development of the sense of sight, smell, or hearing, and the action of honey-bees presents the same difficulties to persons familiar with the habits of these interesting insects. In searching for wild honey, the bee-hunter provides himself with a small box with a sliding door; inside of this box he puts some sweet substance as a bait for the bees. When several bees have collected in the box, he closes the lid. As soon as they have finished eating, he releases a bee, which, after ascending high enough to clear the surrounding trees, makes a "bee-line" for its hive. The hunter marks this direction and carries his box off at right angles to the line made by the first bee, and releases another bee; he carefully marks the direction taken by this second bee, and, if they are both from the same swarm, the hive will be found at the point where these two lines meet.
I might cite well-authenticated cases of cats, pigs, and dogs, finding their way home, where such a feat would seem impossible to man under like circumstances; my object, however, was not to theorize, but simply to record what I consider some interesting observations bearing upon this subject.
Last spring I built a trout-pond in my garden, on the west side of a running brook discharging about six hundred cubic feet of water per minute. The brook is quite rapid where it passes the pond, and the surface of the pond is some five feet higher than the surface of the brook. The pond is supplied with water brought 2,000 feet in underground pipes and discharged in a fountain in the center of the pond. Common bull-frogs (Rana pipiens) occasionally find their way into this pond. On the 18th of last July I found three frogs in the pond, and shot all of them with a pistol. I dipped them up with a scoop-net, and found two of them shot through the body, and the other, a little fellow, weighing about two ounces, was shot across the back, the bullet just raising the skin and leaving a white streak across its dark-green surface. I emptied the three frogs out of the net into the swift running water of the brook, and they floated down stream out of sight. On the 19th of July, the day following, I found the wounded frog in the pond again, and readily recognized it by the scar from the bullet. I found no difficulty in catching it in the scoop-net, and, fearing that the scar might disappear from its back, I cut off the center toe of its right foot, put the frog into a paper bag, carried it down the brook across a bridge, and finally threw it into the stream some one hundred yards below the pond.
On the 21st of July I found the frog back again, caught it, and, so as to leave no doubt about its identification, I cut off the middle toe of the left foot. I then put the frog in the paper bag, started from the pond in a northeast course, stopped and whirled the bag around so as to confuse any ideas that it might have had of direction, and then changed my course, and finally released the frog on the opposite side of the brook in an oat-field about an eighth of a mile in an easterly direction from the pond. To prevent the frog from getting any idea from watching me, I passed on after releasing it, and did not go back again to the pond for several hours. Three days afterward I saw the frog in the pond again, but it was so wild that I could not catch it with my scoop-net, and I afterward tried various devices to capture it alive, but the moment it saw me approach the pond it would jump in and remain hidden in the stones at the bottom until I left. Finally, despairing of catching it alive, and having some doubts about its identity, on the 9th of August I shot it, and recognized it by the absence of the cut-off toes.
The general direction is up-hill from the point where the frog was last released to the pond, and about the same distance in a down-hill course would have taken the frog to the Ausable River. It still remains possible that the frog waited until night, and then followed my tracks back to the pond, but that seems improbable, I think, even more so than to believe that the frog knew all the time the direction of the pond, and slowly worked its way back again as inclination prompted.
|George Chahoon. |
|Ausable Forks, New York, August 16, 1880.|
My eye has just fallen on your editorial comments under the head of "Sewage in College Education"; and I can not resist the impulse to point out a few of the errors into which you have been drawn. Not much space will be required, I think, to show that the attitude of the University of Michigan toward scientific and classical studies has been quite misapprehended.
In the first place, you are in error in assuming that Bishop Harris spoke as the representative of the University. Would it have been fair to assume that Yale College was represented by President White's famous address on the "Warfare of Science"? Each of these gentlemen was invited to deliver a commencement address, each chose his own subject, each treated his subject in his own way, and each was alone responsible for what he said. One sentence in the Bishop's address may have misled you. I refer to that in which he expressed his gratitude that classical studies still maintain their