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7 October 1768
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7 October 1768

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in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
7 October 1768

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.

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.


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© Derived from State Library of NSW 1998 Transcription of Banks's Endeavour Journal pages 44 - 47, 2004
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