Page:Origin of Species 1872.djvu/409

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especially certain crustaceans, show us what wonderful changes of structure can be effected during development. Such changes, however, reach their acme in the so- called alternate generations of some of the lower animals. It is, for instance, an astonishing fact that a delicate branching coralline, studded with polypi, and attached to a submarine rock, should produce, first by budding and then by transverse division, a host of huge floating jelly- fishes; and that these should produce eggs, from which are hatched swimming animalcules, which attach themselves to rocks and become developed into branching corallines; and so on in an endless cycle. The belief in the essential identity of the process of alternate generation and of ordinary metamorphosis has been greatly strengthened by Wagner's discovery of the larva or maggot of a fly, namely the Cecidomyia, producing asexually other larvæ, and these others, which finally are developed into mature males and females, propagating their kind in the ordinary manner by eggs.

It may be worth notice that when Wagner's remarkable discovery was first announced, I was asked how was it possible to account for the larvæ of this fly having acquired the power of a sexual reproduction. As long as the case remained unique no answer could be given. But already Grimm has shown that another fly, a Chironomus, reproduces itself in nearly the same manner, and he believes that this occurs frequently in the order. It is the pupa, and not the larva, of the Chironomus which has this power; and Grimm further shows that this case, to a certain extent, "unites that of the Cecidomyia with the parthenogenesis of the Coccidæ;" — the term parthenogenesis implying that the mature females of the Coccidæ are capable of producing fertile eggs without the concourse of the male. Certain animals belonging to several classes are now known to have the power of ordinary reproduction at an unusually early age; and we have only to accelerate parthenogenetic reproduction by gradual steps to an earlier and earlier age — Chironomus showing us an almost exactly intermediate stage, viz., that of the pupa — and we can perhaps account for the marvellous case of the Cecidomyia.

It has already been stated that various parts in the same individual, which are exactly alike during an early embryonic period, become widely different and serve for widely different purposes in the adult state. So again it has been shown that generally the embryos of the most distinct species belonging to the same class are closely similar, but become, when fully developed, widely dissimilar. A better proof of this latter fact cannot be given than the statement by Von Baer that "the embryos of mammalia, of