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proportion of the Satyridae and many of the Danaidae are shade-loving butterflies. This question, of what is to be considered the highest type of any group of organisms, is one of such general interest to naturalists that it will be well to consider it a little further, by a comparison of the Lepidoptera with some groups of the higher animals. Mr. Trimen’s argument, that the lepidopterous type, like that of birds, being pre-eminently ačrial, “therefore a diminution of the ambulatory organs, instead of being a sign of inferiority, may very possibly indicate a higher, because a more thoroughly aerial form,” is certainly unsound, for it would imply that the most ačrial of birds (the swift and the frigatebirds, for example) are the highest in the scale of bird-organization, and the more so on account of their feet being very ill adapted for walking. But no ornithologist has ever so classed them, and the claim to the highest rank among birds is only disputed between three groups, all very far removed from these. They are — 1st. The Falcons, on account of their general perfection, their rapid flight, their piercing vision, their perfect feet armed with retractile claws, the beauty of their forms, and the ease and rapidity of their motions; 2nd. The Parrots, whose feet, though ill-fitted for walking, are perfect as prehensile organs, and which possess large brains with great intelligence, though but moderate powers of flight; and, 3rd. The Thrushes or Crows, as typical of the perching birds, on account of the well-balanced development of their whole structure, in which no organ or function has attained an undue prominence. Turning now to the Mammalia, it might be argued that as they are pre-eminently the terrestrial type of vertebrates, to walk and run well is essential to the typical perfection of the group ; but this would give the superiority to the horse, the deer, or the hunting leopard, instead of to the Quadrumana. We seem here to have quite a case in point, for one group of Quadrumana, the Lemurs, is undoubtedly nearer to the low Insectivora and Marsupials than the Carnivora or the Ungulata, as shown among other characters by the Opossums possessing a hand with perfect opposable thumb, closely resembling that of some of the Lemurs; and by the curious Galeopithecus, which is sometimes classed as a Lemur, and sometimes with the Insectivora. Again, the implacental mammals, including the Ornithodelphia and the Marsupials, are admitted to be lower than the placental series. But one of the distinguishing characters of the Marsupials is that the young are born blind and exceedingly imperfect, and it might therefore be argued that those orders in which the young are born most perfect are the highest, because farthest from the low Marsupial type. This would make the Ruminants and Ungulata higher than the Quadrumana or the Carnivora. But the Mammalia offer a still more remarkable illustration of the fallacy of this mode of reasoning, for if there is one character more than another which is essential and distinctive of the class, it is that from which it derives its name, the possession of mammary glands and the power of suckling the young. What more reasonable, apparently, than to argue that the group in which this important function is most developed, that in which the young are most dependent upon it, and for the longest period, must be the highest in the Mammalian scale of organization ? Yet this group is the Marsupial, in which the young commence suckling in a foetal condition, and continue to do so till they are fully developed, and are therefore for a long time absolutely dependent on this mode of nourishment. These examples, I think, demonstrate that we cannot settle the rank of a group by a consideration of the degree in which certain characters resemble or differ from those in what is admitted to be a lower group; and they also show that the highest group of a class may be more closely connected to one of the lowest, than some other groups which have developed laterally and diverged farther from the parent type, but which yet, owing to want of balance or too great specialization in their structure, have never reached a high grade of organization. The Quadrumana afford a very valuable illustration, because, owing to their undoubted affinity with man, we feel certain that they are really higher than any other order of Mammalia, while at the same time they are more distinctly allied to the lowest groups than many others. The case of the Papilionidae seems to me so exactly parallel to this, that, while I admit all the proofs of affinity with the undoubtedly lower groups of Hesperidae and moths, I yet maintain that, owing to the complete and even development of every part of their organization, these insects best represent the highest perfection to which the butterfly type has attained, and
deserve to be placed at its head in every system of classification.
Distribution of the Papilionida.
The Papilionidae are pretty widely distributed over the earth, but are especially abundant in the tropics, where they attain their maximum of size and beauty, and the greatest variety of form and colouring. South America, North India, and the Malay Islands are the regions where these fine insects occur in the greatest profusion, and where they actually become a not unimportant feature in the scenery. In the Malay Islands in particular, the giant Ornithopterae may be frequently seen about the borders of the cultivated and forest districts, their large size, stately flight, and gorgeous colouring rendering them even more conspicuous than the generality of birds. In the shady suburbs of the town of Malacca two large and handsome Papilios (Memnon and Nephelus) are not uncommon, flapping with irregular flight along the roadways, or, in the early morning, expanding their wings to the invigorating rays of the sun. In Amboyna and other towns of the Moluccas, the magnificent Deiphobus and Severus, and occasionally even the azure-winged Ulysses, frequent similar situations, fluttering about the Orange-trees and flower-beds, or sometimes even straying into the narrow bazaars or covered markets of the city. In Java the goldendusted Arjuna may often be seen at damp places on the roadside in the mountain districts, in company with Sarpedon, Bathycles, and Agamemnon, and less frequently the beautiful swallow-tailed Antiphates. In the more luxuriant parts of these islands one can hardly take a morning's walk in the neighbourhood of a town or village without seeing three or four species of Papilio, and often twice that number. No less than 130 species of the family are now known to inhabit the Archipelago, and of these ninety-six were collected by myself. Thirty species are found in Borneo, being the largest number in any one island, twenty-three species having been obtained by myself in the vicinity of Sarawak; Java has twenty-eight species; Celebes twenty-four, and the Peninsula of Malacca, twenty-six species. Further east the numbers decrease; Batchian producing seventeen, and New Guinea only fifteen, though this number is certainly
too small, owing to our present imperfect knowledge of that great island.
Definition of the word Species.
In estimating these numbers I have had the usual difficulty to encounter, of determining what to consider species and what varieties. The Malayan region, consisting of a large number of islands of generally great antiquity, possesses, compared to its actual area, a great number of distinct forms, often indeed dis