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as to the various modes in which colour is produced or modified in the animal kingdom.
The various causes of colour in the animal world are, molecular and chemical change of the substance of their integuments, or the action on it of heat, light or moisture. It is also produced by interference of light in superposed transparent lamellæ, or by excessively fine surface-striæ. These elementary conditions for the production of colour are found everywhere in the surfacestructures of animals, so that its presence must be looked upon as normal, its absence as exceptional.
Colours are fixed or modified in animals by natural selection for various purposes ; obscure or imitative colours for concealment; gaudy colours as a warning; and special markings, either for easy recognition by strayed individuals, females, or young, or to direct attack from a vital part, as in the large brilliantlymarked wings of some butterflies and moths.
Colours are produced or intensified by processes of development,-either where the integument or its appendages undergo great extension or modification, or where there is a surplus of vital energy, as in male animals generally, and more especially at the breedingseason.
Colours are also more or less influenced by a variety of causes, such as the nature of the food, the photographic action of light, and also by some unknown local action probably dependent on chemical peculiarities in the soil or vegetation.
These various causes have acted and reacted in a variety of ways, and have been modified by conditions dependent on age or on sex, on competition with new
forms, or on geographical or climatic changes. In so complex a subject, for which experiment and systematic inquiry has done so little, we cannot expect to explain every individual case, or solve every difficulty ; but it is believed that all the great features of animal coloration and many of the details become explicable on the principles we have endeavoured to lay down.
It will perhaps be considered presumptuous to put forth this sketch of the subject of colour in animals, as a substitute for one of Mr. Darwin's most highly elaborated theories—that of voluntary or perceptive sexual selection ; yet I venture to think that it is more in accordance with the whole of the facts, and with the theory of natural selection itself; and I would ask such of my readers as may be sufficiently interested in the subject, to read again Chapters XI. to XVI. of the Descent of Man, and consider the whole subject from the point of view here laid down. The explanation of almost all the ornaments and colours of birds and insects as having been produced by the perceptions and choice of the females, has, I believe, staggered many evolutionists, but has been provisionally accepted because it was the only theory that even attempted to explain the facts. It may perhaps be a relief to some of them, as it has been to myself, to find that the phenomena can be shown to depend on the general laws of development, and on the action of “natural selection,” which theory will, I venture to think, be relieved from an abnormal excrescence and gain additional vitality, by the adoption of the views here imperfectly set forth.
Although we have arrived at the conclusion that
tropical light and heat can in no sense be considered as the cause of colour, there remains to be explained the undoubted fact that all the more intense and gorgeous tints are manifested by the animal life of the tropics ; while in some groups, such as butterflies and birds, there is a marked preponderance of highly-coloured species. This is probably due to a variety of causes, some of which we can indicate, while others remain to be discovered. The luxuriant vegetation of the tropics throughout the entire year affords so much concealment, that colour may there be safely developed to a much greater extent than in climates where the trees are bare in winter, during which season the struggle for existence is most severe, and even the slightest disadvantage may prove fatal. Equally important, probably, has been the permanence of favourable conditions in the tropics, allowing certain groups to continue dominant for long periods, and thus to carry out in one unbroken line whatever developments of plumage or colour may once have acquired an ascendency. Changes of climatal conditions, and pre-eminently the glacial epoch, probably led to the extinction of a host of highly-developed and finelycoloured insects and birds in temperate zones; just as we know that it led to the extinction of the larger and more powerful mammalia which formerly characterised the temperate zone in both hemispheres; and this view is supported by the fact that it is amongst those groups only which are now exclusively tropical that all the more extraordinary developments of ornament and colour are found. The obscure local causes of colour to which we have referred will also have acted most efficiently in regions where the climatal condition remained
constant, and where migration was unnecessary ; while whatever direct effect may be produced by light or heat, will necessarily have acted more powerfully within the tropics. And lastly, all these causes have been in action over an actually greater area in tropical than in temperate zones; while estimated potentially, in proportion to its life-sustaining power, the lands which enjoy a practically tropical climate (extending as they do considerably beyond the geographical tropics) are very much larger than the temperate regions of the earth.
Combining the effects of all these various causes we are quite able to understand the superiority of the tropical parts of the globe, not only in the abundance and variety of their forms of life, but also as regards the ornamental appendages and vivid coloration which these forms present.
THE COLOURS OF PLANTS AND THE ORIGIN
OF THE COLOUR-SENSE.
Source of Colouring matter in Plants-Protective Coloration and Mimicry
among Plants-Attractive Colours of Fruits-Protective Colours of Fruits-Attractive Colours of Flowers-Attractive Odours in FlowersAttractive grouping of Flowers-Why Alpine Flowers are so BeautifulWhy allied species of Flowers differ in Size and Beauty--Absence of Colours in Wind-fertilized Flowers—The same Theory of Colour applicable to Animals and Plants-Relation of the Colours of Flowers and their Geographical Distribution-Recent Views as to the Direct Action of Light on the Colours of Flowers and Fruits--On the Origin of the Coloursense-Supposed increase of Colour-perception within the Historical Period—Concluding Remarks on the Colour-sense.
The colouring of plants is neither so varied nor so complex as that of animals, and its explanation accordingly offers fewer difficulties. The colours of foliage are, comparatively, little varied, and can be traced in almost all cases to a special pigment termed chlorophyll, to which is due the general green colour of leaves ; but the recent investigations of Mr. Sorby and others have shown that chlorophyll is not a simple green pigment, but that it really consists of at least seven distinct substances, varying in colour from blue to yellow and orange. These differ in their proportions in the chlorophyll of different plants ; they have different chemical reactions; they are