship Daphne, a native of Europe that has been
tinged with green, and most of this is
In spring the male alternates his indrawn widelv planted as an ornamental. It was
olive-green or greenish-brown. Even this is
whistle with flving up from his perch and noted over a centurv ago, in the Pennine
hidden after the autumn moult when the floating around with slow wing beats in a district of England, that when the berries of
plumage appears brown, the green tints
butterfly- or bat-like flight, twittering. This Daphne ripened in June the greenfinches
appearing as the ends of the feathers isthe main part of his courtship display. As descended on it and stripped it of its berries.
become rubbed off. The more distinctive a rule the nest is built in a hedge, evergreen The habit spread outwards from this centre
feature is the bright yellow along the edge bush or shrub, of twigs, moss, bents and until the greenfinches over nearly the whole

of each wing and in a patch on either side wool lined with roots, hair and feathers. The of Britain were eating these berries. The
4 — 6 eggs are laid in May, each f in. by 5 in., spread was orderly, at a rate of 21 miles a
at the base of the tail. The young green-
dirty-white to greenish-blue with reddish- year. The berries are said to have an intoxi-
finch has a brownish plumage marked with
lines of dark spots and streaks, a pattern
brown or violet markings. The hen alone cating effect on the greenfinches, which
incubates for 2 weeks, during which she is appear to give all their attention to the
found in many young finches, and in the
adults of quite a number. The streaks can
be indistinctly seen, but only at close
quarters, on thehead of the hen greenfinch.
The species ranges across Europe and
much of Asia.

Hangers-on around houses


Greenfinches are sociable and move about
in flocks except during the breeding season.
E\en then thev tend to nest in groups in a
hedge or among scrub. When the young are
first fledged they keep together with the

parents in a fairly compact family group. In


areas where houses are few and widely
separated greenfinches keep to pinewoods,
which may have been their original habitat.
Elsewhere they live around houses, gardens
and farmhouses and are then absent from
the wilder parts of the countryside. At the
end of summer they gather in large flocks
which scavenge arable land and stockyards
for faJlen grain or seeds of wild plants,
especially those that are weeds on tilled
soil. When
disturbed thev rise as a flock with
a whirring of wings and twittering notes.
The flight is bounding, as the bird alter-
nates a few rapid wing beats with closing the
wings and losing height, rising again on the
next wing beats. The male, brighter in
g^^
colour than the hen and with a grey-brown
cap, is especially bright in spring and his
yellow patches catch the eye. His twittering
song is punctuated by a drawn-out whistle
which sounds as if it were being made bv
an intake of breath. Greenfinches also icci h\ ilic cock, and both paicnis tccci ilic Seed husks sunuu...: ..j^ ...,,, .,; tenfinch, clear
mimic other birds' songs. young by regurgitation for another 2 weeks, proof of the 'nutcracker' qualities of its
on insects and some crushed seeds. cone-shaped hill. The greenfinch 's subfusc
Weed controller plumage has as much yelloiv in it as green.
The food is cereal grains taken oniv when High infant mortality
dropped from the car, small seeds, berries The enemies of small songbirds such as berries, asif they could not have enough of
su( h as yew, bramble and hips, insects in- greenfinches are hawks as well as owls, them. .An extensive survey made bv Petters-
( hiding a})hids, ants and beetles, spiders and which will .sometimes beat them out of their son suggests that this has been a genuine
oc(asionall\ the buds of fruit trees, but sel- roosts by flapping with their wings. They spread of a habit. Perhaps the most interest-
dom to the point of lacing a pest. may be caught on the groiuid bv small beasts ing feature of all is that the habit has spread
of prey, such as stoats, weasels and domestic at about the same rate as hiunan cultures
Going to roost cats. The highest mortality is, however, in such as bronze-working and iron-working
Before sunset greenfinches l)egin to the first three months of life, including the arc known to have spread.
as.senible, perhaps in a tall tree. I hev remain time they are still in the egg, from nest-
perched with only a small amount of flying robbers such as magpies, jays and squirrels, class Aves
from twig to twig, after a while cfropping even rats. Once fledged, the carnage con-
into a Sleep dive to the evergreen bushes tinues and is augmented by accidents due to
order Passeriformes
below or into a hedge. They come down in inex|)erience. In the several species in which family Fringillidae
ones and twos, diving steeply or following this as|K'cl of the life historv has been
genus
an erratic course like leaves falling in siudifd a {'A) — iy/( moitalily has l)een
8c Sf)ecies Chloris chloris
autumn. For a half -hour this goes on, with recorded in the fn st 3 — 6 months of life.

915

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A Sociable birds, greenfinchesflock in autumn. V Like a Whitsun crowd of holiday-makers: a migrating greenfinch flock.

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916
such as under rocks, fallen trees or piles of or external Like other frogs that lay
Greenhouse frog decaying plants. Although classed as Amphi- their eggs
gills.

on land, the young greenhouse


bia, these frogs like a good many other froglet has an egg tooth. This is not a chalky
The greenhouse frog is so-called because in species spend no more time in water than knob like that found on the beaks of newly-
Florida, where it has been imported from do land-living reptiles or mammals. They hatched chicks, but a real tooth placed at the
the Caribbean, it is often found in the are, however, usually found near the banks tip of the upper jaw. With it the froglet tears

moist earth of greenhouses. Its maximum of sluggish streams. open the egg membrane and climbs out.
length U in., but average females are
is
In warm weather when the temperature The egg tooth is soon shed.
rises above 16°C/60°F, the greenhouse frog
T— 1 long
in. and males slightly smaller.
becomes quite active and jumps for cover
There are two colour phases: striped and
if disturbed. It is nocturnal but will come
Keeping in water
mottled. Striped greenhouse frogs are pale
out during the day if it is raining. If the in 1869 Professor Eberth of Zurich des-
gre\ or cream with an orange or tan stripe ground dries out it digs to avoid being dried cribed a laver of tissue in the skin of com-
running from each eye down the back. up. The voice has been described as being mon and edible frogs. He did not know it?
Across the back there are brown stripes, like a tiny bell or the cheeping of very young function and no more was heard about it.
while the underparts are spotted. The ducklings. Greenhouse frogs can be heard It was shown in drawings of frogs' skin that

mottled phase is similar to the striped, but mainlv at dawn or dusk, but throughout the appeared in scientific journals, but it was
the back dark brown mottled with light
is
day if the weather is overcast. not even labelled, let alone mentioned in
the text. Then a few years ago Dr E Elkan
brown. Frogs from one clutch of eggs may
Feeding in leaf litter examined 112 species of frogs and toads in
be either striped or mottled, and very
Greenhouse frogs live on the ground or only search of this mysterious layer of skin. His
rarely one frog may have a combination
a few inches up low vegetation. Conse- findings are reported in the Journal of
of both patterns. quentlv their food consists of ground-living Zoology where he shows that, in most cases,
The family Leptodactylidae to which ,
animals that can be found under leaf litter. amphibians that spend most of their time in
the greenhouse frog belongs, lives in the Their food is mainly ants and small beetles water, such as the clawed frog, do not have
West Indies and tropical America, and in and cockroaches with a few centipedes, the layer, but those that spend a certain
Australia, a good example of discontinuous millipedes, spiders and earthworms. amount of time on land do have it. The
distribution, suggesting that the family is layer is made up of mucopolysaccharides,
very old and once was more widespread. Hatching out as frogs slimv substances that both hold water and
The members of the family are very varied The greenhouse frog and very close rela-
its prevent its passage. Thus the layer of this
tives lay their eggs on land, but breeding substance in the skin of many frogs and
and include the 2lb 'mountain chicken',
takes place during rainv periods and the toads enables them to live out of water
the South American 'bullfrog' and the
eggs will not batch unless the surrounding without drying up. It is not as effective at
Holy Cross frog of Australia. Closely air is almost saturated with water vapour. waterproofing the body as the skin of a
related to the greenhouse frog is the barking Mating usually takes place around sunrise, reptile or mammal, but is sufficient pro-
frog of Texas and Mexico. From a distance when the air temperature is low but humi- tection for an amphibian, like a greenhouse
its calls sound like the yapping of a terrier. dity is at its highest. On average each female frog, living in moist places.
The greenhouse frog originally lived on lays 16 eggs in one Thev are de-
clutch.
Cuba and the nearby Isle of Pines, but it posited under a stone or log, in a neat pile.
class Amphibia
has been introduced parts of theto many The female digs a hole to take them, and if
the stone or log is not in direct contact with order Salientia
Caribbean such as famaica, Cat Island, the
the ground she scrapes earth over them bv famih Leptodactylidae
Bahamas and others. It has also been
kicking with her back legs. Unlike its close
introduced to Florida where it is found as genus
relatives, the greenhouse frog does not
far north as fackson. &z species Eleutherodactylus planirostris
guard its eggs.
The eggs take 2 — 3 weeks to hatch depend- Left: Greenhouse fog Eleutherodactylus
Living on land ing on the air temperature. The tadpole planirostris.
Greenhouse irogs live on land, in damp stage is passed within the egg and the frog- V Consen'ing water: amphibians breathe
situations where the air is ahvavs moist, let emerges i in. long with little sign of a tail through their skin, which must be kept moist to
allow oxygen to diffuse through — but this works
both ways. On land water ex'aporates, and the
fog tends to dry up. The top two sections of
fog skin show the Eberth-Kastsch layer — a
stained blue line along the middle of the
sections — which partially prevents water loss
in land-liinngfrogs. The bottom section isfom
a water-livingfrog, which does not need it.

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917
Green lizard
This is the second largest lizard in Europe;

the male is 15 in. long, of which 10 in. is


tail. Europe's largest lizard is the eyed

lizard, 24 in. long of which 16 in. is tail,


and of 36 in. total length.
there are records
The eyed lizard is often dark green spotted
with yellow and black. There are blue
spots forming rosettes on the flanks. The
green lizard is chosen to represent the
larger European lizards because of the
attempts to acclimatize it in England.
The head of the green lizard is large, its

legs stoutand the toes, especially on the


hindfeet, long. The length of the toes is
$
most marked in the males although the
females are usually slightly larger than the
males in total body size. The colour varies
and while usually bright green in the male
it may brown and
be yellowish-green or
yellow on the flanks of the female. Males
are noticeably thick at the root of the tail. (?»^i^^-rf^
Green lizards range across southern A Seconds out: green Innxhjightuig.
Europe from northern Spain and the V The second largest lizard in Europe.
south of France to southwest Russia and
northwards to parts of Germany. They are
also found in the Channel Islands.

Lovers of dampness
(ireen lizards live among rocks and on rough
ground along the margins of
especially
woods, where the ground is not too dry. They
are particularly found on river banks, but
they may also occur in meadows, especially
where there are damp ditches. They climb
well and are reputed to be good swimmers
and to take readily to water when disturbed
and seek refuge on the bottom. They are
active by day, hunting or basking, but seek
the shade when the sun is hcjt. Hibernation
is from October to March, in holes in the

ground, under buttress roots of trees or


under vegetation litter, the period of hiber-
nation being shorter in the southern than in
the northern parts of the range.

Shell-cracker jaws
Green lizards feed on insects, spiders, wood-
lice, earthworms and other small inverte-
brates but also eat smaller lizards and small
rodents. They sometimes take birds' eggs,
cracking the shells with their powerful jaws
which can give a strong but non-venomous
bite on the hand. They occasionally eat fruit.

Females just give in


The breeding season starts in late April and
continues into May. The male's throat goes
cobalt blue, and is used as a threat in the
many contests that take place between males.
He also uses the same intimidating displays
towards females and it is the fact that she
responds submissively, that is, she does not
return his menacing attitude, which tells him
she is a female. A short time after mating the
female lavs 5 — 21 dull white oval eggs, about
f in. long, in soft earth. She stays near her
eggs and will come back to them even after
A^^CV^^
being driven off. They hatch 2 — 3 months
later, the newly-hatched young being 2 — 32
in. long, brown with one or two rows of
s^y^'
yellowish-white spots. They gradually turn

918
green as they reach maturity. Green lizards
may live for 10 years in captivity although
their life in the wild is doubtless generally
less than this.

Victims of pet-keepers
Ihis lizard is attacked bv the usual enemies
of lizards, particularlv the larger birds of
prey, and it has the usual lizard defence of
casting its tail and growing a new one. The
chief danger to the green lizard, as with
several other southern European reptiles,
notably the Greek tortoise and the wall
lizard, is their export for pet-keeping.
Thousands each vear find their wav north-
wards to central and northern Europe to be
kept in \i\ari.i. lo be used in laboratories,
or to re-stock the main zoos.

No place like home


Some idea of the traffic in these attractive
2 can be gained from the attempts to
reptiles
^ naturalize them in England. In 1899 an un-
I specified number of green lizards were
< liberated in the Isle of Wight and for a while
A A meal oj a brimstone butterfly. thev bred there. The last were seen in 1936.
V Feeling blue: a male in the mating season In 1931 some were introduced into Caer-
narvonshire, in North Wales. These did not
breed and survived for only 4 vears or so. In
1937, 100 green lizards were set free at
Paignton, in south Devon. A few were still
alive in 1952.
The wall lizard, a medium-sized European
lizard, 8 in. long, was also introduced at
Paignton in 1937, 200 being set free. They
lasted onlv a few years, yet the wall lizard is
a more northerly species than the green
lizard, ranging from Jersey, in the Channel
Isles, across Holland. Germany and Poland
to the southern European mountain ranges.
South Devon is only a few degrees farther
north than the Channel Islands, but it seems
this is enough to make the difference be-
tween survival and extinction for the green
lizard.Subtropical plants grow well in south
Devon so, while temperature mav be import-
ant, there must be other factors working
against the lizards. .\n animal set down in a
foreign environment must find suitable
hiding places, suitable food and other
necessities for successful living. Evervthing
around is strange and. far more than for a
plant, it is a gamble whether an animal will
settledown. Nevertheless, we have the in-
stances in which one group of green lizards
survived in the Isle of Wight for at least 37
vears and another group in South Devon
continued for at least 15 vears. Ihe climate
of the British Isles is said to be slowlv getting
warmer. It may well be that future attempts
at acclimatization might prove more success-
ful, provided there is then more sunshine
than is usual now. Experience with captive
green lizards shows that without sufficient
sunlight thev are prone to skin complaints
that shorten their lives.

class Reptilia

order Squamata
suborder Sauria
family Lacertidae
genus Lacerta I'iridis green lizard
& species L. lepida eyed lizard

91Q
Green turtle
Once abundant in tropical seas, the green
or edible turtle has been wiped out in many
parts of its range and made very rare in
others because its flesh and eggs are good to
eat and easily gathered. The name comes
from the green tinged fat. It is one of the
true sea turtles, together with the logger-
head, the hawksbill and Ridley turtles. The
shell ofhorn\ shields covering an inner
layer of bony plates is made up of two
parts, the dorsal carapace on the back and
the ventral plastron covering the under-
surface. The head is too large to be drawn
into the shell. In the adult, the shell is

an olive
marbled or spotted with yellow on
or dark brown background. The young are
a uniform brown above and yellow
underneath. The shell reaches a maximum
length of 4 ft, 3 ft 4 in. on average, and
the adults weigh 300-400 lb.

A long way to breed


The true sea turtles usually come on land A Long, strong strokes, m its element, tlie green V One of the most exhausting periods oj the
only to lav eggs, but the green turtle will turtle is a leisurely, giaceful oarsman. gieen turtle'^ ^'f" ^'"opins^ ont the nest.
sometimes come on shore to bask. Move-
ment on land is hampered not only bv the
sheer dragging weight of the shell, but bv
the necessity to lift the shell to allow the
lungs to expand. The turtle stops every few
feet and heaves a great sigh as it takes a
breath. To complete the melancholy picture
the turtle's eyes are continuously running
with tears. This is a device used bv manv
sea animals, including reptiles, birds and
mammals, to rid the body of the extra salt
taken in while eating and drinking.
At sea, the turtle is a complete contrast. It
is a good swimmer, rowing itself slowly and

gracefully with its front flippers. Dives can


last up to five hours, during which lime the
heart slows down considerably.
Outside the breeding season, green turtles
live in shallow parts of the sea, usualh
in coastal areas, far from the breeding
grounds. Results of tagging turtles with
metal bands have shown that they migrate
regularly between their two homes. Green
turtles travel from the coast of Brazil to the y
little island of Ascension, some 1 400 miles

out in the Atlantic Ocean. How they man-


age this feat of navigation has yet to be dis-
covered. It may be that thev are using the
angle of the sun in the same way as birds are
presumed to do. Preliminary experiments
have been made of attaching radio trans-

• c

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Green turtle fChetoma mydas/ Range I Principal feeding grounds • Maior nesting beaches Minornesting beaches

920
*^^^
mitters to green turtles. As they swim slowly young can crawl out of the eggshells quite sometimes before laying their eggs, and this
and usually near the surface they should be easily. The whole clutch hatches at about is another cause of the green tintle's
able to tow a float containing the trans- the same time and the hatchlings fight their decline.
mitter which could be tracked by satellite. way to the surface some days later. They In several parts of the world attempts are
nearly always emerge at night so avoiding being made to limit the decline by trying to
Grazing sea grass the heat of the sun as well as many enemies. ban the hunting of turtles, which are such
Adult green turtles are herbivorous, living The baby turtles set off for the sea as soon an easy quarry as they lie almost helpless on
mainly on 'turtle grass' that grows in shel- as they reach the surface, 'paddling' wildly the sand, or by improving the chances of
tered shallow water. During their first year, with their flippers to reach the water and the young turtles' survival. To the latter end,
young green turtles are carnivorous, feeding then swimming out to deep water and com- turtle hatcheries have been set up. Eggs are
on practically ajiy kind of animal food. parative safety. They have an almost un- collected from the nests and reburied in
erring ability to head for the sea straight fenced compounds where they can develop
Hatching en masse after leaving the nest, even on cloudy and in safety. On emergence the young turtles
Mating takes place off-shore after migration moonless nights and when the nest is hidden are kept in pools until their shells harden,
from the feeding grounds. The females from the sea by a sandbank. This infallible then liberated out at sea, beyond the reach
come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand, direction-finding has been tested experi- of at least some of their enemies.
always night because they will die if ex-
at mentally and it has been found that the Hatcheries are a vital part of any attempt
posed to the sun for too long. At a suitable turtles are reacting to the brighter light over to restore the green turtle's fortunes. A
place above the high tide line, after a labori- the sea, which reflects more light than the small egg eventually grows into a large
ous haul up the beach, they start to dig their land behind them. valuable turtle which can supply many

Moment of truth: a sand-covered female green turtle lays her eggs. Breakout of over 100 baby green turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

nests. A
body pit is dug first by sweeping Hazardous dash to the sea pounds of meat perhaps better, be used
or,
sand away with all four flippers until the Newly hatched turtles have soft shells and as a cash crop before buying other neces-
turtle is lying in aback below the sur-
pit, its are easy prey for many predators. If the sities. Whatever the answer, the downfall of
face of the sand. Next an egg hole is dugjust nests have not been dug up by dogs or the green turtle is that it is only the females
under where her tail is, using only the hind- monitor lizards the emerging turtles may be that are captured. On page 839, the recovery
flippers as scoops. When
finished this is snapped up by ghost crabs, snakes, cats, of the fur seal stocks was described. From
nearly 2 ft deep and the female is ready to tigers, dholes and many other predators. If near extinction the herds have built up be-
lay her eggs. they reach the sea they may fall foul of cause only the surplus males are now killed.
Each clutch consists of about 100 round crocodiles and sharks. Clutches that emerge Unfortunately for the green turtle the
white eggs, about the size of a ping-pong during daylight are likely to be wiped out by female is the more vulnerable as she comes
ball and each female lays five or more gulls and frigate birds. ashore, while the males wait in the safety of
clutches, returning to the nesting beach at the sea.
10 day intervals. After the clutch is laid, a
process taking about 10 minutes, the female
Turtle farming Reptilia
class
turtle fills in the nest with sand and leaves Ihe many enemies, however, are insigni-
order Chelonia
the eggs to incubate. ficantby comparison with man. Turtle eggs
The female does not press the sand down are dug up by the million as it is easy to trace family Chelonidae
hard over the nest so the eggs are in a cavity the nests by the tank-like tracks left by the genus
with plenty of air. When they hatch, 7—10 female as she plods up and down the beach. & species Chelonia mydas
weeks later depending on climate, the Worse still, the females are also taken.

922
Mexico. It is dinicull to assess nuinbeis be- in the dog family, (irain and fruits, especi-
Grey fox cause the animal is not onl\ about inainlv al allywild grapes and wild cherries, form the
night but is also adept at keeping out of sight bulk of the food at certain seasons and in
Sometimes called the tree fox, the short- at all limes. It is therefore comparati\el\ sel- particular areas. With such a wide diet the
lee;ged gre\ fox is noted for its ability to dom seen and even its yapping bark often grey fox readily takes to farmland and can
climb and it uses trees much more than passes unrecognized, even if heard, partly be a nuisance, especially where there is
other foxes. Up to 27 in. head and body because it is somewhat like the call of the poultry. It is also established in some built-

length and 15 lb weight, the grey fox has


coyote. During the day it rests in thick vege- up areas, for instance, the outskirts of New
up to 17 in. long. The general
tation or among rocks, or in a tree hollow. \'ork Citv. The actual requirements of grey
a bushy tail
Much of its food is caught on the ground but foxes were worked out by Richard F
colour of the fur is grey with underparts
the fox will not only go up into trees when Dyson, Curator of Large Mammals at the
white but there is a rusty tinge along the pursued but will also do so of its own will, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum at Tucson.
sides of the neck, lower fanks and under- especially to find fruits in season. It will run Because some of the mammals were over-
side of the tail. There is a black line along up a leaning trunk or climb a straight trunk weight and had shaggy coats he tested grey
the middle of the back, continuing along gripping it with its forelimbs and pushing

the tail, and black lines on the face. There upwards with the hindfeet, the long claws
is a noticeable ridge of stiff hairs along the on the toes of the hindfeet acting as climbing
and colour vaiy irons. Once in the tree it mav leap from one
top of the tail. Its size
branch to another. In descending the fox
from one region to another. In the north-
backs down the tree. It is not a fast runner,
east of its range its coat is a dark grey;
nor can it run long distances. The differ-
in the southwest it is paler and slightly
ence between the crude climbing of the red
redder.
fox and the skill of the grev fox can best be
The range is from southern Canada illustrated bv an accident. A grey fox was
through the United States to Mexico, found dead in a tree its tail caught by the lip
Central America and northern South in a forked twig and further held by having
America. A smaller animal with shorter passed through a second fork. From the
ears living on certain islands off southern scarring on the bark of the nearby twigs the Grey fox

California is regarded as a second species. fox had made desperate efforts to free itself. Urocyon cinereoergenteus
U littoralis

It scavenges the beaches and makes its den The important point is that all the twigs
around the fox were no more than t in.
among the cacti.
thick and most were nearer i in. The bushy-tailed, forest-dwelling grey fox. Shy
and nocturnal, it often passes undetected— and
Climbing fox Fox and grapes one reason is because its voice resembles the
Grev toxes live in of
forests, especially Its diet is wide and takes in mice, squirrels, familiar call of the coyote. Unlike many other
southern pines, or brush country in the dry small birds and eggs, as well as insects. It foxes, it is not a fast runner, nor can it cover
areas of the southwestern United States and also includes more plant food than is usual long distances atfull speed.

