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Some few years since Mr. Dukinfield Jones, a young Civil Engineer of Liverpool, called at the Museum for the purpose of naming a small collection of Moths and Butterflies which he had collected during a recent professional visit to Brazil. Calling to mind the numerous collections of a similar kind brought home by travellers or sent from the country for mere trade purposes, I took the liberty of suggesting to him, that instead of confining his attention, on his proposed return to Brazil, to procuring and preserving Lepidoptera in their perfect state, he would obtain much more satisfactory results by collecting and studying their metamorphoses. The occupation would be in itself far more interesting, with much greater promise of additions to knowledge.
This seed of suggestion fell on good ground, as the Society is already aware from communications which I have had the honour and pleasure of bringing from time to time before its meetings. The present communication is further evidence of its author's zeal and diligence in cultivating the field suggested to him; but by no means displays all that he has accomplished. In a letter dated March 13, 1881, announcing the shipment of the collection, he makes the following statement:
"I regret that I have had to hurry greatly over the descriptions. You will probably observe that they are nothing more than dates of pupation, &c., from No. XXX, or thereabouts, to the end. I found the time was getting so short that I should not have finished them at all if I had written each as fully as I did at first. The present series
does not profess to include more than the full-fed larva, the pupa, and the imago. I hope hereafter I may have more time to devote to the subject, and work out the changes from the egg to the perfect insect. It has been very tantalizing to me this season to have to neglect so many caterpillars from want of leisure for feeding them. And not only this, but my work requiring me sometimes in the town and sometimes up in the hills, prevents my keeping any living creatures at either place, for they would be sure to be left without food some time or other.
"I have tried collecting specimens and transferring them to trees in the neighbourhood of my ranch, so that I could look at them without having to keep them in the house. But the results have not been satisfactory; for the larva were sure to get full-fed and wander away whilst I was in town.
"You will see that the Nos. of the species are not consecutive; for instance, Nos. V, VI, VIII, XI, XII, &c., do not appear. This is because I have not all the species in all three stages, having perhaps found only one specimen of the caterpillar, and kept it to work through the metamorphoses. These species I hope to send you at some future time, if I am fortunate enough to find specimens to complete the series.
"I have now worked out eighty-three species, and have some pupa now that I am anxiously watching to see what new glory they will produce."
The present paper includes forty-six species, five of which are believed to be new to science. The total of eighty-three species worked out by the author's own unaided exertions in two or three years whilst busily engaged in laborious professional duties, compares not unfavourably with the results obtained in the same line of research conducted under the far more favourable conditions of a high official position, abundant help, artistic and otherwise, and (it is not uncharitable to suppose) the smaller amount of high-pressure
prevalent when this century was young. I allude to the instance I had in mind when I gave the advice mentioned at the commencement of this note; namely, to the collection of Metamorphoses of the Lepidoptera of Java made by the late Dr. Horsfield between the years 1813 to 1819, one of the most extensive on record, yet falling short of 200 species. (See Catalogue of the Lepidopterous Insects in the Museum of the Hon. East India Company. By Thomas Horsfield, M. and Ph.D., F.R.S., and Frederic Moore. Vols. 1 and 2, 1857-9. London, Wm. H. Allen & Co., wherein a large number of these metamorphoses are figured and described.)
Dr. Horsfield records in his "Catalogue" how he fitted up a large apartment adjoining his residence with breeding-cages and receptacles for chrysalides; how he went out daily in search of caterpillars, accompanied by his most intelligent native assistants, several of whom were told off to provide suitable daily food, to watch the caterpillars and their changes, and to submit them in due time and season to the draughtsman. He also relates the elaborate means taken to secure the identity of each individual through all its varied changes. Equal labour and care was in every instance required in reference to the present collection, and all had to be done by the author single-handed. To testify that it has been done with the utmost care and exactness is my bounden duty.
It remains only to state that the larva, pupa, and imago of a species when worked out was indicated by the same Roman numeral; that a separate sheet of paper was devoted to each species and bore the same number; this in the order in which the species was worked out, and having no reference to ultimate scientific arrangement. The critical determination of the species has, at the recommendation of the Rev. H. H. Higgins, been intrusted by the Library and Museum Committee to my brother, who strongly recommends that
drawings of all the larvæ and pupæ, and especially the new species, should be published, a luxury much to be desired, but not now, at any rate, to be indulged in. I am grateful that the Society and the Library and Museum Committee have done so much; the Society in this publication; the Committee in providing so handsomely for the display of the collection; and to Mr. Dukinfield Jones for so liberally presenting it to the Museum. My only regret is that, owing to his continued residence in Brazil, I have not had the benefit of Mr. Jones's assistance in seeing his manuscripts, &c., through the press.
T. J. MOORE.