Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next

 

A BUTTERFLY.   29

 

The hard facts do not agree with such conclusions. There are butterflies that never feed at all, because they have no proper mouth for the purpose ; they mate, and lay eggs, and starve to death iii a few days. Moths are mere nightflying butterflies, and there are moths, like the well-known gypsy moth, of which the female, a beautiful creature, lays her eggs a few hours after coming out of the chrysalis, and lingers near them, and dies in a few days without feeding, although she has the means to do so. The males live on a much longer time.

There is a species of moths to be found in this Province of which the female never has wings, but lays eggs the same, while the male is decked out in pretty buff-brown wings, enjoying life in moth fashion. This has no common name. It is known as Orygia leucostignaa.

Again, there are caterpillars that actually lay eggs without mating, and these eggs produce other caterpillars that produce butterflies. This is evidently a move to keep from being utterly extinguished by their enemies. Then, there are moths that never mate and yet produce eggs that are fertile, but the caterpillars are apt to be mostly all of one sex.

There are a great many small flies that drill holes in the eggs and in the chrysalis of butter-


Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next