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Colenso—Coleoptera

Colenso, John William (1814–1883), English bishop of Natal, was born at St Austell, Cornwall, on the 24th of January 1814. His family were in embarrassed circumstances, and he was indebted to relatives for the means of university education. In 1836 he was second wrangler and Smith’s prizeman at Cambridge, and in 1837 he became fellow of St John’s. Two years later he went to Harrow as mathematical tutor, but the step proved an unfortunate one. The school was just then at the lowest ebb, and Colenso not only had few pupils, but lost most of his property by a fire. He went back to Cambridge, and in a short time paid off heavy debts by diligent tutoring and the proceeds of his series of manuals of algebra (1841) and arithmetic (1843), which were adopted all over England. In 1846 he became rector of Forncett St Mary, Norfolk, and in 1853 he was appointed bishop of Natal. He at once devoted himself to acquiring the Zulu language, of which he compiled a grammar and a dictionary, and into which he translated the New Testament and other portions of Scripture. He had already given evidence, in a volume of sermons dedicated to Maurice, that he was not satisfied with the traditional views about the Bible. The puzzling questions put to him by the Zulus strengthened him in this attitude and led him to make a critical examination of the Pentateuch. His conclusions, positive and negative, were published in a series of treatises on the Pentateuch, extending from 1862 to 1879, and, being in advance of his time, were naturally disputed in England with a fervour of conviction equal to his own. On the continent they attracted the notice of Abraham Kuenen, and furthered that scholar’s investigations.

While the controversy raged in England, the South African bishops, whose suspicions Colenso had already incurred by the liberality of his views respecting polygamy among native converts and by a commentary upon the Epistle to the Romans (1861), in which he combated the doctrine of eternal punishment, met in conclave to condemn him, and pronounced his deposition (December 1863). Colenso, who had refused to appear before their tribunal otherwise than as sending a protest by proxy, appealed to the privy council, which pronounced that the metropolitan of Cape Town (Robert Gray) had no coercive jurisdiction and no authority to interfere with the bishop of Natal. No decision, therefore, was given upon the merits of the case. His adversaries, though unable to obtain his condemnation, succeeded in causing him to be generally inhibited from preaching in England, and Bishop Gray not only excommunicated him but consecrated a rival bishop for Natal (W. K. Macrorie), who, however, took his title from Maritzburg. The contributions of the missionary societies were withdrawn, but an attempt to deprive him of his episcopal income was frustrated by a decision of the courts. Colenso, encouraged by a handsome testimonial raised in England, to which many clergymen subscribed, returned to his diocese, and devoted the latter years of his life to further labours as a biblical commentator and translator. He also championed the cause of the natives against Boer oppression and official encroachments, a course by which he made more enemies among the colonists than he had ever made among the clergy. He died at Durban on the 20th of June 1883. His daughter Frances Ellen Colenso (1840–1887) published two books on the relations of the Zulus to the British (1880 and 1885), taking a pro-Zulu view; and an elder daughter, Harriette E. Colenso (b. 1847), became prominent as an advocate of the natives in opposition to their treatment by Natal, especially in the case of Dinizulu in 1888–1889 and in 1908–1909.

See his Life by Sir G. W. Cox (2 vols., London, 1888).

Colenso, a village of Natal on the right or south bank of the Tugela river, 16 m. by rail south by east of Ladysmith. It was the scene of an action fought on the 15th of December 1899 between the British forces under Sir Redvers Buller and the Boers, in which the former were repulsed. (See Ladysmith.)

Coleoptera, a term used in zoological classification for the true beetles which form one of the best-marked and most natural of the orders into which the class Hexapoda (or Insecta) has been divided. For the relationship of the Coleoptera to other orders of insects see Hexapoda. The name (Gr. κολϵός, a sheath, and πτϵρά, wings) was first used by Aristotle, who noticed the firm protective sheaths, serving as coverings for the hind-wings which alone are used for flight, without recognizing their correspondence with the fore-wings of other insects.

These firm fore-wings, or elytra (fig. 1, A), are usually convex above, with straight hind margins (dorsa); when the elytra are closed, the two hind margins come together along the mid-dorsal line of the body, forming a suture. In many beetles the hind-wings are reduced to mere vestiges useless for flight, or are altogether absent, and in such cases the two elytra are often fused together at the suture; thus organs originally intended for flight have been transformed into an armour-like covering for the beetle’s hind-body. In correlation with their heavy build and the frequent loss of the power of flight, many beetles are terrestrial rather than aerial in habit, though a large proportion of the order can fly well.

Aristotle’s term was adopted by Linnaeus (1758), and has been universally used by zoologists. The identification of the elytra of beetles with the fore-wings of other insects has indeed been questioned (1880) by F. Meinert, who endeavoured to compare them with the tegulae of Hymenoptera, but the older view was securely established by the demonstration in pupal elytra by J. G. Needham (1898) and W. L. Tower (1903), of nervures similar to those of the hind-wing, and by the proof that the small membranous structures present beneath the elytra of certain beetles, believed by Meinert to represent the whole of the true fore-wings, are in reality only the alulae.

Structure.—Besides the conspicuous character of the elytra, beetles are distinguished by the adaptation of the jaws for biting, the mandibles (fig. 1, Bb) being powerful, and the first pair of maxillae (fig. 1, Bc) usually typical in form. The maxillae of the second pair (fig. 1, Bd) are very intimately fused together to form what is called the “lower lip” or labium, a firm transverse plate representing the fused basal portions of the maxillae, which may carry a small median “ligula,” representing apparently the fused inner maxillary lobes, a pair of paraglossae (outer maxillary lobes), and a pair of palps. The feelers of beetles differ greatly in the different families (cf. figs. 2b, 9b and 26b, c); the number of segments is usually eleven, but may vary from two to more than twenty.

The head is extended from behind forwards, so that the crown (epicranium) is large, while the face (clypeus) is small. The chin (gula) is a very characteristic sclerite in beetles, absent only in a few families, such as the weevils. There is usually a distinct labrum (fig. 1, Ba).

The prothorax is large and “free,” i.e. readily movable on the mesothorax, an arrangement usual among insects with the power of rapid running. The tergite of the prothorax (pronotum) is prominent in all beetles, reaching back to the bases of the elytra and forming a substantial shield for the front part of the body. The tergal regions of the mesothorax and of the metathorax are hidden under the pronotum and the elytra when the latter are closed, except that the mesothoracic scutellum is often visible—a small triangular or semicircular plate between the bases of the elytra (fig. 1, A). The ventral region of the thoracic skeleton is complex, each segment usually possessing a median sternum with paired episterna (in front) and epimera (behind). The articular surfaces of the haunches (coxae) of the fore-legs are often conical or globular, so that each limb works in a ball-and-socket joint, while the hind haunches are large, displacing the ventral sclerites of the first two abdominal segments (fig. 1, C). The legs themselves (fig. 1, A) are of the usual insectan type, but in many families one, two, or even three of the five foot-segments may be reduced or absent. In beetles of aquatic habit the intermediate and hind legs are modified as swimming-organs (fig. 2, a), while in many beetles that burrow into the earth or climb about on trees the fore-legs are broadened and strengthened for digging, or lengthened and modified for clinging to branches. The hard fore-wings (elytra) are strengthened with marginal ridges, usually inflected ventrally to form epipleura which fit accurately along the edges of the