The Problem of Butterfly Migration


FOR many years naturalists have known that the author was collecting material for this work, and have looked forward with great interest to its appearance. His own experiences have been prolonged and varied—gathered during considerable periods of residence in Trinidad, Egypt, and the north-eastern area of Tanganyika Territory. He has thus been able to compare the phenomena of migration presented by different butterflies in different parts of the world, as well as those presented by the same species during successive seasons in the same area. He has also diligently collected records of migration wherever they could be found. The difficulty in tracing the numberless references to the subject must have been immense, and an exhaustive treatment of the literature in any reasonable time, impossible; for, as the author points out, “owing to the way in which they strike the general public, records of large flights of butterflies appear to be particularly frequent in popular magazines, and it is recognised that many such accounts must have been missed”. He therefore appeals to naturalists for help by sending references direct to him or by publishing the data in some convenient journal under a suitable title. “Few things”, he writes, “are more exasperating than to discover that one has overlooked an important record of butterfly migration which was described in a popular book, ‘Through Malayan Mud in a Motor’, or—still more unforgivable—in a serious entomological paper entitled, let us say, ‘New Diptera Nematocera from Tasmania’!” It is to be hoped that these words will receive the attention they deserve, and that the author will be given all possible help in his important and interesting inquiry.

The Migration of Butterflies.

C. B. Williams. (Biological Monographs and Manuals.) Pp. xi + 473. (Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1930.) 21s. net.

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P., E. The Problem of Butterfly Migration. Nature 127, 807–809 (1931).

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