National Geographic : 1927 Jul
WHERE OUR MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES ROAM graceful insect was greater than his dread of feminine eyes, and even though the village wag cried after him that the but terfly would not let such a homely boy catch her, he did not relent until he had captured his quarry. WIDE FIELD IS OPEN FOR AMATEUR RESEARCH Two young women, wanting to know something more about moths, converted one of their rooms into a "crawlery," where they could watch microscopic cat erpillars hatch out of tiny eggs, grow, molt, make cocoons, and finally emerge therefrom as beautiful moths. And from these observations resulted one of the most delightful books in the whole field of natural history. While tremendous progress has been made in the study of moths and butter flies, there is still opportunity for careful, accurate observation of hundreds of species that dwell in every community, and there remain many gaps to be filled before the story is complete. The great museums of the world have gathered large collections and individual collectors possess many notable ones. Occasionally one of these collections goes upon the market for one reason or another, but usually when they pass out of private hands they are presented to such institutions as the United States Na tional Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the British Mu seum; for the creators of these fine indi vidual collections usually are too devoted to their specimens to place a money value upon them. One collector I know is a worker in one of America's greatest mu seums. He wears cotton socks bought at the Io-cent store, so that he may save money with which to buy specimens for the museum for which public funds are not available. WHERE OUR MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES ROAM HE reproductions of the 16 but terfly and moth plates in four colors, published in this number of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, were made possible through the cooper ation of the United States National Museum and Dr. Harrison G. Dyar, whose work in the classification of Lepi doptera has been an outstanding achieve ment in the activities of this great institu tion. The photographic staff of the National Geographic Society worked out an entirely new system of furnishing the engraver with the color values of the specimens, through which one entire stage in color reproduction was eliminated and conse quent loss of color value overcome. The butterflies and moths here repro duced were selected to show at once the wide range of beautiful color patterns and to aid the everyday reader in becoming better acquainted with the fragile crea tures of the air about us. These illustra tions present a cross-section of the lepi dopterous life of North America, with a few touches of the brilliant tropical life that is always a challenge to color repro duction. In technical nomenclature the most re cent practice has been to subdivide the butterflies into 13 families. Most of the popular field and reference books, how ever, still adhere to an older classification of five or six families. Lutz and Holland group them into five, and Kellogg into six. Holland and Lutz put the Whites, Sulphurs, and Orange-tips into the family of the Papilionidae with the Swallow-tails, while Kellogg places them in a separate family, called the Pieridae. Among the moths there are many fami lies-43, according to Holland-but those most frequently observed are the Sphin gidae, the Noctuidae, the Arctiidae, the Lithosiidae, the'Ceratocampidae, and the Saturniidae. Here, again, different au thorities assign various groups to differ ent families. In these pages the classifications of Lutz and Holland have been followed, as typi cal of the field books available to the lay reader who wishes to learn something at first hand about the fascinating folk of the moth and butterfly world.