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Part II.
The Descent of Man.

butterflies prefer the more beautiful males; thus, as I have been assured by several collectors, fresh females may frequently be seen paired with battered, faded, or dingy males; but this is a circumstance which could hardly fail often to follow from the males emerging from their cocoons earlier than the females. With moths of the family of the Bombycidæ, the sexes pair immediately after assuming the imago state; for they cannot feed, owing to the rudimentary condition of their mouths. The females, as several entomologists have remarked to me, lie in an almost torpid state, and appear not to evince the least choice in regard to their partners. This is the case with the common silk-moth (B. mori), as I have been told by some continental and English breeders. Dr. Wallace, who has had great experience in breeding Bombyx cynthia, is convinced that the females evince no choice or preference. He has kept above 300 of these moths together, and has often found the most vigorous females mated with stunted males. The reverse appears to occur seldom; for, as he believes, the more vigorous males pass over the weakly females, and are attracted by those endowed with most vitality. Nevertheless, the Bombycidæ, though obscurely-coloured, are often beautiful to our eyes from their elegant and mottled shades.

I have as yet only referred to the species in which the males are brighter coloured than the females, and I have attributed their beauty to the females for many generations having chosen and paired with the more attractive males. But converse cases occur, though rarely, in which the females are more brilliant than the males; and here, as I believe, the males have selected the more beautiful females, and have thus slowly added to their beauty. We do not know why in various classes of animals the males of some few species have selected the more beautiful females instead of having gladly accepted any female, as seems to be the general rule in the animal kingdom; but if, contrary to what generally occurs with the Lepidoptera, the females were much more numerous than the males, the latter would be likely to pick out the more beautiful females. Mr. Butler shewed me several species of Callidryas in the British Museum, in some of which the females equalled, and in others greatly surpassed the males in beauty; for the females alone have the borders of their wings suffused with crimson and orange, and spotted with black. The plainer males of these species closely resemble each other, showing that here the females have been modified; whereas in those cases, where the males are the more ornate, it is these which have been modified, the females remaining closely alike.