Letter | Published:

The Effect of a Lead Salt on Lepidopterous Larvæ


FOR some time we have been studying the effect of adding various metallic salts to the food of the larvæ of Lepidoptera, and, as the results will not be ready for publication for about a year, desire to direct attention to the surprising result of using a salt of lead. When a dozen larvæ of S. ocellatus were fed on sprigs of apple which had been treated with lead nitrate it was soon obvious that they were eating more freely and growing more rapidly than the controls; by the time they were about three-fourths grown they consumed double the daily ration eaten by the latter. There was considerable disease among the controls and in another experimental batch, but those getting lead remained perfectly healthy and pupated about a fortnight earlier than the controls. The pupæ were a very fine lot, the males weighing on the average about 15 per cent, more than the controls, and the moths were large and somewhat peculiarly coloured; there were too few females for a comparison to be made. Confirmatory results have been obtained with the larvæ of other moths.

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