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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/860

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"Dear Sir: As you have already furnished me with invaluable materials for the natural history of the fishes of your State, I am emboldened to ask another favor of you. I am preparing a map of the Geographical Distribution of the Turtles of North America, and would be greatly indebted to you for any information respecting the range of those found in your State, as far as you have noticed them, even if you should know them only by their common names, my object being simply to ascertain how far they extend over different parts of the country. If you could add specimens of them, to identify them with precision, it would be, of course, so much the better; but as I am almost ready for the press, I could not for this paper await the return of spring, but would thank you for what you could furnish me now. I am particularly interested in ascertaining how far north the different species inhabiting this continent extend." On the back of this letter was Dr. Miles's indorsement that a box had been sent.

A number of letters from Professor Baird, of 1860 and 1861, relate to the identification of specimens collected by Dr. Miles, and to the fishes of Michigan, and contain inquiries about gulls and eggs. Dr. Miles likewise supplied Cope with a considerable amount of material concerning Michigan reptiles and fishes.

While mollusks were the favorite object of Dr. Miles's investigations, he also made studies and valuable collections of birds, mammals, reptiles, and fishes; and he seems, Mr. Barrows asys, "to have possessed, in a high degree, that strong characteristic of a true naturalist, a full appreciation of the value of good specimens. Many of his specimens are now preserved at the Agricultural College, and among his shells are many which are of more than ordinary value from having served as types of new species, or as specimens from type localities, or as part or all of the material which has helped to clear up mistakes and misconceptions about species and their distribution." Mr. Walker speaks of his having done a great work in conchology. His catalogue, which contained a list of one hundred and sixty-one species, was by far the most complete published up to that time. "He described two new species—Planorbis truncatus and Unio leprosus. The former is one of the few species which are, so far as known, peculiar to Michigan, and is a very beautiful and distinct form; while the latter, although now considered as synonymous with another species, has peculiarities which in the then slight knowledge of the variability of the species was a justification of his position. He was also the discoverer of two other forms which were named after him by one of our most eminent conchologists—viz., Campeloma Milesii (Lea) and Guiobasis Milesii (Lea)." Mr. Walker believes that "in general, it can be truth-