Popular Science Monthly/Volume 11/May 1877/Correspondence


To the Editor of the Popular Science Monthly.

UNDER the above heading, in the January number, Mr. Meehan calls for a list of the Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera, abundant enough to probably act as cross-fertilizers of flowers in the region observed by him—namely, from Denver to Golden City and Idaho Springs, through the South Park to Pike's Peak, thence returning to Denver direct.

In 1871 (the year of Mr. Meehan's observations) I spent the months of June, July, August, and September, entirely in the region mentioned, and devoted my time almost exclusively to the collection and observation of Lepidoptera. In no place out-side of the tropics have I found a better collecting-ground, at least so far as diurnals are concerned, both as to variety of species and number of specimens. This abundance, however, is chiefly noticeable early in the season, as indicated by the number of specimens I was able to secure in the different months—namely, 1,792 in June, 1,483 in July, 607 in August, and only 43 in September.

Of insects of other orders I collected about 3,800 specimens; but very few of them were Hymenoptera, as I devoted only rainy days to the collection of insects other than butterflies. Several species of humble-bees were observed; these did not seem to confine their attention to any particular kind of flower.

At Idaho Springs, about the middle of August, I saw hundreds of Noctuidæ attracted by the lights of the hotel, and captured some sixty specimens. A noteworthy fact is that in the Alpine regions many Noctuidæ were diurnal in their habits. The most abundant species was Heliothis Meadii (Grote); these moths were found flying from flower to flower, or resting upon flowers both above and below the timber-line. The white-lined sphinx (Deilephila lineata) was also quite plentiful in some spots, and seemed quite partial to larkspur and similar showy flowers.

Certain diurnals of arctic types positively swarmed on many of the peaks—for example, Argynnis Helena (Edwards), and lower down several species of Melitæa, Phyciodes, and Argynnis, were constantly to be found at flowers.

I give a list of the more abundant butterflies, with the number of specimens of each species or genus taken, classing those occurring almost entirely at or above the timber-line as Alpine; those found mostly below 11,000 feet elevation as valley species—the species in the latter class which range above the timber-line to any great extent are designated by an asterisk (*).

Necessarily most of the collecting was done below the timber-line; hence the Alpine species were more abundant in individuals than the recorded number of specimens collected would indicate. None of the species are likely to have been introduced by the agency of man.

Colias Meadii 65
Argynnis (5 species) 190
Chionobas (2 species) 25
Erebia Tyndarus, variety Callias 62
Hesperia near Centaureæ 16
Parnassius Smintheus * 241
Pieris (3 species) 106
Anthocharis (2 species) 79
Colias (5 species) 339
Vanessa, Grapta, etc. (9 species) 138
Argynnis (8 species) 210
Euptoieta Claudia * (very abundant) 53
Melitæa and Phyciodes (8 species) 297
Satyridæ * (7 species) 495
Lycænidæ * (21 species) 835
Hesperidæ 219
Geometridæ and Noctuidæ * 318
Theodore L. Mead.
Cornell University, January 20, 1877.


To the Editor of the Popular Science Monthly.

Mr. Editor: Do the minute tones heard in "singing" or "ringing in the ears" have any musical relation to each other?

"Singing in the ears" is a mingling of minute tones, somewhat like the singing of a tea-kettle, caused by undue pressure of the circulation in the head, etc.

In my own case, the minute tones seem to be octaves, and thirds, and fifths apart, forming chords and progressive intervals.

In investigating the relation of music to the physiology of audition, I find this a very important question, demanding a multiplicity of evidence. Will those of your readers who have information on this matter (positive or negative, but exact) write to me?

X. Y, Clark,
Box 2,260,
San Francisco, California.


To the Editor of the Popular Science Monthly.

In the March number of your journal, page 634, is a notice of the "Singular Feeding-Habits of Wood-Ants," wherein occurs the statement that, if the ants were immersed in water and placed on the ant-hills, they were invariably attacked by other ants as enemies, etc. This action is so at variance with what I have observed, that I will mention an incident which occurred while I was botanizing in Wisconsin last summer. In passing by a large stump I observed that the top was covered with large wood-ants. They were feeding on crumbs of bread left by some school-children. On the stump was a depression, where the ants were in large numbers. Procuring some water from a lake close by, I poured it into the depression, submerging several dozen ants. The most of them swam to the margin; others were in danger of drowning. What was my astonishment to see those who had escaped rush into the water, seize their drowning fellows, and drag them to the shore, where they tenderly turned them over until satisfied they were alive, when the rescuers went back and tried to save others! A few were dragged out too late—they were dead. These were turned over, felt of by the antennæ of the rescuers, and left for dead. In no instance was there any appearance of violence to the wet ants by the dry ones. The intelligence shown by these ants was greater than I had ever dreamed they possessed, and since that time I have had a most sincere respect for my lowly fellow-laborers.

E. M. Hale, M.D.
Chicago, February 24, 1877.