|The polypus, or hydra, generated much comment among natural historians
because of its apparent existence on the boundary between plant and animal
species, because of its unique reproductive behavior, and because of the
forms of "sensation" it seemed to manifest. Here are comments from Oliver
Goldsmith's index in A History of the Earth and Animated Nature
Polypus, very voracious; noted for its amazing fertility . . . uses its arms as a fisherman his net; is not of the vegetable tribe, but a real animal; every polypus has a colony sprouting from its body; and these new ones, even while attached to the parent, become parents themselves, with a smaller colony also budding from them; though cut into thousands of parts, each still retains it vivacious quality, and shortly becomes a distinct and complete polypus, fit to reproduce upon cutting into pieces; it hunts for its food, and possesses a power of choosing it, or retreating from danger . . . those young still attached to the parent, bud and propagate also, each holding dependence upon the its parent; artificial method of propagating these animals by cuttings; Mr. Hughes describes a species of this animal, but mistakes its nature, and calls it a sensitive flowering plant.