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said to be absolutely perfect; and the protection which it affords is sufficiently indicated by the abundance of the individuals that possess it.
The Rev. Joseph Greene has called attention to the striking harmony between the colours of those British moths which are on the wing in autumn and winter, and the prevailing tints of nature at those seasons. In autumn various shades of yellow and brown prevail, and he shows that out of fifty-two species that fly at this season, no less than forty-two are of corresponding colours. Orgyia antiqua, O. gonostigma, the genera Xanthia, Glæa, and Ennomos are examples. In winter, gray and silvery tints prevail, and the genus Chematobia and several species of Hybernia which fly during this season are of corresponding hues. No doubt if the habits of moths in a state of nature were more closely observed, we should find many cases of special protective resemblance. A few such have already been noticed. Agriopis aprilina, Acronycta psi, and many other moths which rest during the day on the north side of the trunks of trees can with difficulty be distinguished from the grey and green lichens that cover them. The lappet moth (Gastropacha querci) closely resembles both in shape and colour a brown dry leaf; and the well-known buff-tip moth, when at rest is like the broken end of a lichen-covered branch. There are some of the small moths which exactly resemble the dung of birds dropped on leaves, and on this point Mr. A. Sidgwick, in a paper read before the Rugby School Natural History Society, gives the following original observation :-"I myself have more than once mistaken Cilix compressa, a little white and grey moth, for a piece of bird's dung dropped upon a leaf, and vice versâ the dung for the moth. Bryophila Glandifera and Perla are the very image of the mortar walls on which they rest; and only this summer, in Switzerland, I amused myself for some time in watching a moth, probably Larentia tripunctaria, fluttering about quite close to me, and then alighting on a wall of the stone of the district which it so exactly matched as to be quite invisible a couple of yards off.” There are probably hosts of these resemblances which have not been observed, owing to the difficulty of finding many of the species in their stations of natural repose. Caterpillars are also similarly protected. Many exactly resemble in tint the leaves they feed upon ; others are like little brown twigs, and many are so strangely marked or humped, that when motionless they can hardly be taken to be living creatures at all. Mr. Andrew Murray has remarked how closely the larva of the peacock moth (Saturnia pavonia-minor) harmonizes in its ground colour with that of the young buds of heather on which it feeds, and that the pink spots with which it is decorated correspond with the flowers and flower-buds of the same plant.
The whole order of Orthoptera, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, &c., are protected by their colours harmonizing with that of the vegetation or the soil on which they live, and in no other group have we such striking examples of special resemblance. Most of the
tropical Mantidæ and Locustidæ are of the exact tint of the leaves on which they habitually repose, and many of them in addition have the veinings of their wings modified so as exactly to imitate that of a leaf. This is carried to the furthest possible extent in the wonderful genus, Phyllium, the “ walking leaf,” in which not only are the wings perfect imitations of leaves in every detail, but the thorax and legs are flat, dilated, and leaf-like; so that when the living insect is resting among the foliage on which it feeds, the closest observation is often unable to distinguish between the animal and the vegetable.
The whole family of the Phasmidæ, or spectres, to which this insect belongs, is more or less imitative, and a great number of the species are called “ walking-stick insects," from their singular resemblance to twigs and branches. Some of these are a foot long and as thick as one's finger, and their whole colouring, form, rugosity, and the arrangement of the head, legs, and antennæ, are such as to render them absolutely identical in appearance with dead sticks. They hang loosely about shrubs in the forest, and have the extraordinary habit of stretching out their legs unsymmetrically, so as to render the deception more complete. One of these creatures obtained by myself in Borneo (Ceroxylus laceratus) was covered over with foliaceous excrescences of a clear olive green colour, so as exactly to resemble a stick grown over by a creeping moss or jungermannia. The Dyak who brought it me assured me it was grown over with moss although alive, and it was only after a
most minute examination that I could convince myself it was not so.
We need not adduce any more examples to show how important are the details of form and of colouring in animals, and that their very existence may often depend upon their being by these means concealed from their enemies. This kind of protection is found apparently in every class and order, for it has been noticed wherever we can obtain sufficient knowledge of the details of an animal's life-history. It varies in degree, from the mere absence of conspicuous colour or a general harmony with the prevailing tints of nature, up to such a minute and detailed resemblance to inorganic or vegetable structures as to realize the talisman of the fairy tale, and to give its possessor the power of rendering itself invisible.
Theory of Protective Colouring. We will now endeavour to show how these wonderful resemblances have most probably been brought about. Returning to the higher animals, let us consider the remarkable fact of the rarity of white colouring in the mammalia or birds of the temperate or tropical zones in a state of nature. There is not a single white landbird or quadruped in Europe, except the few arctic or alpine species, to which white is a protective colour. Yet in many of these creatures there seems to be no inherent tendency to avoid white, for directly they are domesticated white varieties arise, and appear to thrive as well as others. We have white mice and rats, white
cats, horses, dogs, and cattle, white poultry, pigeons, turkeys, and ducks, and white rabbits. Some of these animals have been domesticated for a long period, others only for a few centuries; but in almost every case in which an animal has been thoroughly domesticated, parti-coloured and white varieties are produced and become permanent.
It is also well known that animals in a state of nature produce white varieties occasionally. Blackbirds, starlings, and crows are occasionally seen white, as well as elephants, deer, tigers, hares, moles, and many other animals; but in no case is a permanent white race produced. Now there are no statistics to show that the normal-coloured parents produce white offspring oftener under domestication than in a state of nature, and we have no right to make such an assumption if the facts can be accounted for without it. But if the colours of animals do really, in the various instances already adduced, serve for their concealment and preservation, then white or any other conspicuous colour must be hurtful, and must in most cases shorten an animal's life. A white rabbit would be more surely the prey of hawk or buzzard, and the white mole, or field mouse, could not long escape from the vigilant owl. So, also, any deviation from those tints best adapted to conceal a carnivorous animal would render the pursuit of its prey much more difficult, would place it at a disadvantage among its fellows, and in a time of scarcity would probably cause it to starve to death. On the other hand, if an animal spreads from a