Page images



The main efforts of the staff of this department during the past fiscal year have of necessity been confined to the preservation of the steadily growing collections. It is a matter of congratulation that no serious arrears are to be reported in this work, though this result has been achieved often at the expense of the research work of the divisions, as the members of the scientific staff have had to spend an undue amount of time and labor on purely curatorial work which might have been done by clerical and custodial help had such been available. Further assistance in the department is absolutely essential, as the present condition whereby highly trained personnel is employed in routine that should be performed by assistants has reached a point where it interferes seriously with the scientific work that public interest demands.

Field work under this department has, as in previous years, been curtailed through lack of funds. Doctor Schmitt, under the Walter Rathbone Bacon scholarship, carried on field studies of the crustacean fauna of the western coast of South America. Dr. Hugh M. Smith, associate curator in zoology, through funds supplied by the Museum, has gathered and forwarded rich collections from Siam, and small collections have come from western China from the native collector trained by D. C. Graham who has continued work during Mr. Graham's absence in the United States on small amounts of money furnished by the Smithsonian Institution. Assistant Secretary Wetmore visited Haiti and the Dominican Republic from March to June, traveling at the expense of the Swales fund. Important botanical collections have come from the work of Doctor Maxon in Jamaica and Mr. Killip and Mr. Smith in Colombia. These and other activities of a similar nature are detailed fully elsewhere in the report of the Assistant Secretary.


The total number of accessions to the various divisions was 1,277, a slight increase over the corresponding figures of last year. The increase in the number of specimens received by the various divisions averages considerably more than last year, except in the division of insects, which reports a falling off, due to the fact that last

year's report included 82,000 lepidoptera in the Dognin collection. The increase of specimens in the department during the past fiscal year amounts to more than 197,000.

Apart from such special accessions as 20,000 specimens of water beetles donated by John D. Sherman, and 10,000 moths presented by Doctor Schaus, which will be specifically mentioned later on, the largest and most comprehensive collections received during the year are as follows:

Dr. Hugh M. Smith, director of fisheries, Bangkok, Siam, an honoary associate curator in zoology, United States National Museum, was instrumental in bringing together exceedingly important and valuable collections of Siamese mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, mollusks, and marine invertebrates, which fill a distinct gap in the Museum's collections between the Chinese material from the north and that secured by Dr. W. L. Abbott from the Malay Archipelago to the south that has come in previous years. Another valuable addition consists of the mammals, birds, and reptiles gathered by the Smithsonian-Chrysler expedition to Africa. Dr. Waldo L. Schmitt's South American expedition under the auspices of the Walter Rathbone Bacon traveling scholarship, apart from rich collections of crustaceans, the principal object of the expedition, resulted in large additions in other branches of zoology. Owing to the unsettled conditions in China during the past year, collections from that country which recently have played a leading part among our accessions, have fallen off considerably; nevertheless collections of birds, reptiles, and fishes which have been received from A. de C. Sowerby through the generosity of Col. R. S. Clark, are highly important. They are supplemented by various small collections made by the native collector trained by Rev. D. C. Graham.

Mammals. The small mammals (154 specimens) obtained by Dr Hugh M. Smith in Siam are particularly important to the Museum in connection with the large collections of Malay mammals that have been presented by Dr. W. L. Abbott. The 154 mammals, mostly of small size, collected by Arthur Loveridge in Tanganyika Territory, Africa, while attached to the Smithsonian-Chrysler expedition, are also deserving of special mention. By exchange with the Instituto de la Salle, Bogota, Colombia, 238 small mammals were obtained from that locality. In the same manner, 17 specimens from Russia were acquired from the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences, Leningrad, Union of Socialistic Soviet Republics. Two species representing genera not previously in the Museum were received in exchange with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. A skin of the rare pigmy hippopotamus from Sierra Leone, Africa, was presented by W. N. Martin, Rouzerville, Pa.

