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of the year, and it is certainly advantageous for the beginner to commence his researches at a time when the abundance of insect life surrounding him in all directions, and forcing itself, as it were, upon his notice in all his walks, offers a constant succession of objects of interest. In the spring, when all nature wakes from the torpor of winter, this is especially the case. With the first days of sunshine thousands of insects make their appearance—the solitary bees and sandwasps are to be seen emerging from the galleries in which they have passed their early stages, or busily about the flowers and hovering over the banks of sand or clay in which they are about to burrow and deposit their eggs; the brilliant tiger-beetles flit about sandy lanes and commons, sparkling in the sunlight like living emeralds; the field-paths glitter in the morning with the small carnivorous beetles commonly known as “sunshiners,” whose place is taken in the evening by their larger relatives, the great ground beetles (Carabus); plenty of that multitude of beetles of various groups which deposit their eggs in the droppings of horses and cattle are seen flying stead ly through the air ; on the surface of still waters the whirligig-beetle is enjoying his mystic circular dance, while from time to time the waterbeetles come quietly up, and, after applying their tails for a moment to the surface, in search of air, plunge down again into the depths; or the water-boatman (Notonecta) hangs for a short time in a similar position, with his long oar-like legs outspread ready for action on the least alarm ; and even a few early butterflies, the beautiful “Brimstone” especially, flutter gaily through the air. On a fine day in spring or early summer the entomologist perhaps of all men in this blasé nineteenth century realises most fully the charm of old Izaak Walton's pastoral. Entomology may not improperly be denominated the modern “Contemplative Man's Recreation.”

It is unnecessary, and would lead me too far, to expatiate on the insect phenomena of the summer and autumn—on the succession of new forms which replace or mingle with those of the springtide, and keep the interest of the entomologist alive until quite late in the year. But there is one point which I would urge upon the beginner in the study of insects, and that is to yield to that instinct which is sure to prompt him at first to collect and gain some knowledge of all the forms which attract his attention, before sitting down to the special investigation of some one department which is almost equally certain to be the result of his further progress. It is only by this means that the full benefit of the study which it is my desire to recommend to the reader can be obtained.

It is, perhaps, hardly necessary at this time of day to vindicate the study of entomology, or indeed of any branch of zoology, from the charge of being merely the amusement of contemptibly frivolous minds. A century ago such a notion was by no means uncommon; and although some writers of that age occasionally touched upon subjects of natural history, this was done


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with a tone of conscious superiority, which sounds almost as if the gentlemen ip question felt that they were patronising Nature by condescending to take any notice of her productions. The entomologist, especially, was always somewhat of an object of pity, a sort of harmless lunatic. Dr. Johnson, we may fancy, would place him just a step or two higher than that young man who was last heard of “running about town shooting cats; " with others he was a virtuoso, and we all know pretty well what that term indicated ; and even Richardson, the mild idol of the tea-table, refers to natural-history pursuits in a fashion which may be taken to indicate pretty clearly the estimation in which they were held in his day. Lady G., Sir Charles Grandison's sister, writes of her husband: “He will give away to a virtuoso friend his collection of moths and butterflies: I once, he remembered, rallied him upon them. 'And by what study,' thought I wilt thou, honest man, supply their place? If thou hast a talent this way, pursue it; since perhaps thou wilt not shine in any other.' And the best of anything, you know, Harriet, carries with it the appearance of excellence. Nay, he would also part with his collection of shells, if I had no objection. To whom, my lord ?' He had not resolved. "Why, then, only as Emily is too little of a child, (!) or you might give them to her.'

He has taken my hint, and has presented his collection of shells to Emily; and they two are actually busied in admiring them; the one strutting over the beauties, in order to enhance the value of the present; the other curtseying ten times in a minute, to show her gratitude. Poor man! when his virtuoso friend has got his butterflies and moths, I am afraid he must set up a turner's shop for employment. There! isn't the badinage delightful? And, as if to point the moral, “ a fine set of Japan china with brown edges " is spoken of in the same letter in terms of appreciation, although the fussiness of my Lord G. in connection therewith receives a stroke or two. The gentle, moral Richardson evidently thought entomologists a somewhat contemptible race, as, at a later period, did that redoubtable satirist, “Peter Pindar," whose descriptions of Sir Joseph Banks in pursuit of the “Emperor of Morocco,” and boiling fleas to ascertain whether they were lobsters, are pretty well known.