923
foxes for 6 months and found they kept in but trapped. In this the trapper takes ad- marks on the bark, by jumping up from a
excellent health on 3-8% of their own body vantage of the regularity with which a grey buttress root and scrabbling the last few
weight of food (flesh and fruit) per day. fox uses a run through the vegetation and feet. This is highly unusual, but ordinary
Later it was shown that this held good for sets his traps accordingly. The pelts make tree-climbing by red foxes seems to be more
other carnivores. only second-rate furs. common than we suppose. One thing they
never do is cling by the forelegs, as the grey
United families fox does. That is a cat-like action, but it is
The cubs are born in spring after a gestation
Dogs do climb probably also a result of the grey fox's short
period of about 2 months, the litter averag- But for its habit of tree-climbing the grey legs. Domestic dogs will sometimes climb
ing 3 or 4, but it may be from 2 to 7. At birth fox would hardly be noticed by zoologists. trees. Those that do this most successfully
the cubs are black, blind and helpless, about Yet tree-climbing foxes are no novelty, even are the small breeds with short legs.
3i oz weight. They are weaned at 6 weeks. among those whose coats are red. Many a
The male helps in bringing up the family, fox has outwitted the hunt by running up class Mammalia
the cubs finally leaving the parents at the the trunk of a leaning tree and hiding
order Carnivora
age of 5 months. Grey foxes have lived up among the foliage. Others have ascended by
to 12 years in captivity. using low branches but at least one red fox family Canidae
The grey fox may be killed by wolf, coyote, in England denned up in the crotch of a
genus Urocyon cinereoargenteus
bobcat and lynx but today its main enemy is large tree and had her cubs there. The
8c species grey fox
man. Because of its habit of going quickly crotch was 15 ft from the ground and the
U. littoralis beach fox
to ground or up into trees it is not hunted vixen reached it, judging by the scratch

Bundle of innocence: a grey fox cub. At 5 months, however, when it becomes independent, it will be a wily, hard-to-catch, farmland predator.

||»

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924
Greylag
The greylag goose is the ancestor of the
farmyard goose. It is one offive 'grey
geese' the others being the bean, white-
fronted, lesser white-fronted and pink- /
footed geese. They are all similar and
difficult to tell apart inflight. The greylag
is up to 3 ft long and 9 lb in weight. Its
plumage is grey-brown with lighter margins
to the body feathers, white upper and under
tail coverts and a white tipped grey tail

largely overlapped by white coverts, so it

appears white inflight with a dark rear


band. The breast is often spotted or blotched
with black. The forewing and rump are
grey. The head isheavy and the orange bill
is large and stout with a white or brownish
nail. The legs are flesh-coloured.
The original breeding ground of the
greylag probably extended over the whole of o
Europe Destruction of its habitat through
cultivation has broken this up. Now it <
breeds in Iceland, Northern Scotland, Migrating formation: Greylag geese fly with regular wingbeats, fast and direct in 'V formations
or trailing lines, each bird at a regular distance from its neighbour, except for the odd straggler.
Scandinavia, in a belt from Denmark to
the Balkans and eastwards to the Black
in rushes. Floating nests of reeds may be
Sea. An eastern race breeds throughout
used. The oval creamy-white eggs, 3i by
Following foster parents
central Asia. From these areas there is a
The name of Oscar Heinroth is virtually
2\ in., may become nest-stained yellowish or
southerly migration in winter.
pale brown. The usual clutch is 4 — 6 but may unknown outside the circle of those who
be 8, and where there has been interbreed- study animal behaviour. He was a pioneer
Formation flying ing with domestic geese it may be up to 15. in the early years of this century. He it was
Wary and suspicious, greylag geese are Thev are laid in late April, sometimes who studied the intimate family life of the
usually unapproachable, and when feeding earlier. Incubation begins when the clutch greylag and described how, in a mated pair,
there are ahva\s a few birds of the flock is completed and lasts 4 weeks, the goose the gander, after driving off an intruder,
on the lookout for possible danger. Stories (female) sitting all the time with the gander returned to his goose uttering a triumph
of organized sentries are probably over- (male) within range. The young (goslings) note, a resonant note followed by a low
statements but as one bird gives up watch can pick up food from birth but are accom- cackle, with his neck outstretched and head
another will take over. Greylags never perch. panied by the parents for a further 8 weeks. low to the ground. The goose responds in
They walk easily, but without the waddle of similar manner, and so will any goslings they
domestic geese, can run well, swim well but Used by man may have. ('See that, my dear. I drove him
seldom do, and will dive if necessary to Geese were probably domesticated as early off.' 'How
clever of you, darling.) Heinroth
escape danger. They fly with regular wing- as Neolithic times. The greylag has a strong was also the first to make a study of imprint-
beats, fast and direct in 'V" formation or tendency to throw up white individuals and ing, the work being carried on bv Konrad
trailing lines (skeins) each bird at a regular these were regarded, especially by the Lorenz, famous not only for his scientific
distance from its neighbour and led, so it is Romans, as being of superior quality. Geese work but for crawling on all fours followed
said, by an old bird. The call is a deep are alwavs ready to over-eat, which makes bv a line of goslings (or ducklings).
'aahng-ung-ung', but geese use many other fattening easy. It also made easy the Roman Heinroth found that young geese reared
notes and are said to be able to recognize practice of stuffing them with a mixture of from eggs hatched away from the parents
each other bv their voices. Hissing is used to flour, milk and honev to enlarge the liver. would follow the first large moving object,
warn of impending danger. The Greeks kept geese for the table and for whether a human being or a tractor, as if it
Greylag geese feed by day on salt and their eggs and Aesop produced the fable of were their parents. They become 'im-
freshwater marshes, fens and bogs, near the goose laying golden eggs. The Romans, printed' on it and if this continues for a few
estuaries or lakes and rivers where there are however, exploited them most. The nobility hours, or even minutes, the voung bird con-
reeds, rushes or willow thickets. Fields of ate only the front part of a goose, leaving the tinues to accept a human being — any human
young grain or stubble -and ricefields are rest for the household staff. The Romans being, not just its guardian — as parent,
also favoured. The night is spent on sand- plucked their geese twice a year for the companion and fellow member of the
banks and shoals in rivers or large lakes or down, to stuff cushions, and goose quills species. becomes attached to one
Later,
it

on the coast. Outside the breeding .season were used as pens at least as early as the 5th person, which it treats as a mate. Further
they are in Hocks (or gaggles) of half-a-dozen century ad. Goose lard was used for skin studies by a number of people have shown
to hundreds, or even thousands. diseases and, taken internally, for colic. that imprinting can occin in manv species of
.Although geese have been credited with birds, in some fishes, even in some insects. It
Grazing geese stupidity, the Romans considered them is the secret fiehind the pet bird that not
WliolK vegetarian, the food is mainly grass highh intelligent, the result no doubt of onlv clings, in a social sense, to one person
but they will eat a variety of grain, tubers honking geese saving the (Capitol in 390 h(, but will pay coint to that person; it all
and other plants, including potatoes, turnips by raising the alarm when the Gauls were came out from Heiinoth's stud\ of geese.
and acorns. Irving to climb in. In pie-Romaii Brit.iin the
goose was held sacrecl, according to Gaesar, class Aves
Good parents and not eaten. In the davs of Plinv, geese
Geese are (icdited with mating for life. were imported ftoni (iermaiu. where very order Anserifortnes
Ihev (liHer from ducks in that the familv pure white birds were being bred. It is family Anatidae
unit is lose-knit.
( he nest is in thi( k heather
1 lecorded that these ycese weie herded
geinis
built of heather luigs, grass and moss mixed acioss the .Alps on foot and <ill the \\a\ to
with down and small leathers, oi it may be
&c species Anser anser
Rome in !lal\

9i5
_^^ ' «, ^^i*

,-3i-:. -^•

W^

^
M

.:^
'>

Takeoff {above) and touchdown (lefi). Greylag geese are usually unapproachable. When
feeding there are always a few birds on the lookout for possible danger.
Family afloat. Geese are thought to mate for life, the goslings being cared for until 8
weeks old.
Sunset encounter of greylag geese

'^BH

.'i^mmm^^-
tionduring the period October 1— Decem- the breeding ground at the age of about 2
Grey seal ber In 1932 the second Grey Seal .\ct
15. months and some have made quite re-
extended this close season from Septem- markable trips. One pup tagged on the
The grey seal does not really live up to ber 1 — December 31, and as a result the Fames turned up some 7 weeks later in the
its name; its colour varies from almost numbers of grey seals have increased dra- Faeroe Islands. Another was seen on the
black through brown to silver depending maticallv in many parts of Britain. .A English coast at Withernsea and again only
on whether the animal is wet or dry and notable gap in legislation is the absence of 4 days later on the Dutch coast about 200
also on its state of moult. The grey is anv protection for the common seal (p 502), miles away — some journey for an animal
basically a background colour with which despite its name is far scarcer. less than 2 months old. These wanderings by

irregular blotches or spots. The back is


The Fame Islands' population shows the the newly weaned pups are not a regular
results of protection. Although grey seals migration in the same way as swallows
generally darker than the underside. In
have been known there since about the 12th migrate to Africa, but more of a dispersion
Canada a few bright green seals have
centurv thev have never been particularly from the breeding grounds. Tagged pups
been noticed. This colour results from plentiful and have often been killed for oil. from Orkney and the Fames have turned
thegrowth of a green alga Enteromorpha During the 12th centurv the Islands be- up in Holland, Germany, Norway and the
groenlandica among the hairs of the longed to the Prior of Durham and seals Faeroes. Adult grey seals do not wander
back. It IS a rare condition and has not were often sent as gifts from the Prior to as much as the young ones.
been seen outside Canadian waters.
sex of a grey seal can often be told
The
by the markings; the bulls have a dark
background colour, usually grey, marked
with irregular blotches of a paler shade,
the females are pale grey or silvery
marked with smaller darker spots or patches.
Some adult cows, when they float vertically
in the water, show spots about the neck
very much like a Dalmatian dog. This is
very characteristic of the grey seal.
In profile the grey seal has a noticeably
convex outline to the head, its so-called
'Roman nose' which has led to the
, seal
being known as the 'horse head' in parts
of Canada. This profile is most distinct
in the adult males, and it is the best way
to distinguish the grey seal from the
other resident British seal, the common
seal, which has a rather doglike concave
profile. The adult male grows up to a
maximum lengthof9\ft and just over
600 lb weight, the females being much
smaller at about ft
7 long and up to

550 lb weight.
The grey seal is found onboth sides of
the Atlantic and well into the Arctic, but
about three-quarters of the world's popula-
tion is to be found around Britain, and
the great majority around the Variations of grey: the grey seal does not really live up to its name; its colour varies from almost
of these live
black to silver depending on whether the animal is wet or dry and also on its stages of moult.
Scottish coasts. It is by far the largest
British wild mammal.
influential people: thevwere considered a Preying on the salmon
The range of the grey seal extends from luxury food and the oil was also greatly Seals are a notable pest of salmon nets. On
the Gulf of Saint Laurence, around
valued. At the time of the first Grey Seal the Scottish east coast there are a number of
Newfoundland, south to Sable Island and Act it is thought there were about 100 salmon stations where the fish are caught in
Cape Breton Island, then across the North seals on the islands, whereas today more fixed nets, staked out from the shore. These
Atlantic including Faeroe and Iceland to than 1 700 pups are born every year. provide an easy source of food for the seal,
the British Isles, where the largest colonies which can remove fish from the net instead
Controlling the numbers of having to chase them in the open sea.
are f)und at North Rona, the Orkney
to be
.\lt hough tfhe grey seal has been saved from Sometimes fishermen remove from the net
Islands and on the Fame Islands in the
total destruction in Britain-, its recovery salmon with claw marks on the flanks. .\t
North Sea. Smaller colonies are found in
has not been applauded by everyone. Due other times all the fisherman gets is the
Wales, Scilly Isles and in Ireland. It is also
to its habit of helping itself to an easy meal head, the seal having taken the rest. Such
found all around the Baltic coast and some of salmon straight from the fishermen's things have inade the grey seal disliked bv
of its islands, then up the Norwegian nets there have been several attempts to the salmon men and are the reason behind
coast as far as the White Sea. get its numbers reduced in recent years. In attempts to control their numbers. Voung
the Fame and Orkney Islands, a number grev seals feed at first on shrimps and any
Protection and destruction of pups have been culled in an efl^ort to small fish found in the rock pools, gradu-
Since earliest times the grey seal of the control the population and cut down the ating to cod. salmon, saithe. halibut and
British coasts has provided seaiskiti for damage to nets. To be able to organise herring as well as commercially unimpKirtant
clothing and oil for lamps, especially around protection and culling properly the bioiogv fish such as congers and lumpsuckers.
the Northern Isles. At the turn of this of the grey seals has been studied. During
century it was feared that it was rapidly the investigaticjns large numbers of pups White-coated pups
being hunted to extinction, and in 1914 have been tagged with metal or plastic tags Gre\ bear most of their pups
seals ui Britani
the (irey Seal Pioteciion Act was passed in fastened to the tail or flipper web so their from Septembei to Deteml)er. although
Parliament to pve the animal legal prelec- movements can be traced. I'hese pups leave births have been recorded in almost every

929
month of the year. Those on the western
side of the Atlantic, together with the
Baltic population, produce their pups in
the spring. The breeding season in Britain
starts with adult males and pregnant females
congregating on the breeding islands. The
larger, older bulls take up the best territories
and keep the younger bulls away. As with
most seals, the pups are born very quickly.
They are about 30 in. in length, weigh about
30 lb and are covered with a coat of white
hair. This 'whitecoat' is shed at about 3
weeks leaving the fat pup with its valuable
'bluecoat' so prized by hunters. During these
first 3 weeks the females suckle their pups,
the rich milk rapidly being converted to
blubber in the pup, forming a reserve to
last it until it is able to feed for itself. By this
time the pup should weigh about 90 lb. If
not, it does not have niuch chance of sur-
vival, as at weaning the pups are abandoned
by their mothers. They spend the next few-
weeks splashing around rock pools, learning
to swim and to feed themselves before
eventually taking to the sea. If they lack
a good reserve of blubber they will starve
during this period.
When the adults leave the breeding
beaches they disperse to the open sea to
feed and replace all the blubber used up
while they were ashore giving birth to their
pups and mating. They reappear early in
the following year to moult, the females
coming ashore in February and the males
about a couple of months later. After moult-
ing thev go back to sea to feed again and
build up their reserves for the following
breeding season.

Seal sirens
There are many legends, especially in Celtic
countries, of seal-women who can be heard
mourning the loss of their children, or
trying to lure men to their doom bv their
songs like the Sirens of the Odyssey. The
basis of the stories are most likely the calls
of hungry grey seal pups, pathetic bleats
that sound almost like a baby crying, to
which the cows reply with a mournful howl.
Distorted and magnified by echoes from the
cliffs around the lonely breeding beaches •;>i ,

these calls could be quite enough to give


rise tolegends. Sometimes these seal-
women are said to be the unnatural off-
spring of man and seal, but these may be
stories of a more political nature put about
by one clan to discredit the morals of an-
other.
Other legends tell of seals saving fisher-
men from drowning, but this was pre-
sumably before rivalry grevy up between
seal and salmon fishers. The basis for these
legends is the inquisitive nature of seals.
When they are not disturbed too much, thev
are very curious and will swim over to
investigate anything new. Anyone sitting
quietly on a rock in the vicinitv of seals is
likely to come under their scrutiny.

class Mammalia
order Pinnipedia
family Phocidae
genus
&: species Halichoerus grypus

930
^n^p«

^.•n

The Roman nose Brigade


Above
Cow
lejl: The Roman
gre^ seal attempts
mate on Sable Island
east
m
to
nose' brigade.
escape her
the Atlantic.

of Halifax, Xova Scotia, Canada. The


130 miles
M
female is identified b\ the spots about the
neck which look very like those of a Dalmatian
dog. The bull has a dark background colour,
usualh grey, marked with irregular blotches
Above right: Plump 'whitecoat' pup
or spots.
is sniffed by its mother. By three weeks this
pup will be 90 lb, having increased its

weight threefold. It will start to shed its

coat at this stage looking rather strange


(middle left). An enjoyable snack is eaten
by holding it in the front paws and biting off
pieces (right). Xote the claws and fingers,
usualh seen as a single unit — the webbed
flipper. 'Old men-of-the-sea' (left). Inquisitive
but at the same time wary, grey seals watch a
photographer on the Fame Islands, off the
Sorthumbnan coast, England. This is one of

the largest colonies of grey seals in Britain


(which has t of the world's population).
About 5 000 seals visit the islands, which are
a wildlife sanctuary owned by the \ at tonal
Trust, and give birth to some 1 700 pups,
ez'ery year.
«

.hUe^arThe fen' seal pup's pmflK^


. .

pelagejs stwd. at (waui three tueeh he^OMfibe


fat pup ivith itj> valuahU 'hlu/ cdat' s^^ized
by hunters who util slaughter th'-
'
•' si;.

,m-

L /v*;^•v) ?r
k-''<'»«•2. <*'>•
.

* ' » r

%^
\ *>;..-
^ ^»-
<^.* • , ;
i •»%''•
o "» . * F
• ^1 **
H. ^•^^• X
.J.. Vl^ mDJ''
Ir*
' "
f;,. i1ii(
'^^L%*»vl o 01

1^
.<
* ~. v'-fl* fW-
iSi;^ il
WMd.
1
o
a
S
ou
5

Grey whale Eschrichtius glaucus.

were hunted by Eskimos; in the Bay of Van- about 15 ft in length and weighing around
Grey whale couver and around the Queen Charlotte 1 500 lb. Normally onlv a single calf is pro-
Islands they were attacked by Indians from duced but twin births have been recorded,
At one time the Californian grey whale canoes, and farther south the Yankee the calves suckling for about 9—10 months.
lived in the Atlantic Ocean, for its whalers chased them in sailing boats. As spring approaches the migration is
remains have been found in reclaimed reversed. The males, who have been
land in the Zuider Zee. Now it is con- Dog food or tourist bait? waiting in deeper water, join the females
fined to the Xorth Pacific where there are By 1936 the world population was thought with their newborn calves and the herds
populations on both sides of that ocean. to be as low as 100 — 200. Then the govern- make their way back to the northern
It is a rather unusual whale, having
ments of America, Japan and Russia came oceans to feed again in the colder waters
to an agreement on the future of the grev w here food is more abundant.
points in common with both the rorqual
whale and declared it a protected species.
(family Balaenopteridae) and right whales
This protection, together with the animal's
(family Balaenidae). It is about the size
fairly high rate of reproduction, has resulted
Chivalrous males
of the right whales, reaching 45 ft long and in a gradual build-up of the population and It has sometimes been noticed that grey
20 tons in weight. The flukes of the tail it is now thought that thev number between whales show a one-sided faithfulness. If a
are proportionally longer and more 5 and 10 thousand. But the grey whale's female is injured or gets into difficulties
delicate than those
of right whales, but future is still dubious: it has recently been one or more males may go to her aid. either
more stubby than those of rorquals. The reported that the Mexican government is to keep her at the surface where she can

dorsal fin is replaced by 8 — 10 small humps planning to kill grey whales when they breathe, or to defend her from the attacks
along the tail just in
migrate south to Mexican water, the idea of killer whales. But if a male gets into
front of the fiukes.
being to use the carcases as dog food. This is similar difficulties, the females have been
On whale has 2 — 3,
the throat the grey
a short-sighted plan: far more could be seen swimming awav from the scene of
rarely 4, grooves extending a short dis-
made out of tourism, for each year thou- trouble
40 — 100
I

tance as compared with the


sands of tourists gather on the west coast to .\fter man, killer whales are the greatest
grooves extending to the belly in rorquals watch the grey whales come dow n from the danger is said that when a
to grev whales. It
and the complete absence of grooves in Bering Sea to give birth to their calves in small school of grey whales are attacked bv
right whales. the shallow and sheltered coastal waters of a large group of killers they may become so
As the name implies, the grey whale is California and Mexico. terrified bv the attacks that they just float
usually dark slate-grey but it may at the surface, bellv uppermost, paralvsed

sometimes be blackish. It is lighter on the Straining out their food by fear and making themselves extremely
Like the blue whale (p 248) the grey whales vulnerable to further attack. The grey
bellythan on the back, as is usual in
collect their food by means of rows of whales' habit of coming close inshore during
marine animals. Many grey whales have
baleen plates in their mouths. Various the breeding season probably keeps them
crescent-shaped marks or patches on the
crustaceans and molluscs floating in the sea fairly clear of the attacks of killer whales
skin, especiallyon the back. These are are eaten in this manner. who prefer deeper water. Sometimes grev
caused either by lampreys or by barnacles. whales have come so close inshore that they
Swimming south to breed have practically run aground, and on one
Sluggish swimmers I he migration of the grey whale is one ol occasion a grev whale was seen plaving
(>rc\ u halts ait- \ci \ slow, usually swimming the better known aspects of its behaviour. about in the surf like a seal. Thev have also
at 2 —3knots with bursts of 6 — 7 knots when They spend the summer months in the far been found stranded at low tide, apparentlv
alarmtcl, (ompaied with 20 knots of a fin north, principallv in the Bering Sea, where without ill effect as they just floated off
whale. As they also come very close inshore they live in mixed heids. .-\s summer diaws again at the next high water. This is most
this makes them very vulnerable to hunters. to a close they swim slowly southwards and unusual since, for almost everv other species
In early spring the giey whales migrate come in close to the coast, particularly so of whale, stranding means death.
down the west c<»ast of North America. In when they approach (California where thev
1840 there were estimated to be around can be seen swimming onlv a mile or so off- class Mammalia
2.T 000 gre\ whales but soon after this there shore. Here the herds segregate; the females
order Cetacea
was very intense hunting all along the coast. stay together and led bv an older (ow come
By 187.5 it was uiuisual to see more than .50 .md lagoons where
really close into the bavs family Eschrichddae
migrating whales at a time, although they they get shelter from the weather to give genus
used to be seen by the thousand. While birth to the calves. These are usuallv born
the whales were in the Arctic Ocean they at afjout the end of Januai\. measuring
& species Eschrichtius glaucus

9.33
r^rTT—rx-T-
.

Gribble damage Chewing mainly for shelter


''^.>.~
The gribble (lefl) burrows into submerged Although they appear to be eating the wood
timbers in such numbers thai they crumble to — they are able to digest it to some extent —
rotten pointedstumps (below). It can destroy a they will also bore into the insulation of
wharf pile nearly ajoot square in 2 years. submarine cables, which is not digestible.
Sectioned fragments showing gribble borings in Experiments, moreover, have shown that
piles fromSouthampton are seen centre below. gribbles fed on filter paper only, can live
Chelura terebrans (bottom) an amphipod, twice as long as those kept without food.
cannot burrow itself but lives in the tunneb They feed mainly, however, on fungi that
made by gribbles. have entered the wood. Tests have shown
that a gribble kept in water free of fungus,
and given fungus-free wood to eat, dies in
Gribble about 4 days. On the other hand, they live
longer than this without wood if fungi are
Gribbles belong to the group of crustaceans put into the water for them to eat.
known as Isopoda (iso meaning the same)
because all their legs are of equal size. Learning at mother's knee
They are related to the land isopods Mating takes place when two gribbles have
known as woodlice or sowbugs and closely made a new burrow. The eggs are carried
in a brood-pouch by the female, who lays
resemble them, and in Australia they have
three broods of 20 — 30 eggs in one year.
been called timber-boriyig lice. The fully
The baby gribbles are miniatures of their
grown animal is i in. long but on the parents when first hatched, and they soon
coasts of the United States alone it
start to make a burrow in the sides of the
accounts for over 50 million dollars worth parental tunnel. Later, they pair up and
of damage each year to pier piles and move on to start their own burrows, be-
other wooden structures immersed in sea ginning with the saucer-shaped depression
water. There are enormous numbers of in the surface of the wood.

gribbles inwood in coastal waters —


perhaps 300 — 400 in one cubic inch of Mighty atoms
infested wood.
Although gribbles must have been a
There are 21 species of gribble and 14 of
nuisance to mariners and harbour-builders
them burrow into wood, the rest burrow for centuries, they seem to have remained
into the holdfasts of the large seaweeds more or less unnoticed until the 19th cen-
known as oarweeds. The common gribble is tury. William Dampier, famous English
world-wide. Its body is flattened and navigator, in the late 17th century, wrote of
completely divided into segments. The his wormy ship being attacked by small

abdomen is short and the limbs on it are animals resembling sheep-lice. Not until
1811 was the species described and given a
flattened into plates serving as gills. The
scientific name, and the common name,
eyes are set on the sides of the head. The
which seems to mean 'little grub', was not
seven pairs of legs, ending in sharp
set forth in print until 1838. It has been said
claws, are used for crawling, never for
that the gribble was not discovered until
swimming. The jaws form a rasp-and-file Robert Stephenson found it was destroying
The right-hand jaw ends in a sharp point the timber being used in the building of the
with a roughened file-like edge and this Bell Rock lighthouse, but as Stephenson
fits into a groove with a rasp-like surface was only 8 years old when the animal was
on the left-hand half of the jaws. given its first scientific description this
clearly must be incorrect. How much of a
nuisance they are can be judged by the way
Wreaking havoc they will destroy a stout wharf- or pier-pile
Gribbles attacking wood work in pairs. nearly a foot square in about 2 years. The
They first eat away
saucer-shaped de-
a first attacks do not go deeper than 5 in., but
pression in its surface, holding on by the as the outer layer crumbles and flakes off^,
hooks on the tips of their legs so they are battered by the waves, the newer surfaces
not swept off by currents. From this they are in turn attacked. All this is the result
begin to tunnel obliquely downwards but of multitudes of minute excavators busily
soon level out and tunnel parallel to biting and rasping, jerking their heads
the surface at a depth of i in. for a dis- backwards and forwards, at the same time
tance of 1 in. As they do so they eat a hole turning them, like so many terriers with an
upwards at intervals, like the holes in a outsize in rats. The fragments of wood torn
flute, to water in for breathing. The
let off^ are swallowed and each piece passes

female is at the blind end of the tunnel and through the gribble in about 80 minutes,
she, it appears, does most of the work. The time enough for any fungus growing in the
behaviour of the two partners, when dis- mintite interstices of the wood to be di-
turbed, also diff"ers. The male retreats gested.
backwards, the female clings with the
hooks at the ends of her legs to the surface ^ phylum Arthropoda
of the tunnel, to avoid being pulled out.
As a result of large numbers of gribbles E class Crustacea
a
eating into a post it begins to crumble and order Isopoda
one infested for a long time becomes a
rotted stump, pencil-pointed at the top. 1 family Limnoridae
Creosoted wood has less chance against the genus
g
gribble than against the shipworm, another & species Limnoria lignorum
1
marine animal that destrovs timber.

