On the Colour and Colour-Patterns of Moths and Butterflies

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A PAPER by Mr. Alfred Goldsborough Mayer, on “The Colour and Colour-Patterns of Moths and Butterflies” (Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, vol. xxvii. No. 14, pp. 243–330, March 1897), is a rather elaborate discussion of a subject which has lately attracted much attention; but though Mr. Mayer has made some interesting experiments and observations, his results are neither so novel nor so important as he claims them to be. One of the most interesting parts of the paper is the account of the development of wing-colours during the pupal state, a summary being given of previous researches, supplemented by a series of new observations on common species of American moths and butterflies. The result arrived at is, that the wings are at first transparent, then white, then drab or dusky yellow, while all the purer and brighter colours arise later on. This is what might be expected from the general distribution of colour in lepidopterous insects, and has been indicated by Dr. Dixie and other writers as probable.

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