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while its companion of sober brown was looked upon as the female. I discovered, however, that the reverse is the case, and that the rich and glossy colours of the female are imitative and protective, since they cause her exactly to resemble the common Euploa midamus of the same regions, a species which has been already mentioned in this essay as mimicked by another butterfly, Papilio paradoxa. I have since named this interesting species Diadema anomala (see the Transactions of the Entomological Society, 1869, p. 285). In this case, and in that of Diadema misippus, there is no difference in the habits of the two sexes, which fly in similar localities; so that the influence of " external conditions” cannot be invoked here as it has been in the case of the South American Pieris pyrrha and allies, where the white males frequent open sunny places, while the Heliconia-like females haunt the shades of the forest.
We may impute to the same general cause (the greater need of protection for the female, owing to her weaker flight, greater exposure to attack, and supreme importance)—the fact of the colours of female insects being so very generally duller and less conspicuous than those of the other sex. And that it is chiefly due to this cause rather than to what Mr. Darwin terms “sexual selection ” appears to be shown by the otherwise inexplicable fact, that in the groups which have a protection of any kind independent of concealment, sexual differences of colour are either quite wanting or slightly developed. The
Heliconidæ and Danaidæ, protected by a disagreeable flavour, have the females as bright and conspicuous as the males, and very rarely differing at all from them. The stinging Hymenoptera have the two sexes equally well coloured. The Carabidæ, the Coccinellidæ, Chrysomelidæ, and the Telephori have both sexes equally conspicuous, and seldom differing in colours. The brilliant Curculios, which are protected by their hardness, are brilliant in both sexes. Lastly, the glittering Cetoniadæ and Buprestidæ, which seem to be protected by their hard and polished coats, their rapid motions, and peculiar habits, present few sexual differences of colour, while sexual selection has often manifested itself by structural differences, such as horns, spines, or other processes.
Cause of the dull Colours of Female Birds. The same law manifests itself in Birds. The female while sitting on her eggs requires protection by concealment to a much greater extent than the male ; and we accordingly find that in a large majority of the cases in which the male birds are distinguished by unusual brilliancy of plumage, the females are much more obscure, and often remarkably plain-coloured. The exceptions are such as eminently to prove the rule, for in most cases we can see a very good reason for them. In particular, there are a few instances among wading and gallinaceous birds in which the female has decidedly more brilliant colours than the male;. but it is a most curious and interesting fact that in most if not all these cases the males sit upon the eggs; so that this exception to the usual rule almost demonstrates that it is because the process of incubation is at once very important and very dangerous, that the protection of obscure colouring is developed. The most striking example is that of the gray phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius). When in winter plumage, the sexes of this bird are alike in colouration, but in summer the female is much the most conspicuous, having a black head, dark wings, and reddish-brown back, while the male is nearly uniform brown, with dusky spots. Mr. Gould in his “ Birds of Great Britain " figures the two sexes in both winter and summer plumage, and remarks on the strange peculiarity of the usual colours of the two sexes being reversed, and also on the still more curious fact that the male alone sits on the eggs," which are deposited on the bare ground. In another British bird, the dotterell, the female is also larger and more brightly-coloured than the male; and it seems to be proved that the males assist in incubation even if they do not perform it entirely, for Mr. Gould tells us, " that they have been shot with the breast bare of feathers, caused by sitting on the eggs.” The small quail-like birds forming the genus Turnix have also generally large and bright-coloured females, and we are told by Mr. Jerdon in his “Birds of India” that “the natives report that during the breeding season the females desert their eggs and associate in flocks while the males are employed in hatching the eggs.” It is also an ascertained fact, that the females are more bold and pugnacious than the males. A further confimation of this view is to be found in the fact (not hitherto noticed) that in a large majority of the cases in which bright colours exist in both sexes incubation takes place in a dark hole or in a dome-shaped nest. Female kingfishers are often equally brilliant with the male, and they build in holes in banks. Beeeaters, trogons, motmots, and toucans, all build in holes, and in none is there any difference in the sexes, although they are, without exception, showy birds. Parrots build in holes in trees, and in the majority of cases they present no marked sexual difference tending to concealment of the female. Woodpeckers are in the same category, since though the sexes often differ in colour, the female is not generally less conspicuous than the male. Wagtails and titmice build concealed nests, and the females are nearly as gay as their mates. The female of the pretty Australian bird Pardalotus punctatus, is very conspicuously spotted on the upper surface, and it builds in a hole in the ground. The gay-coloured hang-nests (Icterinæ) and the equally brilliant tanagers may be well contrasted; for the former, concealed in their covered nests, present little or no sexual difference of colour-while the open-nested tanagers have the females dull-coloured and sometimes with almost protective tints. No doubt there are many individual exceptions to the rule here indicated, because many and various causes have combined to determine both the colouration and the habits of birds. These have no doubt acted and re-acted on each other; and when conditions have changed one of these characters may often have become modified, while the other, though useless, may continue by hereditary descent an apparent exception to what otherwise seems a very general rule. The facts presented by the sexual differences of colour in birds and their mode of nesting, are on the whole in perfect harmony with that law of protective adaptation of colour and form, which appears to have checked to some extent the powerful action of sexual selection, and to have materially influenced the colouring of female birds, as it has undoubtedly done that of female insects.
Use of the gaudy Colours of many Caterpillars. Since this essay was first published a very curious difficulty has been cleared up by the application of the general principle of protective colouring. Great numbers of caterpillars are so brilliantly marked and coloured as to be very conspicuous even at a considerable distance, and it has been noticed that such caterpillars seldom hide themselves. Other species, however, are green or brown, closely resembling the colours of the substances on which they feed, while others again imitate sticks, and stretch themselves out motionless from a twig so as to look like one of its branches. Now, as caterpillars form so large a part of the food of birds, it was not easy to understand why any of them should have such bright colours and mark