934
Grosbeak
This IS a collective name for a number of
species of the finch family having in
,

common a stout conical beak. They include


the hawfinch, scarlet grosbeak and pine
grosbeak of Europe and a number of
species in America. Among the latter are
the black-headed, blue, blue-black, rose-
breastedand evening grosbeaks of North
America, as well as the pine grosbeak and
the ultramarine grosbeak of South America.
At other times birds in Africa and Asia —
even the European greenfinch and bull-

finch—have been called grosbeaks. Since


there is not the space to give all these
equal and adequate treatment the choice Rose-breasted grosbeak of North America. Hawfinch — note its disproportionately large beak.

must be for the first species to be so named, cup of which


wings. The female is paler and less red. In woods, is a flimsy fine roots in
and this seems to have been the hawfinch. winter hawfinches move about in flocks 3—5 pale-blue eggs blotched with brown
The names 'grosbeak' and 'hawfinch' feeding on seeds. They can crack even are The rose-breasted grosbeak is
laid.
appear to have come into general use at cherry and olive stones in their beaks, and well known for eating the Colorado beetle,
about the same time, towards the end of the seeds and stones on the ground, neatly which few other birds will touch. The
17th century. From then on writers on cracked in halves, tell of hawfinches having blue-black grosbeak of Mexico to Bolivia
natural history in Britain spoke of the been there. In the kitchen garden empty is unusual in that both male and female
pea pods testify to their visits in summer, sing while building their nest. The male
hawfinch as the common grosbeak. This
but the birds themselves are seldom seen. ultramarine grosbeak is blue-black, the
probably indicated that the pine and
They nest high up in trees and bushes, female a deep brown, and both keep to-
scarlet grosbeaks, common on the
especiallv evergreens; the nest, made of gether as a pair, the female singing almost
continent of Europe, were occasionally
twigs and roots lined with finer roots, hair as well as the male. They live at the edges of
and uncommonly seen in Britain. The or fibre, is usually on a horizontal bough. woodlands from V'enezuela to Argentina.
choice apt because of all the birds named
is In April or May 4 — 6 eggs are laid. A feature of this American group of gros-
the hawfinch has the most disproportion- beaks is that those nesting in temperate
ately large (or gross) beak. Europe's grosbeaks . . . latitudes lay an average of 4 eggs, while
The scarlet grosbeak, slightly smaller than those in the tropics lay 2 but may have 3
the hawfinch, but with much the same habi- broods a year.
tat, ranges from eastern Europe over much
of Asia. The male has a carmine head, breast
and rump with brown wings and tail. The
Nutcracker beak
female lacks the red colouring. The pine Although grosbeaks all have stout conical
grosbeak, a larger bird, 8 in. long, has much bills their food varies. Hawfinches mainly
the same colouring but looks more like a crack open stout seeds such as cherry
large crossbill although its beak is straight. and which we would need a hammer to
olive
It both pine forests and mixed
lives in break. The scarlet grosbeak eats small
woodlands in northern Europe, across seeds, the pine grosbeak berries, small seeds,
northern Asia, and it is found over most buds and some insects and the rose-breasted
of Canada and down into the western is renowned for eating a particularly
United States. noxious beetle. The hawfinch not only has
The scarlet grosbeak builds a nest of dead the biggest beak but the accessories to
stalks and grass lined with roots, in bushes make full use of it. In most birds the upper
and low trees from ground level to a few feet half of the beak is slightly moveable on the
up. VoT 12 days the hen alone incubates the bones of the skull. This is especially notice-
4 — 6 vivid blue eggs marked with chocolate able in a parrot. In the hawfinch it is
spots, but both parents feed the chicks by thickened, rigid and firmlv fixed to the skull.
regurgitation. The pine grosbeak nests Powerful muscles work the two halves of the
Hawfinch quenches tls thirst at a nioiiiy pool. usually in conifers, again at no great height. beak, in particular an unusually stout muscle
The hen alone builds a bullfinch-tvpe nest runs from the top of the beak over the top
The shy hawfinch cjf interlaced twigs and lined with fine roots, of the skull. Inside the beak, on the roof of
Perhaps the most surprising thing is that wiry grass and some moss. She alone incu- the mouth, are horny pads. So although a
aiivone should have tailed Britain's gros- bates for 2 weeks the 4 — 5 greenish-blue hawfinch weighs less than 2 oz it can exert
beak, the hawfinch, comnion. It may be eggs blotched and spotted with black or a pressure inside the beak of 159 lb.
thai our forebears were more observant purplish-brown.
than we are or that hawfinches were more class Aves
numerous or less shy tlian thev are todav. . . . their American cousins
and order Passeriformes
I he hawhnch is the largest British finch Three of the American grosbeaks belong to
but with oni\ a local distrif)ution. It also a subfamily of finches, of which the cardinal family Fringillidae
ranges across Kurcjpe, intcj northern Africa, is a well known member. 1 he rose-breasted genera Coccothraustes coccothraiistes
and across much of central Asia to Japan. and blue grosbeaks, both about the size of &: species hawfinrh
It is 6;. in. long. The male is the more the hawfinch, are tropical species that have Pinicola enucleator
brighth coloured in spring and summer, in spread north into the southern United pine gtosheak
winter both sexes look more alike. The States. The first of these and the black- Pheucticus ludovicianus
male reddish-brown shading to grevish-
is Iwaded grosbeak, of western North .America, rose-breasted grosbeak
white on the l>elly. The nape is grev, the are unusual among finches in that the male P. melanocephalus
tliroat black, the short tail is black and white does most of the incubating. He often sings biackheaded givsbeak, others
and there is a white pat< h on the blue-black while doing so. The nest, built in deciduous

9.35
are predators both as larvae and Mainly night hunters
Ground beetle the latter being usually long-legged
adults,
Most of the ground beetles are nocturnal,
active runners with large toothed or hiding away by day. The active black beetles
so often found under logs or stones are
Most ground beetles look like any other pointed jaws. Their eyes are normally
almost all carabids. The nocturnal species
beetles, but some are quite the reverse. well developed and which
the antennae, in
most probably hunt by scent, though
The fiddle beetles Mormolyce of Indonesia the sense of smell is situated, are long
normally their eyes are well developed. In
and Malaysia are extraordinary looking and mobile. They do not usually fly very some of those living in the perpetual dark-
insects, 4 in. long with the head and readily and in many of them the wings are ness of deep caves the eyes are much
thorax long and slender and the elytra vestigial or absent altogether. The reduced or absent.
flattened and extending out on each side, wing-cases (elytra) are usually polished, The beautiful bronze-green species of
so the beetle has the general shape of a often grooved or striated, arid coloured Calosoma are ground beetles only by classi-
violin. They are not uncommon in the black or dark metallic green, blue or violet. fication, for they live aqiong the branches

humid rainforest, but 50 or 60 years ago The end joints of the legs have flve seg-
and foliage of trees, subsisting largely on
caterpillars. They have well-developed
they were believed to be as rare as they ments.
"wings and can fly.
are remarkable, and museums paid high About 340 of ground beetles
species
prices for them. are found in Britain. The genera Carabus Larvae work unseen
Ground beetles form the Carabidae, a and Calosoma include some of the largest Like all undergo com-
beetles the carabids
family of beetles of cosmopolitan species, up to 1 in. long. Abax and Nebria plete metamorphosis with pupa and
larva,
distribution. They are closely related to the are medium-sized and small beetles found imago stages. The larvae are elongated and
tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and like them in ground debiis and under stones. active with the legs well developed. They

936
liveunderground, under loose bark and is the gypsy moth, which was introduced too closely. At least one entomologist has
in such places as compost and manure from Europe about 1868. One of the means received a squirt of liquid in the eve from
heaps where there is an abundance of other used to control it has been the deliberate this beetle which blinded him for 5 minutes
insect life to provide prey. Nearly all are introduction of the European beetle Calo- or more. It is interesting that Cychrus gives
carnivorous, but a few feed on seeds and soma sycophanta. Some success has been warning by making a creaking sound (stri-
cereals or burrow in fungus. The larvae achieved, but nothing approaching com- dulating) before it discharges its 'tear gas'.
usuallv make a cavity in the earth in which plete control of the moth. Most remarkable of all the carabids which
to pupate. Most ground beetles have one Some ground beetles are specialised defend themselves in this way are the bom-
generation a year, but full details of the feeders, and there are several groups bardier beetles Brachinus, one species of
life cvcle are not known in manv species. which prey particularly on snails. These which is quite common in chalkv districts
Some of the larger kinds live as adults for are adapted for probing into the shells of in Britain. The spray of liquid which it
several vears. their victims. The British species CAchms emits from its hind end is discharged with

Night hunters caraboides has the head and thorax much explosive force, making an audible crack',
narrower than the hind part of the body, and instantly vaf)ourises into a tiny cloud.
<]Carabus olympiae, Italian version of the and in another genus of snail predators Close studv has shown that hvdroquinones
common violet ground beetle oj Britain and one Scaphmotus the mandibles are elongated and and hydrogen peroxide are simultaneouslv
of a world-wide muster of 20 000 species, hooked. Not all ground beetles confine secreted in a gland near the beetle's tail,
^faws of the South African ground beetle themselves entirely to animal food. Harpalus and thev react instantiv, releasing oxvgen
Anthia thoracica (approx 3 times lije size). ruficomis has been found damaging straw- with enough force to shoot out the cor-
A O The searcher or caterpillar hunter Calosoma berries, and the large and very common rosive quinones with a small explosion. A
scrutator destroys great numbers of caterpillars violet ground beetle Carabus violaceus is bombardier beetle can fire as manv as 20
(hence its common natrw) and other iruects. often found by moth collectors who use the charges in rapid succession, effectivelv
'sugaring' method. The beetles climb the driving off nearlv all predators, from toads
Hunting with a sweet tooth tree trunks that have been daubed with the to ants, spiders and other carabid beetles.
.\s acii\f predators ihcrc is no doubt that sweet treacle-and-rum bait and eagerlv suck
ground beetles keep down the numbers of up the drops. They are often there when class Insecta
many harmful insects. In continental the lure has failed to attract even one moth.
Europe the handsome (.arabus auratus (a
order Coleoptera
rarity in Britain) known to prev largelv
is

on the very harmful larvae of cockchafer


Chemical warfare family Carabidae
genera Abax, Anthia, Brachinus,
beetles. The of Calosoma, already
sjiecies .A luiiiibci ol giound beetles are known to
Culasoma. Carabus, C\chrus,
mentioned as living among trees, destroy defend themselves by emitting ill-smelling
Harpalus, Mormolyce, iSebria.
great numbers of caterpillars. One of the or corrosive liquids. The snail-eating Cy-
most serious insect pests of North .\merica Scaphinotus, others
chrus caraboides should never be inspected

9,37
Ground
Ground
squirrel
squirrels include two most re-
markable animals, one living in hot
desert, the other under arctic conditions.
There are 230 or more species of
squirrels: flying, tree and ground squirrels.
It is not easy in some instances to draw a
r
line between the last two as some tree
squirrels spend a lot of time on the
ground and some ground squirrels
often take to the trees. In some ground
squirrels the tail is bushy but never so
much as in tree squirrels, and it is usually
not so long.
Ground squirrels are 8—31
in. long of

which 3 — 2 w tail, the proportions


varying with the species. There are three
kinds of colouring: almost uniformly
yellowish grey, the same but with the
back lightly spotted with light buff or
yellowish white, and brownish grey xvith
dark with lines of
stripes, often
yellowish spots. Their ears are small, their
legs short and their feet bigger by
comparison with tree squirrels such as
the grey ayid the red. A few of the 32
species live in Africa, but most of the
others live in North America, from Mexico
to Alaska, where some of them are called
gophers. There are seven species ranging
from eastern Europe across northern and
central Asia, which are usually called
susliks and spermophiles.

Life among logs and rocks


Ground are active by day, alert
squirrels
to danger, sitting up on their haunches
or standing on their hindlegs to watch
for enemies, giving a twittering or whistling
alarm call when an intruder is sighted.
Some, like the rock ground squirrel, live
in groups, others are more solitary. All
either dig their own burrows or find shelter
low in hollow trees, under logs, among
rocks or in similar sheltered places.
In the southern parts of their range
ground squirrels are active throughout the
year except during bad weather. Farther
north thev hibernate, the length of the
winter sleep being longer to the northward.

Cheek pouches for carrying food


The diet of ground squirrels includes
seeds, nuts, roots, leaves, bulbs, fungi,
insects, birds and eggs. They will also eat
carrion. The amounts eaten of these foods
vary from one species to another. The rock
ground squirrel eats mainly plant food with
some insects, Franklin's ground squirrel eats
mainly plant food, with some insects but
adds toads, frogs, mice and birds, and the
thirteen-striped ground squirrel eats only a I
small proportion of vegetable matter. Food
is hoarded, quantities of seeds, nuts and

grain being carried away in cheek pouches


to be stored.

Large families — not always welcome


There is usually one litter a year but there
may be two in some species, and litters are
usually large, up to 12 or more, born after

938
Active in feverish heat
A remarkable ground squirrel is that
known the antelope ground squirrel,
as
living in the deserts of the southwestern
United States. It gets its name from the
way it carries its tail high exposing a white
rump, like the pronghorn antelope. The
antelope ground squirrel runs a fever every
day vet is never ill from it. When the air
temperature is 43°C/110'F or more and the
sand beneath its feet is 66'C/150'F the
squirrel dashes about from place to place.
It shows no signs of discomfort even when

its own body temperature rises above llO'F.


It can stand exceptionally high tempera-
tures because it loses little water in its
natural functions. Its urine, for example,
is almost solid. It does not sweat but loses

heat bv conduction, convection and radia-


tion. To get rid of heat it retires to a shady
spot and flattens itself on the ground or
else it dives down into its burrow. Within 3
minutes its temperature drops from
42 C/lorr to 33=C/100°F. If things get bad
it can lose heat bv panting and it can, as an
emergency measure, cool itself another way.
It drools and then spreads the saliva over

its head with its forepaws, as if washing

itself. At a pinch the squirrel can endure

several hours of the blazing desert heat


by running around with its head soaking
wet.
At the other extreme, in Alaska, at
Point Barrow, the snow lasts for most of
the vear and the groimd is permanently
frozen to a depth of hundreds of feet.
During the short summer the earth may
thaw for a few inches, at most a few feet.
There lives the Barrow ground squirrel,
on 'islands' of sandy soil, sleeping 9 months
of the vear. In Slay this squirrel looks
out, after waking, on a still snow-covered
world and feeds on stores of leaves, stems,
roots and seeds laid up the previous year.
As the air warms slightlv the ground
squirrels mate, the young are born 25 davs
later,towards the end of June. Their eves
open at 3 weeks, and 2 davs after this thev
begin foraging. In a little over a month
thev must grow, dig their own burrow and
pro\ision it before going to sleep for 9
months. For the adults things are little
better because they have the burden of
bringing up a familv, feeding to recover
Above left: Who goes there? A South African a gestation of 23 — 28 days. The babies are their strength, lav in stores for the winter
ground squirrel Geosciurus inauris stands born naked, blind and toothless. The eyes and re-furbish the burrow, all in 3 months.
erect in typical posture on lookout for danger. open 3 — 4 weeks later, and soon after this Ihis is whv the Barrow ground squirrel
Ij-Jl: White-tailed antelope squirrel gets iLs the young leave the nest. When food is works for 17 hours each day, with restless
name from holding its tail high and exposing plentiful high populations build up and to- urgency, whatever the weather, undeterred
a white rump, like the pronghorn antelope. gether with other rodents, ground bv rain and bitter winds.
.4h(n-e: Warm coat for .Arctic ground •iquirrel. s()uiriels can cause widespread damage
lo crops. Some species are suspected of
class Mammalia
being carriers of diseases, iiuluding bubonic
plague. The golden-nianiled ground scjuirrel order Rodentia
of the Rockies is one. It also tends to cause family Sciuridae
erosion b\ buirowiiig in the mountainside,
genera Citellus tridecemlineatus
rile numbers ot ground squirrels are con-
trolled to a large degree bv natural enemies:
& species 13-striped ground squirrel
C. parryi Harrow ground squirrel
weasels, Ivnxes and liaNvks. In North
Ammospermophilus harrisi
TOK|P*
America the coyote and bobcat are two of
"^It antelope ground squirrel
their main enemies. The golden-mantled
A. leucurus
ground s(|uirrel readiK forages on crops,
white-tailed antelope ground squirrel
where these are available. Klsewhere it
iSSSSS f^k gtouni tqwrr^ (Oiospermoptulus beechyil Otospermophilus beechyi
visits houses and camp sites searching
^I^H Anielope ground squirrel 'r,m<)sp»er"oiih,l,ishdrr,s,'
for food, and as a lesult is something of
rock ground squirrel
.i
13 striped ground squirrel i--/ ,rtncf rr"hnm)tial others
favouiite.

939
mouths armed with many strong, needle- Active and passive
Grouper sharp, backward-pointing teeth. In some The habits of groupers are varied. Some
species the teeth are arrow-headed. When lurk on the bottom and wait for prey to
There are 400 species of related fishes the mouth of a large grouper is gaping its come to them; others swim about, actively
searching. An example of the first is a
forming the family Serranidae which are interior has the same wicked look as a
serranid known as the wreckfish or stone
variously spoken of as groupers, sea bass, shark's mouth, and like sharks they snap
bass Polyprion americanus, up to 6 ft long,
sea perch, or rock cod. Some among up any animal food. The fins are common in the Mediterranean and tropical
them have more exclusive names such as typically perch -like, with
two dorsal Atlantic. It takes up position near rockv
xvreckfish, jewfish and soapies. The name fins, the one in front being spiny, the reefs and is also noted for haunting wrecks
'grouper' has nothing to do with living in rear one having soft rays. Serranids range where it has at times been caught in large
shoals but is from the Portuguese name for in size f^om those that are little more than numbers. Bv contrast, the striped bass
the fishgarupa which may in turn be an inch long when fully grown to the Roccus saxatilis swims about, and because of
derived from a South American Indian Queensland grouper Epinephelus its active nature makes a good sporting fish

nam£. lanceolatus of the Indo-Pacific said to which gives the fisherman something to
test his mettle. Its original home was
the
Serranid, (groupers or sea perches) grow to 12 ft long and nearly half a
Atlantic seaboard of North America but it
live mostly in tropical seas, but a few live ton in weight. It is reported to stalk
has been taken across the continent and
in temperate waters and some in fresh divers as a cat does amouse and one has released off the Pacific coast. There, it
water. Most of them are similar in actually rushed a diver inan apparent quickly became established and is now the
appearance, heavy-bodied with large attack. There are unconfirmed stories basis of a commercial fishery. The striped
heads, strong jaws and capacious about this giant swallowing skin-divers. bass ascends rivers to spawn, but several of

940
through a period when they were both
female and male — or neither female nor
male — and incapable of breeding. Once
they have turned into males there are still
the remains of egg-producing tissues in
their reproductive organs, but for al'
practical purposes they are males. This
unusual situation has not been fully ex-
plored in any one species of grouper, and
it has been studied in only a few species, but

it is suspected that all groupers show this

unusual reproductive change to a greater


or lesser extent.

Quick-change artistes
As well as their unusual sex behaviour
groupers are noted for their remarkable
colours and changes in colour. Many of
them are covered all over with hexagonal
A An reddish-brown spots bordered with white
<3 Giant swallower — the Queemland grouper inquisitive 30lb brown spotted grouper
or blue, a pattern that reminds us of the
may grow to 12 ft long and weigh nearly half swims unafraid by cameraman and comrade.
colouring of a giraffe. The vaca Hypolectrus
a ton. There are unconfirmed reports that this V Golden striped grouper, small by comparison,
of the Caribbean is generallv orange with
giant has Sivallo-ivcd skin-divers. being only 5 in. long, frequents rock pools.
black spots or blotches and with blue lines,
the fins being checkered with orange and
blue. A complete list of the colour changes
it can undergo becomes, however, almost

a catalogue of rainbow- hues: deep indigo


blue with bands and bars of black and dark
blue; pink-brown or violet-black body with
yellow or black fins; orange with blue, black
or violet spots; yellow and black body with
a blue head. The Nassau grouper Epine-
phelus striatus has 8 colour phases, including
uniformly dark, creamy-white, dark above
white below, back banded and belly white,
light brown all over, pale with faint dark
markings, light-coloured bodv with dark
bands and mottlings and blue with vertical
brown bands. None of these can be called
normal and a collection of groupers in an
aquarium may show all these colours and
each fish may pass from one to the other.
No two photographs of Nassau groupers
ever show the same colours, and the in-
dividual fish may pass through several of
these phases in a few minutes. Whatever
the meaning of these colour changes,
and we are not certain what it may be, all
the vari-coloured Nassau groupers in an
aquarium will become light coloured with
dark bands and mottlings when they are
alarmed and dash for security among the
crevices in rocks. A fisherman who speared
its relatives inNorth America are wholly make up three-quarters of the commercial a grouper in the Indian Ocean saw the fish
freshwater. These include the yellow bass fish catch. take shelter in a clump of coral and refuse
R. mississipiensis and the white bass R. Unusual members of the family are the to leave it. As it lay there the red spots on
chrysops, each 1 ft or more long. soaphshes Rhypticus living on both sides of its body exactly matched the coral polyps.
Another grouper with a commercial the Atlantic. When alarmed they give out a Perhaps the biggest surprise came to some-
value is the lOin. golden-striped grouper slime from the skin and also thresh about, one who watched a grouper, blue with
Grammistes sexlineatus, of the Indo-Pacihc the slime becoming beaten up into foam like brown bands, swim into a clump of coral.
seas, that is a favourite with some aquarists. soapsuds. When it came out a few minutes later it was
The name 'jewfish' has been given to several brilliant vellow with black dots.
different fishes but really belongs lo a Male and female in one
grouper Epinephelus ttajara, which also has a I he family Serranidae is remarkable for
commerdal value of sorts. It grows to (i It having several members that aie herma- class Pisces
long and (lOO lb weight and is a dark green, phrodite. A true hermaphrodite is an
heavy-headed and sluggish fish with rough order Perciformes
individual that has both male and female
scales, living in (k'e|) waters of the
lairlv rc'|)roductive organs. The yoinig groupers family Serranidae
Caribbean Mexic.ni toasts. Its Hesh
,ind mature at '2 — .5 years of age, depending
is not higlilv valued but it is prized by the
genera Epinephelus lanceolatus
upon the species. They then are females,
&c species Qiweusldud gioupei
spoits fislu-rinan. llie name 'jewfish' is able lo lay eggs, but thev also have the
believed to have been given because the hsh begiiniings of organs that will later produce
Grammistes sexlineatus
has very obvious fins and scales and there- golden striped grouper
sperm. Vor all practical purposes, however,
fore <]ualifies as a dean fish according to they are females. At 7— 10 vears the females Epinephelus sp. spotted groupers
Levitic.il law. Around Bermuda groupers others
finally turn into males, having passed

941
1

Cock sage grouse with pendulous throat sac is the largest American grouse

fanning the tail, and blowing out the red who


Grouse wattle over each eye. In courtship displays away
continues disporting while she goes
to make a nest and raise a family.
the male takes up position on a rock or a
The name grouse, originally used in the hummock and from it jumps into the air The North American scene
16th century for the red grouse and and descends on down-curved wings which The ruffed grouse, ranging from Alaska
black grouse, has been taken across the it rapidly just before touchdown.
beats to Newfoundland, is monogamous. The
Monogamous, the red grouse makes scrapes male is a rich brown with a barred tail. He
Atlantic and given to a number of North
in the ground as part of the courtship and performs his dances on a log, spreading
American birds, such as the ruffed, spruce,
eventually the female uses one of these, his wings to beat them with a drumming
sage, blue and sharptailed grouse. All
lined with dried grass or twigs, for her 6— 1 sound which carries long distances through
these belong to a single family of game- yellowish eggs blotched with dark or reddish the woods. When the female, drawn by
birds, which includes the capercaillie brown. She alone incubates them for 3 weeks the sounds, comes near he raises the black
(p 365), the prairie chicken and the and leads the chicks away when hatched, tufts of feathers on his neck, raises his
ptarmigan, which receive special brooding them from time to time, the male tail feathers and struts before her. The

treatment elsewhere. being in attendance all the time. female builds the nest and raises the family
The 18 of the family Tetraonidae
species of 1 1 or more, with the male in attendance.
range in size from a domestic hen to a Red grouse or willow grouse? The spruce grouse is monogamous also
turkey. They live mainly in the northern
The red grouse lives in Wales, the northern and courtship is similar to that of
his
half of England and Scotland, and there the ruflFed grouse but carried out in pine
parts of the Northern Hemisphere. In all
is a separate subspecies in Ireland, but it forests rather than deciduous woodland.
the male is markedly larger than the
has been introduced into other parts of The blue grouse of the Rockies is another
female. Their legs are partly or England. Some ornithologists take the view monogamous species. The male also dis-
completely feathered, the toes are edged that it belongs to the same species as the plays to the tune of loud bubbling hoots.
with comb-like filaments or are covered willow grouse, difi^ering from it in not having
with feathers, their nostrils are covered a distinct change of plumage, from brown Blowing out his chest
with feathers and there is usually a bare in summer to white in winter. The willow The sharptailed grouse is polygamous,
patch of skin over each eye. Their food is grouse ranges across northern Europe, like the black grouse, and in and around
mainly vegetarian, buds, leaves, shoots, northern Asia and northern Canada. the pine forests of western North America
the males find flat grassland to perform
seeds and berries, but they also eat
Blackcock and greyhen their communal dances. Each postures and
insects. Grouse will burrow into snow
The black grouse has a similar geographical poses, with neck stretchings and tail fan-
to feed.
range to the willow grouse except that it is nings, and wings spread and drooping with
absent from North America and is found in shuffles and dances, calling loudly. The
Game bird of the heather central and parts of southern Europe. Their hens pay for this show by shouldering the
The red grouse lives on upland moors or habitats diff^er, however, the black grouse family burdens unaided. The largest of
low-lying peaty bogs and in places where living on the fringes of moors among the North American grouse, and the most
heather is the main plant. The male grows heather, scrub or rushes, up to 1 400 ft. spectacular, is the polygamous sage grouse.
to 15^ in. long, the female to 14 in. The The male or blackcock is a glossy black with The males may weigh up to 8 lb, against
summer plumage of the male is reddish a lyre-shaped tail, white wing bar and under H lb for a red grouse, and measure 2i ft
brown marked with black and buff bars, tail coverts and a red wattle above the eye. including a long tail. In display this tail is
the female being similar but more yellow. The female or greyhen is brown freckled erected in a spiky fan and two air-sacs on
The winter plumage of the male is more and barred with black. The main diff^erence the throat are inflated, the size and colour
red and the bars less marked, the female in from the red grouse is that blackcock are of oranges. He struts and bows deeply,
winter having a plumage like that of the male polygamous, with special display grounds or booming and groaning and vibrating his
in summer. Essentially ground birds, they leks. The males indulge in communal stiffly spread wings.
rise when flushed with a whirring of wings, dances, bowing with fanned tails, strutting,
to travel for a short distance alternating rapid stretching up their necks, jumping into the Enemies all around
wing beats with long glides on bowed wings. air, engaging in ritualized fighting and at The enemies of grouse can be best under-
At the approach of the breeding season the times behaving as if in a frenzy. This is stood from a study made of those attacking
males take up territories which they defend accompanied by crowing, wheezing, sneez- red grouse. They include fox, cat, stoat,
from rival or neighbouring males. Males ing and other loud notes. The female is weasel and rat on the ground. From the
display at each other by stretching up, attracted to the leks to choose her mate, air come short-eared owls, carrion crows.

942
Territois discwmun: btautcjul hu,<_K grouse encounter one another in defence of their territories. Springtime booming: Prairie chicken in display.

peregrine, merlin, harriers, goshawks and


golden eagles. Of these, grouse seem to
fear eagles most and their reaction to the
others can varv with the age of the bird
and especially with the season. .\ hen with
eggs or chicks has been seen to repel a
pair of crows and a cock on his territon
drove off a harrier.

