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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/335

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315
SEA-BUTTERFLIES.

far off. There! you have a handsome one, of the largest kind" He handed me a glass, with which he had dipped some out of the water.

I am quite proud of young Joacchino. He has eyes like a lynx, and has learned that the more delicate animals must not be touched with a net, but must be let run in with the water into a glass held out to receive them. In deep water the net must be handled so as to cause an eddy by the side of the animal that shall draw it along on the surface.

"Bravo, Joacchino!" I said, after examining the animal in the glass. "I know now what you know about butterflies." The animals which have been named Pteropoda, or wing-footed, really deserve the name. They are excitable creatures, that fly round in the broad glass, often strike the walls in their vehement movements, then suddenly draw in their wings, turn downward, and slowly sink to the bottom, to spring up again after a time and begin the old play anew. I recognized at once the boat-butterfly, dedicated to the famous seaman Peron, the Cymbulia peroni (Fig. 1). A little way off, one sees merely the eddy in the water

PSM V35 D335 Cymbulia peroni.jpg
Fig. 1.—Cymbulia peroni.

and a brownish kernel about the size of a grain of wheat; only on a closer inspection can we distinguish two large, roundish wings, as clear as glass, that sit upon a yellowish body drawn backward in length, that rests in a crystal boat, the contour of which can not be exactly discerned, because the substance of which it is formed has the same refractive power as water. It is only when the animal is put, hardly covered with water, in a flat saucer of glass, against a black ground, that we can see the figure