Endeavour journal, 7 October 1768 (Series 03.041)
|Notes:||Page header reads: 'to Brasil'|
|Author:||Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820|
|Date:||7 October 1768|
|Series title:||Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771|
|Transcript:||7. This morn calm; went out in the boat and took what is calld by the Seamen a Portugese man of war, Holothuria Physalis Linn; also Medusa velella L. onidium spinosum Mss, Diodon Erinaceus Mss, dagysa vitrea Mss, Helix Janthina Linn, -- violacea Mss and procellaria Oceanica Mss. The Holothuria proved to be one of the most bea[u]tifull sights I had ever seen, it consisted of a small bladder in shape much like the air bladder of fishes, from the bottom of which descended a number of strings of bright blue and red, some three or four feet in length which if touchd stung the person who touchd them in the same manner as nettles, only much stronger: on the top of this Bladder was a membrane which he turnd either one way or the other as the wind blew to receive it, this was veind with pink in an uncommonly
beautifull manner, in short the whole together was one of the most beautifull sights I have seen among the mollusca, tho many of them are beautifull.
The floating shells H. Janthina and violacea from their particularity deserve also to be mentiond, they are found floating on the top of the water by means of a small cluster of Bubbles filld with air, which are composd of a tenacious slimey substance, not easily parting with its contents; these keep him suspended on the surface of the water and serve as a hiding for his Eggs, and it is probable that he never goes down to the bottom, or willingly comes near any shore, as his shell is of so brittle a construction that few fresh water snails are so thin.
Every shell contains within it about a teaspoonfull of Liquid, which it
easily discharges on being touched, this is of a most beautifull red purple colour and easily dies linnen clothes; it may be well worth inquiry whether or not this is the purpura of the ancients as the shell is certainly found in the Mediterranean. We have not yet taken a sufficient quantity of the shells to try the experiment, probably we shall do soon.
Procellaria oceanica differs very little from P. pelagica Linn, but from his place of abode so far south and some small difference in plumage it is more than likely that he is different in species.