Turning the tables


The reactions to man varv also. On windy
or on winter days with snow, red grouse
mav flush at over half a mile but on calm
days a man may get within 150 ft of them.
In spring and summer he mav almost
tread on them before they will flv up. and
he may be able to stroke a sitting hen. So
tar as the cock is concerned, his display
to repel rivals or to attract a hen have some-
thing more in them than mere show. He
may threaten men or vehicles venturing
near him and exceptionallv he mav attack
and peck people with unexpected fury, like
the capercaillie.

class Aves
order Gallifonnes
familv Tetraonidae
genera Lagopus scoticus red grouse
8c species Lyrurus tetrix black grouse
Bonasa umbellus ruffed grouse
Canachites canadensis
spruce grouse
Dendropagus obscurus blue grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
sage grouse
Pedioecetes phasianellus
sfiarptailfd grouse
others

Bird uj the brush: courtship display of the sage


grouse. A strutting male begins his display by
fanning out his tail feathers and then puffs out
a pouch mhis neck, exposing the inflatable
air sacs. At the height of his display to
attract the much smaller hen, his pouch and
s(us are so large that his head disappears m
a roll offlesh and Jeathers.

iH3
Beached for breeding: grunion masses make an impressive sight as they gather at high tide on a Californian shore. These fascinating scenes occur from
late February to early September following a new or full moon. The certainty of large numbers makes for an easy harvest for seabirds and humans.

Beaching themselves to spawn species, living along the coasts farther north,
Grunion For 3 — 4 nights following a new or a full spawns by day, also on extreme high tides,
moon, when high tides occur, grunions can and in doing so is exposed to attacks by
A fish with most spectacular breeding
be seen from Californian beaches, riding seabirds.
habits that attract hordes of visitors to in on the surf at extreme high tide. For
the coast of California, the grunion 1 — 3 hours, until the tide begins to ebb, Legendary dancing fishes
belongs to the family Atherinidae, related the females leap from the surf onto the Bruce Arthur Woodling, in Sea Frontiers,
to the mullets. The members of this family beach, wriggle into the sand and lay their the journal of the International Oceano-
are also known in Britain as sand smelts, eggs at a depth of 2 in. Each is accompanied graphic Foundation at Miami, has described
and in the United States as silversides. by a male, sometimes two or three. They how at the stroke of midnight, under a full
wrap themselves around her and fertilise moon, thousands of silvery fishes leave the
The 150 species ofatherinids are not
her eggs as they are laid. Having spawned sea to perform a mysterious dance on the
true smelts and the name 'silversides ' is
they flop back into the water. beach. They sparkle like diamonds on the
more descriptive of them. They are mainly With the next tide, and for days follow- beach, from Point Conception in the north
marine fishes of tropical and temperate ing, the water does not reach so high up on to Baja California in Mexico, to the south,
seas. They differ from true smelts in the beach. The eggs are ready to hatch a a distance of several hundred miles. At its
having two dorsal fins, the front one week later but nothing happens until, at highest intensity there may be more fish
spiny, in lacking a lateral line, and in the next spring tide, a fortnight later, visible than sand, creating an illusion of a
having a broad silver band along each the surf goes into the sand and washes the silver canopy over the beach. This is the

flank. Some silversides live in the brackish eggs. These then hatch in about 3 minutes. sight that regularly draws large numbers

waters of estuaries, others in rivers Succeeding waves wash the young grunion of visitors, some to watch the sight for the
out of the sand and carry them down the first time, but most of them to gather an
or lakes. Freshwater species in Central
beach and away into the sea. easy harvest of fish. If the scene is fascinat-
America are important food-fishes.
This happens from late February to early ing the biological facts associated with it
Best known of the family, the grunion
September. One species spawns only at are hardly less impressive.
is 5 — 7 in. long, and lives in the inshore night and they seem to have an uncanny Just before the spawning run, the shallow
waters of southern and Lower California. knowledge of the state of the tides. A second waters just beyond the edge of the tide are

944
crowded with jostling fishes awaiting their
opportunity. At first a few throw themselves
onto the beach singly. These are males;
there is a popular belief they are scouts, and
that if they are prevented from return-
ing to the sea the rest will not venture out.
Experience suggests this niav be so because
when these first fishes are picked up by
over-eager visitors the spawning run may
fail on that part of the beach. It is believed

also that the light from hundreds of fires


along the more popular beaches, lighted to
cook the fish, mav inhibit the run.
Each female grunion is out of the water
for several minutes but the actual spawning
takes less than a minute. During that lime
she thrusts her tail into the sand, anchors
herself bv her pectoral fins, arches her body
and waggles her tail in a drilling action so
she is finallv half-buried. At this point she
lays her 1000 — 3 000 eggs, according to
her age, a process each female repeats 4 — 8
times in a season.
Far from being chaotic, as the poetic
account of sparkling dancing fishes suggests,
for each individual fish it is a matter of
precise timing. Not only must it be aware
Fertility rites
of the dav and time of extreme high tide,
Grunwns riding in on the surf at extreme
it must not be too earlv. .\s the waves of
high tide on a Californian becuh. This occurs
a flowing tide tend to remove sand from the
for 3 —4 nights following a new or full moon
beach and the ebb tide throws up sand the
when high tides occur. Until the tide begins
eggs must be laid after the tide has turned.
to ebb, the females wriggle into the sand to
Otherwise the eggs would be uncovered and
of 2 in. (above).
lay their eggs at a depth
washed away. Full advantage must be taken
Each female accompanied by a male who
is
of the ebbing tide before it has receded too
wraps himself around her and fertilises the eggs
far down the beach, so spawning should
as they are laid (right). After the rigours of
start as early as the ebb, and here also
spawning, a female grunion issues a final burst
the fishes need an awareness of what is
of energy and wriggles out of the sand,
happening.
returning to the sea until she is ready to spawn
again. During her spawning activity, a female
Shaken awake may, however, be surrounded by as many as
nine males. This is seen below, the female's
If the eggs were washed out of the sand
head poking out from the mass of males.
without time to develop, they would not
survive. Experiment has shown that grunion
eggs develop normallv when embedded in
sand and die when floating free in water.
What makes them hatch on the next high
tide? If allowed a week in which to develop
the eggs will hatch as soon as thev are
shaken. This, in nature, is what happens
when the next high spring tide stirs up the
sand. The eggs are shaken and hatch, and
the young escape to the sea before the
first females come out to lay their fresh

batch of eggs. It is all so beautifully and


automaticallv timed, with ade(|uate safe-
guards all along (except against the human
marauders!) in a rhythm that fully justifies
the comparison with a dance. .And anv eggs
the waters may not reach on one tide will
almost certainlv be shaken bv another a
fortnight later or bv one a fortnight after
that. In the tneaniime growth ol the l)ab\
fish within is suspended, but is ready to be
resunu'd <ind the eggs hatched as soon as
tlu\ are shaken. I he acharil.tge ol thistoin-
plex spawning is thai the eggs develop safe
from the many hungry mouths in the sea.

class Pisces
order Atheriniformes
family Atherinidae
genera Leuresthes tenuis spawns at night
&: species Hubbsielia sardina spawns by day

94,5
1

Trent, but generally much smaller in of the banks or in the bottom with pointed
Gudgeon is

size in the first and has disappeared from snout. It will


its

also eat the roots of water

the second. Itwas introduced into the plants. Its method of feeding and the wide
The gudgeon a small member of the
is
Stour 50 years ago and has from there
diet taken caused Frank Buckland to speak
carp family, rarely longer than 3 in. or of it as a 'regular fresh-water pig'
reached the Hampshire Avon, while other
f oz weight. It is grey-green to barbels were introduced into the Severn.
blackish-grey on the back, lighter on the
Spawning over gravel
The gudgeon spawns in running water in
flanks but silvery with dark spots under- Moustachioed bottom-dwellers May and June. Each female lays 000 — 3 000 1
neath. Its scales are large and there is
The gudgeon lives in slow waters, often transparent eggs that stick together in small
a barbel at each corner of the mouth. keeping near the bank in large shoals near clumps on the bottom, only a few eggs being
The gudgeon is found in streams, rivers the bottom. Sand or gravel beds are pre- laid at a time. These hatch in 10 days, the
and lakes across Europe except in Spain ferred. The barbel keeps at the bottom, also baby fishes carrying at first a large yolk-
and Greece. in shoals, but in deeper water, being found sac. Barbel spawn at the same time of year
The bronze to green gudgeon has been especially in weir pools, in early summer. but on gravel beds in deep water. Each
described as a smaller and prettier It favours especially well-aerated waters. female lays on average 9 000 eggs which she
edition of the barbel, which grows up to
In winter it lies torpid in deep water, and covers with gravel, and these hatch in about
tends to hide away by day. a fortnight.
3 fi in length and 20 lb weight in
Both fishes, as the shape of the snout and
England, although in continental Europe
mouth, as well as the presence of barbels Fighting fish
it grows up to 33 lb, and even 30 lb fish
indicate, are bottom feeders. The gudgeon Although so similar, except in size, there is
have been reported from the Rhine and is wholly carnivorous. The barbel feeds a marked contrast between the two fishes
Danube. Conversely, the barbel has been mostly at night, on insects and their larvae, in the fisherman's eyes. Gudgeon are des-
called a giant gudgeon. In England it snails, worms, sometimes small fry. It also cribed as fish that are caught by accident,
was once common in the rivers Thames and eats plant food, rooting for this in the mud or with a red worm or even bread paste.
The barbel has fighting qualities that make
it a splendid fish, which may in the end

break quite strong line if care is not taken.


Partly this comes from its larger size but
it is more due to its lightning rushes, its
rolling tactics and dogged persistence,
and to some extent to its living where there
are underwater snags. It has been credited
with trying, when hooked, to saw through
the line with its dorsal fin or break it with
«« blows of its tail.

**-.
ji Tasty dishes
The opinions expressed about the palat-
ability of the two fishes have been con-
flicting. At various times, and by various
writers, gudgeon have been described as
fit only for bait to catch better fishes.
Another writer thinks they make a dehght-
ful dish when cooked in hot fat, and gar-
nished with red pepper and lemon juice,
while a third writer recommends cooking
them on the river bank. This last is sound
advice if only because the more quickly fish
are cooked after being landed the better
(by far) is the flavour. This may also explain
the popularity of gudgeon in former times
— and there used to be a regular fishery —
because it was a fish easy to keep alive in
£
o fresh water until it was required. This may
o also account for the various descriptions of
it: sweet, tender, delicate flavour, delight-
A Barbel searches for food using its barbels. V Gudgeons frequent sloufreshwaters of Europe. ful, tasty, wholesome.
Its larger relative, the barbel, has been
called all manner of names, from evil fish

to uninteresting, a fish of medium quality


flesh only to be tolerated if made palatable

by elaborate cooking. It is true that the hard


roe is poisonous and may aff"ect the flesh
adjacent to it. Yet in the days of Elizabeth I
the barbel was of sufficient value as a fish
to be protected by special statute.

class Pisces

order Cypriniformes
family Cyprinidae
genera Gobio gobio gudgeon
& species Barbus barbus barbel

946
Guenon
The term 'guenon' is used for any
member of the monkey genus Cerco-
pithecus. There are some 10—20
species forming a very mixed company
unth a gay assortment of colours, some of
which probably help the monkeys to
recognize their fellows quickly. Their
known. All
interrelationships are poorly
are medium-sized or small monkeys
28—70 in. long including the tail, which
forms from \—i of the total length. They
have dexterous grasping hands and feet,
short faces and very brightly coloured fur.

Monkeys with colour-schemes


fine
Guenons are some of the best known and
most colourful monkeys. The green mon-
kev, also known as grivet or vervet in
different parts of range, is greenish with
its

a black face, white throat and white whis-


kers. The male has a bright blue or tur-
quoise scrotum. It lives in the open savannah
areas of most of Africa south of the Sahara.
The blue monkev is blue-grey with black
arms and legs and bushy cheek-whiskers.
It lives in the forests of East and Central

.Africa. Some races have a golden-hued back. 4Ni


T
The red-tailed monkey is olive-green with
red tail, white nose, and white cheeks
a
crossed bv a black line. It lives in the forests
of East .\frica. It is closely related to a West
1 *
African species known as the putty-nosed
monkev. The Diana monkey deep
blackish-purple with a red area on the back,
a white thigh-stripe, white crescent on the
is a
i^
forehead and long white back-curving
beard. It is restricted to West .-\frira. The
De Brazza monkey, a very robust, thickset
species of East and Central .\frica, greyish-
speckled— with a white beard and chestnut
forehead stripe. Hamlyn's monkey, a rare
species from the eastern Congo, has a white
stripe running down the nose, and a cape
of hair covering the ears. The moustached
monkev, distinguished bv its blue and white
moustache, is a small species from the
swampy forests of western Equatorial Africa
{(iabon, (^ameroun). The lalapoin is the o
smallest of all Old World monkevs. Cireen, 0.

with white hairs ladiatiiig laiilike from the o


c
cheeks, it lives in swampy forests of Gabon,
and in the eastern Congo.

Pacifist societies Born a jockey: for the first few weeks a baby vervet hangs upside down clinging to its mother's hair.

1 he casiesi lo stuch is the green monkev


because it lives in fairh open counlrv. fewer iiuiles in a ratio of one
than females, Crop-raiding guenons
JS (iartlan studied those living on Lolui to 1-4. Whentwo groups meet there are Green monkeys and red-tailed monkeys
island, in Lake \'ictoria, where there are no threats or fights although there mav feed mainly on leaves but eat some fruit
<il)()ui 1.")()() ol them, (ireen monkeys live be some chasing. The group sleeps at the and fiowers. Diana monkeys are said to be
in groups of 6 — 20, with an average of 12, top of the tree or bush, which is at the entirely fruit-eaters. Some guenons eat
the gioups having home ranges whi<h ovcr- ((•III re of the home range, and feeds there insects, birds' eggs and voung birds, but
l.i|) <ni(l have liees or (luin|)s ol biislits at in the e.iily morning and in the evening. this seems be rare. Ihey rarelv drink,
to
tluir centres. Each such tlunip is the base Towards iniddav it begins to move down getting most of their moisture from the
for at least one group, and some of the into the undergrowth and out on lo the rain which dings lo vegetation. Thev have
laiger clum|)s contani u|) lo four groups. o|Hn ground. The group may scatter widely been seen running their hngers along a
-All green monkeys belong lo a group. The while foraging, with as much as 300 yd rain-wet leaf and licking off the water. Some
soiitarv indiv idu.ils ;ind all-male gr()U|)s between the most distant members. guenons raid gardens and are regarded as
IouihI other monke\s are not tomid in
III hough their
.Ml habitat is very different, Everv year drives are held in Sierra
pests.
green monkeys, although some individuals blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys seem Leone and other parts of Africa when
may be somewhat on the outskiils of their to have a very similar tvpe oi so( iai organi- hundreds of monkevs are slaughtered; un-
groups. .\ll ages and both sexes are lepre- sation, although they only rarely come to fortunately the tree-H)p dwellers as well as
senled in a group but there are slightly the ground. the crop raiders.

94";
Arboreal amble: a distinctive spot-nosed monkey moves with a high degree offinesse through a canopy of foliage in Ghana.

Monkeys save the children come rushing over at once. The infant's dis- aerial and ground predators. Guenons
Like other monkeys, guenons breed through- tinctive coat also causes a response by the rarely defend themselves, but they make
out the year, the females coming into heat adults. Guenons have been known to live threats both to other monkeys and to other
about once a month. In red-tailed monkeys as much as 30 years in captivity. intruders such as man. The males display
babies tend to be born early in the year. The by bouncing up and down on branches or
gestation is about months. Courtship is
7 Making faces at enemies in the crowns of trees; or they may drop
perfunctory, to the least: the male
say In the forest, the only serious predator is into the undergrowth making sure they are
merely mounts the female from behind the crowned eagle, which glides silently seen, trying to lure the intruder away.
and clings onto her legs with his feet. The among the treetops ready to grab unsus- Meanwhile, the females and young of the
young are coloured very differently from pecting monkeys. It usually seizes its prey green monkey sit looking at the intruder,
the adults, but the baby coat is shed quite by the head. On the savannah there are swaying the upper part of the body toward
early on, except in De Brazza's monkey many more potential predators, and the it, so that the arms go forward along the

where the young remain differently coloured monkeys there are correspondingly more branch. The head and shoulders may be
from the adult until they reach maturity. wary. In the air there are the martial eagle moved from side to side, but the eyes are
There is no doubt that the infant guenon and various other birds of prey and on the kept fixed. The body is then swayed back
arouses a protective response in the other ground leopards are the main predators. and the animal sits upright with its arms
animals. If it cries out in distress the others The monkeys have separate alarm calls for held straight down. Moustached monkeys

948
.

wag heads their from side to side, so four layers. The lowest, the shrub layer, class Mammalia
emphasising the white lip-stripe, while consists of a tangle of woody and her-
order Primates
redtails bob their heads up and down, em- baceous vegetation near the ground. Next
phasising the white streak on the nose. up is the first layer of trees forming the family Cercopithecidae
When realh frightened the adults honk and lower canopy, at 25 — .^0 ft. The third is the
genus Cercopithecus aethiops
the voung chitter. And when frightened middle canopy, 50—120 ft high, and at the
8c species green mo p key
thev often yawn, which is a way of releasing top is the upper canopy, made up of the
C. mitts blue monkey
tension and not a sign of tiredness as one highest crowns with considerable gaps
C. ascanius red-tailed monkey
might think. between them. This is 120—150 ft high.
C. diana Diana monkey
Many guenons tend to sleep at higher levels,
C. neglectusDe Brazza monkey
Layers of monkeys coming down lower during the daytime.
C. hamlyni Hamlyn's monkey
The Diana monkey, in primary forest, lives
C. cephus moustached monkey
Guenons of habitats. Green
live in a variety in theupper canopy and cornes down to the
C. talapoin talapoin
monkevs live on the savannah and
in the middle canopy. Blue monkeys also live at
savannah woodland. Others live in forests, high levels, coming down into the lower
but these mav be primary or secondary canopy but only rarely, if ever, into the V Monkey layers: a tropical rain forest can be
forest, mountain or swamp forest. More- shrub layer. Redtails go up at night into divided into various layers. Three strata are
over, within a certain type of forest different the middle canopy and come down onto the recognised: the higher canopy of trees with
sf)ecies live at different levels. Four or five ground by day, so they tend to be at dif- broad umbrella-like croxvns, the middle canopy
species mav share the same part of the ferent levels from blue monkeys at any whose tree tops usually meet, and the lower
forest, in what is called arboreal stratifica- given time of day. De Brazza's monkey lives canopy whose trees are closely bound with
tion. Tropical rain forests grow extremely at low levels and is often to be found on creepers. From studies guenons have been
tall but not all the trees grow equally tall. the forest floor, searching for food or just found to prefer certain levels as shown in the
So thev can be coxivenientlv divided into sitting surveying its surroundings. illustration below.

V (Juenons live in a variety of habitats in suitable parts of Africa south of the Sahara desert.

Gucnon monkeys

1 1 1 1
1 De Buita ICercopiihecus nagleci

' Gfeen Ideihiopst

^^ Hamlyns IC hamlyni)

Tdlapoin iC talapoin)
• South Io(htC4pt

949
<] Common guillemots
Guillemot braving the wind. The
white eye-ring and
Guillemots are duck-like on the water; white line from the eye
in the air they fly on rapidly-whirring corner identifies the
wings and on land they stand upright 'bridled' form, which

like small penguins, with their long •%' used thought of


to be

paddle-like feet stuck out in front of as a separate species.

them. They are auks, birds like diving ^^^ *^^"


V Distinctive white
wing patches identify
petrels and penguins: committed to the
the black guillemot.
sea except for breeding. In America they
In winter or spring
are called murres, a name which originated
ithas a complete body
in southwest England. moult producing a
The common guillemot is 16 in. long, black nuptial plumage
black or dark brown on the upperparts with white wing or cheek
and white underneath with a white stripe patches. It tends to be

on the wings. In the winter the neck and less gregarious than
other auks in the
throat turn from black to white leaving
breeding season.
a black stripe behind the eye. There is a
common 'bridled' form with a white eye
ring and white line extending back from
it. Briinnich's guillemot is very similar.
It has a thicker bill, which at close quarters
can be seen to have a pale line on the
sides, and in winter plumage it lacks the
black stripe behind the eye. The black
guillemot, also called the tystie, is smaller,
13 The plumage is black, or
in. long.
bottle green in a good light, with large
white patches on the wings and bright
red feet. In winter the underparts become
white and the head, neck and back mottled
with white.
Guillemots are birds of the northern
seas. The common guillemot breeds as far
south as Portugal in the Atlantic and
North Korea and San Francisco in the
Pacific. In Europe it is found on the \-gl I
coasts of Scandinavia, the British Isles
and Brittany, and elsewhere in Iceland, A Divtng success:

Alaska, the Kuriles and Kamchatka, black guillemots grip


their captive fish. The
Newfoundland and in one isolated part
prey is usually
of the Greenland coast. Briinnich's
obtained by underwater
guillemot lives farther north. It breeds
pursuit, the birds
nowhere in Europe but is found on Baffin submerging with a
Island, Spitzbergen, Franz fosef Land kick of the feet while
and other islands in the Arctic Sea. The partially spreading
black guillemot's range combines the ranges their wings. Under
of its two relatives. In Europe, it breeds water the ivings are
along the coasts of Scandinavia and the used for propulsion,
British Isles. whereas the feet are
used in steering.
Within the British Isles, the common and
black guillemots have decreased in
numbers over the past centuries, especially
in the south of England. The original
< 'The ugly duckling':
rather an uninspiring
cause may have been the warming of the chick will emerge to be
sea that has altered the fish populations a fully-fledged striking
so affecting the birds' food, but adult in a few weeks.
nowadays oil pollution is serious. The
wreck of the oil-tanker Torrey Canyon in
1967 and the subsequent mass pollution of O Briinnich's guille-
the western Channel had a very serious mots preen and stretch.
but it is not known yet whether this -^ Very like common
effect, -Jii^
guillemot, they are dis-
ispermanent. Auks suffer badly from oil
tinguished at all seasons
because their reaction to it is to dive,
by noticeably shorter
thus becoming even more polluted,
and thicker bills. The
whereas other seabirds such as gulls
breeding ledges on the
take off and so escape. steep cliff shows sigtis

of years of use from


the droppings.
the jostling parents. Black guillemots breed
at the bottom of cliffs, in crevices or under

/ boulders and thev are less sociable than the


other guillemots. Courtship takes place in
the water with one bird swimming around
the other which spins to face it. Black guille-
mots utter a wheezv sigh, rather like a gate
being slowly opened on a rustv hinge,
showing the red insides of their motuhs.
Sometmies guillemots indulge in communal
displays in which several pairs come to-
gether, circling and bobbing or standing up
and flapping their wings. Thev also pla%
'foUow-the-leader', swimming, or occasion-
allv flying, in line ahead following the lead-
ing bird as it dives and leaps.
Black guillemots usually lay 2 eggs, the
others lay one egg which is incubated for
4 weeks. Both sexes share incubation.
Black guillemot chicks leave the nest when
they are fully able to look after themselves
at the age of about 40 days. The other guille-
mots leave the nest before their flight
feathers have fully grown and are only i
of the adult weigbt. The chicks leave the
nesting ledges in the evening, leaping off
and plummeting down despite rapid wing
beats. On hitting the water thev call and
are joined by their parents who escort them
out to sea where they are fed until they can
fend for themselves.
The bridled guillemot was once thought
to be a distinct species but it is now known
that it is a colour phase of the common
guillemot, the two existing side by side like
red- and black-masked Gouldian finches
(p 927) or the crossbills (p 581).

British bird census


In 1938 and 1939 censuses were made of the
guillemot colonies in the British Isles and
in several other parts of the North Atlantic,
mainly by members of the British Trust for
Ornitholog). The results showed that the
proportion of bridled guillemots varied
from place to place. In the British Isles it
Rewards ofa crowded life: common guillemots need to be stimulated b) a noisy crowd to mate successfully. was lowest in the south and east and highest
They pack tightly together on rocks and pinnacles, the lower ledges being used by kittiwakes and shags. in the north and west, from less than \%
on the south coast to 25% in the Shetlands.
A babble of guillemots mot is more sedentary, especially in the In Iceland the change is reversed, from
In the breeding season the air round the southern parts of its range where it spends 7 — 9% in the north to 50% in the south.
cliffs where the guillemots nest is thick with the winter not far from the shore. Guille- Over the whole of the North Atlantic there
thousands of birds, not only guillemots but mots moult shortly after leaving the breed- is a general increase of bridled guillemots

other auks such as razorbills and puffins. ing grounds. Like manv other water birds as one goes farther north. The survey was
Thev are continually ffying in and out, all the flight feathers are shed at once and repeated in 1948 — 50 and again in 1959 — 60,
coming in to land with feet hanging down the guillemots are incapable of flying until and over 20 years the proportions had
for stability or taking off with rapidly beat- the new set grows. varied very little. It seems that the bridled
ing wings that seem too small to hold the form of the guillemot has some advantage
bird in the air. The air is also full of their Eating eels and butterfish in cold climates and this idea is supported
muttered growls, like the babble of school- Like diving petrels and penguins, guille- by the increased proportion of bridled
children let out to play. At the end of the mots swim underwater with their wings. guillemots in eastern Canada as compared
breeding season all this activity ceases and Thev feed on marine animals caught while with Britain or Scandinavia. Due to the Gulf
the ledges and rocks empty as the guille- diving. Fish, such as sand eels and butter- Stream, arctic conditions do not extend so
mots migrate southwards and seawards for fish, make up the major part of their diet. far south on the eastern side of the Atlantic
the winter. Briinnich's guillemot winters off Some shrimps, prawns, crabs, molluscs and as they do in Canada. What advantage
Scandinavia and is only rarely seen off worms are also eaten, especially by the bridled guillemots could have over their
British coasts, although this may be due to black guillemot which feeds closer inshore. normal relatives is not known.
the difficulty of distinguishing it from the
common guillemot. Indeed, identification Cliff-hanging nests class Aves
of auks is always very difficult unless they Common and Briinnich's guillemots nest on
order Charadriiformes
have some distinctive feature such as the narrow, often very inaccessible ledges on
coloured bills of puffins or the white wing cliffs and only very rarely in crevices or familv Alcidae
patches of black guillemots. The common between boulders. They can be seen jam- \
genera Uria aalge common guillemot
guillemot migrates south to winter off med together on the ledges with hardly U. lomvia Briinnich's guillemot
8c species
southern England, France and Spain in late room to move, and eggs and chicks are
Cepphus grylle black guillemot
July or early August, but the black guille- often lost by being kicked off the ledge by

952
Guinea fowl
Guinea Jowl are related to pheasants,
turkeys and chickens, but unlike these
birds both sexes of guinea fowl are
similar. The commonest species is the
tufted or helmeted guinea fowl, found
mainly in tropical Africa from Lake Chad
in the west, across to Ethiopia and Kenya.
It lives as far south as South Africa,
where it has probably been introduced,
as it has been in Madagascar, Arabia,
the Comores Islands and North Africa.
The tufted guinea fowl is grey arid
black xvith white spots, a colour scheme
like those of most othei- guinea fowl.

