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it inhabited; and the results of his observations are embodied in a paper published in the Linnean Transactions, in which he first explained the phenomena of “ mimicry” as the result of natural selection, and showed its identity in cause and purpose with protective resemblance to vegetable or inorganic forms.
The imitation of the Heliconidæ by the Leptalides is carried out to a wonderful degree in form as well as in colouring. The wings have become elongated to the same extent, and the antennæ and abdomen have both become lengthened, to correspond with the unusual condition in which they exist in the former family. In colouration there are several types in the different genera of Heliconidæ. The genus Mechanitis is generally of a rich semi-transparent brown, banded with black and yellow ; Methona is of large size, the wings transparent like horn, and with black transverse bands ; while the delicate Ithomias are all more or less transparent, with black veins and borders, and often with marginal and transverse bands of orange red. These different forms are all copied by the various species of Leptalis, every band and spot and tint of colour, and the various degrees of transparency, being exactly reproduced. As if to derive all the benefit possible from this protective mimicry, the habits have become so modified that the Leptalides generally frequent the very same spots as their models, and have the same mode of flight; and as they are always very scarce (Mr. Bates estimating their numbers at about one to a thousand of the group they resemble), there is hardly a
possibility of their being found out by their enemies. It is also very remarkable that in almost every case the particular Ithomias and other species of Heliconidæ which they resemble, are noted as being very common species, swarming in individuals, and found over wide range of country. This indicates antiquity and permanence in the species, and is exactly the condition most essential both to aid in the development of the resemblance, and to increase its utility.
But the Leptalides are not the only insects who have prolonged their existence by imitating the great protected group of Heliconidæ ;-a genus of quite another family of most lovely small American butterflies, the Erycinidæ, and three genera of diurnal moths, also present species which often mimic the same dominant forms, so that some, as Ithomia ilerdina of St. Paulo, for instance, have flying with them a few individuals of three widely different insects, which are yet disguised with exactly the same form, colour, and markings, so as to be quite undistinguishable when
the wing. Again, the Heliconidæ are not the only group that are imitated, although they are the most frequent models. The black and red group of South American Papilios, and the handsome Erycinian genus Stalachtis, have also a few who copy them; but this fact offers no difficulty, since these two groups are almost as dominant as the Heliconidæ. They both fly very slowly, they are both conspicuously coloured, and they both abound in individuals ; so that there is every reason to believe that they possess a protection of a similar kind
to the Heliconidæ, and that it is therefore equally an advantage to other insects to be mistaken for them. There is also another extraordinary fact that we are not yet in a position clearly to comprehend : some groups of the Heliconidæ themselves mimic other groups. Species of Heliconia mimic Mechanitis, and every species of Napeogenes mimics some other Heliconideous butterfly. This would seem to indicate that the distasteful secretion is not produced alike by all members of the family, and that where it is deficient protective imitation comes into play. It is this, perhaps, that has caused such a general resemblance among the Heliconidæ, such a uniformity of type with great diversity of colouring, since any aberration causing an insect to cease to look like one of the family would inevitably lead to its being attacked, wounded, and exterminated, even although it was not eatable.
In other parts of the world an exactly parallel series of facts have been observed. The Danaidæ and the Acræidæ of the Old World tropics form in fact one great group with the Heliconidæ. They have the same general form, structure, and habits: they possess the same protective odour, and are equally abundant in individuals, although not so varied in colour, blue and white spots on a black ground being the most general pattern. The insects which mimic these are chiefly Papilios, and Diadema, a genus allied to our peacock and tortoiseshell butterflies. In tropical Africa there is a peculiar group of the genus Danais, characterized by dark-brown and bluish-white colours, arranged in
bands or stripes. One of these, Danais niavius, is exactly imitated both by Papilio hippocoon and by Diadema anthedon ; another, Danais echeria, by Papilio cenea; and in Natal a variety of the Danais is found having a white spot at the tip of wings, accompanied by a variety of the Papilio bearing a corresponding white spot. Acræa gea is copied in its very peculiar style of colouration by the female of Papilio cynorta, by Panopæa hirce, and by the female of Elymnias phegea. Acræa euryta of Calabar has a female variety of Panopea hirce from the same place which exactly copies it; and Mr. Trimen, in his paper on Mimetic Analogies among African Butterflies, published in the Transactions of the Linnean Society for 1868, gives a list of no less than sixteen species and varieties of Diadema and its allies, and ten of Papilio, which in their colour and markings are perfect mimics of species or varieties of Danais or Acræa which inhabit the same districts.
Passing on to India, we have Danais tytia, a butterfly with semi-transparent bluish wings and a border of rich reddish brown. This remarkable style of colouring is exactly reproduced in Papilio agestor and in Diadema nama, and all three insects not unfrequently come together in collections made at Darjeeling. In the Philippine Islands the large and curious Idea leuconöe with its semi-transparent white wings, veined and spotted with black, is copied by the rare Papilio idæoides from the same islands.
In the Malay archipelago the very common and
beautiful Euplæa midamus is so exactly mimicked by two rare Papilios (P. paradoxa and P. ænigma) that I generally caught them under the impression that they were the more common species ; and the equally common and even more beautiful Euplæa rhadamanthus, with its pure white bands and spots on a ground of glossy blue and black, is reproduced in the Papilio caunus. Here also there are species of Diadema imitating the same group in two or three instances; but we shall have to adduce these further on in connexion with another branch of the subject.
It has been already mentioned that in South America there is a group of Papilios which have all the characteristics of a protected race, and whose peculiar colours and markings are imitated by other butterflies not so protected. There is just such a group also in the East, having very similar colours and the same habits, and these also are mimicked by other species in the same genus not closely allied to them, and also by a few of other families. Papilio hector, a common Indian butterfly of a rich black colour spotted with crimson, is so closely copied by Papilio romulus, that the latter insect has been thought to be its female. A close examination shows, however, that it is essentially different, and belongs to another section of the genus. Papilio antiphus and P. diphilus, black swallow-tailed butterflies with cream-coloured spots, are so well imitated by varieties of P. theseus, that several writers have classed them as the same species. Papilio liris, found only in the island of Timor, is accompanied