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COLOURS OF ANIMALS

colours, a suggestion since verified by experiment (Proc. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1867, p. lxxx; Trans. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1869, pp. 21 and 27). Although animals with warning colours are probably but little attacked by the ordinary enemies of their class, they have special enemies which keep the numbers down to the average. Thus the cuckoo appears to be an insectivorous bird which will freely devour conspicuously coloured unpalatable larvae. The effect of the warning colours of caterpillars is often intensified by gregarious habits. Another aposematic use of colours and structures is to divert attention from the vital parts, and thus give the animal attacked an extra chance of escape. The large, conspicuous, easily torn wings of butterflies and moths act in this way, as is found by the abundance of individuals which may be captured with notches bitten symmetrically out of both wings when they were in contact. The eye-spots and “tails” so common on the hinder part of the hind wing, and the conspicuous apex so frequently seen on the fore wing, probably have this meaning. Their position corresponds to the parts which are most offen found to be notched. In some cases (e.g. many Lycaenidae) the “tail” and eye-spot combine to suggest the appearance of a head with antennae at the posterior end of the butterfly, the deception being aided by movements of the hind wings. The flat-topped “tussocks” of hair on many caterpillars look like conspicuous fleshy projections of the body, and they are held prominently when the larva is attacked. If seized, the “tussock” comes out, and the enemy is greatly inconvenienced by the fine branched hairs. The tails of lizards, which easily break off, are to be similarly explained, the attention of the pursuer being probably still further diverted by the extremely active movements of the amputated member. Certain crabs similarly throw off their claws when attacked, and the claws continue to snap most actively. The tail of the dormouse, which easily comes off, and the extremely bushy tail of the squirrel, are probably of use in the same manner. Animals with warning colours often tend to resemble each other superficially. This fact was first pointed out by H. W. Bates in his paper on the theory of mimicry (Trans. Linn. Soc. vol. xxiii., 1862, p. 495). He showed that the conspicuous, presumably unpalatable, tropical American butterflies, belonging to very different groups, which are mimicked by others, also tend to resemble each other, the likeness being often remarkably exact. These resemblances were not explained by his theory of mimicry, and he could only suppose that they had been produced by the direct influence of a common environment. The problem was solved in 1879 by Fritz Müller (see Proc. Ent. Soc. Lond., 1879, p. xx.), who suggested that life is saved by this resemblance between warning colours, inasmuch as the education of young inexperienced enemies is facilitated. Each species which falls into a group with common warning (synaposematic) colours contributes to save the lives of the other members. It is sufficiently obvious that the amount of learning and remembering, and consequently of injury and loss of life involved in the process, are reduced when many species in one place possess the same aposematic colouring, instead of each exhibiting a different “danger-signal.” These resemblances are often described as “Müllerian mimicry,” as distinguished from true or “Batesian mimicry” described in the next section. Similar synaposematic resemblances between the specially protected groups of butterflies were afterwards shown to exist in tropical Asia, the East Indian Islands and Polynesia by F. Moore (Proc. Zool. Soc., 1883, p. 201), and in Africa by E. B. Poulton (Report Brit. Assoc., 1897, p. 688). R. Meldola (Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist. x., 1882, p. 417) first pointed out and explained in the same manner the remarkable general uniformity of colour and pattern which runs through so many species of each of the distasteful groups of butterflies; while, still later, Poulton (Proc. Zool. Soc., 1887, p. 191) similarly extended the interpretation to the synaposematic resemblances between animals of all kinds in the same country. Thus, for example, longitudinal or circular bands of the same strongly contrasted colours are found in species of many groups with distant affinities.

Certain animals, especially the Crustacea, make use of the special defence and warning colours of other animals. Thus the English hermit-crab, Pagurus Bernhardus, commonly carries the sea-anemone, Sagartia parasitica, on its shell; while another English species, Pagurus Prideauxii, inhabits a shell which is invariably clothed by the flattened Adamsia palliata.

The white patch near the tail which is frequently seen in the gregarious Ungulates, and is often rendered conspicuous by adjacent black markings, probably assists the individuals in keeping together; and appearances with probably the same interpretation are found in many birds. The white upturned tail of the rabbit is probably of use in enabling the individuals to follow each other readily. The difference between a typical aposematic character appealing to enemies, and episematic intended for other individuals of the same species, is well seen when we compare such examples as (1) the huge banner-like white tail, conspicuously contrasted with the black or black and white body, by which the slow-moving skunk warns enemies of its power of emitting an intolerably offensive odour; (2) the small upturned white tail of the rabbit, only seen when it is likely to be of use and when the owner is moving, and, if pursued, very rapidly moving, towards safety.

Mimicry (see also Mimicry) or Pseudo-sematic Colours.—The fact that animals with distant affinities may more or less closely resemble each other was observed long before the existing explanation was possible. Its recognition is implied in a number of insect names with the termination -formis, usually given to species of various orders which more or less closely resemble the stinging Hymenoptera. The usefulness of the resemblance was suggested in Kirby and Spence’s Introduction to Entomology, London, 1817, ii. 223. H. W. Bates (Trans. Linn. Soc. vol. xxiii., 1862, p. 495) first proposed an explanation of mimicry based on the theory of natural selection. He supposed that every step in the formation and gradual improvement of the likeness occurred in consequence of its usefulness in the struggle for life. The subject is of additional interest, inasmuch as it was one of the first attempts to apply the theory of natural selection to a large class of phenomena up to that time well known but unexplained. Numerous examples of mimicry among tropical American butterflies were discussed by Bates in his paper; and in 1866 A. R. Wallace extended the hypothesis to the butterflies of the tropical East (Trans. Linn. Soc. vol. xxv., 1866, p. 19); Roland Trimen (Trans. Linn. Soc. vol. xxvi., 1870, p. 497) to those of Africa in 1870. The term mimicry is used in various senses. It is often extended, as indeed it was by Bates, to include all the superficial resemblances between animals and any part of their environment. Wallace, however, separated the cryptic resemblances already described, and the majority of naturalists have followed this convenient arrangement. In cryptic resemblance an animal resembles some object of no interest to its enemy (or prey), and in so doing is concealed; in mimicry an animal resembles some other animal which is specially disliked by its enemy, or some object which is specially attractive to its prey, and in so doing becomes conspicuous. Some naturalists have considered mimicry to include all superficial likenesses between animals, but such a classification would group together resemblances which have widely different uses. (1) The resemblance of a mollusc to the coral on which it lives, or an external parasite to the hair or skin of its host, would be procryptic; (2) that between moths which resemble lichen, syncryptic; (3) between distasteful insects, synaposematic; (4) between the Insectivor mole and the Rodent mole-rat, syntechnic; (5) the essential element in mimicry is that it is a false warning (pseud-aposematic) or false recognition (pseud-episematic) character. Some have considered that mimicry indicates resemblance to a moving object; but apart from the non-mimetic likenesses between animals classified above, there are ordinary cryptic resemblances to drifting leaves, swaying bits of twig, &c., while truly mimetic resemblances are often specially adapted for the attitude of rest. Many use the term mimicry to include synaposematic as well as pseudo-sematic resemblances, calling the former “Müllerian,” the latter “Batesian,” mimicry. The objection to this grouping is that it takes little account of the deceptive element which is essential in mimicry. In