Birds.-The valuable collection of Chinese birds from Col. R. S. Clark, the Siamese birds obtained from Dr. Hugh M. Smith, and the material received from the Smithsonian-Chrysler expedition have already been referred to. The year has been particularly profitable, as in addition to these comprehensive collections representatives of 18 genera and 120 species and subspecies hitherto lacking in the collection have been added, mostly through the generosity of friends. B. H. Swales, honorary assistant curator, donated 176 skins and 7 skeletons, including 46 species and 4 genera new to the Museum. About 100 of the skins come from the States of Parahyba and Ceará, Brazil. Dr. Charles W. Richmond, associate curator, presented 66 skins and 3 skeletons, mostly from South America and Africa, and including 9 genera and 36 species hitherto unrepresented in the Museum, the species being chiefly tanagers, warblers, vireos, and honey creepers. Dr. Thomas Barbour, Cambridge, Mass., generously gave a specimen each of two genera of birds Torreornis inexpectata and Ferminia cerverai recently discovered in Cuba. Two species of love birds of the genus Agapornis new to the Museum were donated by E. S. Schmid, Washington, D. C., and C. H. Popenoe, Silver Spring, Md., respectively. Dr. Casey A. Wood, collaborator in the division of birds, presented Fijian birds, among them a species of flycatcher new to the Museum. A skin of Pterocnemia tarapacensis, a rhea from Argentina, new to the collection was presented by D. O. King of Mendoza, Argentina. The skeleton collection was enriched with many additional genera and species, among them a skeleton of Monias benschi from Madagascar and a trunk skeleton of the monkey-eating eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi from the Philippine Islands. Among the many other contributors of valuable additions, Victor J. Evans, Justus von Lengerke, and Col. Wirt Robinson may be mentioned. From Edward L. Caum, Honolulu, T. H., 10 alcoholic specimens and 4 eggs of the Laysan rail (Porzanula palmeri) were received as a gift.

Reptiles and batrachians.-The Siamese and Chinese collections received respectively from Dr. Hugh M. Smith and Col. R. S. Clark, and the African collections of the Smithsonian-Chrysler expedition, constitute the bulk of the valuable accessions of this year. In addition, a collection of herpetological material from Guatemala transferred by the United States Biological Survey, and a set of specimens from Lower California presented by the Navy Department in cooperation with the California Academy of Sciences, have been added to the collection.

Fishes. The increase in the number of specimens received during the present year over that of the preceding year is considerable. For one of the most valuable collections of Chinese fishes received in recent years we are indebted to the generosity of Col. R. S. Clark;

no less than 1,743 specimens were collected by Arthur de C. Sowerby during the past three years in the waters contiguous to Shanghai. Dr. Waldo L. Schmitt, as a result of his South American expedition under the auspices of the Walter Rathbone Bacon scholarship, brought home 111 specimens representative of the fish fauna of Juan Fernandez Island, off the Chilean coast. The United States Bureau of Fisheries transferred 338 specimens from various localities, among them the types of seven new species. Similarly, 187 specimens from various localities in Central and South America, Haiti, and Porto Rico were received from the International Health Board, these being of special interest in that they are known as destroyers of larvæ and so assist in mosquito-control work. Dr. Hugh M. Smith donated 21 fishes from Siam, and Dr. W. H. Longley, of Goucher College, 76 from the Tortugas, Fla. A. J. Poole and Dr. Remington Kellogg, during a trip to the porpoise station at Hatteras, N. C., collected 1,239 specimens for the Museum. In exchange with the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, through Dr. H. W. Fowler, 238 specimens of fishes from the Hawaiian Islands were obtained.

Insects. The outstanding gift to the Museum in this division was the special collection of about 20,000 water beetles presented by John D. Sherman, of Mount Vernon, N. Y. Another large donation, made by Dr. William Schaus, honorary assistant curator, was that of about 10,000 moths, mostly from Bolivia. Dr. H. G. Dyar, custodian of lepidoptera, presented the division with about 6,000 specimens of mosquitos obtained by him in summer collecting trips to Montana, representing quite completely the mosquito fauna of that region. Miss Theresa F. and W. E. Schoenborn presented the Museum with the splendid collection of lepidoptera made several years ago by their father, the late Henry F. Schoenborn of Washington, D. C. It includes a considerable number of named European species, but the larger part consists of specimens collected in the region about Washington. All are in excellent condition and where not especially needed for the general collection are to be part of the special collection of District of Columbia animals. Dr. E. A. Chapin, of the Bureau of Entomology, donated a very valuable collection of 121 alcoholic lots and 398 microscope slides of ectoparasites of Mallophaga fleas, mites, and pseudoscorpions. Through the instrumentality of Doctor Dyar, extensive shipments of mosquitoes and other bloodsucking diptera from Venezuela were received from Dr. M. NunezTovar; these were sent primarily to secure identifications, but have added importantly to these collections. From Dr. Reinhold Meyer, of Germany, several shipments of named Old World Hymenoptera were received in exchange. The Philippine Bureau of Science, through R. C. McGregor, has sent several collections of Philippine insects during the year.

« PreviousContinue »