If we consider the origin of this contempt, which undoubtedly until comparatively recent times did pursue the unfortunate entomologist, we may pretty safely refer it to two causes: in the first place, the ignorance of all natural history matters which must have prevailed in a society in which Oliver Goldsmith shone as a naturalist; and in the second to the fact, that most of the entomologists of the time were really mere collectors of insects as pretty things, to whom, therefore, the term virtuoso was peculiarly applicable. But the mere collecting of insects is surely at least as good as any other manifestation of the cacoethes colligendi which is so general an affection of humanity, and which leads to the accumulation of books in good bindings, of coins and medals, old china, statues, and otar works of art, by people who bave no true apprecia

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tion of their value. Even the making of butterfly pictures seems to be almost as intellectual an employment as the collecting of postage-stamps, which has been prosecuted with considerable zeal by a good many people in the present day. To this general riảicule we must, I think, add, in the case of entomology, that the practical collecting of insects for amusement was looked upon as a sort of sport, and therefore contemptible, because the game was so small; just on the same principle that the quiet angler is looked down upon by those who love “The noyse of houndys, the blastes of hornys, and the scrye of foulis, that hunters, fawkeners, and foulers make,” according to Dame Juliana Berners. Although the marked feeling here alluded to is happily extinct, its effects, no doubt, to some extent survive, and it may be due to them that professed zoologists at the present day unquestionably know less of insects than of any other class of animals.

Nowadays it will hardly be formally denied that all branches of natural history are well worth studying; and it is the object of the present article to show that entomology, however it may have been maligned in the past, presents certain advantages to the intending student which may well give it in many cases a preference over other departments of zoology. It has already been stated that entomological researches may be carried on all the year round, and it may be added that there is no locality in which they cannot be pursued-a matter of no small consequence to that great majority whose connections or avocations tie them down more or less to one spot. Even in the heart of large cities some representatives of most of the orders of insects may be met with ; and suburban gardens, if at all favourably placed, may furnish quite a large collection to those who work them systematically. The late Mr. James Francis Stephens used to relate that he had obtained over 2,000 species of insects in the little garden at the back of his house in Foxley Road, Kennington. Short excursions, which the custom of Saturday half-holidays renders particularly easy, will enable the entomologist who is condemned to a town life to have many opportunities of adding to his stores both of specimens and of knowledge, whilst the resident in the country may find fresh objects of interest in whatever direction he turns.

Further, the means of procuring these objects are very simple and inexpensive. The student of marine zoology may be left out of the question, because a seaside residence is more or less essential for his pursuits ; but even he cannot do very much practically without dredging, which is a troublesome and expensive operation. On the other hand, the ornithologist must either buy his specimens, or drag his gun about with him wherever he goes, on the chance of falling in with some desirable species; the representatives of other classes of animals than birds and insects in inland situations in this country are too few to enable them to come into competition with the latter. The entomologist requires only a net or two and a few pillboxes and bottles, all of which he can carry in his pockets, to set him up in his pursuit; and when he brings home his prizes he wants only two or three papers of pins, & few pieces of cork, and a close-fitting box or two lined with cork, for the preparation and preservation of his specimens. No doubt, with his progress, the appliances made use of by the entomologists will increase in number and complexity ; but the student of most other branches of zoology must either skin and stuff his specimens or preserve them in spirit or some other fluid, and his collections will in consequence cost more and occupy much more space.