The head and neck are almost naked,


with only a few scattered feathers, and
the head has a long casque or helmet.
The largest and most decorative species
is the vulturine guinea fowl, 2 ft long,
with a 'bib' of trailing feathers arouiui
its neck. The smallest is tlie black
guinea fowl, all black except Jor the light
--•A
red and pink skin on head and neck.

*59.

T •

^J^'-^-'
5

A Scrubland wanderers: in gaunt procession, a group of vulturine guinea fowl scratch and strut about their daily food patrol, which may take them
on a round trip of 20 miles from their regular roost. So arid is their home that for months they drink only dew.
^ Perched for the night: a flock of helmeted s^iinea fowl Numida meleagris mitrata, secure m the branches of their accustomed roost tree.
.

In virgin forest Guinea fowl haveseveral disadvantages


Some species of guinea fowl living in open
Eggs keep longer as domesticated animals. They are mono-
countrv are sometimes found in large Guinea fowl have been domesticated but gamous so it is necessary to keep a large
up to 200 strong,
flocks but flocks normally have never been kept with such success as number of unproductive males and they
number around 25. A flock may wander chickens, turkeys or pheasants have been. are liable to go wild. Even guinea fowl
over a considerable range in search of food, The Greeks and Romans introduced them hatched in incubators or under broody hens
perhaps covering 20 miles a day on foot, to Europe, where thev were brought as far will return to the wild when they grow up,
but returning at night to regular roosts. as Britain, a guinea fowl leg-bone bearing or else they will make their home on a
In contrast, the black guinea fowl is only a metal ring having been found at the neighbouring farm. One advantage is that
found in virgin forest and other species are Roman town of Silchester. In recent times their eggs are unusually thick-shelled and
found in woods and thickets, but some — they have been introduced to some of the so keep longer than chickens' eggs.
including the vulturine guinea fowl — live in Caribbean islands where they are now a
drv open country where they have to rely popular game bird.
on dew as a water supplv for most of the In Roman times they were considered a class Aves
year. great delicacy and they were sacrificed to
Guinea fowl have strong legs and can run the Emperor Caligula in his self-styled role
order Galliformes
well, usuallv preferring this as a method of a god. .After the fall of the Roman familv Numididae
of escape rather than flving. Their wings Empire, guinea fowl disappeared from
genera Numida meleagris
are rounded and they fly strongly, but they Europe. They were rediscovered by the
Be species tufted and helmeted guinea fowl
never make long flights at any one time. Portuguese on their vovages to West Africa,
Acryllium vulturinum
Within a flock there appears to be a peck hence the English name of guinea fowl.
vulturine guinea fowl
order. As the guinea fowl are slowly wan- .Around 1550 they were domesticated in
Agelastes niger black guinea fowl
dering about feeding, one will suddenly France and many years later were intro-
others
lunge at another with head low and wings duced to Britain and other countries.
arched over its back. The attacked bird
usually retreats, or if caught bv surprise

?!3
mm.
leaps into the air. Little comes of these
encounters and sometimes one bird retreats
before the other darts at it. .A.S a guinea fowl
that attacks another is sometimes almost
immediatelv attacked itself, it would seem
that there is the same sort of hierarchv in
the flock as there is among farmyard hens.

Scratching out a living


Guinea fowl scratch for food like domestic
chickens, raking their strong claws back-
wards and then inspecting the torn-up
ground. Their food is seeds, fruit and small
animals, in the dry season plant material
is a major item but as the rains bring out

insects and other animals guinea fowl turn


to eating termites, caterpillars, beetles,
snails and small frogs. Most of the animals Colour contrast: lutiinhd .above) and tufted Alarm cries from this seemingly defenceless
thev eat are pests of agriculture such as (below) guinea fowl. Although seldom seen in chick will bring the wrath of the wholeflock
wireworms, grasshoppers, hairv caterpillars, the air. all guinea fowl can fly strongly. onto any intruding predator
that are usually left by other birds, and
'chafer' beetles. .A few beneficial spiders,
assassin bugs and other creatures are also
eaten. Guinea fowl do some damage to
crops especially bv uprooting seedlings.

Orthodox breeders
When the rains start the flocks break up and
the guinea fowl disperse to pair off and
raise families. Each pair has a fairlv large
territor\ from which other guinea fowl are
chased. 1 he female makes a nest under a
bush or in tall grass, scraping awa\ a hollow
in the ground and lining it with grass and
feathers. Up to 20 eggs are laid in most
species, but usuallv 8—12
the tufted in
guinea fowl. Incubation takes 24 — 2.") da\s
from the time the last egg is laid. The
chicks spend their first da\ under the hen,
then they are led out into the territory to
feed.

Protective rings round chicks


Although the nests are hard to find many
are ravaged by cats, genets and snakes. The j
chicks also fall prev to these and other c:

marauders but the adult guinea fowl ^


defend them doselv. .All will rush over to =
any chick that alarm, gathering ?
calls in
around in a protective cordon with wings
%
raised, and will drive off hawks and snakes. -
m^4
. .

The guinea pig: a South American, a


Guinea pig morsel m
to

the cooking pot; to a zoologist, a docile


subject for experiment; to thousands of pet-
A member of a

known, rounded
hardly needs
large family of rodents,
the familiar guinea pig, with its well-

to
stocky bods with no tail
be described. The
^ former range o
Guinea sig
keepers a bumbling source of amusement
<]<]Mixed hag: guinea pigs of the four
main colour varieties. The black and reddish-
brown ones are adults, the albinos and sandy-
coloured babies in the foreground are two days
domestic guinea pig has been bred
old and the larger baby (above) is five days
selectively into several varieties, of which
old. All have come out to enjoy the sun and
the three main ones are: the normal shoii-
shelter around a rock pile.
haired, which nearest to the wild type,
is
V Built for running: with long thin legs and
the Abyssinian with a wiry coat arranged hoof-like hind claws,mara, or Patagonian
the
in rosettes, and the long, soft-haired hare, is the speedy member of the guinea
Peruvian. pig family. Like the guinea 'pig' its name is
Guinea pig
Related guinea pigs are the
to the

Patagonian hares which are no more


hares than guinea pigs are pigs. In both

Ca-.

RockcavY
a pcrcellusi

'<ero<3on njpestnsi
W
incongruous — true hares are another family
Superficially like the ancestral guinea
pig (the Brazilian cai'y Cavia aperea), a
Mara golden agouti guinea pig.
cases the name
denotes a similarity of IDolicholis paxagonal

build. The Patagonian hares are adapted

for running, with long thin legs and


hoof-like claws on the back feet. Their
head and body measure 30 in. A third
genus, the rock cavies or mocos, are like

guinea pigs in size and shape but have


longer legs. They have a vestigial tail
which is sometimes lacking altogether.

Wild guinea pigs


The wild guinea pigs, or cavies, are found
in South America, although their domes-
ticated descendants ha\e become dis-
tributed around the world. The rock cavies
are more restricted, living in drv stonv
areas of Brazil, where they shelter under
boulders and in The Patagonian
cracks.
hares, also known maras, have longer
as
legs and live in dry grass or scrub countrv.
Guinea pigs and Patagonian hares live in
small groups, 5—10 being normal for the
former and up to 40 for the maras. Thev
shelter in burrows that they dig them-
selves, or in the abandoned burrows of
other animals such as tuco-tucos and
viscachas. Guinea pigs are most active after
nightfall, but maras are diurnal and enjov
basking in the sun, resting in attitudes un-
usual in rodents because of their long legs.
They either sit on their haunches with front
legs extended, like a rabbit, or lie like cats
with the front legs turned under the chest.
The cavies eat all available tvpes of vege-
tation and the mocos will climb trees for
tender leaves, leaping down with one bound
when danger threatens.

Squatting to feed the young


Maras bear 2 — 5 young in a litter, mocos one
or two, and wild guinea pigs 1—4. The
mother mara suckles her young while sitting
on her haunches, and the young must also
sit like this to hold her teats. There mav

be 1 or 2 litters a vear.
The domesticated guinea pig is often
cited asan example of rapid breeding, but
as rodents go its rate of multiplication is
not very high. Females can begin breeding
when 2 months old, giving birth to as man\
as 6 voung after a rather long gestation ol
67 — 68 davs. .A few hours later the female
is readv to mate. The voung can run when
a few hours old and nibble at solid food the
next day, but they continue to take milk
for another 3 weeks.

<i.57
Care in captivity Relying on timidity Guinea pigs are used as laboratory animals
Guinea pigs are popular as pets or labora- Guinea pigs are defenceless animals with because they are so easy to keep. They are
tory animals because they are so easy to no weapons and are unable to flee at any used for all kinds of experiments in physio-
keep. Although they sometimes have an un- great speed. For survival from the attacks logy, the workings of the body, and in
pleasant odour they are gentle creatures that of all manner of enemies, they must rely on medicine. The cause and effects of diph-
do not bite. Naturally timid animals, they their timidity, rushing back to their burrows theria, once a killer disease of children, were
will, however, become hand-tame if kept of danger.
at the first hint worked out from studies with guinea pigs.
properly and will crouch quietly in their The Patagonian hares are now declining They have been used in the development of
owner's hand while being fondled, or being in number because of competition from the serums for combating other diseases and
brushed if they are of the long haired introduced European hare. also in studies of heredity and nutrition —
variety. They require little room, a box 2i ft All cavies are hunted for their flesh. That the guinea pig being one of the few animals
long, H ft wide and 1| ft high is recom- of the mara is said to be dry and flavourless, which, like man, lacks the hereditary ability
mended for three guinea pigs. A larger pen but guinea pigs provide excellent quality to make its own Vitamin C. Because of their
is, of course, preferable, and a portable meat, and the Incas used to raise them for universal laboratory use, guinea pigs have
pen that can be moved around a lawn is their flesh. Mocos are also favoured and lent their name to human 'experimental
useful, so the guinea pigs can crop the grass their flesh is used in medicines. animals'. Men testing life-saving equipment,
as an alternative food supply. The box protective clothing, even new brands of
should' have a small meshed wire netting food, have been called 'guinea-pigs' and the
front, with one third partitioned off as a Why guinea? Why pig? name has come to mean a volunteer called
dormitory. Hay should be supplied regular- The exact historv of our domestic guinea on to do anything new. Perhaps a better
ly for bedding and with this the guinea pigs pig not known. It is assumed that it is
is name could have been chosen as 'guinea
will survive all weathers. descended from the guinea pigs kept bv the pig' makes the volunteers sound as if they
Like all herbivores, guinea pigs consume Incas and that those were descended from are being driven, innocently, to the
large quantities of food. Bread and milk, the Brazilian cavy. How they came to be slaughter. The name has also been used for
not too moist, and oats or bran, together brought to Europe and so spread around company directors who attended board
with fresh vegetables, such as groundsel, the world does not seem to be recorded. 1 he meetings solely for the fee, which was paid
chicory, carrots, dandelion, coarse grass, name guinea pig is said to have been derived in guineas.
parsley, cauliflower and broccoli leaves form from guiana pig, and helps to set a date for
a suitable diet. The greenery should, if its introduction. Columbus is supposed to
possible, be put in a wire mesh basket on have discovered Guiana in 1498, but it was class Mammalia
the wall of the cage to prevent it being littleknown until Sir Walter Raleigh visited order Rodentia
soiled. Guinea pigs like plenty of liquid, it in 1595. Presumably, both 'guinea" and
but if they have an abundance of fresh 'guiana" are derived from the Portuguese family Caviidae
green food they may not need to touch griine, a word that referred not only to a genera Cavia porcellus
their water. stretch of the West Coast of Africa, but also & species domestic guinea pig
as a loose term for far off and unknown Kerodon rupestris
lands. Incidentally, the British term "guinea" moco, rock cavy
The startled look: large nocturnal eyes wide, for coins worth 21 shillings was so derived Dolichotis patagona
nose twitching and whiskers a-quiver, a red because the coins were struck from gold mara, Patagonian hare
guinea pig investigates new territory. imported from West Africa.

^
sive. When hooked they put up no fight at Other hazards they face. In an aquarium
Guitarfish all and skin divers find they can swim up guitarfishes seem sometimes to take a little
to them and hold them by the tail. There while to settle down and then they are prone
The guitarfish looks like a cross between is only one record of a skin diver being to bang themselves against the wall, damag-
a shark and a ray or skate. The head and bitten and no harm was done. ing their snouts and fins. Other fishes nibble
body are flattened but the tail is thickand This is almost to be expected because, these lacerations, which may also become
although numerous, the guitarfish's teeth infested with bacteria and algae. How far
powerful, and the pectoral fins, although
are small, arranged in 65 — 70 rows, and such hazards occur in the natural state is
large and broad, do not reach the snout
flattened like the pieces in a mosaic. They not known but it suggests that fishes too
as in ra\s and skates. The guitarfish has large to be normally attacked by enemies
are crushing teeth, and guitarfish feed
two dorsal fins and there are usually mainly on shellfish, crabs and other bottom- might succumb to attacks from smaller
extra-large denticles down the middle of living animals, including small fishes. In fishes once their skin is opened by accident.
the back. The colour is grey or brown on most guitarfishes the mouth is a straight
the back, pearly white underneath, and horizontal slit but in two kinds it has an
most guitarfishes are 5 — 6 ft long, unusual shape. In Rhynchobatos the jaws are
Steady plodder
although one species goes to 10 ft. slightly wavy in shape and in the middle of Fossil guitarfishes are found in Jurassic

There are 45 species living in the warm the lower jaw is a prominent tooth-covered rocks laid down 150 million years ago, and
seas, usually in fairly shallow water,
bump that fits into a tooth-lined depression these differ little if at all from the guitar-
in the upper jaw. This oddity goes further fishes swimming in the seas today. This long
particularly in bays and estuaries.
in Rhina: the upper jaw is alternately swollen continuation of species virtually unchanged
and hollowed and the lower jaw has corres- may be due to the slow rate at which they
Ugly but inofiFensive ponding depressions and bumps to fit. live. Even to the biologist, who seldom finds

Guitarfishes, sometimes called fiddler rays any facts about animals dull, guitarfishes
or shark ravs, either lie half buried in sand Restless mother-to-be must be unusuallv uninspiring. We may
or mud or cruise slowly just off the bottom, Guitarfishes are ovo- viviparous; the eggs search through book after book and find
driving themselves along with the tail. The are fertilised internally and the early de- either they are not mentioned at all or are
broad pair of fins merely serve for turning velopment of the young takes place inside dismissed in a sentence or two, for the
or banking, for rising or diving. They cover the mother. The eggs hatch just before they simple reason that their way of life is un-
themselves by alternate wrigglings using the would have been laid, so the young are born eventful. They do very little except lie half
large pectoral fins as shovels to throw sand alive. A female guitarfish taken alive and buried on the bottom, occasionally taking a
or mud over their backs until only the tail placed in an aquarium on the shores of the swim around. The pressures of natural
fin, dorsal fins, eyes and spiracles are Red Sea attracted the attention of scientists selection are light and so there is little
exposed. The spiracles are two holes on the because she was unduly restless and dis- change, or need for it. In the fossil record
top of the head leading to the gill chamber turbed. During the following night she gave we can see that some species are short-lived.
through which water is drawn for breath- birth to four babies. They come into existence, flourish exceed-
ing.Sometimes guitarfishes swim up to the ingly and quickly become extinct. Theirs
surface,and some Indian Ocean species Self-inflicted injuries is 'a short life but a happy one'. Others,

roam about in large shoals and are said to The natural enemies of guitarfishes can only the guitarfishes being an example, persist
do great damage to pearl oyster beds. be guessed but from what has been seen of for a long time and, although playing an
Otherwise thev are harmless and inoffen- these fishes kept in aquaria we can see some important role in the scheme of things,
never do anything spectacular. They are
¥^^
^**T; iMfe>-."S-
the long-lived plodders.

class Selachii

order Hypotremata
family Rhinobatidae
genera Rhina
Rhinobatos
Rhynchobatos

t^
Loafers of the seabed. Idle and inoffensive,
spending most of their time half-buned, and
having little competition for food, the

^i guitarfishes have been in an evolutionary


backwater for millions of years.
Left: Aptly named shovelnose Rhinobatos
productus. Below lefi: Innocent victim— 8 fi
of harmless guitarfish in an anti-shark net.
^«- Below: Zapterus exasperatus in typical pose.

MM
There's more to a gundi than meets the e)e . . . At Jirst sight an insignificant bundle oj fur, this gundi can scuttle along the ground at lightning
speed, belly low and legs flailing. If necessary, it will scale almost vertical faces, using claws and bristles on the feet.

irregularities, with the comb-like they are quick to run away into hiding,
Gundi on the inner toes of the hindfeet helping.
bristles
uttering a low piercing or chirping whistle.
These unusual rodents have been des- Over their whole range thev are found on They can stand wide fluctuations in temper-
cribed as the most numerous mammals in mountain slopes and boulder ridges. On ature but rain is dangerous for them. Their
North Africa. They look like guinea pigs the drv sandy plains between, the gundi is fur gives no protection against it. When
not to be seen, but wherever there are wetted, the hairs stick together exposing the
but behave and look to some extent like
boulders or rocky areas the gundis abound. skin,and a wet gundi shivers badly. This is
chinchillas. Up
10 in. long with a
to
Because their fur harmonizes so closely with an added reason for their habit of shelter-
2in. tail, gundis have a thick-set body,
the surrounding rocks they are difficult to ing under rocks or overhanging ledges.
short legs and four toes on each foot.
see unless they move, and they are not con-
The claws are small but the two inner spicuous because of their habits. They move
toes of the hindfeet have comb-like about singly or in parties of up to half-a- Playing possum
bristles. The fur, which is long and silky, dozen, browsing the dry grasses and other GiHidis are They make no
inoff^ensive.
is sandy or buff, sometimes with a tinge of plants growing among the rocks. They do attempt to bite when picked up. On the
pink, slightly paler on the underside. not drink but get their water from their contrary, their reaction is to remain com-
The head is large in proportion to the food, and they do not wander from the pletelv motionless. When put down again
rocks but lie about basking, flattened on the thev lie as if dead for a while, quite rigid.
body, with fairly large eyes and small
rocks, retreating into the shade at the hottest This 'playing possum' may last a few seconds
rounded ears.
part of the day. When about to lie down to or continue for a long time, depending pre-
Besides the single species Ctenodactylus
sunbathe they leave their hindlegs behind, sumably on the degree to which the animal
gundi, known as the gundi, which ranges
so to speak, and lean forward to a prone has been alarmed. The most likely enemies
from the Atlas Mountains through position. Otherwise they are about all day, are not those that hunt bv sight, that might
Tunisia and Algeria to Libya, there are wary, ready to retreat when approached. be deceived by the death-feigning, but those
same
five other species belonging to the They are said to feed most at twilight and that hunt by smell. Nevertheless, the playing
family, Speke's pectinator Pectinator we are told that that time of day is, for the possum behaviour seems to be deeply in-
spekei, of Ethiopia to Somcdia, three local Arabs, 'the hour when the gundi comes grained, and one gundi, already captive and
out'. fairly used to being handled, feigned dead
species of Massoutiera of western and
central Sahara, and the single species for 12 hours on being placed in a strange

Felovia vae, of northwest Africa to


Cannot stand water cage.

Senegal.
The scanty information about their breed-
ing shows there may be up to six babies at class Mammalia
a birth. These are born well furred, with order Rodentia
At home among rocks eyes open and able to run about. Little is
Gundis move quickly, with the belly almost known about their enemies either, except family Ctenodactylidae
touching the ground. They can climb almost that the Arabs snare them for the pot. Apart genus
vertical faces of rock, pressing their under- from their flair for keeping out of sight, and & species Ctenodactylus gundi
side to it and putting their claws into any generally making themselves difficult to see,

960
o
a.
• a.

Top left: Male guppy in the full glory of his mating colours. Top right: Popping the question — a male guppy, allfiTU fanned in full display and
gonopodium extended, approaches a female immediately before mating. Above: The birth —female guppy bearing one of many babies.

Guppy breeding behaviour. There are few


that surpass it for these purposes.
fishes
It is
their own females. Fertilisation is

part of the anal fin of the male being con-


internal,

prolific, matures rapidly, is active, thrives verted into a gonopodium for the transfer
The guppy was originally called 'the well in small aquaria, can stand extremes of sperms to the oviduct of the female.
milliotis fish', because it was present in of temperature from 3' -38"C'40° - lOO'F, These are stored and females isolated from
such large numbers in freshwater from can live in fcjul water, will take a wide variety males have been known to have as many as
the Caribbean islands of St Lucia, of food and is subject to few diseases. eight broods of voung from a single mating.
Barbados and Trinidad to the northern
part of South America. It also desen>es Guppies prevent malaria Babies' worst enemy is mother
the 'name because it must have led
The guppy eats aquatic insects, algae and The guppy isovo-viviparous, that is, the
the eggs of other fishes. In many places it eggs hatch just before leaving the mother's
millions to keep home aquaria. Another
has been accidentally liberated or put down body and the young are born alive. As the
name used to be rainbow fish. It was first
by aquarists. On the island of Mauritius, time for this draws near, the female's abdo-
named Girardinus guppyi after the where this has happened, it is said to harm men becomes swollen and a dark patch
Reverend Robert Guppy who found it in local fish population by eating their eggs. appears near the anal fin. The voung are
Trinidad in 1866. Then it was discovered It has, however, been deliberateb intro- nearly always born at night or earlv in the
that it had already been described in duced to places as far apart as .Argentina, morning, usually head-first but often tail-
1859 and that its correct scientific name Hawaii, Tahiti, Borneo, .Singapore and first especially when 2 or 3 are born in quick

was Lebistes reticulatus. B\ then, how- Ceylon, for controlling malarial mosquitoes, succession. They are expelled with con-
ever, everybody was calling it guppy. because guppies feed on the larvae and siderable force. Once a female has given
The male over maximum pupae. These are especiallv vulnerable birth it will be at least 23 days before she
is little I in.
because they must rise to the surface and does so again and usually it is 28 da\s c^r
length hut the female may grow to twice
hang suspended there to breathe. Cuppies more.
as long. He is colourful, hence rainbow
have a sensitive aiea in the floor of the eve .\s each fr\ is born ii quickh sniks to-
fish, in patchesof red, orange, yellow, by whic h thc\ (juic kh see food at the surface. wards the bottom. L sually it swims upwards
green and violet, with a few black spots. rapidly before touching bottom and takes
The wild female guppy lacks the bright Unusually ardent males a gulp of air at the surface. This is forced
colours and ls largely whitLsh. (.uppic's' biccclnig habits are remarkable. clown the gullet and into the swimbladder,
The males grow to maturity at about an inch expanding it. Then the young fish can swim
and then stop. The fem.iles reach maluriix normally. As each fry is expelled the
Hardy favourite at the same si/e but they continue gKJwing. mother turns round and tries to catch and
First imjMjrted alive into Europe in I9()8, Till- males, fiom the time of reaching eat it. She usually succeeds if she can over-
into (icrniaiiv, tlu- j^uppv's popiil.n ii\ has maturity, are almost incessantly
sexually t.ike it before it has taken ils gulp of air.
since ^lowii, and it is almost cloniesiicaied. active. .\{ first court and try to
the\ will Aquarists .ngue that this happens only when
Certainly it is established as a laboratory mate with inanimate objects and the females there are not enough water plants in the
animal uidcK used for experinuMils in tj;ene- of other species, as well as with female acjuarium in which the fry can hide. I his
tics, in plusiolog) and for the stiuh of guppies. In time they learn to court only seems doubtful, but at all events gupp\-

961
breeders often use a maternity cage which things, that a female fed once a fortnight whether, as the old idea had it, fishes could
allows the frv to escape while holding the grew rapidly than one fed once a week,
less live indefinitely. Dr Comfort found thev cer-
mother back. but she lived longer. It was already found tainly did not but from the statistics he was
The mother guppy's infanticide may ex- from experiments with rats that under- able to construct scales of growth and age.
plain why for so long the size of the broods feeding meant a longer lifespan. He also Applying these to other fishes it seemed that
w:^s in doubt. Estimates varied from 2 to found that the more he coddled the guppies sticklebacks probably live for 5 vears, a cod
50. In 1960, Robert J Affleck, of London, the more quickly they died. Cleaning out the 20 years, a plaice 60 and a sturgeon 120.
showed that the number varied with the aquarium, giving it crystal-clear water and These figures fit fairly what is
well with
length of the mother: a female guppy H in. adding chemicals as a matter of hvgiene — known from other and thev show
sources,
long might have 2 — 4 at a birth, whereas all shortened the lifespan. The guppies that fishes as far from immortal, although some
one 2 in. long would have 100 or more. did best were those that were left severely may live to what would seem to us a very
alone. One surprising result was that old ripe old age.
females kept in cramped quarters might
Living longer take on male colours and grow tails the
Usually guppies the age of 2 or 3, but
live to shape of the male's. Others would give birth class Pisces
at least one lived to be nearly 7. An old idea to litters without having been in a tank with order Atheriniformes
is that fishes do not age as readily as land males, and these were all-female litters.
anipials, which is why there are exaggerated Moreover, when such females died and were family Poeciliidae
stories of long-lived carp and pike. This was dissected it was found that their ovaries genus
tested with guppies a few years ago by Dr contained not only eggs but sperms as well. & species Lehistes reticulatus
Alex Comfort. He found, among other Another point of this study was to see

A Manufactured splendour: natural changes of


form, which in the wild would usually result in
death for the unfortunate fish, are exploited
by aquxirists to produce specimens like this
prizewinning male guppy.

