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strong on the wing and mount high in the air. In birds such marked differences of colour are not required, owing to their higher organization and more perfect senses, which render recognition easy by means of a combination of very slight differential characters. This principle may perhaps, however, account for some anomalies of coloration among the higher animals. Thus, while admitting that the hare and the rabbit are coloured protectively, Mr. Darwin remarks that the latter while running to its burrow, is made conspicuous to the sportsman, and no doubt to all beasts of prey, by its upturned white tail. But this very conspicuousness while running away, may be useful as a signal and guide to the young, who are thus enabled to escape danger by following the older rabbits, directly and without hesitation, to the safety of the burrow ; and this may be the more important from the semi-nocturnal habits of the animal. If this explanation is correct, and it certainly seems probable, it may serve as a warning of how impossible it is, without exact knowledge of the habits of an animal and a full consideration of all the circumstances, to decide that any particular coloration cannot be protective or in any way useful. Mr. Darwin himself is not free from such assumptions. Thus, he says:–“The zebra is conspicuously striped, and stripes cannot afford any protection on the open plains of South Africa.” But the zebra is a very swift animal, and, when in herds, by no means void of means of defence. The stripes therefore may be of use by enabling stragglers to distinguish their fellows at a distance, and they may be even protective when the animal is at rest among herbage— the only time when it would need protective colouring.
Until the habits of the zebra have been observed with special reference to these points, it is surely somewhat hasty to declare that the stripes “cannot afford any protection.” Colour Proportionate to Integumentary Development. —The wonderful display and endless variety of colour in which butterflies and birds so far exceed all other animals, seems primarily due to the excessive development and endless variations of the integumentary structures. No insects have such widely-expanded wings in proportion to their bodies as butterflies and moths; in none do the wings vary so much in size and form, and in none are they clothed with such a beautiful and highly-organized coating of scales. According to the general principles of the production of colour already explained, these long-continued expansions of membranes and developments of surface structures, must have led to numerous colour-changes; which have been sometimes checked, sometimes fixed and utilised, sometimes intensified, by natural selection, according to the needs of the animal. In birds, too, we have the wonderful clothing of plumage—the most highly organized, the most varied, and the most expanded of all dermal appendages. The endless processes of growth and change during the development of feathers, and the enormous extent of this delicately-organized surface, must have been highly favourable to the production of varied colour-effects; which, when not injurious, have been merely fixed for purposes of specific identification, but have often been modified or suppressed whenever different tints were needed for purposes of protection. Selection by Females not a Cause of Colour.—To conscious sexual selection, that is, the actual choice by the females of the more brilliantly-coloured males, I believe very little if any effect is directly due. It is undoubtedly proved that in birds the females do sometimes exert a choice; but the evidence of this fact collected by Mr. Darwin (Descent of Man, chap. xiv.) does not prove that colour determines that choice, while much of the strongest evidence is directly opposed to this view. All the facts appear to be consistent with the choice depending on a variety of male characteristics, with some of which colour is often correlated. Thus it is the opinion of some of the best observers that vigour and liveliness are most attractive, and these are no doubt usually associated with intensity of colour. Again, the display of the various ornamental appendages of the male during courtship may be attractive; but these appendages, with their bright colours or shaded patterns, are due probably to general laws of growth, and to that superabundant vitality which we have seen to be a cause of colour. But there are many considerations which seem to show that the possession of these ornamental appendages and bright colours in the male is not an important character functionally, and that it has not been produced by the action of conscious sexual selection. Amid the copious mass of facts and opinions collected by Mr. Darwin as to the display of colour and ornaments by the male birds, there is a total absence of any evidence that the females admire or even notice this display. The hen, the turkey, and the pea-fowl go on feeding while the male is displaying his finery; and there is reason to believe that it is his persistency and energy rather than his beauty which wins the day. Again, evidence collected by Mr. Darwin himself proves that each bird finds a mate under any circumstances. He gives a number of cases of one of a pair of birds being shot, and the survivor being always found paired again almost immediately. This is sufficiently explained on the assumption that the destruction of birds by various causes is continually leaving widows and widowers in nearly equal proportions, and thus each one finds a fresh mate ; and it leads to the conclusion that permanently unpaired birds are very scarce; so that, speaking broadly, every bird finds a mate and breeds. But this would almost or quite neutralize any effect of sexual selection of colour or ornament, since the less highly-coloured birds would be at no disadvantage as regards leaving healthy offspring. If, however, heightened colour is correlated with health and vigour; and if these healthy and vigorous birds provide best for their young, and leave offspring which, being equally healthy and vigorous, can best provide for themselves—which cannot be denied; then natural selection becomes a preserver and intensifier of colour. Another most important consideration is, that male butterflies rival or even excel the most gorgeous male birds in bright colours and elegant patterns; and among these there is literally not one particle of evidence that the female is influenced by colour, or even that she has any power of choice; while there is much direct evidence to the contrary (Descent of Man, p. 318). The weakness of the evidence for conscious sexual selection among these insects is so palpable, that Mr. Darwin is obliged to supplement it by the singularly inconclusive argument that, “Unless the female prefer one male to another, the pairing must be left to mere chance, and this does not appear probable" (l.c. p. 317). But he has just said— “The males sometimes fight together in rivalry, and many may be seen pursuing or crowding round the same female;” while in the case of the silk-moths, “the females appear not to evince the least choice in regard to their partners.” Surely the plain inference from all this is, that males fight and struggle for the almost passive female; and that the most vigorous and energetic, the strongest-winged or the most persevering, wins her. How can there be chance in this 2 Natural selection would here act, as in birds, in perpetuating the strongest and most vigorous males; and as these would usually be the more highly coloured of their race, the same results would be produced as regards the intensification and variation of colour in the one case as in the other. Let us now see how these principles will apply to some of the cases adduced by Mr. Darwin in support of his theory of conscious sexual selection. In Descent of Man, 2nd ed., pp. 307-316, we find an elaborate account of the various modes of colouring of butterflies and moths, proving that the coloured parts are always more or less displayed, and that they have some evident relation to an observer. Mr. Darwin then says: “From the several foregoing facts it is impossible to admit that the brilliant colours of butterflies, and of some few moths, have commonly been acquired for the sake of protection. We have seen that their colours and elegant patterns are arranged and exhibited as if for display. Hence I am led to believe that the females prefer or are most excited by the more brilliant males; for on any other supposition the males would, as