As the characters upon which insects are classified are nearly all external—that is to say, derived from parts which may be investigated without destroying the specimens—their systematic study is very easily pursued, whilst their small size, by enabling a large number of species to be brought together within a very limited space, affords peculiar facilities for the comparison of characters, and for the recognition of the agreements and differences presented by the members of the same group. If the entomologist chooses to go further, and to investigate the anatomical structure of the objects of his study, their smallness may at first sight seem to be an obstacle in his way, but this is soon got over, and it then becomes an advantage, seeing that, owing to it, such researches may be carried on anywhere, without the necessity of devoting a special apartment to the purpose, which can hardly be dispensed with in the case of vertebrate animals. Moreover, as the hard parts of insects are nearly all outside, their anatomy, which is perhaps the most interesting of all, may be studied with the greatest ease, and in fact the most instructive parts of the morphology of insects are those which it is essential for the student to know in order to understand their classification. Thus, for example, the investigation of the structure of the mouth in insects of different orders will give the student a clearer idea of the meaning of the term homology, and of the changes which the same parts may undergo in animals, than could be furnished him by any other examples; and the series of modifications, occurring not only in the various types, but even in the same individuals, at different stages of their development, is most striking and instructive.

Again, these developmental stages, the transformations or metamor. phoses of insects, some knowledge of which is also necessary for the comprehension of the classification of these animals, furnish a study of never-ceasing interest, partly for its own sake, partly as giving the student a clear conception of the phenomena of metamor, hosis, which plays so important a part in other departments of zoology, and partly from the views which it opens up as to the natural history of insects and their complex relations to the world outside them. Here the parasitism of so mnany insects in their preparatory stages may especially be cited, as affording an endless and most instructive subject of investigation; and the whole series of phenomena comprised in the life-history of insects affords an easily studied representation of the great system of checks and counterchecks which pervades all nature in the destruction of herbiverous by carniverous animals, of the latter by other carnivores, and of both by parasites. Indeed, no other class of animals exhibits these inter-relations and mutual reactions between different organisms so clearly and so multifariously as the insects. Besides the ordinary division into herbivorous and carnivorous forms, we find many of both series restricted to one particular article of diet, or to nourishment de rived from a very few species nearly allied to each other; in their modes of activity insects reproduce those of all other classes of animals, combined with a few peculiar to themselves; the insidious phenomena of parasitism are displayed by them with a perfection of distinctness such as we meet with nowhere else ; and their influence is exerted in a thousand ways for the modification of other organisms with which they are brought into contact. Thus, according to Mr. Darwin's theory, which is adopted by a great many paturalists, the action of insects is of the utmost importance in the fertilisation of flowering plants, -nay, as an extension or corollary of this view, we find some who are prepared to maintain that insects are the cause of the development and beautiful coloration of flowers. All these different aspects of the relations of insects to the world outside them open up an infinity of paths for investigation, each of them leading to most interesting and important results, and calling for an exertion of the powers of observation which, as a mere mental training, cannot but produce the most beneficial results. Moreover, so much remains to be done in most of these fields of research, that almost every earnest worker may look forward to the probability of ascertaining some previously unknown facts of more or less importance - à hope which is not without its influence upon most minds. By the knowledge of the facts involved in the recognition of this general system. the entomologist may often render important services to the farmer and the gardener, and thus give a direct practical value to his studies. Nearly every production of the field or the garden is subject to the attacks of insects, which, ir case of their inordinate increase, may easily cause very great damage to the crops, or even destroy them altogether. In the face of such enemies the cultivator is often quite helpless, and not unfrequently mistakes his friends for his foes, attributing the mischief produced by concealed enemies to more prominent forms, which are really doing their best for his benefit. In such cases the entomologist may step in to the assistance of his neighbour, indicate to him the real cause of the damage, and in many instances the best remedy, and the best time to employ it.

The asserted influence of insect agency upon the forms and colours of flowers, referred to above, leads to other considerations which may serve to give additional importance to the study of entomology. For while it is believed that plants and flowers are modified by the unconscious influence of insects, it is, on the other hand at least equally certain that the insects will undergo modifications in their turn: and there seems to be some reason to believe that the great and burning question as to the origin of species,

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