[> The 'millions fish': a shoal of guppies swims


among the and decaying vegetation at the
roots
edge of a mangrove swamp. Dirty environment
means little to these fishes; guppies are so hardy
that they have been used to control mosquito
larvae in the stagnant and fetid waters
of tropical swamps. It is this hardiness which
has made them one of the most popular offishes
with aquarists, and many colour varieties have
been bred from this insignificant little fish.

962
Gurnard they are called, used to be placed in a
separate family but are now classified
with the gurnards. They live in deeper
The gurnard distinguished from all
is water than the gurnards, which inhabit
other fishes by its ming-like pectoral fins shallow waters and those of moderate
in which 2 or 3 rays are separated into depths in tropical and temperate seas.
long feeler-like fingers*. It is not related The grey gurnard, the commonest
to the flying gurnard (p 798). It has a around the British Isles, is up to 18 in.
heavy, almost box-like head protected by long and, despite its name, may be
bony plates and spines, and the eyes are coloured from a dark grey to a rosy pink.
up on the head. It has two
set ivell The largest in British waters is the
separate dorsal fins and some species yellow gurnard, also called the tub or
have spines along the bases of these as latchet. Nearly 2 ft long, it is golden-
well as along the lateral line. There are brown and its pectoral fins are a deep
other species in which the body is also blue. The young of this species is known
covered with bony plates beset with as the sapphirine gurnardfrom the
spines. The armoured sea-robins, as brilliant colouring of its pectoralfins.

4 __
Noisy sea-robins name for the whole gurnard family is sea-
Gurnards spend much of on the
their time robin. An earlier name was gurnet and
seabed, using the feelers' of the pectoral soused or pickled gurnet was not held in
fins to move about. They press the tips of great favour. Shakespeare implies this in
these into the sand, at the same time folding making Falstaff~ remark, in Henry IV 'If I
the winglike parts of the pectoral fins flat be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a
against the bodv. Then they press backw ards soused gurnet." In the mid-17th centurv
with them, so driving the body forwards, Thomas Muffet, in his Healths Improvements,
much in the wav a pole is used to propel a however, rates the "curr" high — a contem-
punt, the bodv being lifted from the porary name for the fish, curr meaning to
bottom buoyed-up by the large swimbladder. murmur softly. The grunting noises are, as
Some gurnards can move quite quicklv on in manv other 'musical' fishes, made bv the
these false legs. According to one observer walls of the large swimbladder being
a gurnard can move easily backwards, to vibrated by the contraction of special
Seabed stilt-walker right or left or forwards. The large head of muscles. The sounds varv from grunting
The gurnard or 'sea robin '
is a distinctive fish the gurnard is kept steadily on course by and snoring to crooning. One of the noisiest
with a massive, box-shaped head, and pectoral the large tail fin. Indeed, a large tail fin is is Prionotus carolinus of the shallow seas of

firu whose lower ra\s are divided into fingers' a feature of all fishes with large heads or .\tlantic America, from Nova Scotia to \'ene-
which are spread even when the fish is swimming stout bodies. zuela. This is said to be at its noisiest during
(below).But the gurnard is essentially a bottom The name of these fishes is said to come the breeding season from June to August.
dweller and hugs the seabed (right), using the from the French grogner, to grunt, and
stalk-like feelersof its pectorals to creep gurnards have a reputation among fisher- Tasting with its fins
over the sea floor. These 'artificial leg' fins men for grunting when taken from water. The long finger-like spines on the pectoral
have another purpose, however: probing the One gurnard Trigla lyra is named the piper used to search for food, probing
fins are also
sand to 'taste' for food. from the noises it makes, and a general the sand. In most vertebrates the taste buds

964
are on the tongue. Many fishes, however, weeks, and reach 4 — 6 in. at the end of their In the 1840s a Monsieur Deslongchamps
have them also on the outside of the head. first vear. From the beginning the heavy, had been studying gurnards in anificial sea
Gurnards have taste buds on the spines of sculptured head is noticeable in the frv and ponds on the coast of Normandy. Dr Wil-
the pectoral fins. What they eat depends on becomes more pronounced as the baby fish liam Buckland, Dean of Westminster and
the species. Some gurnards feed largely on reaches I in. long. M
this stage the pectoral also a geologist, became interested and it
crustaceans, such as small crabs, detected fins become enlarged and spiny, fore- happened that he was sent a piece of flag-
with their 'feelers'. They also take small shadowing the characteristic pectoral fins. stone from Chester bearing impressions
fishes,detected by sight, and some species which he supposed to be the trackwavs of
prefer these. The vellow gurnard feeds some fish crawling, like M Deslongchamps'
mainlv on fishes and especially on the sole-
Still-born names gurnard, along the bottom which had be-
nette and dragonet. The grey gurnard eats It is an entertaining pastime trying to trace come fossilized. He called them ichthvo-
mainlv crustaceans but also takes sand eels. the origins of unusual animal names. Good patolites (fish-tracks). Fortunately the word
Gurnards that eat small animals on or in the dictionaries are a great help but sometimes died almost at birth, and does not appear in
sand bring their bonv mouths down to scoop these fail us. There was the name 'para- any dictionary.
up the food after the pectoral spines have moudra', for example, that appeared in the
located it. scientific literature of the last quarter of
the 19th centurv. The name was given to
No mistaking parentage large ring-shaped stones sometimes exposed
class Pisces
Spawning is in spring to summer, some at low tide on the west coast of Ireland. An
species in April to June, others June to English scientist being driven along the order Scorpaeniformes
.\ugust. The eggs are small, about A in. coast by an Irishman asked what these were
familv Triglidae
diameter, with a pink or red oil droplet called. The driver replied without hesita-
which buovs them up to the surface where tion 'Paramoudras'. The word has never genus Trigla cuculus red gurnard
thev hatch in 5 — 6 davs. The frv live on the been used since, and there is a suspicion he 8c species T. hirundo -yellow gurnard
contents of the volk sac for the next 1—3 made the name up on the spot. T. gurnardus grn gurnard, others

-'J

St 1

965
The moon rat is 11—18 in. long in
Gymnure head and body with a scaly, sparsely-
The moon rat ranges from Tenasserim,
Burm.a, through Thailand and Malaya to
Gymnure (naked tail) is the only haired tail 8 in. long. Its legs are short and Sumatra and Borneo. The lesser gymnure,
satisfactoj-y name for these unfamiliar all four feet are plantigrade— that is, the rusty broum, 4 — 6 in. long with an inch
animals from southeast Asia. They are animal walks on the ivhole foot. Its fur is of tail, has a similar range but is also
sometimes called hain' hedgehogs, and they harsh and rough, made up of a short found northwards in Yunnan, China.
do belong to the hedgehog family — but thick underfur with a dense layer of long A third species is known from southern
only because they have similar skeletons. coarse hair. The fur is black except on the China and Burma; there is a fourth on
Otherwise they are more like large shrews. head and shoulders, where it is white Hainan {unknown until 1959), and one
There are five species and the largest, with black markings and the outer half on Mindanao in the Philippines.
first discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles in of the tail is white. The snout is long,
1821, has been called the Raffles gymnure the eyes small, the ears half hidden in the
Lonely moon rat
or moon The second, known as the
rat. fur and the whiskers are long. The others All gvmiiures are solitary. They live on the
lesser gymnure, was discovered in 1829; are half the size of the moon rat, or less; ground among vegetation and the habits of
and one was not discovered until 1959. the lesser has only a stump of a tail. all are similar to those of the moon rat.
about which most is known. It lives in forests, 150 years, vet our information today is pine gymnure, for example, is often taken
usuallv near streams, and it has also been little better than when Raffles was writing in baited traps by the aboriginals, who call
found in mangrove swamps. It rests by dav about This reflects not only the secretive
it. it bagobo (ground pig). But all we can say

in hollow logs, among rocks or under the habits of the animal itself but also the of it is: 'Little has been found regarding
buttress roots of large trees, coming out at shortage of zoologists in that region, which the life history of this animal'.
night to feed. It runs fast when alarmed and is onlv now beginning to be remedied. It

does not hesitate to enter water, either to reflects one other thing, that Malaya and
escape or to search for food. All g\ mnures the Malayan archipelago are rich in un-
seem to feed mainlv on insects and earth- usual animals so such field naturalists as
worms, but the moon rat catches frogs and have been out there have tended to give class Mammalia
fish as well. their attention to the largerand more
obvious animals, such as the tapirs and order Insectivora
rhinoceroses. There is an additional reason
They keep their secrets
why so little should be known about the
familv Erinaceidae
genera Echinosorex gymnurus moon rat
The g\mnures illustrate as well as any four species other than the moon rat. It is
8c species Hylomys suillus lesser gymnure
animals can how uneven is our knowledge. because they live in mountain forests, at
others
The moon rat has been known for nearly heights of 5 — 8 thousand feet. The Philip-

^'^^' ti/^
I
,

Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcons are the largest of the falcons
which inflight have long pointed wings
and long rectangular tails. They are very
like peregrine falcons, but are bigger with
a longer tail and generally paler plumage.
At close quarters they can be seen to lack

the characteristic face pattern of the


peregrine. The gyrfalcon has three colour
phases. In the light phase the back is

grey brown with white edges to the


feathers and the underparts white streaked
with grey brown. The dark phase is

similar in pattern but darker on the back


and more heavily streaked and barred
underneath. In a variation of the light
phase some gyrfalcons are white, lightly
streaked with brown except for the black
flight feathers.
The home of the gyrfalcon is in the
tundra and barren wastes of the north.
In Europe, it is restricted to Iceland,
Norway, Sweden and the very northern
parts of Finland and Russia, although
it occasionally comes as far south as the

British Isles, Belgium and Austria.


In Asia it is confined to northern
Siberia, extending down the peninsula of
Kamchatka, except for some isolated
populations in the high mountain regions
of Central Asia. In the New World
gyrfalcons are found in northern Alaska
and northern Canada, and around the
coasts of Greenland.

The noble falcon


The gyrfalcon is the most northerly of
falcons, living for the most part in 'cold
desert', treeless terrain. Its closest relatives
including the saker and lanner falcons also
live in open country, such as steppes,
plateaus and tundra. The peregrine is more
likely to be found in wooded country, but
the ranges of the peregrine and gyrfalcon
overlap in some places, where they compete
for food and nest sites. Unlike the pere-
grine, the gyrfalcon does not migrate south
to follow its prey, but usually stays near its
breeding ground.
In mediaeval falconry gyrfalcons were re-
served for the nobility. .As they lived in the
far north they were hard to obtain, and no
doubt this added to the prestige of owning
one. In appearance they are nobler than the
peregrine and a fit favourite for kings. The
French kings received annual tributes of
gyrfalcons, the practice being discontinued
after 1789.

Surprise attacks
To achieve surprise in open country gyr-
falcons fly near the ground, following the
contours and sweeping round banks and
clifl^s. Their quarry is often knocked down

before it has time to move, but gyrfalcons


will pursue their prey over long distances
if the latter has had a good start. Falconers

say that gyrfalcons will start after quarry


that has a good lead and chase it over a long
distance, whereas a peregrine has to be cast
off^ much nearer its quarry and will give up

968
rfm
the pursuit much earlier. Also, a gyrfalcon Ptarmigan are the main food of gyrfalcons

J
will land to quarry that has been
kill but lemmings, rabbits, ground squirrels,
wounded or has taken cover. Indeed, the whimbrel, plovers, even geese, mink and
gerfalcon usually strikes on the ground weasels are also taken. Near the coasts,
-te
while the peregrine strikes in the air. auks, gulls and ducks are major items in
. ^IT K. —'^

A
^ r^=^
PT
Bt
m L
Opinions as to the speed of the gvrfalcon
varv: some writers say it may be as swift as
a peregrine while others are almost con-
temptuous about its lack of speed. On
several occasions homing pigeons have been
the diet. In Alaska ground squirrels are an
important food until they go into hiber-
nation, when the gvrfalcons turn their
attention to ptarmigan. In Siberia ptarmigan
migrate south in winter and the gyrfalcons
4 ^"4 North Pole ^IH
i seen to escape gerfalcons by fast flight. follow them, one of the exceptions to their
usually sedentary life.

f
^ /J }
Opposite page:
appraisal from
An over-the-shoulder glance of
the largest of the falcons.
Below: A cliff-hanging duo greets the venture-
Nest take-overs
Gvrfalcons nest on ledges and in crevices on
very rarelv in trees. Thev mav com-
cliffs,

pete for nest sites with ravens, rough-


legged buzzards and peregrines, and some-

Gyrfalcon IFaico wsvcoiusl w


Ik \
some cameraman with the same suspicion. Like
all gyrfalcon nests, their desirable residence
has become whitewashed by droppings, making
stand out against the surrounding rocks.
it
times use their abandoned nests. Otherwise
the nest is very scanty, of a few branches or
twigs with moss or grass as a lining. It is
used vear after vear and becomes very con-
spicuous from the white droppings covering
the surrounding rocks.
The four eggs are incubated, mainlv by
the female, for 28 days. The male does most
of the hunting for the chicks and usually
hands the prev over to the female for her
to tear it up and give it to the chicks. Gvr-

falcons usually nest very early in the spring


and the chicks are fed on adult ptarmigan,
mostly males because they retain their white
winter plumage after the snow is melted
and are very conspicuous. Later, when the
chicks have to learn to hunt, the voung and
easily caught ptarmigan will have hatched.

Weeding out the weak


One of the fundamental concepts in biologv
is the 'survival of the fittest" and its applica-
tion to Darwin's theory of evolution by
natural selection. It seems quite obvious,
yet it is verv difficult to prove that the fittest
survive, or rather that it is the weakest that

are weeded One


does not often see an
out.
animal being caught by a predator and
usuallv there is no way of telling whether it
was at a disadvantage from disease, old age,
injuries or anything else because it is quicklv
eaten. Some observations on hawks chasing
their prey have suggested that when attack-
ing a flock of birds they go for indi\iduals
with unusual colouring, albinos, for example,
or else thev pick out the laggards. Better
evidence has been provided bv trained
falcons. .-^ German falconer scrutinized
crows brought back bv his falcons, looking
tor obvious handicaps — he was not able to
tell if they had internal troubles or slow

reflexes. Out of KM) ca[)iured, 40 were handi-


capped bv injuries to limbs, partial blind-
ness, damaged feathers and so on. Com-
I pared with sample, another 100 shot
this
at random provided onlv T^ with handitaps.
suggesting that the falcons were lending to
pick out the weak crows.

1^ class Aves
i^J J.
order Falconiformes
;| E family Falconidae
3
i genus
.

? & sf)ecies Falco rusticolus

969
American 300 ft. The young fishes remain in mid-
Haddock side of the Atlantic haddock
are fished off Newfoundland and off the
water until they are 2 in. long. Then they
New England coast. become bottom feeders.
The haddock is better known to many as
the finnan or finnan haddie. Although Egg-eating fishes Cold-blooded love-making
haddock have been fished and eaten for Haddock move about spending all
in shoals In February 1967 four haddock were caught
centuries, was known of their
little their lives roaming over the bottom search- with a handline off the Isle of Skye and
breeding behaviour until 1967 when live ing for food. They feed less on fish than taken to the Torry Marine Station at Aber-
haddock were kept in an aquarium. on crustaceans, shellfish, sea-urchins and deen where they were put into a large glass-
Related cod and very like it, the
to the
worms. At times they gorge themselves with fronted aquarium. One was a female, and
herring eggs. The spawning grounds of the she spawned in April. Before she did so the
haddock, one of the more important
herring were first located by trawlermen males became very aggressive towards each
commercial fishes, is greyish-brown with
catching 'spawny' haddock, with stomachs other. They faced each other or swam
a white belly. It can be easily recognized
crammed with herring eggs. broadside on to each other with their fins
by its three dorsal fins, the small barbel spread to the full. At the same time they
on the chin and, most of all, by the dark Mapping the spawning grounds made knocking sounds. From these en-
patch on the flank just behind the gills — The spawn from mid-January to mid-
fish counters one of them emerged as the
the celebrated St Peter's thumbmark. June, with a peak from the middle of dominant, or boss fish, and it was he who
Smaller than the cod, its maximum size February to the middle of March. One of finally mated with the female.

is 44 in. long and 36 lb weight. It also the main spawning grounds is in the The show of force between the males
has a darker lateral line than the cod. northern North Sea, another is off Iceland. brought the female swimming towards
It lives on both sides of the North
These and others had been located by study- them. Her fins were pressed against her
ing where the eggs and larvae were found body, in the usual way of a female fish
Atlantic and in Arctic seas. On the
and by noting where 'ripe' fish were caught. choosing her mate. He can tell she is a
European side it becomes rapidly less
Something was known also about the eggs, female simply because she is not showing
numerous from the North Sea through which can be netted and taken to the fight, which, in effect, is an invitation to him
the English Channel and into the Bay of laboratory for study. They are about i^ in. to court her. The male begins to swim round
Biscay. Other important fishing grounds diameter and they float some way off" the followed by the female and as this happens
for haddock are off the Skagerrak, Faeroes, bottom, perhaps even in midwater, the two more black patches appear on his
northwest Scotland and Iceland. On the spawning grounds being at depths of about flanks behind the 'thumbmark'. The sounds

970
he making increase in frequency until he
is has been given to finding the cause. The at a later stage feed ujxjn. When the jelly-
is humming, and he swaggers before her in first study suggested that changes in the fish numerous there are severe inroads
are
a flaunting, exaggerated swimming action. strength and direction of the wind were the into the larvae, which means a shortage next
Then ihev pair. Thev s\sim upwards to- cause. When the water movements caused vear of the bottom living animals, and there-
gether the female laying her eggs, the male by persistent winds carried eggs and fr% fore less food for the growing and grown-
shedding his milt to fertilise them. into places where thev could not survive up haddock. Nobodv has followed the cycle
She lavs about 12 000 eggs and then swims there would later be a dearth ot market- through to see exactly- w hat happens but it
awav. .\bout 30 hours later she swims back able fish. Thev might, on the other hand, looks as though any protection the baby
to the male and thev pair again, and she be carried into places where conditions are haddock enjov through the good offices of
lavs another 12 000 eggs. There mav be a so favourable there is a high rate of survival. the jellyfishes is apt to be offset bv a short-
dozen spawnings over the next 2 weeks, at This would in due course be followed by a age of food later on because of their
an average interval of 30 hours, and an bumper vear. Some doubt has been cast on benefactors.
average of 12 0(X) eggs laid each time. The this although a later study seemed to sup-
number of eggs laid is larger with the port it. There ma\ be even more subtle Pisces
class
older and bigger females, and the total laid causes, such as jellyfishes.
in one season mav be as many as 200 000 order Gadiformes
or more. family Gadidae
Doubtful benefactors
genus
Caught between wind and tide Baby haddock, like the frv of the related
&: species Melanogrammus aeglefinus
Not all the hazards facing the haddock come cod and whiting, shelter under the um-
from the manv animals, especially fishes, brellas of large blue jellyfish, gaining pro-
that feed on frv and young fishes. .\n even tectionfrom their stinging tentacles. Occas- Top left: A male haddock, showing 'Saint
greater danger to the species may come ionally one swims against a tentacle, is Peter's thumbmark' — the distinct black mark
earlier. It happens sometimes that large stung, paralysed and devoured, showing just behind the gills.

numbers of eggs are carried bv currents into that thev are not immune to the poison but Bottom Having established himself as
left:

inshore waters and estuaries. There con- merely manage to keep clear of the ten- a series of aggressive displays
'boss' fish by
ditions are highly unfavourable and the tacles. The main food of the jellvfishes is, a haddock, with fitu still erect, turns
eggs perish. It had long been noted that however, the planktonic larvae of molluscs, towards a female; she has been attracted bs the
there were wide fluctuations in the catches crustaceans and sea-urchins and other behaviour of the males.
of haddock over the vears and much studv animals living on the bottom which haddock Below: Finale: the two haddock mate.

971
Hairless bat
Bats are remarkable animals but the most
remarkable of all are two species known
also as naked bats. One species lives in
Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the
Philippines, the other in the Celebes and
the Philippines. The two differ only in
slight details.
They are 5\ in. or more long with a
2in. tail and long narrow wings. They
are naked except for fine short hairs on
the head, the tail and the undersurface
and a tuft of longer hairs under
there is

the neck associated with the throat sac.


One species is black, the other dark brown,
but both have a glandular throat sac
which gives out a strong-smelling secretion.
And mx)st extraordinary of all, they have
a long narrow pouch each side of the
body into which they tuck their wings
when at rest. Another unusual feature is

that the first toe of each hindfoot is


large, facing the other four and carries
a flattened nail instead of the usual
claw. It carries a row of bristles hooked
at the ends.

Smelling to high heaven


Hairless bats roost in tree hollows and rock
crevices. One hollow tree contained a
thousand. They fly swiftly, often high, and
their food seems to be insects. Nothing is

known of the breeding habits. From a gland


under the neck the hairless bat can give out
a most abominable smell when frightened.
It is therefore surprising that the local
people take them for food.

Mystery of the pouches


The most interesting part of the story of the
hairless bat concerns the pouches and the
attempts to explain them. The bat was first
described in 1824 by Dr Thomas Horsfield
from a specimen in the museum of the Hon-
ourable East India Company in Java. He
noted there was a teat just within the open-
ing of each pouch and he assumed the
pouches were for carrying the young 'while
they continue at the breast (supplying) a
convenient covering, and a retreat in which
they find the security and temperature they
require'. Nothing more was heard of the
bat until 1878 when GE Dobson, who
examined several specimens, wrote: 'The
nursing pouches are also peculiar to this
species, and are probably absolutely neces-
sary for the preservation of the young,
which could scarcely succeed in maintaining
its hold on the naked body of the mother

during flight. It is interesting to find these


pouches developed in both male and female;
for their presence in the former suggests
the idea that, when two young are born to-
gether, the male may relieve the female of
the charge of one of them'.
There the matter rested until HJ Kit-
chener in 1954 found one of the bats in a
concrete drain. He kept it for 4 weeks and
while trying to photograph it he saw what
he described as a bimch of several small Repulsive-looking but remarkable — the hairless bat, which tucks away
its wings into two long,

thin bone-ends sticking out of one of the narrow pouches when at rest, transforming it into an agile animal able to move swiflly on all fours.
pouches. He pulled gently on these and out Apart from looking like something dreamed up by Hieronymus Bosch, it smells particularly revolting.

972
i .
BAy^ WNfc * '\ w
U^Ktf^ ± J 1

hi
! !

^^Hf MB^Hl^HIH^Br 1
'IM'

lke^.'-..C^ i
.

^HK''|^^Hr ^ ^
i'l''

^^^^^^B-' '^VP ^-
^'''"'^^^^k

^HH| V
Two on a cage demonstrate their
hairless bats The bat in the background has just put the Last stage: the bat brings its hindfoot across
wing-folding and crawling technique. With the fold in its wing and its hindfoot is
first topush the folded wing into the pouch before
wing fully extended before being Jolded away, poised to tuck the wing away. Its companion, lowering the fully-sheathed wing. It will then
the pouch can be seen clearly, together with the reaching out tentatively
ivith its sheathed left change feet and reptat the process with the
large hindfool looking like a miniature hand. wing, shows what the end product looks like. other wing, in a 'lefl-and-right' action.

tame the whole wing. At the same time the They estimate that hairless bats have
bat pulled thesecond wing out of the other
Causing cave erosion in it.

been roosting there for at least 40000 years.


pouch, (lutteied both wings and then put One of the places where hairless bats roost
them back into the pouches. To do this it is the Great Caves of Niah in Sarawak, W
used its hind feet. It used hrst one foot to Borneo. The caves are in soft coral lime- class Mammalia
fold a wing and put it into the pcnich with stone. In 19.59 Tom Harrisson and Lord
order Chiroptera
a few pushes and pais, hanging meanwhile Medway investigated how far bats were
bv the other foot. Then it changed feet and responsible for cave erosion. There had family Molossidae
repealed the operation on the oilier side. been a similar study a year before in
genus Cheiromeles pan>idens
The mystery of why the teats are just in- 1 rinidad, where W.A King-Webster and JS
side the pouches remains unsolved. Kenny had found that the constant scratch- & species C. torquatus

ing from the feel ol roosting bats had worn


cavities in the roof of the cave 3 — 6 ft deep
and \\ — 2\ It across the mouth of the cavity.
Harrisson and Medway found in the Niah
caves thai fragments of rock often fall Injni
the roof and these are deeply eroded and
heavilv stained with bat excrement. Pre-
suinablv the chemical action of the guano
weakens the rock and the fragments fall
either under their own weight or from the
weight ol (lusters of bats each of which
HairltM bat
hpiromclts torquatus
weighs about 6 oz. The bats are therefore
i
'^ pofvfdens
slowly desiroving their own habitat, liul s
Dc
there is no cause for .il.irm on their behali. <
Hairless bats roost in tree-hollows and rock Harrisson and Medway excavated the layers The distinctive hindfoot of the hairless bat,
crevices, ranging from Malaya to the of guano covering the floor of the caves with its large first toe — nailed, not clawed-
archipelagoes of the western Paciju . and examined the skeletons ol bats bulled opposable to the other four.

