On blood corpuscles, see 'Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science,' April 1874, p. 185.' [page 61]

under a high power, is the appearance of the finest granules in the fluid within the cells, making it slightly cloudy. These granules soon aggregate into small globular masses. I have seen a cloud of this kind appear in 10 s. after a drop of a solution of carbonate of ammonia had been given to a gland. With dark red leaves the first visible change often is the conversion of the outer layer of the fluid within the cells into bag-like masses. The aggregated masses, however they may have been developed, incessantly change their forms and positions. They are not filled with fluid, but are solid to their centres. Ultimately the colourless granules in the protoplasm which flows round the walls coalesce with the central spheres or masses; but there is still a current of limpid fluid flowing within the cells. As soon as the tentacles fully re-expand, the aggregated masses are redissolved, and the cells become filled with homogeneous purple fluid, as they were at first. The process of redissolution commences at the bases of the tentacles, thence proceeding upwards to the glands; and, therefore, in a reversed direction to that of aggregation.

Aggregation is excited by the most diversified causes,--by the glands being several times touched,--by the pressure of particles of any kind, and as these are supported by the dense secretion, they can hardly press on the glands with the weight of a millionth of a grain,*--by the tentacles being cut off close beneath

* According to Hofmeister (as quoted by Sachs, 'Trait de Bot.' 1874, p. 958), very slight pressure on the cell-membrane arrests immediately the movements of the protoplasm, and even determines its separation from the walls. But the process of aggregation is a different phenomenon, as it relates to the contents of the cells, and only secondarily to the layer of protoplasm which flows along the walls; though no doubt the effects of pressure or of a touch on the outside must be transmitted through this layer. [page 62]

the glands,--by the glands absorbing various fluids or matter dissolved out of certain bodies,--by exosmose,--and by a certain degree of heat. On the other hand, a temperature of about 150o Fahr. (65o.5 Cent.) does not excite aggregation; nor does the sudden crushing of a gland. If a cell is ruptured, neither the exuded matter nor that which still remains within the cell undergoes aggregation when carbonate of ammonia is added. A very strong solution of this salt and rather large bits of raw meat prevent the aggregated masses being well developed. From these facts we may conclude that the protoplasmic fluid within a cell does not become aggregated unless it be in a living state, and only imperfectly if the cell has been injured. We have also seen that the fluid must be in an oxygenated state, in order that the process of aggregation should travel from cell to cell at the proper rate.

Various nitrogenous organic fluids and salts of ammonia induce aggregation, but in different degrees and at very different rates. Carbonate of ammonia is the most powerful of all known substances; the absorption of 1/134400 of a grain (.000482 mg.) by a gland suffices to cause all the cells of the same tentacle to become aggregated. The first effect of the carbonate and of certain other salts of ammonia, as well as of some other fluids, is the darkening or blackening of the glands. This follows even from long immersion in cold distilled water. It apparently depends in chief part on the strong aggregation of their cell-contents, which thus become opaque, and do not reflect light. Some other fluids render the glands of a brighter red; whilst certain acids, though much diluted, the poison of the cobra-snake, &c., make the glands perfectly white and opaque; and this seems to depend on the coagulation of their contents without [page 63] any aggregation. Nevertheless, before being thus affected, they are able, at least in some cases, to excite aggregation in their own tentacles.

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Charles Darwin

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