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dull and sombre tints in birds, insects, and flowers, so that they reminded Mr. Darwin of the cold and barren plains of Patagonia ratlier than of any tropical country. Insects are wonderfully brilliant in tropical countries generally; and any one looking over a collection of South American or Malayan butterflies would scout the idea of their being no more gaily-coloured than the average of European species, and in this he would be undoubtedly right. But on examination we should find that all the more brilliantly-coloured groups were exclusively tropical, and that, where a genus has a wide range, there is little difference in coloration between the species of cold and warm countries. Thus the European Vanessides, including the beautiful "peacock,” “Camberwell beauty," and “red admiral ” butterflies, are quite up to the average of tropical colour in the same group; and the remark will equally apply to the little “blues” and “coppers ;” while the alpine “apollo" butterflies have a delicate beauty that can hardly be surpassed. In other insects, which are less directly dependent on climate and vegetation, we find even greater anomalies. In the immense family of the Carabidæ or predaceous ground-beetles, the northern forms fully equal, if they do not surpass, all that the tropics can produce. Everywhere, too, in hot countries, there are thousands of obscure species of insects which, if they were all collected, would not improbably bring down the average of colour to much about the same level as that of temperate zones.
But it is when we come to the vegetable world that the greatest misconception on this subject prevails. In abundance and variety of floral colour the tropics are almost universally believed to be pre-eminent, not only absolutely, but relatively to the whole mass of vegetation and the total number of species. Twelve years of observation among the vegetation of the eastern and Western tropics has, however, convinced me that this notion is entirely erroneous, and that, in proportion to the whole number of species of plants, those having gaily-coloured flowers are actually more abundant in the temperate zones than between the tropies. This will be found to be not so extravagant an assertion as it may at first appear, if we consider how many of the choicest adornments of our greenhouses and flowershows are really temperate as opposed to tropical plants. The masses of colour produced by our Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Camellias, our Pelargoniums, Calceolarias, and Cincrarias,—all strictly temperate plants-can certainly not be surpassed, if they can be equalled, by any productions of the tropics.
It may be objected that most of the plants named are choice cultivated varieties, far surpassing in colour the original stock, while the tropical plants are mostly unvaried wild species. But this does not really much affect the question at issue. For our florists' gorgeous varieties have all been produced under the influence of our cloudy skies, and with even a still further deficiency of light, owing to the necessity of protecting them under glass from our sudden changes of temperature ; so that they are themselves an additional proof that tropical light and heat are not needed for the production of intense and varied colour. Another important consideration is, that these cultivated varieties in many cases displace a number of wild species which are
hardly, if at all, cultivated. Thus there are scores of species of wild hollyhocks varying in colour almost as much as the cultivated varieties, and the same may be said of the pentstemons, rhododendrons, and many other flowers; and if these were all brought together in well-grown specimens, they would produce a grand eflect. But it is far casier, and more profitable for our nurserymen to grow varieties of one or two species, which all require a similar culture, rather than fifty distinct species, most of which would require special treatment; the result being that the varied beauty of the temperate flora is even now bardly known, except to botanists and to a few amateurs.
But we may go further, and say that the hardy plants of our cold temperate zone equal, if they do not surpass, the productions of the tropics. Let us only remember such gorgeous tribes of flowers as the Roses, Paeonies, Hollyhocks, and Antirrhinums; the Laburnum, Wistaria, and Lilac; the Lilies, Irises, and Tulips ; the Hyacinths, Anemones, Gentiaus, and Poppies; and even our humble Gorse, Broom, and Heather; and we may defy any tropical country to produce masses of floral colour in greater abundance and variety. It may be true that individual tropical shrubs and flowers do surpass everything in the rest of the world ; but that is to be expected, because the tropical zone comprises a much greater land area than the two temperate zones, while, owing to its more favourable climate, it produces a still larger proportion of species of plants, and a greater number of peculiar natural orders.
Direct observation in tropical forests, plains, and mountains, fully supports this view. Occasionally we
are startled by some gorgeous mass of colour, but as a rule we gaze upon an endless expanse of green foliage, only here and there enlivened by not very conspicuous flowers. Even the orchids, whose superb blossoms adorn our stoves, form no exception to this rule. It is only in favoured spots that we find them in abundance ; the species with small and inconspicuous flowers greatly preponderate; and the flowering season of each kind being of short duration, they rarely produce any marked effect of colour amid the rast masses of foliage which surround them. An experienced collector in the Eastern tropics once told me, that although a single mountain in Java had produced three hundred species of Orchideæ, only about two per cent. of the whole were sufficiently ornamental or slowy to be worth sending home as a commercial speculation. The Alpine meadows and rockslopes, the open plains of the Cape of Good Hope or of Australia, and the flower-prairies of North America, offer an amount and variety of floral colour which can certainly not be surpassed, even if it can be equalled, between the tropics.
It appears, therefore, that we may dismiss the theory that the development of colour in nature is directly dependent on, and in any way proportioned to the amount of solar heat and light, as entirely unsupported by facts. Strange to say, however, there are some rare and little-known phenomena which prove, that in exceptional cases, light does directly affect the colours of natural objects; and it will be as well to consider these before passing on to other matters.
Changes of Colour in Animals produced by Coloured Light.—A few years ago Jr. T. W. Wood called attention
to the curious changes in the colour of the chrysalis of the small cabbage-butterfly (Pontiue rapor) when the caterpillars, just before their change, were confined in boxes lined with different tints. Thus in black boxes they were very dark, in white boxes nearly white; and he further showed that similar changes occurred in a state of nature, chrysalises fixed against a white-washed wall being nearly white; against a red brick wall, reddish ; against a pitched paling, nearly black. It has also been observed that the cocoon of the cmperor moth is either white or brown, according to the colours surrounding it. But the most extraordinary example of this kind of change is that furnished by the chrysalis of an African butterfly (Papilio Nireus), observed at the Cape by Mrs. Barber, and described (with a coloured plate) in the Transactions of the Entomological Societij, 1874, p. 519.
This caterpillar feeds upon the orange tree, and also upon a forest-tree (Vepris lanceolata) which has a lighter green leaf; and its colour corresponds with that of the leaves it feeds upon, being of a darker green when it feeds on the orange. The chrysalis is usually found suspended among the leafy twigs of its food-plant, or of some neighbouring tree, but it is probably often attached to larger branches; and Mrs. Barber has discovered that it has the property of acquiring the colour, more or less accurately, of any natural object it may be in contact with. A number of the caterpillars were placed in a case with a glass cover, one side of the case being formed by a red brick wall, the other sides being of yellowish wood. They were fed on orange leaves, and a branch of the bottle-brush tree (Barksia,