973
Back-to-front camouflage
Hairstreak In some of the tropical Asian genera such as
Marmessus, the tails on the hindwings are
Hairstreak butterflies have a fine light- extremely long and have twisted lobes at
coloured line or row of dots running their bases. In addition the underside
across the underside of both fore and hind pattern of the hindwings is conspicuously
wings of all five species. The name has, chequered with black-centred spots near
however, been extended to cover the whole the base of the tails. It is thought that the
effect of this distribution of pattern is to
of the subjdmily Theclinae of the Lycaenid
direct the attention of a stalking bird or
butterflies, which, under this arrangement,
lizard away from the front and towards the
include the blues, coppers and hairstreaks.
back of the butterfly. Possibly the tails
Used in this way the term 'hairstreak'
simulate antennae and, together with the
includes the species of Thecla and other eye like spots, persuade the predator that
similar genera, of which there are many this area of the insect's hindwings is really
different kinds in Europe, North America its head. The twisted lobes make a con-

and temperate Asia, and extend into spicuous figure when the butterfly is seen in
South America. In the I ndo-Australian profile and so make the device equally
effective in this position. A grab at this
region the Theclinae are represented by
'false head' will probably close on the wings
a great variety of small butterflies, many
and miss the butterfly's body altogether.
of them vividly coloured. A single genus After a brief struggle the fragile wings tear
Arhopala of metallic blue and green
away and the butterfly, left with a wing area
hairstreaks is represented between India quite adequate for flight, escapes to live a
and Malaysia by over 100 species. few more days and very likely to continue
The 'hairstreak' line is not a very con- with the business of propagating its species.
stant feature of the subfamily, but in the There is some further evidence that the
majority of them the hindwings have pattern and tails are really protective
appendages, usually spoken of as tails. adaptations. When at rest these butterflies
These are small in the British hairstreaks often perform a peculiar motion, moving
the hindwings backwards and forwards and
but become long, slender filaments in
causing the tails to tremble and flutter, and
many of the tropical species.
so still further directing the attention of an
In four of the British species the upper
enemy to the insect's 'expendable' parts.
surface of the wings is brown or blackish .Also specimens are occasionally caught with
xvith or -without yellow markings, but in the tails and a part of the hindwings sym-
the purple hairstreak it is partly a bright metrically torn away, as if the wings had
metallic purple. These metallic colours are been seized when closed together by a beak
a feature of many of the exotic hairstreaks, or a pair of Jaws.
and include vivid blue, purple, green and
orange-red. In most of these the sexes
Slug-like larvae
are very distinct, the male being usually
The eggs of hairstreaks are usually round
and flattened, like tiny cakes, and have
the more brightly coloured. The colours
geometrical sculptured patterns which
are not due to pigments but are of the differ in the different species. The larvae
type known as structural. That is to say are slug-like shape and crawl slowly,
in
they are due to the light falling onto and the great majority of them feed on the
the wings being sorted out into its different flowers and leaves of trees and bushes rather
wavelengths by the same process of than on herbaceous plants. A number of
'interference' that produces iridescent the northern-temperate hairstreaks are
colours in a film of oil floating on water. associated with various kinds of oak. The

In butterflies the effect is produced by ultra- food plants of the five British species are:
brown and black hairstreaks — blackthorn;
microscopic grooves, ridges or other
purple hairstreak — oak; white-letter hair-
structural features on the scales.
streak— elm and wych elm; green hairstreak
The five British species are: brown hair- — broom, gorse, heather and other low-
streak Thecla betulae, purple hair- shrubs.
streak Thecla quercus, black hairstreak All the British species have one generation
Strymonidia pruni, white-letter hair- a year. The green hairstreak spends the
streak Strymonidia w-album, green winter in the pupa stage, the rest spend it
hairstreak Callophrys rubi. as eggs. The Theclinae of the tropical forests
breed continuously throughout the year,
taking a month or so to complete the life
Flashy in flight cycle. The larvae of many of them are
In Europe the hairstreaks are seen mostly attended and protected by ants, which
beside paths and lanes through woods and milk' them like aphids, but none is known
heaths and they seldom venture into to live inside ants' nests, as some larvae of
gardens in populated districts as the more the 'blues' do (p 245).
familiar butterflies do. In the tropics they
are mainly inhabitants of lowland forest.
Their flight is extremely fast and erratic and
they generally settle with the wings closed
over the back, hiding the bright colours of <] Unusual view of a hairstreak, Marmessus

the upperside and exposing only the under- ravindra from Singapore, shows the long,
side coloration, which is often dull brown curling tails found in some tropical species.
or green and effectively conceals the butter- [> Feeding white-letter hairstreak demonstrates

flies among the foliage. how the five hairstreak species got their name.

974
<m^:i

»"

*w

<
a.
X
z
hearing this the dealer, wishing to keep a The underwing look
Hide and seek good thing to himself, announced that he LeJ}:
. . .

Purple hairstreak Thecla quercus.


The black hairstreak is the most local and had made a mistake and that the specimens Centre: Black hairstreak Strymonidia pruni.
rare of all the resident British butterflies, had come from Yorkshire. No doubt he Right: Green hairstreak Callophrys rubi.
and is found only in a small area at the continued to visit Monk's Wood and collect
meeting-point of the three counties Hunt- in secret, selling his butterflies at a good . . , and the plan view.
ingdon, Buckingham and Northampton. Its price. Thetruth was not revealed and pub- Lejt: Exotic Zephyrus signata, from Japan.
discovery in 1828 was attended by some lished until 6 years later in 1834. Right: Purple hairstreak Thecla quercus (male).
curious chicanery. A collector bought
some specimens from a dealer, both of phylum Arthropoda
them under the impression that thev were class Insecta
the similar and much more common white- Lepidoptera
order
letter hairstreak. The dealer informed his
customer correctly of the locality at which family Lycaenidae
they were taken, Monk's Wood in Hunting- subfamily Theclinae
don, where the black hairstreak still occurs.
The specimens were then seen bv the great genera Thecla, Strymonidia, Triple growth of the white-letter hairstreak.
Callophrys British;
entomologist Edward Newman, who im- Lejl: The egg ( x 20 natural size).
Arhopala, Marmessus
mediately spotted them as a species new to Centre: The larva (X 2 natural size).
Indo-Malayan
Britain and identified them correctly. On Right: The pupa (X 3 natural size).

976

TW
use their claws for clambering over rocks
Hairy frog and ridges. Their other diet is somewhat in
doubt. Specimens in captivity have eaten
// would be quite wrong to imagine from
newly-born house mice and this suggests
this name a frog with a coat of hair or that in the wild thev might eat food such as
even a beard. In fact, 'hain frog' is a fish, insects, crustaceans and molluscs.
pure misnomer. The name has arisen from
the male having bunches of what are Mystery upon mystery
believed to be respiratoi-^ filaments on his The hairs' are filaments of skin looking
and thighs, which develop only like the tentacles of sea anemones, and are
flanks
during the breeding season. The 'hairs' i — ^ in. long. \'arious theories have been
put forward to explain them. One was that
are therefore not hairs at all but
they might be organs of touch, another that
accessory giU^-
thev were some form of defence mechan-
The hairy frog is about 4 in. long in
ism. The more likely explanation is the one
the body and head, green or brown with alreadv given: that thev are for breathing.
black markings, white flushed with pink Frogs breathe largely through their skin. A Undersurface of an adult male hairy frog.
on the underside. The male, unlike most The hairv frog has smaller lungs than most V The 'hairs' occur on the sides and along

other frogs, is larger than the female. frogs and the "hairs' may be necessary to the thighs of the male only at breeding time.

Retractile bony claws give heavily-muscled male, unusually


the week before seeing a male perched on
1hf li.iiiv hog s home- is in the C'.ameroons. active the breeding season, the extra
in the edge of a deep pool. In the end he found
in West .Africa, in the swift-running streams oxygen he needs. I his seems likely since the five. Over the ensuing weeks these died,
in the highlands, where the male at least males seem to spend most of their time in one by one, as a result of which Durrell
spends mu( h of its time flinging to slipper\ water, whereas the females stav on land noticed that for a few hours after death a
rocks. It can do this hetause of the peculiar except in the breeding season. It mav also male seems to bleed from the hairs. Ihai is,
nature of its toes. The ends of the second, be that the hairs have another use. telling the mucus on the filaments became tinged
thiid and fourth toes are bent at right angles a male when he has clasped another male with what seemed to be diluted blood.
and the last I)oik' in the tot- can be pushed in mistake for a female. This can happen Several times .African helpers bioughi him
through the skin to form a claw. This can be with males of other frogs, but in their case hairy frogs that had been injured and the
withdrawn when not in use. the clas|)ed male- gives a grunt which makes same happened with them. If the "blood" was
1 he daws can be inserted into the iiiiiuite the otliei male release him. washed ofi. more ocjzed out. 1 here is little
cracks and irregularities in rocks or used about the hairy frog that makes sense vet,
to anc hor the frog .imong stones. Thex are and this situation will not change until
.ilso. |)erhaps oiiK iiicideiilalK, weapons of
Surrounded by secrets more are caught, and kept alive.
defence. .Anyone handling a hairy frog is It often happens that the most unusual
apt to hear the frog gnnit ,ind to find tlust- animals live where thev are hardest to find,
needle-sharp claws digging into his skin, so their secrets are apt to remain. Cierald
class Amphibia
certainlv drawing blood and possiblv in- Durrell has described how he found his
flicting deep gash. Hair\ frogs are ver\
.1 first hair\ frog. Heone night with
set off order Salientia
.igile in the water, on slippei) rocks and on a few helpers and worked his way up a family Ranidae
land. The frogs are sometimes seen far valley over masses of boulders with water-
from water. Iiunling land sn;iils. which f.ills and deep pools, looking for frogs for genus
seem to be a favourite fcjod. On land ilie\ ;< hours with toic lies, his he did for over a
1
& species Astylostemus robustus

U I
bastard whiting, then mackerel, smaller of young hake will be 4 in. long,
the
Hake hake, horse mackerel, squid and herring, in and 8
life

by the end of the second year. They


in.
that order, taking the year as a whole. 1 here then behave like mature hake, swimming
A of the cod, the hake is a
close relative is an old saying: 'What we gain in hake we over the sea floor by day, swimming up to
deep-water fish living at depths of 300 — lose in herring.' This refers to the hake feed at night. The rate of growth continues
2 400 fl from Norway to northwest Africa chasing shoals of herrings. During winter at 3i in. a year except that the male grows
and in the Mediterranean. The silver hake, and spring they eat mainlv blue whiting, slightly more slowly after his third vear. He
a very similar fish, lives in the Atlantic ojf hake and squid, and 2\% of the total is matures in his fourth year when about 11 in.
North America. There is another species in the smaller hake. When in shallower waters, long; the female matures in her tenth year
in summer and autumn, they eat herring, when 27-30 in.
the Pacific off North America and one
mackerel, horse mackerel, smaller hake and
off Chile. The stockfish of South Africa, some garfish and pollack. Persistent cannibalism
which may be up to 4 fl long, is another Hake are their own worst enemies. They
hake. Spawning in shallower waters cause a tremendous destruction of their own
Hake have streamlined bodies and large Some of the spawning grounds are the
off^ eggs, which is usual in the sea, especially
mouths armed with sharp teeth. Instead of southwest coasts of England and the west among floating eggs. There is also the usual
the three dorsal fins of the cod the hake has coasts of Irelandand Scotland. 1 he males heavy loss among the babies. Hake are
a short fin and a long second dorsal fin are ripe for nearly the whole vear. The slightly unusual in that they so consistently

with a notch in the middle as if two fins females may be ripe from January to prey upon their smaller brethren. Canni-
November but they are mainly in spawning balism, especially among fishes, is by no
have joined. The single long anal fin has a
condition from .\pril to .August. The ovaries means novel, but the hake's score of 21%
similar notch. The pelvic fins are farther
— the hard roe — are made up of a mass of is imusual.
forward than the pectorals, and allfitis
eggs but not all are shed at a time. Some
have a black margin. The lower jaw is ripen and are laid, then another batch
longer than the upper jaw and there are ripens and is laid. Altogether, throughout
Contrasting values
no barbels on the chin. The scales covering the season, a female will lay 500 000 to 2 The flesh of the hake is somewhat soft and
the body are large. The back is broumish million eggs. Fertilisation is external, the does not keep as well as that of other food
grey, the sides and belly silvery-white. males shedding their milt — from the soft fishes. This is one reason why in some parts
roe — into the sea. Spawning is exhausting, of the world the commercial use of hake has
Daily and seasonal migrations the fishes having to call upon food reserves been slow. There is, however, a flourishing
There are two main movements in the life of in the body to supply the reproductive fishery for the South African species and
the hake. The first is Dur-
a daily migration. organs for eggs and milt to ripen. As a there has long been a fishery for the Euro-
ing daylight hours the hake swim near the result, bodilv growth ceases for 2 months pean hake, which is showing signs of being
bottom and do not feed. As night comes on at the end of a spawning. overfished. In mediaeval times hake was
they swim upwards to varying depths in regarded as the cheapest food one could
midwater. Thev are then well spread out, Helpless baby hake buy. When dried and salted it was called
some rising nearlv to the surface. This is At the beginning of spawning time the eggs poor-John. In the Tempest Trinculo, seeing
their feeding time. The second movement in the roe grow larger, become opaque and Caliban crouching in fear on the sand,
is seasonal. During winter and spring most are turned white or pink by the yolk and oil exclaims:
hake are living at depths of 450—1 800 ft. being stored in them to feed the developing 'What have we here? a man or a fish?
They move into shallower waters for embryo. .As thev are being laid the\ absorb Dead or alive? A fish; he smells like a fish; a
spawning. water and swell, becoming glassy clear ex- very ancient and fish-like smell; a kind not of
cept for an orange-coloured oil drop. The the newest poor-John.'
Mainly fish-eaters eggs float at or near the surface and a week By contrast, the South African hake or
Hake are voracious and given to canni- later they hatch. For the first 6 weeks of life stockfish is regarded as the most valuable
balism. They have remarkably sharp teeth the babies are part of the plankton, drifting single commercial fish of that region.
with elastic hinges so thev easily bend back- with the cinrents and being carried inshore.
wards to allow prey into the mouth, but At this stage they have no proper fins and
spring up once it has passed through. Their neither the mouth nor the intestine has class Pisces
feeding is closely linked with the daily and opened. Then the fins begin to form and
order Gadiformes
seasonal movements. For example, hake later the mouth and intestine open. Until
rarely eat bottom-living fish, but feed en- that happens the fry are feeding on the family Merlucciidae
tirely on prey middle depths of the
in the yolk in the yolk sac. Now they begin to catch
genus Merluccius bilinearis silver hake
prey varies with the seasonal
sea. Also, their their own food. At first this is small crust-
Sc species M. merluccius European hake
migration. Large hake take onlv fishes and aceans and tiny squid, and, later still,
M. capensis stockfish, others
squid. The most important is the blue or small fishes. Bv the end of the first year

Merluccius merluccius, a deep-water jish.

'<S--
E

978

HI (.-«^>. .-.il

Hippoglossus hippoglossus The halibut is a


rather mixed-up fish
being halfway between
an ordinary fi^h and a
proper flatfish, but
it. has made its name
in the field of
medicine as a supplier
of halibut oil.

o
a>
e
3u

011^ #/ E

Bludgeoning its prey? on their sides on the bottom to rest, although


Halibut Halibut eat crabs, molluscs, worms and other their shape is normal, and they and Psettodes
bottom-living invertebrates, but their main suggest how the flatfish condition probably
The halibut is little more than halfway food is fishes, especiallv herring, also floun- arose during the course of evolution.
between an ordinary fish and a der, cod, skate, and inany others. The fish
thorough-going flatfish. It is longer evidently has a reputation as a killer with Heavy infant mortality
fishermen. Dr GB Goode, former Commis- There are tew details known about the
in the body and more plump than
sioner of Fisheries in the United States, has enemies of halibut but we can be reasonably
most flatfishes, such as plaice and
stated that fishermen declare a halibut kills sure, by comparison with what is known
flounder (p 785). Its jaws have kept
other fishes with blows of its tail. Whether about other fishes laving huge numbers of
their original shape instead of being
this is true or not, it tells us something of eggs, that there is a hea\y loss of eggs, fry
distorted, with one jaw weaker than what fishermen think of the halibut. and young. Later, the growing halibut will
the other, and they are armed with suff^er from fish-eaters among other species
sharp The fringing fins (dorsal
teeth. Floating eggs of fish, doubtless also from porpoises, dol-
and anal) are somewhat triangular Spawning takes place in the Atlantic during phins and seals. There is a steady drain on
and the tail and tail fin are well- May to July at depths of about200 ft. The
1 their numbers from commercial fisheries,
Pacific halibut spawns in winter at depths of halibut being taken by trawl and long line.
marked and powerful. The upper
900 ft. The female roe is large. In a 2501b
surface, which is in fact the right
fish it may be 2 ft long and weigh 40 lb. .\
uniformly olive brown, dark
side, is
mature female may lay 2? million eggs, each
Workhouse fish
brown or blcuk, the underside being 5 in. diameter and buoyant, so they float to Halibut must have been fished for a very
pearh white. the surface. The eggs hatch in a few days, long time since the name dates from
There are two species, one in the the baby fish being the usual fish shape at mediaeval times. It is believed to mean holy
North Atlantic, the other in the first, with an eye on each side of the head. turbot, from the Scandinavian word butta
North Pacific. Exceptional heavy- It remains at the surface and is carried by used for turfxn. Captain John Smith, foun-
weights have reached a length of 12 ft currents to inshore waters, .\fter a while der of Virginia, wrote of 'the large sized
and a weight of 700 lb. Small halibut the left eye begins to migrate c:)ver the top Halibut, or Tuibot", and followed this with

mature, move into of the head until it comes to lie close to the the strange remark that some are so big
live inshore but, as they
right eve. .\l the same time the voung halibut that the fisher men onlev eat the heads &:.
deeper waters, onto sandy banks for
turns more and more onto its left side while fins, and thiow awav the bodies'. Later, the
preference, at depths of I 200 ff or more.
the dorsal and anal fins grow longer to halibut became known as the workhouse
become the fringing fins. .As these cfianges fish. This mav have been
term of contempt
a
are taking place the fish is sinking towards or a reference to the fact that one halibut
A matching background the bottom finallv to rest on it, left side could be large enough to feed many hungry
A li.ilibui lies on the seabed where it can down. In about one in .')()()() it is the right momlis. The fish finallv came into its own,
pass unnoticed by its because of its
|)rey eve that migrates and the fish then comes to not onh for the table but for medicinal
colour. It leaves the bottom
to chase after rest on the right side. Until it comes to rest purposes, in the present century. .As we
sniallei fishes. Most Hatfishes swim b\ un- the voung halibut is transparent, then it noted (p 477) the cod was finallv recognized
dulations of iheii fringing fins, but h.ilibut changes colcnn to become brown or black cod liver oil for
in the I92()s as a supplier of
do so bv vigorous movements of the bodv on the upper side. The halibut is fairly long- medicinal purposes. .A decade or so later
and the powerful tail. While on the boiloni lived. One 1 ft long will be aliout 12 vears halibut oil became popular and almost dis-
the halibuts upper side is (oloured like the old, and as much as 35 years of age has been placed cod livei oil.
seabed. Lying on nnid a halibut will be recorded.
black. If it moves onto
a pat( h of sand it
begins to grow These changes are
pale. Evolution of flatfishes
governed through the eyes. A Hathsh l)linded In ihe Indian Ocean aie two flatfisiies of
b\ injurv remains the s.une colour whate\er ibe gemis P.settode.s that are moie like .sea class Pisces
it is lying on. One with its head on a patch perch to look .it. Ihe migrating eye stops
of sand and its body on mud will have a pale- shoii on top of the head, the dorsal fin order Pleuronectiformes
head and a black bodv. If we wale h a flatfish begins l.nlher back ih.ni in other flatfishes family Pleuronectidae
in an aquarium we see tlie eyes st.mding .uid both cloisal and anal fins have spiny
well out on the head, each moving incle-
genus Hippoglossus hippoglossus
inste.id ol soli rays. They rest on their side
&: species .{tliiiitir hidibut
|)endently of the other, ,ind connnanding on the l)ottc>m ,uid. like the halil)ut, swim
H. stenolepis Pacific halibut
a view of the l)otlc)in all atound its head. u|) to catch piev. Some sea percfies also lie

979
Hammerhead
The hammerhead is a most peculiar bird
that looks as if it was designed by Walt
Disney. It is like a heavily-built heron with
large eyes and a spadelike bill. A crest on
the back of the head gives the bird its

name as it looks like the claw on a


hammer. The Afrikaans name is hammer-
kop, used widely throughout Africa.
The alternative name of anvilhead is

also appropriate. In flight the crest


is held against the neck and is not
noticeable.For a heronlike bird, the
hammerhead has a stout body, 20 in. long,
and strong, rather short legs. The plumage
is dull brown, with purplish tinges on
back and wings. The bills and legs are
black.
The hammerhead is placed in a family
of its own and is grouped in the order
Ciconiiformes with the boatbill (p 252)
and the whalehead or shoebill, all three
having broad, flattened bills. From their
appearance they seem to be related to
herotis and storks but their exact
relationships have not been finally settled.
The boatbill appears to be closely related A King of the castle — the haminc) head's nest is a mighty fortress of sticks, mud, algae and grass.
to the herons, but has four powder down V 'Hawking' over water. Inflight a hammerheaii looks very much like a stork.
patches (see p 252) instead of three. The
whalehead is related more closely to the
storks, while the hammerhead has some
affinities with both. Inflight it looks like
a stork; it has a comblike middle claw like
a heron but it has no powder down
patches. Yet it has another heronlike
character in the structure ofits vocal

organs and its harsh call. Recent


behavioural studies have, however, shown
no particular resemblance to the behaviour
of either herons or storks.

Found near water


Hammerheads are normallv seen in ones
and twos, but sometimes they gather into
small flocks when they may break out into
a curious gambolling dance, leaping up,
flapping their wings and bowing.
They are found in much of Africa south
of the Sahara, in Madagascar and in the
south of the Arabian peninsula. They fre-
quent the banks of rivers, marshes, swamps
and estuaries, but never completely open
country. They are often seen perching on
the backs of hippopotamuses as they stand
in shallow water.

Probing for food


Feeding habits are very much like those of
other long-legged water birds. Hammer-
heads walk along the bank or through shal-
low water grabbing food in the tip of the bill.
If the water is muddy small animals are
stirred up by the feet or probed for with
the bill. Occasionally they will hunt from the
air, flying slowly over the water then hover-
ing and plunging in the bill to catch their
prey. Frogs, small fish and large insects
tnake up the bulk of their food, together
with worms and snails and a few small
insects.

980

TT^rs- m
Hammerhead's castle Getting in and out of the nests is not easy some African tribes will abandon their huts
The hammerhead's nest is a most remark- as the entrance hole is about fi in. across. if a hammerhead flies The nests have
over.
able structure and a veritable fortress. Its There open ground in front of the nest
is also attracted some attention. The Xhosas
close relatives, the herons and storks, usu- so thehammerheads can manoeuvre then believe that hammerheads store food in
allv build simple platforms of twigs but the plummet straight into the nest, folding them and they have quite elaborate
that
hammerhead builds a oi>e-roomed, wattle their wings before hitting the Gin. wide, 1ft architecture. The hammerheads are sup-
and daub house sometimes 6 ft across and long entrance tunnel. The chicks hatch with posed to build a wooden pillow in the nest
takes 6 weeks or more to do it. The nest is a covering of grev down. Their head feathers chamber but this story is probably based on
built near water, on a cliff or a fork in a tree. develop first, which is unusual, and their sticks that have protruded through the mud-
The walls may be over ft thick and the roof
1 crests appear at 6 days old. lined floor. They also say that the nest is
over 1 yd thick, proof against the heaviest divided into three rooms. This was believed
rain and able to take the weight of a man. Squatters take over bv Richard Lydekker, a very eminent V'ic-
The nest is begun as a simple cup of sticks, If their relatives make do with platforms of torian biologist. He wrote that there were
then walls are built up and the roof filled sticks it is difficult to see what advantage three rooms: a hall, a drawing room and a
in. Cross members are woven together, be- hammerheads derive from their mud for- sleeping compartment. The last contained
ginning from one corner, using sticks as tresses. It hard
imagine that herons or
is to the eggs and was in the highest part of the
much as 2 ft long. The two hammerheads storks lose many eggs or young to predators. nest to escape floods. The young retired
work together on the nest and may co- They nest off the ground and are capable of to the drawing room when they had grown
operate with the positioning of a stick, one protecting their offspring. The hammer- too large for the nest chamber. There is no
working from the inside and the other from head's large nest can at times be a definite evidence for this nice storv of a cosy house-
the roof. While the bulk of the roof is being disadvantage. It is coveted by other animals hold, vet it has been repeated in otherwise
made by one bird, the other collects mud and a wide variety, from bees to barn owls, reputable books ever since.
and algae, raking it into piles with its feet has been found nesting in them. They do
and carrying it back in its bill. .After the stick not alwavs wait for the hammerheads to class Aves
foundation has been coated in mud and the leave and may evict the rightful owners, as
latter has dried, a grass lining is added. 1 he kestrels do to grey squirrels. order Ciconiifonnes
nest is also decorated with bizarre objects family Scopidae
including dried prickly pear leaves, sloughed
snake skins, bones and paper.
Birds of evil omen? genus
Inside this penthouse 3 — 6 white eggs are Hammerheads have been the subject of
& species Scopus umbretta

laid, H in. across and H in. long. Both birds many superstitions and legends. They have Hammerhead and pied kingfisher Ceryle rudis
incubate them and they hatch after 30 days. been thought to be birds of evil omen, and obviously not on speaking terms.

981
Hammerhead shark fin and the upper part of the tail fin showing
above water. They are said to be swift and
Why the hammer head?
vigorous swimmers. Hammerheads are The unusual shape of the head of this other-
There are five species of shark in which usually caught singly or seen at the surface wise ordinary shark makes thehammerhead
the sides of the head are drawn out to
in small groups of half-a-dozen. It is possible very easy to recognise. No conclusive expla-
that thev also congregate in shoals, especi- nation for the development and function of
form more or a hammerhead, with
less
all\ when half-grown, or when attacking these lobes on the head has yet been found.
an eye at the end of each lobe and a stingrays. The rays often cover the seabed, They may serve as balancers making up to a
nostril beside it. hi one species, the 8—12 ft, in their thou-
depths of
even in certain extent for the shortened pectoral fins
shovelhead or bonnet shark, the head is
sands, and hammerheads would be drawn and lack of stabilizing keels along the sides
nearly kidney-shaped. It is hard to see to them, certainly a dozen or so at a time. In of The eyes and nostrils are
the tail (right).
what is gained by these curious shapes. 1962, a fisherman saw off the coast of at the end of each lobe (left).
One suggestion is that they help the Florida what looked like a large school of The large distance between the nostrils may

sharks to turn quickly while travelling at Spanish mackerel in 8 ft of water. He and help in locating odours. The position of these

a helper shot a net, encircled the fish and, sense organs is a distinguishing feature used
speed. Again, the distance between the
nostrils may help in locating odours. after an hour, pulled in the net containing in the classification of the different species
700 bonnet sharks 2 — 3 ft long. of this shark. The shape of the forward edge
The largest of the hammerheads is 20
of the head, which may be straight, rounded, or
or more feet long and weighs 2 000 lb. In
Seabed feeders indented, is also used to identify the types of
such a shark the width across the head, from Hanmierheads under 10 ft long probably hammerhead.
eye to eye, is about 3 ft. The bonnet sharks get most of their food, such as crabs and Another mystifying characteristic of the
rarely exceed 5 ft long. Their colour is barnacles, from the seabed, but they doubt- hammerheads, apart from the peculiar shape of
grey above, paler on the underside. Apart less also take fish and squid. More is known their heads, is their aggressive nature. There
from the strange head these sharks look about the feeding habits of the large ham- are conflicting views held on whether these fish

like their relatives, the usual large sharks. merheads. These also take crabs and small are dangerous or not but there have been
animals of that kind but they feed largely several reports of attacks by hammerheads
Singly or in companies on other fish, including bass, skate, small along the American Pacific coastline,some of
Hammerhead sharks live in warm seas sharks and stingrays. One celebrated ham- these being fatal.
although occasional individuals wander, in merhead, \2i ft long, harpooned off Beau-
summer, into temperate seas. One of 13^ ft fort, North Carolina, had its stomach filled
length was caught ofi Ilfracombe, in Devon, with half-digested stingrays and had about
in 1865. Usually they keep to deep water 50 of the ivory-like, saw-edged stings
so their incursions into temperate seas mav embedded in its neck and back or in its
be more frequent than the records show. mouth, even in its gullet. From the descrip-
When at the surface they swim with dorsal tion given by Dr WE
Gudger, some of these

982

ifTOTTTna
rt'cenih implanted, others because thev persistently "hung around' and
Ii.kI l)ftii
been embedded ii) the Hesh for some time,
Ii.kI
Murky reputation l)r heniius Eibl-Eibesfeldt has recounted
.111(1 h.id !)<•( ome cik ssted. 1 lammei heads lia\e l)een credited with how, at the {"..il.ii).igos, five hammerlieads
being dangenjus to m,in. Reports of this cruised .iiound theii boat and followed it
Large broods are few and the leputaticjn of hammer- up to the landing place. He described the
I hc'Nf sh.iiks hear li\e Nouiij^ l)iit nothing he. ids as .1 whole seems to ha\e suffered shai ks. which were (i — ^> ft long, as "verv for-
more is known about tlieii breethng. ( )in- badl\ Irom tlie capture ol one off the Amer- waid .uid impudent". Other skin-di\eis
Icm.iU . II ti loiif/, raii^lu and opened up. ican coast which was found to have human operating off the (iaiapagos were also both-
(onlaiiifd M eml)i\os and anoilui ol siiiii- K-mains as well as ])ie(es of man's clothing ered b\ them. Kibl-Fibesfcldt explained that
lar si/e had 'U . in its stomach. l)i \ NI Cioppieson, an .Aus- in that .ire.i h.immerlie.ids weie used to
tralian doctcjr who has made a studv ol l.nge-sized prev. such as sea lions.
Hammerhead fisheries sh.iik ali.Kk. .md i)r (".ilberl P VVhiilev.
\oiliiiii; IN kiio\Mi about enemies apart Irom toinierly (anatoi of Fishes in the .\ustia- class Selachii
the inroads made bv man. Kven
these are lian Museum, both regard hammerhead
Iheie was loinuTh a shark lisheix order Pleurotremata
Nlii^hi. .ill.K k as laie in the extieme.
I heie was one
in Morida and iheie the hammeiluad was attack, on a woman b.ither in I'.Kil, at West family Sphyrnidae
favoured because of the richness ol its liver Palm Beach, Florid. i, 'JO It from the shore.
genus Sphyrna mokarran
oil In the Indian ()<e.m hannnerheads are She was rescued bv a life guard who said
&z sjjecies great hnmtnerhead
sometimes brought to the smlace in nets the sh.irk was a hammerhe.id. The woman
S. tiburo bonnet shark
(oniaining catt lies ol other hshes. The had jagged lacerations on the right thigh
hannnci head, with its fine grained flesh, is S. zygaena common hammrrhead
.ind legSkin-divers h.ive reported th.it they
others
tanh wideK eaten in j.ipan. weie compelled to drive h.immci he.ids away

983
Mongolia, there seven species of grey the spring and summer grey hamsters can
Hamster hamster, 3—8 in.
live
long with comparatively be seen both by dav and night, but thev
long tails, up to 4 in. long. The fur is
become completely nocturnal in the winter.
usually mousey in colour but may be When not active, hamsters are in their bur-
Most people know the golden hamster, an rows where they have nests as well as storage
main reddish, and the underparts are white.
intriguing, easily-kept pet whose compartments for food. The common and
comes out mainly at
The smallest hamster is the dwarf hamster
drawback is that it grey hamsters have short shallow burrows
night. It is, however, one of about 14 of Siberia, Manchuria and northern China. for summer use and deeper ones for the
The head and body length is 2^4 in. and winter. Each burrow is quite extensive with
species of hamsters. They are short-tailed
the tail is short. The upperparts are several entrances and several compartments
rodents in many ways similar to gerbils and
greyish or buff and the underparts white. for nesting, storing food and for latrines,
voles. The largest hamster is the common
hamsters being clean animals, as pet-owners
or black-bellied hamster of Europe and
will know. Dwarf hamsters associate with
Asia. It is found in a broad belt from Inflatable waterwings pikas, small relatives of rabbits and hares,
Belgium to Lake Baikal in Siberia. The Hamsters usually live in dry places, on and use their paths and burrows.
size of a guinea pig, it is unusual in that steppes, among sand dunes and on the Hamsters hibernate during the winter,
the fur on the underparts is darker than borders of deserts, although the common but their sleep is not continuous and they
it is above. It is light brown above, black hamster is often found in cultivated country, wake at intervals to feed from their food
below, with white patches on the sides. The among crops or in ploughed fields. It also stores. Thev do not build up a layer of body

familiar golden hamster is a light reddish lives along river banks and often swims, fat before hibernation but are stimulated to

brown above and white underneath. The with its cheek pouches inflated to give extra store food bv cold weather. While hibernat-
buoyancy. By contrast, golden hamsters can- ing, the pulse rate of the golden hamster
tail is very short and the skin on the body
not stand moisture. Pet golden hamsters are drops from 400 per minute to 4, and it takes
loose. This gives the animal a comical
likely to die if exposed to damp conditions, a breath onlv twice a minute.
waddling, frumpish look as it ivalks. It where guinea pig or mouse will be quite
a
ranges from Rumania and Bulgaria unaffected. Built-in holdalls
through the Caucasus and Asia Minor to Common and golden hamsters are noc- Hamsters are mainlv vegetarian. Cereals
Iran. From Greece and Bulgaria to the turnal, but like most nocturnal animals they make up the bulk of their diet and they eat
Altai range on the borders of Outer occasionally come out during the day. In many kinds of fruits, roots, green leaves and

<] A litter of seven young golden hamsters.


The young are bom naked and helpless but
once weaned they leave their mother and are
able to fend for themselves.
V Ready for anything? Hamster surveys the
scene.
^ Golden hamster with its cheek pouches
crammed with food. These pouches are always
a source of amusement to pet owners as the
hamster will often stuff itself with food
until it looks quite grotesque.
Overleaf: Family of golden hamsters.

CT>4
other plant material. The common hamster occasionally up to 20, are born naked and The keeping of golden hamsters has, how-
also eats frogs and insect larvae. Food is helpless. They are weaned at 3 — 4 weeks and ever, been viewed with misgiving in some
collected in the large cheek pouches and immediatelv leave their mother and become circles as they might escape and become
carried back to the nest. .A hamster can stuff independent. There may be 2 or 3 litters pests, like the common hamster in Europe.
an incredible amount of food into its pou- each year. They may not be able to stand the weather
ches, until it looks quite grotesque. One grev in Europe, but their import is banned in
hamster was seen to fit 42 soyabeans into its Bundles of fury Australia and New Zealand where the
pouches, and its head swelled to 3 of the size The main predators of grev hamsters are climate is warm and dry in parts. One small
of its bod\ The winter food stores are also
. mink and ermine. Others are killed bv birds wild colonv did become established in Eng-
verv large, 100 lb of seeds and potatoes of prev, foxes, domestic cats and dogs. Com- land. Six golden hamsters escaped from a
being recorded from the burrow of a com- mon hamsters are sometimes trapped for cage in a pet shop and a year later a sus-
mon hamster. Poorer Chinese peasants have their fur. pected rat infestation was reported. Traps
been know n to make a li\ ing out of digging Except for the dwarf hamster, hamsters were put down and a total of 52 golden
up the grain stores of grev hamsters. Especi- defend themselves. The grey hamsters are hamsters caught.
allv in Europe, hamsters are serious pests of particularly aggressive. King on their backs
agriculture, stealing grain, peas and some- and e.xposing their teeth. Golden hamsters class Mammalia
times even potatoes. can also be fierce, but soon become tame in
captivitv if they are handled frequently. order Rodentia
Father not wanted familv Cricetidae
Hamsters are solitary animals, males and
females coming together onlv for mating. In
Potential pests genera Cricetus cricetus
&: species common hamster
captivitv, golden hamsters have to be sepa- There must be manv thousands of golden
Cricetulus triton
rated after mating otherwise the female is hamsters kept as pets, vet thev all stem from
gre\ hamster
iikelv to kill the male. In the wild, male grey one familv: a female and 12 young, dug up
Mesocricetus auratus
hamsters visit the burrows of females and near .\leppo, Syria, in 1930. Apart from
golden hamster
stav with them for about 10 davs. Gestation being easily kept, clean and almost odour-
Phodopus sungorus
of the golden hamster, w hich is know n onlv less hamsters are also popular as
pets,
dwarf hamster
in captivitv, is 15 davs. that of the common laboratorv animals, being used for research
others
hamster 19 — 20 davs. Some 6—12 young. into hibernation, skin grafting and cancer.

a:
o

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r
i f If
\

%
^ J^
^J^:>^
^- vt'

'

*^-^^Ai^''

I
o
I £o
Q.

ti
0)
KJI

4»*

."T^-.-WK. —?^
Hare
The brown hare and the European rabbit
are very similar but the hare has softer
fur, longer and more profuse whiskers,
black tips on the ears and a tail that is
black above, white on the sides and under-
side. Its hindlegs are longer and when
running the stilt-like action of the hind-
legs, especially when seen from behind,
distinguishes a hare from a rabbit.
Rabbits and hares used to be classified as
a subdivision of the rodents. Some 30
years ago they were removed from the
order Rodentia and placed in a new order,
the Lagomorpha, in which was also in-
cluded the mouse-hares, or pikas. The
use of the words 'rabbit' and 'hare' has
been somewhat mixed in various parts of
the English-speaking world.
The brown hare, the best known species
if onl\ because it was the first to be des-
cribed scientifically, is about 2 ft long with

%
a 3hn. tail and it weighs on average
8 lb. Its fur is tawny and slightly more
reddish on the neck, shoulders and flanks.
The sides of the face and the outer sur-
faces of the legs are yellowish. The under-
parts are white except on the breast and
legs. The jack or male is slightly smaller
in the body than the doe, has a shorter
head and more red on the shoulders.

t> The Alpine hare crouching in the snow.


V The brown hare leaping across grassland.
The long hindlegs distinguish it from a rabbit.

Jane Bunon Photo Res 987


^:\j

zt

t
!•

o
o

Alert and agile Madly in love small and medium beasts of prey and the
Hares are mainly solitary except in the breed- The most famous feature of its breeding larger birds of prev.
ing season. Sometimes several can be seen season is the behaviour of the jacks which
together, at other times up to a dozen or has led to the saving "Mad as a March hare". All sha{>es and sizes
more moving in single file when coming The pre-mating antics of the males include The brown hare is a darker and
in Britain
out in the evening to feed. But thev soon bucking, bounding, kicking and standing on browner subspecies of the European hare
disperse. During the day a hare lies in a hindlegs to box with one another. A group which extends across Europe and Asia.
form, a hollow in coarse grass or other of a dozen or more mav sometimes be seen There are manv local forms throughout this
herbage which retains the shape of the in violent action, as if thev had taken leave range. Local races of the brown hare are also
animal. Hares never burrow. Their tactics of their senses. Sometimes the kicking with found in .Africa, on grassland or savannah
are to lie low and keep still, but their both hindlegs as one male jumps over with scattered trees and shrubs.
senses are alwavs alert, as illustrated by the another may have fatal results. In Europe the .\lpine hare LepiLS timidns
constantly twitching nostrils and whiskers. Mating is to be promiscuous and
said lives in the Alps and the Scandinavian
In the open a hare will rise on its haunches, reaches a peak in spring, but it mav take mountains. subspecies L. timidus scoticus
.A.

or momentarily right up on its hindlegs, to place at any time of the year. Litters of is found Scotland where it is known as
in
reconnoitre with ears erect. When chased it 2 — 4 leverets may be born at any time of the blue hare, Scottish hare, varying hare
can run at speed but relies on jinking, sud- the vear but mainlv in .\pril. Thev are born or .\lpine hare. Its coat goes white in winter
denly twisting and turning to elude its with the eves open and with a coat of short except for the black ear tips. In spring and
pursuer. fur, and can use their legs almost from autumn the coat appears blue when the
Its diet is wholly vegetarian, mainly grass birth. Each soon makes its own form
leveret brown hairs of the summer coat are mingled
and low herbaceous plants, so it is less des- and is by the doe to be suckled. They
visited with the white hairs of the winter coat. It
tructive in a vegetable garden than a rabbit are independent at a month old. Hares may lives on high ground, among rocks, is smaller
but can create havoc in a flower garden. live up to 12 years. Their enemies are the in the bodv than the brown hare, has a

988
Hare moods
The snowshoe rabbit basking in "the winter
sun (leji). The winter coat of this hare is
white except for the black ear tips. The
summer coat of the Alpine hare (below left) is
reddish-brown with black on the back, light
brown legs and white underparts. The change
of coat is governed by the shortening length
of day. The hare is seen here lying in a form
but IS still on guard and ready to run for
cover. A litter offive baby brown hares or
lex'erets (right) make a very endearing picture.

The young are born with their eyes open and


with a coat of short hair and can use their
legs almost from birth. A young brown hare in
the open (below right) sitting on his haunches,
ears erect, eyes very much aware of his
surroundings, whiskers twitching, in fact a
complete contrast with the dozing snowshoe
rabbit opposite.

larger head, longer legs and ears and a name of varving hare' because summer
shorter tail. The blue hare has been intro- coat reddish-brown with black on the back,
is
its
The ecology of trapping
duced into northern England and Wales. the legs are light brown and underparts Snowshoe rabbits, i anging over Catiada and
-Another subspecies, the Irish hare L. white. Its winter coat
white except foi the
is the northern L'nitecl States, are subject
timidus hibernicus has a longer and broader black ear tips. The change of coat is govern- to lO-vear cycles of abundance and scarcity.
head and shorter ears. It mav turn white in ed bv the shortening length of dav, and can Their populations build up to a peak and
winter but not as regularly as the blue hare be prevented in experimental laboratory then fall to a minimum. .As the numbers of
and its winter coat is often white with russet animals by extending the 'da\ light' to a rabbits increase so do the foxes. Ivnxes and
patches. regular 18 hours using artificial light. The martens that prey on them: and the popu-
There are seven other species ol hares white coat will change to brown even at the lation slump is followed by a steep fall in
in .Africa and six more in Asia, mainly low temperatures of winter if the animal is the ninnbers of the fur-bearing predators.
in the south. The\ all look very much brought into the laborator\ and exposed for This phenomenon has been fullv docu-
alike but diHer in small details of the bone long periods to artificial light. Ihe other mented in the Hudson Ba\ ("ompanv's
structure of their skulls. Then there is the outstanding feature is the hairy mats on the records of furs brought ni b\ trappers.
species in North .America known as the soles of the feet — the snowshoes — that help
varying hare or, as it is better known, the this hare to move easily over soft snow. Mammalia
class
snowshoe rabbit. It is. neverlhekss, a true Breeding is in March to .August. Both
hare belonging to the genus Lepus. sexes are promiscuous and the males in- order Lagomorpha
Ihe snowshoe rabbit is onh Ki in. long dulge in much fighting, using their teeth. family Leporidae
with a 2in. tail and it weighs up to 4i lb. It Aliei a gestation of — ;iS
da\s litters of
;U)
genus Lepus amcricanus snow.fhoe rabbit
does not biurow and behaves in other ways 3 — 4, even as many as 10. are born, showing
likethebrown hareex( ept that it feeds inainlv &: species L.europaeus hruwii hare
an advanced de\elopmeiit similar to tli.it
on bark and L. timidus Alpine hare, others
twigs. It gels its alternative of the \ouiig blown haie.

989
Harp seal
The harp seal, sometimes known as the
Greenland seal or saddleback, is found in
the extreme northern parts of the Atlantic
and nearby areas of the Arctic Ocean.
Male and female are about the same size,
up to 6 ft long and 400 lb weight. They
are pale grey with very distinctive
markings on face and back. These are
generally black in the male and a dark
grey in the female. Sometimes the markings
in the female are spotted rather than a
continuous band of colour. The darker
markings consist of a dark area on the
front of the face which reaches back as
far as the eyes, and the characteristic
'harp' marking on the back and flanks.
This is a horseshoe of darker colour

which extends from the tail forwards along


the flunks, sweeping upwards just behind
the foreflippers to meet on the top of the
back. It is this that gives the name of
'saddleback'.
There are about three main populations
of harp seals. The smallest, about a
million strong, live in the seas around fan
Mayen; the next, about U million, is

confined to Novaya Zemlya and the


White Sea; and the third, of rather less
than 2 million, lives around the coasts
of Labrador and Newfoundland. Harp
seals have been recorded very occasionally
from Britain, usually Scotland and espec-
ially Shetland, but on one occasion a
harp seal was seen in the Bristol Channel.
The Newfoundland population is best
known scientifically as it has been inten-
sively studied during the last 15 years,
pincipally by Canadian scientists, and
most of the following remarks apply to
this population. But the situation is much
the same in the other populations; only
the datesof pupping and moulting difl^er
and the migrations follow different routes.

Following the pack ice


The life history of the harp seal is very
closely tied tomoyements of the pack ice
and we can pick up the story with the adult
harp seals moving south from the open sea
between Baffin Land and West Greenland,
where they have spent the summer months.
They pass down the coast of Labrador
around November and split into two dis-
tinct groups. One remains on the ice in the
Labrador current to the north of Belle
Isle. The
other migrates around Newfound-
land and onto the ice in the southern part of
the Gulf of St Lawrence.

Adults lead the way


This migration consists almost entirely of
adult seals, the younger animals following
later. They haul out onto the pack ice and
move away from the edge into the hum-
mocked area, where they find greater pro-
tection from the elements and from pre-
dators.Pups are born between late January
and early April, the bulk of them between
February 20 and March 5. \t this time most

990
of the adults on the ice are females, the Island and Greenland.
males joining them soon after the pups are This pattern of migration with the ice is
born. The actual timing of the births de- also followed by the other two populations.
pends to a certain extent on ice conditions. Those in the White Sea area have their pups
Sometimes there is very little ice solid enough on the pack ice of the White Sea, then

^ for breeding, so the seals move very close in-


shore and pup on the ice near the shores.
migrate towards Spitzbergen and Franz
Josef Land where they spend the summer
feeding, returning to the White Sea ice to
Whitecoats nursed for two weeks have their pups in October. The Jan Mayen
At birth the pups are covered with a stiff harp seals feed at sea in the area between
white woollv coat, the 'whitecoat' of the Spitzbergen and Greenland and then in the
sealers. They are 25 — 30 in. long and weigh spring move south to Jan Mayen to have
around 10 lb. their pups on the ice floes.
Suckling place during the next
takes
fortnight and the pup builds up a reserve Tracing their movements
of fat and blubber to last it through the Scientists have followed the migrations of
period of weaning. The
females may occa- the harp seals in a number of ways. First
sionallv leave the pups and enter the sea they fastened tags to the tails or hind
through ice holes which have been kept flippers of the pups; then by examining the
open in the 'leads' or gaps in the sea ice, seals as they were found on the ice floes
just by the passage of seals arriving and the thev were able to trace their movements.
movements of the males. Mating takes One of the more unusual recoveries of a
place at about the time the pups finish seal tag happened in 1955. .A fisherman off
feeding, each male mating with one female Newfoundland found in a cod's stomach
onlv. The pups lose their white coats at a seal tag that had been fastened to a harp
3 — 4 weeks and are left with an attractive seal pup some two months earlier. Pre-
short-haired grev pelt speckled with darker sumably the pup had died and the tail, com-
grey and black markings. This, referred to plete with tag, had been eaten by a hungry
as the 'beater', is particularly valued by the cod! Nowadays much of the tracking of the

r sealers. The pups, when abandoned,


gradually make their way to the ice edge
where they remain feeding on shrimps and
seals is done from the air.

Extensive use of aircraft, especially heli-


copters, has enabled scientists to follow
other small bottom-living creatures, gradu- seals on the ice and to plot their movements
ating to small fish such as immature capelin more accurately, .\ircraft have also revo-
which are abundant in these waters at this lutionised the sealing industry: no longer do
time. .\s adults they will feed on herring, the sealers relv on experience and a little
cod, haddock and flatfish. guesswork to find the seal pups, the\ make
North Pole ^B^ extensive use of light aircraft fitted with skis
Second wave of migration as well as helicopters to spot the breeding
pup has been abandoned and
.After the the groups. Hunters are flown in, the seals are

Sar seals have mated, they disperse brieflv to


the surrounding seas, and then haul out on
killed and often the skins are flown out by
air as well. This is a highly dangerous

J^
the ice again to moult in .April. At this time operation, and each vear many of the planes
-~4£ciicCu£iS--'^^
they are joined by the immature non-breed- come to grief while trving to land on none-
ing seals who had followed them down from too-solid ice, or on a floe that is a few vards
fs the summer feeding grounds. When moult- too short! The skies are full of activity as
ing is finished the harp seals move again. not only the sealers use aircraft, but so do
t \?M This time they migrate to the north with the
retreating ice and head again for the
government officials, checking that the seal-
ing regtilations are followed, and scientists
Hatp seal P^gophilu^ groenlandicus)
summer feeding grounds around Baffin who are studying the seals.

AA and her pup. The female has


//ar/) it-a/
markings on her face and back.
distinctive
The sorrowful looking pup is covered v<ith a
stiff white woolly coat, the 'whitecoat' of the
sealers. This white coat is shed after 3 —4
weeks and the pup is left with an attractive
short-haired grey pelt speckled with darker
grey and black markings, the 'beater'.
A There are three mam populations of harp
seal: in the seas around fan .\Utyeu, \ovaya
Zemlya and the White Sea and around the
coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland.

t> 1 he pups are born between late January and


early April. During this time most of the
adults on the ice are females, the males coming
onto the ice after the pups are horn. The pups
are suckled for a Jortnight after birth. They
build up a reserve of fat and blubber which
will last them through the period of weaning.
<3 Sunrying the tee. The harp seal's life
history
movements of
is very closely linked with the
the pack ice.

the ice by the passage oj seals arriving


the tee and by the movements of
Holes are made in

the males.
on />N E
E
a
3
A female may occasionally leave her pup and ffi

•D
enter the sea through one of ihesi holes.

991
order of 300 000 pelts each year, but this has revenue from furs, and helping
to conserve
Murder most foul severely reduced the populations. The New- seal stocks for controlledhunting elsewhere.
Sealers take all classes of seal, the most foundland herds have been reduced bv Harp seals are hunted by the Russians in
valuable being the 'beaters', followed by the almost half in the last 10 years. Recently the the White Sea where the Norwegian sealers
'whitecoats'. The latter must, however, be hunting in the New foundland area has been used to take seals in the 1930s but have not
taken before they are ten days old as after controlled by an agreement between Canada been allowed to do so since 1946. In the
this time the hair starts to fall out, reducing and Norway, which decides in advance when Jan Mayen area, however, both Russian and
the value of the skin. The immature seals the hunting will start and when it should Norwegian sealers operate.
are also taken. These are known to the finish. During the spring hunt of 1969 the
sealers as 'bedlamers'. The historv of sealing Canadian government proposed that, with
off Newfoundland goes back 200 years and international agreement, the Gulf of St class Mammalia
the toll has always been heavy. In the 1920s Lawrence should be declared a sanctuary order Pinnipedia
the average annual kill of harp seals was for seals, with hunting limited to inter-
around 300 000 but this total gradually national waters in the North Atlantic off family Phocidae
dropped during the 1930s, and then built up Labrador and Newfoundland. Such a genus Pagophilus groenlandicus
again after the war years. The average catch sanctuary could be developed as a tourist
& species
in the past few years has again been of the attraction, compensating for the loss of

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